Over the past few weeks I have been writing about mobile application development and associated costs and opportunities. This blog is a follow up to previous postings: Balancing Mobile App Development Costs and Business Value and 3 Keys to Reduce Mobile App Development Costs.
Recall the key to reducing development costs and increasing app value lies in three interrelated technical developments that impact mobile app developers:
1. The emergence of HTML5 as a viable mobile app development language
2. Hybrid app containers available as part of a mobile app development platform
3. The availability of low or no cost cross-platform development tools
(You can find full details about these 3 technologies here)
The most dramatic change in the app development cost vs.functionality-benefit ratio comes by combining these three technologies into one app development strategy.
Using cross-platform development tools to create containerized enterprise-grade HTML5 apps reduces development costs while increasing app functionality and data security. The key to successfully developing enterprise-grade apps in this way is using an app development platform with containers that have built-in features such as connections to any back-end data, data access authentication compatible with existing authentication systems, support for data encryption, and complete compatibility with popular cross-platform development tools.
With this kind of enterprise-grade container, container-based HTML5 mobile apps lower development costs in several ways. First, developers with less specialized skills are able to build robust HTML5 apps. When they build the apps to work with enterprise-grade containers, they can focus all their efforts on the application logic and user interface. That is because all enterprise platform functionality, back-end systems connectivity, and native device controls are
already built into the container. And of course they only need to build the app once to run on the many different devices used in an organization. Shorter development times and higher levels of functionality mean faster time to value.
It’s not just development costs that impact the value calculation. Application on-boarding and lifecycle app management are important considerations too. Enterprise grade container-based HTML5 apps are manageable to the individual device level. This is important in an enterprise environment. It now becomes possible to deploy pre-configured HTML5 apps that install and run on different device types with no installation procedure required from users or tech support. Code modifications and updates can be automatically pushed out to devices at any time, and these updates can vary based on job roles and device types. It also becomes possible for container-based HTML5 apps to send individualized messages and alerts to users. In addition, the container plugs directly into mobility platform services that enable usage monitoring and logging, remote device control, and lifecycle management.
Data security risk management is another important part of the value calculation. As mobile apps become increasingly mission critical, loss of proprietary or regulated data can be extremely costly. True enterprise-grade container-based HTML5 apps provide levels of security equivalent to that available from native apps. When an HTML5 app is plugged into an enterprise-grade container, that app becomes subject to all the security protections provided by the mobile application development platform (MADP). The app fully integrates into existing authentication management systems. The app can now work in an end-to-end data encryption environment that extends from back-end corporate data systems, to data transmission, to on-device data handling and storage. Enterprise-grade containers also support single sign-on certificate management for securely regulating mobile access to server based corporate data systems and applications. The container also supports mobility platform security controls like remote lock and wipe and data access monitoring.
There is one other important security feature provided by enterprise-grade containers. These containers totally segregate container based app functions, including on-device data storage, from any other activity that may be happening on the device. This protects business functions and data on dual use(personal and business) devices that are increasingly common in BYOD mobility environments. It also protects business functions against viruses that may enter the mobile device through personal use activities, such as downloading an infected consumer application.
There is much more information about container-based HTML5 and if this is of particular interest to you, I suggest that you read the Building Enterprise-Grade HTML5 Mobile Applications whitepaper. This piece outlines the growing demand for mobile apps, and how many companies and developers are looking at the HTML5 markup language as a low-cost way to build robust mobile business apps. HTML5 apps are portable to different device types like smart phones and tablets. You can access the resource here.