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Mobile Application Development Platforms



Situation


As organizational business move from traditional plans to a more modern environment, the demand for software that meets their needs are requirement increases. The provision of software and applications that are tailored to their client’s needs is one of the problems that developers and IT providers must solve.


Many organizations want all of their software to conjoin with existing workflows and backend systems and they usually demand that these software be developed in a matter of days and not months.


Mobile application development platforms are companies that help developers in the mobile application development ecosystem. Along with providing software, they help in the design, development and deployment of mobile applications. This article covers companies providing tools which enable developers to prototype, build, test and deploy mobile applications.


It includes companies providing frameworks to IDEs to DIY (do it yourself) tools to create mobile apps along with app testing platforms.

Problem and Implication

  • Hiring problems: Hiring the right team that would effectively comprehend your need to go mobile can be a problem for new mobile entrants. Teams that can meet top requirements are usually rare to find, and the apps are quite expensive and can lead to drastic changes in business organizations.

  • Quality of apps: Customers aren’t always focused on functionality of apps, they are also focused on the design and look of the application. Customer engagement is the goal of building apps but there are lots of apps that do not meet these requirements.

  • App security: Security issues and problems constantly face this sector. Any manipulation can wreak organizational workflow and lead to loss of finance. It is important that organizations emphasize the security features to mobile developers.


Need Payoff


640+ companies in the sector, 180 funded in last 5 years, $464M invested in 2016 – 2017 YTD. Most Active Investors: Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, NEA.

  1. App Testing: App testing for functionality, load, usability, performance, security and other features.

There are five sectors here:


Automation Tool: Develop basis for testing and automate repetitive tasks.


Usability Testing: User centered testing activities performed by application users to get feedback


Crowdsourced: Distributed and parallel testing on real devices by different number of testers.


Device Lab: Automated testing across range of devices including mobile and tablets.


Distributed App Testing: Companies providing tools distributing apps by onboarding testers and getting feedback.

  1. Mobile Application development platform: Development and deployment framework that provides tools for client, server and middleware for mobile.

There are 4 subsector:


MADP Suite: Application development suites, may incorporate middleware engines and APIs for connecting to back-end and analytics.


Conversational App Platforms: Companies providing platforms for developing speech-based conversational apps.


Micro Apps: Micro apps development platform.


Frontend: Platforms to design and build front-end clients of native apps.

  1. Full Stack: The companies here provide end to end functionality for mobile applications including development, testing and analytics.

App Prototyping: Interactive prototypes for design & functional feasibility, sharing and collaboration.

There are two subsectors here:


Mockup: Middle to high fidelity, static, design representation


Wireframe: Low fidelity representation of a design.


One notable example of a company in this sector is OutSystems. OutSystems is a global enterprise software company that provides a cloud based high productivity platform as a service intended to develop and deliver enterprise web and mobile applications. The current version of their app is v. 10 and works for on both paid and unpaid versions. Tracing their history in this sector, OutSystems was founded in the year 2000 and has recorded significant growth in this sector. In 2016, they raised $55 million in the first round of US institutional capital, and they have been named a leader in the Forrester Wave: Mobile Low-Code Development Platforms of the first quarter of 2017.


OutSystems is a popular Rapid Application Development platform that offers developer both the tools and environment needed to create, deploy and manage enterprise applications with ease and speed. It includes functionality like stack visual development and single click deployment. The system can be deployed as an on premise solution or it can be hosted on the cloud. OutSystem App allows developers to fully take advantage of the platform’s and integrate it to other existing systems, thus allowing them to have full control of the entire life cycle of their applications.


Some of the features of the platform include: full access control and permission management, support for agile development and custom application development, integrated version control and roll back, integrated debugging engine, integrated user feedback capture and management, multilingual support, mobile app deployment and monitoring, support for batch processes and scheduling etc. The platform offers free plans for SMEs and startups, as well prices for larger companies. The free plan offers the following features: limited app users and apps, hosting on the cloud, one working environment, and community support.


The enterprise edition offers premium support, cloud hosting as well as hybrid hosting, application delivery services, customer onboarding program, unlimited app users, apps and environment, free online training etc. OutSystems is an application lifecycle management software used in multiple companies across more than 22 industries and it has been ranked among the top 10 development and management platforms among developers in the business world.


Another notable development platforms is “Appcelerator Titanium” which is an open source framework that allows the development of native apps on platforms including iOS, Windows and Android using a single JavaScript codebase. The core component include a cross platform application programming interface for accessing native components, transparent access to native functionality and MVC based framework alloy. The company was founded in 2006, and as of 2014 it has raised more than $90 million in venture capital financing. There are three plans that are offered on this platform – the indie seat which is the free version, the pro seat and the enterprise seat which are both paid plans. As of 2017, Titanium had amassed over 950,000 developer registration and over 10% of all smartphones worldwide have Titanium built apps.


Conclusion


Are you looking to invest in platforms like this? The advice is to rush into the market and throw in your penny as companies are interested in getting their workflow and system integrated into efficient apps that do not take a long time to be created.


References

The WWW

The Tracxn Report, May 2017

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