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Mobile apps development: Managing updates

ALM expert Kevin Parker explains a key challenge of mobile apps development: managing the constant updates these business-critical apps demand.

What is most effective way to manage updates to mobile applications once they are deployed?

Mobile apps development challenges don't end when the apps are deployed. These apps need to be updated with a much faster cadence than their desktop counterparts. The concept of "RevApps" offers a useful way to think about this challenge.

Kevin ParkerKevin Parker

RevApps are the apps that an organization uses to strengthen its market share position, grow revenue and advance ahead of the competition. Simply put, they are "revenue applications."

Research firm Gartner talks about pace-layered applications that comprise "systems of record," "systems of differentiation" and "systems of innovation." Systems of record are those systems that every organization has, such as payroll and HR. Systems of differentiation (SOD) are the systems you need because of the nature of your business: For example, if your business is inventory management, the inventory management system would be considered an SOD. And the systems of innovation are the RevApps -- the apps that separate you from competitors. Examples include loyalty card apps or dividend rewards apps.

QRevApps are the apps that an organization uses to strengthen its market share position, grow revenue and advance ahead of the competition.

These are the apps that need to be revised and deployed with a much faster cadence than other, normal apps. And the RevApps are invariably mobile apps.

For mobile apps development projects, what is the best way make sure that these apps can be revised and deployed effectively and repeatedly? The answer, in short, is automation of the deployment process.

We have come to accept that we need a common infrastructure for our development teams, testing teams and change-and-release teams. But that idea was a response to the chaos created, or inherited, over many cycles of technology and methodology changes. We now realize that the way the Web team works, for example, is completely different from how the back-end team organizes. Yet we still try to standardize the infrastructure.

Mobile apps change that. The need for speed and for reliable and repeatable deployment means that we have to put in place solutions that support and understand the complexity of mobile apps -- while also taking into account Agile development, continuous integration and deployment. These solutions must also integrate with our existing tools for ticketing and testing, as well as those for repository management.

As mobile updates occur with increasing rapidity, the most critical part of modern tools for mobile apps is the ability to directly deploy to the app stores. Direct, automated deployment to the app store is the next logical consequence.

Let us know how you're managing mobile updates and follow us on Twitter @SoftwareTestTT.

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