In recent years, digitization has taken the entire world by storm, and mobile apps have played a massive role in that paradigm shift. Smartphone users have steadily increased, making mobile app development a force to be reckoned with for IT companies across the globe. Previously, the principal aim of software companies was to take advantage of a global wave of digital transformation, and that's where the focus was on meeting the current market demands.
However, as the wave settled and mobile app development became the need of the hour, the focus shifted from just making up the numbers to delivering high-quality products. Today, many IT companies can provide mobile app development services to customers. For that purpose, they focus on specific areas such as development cost, security, code quality, maintainability, flexibility, scalability, etc. The companies needed to deliver a robust product at a lower price.
In response to companies’ needs, the “DevOps” methodology was created. DevOps is a modern approach to software development that allows seamless application delivery from development to production.
So, going forward, can we consider DevOps the best procedure for mobile app development?
This blog will try to decode this question by analyzing the various aspects of DevOps. However, before going into those details, knowing the basics of DevOps is important. So let’s try to understand that first, before understanding its role in mobile app development.
What Is DevOps?
Devops is much more than just a technique. Rather, it’s a set of best practices that enables seamless collaboration and communication between development and operation teams. The central idea behind DevOps is to bring every team working on application development on the same platform.
DevOps is about making a culture shift in your organization and changing how the unit works. There will be real-time collaboration and communication among teams, making way for faster release of the products.
Additionally, continuous testing ensures high-quality products. By adopting DevOps, you can increase the quality of your products by 63%, release frequency by 63%, and collaboration by 55%.
That's why mobile app development service providers should also think about this phenomenon. Understanding the basics of DevOps is one thing, but the genuine part is knowing all the benefits that DevOps can bring to the mobile app development process. So let's discuss that in the next section.
Benefits of Adopting DevOps for Mobile App Development
There are many benefits in adopting a DevOps methodology, from improving communication and efficient utilization, to better testing and stability. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
DevOps brings development and operation teams together, with constant communication about which version of the application will get released next. Based on those lines, QA teams can conduct continuous testing and send feedback to the development people. As a result, it will help you launch a product faster in the market than ever before.
Efficient Utilization of Resources
DevOps focuses on bringing automation into the picture. From code management to development platforms to testing tools, DevOps relies on the automation of every task. If you can automate the development and deployment processes, you will be required to utilize optimum resources. It will also lead to faster production time. The streamlining of the time-consuming processes is why DevOps can help you launch products more efficiently.
Continuous Testing and Monitoring
In mobile app development, you need to test the application on various operating systems—such as iOS, Android, Windows, etc.—regularly and consistently. It would be cumbersome and time-consuming if you tried to conduct all the testing manually. However, with DevOps, you will have continuous testing and monitoring where there will be automated testing processes and procedures that will detect and treat any bugs or errors quickly.
Stability of Work Environment
In mobile apps, you need to integrate new features regularly, which requires a lot of dedicated effort. With DevOps integrated into the work culture, there will be transparency through the process. For instance, the development team knows which feature the QA team is testing, and similarly, QA teams know which new version to release next. The DevOps process will create stability in a work environment that leads to better productivity.
Challenges in Adopting DevOps for Mobile App Development
Despite the benefits listed above, there are also a few challenges that you should acknowledge if you want to adopt DevOps for mobile application development. Let’s explore them in more detail.
Mobile apps can’t depend on one single environment. In other words, the app needs to have a presence on various operating systems. To implement multi-platform support, you must separately deal with each platform’s technical and business specifications. Therefore, the need to manage and collaborate with multiple platform services can mean adopting DevOps for mobile app development can be challenging for companies.
Continuous Integration and Delivery
Continuous integration and delivery are two fundamental aspects of the DevOps methodology. Due to the pressure of delivering mobile apps rapidly, companies can sometimes opt for the agile approach rather than focusing on DevOps. Another challenge arises when you need to develop a hybrid or native app.
Now, as per DevOps, you need to process all the changes immediately for all kinds of mobile operating systems. The build and configuration for each mobile environment will be different, and so you need to have a small server farm if you want to handle multiple builds, which will be the case when you’re thinking about developing a hybrid or native application.
Dependency on App Stores
As a mobile developer, you can’t just build a mobile app and get it installed on a specific smartphone device. You need to deploy the apps on various app stores like Google Play Store for Android and App Store for Apple. Once the app store gives you the approval, the latest version of your application will get featured on the app store and people can download it.
However, this can cause problems with the concept of continuous delivery, as you need to submit the app for approval and then wait for it to get deployed on the app store. In other words, it’s not an instant deployment process like software development or web app development. That is the reason why adopting DevOps in mobile app development scenarios can prove challenging.
Key Aspects To Keep in Mind for Mobile DevOps
With the foundational knowledge of benefits and challenges, it’s time to understand the steps involved in implementing mobile DevOps.
Continuous Integration and Delivery
The first step in implementing mobile DevOps is to follow the principles of continuous integration and delivery. For that purpose, developers need to facilitate feature integration in a way that helps the other team members. Therefore, all the development aspects should be transparent, including text files, scripts, documents, configuration, code, etc. It will help the operation team plan the deployment and delivery process seamlessly.
Continuous Testing and Monitoring
To ensure the delivery of robust mobile applications, continuous testing and monitoring are of prime importance. However, if you opt for the manual way, it will not test the application in various real-time settings. Instead, you should focus on test automation services that enable you to test apps in a natural environment and provide concrete feedback. Automation testing would also improve finding bugs and solutions that would contribute to product quality.
Quality Check and Delivery
The developer should constantly check the reviews and feedback from various app stores. They should also read the comments of different users and understand the kind of problems they’re facing while using the app. Then, the developer can develop a new version with a bug fix and some more value-added features based on that feedback. Following this type of procedure would ensure continuous improvement in the delivery of the mobile apps.
DevOps, a Modern Methodology
DevOps is a modern-age development methodology that is helping organizations across the globe to deliver high-quality products and services by utilizing optimum resources. Many tech giants have adopted this approach and reaped the benefits. However, the industry discusses whether to use the same method for app development.
In this article, I’ve attempted to decode the various aspects such as benefits, challenges, and implementation steps. Of course, bringing this change would require a dedicated effort on your part. However, if you’re committed to the cause, you could do it for your next application development project and gain the benefits of faster delivery at a lower cost.