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Debunking yet another set of myths surrounding the world of apps, with  something very essential for technology and business leaders who are trying to take a decision on apps building in the  modern digital world.  With the demand for business applications outstripping the availability of IT resources, business leaders often find IT as a bottleneck to get their apps created quickly. There is no doubt that business innovation can be fostered by mobile and web apps, but misconceptions about business app development remain and  this in turn  can hamper decision-making. Here are seven myths that can stall business innovation in an organization and let’s demystify them for better understanding

Myth #1:  The bigger the app idea, more the time it takes

“There are no limits to imagination and the size of your idea.  The real bottleneck comes in when the you try to appify your idea.” But wait, that's an old saying. New age low-code platforms which offer you rapid application development lets anyone with an idea to build an app quickly.  There might be some intervention by the technical developers, but that doesn’t hinder the initial process of appification of an idea quickly.  

Myth #2:  Apps with compelling UI/UX is an expert’s job

Professional apps built using traditional methods have a very intuitive user experience.  Usually getting those slick user experiences, associated with a great app, involves senior front-end developers who are good at JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.  But with the new tools based on visual development, out of the box templates, one can do away with UI experts.  The finer adjustments can be done with simple DIY hacks.  The effort is also reduced to just hours to days instead of weeks to months together.  

Myth #3:  Apps created by business users cannot integrate with internal business systems  

Most business apps contain data from back-office systems or specific business applications like ERP. Connecting an app securely to these often-legacy systems requires access and integration logic. IT can manage and provide access to these systems via APIs, through API management solutions,  in a secure, reusable, and reliable way. Business users in turn can consume these APIs through low-code platforms like WaveMaker, to intuitively integrate and use them inside an app.

Myth #4: App’s security and DB need expert intervention

Professional apps usually have complex DB design, professional security and coded as per standards.  In traditional development, these qualities cannot be achieved without the involvement of expert developers.  But with new tools and technologies—including automatic table creations, visual DB design, and configurable security means, anyone can build apps and they are almost codeless. This is ideal for business users, product managers, and in general any citizen developers.

Myth #5: Business apps will not be supported by IT

Apps are of multiple types.  One of the categories is core apps that drive the company’s core businesses. And then there are a lot of other apps that are categorized as long-tail-apps scattered all over the organization and are usually those that are driven by business teams.  Traditional IT support only the core apps, and the long tail apps flourished under the shadow of the IT teams.  However modern IT leaders also bring under their control long-tail apps to curtail shadow IT in the organization.  This is done using modern app development platforms that allow centralized control by IT and also ease the building of these apps by business users.

Myth #6: Modern App Development Platforms Are Closed and Proprietary

This is a myth that is almost true. The new-age app development platforms that offer low-code and rapid application development are mostly closed and proprietary.  However, there are few platforms like WaveMaker, which are based on open standards and offer the developers a choice to move away from the platform with the auto-generated app code, which can be migrated and developed in any IDEs like Eclipse. Though there is an understandable fear that developers will get locked into something that they may later want to move away from, these platforms will provide the flexibility that allows developers to make any real-time changes needed.

Myth #7: Cross-Platform Apps Are not fully featured

There is a misconception that cross-platform apps, usually built using hybrid mobile app development, cannot support a lot of features.  It’s true that not all platforms are equal and some may not support the full plethora of feature development, but it's still possible to develop apps that are rich in functionality. Some platforms for example - the RAD platform by WaveMaker make it easy to build apps that have features customized as per business requirements.

Recent times have seen the emergence of many enterprise application platforms that have the capability to address these challenges and make app development work much less tedious than it appears. The WaveMaker platform is one such platform worth mentioning. This platform develops & Deploys custom apps with multiple functionalities in a cost-effective and less time-consuming manner.

In the past few years, we have seen an explosion of mobile applications. Every interaction we do as a consumer or a business user is facilitated by a Mobile App. They offer convenience, better user experience, and appropriate context for end-users to benefit from.

What started in the consumer space has now also engulfed Enterprises. Every application within Enterprises that is being redesigned, recreated, or freshly created starts with a Mobile initiative today.

In order for Enterprise Mobile Applications to be successful and widely adopted within Enterprises, here are key requirements that need to be fulfilled and not limited to,

#1 User Experience

A clear expectation is that out of the box, the apps look beautiful and have intuitive user experiences. Consumerization of the web has raised the bar high with regard to User Interfaces. Within Enterprises, Employees, Partners, and End Users expect nothing less than good-looking User Interfaces.

