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Mobile means constant change for enterprise app developers and IT

Mobile app developer challenges aren't going away. They're changing along with the landscape of new devices and OSes. IT shops must prioritize to help ease developer woes.

With the rapidly changing mobile world comes a whole new set of challenges for enterprise app developers.

Mobile app development now hinges on frequent updates to devices and operating systems. Those who were experts in the field two years ago, but have not kept up with the latest rollouts, find themselves far behind today. Developers must understand the subtleties in coding for the latest OSes and devices.

Wayne Hartman, an iOS app developer for over six years, said his biggest challenge is the constant treadmill of new devices and OSes -- and actually making new apps for them.

There are few developers pushing the envelope to create innovative mobile apps.

"With iOS, there has been a dramatic explosion of APIs, and it is hard to know it all," he said in an interview.

Also, Hartman said he is not seeing as many independent developers out there in the marketplace as there were. Companies compete to hire the top developers, and it causes issues on two fronts: It is now harder for companies to find top talent, and, without hoards of independent developers to choose from, few are pushing the envelope to really develop creative and innovative mobile apps.

Another major challenge for enterprise app developers is tooling. Apple and Google might update Xcode or Android Studio several times a year, but not every company can keep up, depending on what types of restrictions with administration rights their devices might have. Enterprise developers are often left to estimate which new tooling features might align to their apps' features. Sometimes developers might be able to catch the updates, but many times they are left to fix code.

Put your mobile app dev know-how to the test

A mobile app development strategy is a key first step on the road to a successful mobile app launch for your business. Test your knowledge to see if you're ready.

Companies may choose to skip an upgrade for tooling due to timing, however. With OS upgrades, such as with past iterations of Windows, developers were pretty safe in taking up to 30 days to roll out the updates to their code; now they might need to update the code in one or two days to keep their apps in working order.

As apps continue to move onto new platforms, such as smart TVs, web browsers, watches, cars and home assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, organizations need to make some hard choices on what devices they can purchase. Yes, there are some cloud options for testing, but it still makes a difference for developers to test the experience on the actual device the code was written for.

Next Steps

Tackle mobile app dev trials

Common mobile app dev challenges

IT admins need to wear developer hats

This was last published in September 2016

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