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Mobile application development process comes with hurdles

Developing mobile applications is not yet a pain-free process for IT shops. Red Hat Summit session speakers and attendees sound off on some of the challenges.

BOSTON -- App development is changing along with the mobile landscape. And for organizations that want to develop their own apps, challenges remain.

Speakers and attendees at last week's Red Hat Summit addressed some of those challenges. Here is what they had to say about designing apps with the user experience in mind, getting ROI from mobility and more.

"App development is being driven by mobile; modern application development is mobile."
Steve O'Keefe, product line director, Red Hat

Today, mobility and the app development process go hand in hand. A modern application now means agile apps that translate seamlessly from desktops to smartphones and tablets, O'Keefe said.

IT shops delving into mobile application development have options -- from shifting legacy desktop apps to the cloud or building native in-house apps. But no matter the method, developers have to keep the mobile user experience in mind.

"There is no way you can be doing modern app development without considering the screen real estate for smartphones and tablets," O'Keefe said.

"Mobile apps can take off or totally flop."
Chad Holmes, senior mobile solutions architect, Red Hat

For organizations that are trying to modernize apps for employees or customers, there are costs to consider -- from mobile app development to deployment and lifecycle management.

These costs can be difficult to measure and are often retrospective, but "get more accurate over time," Holmes said in a session on the ROI of enterprise mobility.

Chief components of mobile ROI include increased productivity and time to market. Companies looking to save money on the mobile application development process would do better launching a set of the five or six business apps the workforce needs versus one big, "killer app," Holmes said. Otherwise, it can be expensive to build in-house and not worth the time and effort.

"There is no easy answer," Holmes said.

"Mobile has created a demand for streamlining."
Joe Stanganelli, enterprise technology consultant, attorney and writer

The advent of mobility has fueled the user's need for instant gratification. Due to this expectation, "data needs to be more instantaneously and ubiquitously accessible," Stanganelli said.

Another need that has arisen in the mobile age is enterprise adoption of flexible software to help meet user demands. To keep up with user demand, IT admins must push out apps and their updates more quickly. Because of this, some organizations are beginning to adopt a more continuous delivery model, Stanganelli said.

One thing that can stymie app developers, on the other hand, is if they get hammered with bad reviews in the app store, for instance, he added.

Next Steps

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This was last published in May 2017

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