Users have become accustomed to using applications and accessing information on any device in front of them, and that poses challenges for developers as they have to rapidly build apps for multiple platforms that are updated regularly.
Even within the mobile space, where iOS and Android dominate, rapid application development (RAD) needs to live up to its name to stay current with all of the operating systems flavours, said Vijay Pullur, CEO of WaveMaker, which just announced professional services to support delivery of mobile apps without the need for coding.
He said the new services are aimed at both professional and non-professional developers to relieve the burden on IT departments so companies can speed up deployment of mobile apps as means to stay competitive. The new offering includes services for design, development and hosting of custom applications for enterprise customers, “jumpstart” services to support short-term consulting projects with the help of WaveMaker experts at any stage of the delivery lifecycle, and training services to get customers up to speed on WaveMaker RAD.
Pullur said application development has become more complex as applications must be built for a variety of platforms and or operating systems in parallel, which can slow down delivery. “Lots of applications are going to the cloud and end users are consuming apps on multiple devices, including mobile, tablets and browsers.”
The latter used to be the primary concern of developers, who leveraged SOAP to Web-enable legacy enterprise applications, said Pullur. “But it no longer just about maintaining browser compatibility.” To accommodate all of the different endpoints, development is now leveraging APis instead. “Enterprise apps not only need to make themselves available they also need to make other apps access each other.”
In addition to enabling quicker service integrations by automating creation of APIs, developers are also adopting a micro-services architecture in app development, using individual pretested micro-services to simplify app design, testing, and deployment; they want to be able to re-use core code and functionalities.
As end points have become diverse, he said modernizing the front-ends of existing apps to add mobile capabilities using web technologies is more efficient and cost-effective than building native apps for each mobile platform. WaveMaker’s new services are designed developers to create “real looking” apps in a matter of days, and without slowing the full development lifecycle, said Pullur, while enterprises are adopting a best-practices approach to Agile development to reduce development times.
The increasing complexity of development coupled with the increased adoption of APIs has put pressure developers, who need to be more skilled than ever, said Pullur. At the same time, departments within organizations are looking to be able to create than own apps for their lines of business to disseminate information and make employees more productive. WaveMaker supports drag and drop functionality to support those users, while freeing hard core developers to create proprietary code.
It’s not the only company looking to make app building easy for lines of business and non-developers. Late last year, Microsoft announced PowerApps, an enterprise service for employees, developers and IT professionals, that allows them to quickly create apps that work on any device using a Microsoft Office-like experience with a template and a visual designer that automates workflows. PowerApps includes Azure App Service for employee-facing apps to deliver native web and mobile apps employees faster. It supports data security and privacy controls, data access can be managed and corporate policies maintained, which WaveMaker also supports in its platform.
A year ago, Vancouver-based ScoopMAE launched its Scoop 4.0 Enterprise Mobility Platform that enables operations personnel to quickly build mobile apps for use by field workers so they can quickly collect data and bring it into a centralized cloud platform.