Credits: C_osett

Credits: C_osett

 

Android’s mobile application build system will natively support Java 8 features going forward, with Google deprecating the Jack toolchain.

Jack has served as a toolchain to compile Java source code into Android dex byte code, with Java providing the basis of Android development. But now, Google wants to support Java 8 features directly in the current javax and dx set of tools.

Existing tools and plugins dependent on the Java class file format still should work, said Google Product Manager James Lau. Google plans to launch the native support as part of its Android Studio IDE in coming weeks.

Google had tested Java 8 support through Jack. “Over time, we realized the cost of switching to Jack was too high for our community when we considered the annotation processors, byte code analyzers, and rewriters impacted,” said Lau. Developers can keep using Jack to build Java 8 code until the new support is available, and Lau predicted that the migration would mean little to no work.

Java 8, which fitted the language with lambda capabilities, debuted in March 2014. Android has supported lambdas and other Java 8 capabilities, including type annotations, method references, and default and static interface methods. The mobile platform also has supported Java 7 language features. Next up is Java 9, due in late July and featuring modularity and a host of other features. In his bulletin, Lau made no mention of the upcoming Java upgrade.

The Android build system compiles application resources and source code for packaging into Android Application Packages for testing and distribution. Android Studio uses the Gradle build toolkit to automate the build process.

Credits : fxxu

Credits : fxxu

 

Oracle is moving forward with its Java-on-Java intentions, in which Java would be implemented on itself via the experimental Project Metropolis.

With Metropolis, the company proceeds on building a JIT (just-in-time) compiler written in Java, said Georges Saab, Oracle vice president of development for the Java platform. The project was described in a recent presentation as an experimental clone of JDK (Java Development Kit) 10, hosting work on ahead-of-time compilation and the Graal compiler. Metropolis also would provide for translation of discrete HotSpot modules in System Java.

A presentation description says that Metropolis was “contemplating ‘Java on Java,’ the promise of a reboot of JVM technology using a modern code generator, Graal, which can be easily ported to new platforms and adapted to new workloads.”

Java-on-Java would implement the Java runtime with less C++/asm, cutting down on situations in which developers would have to code in both Java and C++. “This kind of experimentation [with Metropolis] is not new, but more and more of it is happening in collaborative projects in the OpenJDK community,” Saab said. There is no predetermined timeline to complete Metropolis, he said. “It’s not starting with some committed JDK version or date. Rather, the purpose is to learn more about what could be done in future versions.”

Project Panama, an effort to bridge native libraries to Java, would provide interoperability in Java-on-Java, while Project Valhalla would spruce up Java with multiple capabilities, such as value types, and provide flat data types for Java-on-Java. “Project Valhalla will naturalize flat, pointer-free data types to the JVM heap, giving JVM programmers the ability to define new classes with the flexibility of Java objects or C++ templates, and the efficiency of C or assembly code,” the presentation description reads.

Oracle’s conference presentation also referred to Project Amber, a recently unveiled effort to provide an incubator for productivity-oriented Java enhancement proposals, including local variable-type inference, enhanced enums, and lambda leftovers. It also promoted the notion of platform interoperability, including making native code and data more like Java code and data, but interoperability depends partly on value types and low-level bridges to non-Java APIs and data layouts.

The presentation discussed long-range plans for the JVM integrating with and running most modern languages. Goals for the JVM include having a uniform model to make objects, arrays, values, and types feel similar, being memory-efficient, having tune-able data layouts, and being naturally local and pointer-thrifty.

Oracle also wants the JVM to be performant, getting the most out of major CPUs and systems. In addition, the presentation cited “post-threaded,” as a goal, offering granular concurrency and confined/immutable data, along with having shared code mechanically customized to each hot path.

Credits : Infoworld

Credits : Infoworld

Hack, Facebook’s PHP dialect, is gaining popularity, but don’t expect it to rival PHP anytime soon.

