Understanding mobile app architecture

Promatics Technologies
Published on Aug 09, 2017 in App Development
Understanding mobile app architecture

The evolution of the smartphones has added several capabilities to our humble communication tools and today it touches several aspects of our life. We have reached a stage where we need a mobile app for everything; banking, shopping, traveling and even learning.

It’s not wrong to say mobility has become a way of life. The advancement of technology has also lead to several innovations and our digital life is changing fast.

INCREASING POPULARITY OF ENTERPRISE MOBILITY

It is not just our personal life that is changing with a mobile app. The business world is experiencing popularity of new concept Enterprise mobility. Businesses are embracing mobile technology to increase the efficiency of their workforce. According to a recent study, enterprise mobility market size is expected to reach $73.30 billion by the year 2020 which is a commendable increase from $35.10 billion in 2016.

The tough competition in enterprise mobility prevents many businesses from reaching their set target. The main reasons for failure is ignorance towards the primary element of mobile development process - mobile app architecture.

UNDERSTANDING MOBILE APP ARCHITECTURE

Mobile app architecture refers to a set of techniques and development patterns that need to be followed to develop a structured mobile application. No matter what kind of enterprise app you are developing, the first important thing you need to do is select a mobile app architecture. The patterns and techniques specified in mobile app architecture are based on industry standards and vendor requirements.

The mobile app is structured as a multilayer application comprised of different layers such as:

  • The presentation layer contains UI components and UI process components.
  • The business layer contains business workflows, business entities and business components.
  • The data layer contains data access components, data helpers/utilities and service agents.

When you are building a mobile app you need to follow specific guidelines that ensure the mobile app meets client’s requirements and performs efficiently in various scenarios.

MAINTAINING THE PROCESS FLOW

Presentation layer guidelines

The presentation layer focuses on how the app will be presented to the user. When designing a presentation layer, mobile app developers need to determine the right client type that is compliant with the infrastructure and deployment constraints of the client. App developers also need to select the right data format for presentation layer and employ strong data validation techniques that protect the system from invalid data input. Another aspect that mobile app developers like Promatics need to focus on is decoupling business logic from the presentation layer code.

Business layer guidelines

The business layer focuses on different aspects such as logging, validation, caching, security and exception management. When designing the business layer, mobile app developers should focus on reducing the complexity by separating tasks into different categories of concern.

The right approach in designing this layer is using a separate business layer wherever possible. Identify business layer for different functionalities like processing complex business rules, applying policies, transforming data and validation. Whenever possible, enterprise app developers should reuse business layer for common business logic functions.

Data access layer guidelines

The data access layer should meet the requirements of the application and help in efficient and secure data transactions. Mobile app developers also need to consider the maintenance aspect and ensure the data layer can be modified easily as the business requirements change in the future.

The most important thing that app development companies need to do is choosing the right data access technology. The gateway should be designed to handle well-known inputs and outputs and the translation requests should be easily understood by the components within the data layer. Using table-based identities is a good idea as it provides a simplified structure for storing data and helps in moving data across boundary layers.

The data layer should encapsulate all the data access functionality within the layer. The layer should create and manage all data connections to the sources needed by the application. The data layer should be also capable of handling all exceptions related to CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) operation and data sources.

The least privilege approach is best for protecting data. This data security approach allows access to specific entities that are needed to perform operations in the application. This protects any attempt to steal or corrupt data and also protects the data access mechanisms.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Things to keep in mind

While building a better app architecture is key for every business; not every business is able to do it successfully. Here are few things you need to check while designing your mobile app architecture.

Device type

Smartphones have different categories and you should keep the device type in mind while selecting a particular mobile app architecture. Some of the most important device characteristics that you should consider are screen size, resolution, CPU characteristics, memory, storage space and development tool framework availability.

The features of the mobile app might require some specific hardware and software. Hence, you need to know which device types the app will support while deciding the app architecture.

User interface

Creativity is limitless. There is no limit when it comes to showing your creativity in designing a user interface. But beware, a muddle UI is one of the primary reason for users rejecting the app. Go for a simple interface at the first stage and hold your creativity until the mobile app establishes itself in the market.

Bandwidth

Internet speeds fluctuate and it can have a deep impact on the user experience. There will be times when users will have intermittent or no Internet connectivity. You need to consider the worst network scenarios while developing your mobile app. Design your data access mechanism, cache mechanism and state management to adjust to intermittent or slow data connections. You need to select software protocols and hardware based on power consumption and speed.

Navigation methods

The navigation is an important aspect that includes both frontend and backend. There are different navigation methods and you need to analyze which one is best for your application. Some of the popular navigation methods are:

  • Single view
  • Tab controller
  • Model controller
  • Stacked navigation bar
  • Gesture-based
  • Scroll views
  • Search driven

Keep in mind your app requirements and customer’s preferences when selecting a navigation method as it will have a big effect on the user experience.

WRAP UP

There is no doubt the mobile application architecture is as (or even more) important as the design. Though it might be invisible to consumers and business users, a lot of the app depends on it. To be honest it is the very foundation of mobile app development. A good app architecture makes the application more secure, saves money, scales with your business and adapts to changes.

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About the author
Promatics Technologies
Promatics Technologies
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Promatics is a young, rising software development agency from India. They have wide expertise ready to take on the most demanding projects on web and mobile app development, e-commerce, digital marketing, cloud solutions, quality assurance and IT consulting. In the mobile field, they have expert app developers ready to work on Android, iOS, HTML5 and wearables projects.

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