3 Common Mobile Architecture Problems to Avoid
With a rapid increase in the number of smartphones and more affordable connectivity, mobile applications are fast gaining popularity and organizations can no longer rely solely on web-based applications for all their traffic. The mobile space is truly vibrant due to the spectrum of devices and the enormous opportunities it offers. However, mobile application development comes with many unique challenges like the devices to be targeted, offline capabilities, creating an application that’s simple yet effective and security of the data that is being uploaded and In this article we will talk about 3 common mobile application architecture problems to avoid:
- Performance Considerations: Developer should customize the code for performance at every stage of mobile application development and not just at the end. It is important to keep under consideration that mobiles mostly operate on battery and hence CPU-intensive performance enhancement features, wireless communication etc. should be kept to a minimum. Similarly using programing shortcuts in the code to deflate the code size reduces battery usage as well as memory consumption. The performance can further be optimized by the following:
- Minimize the startup time for applications – this can be done using lazy initialization so that data, scripts are only loaded on demand when needed.
- In general incremental rendering and pre-fetching should be used to reduce the overall perceived latency of the application.
- Each mobile platform has different best practices and standards which should be thoroughly understood and utilized to optimize the code
- Memory usage should be kept at a minimum. This can be done by using fewer data objects and by clearing the cache regularly.
- Connectivity & Synchronization: Mobiles in general have intermittent connections with varying degrees of connection speeds right from 2G, 3G to wireless. Mobile application architecture should accommodate the loss of a network connections as well as handoff between the various connection types. The following things should be kept in mind to handle connectivity issues:
- Allow for offline access and background syncing of data – The application can store a local copy of the data that allows users to perform tasks locally when there is no or limited connectivity. Once connectivity is restored, the application should sync in the background with the server and have logic in place to handle synchronization and data conflict issues.
- Caching is very important – Caching large sets of data from the server can provide a very smooth user experience. However, care should be taken to insure that the cache is expired after a certain time period, so that the user is not seeing very old data.
- User Interface and User Experience: Many factors such as reduced application start up time, data consistency, latency etc. play an important role in influencing user experience. Every mobile platform (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.) has well-documented user-experience guidelines that should be followed in order to give a consistent look and feel throughout the application.
Mobile devices have limited screen real-estate with their small screen sizes, thus the mobile application must be designed with each and every pixel in mind. The following things should be kept under consideration
- Only the most commonly used and important options should be displayed, and the application should be designed for a single full-screen layout with minimal scrolling. Using a wizard or a tabbed interface is better than having a single page with lots of scrolling.
- Typing is always an issue on a mobile device, so the interface should utilize tools like auto sign-in, auto-complete and dropdown selections in order to minimize
- CSS media queries should be used to apply different CSS rules and layouts based on different screen sizes, resolutions and orientations. Vector graphics and groups can be used for images for easy scaling between resolutions.
Mobile application development is a specialized field and governed by a completely different set of rules compared with web application development. It is important to understand all the differences in architecture and have the necessary software architecture design skills, expertise and experience before taking on a mobile application development project.