The recent development in digitalization and the exponential use of smartphones has in today’s era added a whole new aspect to the modern business environment. By using the latest mobile app development tools and technologies and following the mobile app development guidelines and best practices, organizations achieve set goals and objectives faster and more effectively.
Most people now use their smartphones to know about products and services, get in touch with business entities, access information and avail on-demand services. It is here that mobile apps become critical for the consumer, especially apps that provide comprehensive information and guides quick interaction with clients.
The need of the hour is therefore to develop fully functioning mobile applications that can help businesses maximize client reach by having round the clock online presence. There are numerous advantages of mobile apps – high online visibility, reinforcement of brand value, in-built automated features, all linked with high level security features.
Primarily, mobile app development may be categorized into –
- Native app development – These are built to run on specific platforms such as Android, IOS or Windows. The benefits include better UX from app stores, high security, and improved graphics.
- Hybrid app development – These are built on multi-platform web technologies and can be developed quickly in a cost-effective manner. However, these apps are low in security and graphics quality.
If you are creating an app for your business, regardless of the platform and operating system that you are developing it for, here is an app development best practices checklist that you will do well to follow. However, this post will focus on the two top operating systems prevalent today – Android and IOS.
Mobile app development best practices for Android
With Android having a major share of the operating system space, there is a humongous demand for applications on its platform. Hence best practices should be followed to make sure that consumers and clients get a rich and optimum user experience.
Here is the best practices list that you should follow.
1. Change to Android Studio as it is now the official IDE for Android. Some updated features of Studio include built-in 9-patch creator, use of the Gradle system and previewing strings, colors and other resources.
2. Use strings.xml to add text as it will come in handy when support for new languages will be required in the long run.
3. Keep away from deep levels in layouts as they result in slow UI making the layout harder to manage. They can be avoided by using precise ViewGroup.
4. Incorporate resources for xxxhdpi screens to be ready for the many xxxhdpi devices that are expected to be launched in the future. Having foresight and being prepared for potential changes in Android should be a critical part of your app development best practices checklist.
5. Segregate resources for release and debug. These two build types are provided by default in Gradle. Provide separate files for each type through corresponding folders beside the main folder.
6. Put launcher icons in mipmap folders as these do not get stripped and become blurred when building separate apks for different densities.
7. Be selective in choosing from Google Play Services library. The package contains all native Google libraries for Android and since they are also offered individually, it is preferable to add them later in Build.gradle.
8. A critical component of the app development best practices checklist is to perform file operations on a worker thread using AsyncTask/Loader. The interface will feel sluggish if done directly on a UI thread.
9. Use an HTTP library such as Volley and Retrofit when building a big application as otherwise the networking code can get huge because of boilerplate code. It then makes maintenance and debugging difficult.
10. Prefer shapes and selectors over images as much as possible as basic shapes and gradients can be easily drawn through <shape/tag>. These are sharp across multiple densities.
11. While using AsyncTask, if the Activity is destroyed before it is completed, AsyncTask will still keep running and deliver the result in the onPostExecute() method. To avoid this use AsyncTaskLoader instead.
12. One of the mobile app development best practices is avoiding Serializable and using Parceable when passing data in Internet/Bundles. Parceable interface is much faster than Java’s default serialization.
13. Since Android has multiple components such as fragments, services and activities, always opt for Separation of Concerns pattern that encourages decoupling code into definite codes with distinct responsibilities.
14. Create alternative resources that emphasize UI that is compatible with all screen sizes and densities. A variety of resources such as images and layouts will give an app the much-needed flexibility.
15. Security and privacy should be on top of any app development best practices checklist. Use Google Play protect, SafetyNet attestation, and reCAPTCHA for Android to ensure strict app security and privacy.
16. Use Kotlin, a statically typed programming language for which Google has announced its support in May 2017. It runs on the Java virtual machine and helps to write code twice as faster than Java. Android has also released a few extension functions.
17. App design should have an excellent UI and hence always use one that matches Google material design principles such as providing a “UP” navigation button and consistency in color combinations.
18. To achieve multi-language support store all strings in the strings.xml file since it gives scope for easy translation at any time. This should compulsorily be in the app development best practices checklist. IMAGE-ANDROID
19. Make sure that the app requests the minimum number of applications to run smoothly. Do not add a permission to your app to go through with an action that could be completed in another app that already has the necessary permission.
20. One of Android mobile app development best practices is to avoid creating unnecessary objects. Follow Android docs that stipulate that you do not have to access an object’s field but instead should opt for the faster static invocations.
21. Focus on layout performance as a part of app performance. By flattening the layout and making it shallow and wide instead of narrow and deep-nested the layout performance of the app can be improved.
22. Opt for ConstraintLayout as it is easier to draw and takes less time to display on the UI. In recent times, projects are created in Android Studio in ConstraintLayout by default.
23. A part of best app development guidelines is to respect the UI thread. A background thread should be used for all long running tasks as it enables better app performance and user experience.