In this month’s Tiobe index of language popularity, Hack cracked the top 50 for the first time, coming in 47th place albeit with a rating of 0.325 percent. Still, showing up on the index means that developers are starting to take notice.

Hack is more scalable, faster, and safer than PHP, a report accompanying the index emphasizes. “The Hack programming language contains modern programming paradigms such as generics, nullable types and collections,” Tiobe said. “The big question is of course: can Hack replace PHP in the future? Deployability is still quite hard (e.g. because it is not available on hosted web servers by default), otherwise it could certainly become PHP’s successor.”

ActionScript and Clojure also entered the top 50 this month, ranked 44th and 49th, respectively with ratings of 0.342 percent and 0.262 percent.

While languages like Java, C, and C++ take the top spots in the monthly index with regularity, other languages, such as D, Dart, Scala, and Rust surface in the index’s second tier, which ranks languages from 21st to 50th. The D systems programming language, which ranked 22nd this month with a rating of 1.413 percent, may see its fortunes rising soon, with the language’s compiler having recently gone open source. “Open-sourcing language implementations is always a good thing to become more popular,” said Paul Jansen, managing director at Tiobe. “The main reason is that the community has more confidence in the future of such a language because if the initial developers step out, somebody else can take over.”

Dart, coming in behind D in 23rd place with a 1.357 percent rating, is not expected to again break into the top 20, where it had been previously, but it should stay in the top 30. While Dart was once positioned as a potential rival to JavaScript, Google late last year began repositioning the language for mobile development.

Scala, ranked 31st with a 0.727 percent rating this month, has a realistic chance of breaking the top 20, said Jansen, though the object-oriented functional language, initially built for the JVM, has been mired in the top 20-to-40 space for many years. Meanwhile, the Mozilla-sponsored Rust systems language continued its steady gains and was ranked 41st this month with a rating 0.375 percent.

In the index’s first tier this month, Java again finished first with a 15.568 percent, which was down 5.28 percentage points from a year ago, and the language now vies with a multitude of other languages for the hearts and minds of developers. C was second at a 6.966 percent rating, and C++ finished third, rated at 4.544 percent, though both have seen their shares head downward. Finishing from fourth to 10th were: C# (3.579 percent), Python (3.457), PHP (3.376), Visual Basic .Net (3.251), JavaScript (2.851), Delphi/Object Pascal (2.816), and Perl (2.413). The index gauges popularity based on a formula examining searches on languages in popular search engines, assessing the number of skilled engineers, third-party vendors, and courses pertinent to a language.

 

Credits : sfchronicle

Credits : sfchronicle

 

After a 2011 civil grand jury report excoriated Oakland’s building services division, concluding that some inspectors were keeping property records in their desk drawers rather than a central database, the city purchased a multimillion-dollar software system to bring the department into the 21st century.

But next door, in the Fire Prevention Bureau, which is tasked with annually inspecting all commercial buildings and certain residential properties, the staff was stuck with an older database that its users describe as a clumsy, incomplete repository of city properties.

“It’s been cumbersome from the get-go,” said acting Fire Chief Mark Hoffmann, adding that city officials have not paid for system upgrades over the years. “It’s not particularly user-friendly for people who enter data. You can’t seamlessly go window to window.”

The system’s deficiencies may have contributed to lapses in inspections of dangerous buildings. Three years after its report castigating the building department, the Alameda County grand jury came back with another censure, this time of the Fire Department, finding that it was not inspecting more than a third of all buildings required to be reviewed annually under California law.

The warning from the civilian panel foreshadowed revelations about the Ghost Ship warehouse after a fire there killed 36 people in December. Despite a fire station being just a block away, the building wasn’t in the Fire Department’s database and no one had ever stepped foot on the premises for a formal inspection. Had inspectors done so, they would have found tangles of electrical wires, blocked exit pathways, a lack of smoke detectors and other safety hazards.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wants to create an information technology tool that would combine various city systems into an algorithm that could predict which buildings may be at risk for fire hazards or catastrophes. Her plan, announced in an executive order shortly after the Ghost Ship fire, was made more urgent when another blaze ripped through a West Oakland halfway house two weeks ago, killing four people and displacing more than 80.

