The “bring your own app” movement matured in 2015.
While mobile apps may have once been seen as purely consumer-oriented, there’s no doubt they have permeated all industries, verticals and sectors. From social media to enterprise communications, there truly is an app for everything now. This past year we saw significant strides made in application development.
Here are the top trends we observed in 2015 and how they impacted the development process.
Mobile Apps Replaced Desktop Apps
For the past few years, we’ve been hearing a lot about the BYOD (“bring your own device”) movement. As employees and companies became accustomed to the initial introduction of nontraditional devices in the workplace, we saw the increased adoption of corporate mobile apps as well. This trend has flourished and has become real movement, referred to as BYOA (“bring your own apps”).
The big driver here is the mobile workforce. Laptops are cumbersome to carry around when people are traveling; mobile phones, on the other hand, are sometimes just as powerful but much smaller. As a result, end-users began to demand higher quality enterprise applications, given the seamless experience they have become accustomed to with popular consumer apps.
So how did this effect application development? In a word—security. While BYOA may be beneficial in creating a more efficient work environment, whether in or out of the office, developers have had to address very particular security needs that must be met as businesses became more invested in the quality of the applications their employees are using.
With BYOA, there is a much higher volume of data being stored in the cloud, so company data sits alongside employees’ personal data on a single device. To a certain extent, this takes some power away from the company since information is no longer purely being stored in local, physical systems. As such, extra pressure has been put on developers to establish security protocols that are powerful enough to protect enterprises from mobile threats.
And while the BYOA movement is certainly real, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The increased importance of security in application development will not be lessening in 2016. For app developer teams that have yet to put significant thought into enterprise-grade security tactics, now is the time to do so, as it will be unavoidable in the new year.
App Development Tools Became More Sophisticated
The increase in the number of companies developing mobile apps brought with it a demand from developers for a better working environment with more advanced software development tools.
The good news is the market responded with new and improved tools to help with testing framework and to enable better simulation environments so testers can more easily find problems before products are released.
However, there is still work to be done when it comes to the efficiency of the development process. While we’ve seen advancements in the resources available to mobile developers—such as testing frameworks and feature rich integrated development environments from both Google and Apple—we will continue to see improvements to developers tools in the coming years as mobile technology continues to be a growing solution for many businesses.
The Apps Economy Earns Validation As An Industry
When mobile apps were first introduced, they were seen as more of a niche segment within the overall development landscape, but with their rapid adoption, 2015 was the year the space began to earn recognition as its own distinct industry.
As a result of this recognition, there has been a very noticeable cultural development: the growth of social groups and online organizations that cater specifically to the mobile app developer rather than to developers in general. The App Developers Alliance is a good example of this. The skills, problems and solutions that mobile app developers work with differ from those seen and used by web developers, and as the industry evolves, these tech professionals finally have their own forums, social media sites, Meetup groups, etc. where they can discuss challenges and share best practices related to everything from coding languages to more in-depth topics, such as iOS or Android-specific practices developers should be aware of.
This growing community is a sign of the increasing complexity of the mobile application industry and the demands that are being placed on professionals to develop perfect tools for their users. Even so, this support will be the fuel that drives innovation in the space, whether it is in regards to bettering the user experience or finding new uses for mobile apps in general.
What We Can Expect In 2016
Ultimately, 2015 saw improvements in application development that benefited both end users and those building the apps themselves, but this evolution will continue in 2016 as developers focus more on fostering quality user experiences. While this may sound simple, as security risks surrounding mobile technologies become more serious and users become more accustomed to flawless, instant access to their favorite apps, it will likely create added strain on developers. When there are a number of tasks such as product updates, new feature development, and design improvements that are all equally important, deciding which tasks to prioritize and what the ideal time is to deliver each can be challenging.
Because of this, developers will have to carefully weigh the cost of each update they make and decide if the functional improvement is worth the time invested. It’s safe to say that 2016 will be yet another interesting year for application development, and by continuing to acknowledge the ways in which the process can be improved and utilizing the new communities being formed both online and offline, everyone from enterprises to developers to users will benefit.