24. Continually evaluate performance during the app development process. You can use the profiler in Android Studio to check the performance of the app at all times.
25. All UI elements that will be used should have separate layouts. A useful tag is <merge/>tag which acts as a pseudo parent and eliminates unnecessary root ViewGroup.
Use this Android app development best practices checklist to improve an app, both in user experience and code maintenance.
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Mobile app development best practices for IOS
The Apple App Store since the time it was launched in 2008 has seen about 130 billion IOS app downloads of which 30 billion were in the last one year alone. However, not all apps are used regularly. Studies by Localytics show that 24 percent of IOS users uninstall an app after just one use. With this statistic in mind, you have to create a truly outstanding IOS app if it has to be continually used.
Given here is an IOS app development best practices checklist that you will do well to follow.
1. Do not dive quickly into coding the core logic of the app. Instead take up some time to research on setting up the project properly, knowing your target audience and deciding the coding style guide.
2. With new versions of IOS being released every year, instead of incorporating backward compatibility with older versions, base the app on current versions and make it future-ready.
3. Do not ignore the naming principles as this is integral to writing high-quality, clear code. Take help of Apple’s basic conventions while naming functions, methods, classes, constants, and other code elements.
4. UX and UI are critical for app performance and hence a part of best app development guidelines for IOS which has very strict conventions for UI and UX. Hence, your team should have a clear grip over the guidelines.
5. Select the programming language. Swift, introduced by Apple received a major update in 2014, Swift 3. For a complex project, however, use Objective-C or at least mix it with Swift.
6. Xcode is an IDE provided by Apple and is almost mandatory for IOS developers. This is the best environment for native level integration and tooling to build IOS applications.
7. The app should support the main devices and the choice of target device depends on the specifics of the app. Consumer-based apps are best for iPhones but enterprise level apps should target iPads. However, build universal apps which adjust to screen size.
8. One of the IOS mobile app development best practices is to adopt optimal architecture design which will be the foundation for a well-structured and extendable application. The most commonly used is the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern recommended by Apple.
9. Follow a common programming approach and establish a coding style for every team member that will be consistent throughout the process. Follow GitHub, Objective-C or Swift 3 that are solid coding standards.
10. Carry out evaluation and reviews with team members. In spite of the prevalence of common best practices and coding style, every technician falls back on personal experiences when writing code. Hence it is essential to foster code reviews and refactoring practices within the team to enhance the quality of code and by default, the software.
11. Make use of libraries and frameworks an integral part of IOS best app development guidelines. A reason for the popularity of IOS is the large volume of libraries and frameworks that can be used for solving issues and implementing custom animations to be in sync with device hardware.
12. The IOS platform has plenty of open source projects that can be used. You can contribute the language as well as create useful and accessible tools. The release of Swift 3 has enabled Apple to move away from its previous limitations.
13. Following Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) falls within IOS mobile app development best practices. It makes use of a software development paradigm that uses objects as the foundation and key structure units for building software.
14. Follow event-driven programming as IOS apps have a strong focus on UI. This development process has a number of benefits such as automated workflows, eased interactivity and flexibility.
15. Choosing the right distribution model for the app is critical. Apple offers a number of options. The first is to upload it to the App Store. Or you can set specific parameters like target country, supported device or IOS versions.
16. For internal business tools or enterprise level apps, use the IOS Developer Enterprise Program or Volume Purchasing Program. It ensures complete privacy and the app can be seen by only your contractors and employees.
17. Make use of the TestFlight service from Apple to beta-test the app before launch. This should be on your IOS app development best practices checklist as you can invite up to 100 users to test the app privately.
18. Get the certificates issued by Apple IOS Development and IOS Distribution in advance. The first is to run an app on a device and the second is to make further distribution and App Store submission.
19. Follow the standard practice of Continuous Integration (CI) for IOS app development. It is an integral part of agile product development and helps to automate texts, manage defect logs, build environment and deploy apps faster.
20. IOS best app development guidelines and instructions are very clear about not integrating external dependencies manually into the project. Use CocoaPods and Ruby Gems to do so automatically.
21. Put all user strings in localization files. It is a powerful tool for translations as well as finding user-facing texts quickly.
22. Ensure that your models are immutable and then translate the remote APIs semantics and types to the app. For Objective-C projects, the choice should be Github’s Mantle while Swift will do for others.
23. The scope of the constants should be kept as limited as possible and be placed in a specific class only when it is needed there. Actual constants are type-safe and cannot be defined or refined later in the code.
24. The cardinal rule of IOS mobile app development best practices is to have production builds that never log API tokens and passwords. Take care to set up proper log levels before releasing the app.
25. Your app should send crash logs onto a server where you can access them. Use an existing service like Crittercism, HockeyApp, Splunk to find them automatically.
These are some of the best app development guidelines you should follow for developing an Android or iOS mobile app with heightened user interface and user experience. Want to learn more about mobile app innovations? Read Mobile App Development & Marketing Trends for 2019
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