But there’s no timeline for when that plan will be put into action. A report on the plan provided to the City Council in February doesn’t specify when the project would be completed or how much it would cost.

“Ideally you’d have a big map and all the databases talking to each other,” said Claudia Cappio, an assistant city administrator. Those databases in Oakland include the Planning and Building Department’s software called Accela; the Fire Department’s system; a Public Works app that allows residents to report hazards; dispatch calls for police and medical services; and the program used by the city’s finance arm to collect business taxes.

Until a solution is put into place, the Fire Department and its Fire Prevention Bureau are relying on the existing OneStep database system, purchased in 2009, that Cappio called “incomplete and inconsistent” and “problematic for engine companies.”

The city is exploring the idea of getting the Fire Department a module to use within the Planning and Building Department’s Accela software, which cost Oakland $5 million, with an $800,000 annual license. Adding the fire capabilities to the system would cost upward of half a million dollars, said city spokeswoman Karen Boyd.

In the meantime, Cappio said, “The Fire Department can go to the Planning and Building Department and gain access to their computers. … The offices are right next door to each other.”

Hoffmann said that doesn’t happen, and as far as he knows, the fire marshal and inspectors use only OneStep.

Records reveal a disjointed picture of the Oakland Fire Department’s database.

In the city’s response to the 2014 grand jury investigation, Oakland officials said that because of the way properties were initially entered into the system — by commercial business licenses — there were often duplicate records of properties or no records at all.

For instance, multiple licenses could be tied to one business, like a hair salon with several stylists, or many small suites could be located within a larger building — but the OneStep system would tell inspectors to go review them all, the city said. Other times, they were instructed to inspect a building that turned out to be a post office box. A converted warehouse like the Ghost Ship wouldn’t have been in the system either, because there was no business license associated with it.

“Some of these places are out of business or they’re in business but they don’t want to pay the license fee,” Hoffmann said.

Firefighters have described occasions when they’ve gone on a medical call, seen a hazardous situation in a property, but couldn’t find the building in the database back at the station house.

At one point in 2014, the problems with OneStep became so extreme that a fire lieutenant was removed from regular duties and put in a full-time assignment that involved reconfiguring the program and washing the database of duplicate addresses, according to the city’s response to the grand jury investigation.

A OneStep representative, who declined to give his name, said that “all we do is just host the data they choose to collect” and that Oakland’s problems are probably caused by how properties were inputted — by business license.

“We work with dozens of fire departments,” he said. “They don’t regret buying our software because it works for them.”

Hoffmann said some of the issues with OneStep can be traced back to training. In September 2015, a firefighter who went on a call to the San Pablo Avenue halfway house wanted to refer the hazardous conditions there to the Fire Prevention Bureau. He did so by checking a referral box in the OneStep system, according to emails released by the city. In fact, Hoffmann said, referrals cannot be made within the database, and the box is supposed to indicate that a referral was made by phone or some other means — not prompt a referral to be sent.

Credits : Businesswire

Credits : Businesswire

 

STAMFORD, Conn. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF), a premier consumer financial services company, today announced that it has acquired GPShopper, an innovative developer of mobile apps that offer retailers and brands a full suite of commerce, engagement and analytic tools. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed and it is not expected to have a material impact on financial results.

The transaction further demonstrates Synchrony Financial’s commitment to bringing its partners enhanced digital offerings supported by advanced mobile application development and robust technology, data and analytics. Adding GPShopper’s mobile development expertise will be an integral part of Synchrony Financial’s efforts to further expand its mobile engagement capabilities.

