Why Mobile Needs Its Own DevOps
Incorporating a unique set of practices — collectively referred to as Mobile DevOps — into your development processes helps tackle the unique challenges of mobile.
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Developing for mobile has unique challenges, and therefore, it requires an approach that differs from traditional DevOps methods. Here are four of the main reasons why developing for mobile is different — compared to developing web applications — and some of the ways in which incorporating a unique set of practices, collectively referred to as Mobile DevOps, can help app companies tackle these specific challenges.
Mobile Apps Require Faster Iterations
When it comes to mobile app iterations, speed is everything: there is a strong correlation between the frequency of updates and the rating in the app stores. The more agile the approach, the faster and more iterative the code release process becomes.
Mobile DevOps practices increase the frequency of deployment as opposed to the older methods, where larger portions of the code were deployed less frequently. The ideal end result is a fully implemented rolling deployment system: releasing regularly to a subset of users. This can be for testing purposes with either alpha/beta versions, or staged releases to multiple markets. An automated deployment pipeline reduces the time it takes to roll out new iterations and enables teams to react faster to user feedback.
Mobile Apps Are Less Forgiving
UX is one of the most important factors in today's competitive mobile app scene. Compared to desktop apps, users are much less forgiving when it comes to bad user experience, often dropping apps that do not meet their expectations right away.
Since avoiding mistakes in mobile apps is more critical than it is in desktop apps, pre-production testing becomes more important. Teams also need to closely monitor the feedback and ratings on app stores to keep up with future enhancements and continuously improve their apps. Mobile DevOps enables instant reports and feedback, as well as regression testing, all through a transparent process. As a result, developers are able to troubleshoot errors and fix bugs faster, which is crucial for optimizing UX.
Tools Used for Mobile App Development Are Constantly Changing
Mobile app development requires a unique toolset that is constantly evolving. From building to deployment and performance monitoring, there are always new additions for keeping up with the ever-growing market needs.
A plethora of tools and practices exist for different projects, platforms, programming languages, and so on — staying up-to-date with all this is yet another challenge for developers. Mobile DevOps practices address this issue by automating more of the manual tasks and implementing systems in which code, configurations, scripts, and documents across different platforms are easily trackable. Streamlining the process helps teams adopt new tools, and leaves more resources for app development.
Mobile as A Platform Is More Fragmented
Mobile apps go through increasingly rapid development processes, which results in more and more releases ending up on different devices. This means that certain features might not work as expected on all supported platforms.
Apps performing well during tests but failing in the hands of the users is a common scenario. The fragmented nature of the leading mobile operating systems — especially Android — is a serious concern for developers. Different release dates, version support, and phones also need to be considered on a regular basis. Enabling rapid testing and accurately predicting the app’s behavior on each platform are the main reasons why Mobile DevOps practices encourage the use of multiple simulators, parallel testing, and real device testing.
The aforementioned examples illustrate why developing for mobile is uniquely challenging. If companies respond to these challenges by incorporating a unique set of Mobile DevOps practices into their app development processes and by adopting both the new culture and new technologies of Mobile DevOps, it will help them improve not only their apps, but their entire app development process.
Published at DZone with permission of Nora Bezi. See the original article here.
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