Can Azure And Xamarin Rule the Mobile Apps World?
The mobile app market is growing faster than we could ever anticipate. In 2015, the mobile app market generated an annual revenue of $41.1 billion which is expected to cross $189 billion by 2020, according to Statista. In 2016 alone, we saw over 149.3 billion app downloads across Google Play and iOS. As the number of smartphone users continues to grow, consumer demands continue to evolve and mobile internet gets stronger the ‘appification’ of our world is going to only escalate. As the app’s landscape evolves and gets increasingly crowded, app developers are faced with the challenge of delivering high-quality, performance driven, user-friendly and bug-free apps in the shortest possible time. For this, they have to ensure that they have a solid back-end mobile ecosystem to ensure high-performance without compromising on app usability. However, with a diverse range of mobile platforms, mobile app developers are faced with the challenge of developing native apps for each of these platforms.
Where is mobile app development heading?
Cross platform mobile development manages to take some of the pain out of the problem of developing apps for multiple platforms. The State of the Developer report states an increased use of third-party cross-platform tools amongst developers with 83% of respondents using at least one-third party tool for areas such as analytics, testing and crash reporting.
Along with cross-platform tools, the past year has also seen the rise of cloud-connected mobile apps. A Cisco research states that cloud-connected mobile apps are expected to drive almost 90% of the mobile traffic by 2019. The benefits of cloud-connected mobile apps offer is that of easier updates and app iterations since the app content is hosted on a centralized server, no worries of application downtime, automatic scalability, easier app maintenance and the capability to respond to market changes faster and with ease. Cloud connected mobile apps also make cross-platform app development infinitely easier since mobile developers need to develop the app using a single line of code and only write exceptions for when the platforms diverge.
Why Xamarin and Azure are born to rule the app development landscape?
Reduced development time = faster time to market
Today, with so many cross-platform app development platforms available, mobile app developers are truly spoilt for choice. However, the thing to note is that not all platforms are created equal. This is where Xamarin comes into the picture. Xamarin, the cross-platform native mobile app development framework from Microsoft claims to reduce development time by almost 60% and gives an average of 75% shared code. It has a shared core logic and allows sharing of components such as business objects, app logic, data access layers etc. across multiple platforms. Since most of the code is shared across platforms and only a small portion is platform specific it reduces the go-to-market time significantly.
Robust testing = fewer bugs
Since Xamarin uses a shared code, this leads to fewer bugs that developers have to deal with. Xamarin also gives access to the Xamarin TestCloud, that mobile app developers can use to test apps with fragmentation, CI, object based UI testing etc. Apart from this, developers can test the health of the mobile apps easily using Xamarin Insights, which is a real-time app monitoring module.
Greater support for new features
The Xamarin framework is future-ready as it works with some of the latest SDK’s and utilizes common and platform specific API’s. It also tightly binds the SDK’s and the API’s of multiple platforms together that helps in developing high-quality applications and also provides support for new features immediately as they are plugged into the operating system.
Enhanced mobile app development environment
With Xamarin, Microsoft provides deep integration with Azure cloud and thereby; provides a complete and enhanced mobile app development environment and helps app developers create rich mobile apps and provide comprehensive business solutions. The Azure cloud provides the benefits of scalability, on-demand resources, high-availability, and cost-effectiveness along with the added benefit of high support.
Greater App Security
Using Xamarin and Azure, mobile app developers are easily able to navigate the app and data security minefield with ease. Since the connections between different app components hosted on the Azure cloud are encrypted, the apps are infinitely more secure. Additionally, to secure the connection between the mobile app and the backend Azure provides HTTP certificates along with 24-hour threat management protection of the hosted resources to guard against malware. Developers can also leverage the authentication services provided by Azure and integrate social media logins with the backend and the mobile apps in a secure manner.
Given that today mobile app developers do not have the time or the bandwidth to deal with fragmented systems, Xamarin and Azure provide just the solution to fast track app development. With Azure, developers can also warrant uninterrupted network connectivity that ensures continuous app performance and reduces performance lags – things that are crucial to app success in today’s day. With the host of benefits that they offer, Xamarin and Azure surely are a match made in heaven and the sheer range of benefits that they offer makes them the obvious winner in the mobile app development platform race.