Synchrony Financial announced a strategic investment in GPShopper in January 2015 and the companies have since collaborated on several well-received mobile offerings, including the Synchrony Plug-in or SyPi, a native credit feature that plugs in to a retailer’s mobile app. SyPi allows retailers’ credit cardholders to easily shop, redeem rewards, and securely manage and make payments to their accounts with their smartphones.

Today’s announcement further cements this partnership and will allow for continued development of new mobile commerce focused technologies. The combined mobile commerce and payments capabilities will offer the companies’ retail partners – ranging from the largest national chains and mid-sized retailers to smaller merchants and service providers – innovative solutions that are tailored to their businesses.

“The GPShopper team have built an incredibly dynamic business,” said Tom Quindlen, Executive Vice President and CEO, Retail Card, at Synchrony Financial. “As both companies achieved considerable success through our partnership over the past two years, the benefits of bringing them into the Synchrony Financial family became increasingly apparent. We look forward to the further development of SyPi and other mobile offerings, and we could not be more thrilled to have the GPShopper team join our organization.”

Alex Muller, Co-Founder and CEO of GPShopper, added, “Mobile commerce is driving the future of retail, and by joining forces with Synchrony, we can put our retail clients at the forefront of this transformation. This is an exciting and logical next step for us given our two companies’ shared commitment to leveraging technology to help retailers better engage with their customers. Additionally, our team will now have broader opportunities and greater resources to develop and deliver innovative mobile solutions for our retail partners.”

GPShopper’s accomplished and highly innovative team will now become a part of Synchrony Financial’s Retail Card sales platform, where they will join a team of professionals working on a broad range of technology-driven programs aimed at fueling their partners’ growth.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as Synchrony Financial’s financial advisor on the transaction.

About Synchrony Financial

Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF) is one of the nation’s premier consumer financial services companies. Our roots in consumer finance trace back to 1932, and today we are the largest provider of private label credit cards in the United States based on purchase volume and receivables.* We provide a range of credit products through programs we have established with a diverse group of national and regional retailers, local merchants, manufacturers, buying groups, industry associations and healthcare service providers to help generate growth for our partners and offer financial flexibility to our customers. Through our partners’ over 350,000 locations across the United States and Canada, and their websites and mobile applications, we offer our customers a variety of credit products to finance the purchase of goods and services. Synchrony Financial offers private label and co-branded Dual Card™ credit cards, promotional financing and installment lending, loyalty programs and FDIC-insured savings products through Synchrony Bank.

*Source: The Nilson Report (May 2016, Issue # 1087) – based on 2015 data.

About GPShopper®

GPShopper is the leading mobile commerce and engagement platform for retailers and brands that want to create custom app experiences for their customers. GPShopper’s native mobile app solutions and proprietary SDK empower retailers to drive customer engagement and loyalty through multiple touch points, both digitally and in-store, using technology to transform the total retail experience. This is all done with an unmatched degree of scalability and security. Some of the world’s biggest retailers are part of the GPShopper family, including bebe, Crate and Barrel, Foot Locker, Michaels, Steve Madden, True Religion and more. GPShopper’s apps and mobile platform have been recognized as best-in-class by retail and technology leaders, winning awards from the National Retail Foundation (NRF), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), eTail, AT&T and Intel for excellence in mobile innovation. Forbes named GPShopper one of “Ten Companies Disrupting Their Industries with Technology in 2014”.

Credits : Trainingzone

Credits : Trainingzone

 

Today, there is hardly anyone in the world that does not use a smartphone. Right from school going kids till corporate professional and business entrepreneurs, each and everyone is addicted to their smartphones. The addiction is due to the services and comfort smartphone leverage to us. Earlier, the smartphone was simply a medium to communicate people sitting overseas. Today, it has become an indispensable part of our lifestyle. Right from shopping, booking movie tickets till hiring a cab, people have become totally dependent on a smartphone.

