In the previous article, we have comprehensively discussed the philosophy and tools used in DevOps. To improve mobile application efficiency, developers have integrated mobile DevOps into their practices. Adopting mobile DevOps have the following benefits.
The first benefit is reduced release time. This happens because team collaboration hastens deployment frequency, regression testing, verification, and release. Due to the faster deployment problem resolution is also quick.
The second benefit is the improved user experience. To stay active developers should be met the user’s expectations. Most of the users will discard applications not meeting their expectations straightaway or after a few uses. The success of a mobile app heavily depends on quality, quick and continuous delivery. DevOps emphasizes the importance of feedback, and transparency in development and testing. By incorporating these practices troubleshooting and resolving problems to improve user experience is simplified.
The third benefit is the tools available to reduce the complexity of testing and deployment. Release automation tools support application packaging and deployment transparency throughout the development lifecycle.
DevOps principles are the same irrespective of being applied in web or mobile development, there are several differences which are discussed below.
The first difference is the target environments. When developing a mobile application our objective is to ensure that it runs smoothly on the different mobile operating systems. Within the same mobile application, platform variants exist for example the iPhone and iPad use variants of the same operating system.
The second difference is the hosting method. After developing your mobile application you will host it on one of platforms say Apple Play Store. After developing your web application you will host it on an in-house server or in the cloud. Cloud hosting has become a popular choice for application hosting.
The third difference between web and mobile applications is the method of distributing updates. For mobile application, users can opt for updates unless such updates are mandatory.
Another difference in updating applications is a rollback, for web applications you only need to update the hosted application. For mobile applications, it is initiated by the end user. Another difference is the speed at which updates can be distributed. For mobile applications continuous delivery is not possible because the store owner approval is required which may result in several days of waiting. Therefore releasing mobile applications is more challenging.
The fourth difference between web and mobile development are the technologies available. Although there are hybrid frameworks supporting web and mobile development, technologies available for mobile development are fewer.
When incorporating mobile DevOps into your development process it is very important to decide if the DevOps activities will be managed in-house or by a cloud provider. A cloud set up has several advantages. First advantage is, it is easy to set up because the infrastructure and scripting skill requirements are minimal.
The second advantage is, it is easy to scale up and down to accommodate changing workloads. Whereas, a cloud mobile DevOps has some disadvantages. First is the long run costs may be high. Another advantage is code and certificates are at risk if the cloud provider is compromised. The third disadvantage is you have no control over test VMs which complicates logging because they are terminated after every build. The fourth disadvantage is in a cloud environment you are not able to run tests on actual devices.
An in-house mobile DevOps set up is also a viable option. This option has several advantages. One advantage is because the required hardware is available in a house there are no recurring costs. The second advantage is there is no risk of trusting the second party with your code and certificates. The third advantage is it is possible to run tests on actual devices. The fourth advantage is you have control over the build machines, therefore you can install tools of your choice and log builds of interest. An in-house set up also has disadvantages. One disadvantage is there is a DevOps tool learning curve. The second disadvantage infrastructure costs can be high and there is a server management overhead.
From the earlier discussions, it is clearly stated that there are numerous challenges coming across integrating mobile DevOps into a application development. Due to these challenges, it is important to keep in mind the best practices discussed below
• Ensure there is traceability in all mobile application assets and enterprise applications they interact with
• For each mobile operating system and its variants maintain a build and integration environment
• Use scripts to automate build and deployment activities
• Test your builds on physical and simulated devices
• Continuously monitor your applications to identify problems that were not anticipated
In this article, the benefits of mobile DevOps were discussed. The differences that exist between mobile and web application development were highlighted. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of an in-house and cloud mobile DevOps.