#2 Enterprise Security

Security in today’s world is of paramount importance. In the case of Enterprise Apps, Data is more valuable and is at risk of getting breached and in most cases, holds financial value attached to it. Mobile Applications have more risk of data exposure and therefore the Apps provisioned on the Mobile devices need to support Authentication, Authorization, and Data Security by integrating with the choice of Enterprise Identity and Security Platforms.

#3 Loosely Coupled Application Architecture

Today Enterprises are creating microservices and developing apps using loosely coupled architectures. Mobile Apps are developed using Services (REST, Web Services). As the world moves towards creating services around every asset, there is a greater need to simplify the ability to integrate Mobile Apps into services.

#4 Device Capabilities

Today's Mobile Devices are becoming highly sophisticated in terms of features and functionality offered. Mobile Applications can benefit in user experience and features offered by leveraging the device/hardware capabilities. Developers need a simpler way to access the device features and use them within the app to make them rich and contextual.

#5 Open Platform

While there are many platforms that offer Mobile Application Development, Enterprises are very wary of getting locked into proprietary and closed platforms. Mobile Applications can benefit from using Open Standard Enterprise Technologies in the app and thereby future proof investment and platform choice made.

#6 Cross-Platform Productivity

Diversity and various degrees of form factors within mobile devices are increasing on a daily basis. End-user expectations are to have the Mobile Apps on his or her choice of platform, device, and form factor. This means greater complexity to support all devices. The solution is to move away from device-specific programming languages and move to a common playground where the Mobile Apps can be developed once and provisioned to each device using a targeted build for a specific platform. This is where Mobile Hybrid applications are useful. These apps are built using Web technologies (JavaScript, HTML5, Bootstrap, and CSS) that are simpler to learn and code and then built/provisioned for the target device using cross-platform technologies like Apache Cordova and PhoneGap.

#7 Faster Development

And finally, how do I satisfy my CXOs request of having the mobile application delivered in days and not months? Here is where modern Rapid Application Delivery platforms like WaveMaker can help in greatly simplifying and providing a codeless development platform to design, develop and deploy Hybrid Mobile applications.

In order to learn more on how to use WaveMaker to greatly accelerate the development of Enterprise Mobile Applications, register and be part of our upcoming Webinar titled, "Accelerate Enterprise Mobile Application Development using WaveMaker ". You will see a demo of a full-fledged Mobile Application built rapidly.

This blog post is the second of two-part series on developing hybrid mobile applications. In the first part, we looked at what is a hybrid mobile app and why hybrid mobile applications are very popular within enterprises. In this part, we will see how WaveMaker can simplify hybrid mobile app development using visual RAD methodology.

Let us first understand the overall deployment of a hybrid mobile application when using WaveMaker. This will simplify our understanding of the capabilities of a hybrid mobile application developed using WaveMaker.

The figure below shows the overall deployment of a hybrid mobile application.

The Hybrid Mobile Application consists of 2 parts:

  1. Device-specific application – This part of the application gets provisioned inside the end device as an app. This app can be put on the app store/play store and downloaded on the device. This app mostly consists of HTML, Images, JavaScript, and Apache Cordova file all packaged together. For example, for an Android-based mobile, this would be .apk file.
  2. Backend application - The Server-side portion of the application (REST APIs, Custom Business logic, Database Integration logic as well as any other external service Integration) is packaged into a WAR file. The WAR file is deployed on a Java Application Server. WaveMaker provides the default Cloud to deploy the WAR file automatically.

The Device-specific client application communicates with the Backend application using REST APIs. WaveMaker RAD enabled visual drag and drop development of the entire hybrid mobile application (client and the server part). This model simplifies the process of building, testing and running hybrid applications. WaveMaker RAD takes away the heavy lifting of integrating to databases, custom business logic, legacy systems as well as any cloud service that you may need for your mobile application. You also can easily configure security (authentication, authorization) and backend logic for the mobile application.

Hybrid mobile app development using WaveMaker

To get started, you can choose whether to build a responsive web or hybrid mobile application. The reason they are different is you will get UI layouts, Templates, Widgets, etc. specific to the mobile device. Once you develop the application for one format, you cannot transform to the other.

With WaveMaker 8, now you can apply the same Visual Drag and Drop approach to Hybrid Mobile Application development. You get same the simplicity of drag and drop, readymade HTML5 widgets, device-specific widgets, seamless binding, and a 1-Click device-specific build.