1. Best User Experience

iPhone is boasted for a dedicated user group. As iPhone customers are quite loyal with the app, it results in an increase in usage of iOS based application which indirectly boost the revenue of iPhone apps. Due to the seamless user experience it provides to its app users, app developers prefer to develop an app on iOS platform that would create a great impact on their earnings.

2.  Targets High Revenue Group

iPhones are designed for premium marketplace. People that falls in high-income group would prefer to buy iPhone. The reason for its high cost is high-tech features and experience that it provides to its end users that hardly any smartphone can avail in app market. So, people that desires better product and services would only pay such high amount rather than people having mediocre income.

3. Application Quality

As Apple holds entire hold on software and device manufacturing, iOS is a closed platform. Apple is quite stringent with its guidelines as far as quality is considered. So, app development company needs to follow the guidelines and protocols decided by Apple in order to make their app publish in the app store. The main reason why iOS receives higher preference by mobile app developers is because of limitation in device fragmentation and hardware fragmentation. Apple decides the guidelines for both hardware and software and so, there is hardly any difference found in the updated version. It makes it easier for developers to develop apps. Also, the adoption rate of iOS apps increases as compared to other OS.

4. Complexity Level

As iOS is quite a user friendly, development of UI/UX for iOS devices is quite streamlined. Frameworks are quite easy to use and this gives superior app user experience to users.

5. Stringent Review Process

Though iOS consumes huge time to publish an app in app store, the quality of an app delivered is out of the mark. Apple has strict rules and guidelines that it ensures are followed properly while publishing an app in iOS app store. Quality and user experience is the main focal point of review process in iOS app store.

6. Fewer Bugs

iOS based devices are followed with quite fewer bugs and this is one of the major benefit of Apple OS. iOS app development requires less lines of codes and so the bugs generated are quite less.

7. Better Visibility

The Apple store is organized into multiple categories and so rakings are given based on how efficiently a complex algorithm is used in an app. Ratings and reviews of iTunes store makes it easy for users to choose multiple apps.

Though there are multiple applications available in market on different platforms, the quality of applications delivered by iOS is unbeatable. This is why the iOS platform is highly approached by majority business and enterprise. So, if you are want to develop an app for business and expects high returns then iOS would be the wisest option to select. Get started now and earn fruitful revenue.

Credits : Windowsitpro

Credits : Windowsitpro

Companies sometimes need a quickly-built mobile app to fit a “right now” need, such as a last-minute customer service order-entry form app or something that will let customers easily sign up for newsletters. 

But instead of having to assign the creation of these kinds of basic apps to already overloaded developers, which can delay them from working on more business-centric development projects, an increasing number of IT vendors are providing tools that let non-developers assemble basic apps with a few clicks. Using these “low code” tools, non-developers can relatively easily assemble a collection of ready-made components into working apps using what are essentially the Lego building blocks of software.

This low-code market segment has been getting more attention in the last several years from vendors including Mendix, OutSystems, Appium and Pega Systems, as well as from Red Hat, which is already well-known due to its roots in its Linux and middleware applications, application development tools and other products and services. Red Hat’s low code product is called the Red Hat Mobile Application Platform

In the past, these low-code platforms have often been given a cold shoulder by some developers because they didn’t allow granular and complete control for app creation. 

Nowadays, however, that could be changing as some experienced application developers are finding uses for such tools for some for their own coding projects, Phil Simpson, the  JBoss product marketing manager at Red Hat told ITPro.com. One reason for the change in attitude is that the latest versions of the tools allow developers to switch between the actual code and the automated development features, allowing them to choose how an application is built. Previous versions didn’t easily allow steps that diverged from the processes included in the low-code platforms. 

“Developers certainly like to have control over the code that is ultimately delivered, and many of the earlier low-code, BPM [and other products] tended to hide the actual code behind graphical tools,” said Simpson. The newer generation of low-code tools is smarter and lets developers insert custom code and perform other tasks that weren’t possible in prior versions, he said.

