Mobile Application Development

Mobile Application Development is the process of building and developing software and application programs for mobile phones and smart gadgets. These application and software programs are either installed already during the mobile device’s manufacturing or bought from software providers for mobile phones and then installed in the phone, or downloaded directly to the mobile phone through its web browser (via its HTTP functionality that uses client- and server-side processing). But since this is a very broad topic, this article will help you familiarize yourself with what mobile application development is all about.

Software and application programs for mobile phones are being designed, built and developed to run on the most well-known mobile device platforms and environments today. These are the Android OS, the Blackberry OS, the HP webOS, Windows Mobile, the Symbian OS and the Apple iOS. These execution environments only support the codes and binaries that correspond to its operating system. But what is common among most mobile phones is that they use ARM processors. Through the commonly used ARM Architecture, the codes and binaries of the mobile app are executed in machine format for reading by the device’s processor. Development of mobile apps though, still have to be done using tools for specific mobile operating systems.

As a developer, it is always a must to determine and do an analysis of what platforms or environments to use for the development of mobile phone applications and programs. Doing mobile software development gives the programmer exposure to the tools of the trade, enabling him to write the code faster, test it, and later on deploy the mobile app for certain mobile phones and their operating systems. Some of the known development environments for mobile application development include the following: Adobe AIR, Android, Application Craft, Aqua, Battery Tech, Blackberry, Canappi, CloudPact, Corona SDK, iOS SDK, Java ME, Macromedia Flash Lite, Meme IDE,.NET Framework, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and the webOS.

After every development phase, the built and developed modules of the mobile application must undergo a series of tests to determine whether it functions according to the requirements set to it or not. The project team must assign one of its members to perform the testing and functionality checks. For mobile application development, here are the mobile application test environments that can be used for the Android, iPhone and Blackberry operating systems:

  1. Google Android Emulator
  2. Official Android SDK Emulator
  3. MobiOne
  4. iPhoney; and
  5. Blackberry Stimulator.

Other tools include FoneMonkey, Robotium, Sikuli and MITE.

These are the things to keep in mind when setting out to develop software applications and programs for mobile phones and smart gadgets. It is quite difficult and time-consuming to undertake a project of developing mobile applications since there are a lot of requirements to consider and a lot of time is needed for analyses, the concurrent development of different modules, and its integration into one fully-functioning application, and the testing phase that should be carried out meticulously. Mobile application software development is similar to system software development for computers, and web applications, and web site development – the product of the project undergoes the phases of the system development life cycle (SDLC). Therefore, the only difference is the development environments and the operating systems where the mobile applications are going to be deployed.

Top 5 Android Development Tools

Android operating system has been designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.

Developed Initially by Android, Inc., backed financially by Google (later bought by Google in 2005), Android was unveiled in 2007 along with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance ( a consortium of hardware, software, and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices).

Android is the buzz word in technology today with a market share of 42% across various devices worldwide. Android apps are open source unlike their competitors like iOS and Blackberry. The tools needed for their development are free and there is no need for purchase of a special developer phone or register your hardware as a development device.

Here are the Top5 Android Development tools currently trending in the market

  • Android SDK
  • Native Development Kit(NDK)
  • Titanium Mobile SDK
  • Hyper Next Android Creator
  • ADOBE AIR

1. Android SDK:

The Android Software Development Kit (SDK) provides you with the API libraries and developer tools necessary to build, test, and debug apps for Android. It is one of the most popular SDK used for Android.

Aspiring New Android developers can download the ADT Bundle to quickly start developing apps. It includes the essential Android SDK components and a version of the Eclipse IDE with built-in ADT (Android Developer Tools) to streamline your Android app development. These are some of the important components in ADT Bundle

  • Eclipse + ADT plugin
  • Android SDK Tools
  • Android Platform-tools
  • Current Version of the Android platform
  • Current Version of the Android system image for the emulatorMore

2. Native Development Kit(NDK):

The NDK is a toolset that allows android developers to implement parts of their app using native-code languages such as C and C++.NDK can be proved to be a lot of help for the developers as they can reuse existing code libraries written in these languages.

The most important point to be considered here is that NDK will not benefit most apps. Developer needs to balance its gains over draw-backs, as the native code may not always increase the performance, but generally increases the complexity. Prefer NDK only if it is essential to your app, never because you simply prefer to program in C/C++.

3. Titanium Mobile SDK:

The Titanium SDK provides community developers with an unmatched ability to create quality native, mobile web or rich hybrid applications to all platforms from a single code base, using JavaScript. With over 5,000 APIs, Titanium allows you to deliver an immersive user experience at a fraction of the time compared with traditional native platforms.

Although the Titanium suffers with some disadvantages like flexibility limitations, User Experience issues and complexity issues, Titanium still stands in the first place for Android and other cross platform apps development

4. Hyper Next Android Creator:

HyperNext Android Creator (HAC) is an easy to use software creation system that allows almost anyone to quickly start building their own Android apps that work. Apps developed on HAC enjoys good support on a wide range of devices.

HAC operation is based on HyperCard, which treats software as a stack of cards, where only one card is visible at a time and hence is quite well suited for mobile phone applications which allow single window operation.

The programming language used in HAC is “HyperNext” is much more similar to English, making it user friendly to learn and implement.

5. ADOBE AIR:

The Adobe® AIR® runtime enables developers to package the same code into native apps for iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, and other Android™ devices, reaching the mobile app stores for over 500 million devices.Running on Action Script,HTML,CSS AIR allows users mostly to develop cross platform mobile apps saving the time and minimising the development cost.

Along with these Tools there are some other tools like PhoneGap, BatteryTech SDK that should not be missed out.

Develop The Android Application Through The Company

Generally, there is a lot of difference is there when an Android application is developed by the Android application development company and by the freelancers. The android app development company develops the application according to the client’s requirements. They will have a team of professionals who can develop the Android app with advanced technology. The cost may vary between the Android application development company and the freelancers. However, when you take on the freelancers, they will develop the application single handled. They cannot deliver the project within the specified time line. They will struggle to find a solution if they face a problem between the project development. The freelancers will quote fewer amounts for the project development when compared with the Android apps development company.

There is no need for the users to take any license to use the Android based platform smart phones due to its open-source nature. This gave more freedom to the smart phone companies to release more Android based smart phones. Because of this the Android applications demand started to increase day by day. If you develop the Android app with the assistance of the Android application development company, they will support you in all the circumstances. They will provide the on site support to their clients. If you want to add any extra features to your application after some two or three years later the Android application development company will definitely assist you. You cannot expect these kinds of support from the freelancers. The freelancers will not support you at any point of time after the project completion. They will look for money rather than good relationship with the clients.

The client can meet the Android developers in the company whenever needed if they choose the developers in the Android application development company. The client will not get this kind of freedom if they choose the freelancers. The freelancers don’t upgrade their knowledge according to the latest technology. The Android Software Development Kit supports the developers very well to develop any kind of Android application. The Android Software Development Kit contains libraries, debugger, sample code, tutorials and the hand set emulator. Since the Android contains all these built-in features it gives more flexibility to the developers. There is another reason available behind the success of the Android based smart phones and applications. It is none other than Google. The Google marketed it very well. To develop Android apps it will take only fewer amounts when compared with the other platform based applications.