WaveMaker RAD provides many device integrations that make it easier to develop hybrid mobile apps. These are,

  1. Device Widgets: You can just drag and drop these widgets on the Mobile Canvas and you have the ability to integrate device capabilities into your application. Like any other WaveMaker App, you can then associate data to these widgets using the 'Data Binding' concept.
  2. Device Templates: You have now the ability to choose specific templates for the hybrid Application. WaveMaker provides a number of out-of-box mobile templates that you can choose to use. You also can develop your own custom mobile template using the Template Builder provided in the platform. These out-of-box templates are designed with the right layout, pixels, coloring scheme that resembles the mobile device.
  3. Device Variables: In addition to the Device widgets, WaveMaker also has pre-defined device variables that can be used to bind mobile data to widgets. The out-of-box variables provided is for fetching data from,“calendar”, “camera”, “contacts”, “device”, “file” and “scan”. See below the device-specific variables provided for mobile hybrid applications.
  4. Device Themes
    WaveMaker provides Device specific look and feels styling for your apps using Themes. There are Themes specifically for each type of device.

Great, so it is easy to Develop, what about my Device specific Build?

WaveMaker provides the ability to quickly build and download the hybrid application to the target device. A ready-made build infrastructure is automatically provisioned for the developer. The developer just needs to configure the mobile configuration required for the build.

When clicking on the Build button, WaveMaker automatically packages the required HTML, CSS, JS, and Apache Cordova files to create the device-specific App file. In the case of an Android device, this is a .apk file. Once the build is done, an automatic email is sent to the developer, with the link to the device-specific application file (.apk for Android), as shown below.

The developer just needs to download this file on the target device and the application is up and running on the device.

Isn't this great, you now have a full-fledged Visual RAD platform to greatly simplify and speed up Mobile Hybrid Application development and deployment. Log in to wavemaker online and start developing your own Hybrid Mobile App.

Mobile has swiftly risen to become the leading digital platform, with total activity on smartphones and tablets accounting for an astounding 60 percent of digital media time spent in the U.S.  Did you know that by 2016 more than half the mobile apps deployed will be hybrid? This blog post is the first of two-part series on developing hybrid mobile applications. In the first part, we will look at what is a hybrid mobile app and why hybrid mobile applications are very popular within enterprises. In the next part, we will see how WaveMaker can simplify hybrid mobile app development using visual RAD methodology.

What is a hybrid mobile app?

Enterprises want applications that can run on desktops as well as mobile devices. To create mobile applications, there are two options:

  1. Native mobile apps that use the target programming language supported by the native device; or
  2. Hybrid mobile apps that use standard Web HTML technologies and are wrapped using Apache Cordova / PhoneGap libraries to give them the ability to run as an app on the target device.

Refer to this article, For a detailed comparison of native and hybrid apps.

While a native app provides the best user experience, developing native apps is a costly affair. It requires developing the application on each device separately and requires highly skilled developers who can code in Objective-C/Swift for iOS, and/or Java for Android devices. Many enterprises want to balance the need for great user experience with simplicity and speed of developing the application. This is where hybrid mobile apps come in.

Why hybrid mobile apps are popular with enterprises?

Gartner says by 2016, more than 50 percent of mobile apps deployed will be hybrid.

Why is this so? Why are enterprises moving towards hybrid mobile applications? To understand this let’s talk about how hybrid mobile apps are built and the advantages they provide.

How to create hybrid mobile app?

Hybrid mobile apps are built with a combination of web technologies like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript and also use Apache Cordova, a library that provides set of APIs to access device capabilities. As a result, hybrid apps can utilize the device capabilities like camera, GPS, contacts, calendar and more. Hybrid apps can be put on app stores and can be downloaded onto the device. The apps are launched on the device similar to native applications and run on the device. In other words, hybrid mobile apps are like any other apps on your phone and it can be very difficult to tell how a mobile application is built.

Advantages of hybrid mobile apps

Hybrid mobile apps are popular with mobile app developers because:

Given these advantages, hybrid mobile apps are well suited for most B2B and enterprise applications.

How to simplify hybrid mobile app development?

Until now, developing hybrid mobile apps required developers with a very good understanding of HTML5, CSS, JavaScript as well as Apache Cordova framework APIs. Additionally, developers needed to master UI design for mobile layouts. Overall, hybrid mobile app development can be expensive and very time-consuming despite the advantages over native apps.

However, with WaveMaker 8, developers can now can use the visual Rapid Application Development paradigm to develop beautiful hybrid mobile apps.  Note: Hybrid mobile app development features on WaveMaker 8 are currently in alpha stage.

Sample hybrid mobile apps

Here are some of the hybrid mobile apps built using the WaveMaker 8 platform:

Personal Book Catalog App

Employee Profile App

Isn’t that cool? If you want to build hybrid mobile apps, check out WaveMaker and get a head start with your apps using our in-built mobile templates.

Also, look out for the next part of this blog which talks about how WaveMaker 8 greatly simplifies hybrid mobile app development.