“The intent is to give the developer the same degree of control over the code as they would have with the tools they currently use, but enable them to generate UIs and business logic much more quickly,” said Simpson.

By providing rapid app creation platforms for their development teams, companies can potentially increase developer productivity by enabling them to manipulate high level features such as user interfaces, business rules and process steps, while only writing code where needed for customization, according to Simpson. “Our BPM and mobile platforms include tools to create all these models and generate executable code from them.”

Leonie McGloin, Red Hat’s program manager for mobile products, said the company is seeing more decision-making about mobile apps development coming from the business side of companies nowadays, instead of just from IT operations. That’s where the low-code platforms can help to allow simple component-based creation of some apps by business staff members to free up developers to concentrate on mission-critical applications.

“More businesses are looking to the business side to solve some of a company’s problems,” she said. “It has led to the need for more self-service, giving the business side more flexibility to do their own coding.”

Much of the reason for the shift is the drive for digital transformation in business, said McGloin. “Mobile apps, they need to get to market faster. To do that, companies need more agile DevOps practices,” which can be provided through low-code platforms.

Red Hat has been offering these tools for what it calls “citizen developers” since it acquired FeedHenry in October of 2014 to add rapid app creation tools to the company’s Linux and middleware applications, application development tools and other products and services. By acquiring cloud-based FeedHenry, Red Hat aimed to bolster its tools for the onslaught of mobile devices that require new apps and services for users. 

At the same time, the low code tools won’t work for every development project, said McGloin. “In the context of the enterprise, there can be a lot of complexity on the back end,” but developers can still use these platforms as elements of what they are creating, she added.

“You can quickly create a mobile form with drag and drop components,” she said, but “when it comes to integrating an app into a legacy back end, that’s a little tougher and you need to work with IT.”

In the end, “I think the bottom line always is to consider the use case,” she said.

Credits : Mobilebusinessinsights

Credits : Mobilebusinessinsights

 

We are entering a new phase of mobile development and innovation with profound implications on business and our daily lives. It will be a transformative time where cognitive technology available through connected, high-speed networks (such as 5G), augments all our activities, providing deeper understanding and insights that have never been visible before. This knowledge will come to us in context — that is, where and when we need it— and will be available through a multitude of devices. Some of these devices are already on the market, while others are only in the vision stage. Many of the things we think of today as being immobile will require mobile development to make them accessible from anywhere. As processing capability shrinks in physical size, we can embed it into virtually everything — even our medicine.

The first phase of mobility provided the foundation for the coming day of mobile pervasiveness. It introduced hardware with the functionality of many different devices into a single device: a smartphone that could not only make calls, but also send emails and surf the web. The functionality came to us in the form of apps on our phones, then our tablets and now our cars and appliances. For businesses, mobile was used primarily as a channel to transact, inform or communicate with customers and employees. Most businesses today are in this phase of mobile development, although the range of apps is now exponentially greater than those available on the first smartphones.

The “new reality”

The greater opportunity for business and innovation resides in the phase that turns the power of mobile into the essence of what they do and how they do it. Maribel Lopez calls this the “New IT” in her blog, “Moving Beyond Digital Transformation To A New Cognitive Contextual World.” I call it the “new reality.”

When everything becomes mobile, actions, behavior and expectations evolve. Simply reflect on how mobile has already changed our lives. We no longer need a TV to watch a movie, a library to do research or a classroom to learn a language. We can access and see into our homes no matter where we are in the world. Bring into the picture analytics, cognitive technology and augmented reality (AR), and the future suddenly becomes more interesting. Information overlaid on any surface will reveal relevant information through words, images and multiple dimensions when and where it is needed. Not only will you be able to see into the refrigerator without opening the door, but you will also be able to know what has expired and replace it using a voice prompt. With enough experience and embedded learning, the refrigerator might one day restock itself, make product recommendations to suppliers and be our nutritional advisor.

Imagine a retail business that maintains zero inventory. Products are simply images available to try on or try out by merely putting on a pair of glasses or by looking into an augmented mirror. Tell the mirror your preferences and voila, the order is custom-designed and delivered to your home. According to Technology Review, Wayfair, Lowe’s and IKEA are already experimenting with virtual and augmented realities to bring this capability to life. Apply similar thinking to the production line and defects revealed by simply looking at the object with a mobile device. Defects are fixed using instructional overlays directly on the object, or better yet, with a simple command of “Yes, fix it.”

Enabled through a foundation of mobility, the field for business innovation has never been richer. And, when driven by cognitive insights, it has never been smarter. What does this mean for your business, product and way of working? Consider the three following strategies to effectively jump-start mobile development:

1. Approach everything you do with a mobile mindset

Mobility is no longer for customer transactions only. It needs to be envisioned and planned for the entire enterprise. Make everything mobile-friendly — your entire value chain and all stakeholders, your stores, your employees, your customers, your product and the machinery and processes you use to design, manufacture, ship and deliver that product.

2. The device is nothing without the data

The value of mobility increases exponentially when you bring in analytics and cognitive computing. It changes the device from being a channel to being a personal luminary that crunches quantum amounts of data into relevant and valuable nuggets of information.

3. Think in mobile speed

As much as it hurts to say, time is not on your side. Things are changing too quickly to wait for proven solutions. If you wait, your competitors will steal the competitive advantage, transform their processes and make your customer experience irrelevant. Embrace new technologies and mobile development and imagine what they can do for your business.

There are no crazy ideas, just lack of execution. Welcome to the new reality!

Credits : Appdevelopermagazine

Credits : Appdevelopermagazine

 

The transition from desktop to mobile computing is not a question of if, but when. According to Gartner, within the next five years, 70 percent of software interactions in enterprises will occur on mobile devices. Little wonder, then, that organizations that are just embarking on their mobile app development journeys can often be tempted to assume the voyage will be smooth sailing. After all, at the earliest stages their ambitions will likely be modest. Maybe they plan to start slow, with just one or two apps.

But not long after the ship has left port, an object looms in the waters ahead. “Nothing to fear,” the mobile project manager thinks. “My crew has navigated obstacles before.” Little does that manager realize that what looks like a minor hazard is but the tip of a much larger and more dangerous problem lurking beneath the surface. Before the project has time to change course, what started out as a leisurely cruise toward mobility has started to feel like a trip on the Titanic.

Melodramatic? Maybe. But the truth is that, much like that ill-fated cruise liner, far too many mobile initiatives have been sunk by lack of foresight. The pace of innovation is accelerating, yet if you rush full steam ahead into a mobility project without properly assessing the risks, you’re bound to run into trouble.

Iceberg ahoy!

In our Titanic / iceberg analogy, you can think of the part bobbing above the surface of the water as the mobile app itself. Most shops don’t run into much trouble there. Modern mobile development toolkits make it relatively simple to build multichannel apps that can be deployed to a variety of platforms, including Android, iOS and web.

Don’t be fooled, though. In today’s networked enterprise mobile apps, the much larger and riskier portion of the project lies beneath the surface, in the often-complex layer of interconnected services that make up the mobile backend. It is here where the real work happens – and unfortunately, it can be far too easy to underestimate just how much work will be involved in implementing it.

Judging by the UI alone, even a mission-critical enterprise app can seem deceptively simple. Such apps, however, typically need support from a myriad of backend services, ranging from authentication and identity management, to security and encryption, to data storage and retrieval, to integration with enterprise software like ERP systems or salesforce automation. As the complexity of the backend grows, an API management layer is probably in order, to help manage the overall lifecycle of the various components. All of these services require care and maintenance, further burdening IT and DevOps teams.

Further compounding the problem, it’s likely that the plan to start slow with one or two mobile apps was wishful thinking. As organizations of all sizes feel mounting pressure to achieve digital transformation mounting, demand for mobile apps increasingly comes from lines of business from across the organization. Before anyone realizes it, two mobile projects have become six, then six have become twelve…

It’s typically at this point that the hull of the mobile initiative really starts springing leaks. With multiple, uncoordinated mobile projects in the works, the organization’s total code base balloons to unmanageable size. Redundant coding efforts sap efficiency. In many cases, app dev teams will have made the mistaken assumption that existing middleware would meet their needs, only to find out that legacy web architectures are poorly suited to mobile. That sinking feeling soon sets in.

How to steer clear

Fortunately, there’s hope. As an industry, we’ve learned a lot since the early days of mobile app dev. By observing modern best practices, it’s possible to develop and deploy multichannel mobile apps in a way that’s not only efficient and consistent, but also low-risk – a methodology known as “app factory” style development.

One emerging pattern that’s enabling this approach is the use of model-driven development, a practice that will be familiar to enterprise application developers but has only recently been applied to mobile app dev. This development style uses software architectural models to abstract away the low-level complexities of programming, making it easier and faster to develop discrete application components.

These components can then be deployed as microservices that can then be composed into complete applications. The microservices architecture not only makes applications easier to deploy and scale, but it can also make them more secure by making it easier to patch and update individual components without service disruption.

Adopting these new methods can seem daunting. But fortunately these and other modern features are already available in modern mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) platforms, such as Kony MobileFabric. By standardizing on such a platform across the organization, app dev teams can both minimize redundant efforts and concentrate on responding to changing business objectives, rather than the drudgework of maintaining a poorly integrated mobile backend.

The bottom line is that while too many mobile projects end up in Davey Jones’ locker, the journey to mobility needn’t be a doomed voyage. The sinking of the Titanic was the result of too much hubris; app dev teams shouldn’t make the same mistake. By correctly assessing the full scope of the task ahead, applying modern development methods, and choosing the right partners, it’s possible for organizations to avoid hidden hazards and keep their ongoing mobile initiatives for years to come.

Mobile web sites are a growing design issue. According to StatCounter GS, mobile web access has risen to 36.54% in the United States as of January 2017. Internationally, according to the same set of statistics, mobile phones have overtaken desktops as the primary means of accessing the internet by approximately 4%.

This means that companies seeking to reach customers need their sites to be easily read and navigated by smaller screens and devices that may not support Java or cookies. But what works best? And what should IT departments focus on when improving or developing mobile sites? Experts on the Forbes Technology Council have this to say:

1. Put Priority Content At The Top

Place high-priority content, such as phone numbers, address or directions, at the top of the website page, so that users can quickly get to it without having to scroll. Don’t fall into the trap of “stacking” low-priority content over high-priority content. – Andrew Kucheriavy, Intechnic

2. Foster An Environment Of Continuous Experimentation And Improvement

Good UI/UX is hard. Don’t imagine you’re going to get it right the first time. Experiment with alternatives as much as you can during development. Consider A/B testing technology that lets you run experiments to evaluate interface alternatives and to respond quickly to the findings. Implement continuous integration and deployment techniques that let you release improvements regularly. – Manuel Vellon, Level 11

3. Ask Users About What Works And What Doesn’t

It helps to know from people using it every day what works and doesn’t, so go straight to users and get their feedback. After all, you want people to use it, and there’s no better perspective than those that already do. – Chalmers Brown, Due

4. Don’t Make Mobile An Afterthought

An increasing number of people use a phone or tablet as their primary way to interact with websites. You can’t slap together a mobile site as an afterthought and expect to be successful: Mobile should be a first-class citizen from the start. Also, resist the temptation to suppress certain content completely on mobile. It may be much easier, but some visitors may never come to your site on a computer. – Jay Oliver, GeekHive