Importance of APIs in Mobile App Development

APIs in Mobile App Development

You might have come across the term ‘API’ while discussing mobile or web application development. In layman terms, APIs are the language through which applications speak to each other. Today, APIs serve as a foundation in the app development process and allow companies to grow their businesses by using services provided by external firms.

What is an API?

API is an acronym for “application program interface.” It is a set of routines and protocols that enables access to another party’s application or platform. An API is a software-to-software interface, through which the applications talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention.

Let me explain you with an example: When you buy tickets through a movie ticket booking application on your smart phone, the application uses an API to send your credit card data to a 3rd party application for verification. The remote application then retrieves that data, interprets it, verify your card details and sends it back to the application. The application then interprets that data and confirm your tickets.

What is a SDK?

A Software Development Kit (SDK) is a set of software development tools that allows creation of applications for a specific development platform and software framework. Both SDK and API are related to each other. Technically speaking, APIs are a part of a SDK and executes tasks when a call is made. Going little deeper, an API is a part of a build that is used to feed information while a SDK is a set of tools used to build an application.

Increasing Importance of APIs:

APIs, if referred to as the one of the most important technologies behind mobile application development won’t be an overstatement. The increasing importance of APIs can be attributed to their role in defining the way developers build their apps as well as the ease with which they integrate various web services into them. App users today seek various services on the fly to perform multiple tasks and APIs are the ones that make this possible.

Advantage of using API

  • Saves Developer’s time

APIs can save considerable amount of time, as it eliminates the task of writing endless lines of code. There are pre-built APIs available from top web services which can be used to shorten the app development cycle and reduces the coding errors.

  • Convenient

Today many apps comes with the functionality of social media logins. Without creating a need to sign up for the app separately, users can directly sign-in through their Google or Facebook credentials. This becomes extremely convenient for users as they need not create a different username. This is done through the integration of APIs provided by respective social media companies.

  • Ensures Faster development

Mobile apps today have a robust API backend which makes sure that the repetitive steps are eliminated by the using the existing web API services. By connecting the SDKs with the existing APIs, developers can get the app developed faster while ensuring high quality standards. APIs eliminate the repetitive process, thus making sure the developer focuses more on core features of the app and help gain competitive advantage.

  • Help Automate App Testing

With the help of APIs, developers can automate the app testing process and save the time which otherwise would have consumed in manual testing process. Test automation feature makes sure none of the bugs remain undetected and thus help developers deliver an app which stands high on both – quality and user expectations.

Widely Used APIs

  • Facebook API: The Facebook API is used to access the login database of Facebook.  It offers social plugins that display Facebook posts and “Like” buttons to your website. Facebook offers several APIs including Internationalization, Ads and Chat.
  • Google Maps API: Google provide a set of Google Maps APIs that allows you to add maps feature in your mobile app. A user can use the app without leaving the app through JavaScript or Flash. You can various map functions such as embedding a Google Map, Static Map or Google Earth, adding Geocoding and Google Directions Functionality.
  • YouTube API: YouTube provides several APIs that allows access to the engaging content on the platform. It allows developers to access the video analytics and channel data through two calls – REST and XML-RPC.
  • Amazon Product Advertising API: The Amazon Product Advertising API give developers access to lots of Amazon data such as product listings, customer reviews, seller ratings as well product ads. Through Amazon’s Affiliate program, you can showcase product ads in the app and earn affiliate commission.

Conclusion

APIs serves as bridge for apps to interact with each other. By integrating popular APIs in your app, you can enhance the user experience and increase the popularity of your app. For developers, APIs help build apps faster by eliminating the need to code repetitively. Mobile app development companies foresee the important role that APIs will play in creating a successful app and thus the importance of APIs in mobile app development will grow day by day.

We at TOPS Infosolutions use several API services in Mobile App Development to provide user-friendly, easily accessible apps for our clients. For more information visit www.topsinfosolutions.com or drop us an email at contact@topsinfosolutions.com

Mobile App Development: Top 5 Things to Consider

Mobile App Development

The popularity of enterprise and consumer based mobile app development is dominating the market since last decade. App Store and Play Store is flooded with millions of mobile apps covering countless industries; hence for the upcoming Appreneurs, it becomes difficult to stand tall and bolster their branding with mobile app.

Choosing the right mobile app development platform and keeping up with the best strategies is not the only thing that makes a mobile app successful. Mobile apps are deemed successful by various parameters such user engagement, UI/UX, etc. But, how does that happen?

Sustainable mobile apps are built by strategizing before laying the first brick of pillar. Helping you to march ahead, let’s dive in deep to make the decision right for your business.

  • Target Audience

Before you invest in the mobile app development, do some research about the target audience. This will help you to get proper insight of the customer profile, preferences and what device they are using. Moreover, put more focus on the geographical location of your target audience as platform varies widely by region. Identifying the target market in a right way plays a very crucial role while starting with your mobile app development process. You can select the target audience by considering demographic factors such as education, age, socio-economic culture and occupation.

  • Native vs. Cross Platform vs. Hybrid:

Selecting the right platform for mobile app development leads to increased ROI, app retention and user-engagement. Before figuring out the best platform for your business, it is important to consider the user experience and user engagement; the ideal platform is something that can offer optimized user experience and addresses the unique requirements for customer and business. You can consider the segments like user-friendliness, interactivity, reliability, responsiveness, app updates, customization and much more while selecting them.

Native Mobile App: Native mobile apps are developed in programming language which is native to the device & operating system and requires one specific app to create for one platform. To be precise, user can use the in-built features of the OS; for instance if camera support is needed in your app, developer can easily integrate app with camera.

Cross-Platform Mobile App:  This refers to the mobile app development that is compatible with the single code base and can be used across multiple OS such – android, iOS, Windows. This enables the developers to reduce time to market, low development cost, code re-usability etc.

Hybrid Mobile app: Hybrid mobile app is also referred as cross-platform apps but renders the user-interface using embedded web browser, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This helps with advancements and leads to reduced time in developing apps for individual platforms.

  • Development Cost

The cost of developing the mobile app largely depends on:-
– Types of application
– Project complexities
– Resources required
– Technology Used

Moreover, application maintenance, upgrades and development efforts can vary significantly; it can be expensive and varies from vendor to vendor and there is always a hidden cost involved.  Open source tools can be an attractive option as it results into cost-saving but you need to spend hours in integrating them. Mobile app service provider can help in evaluating total cost analysis and estimate of the overall scope and timeline of the project.

  • App maintenance

Just because you published your mobile app, it doesn’t mean you are all set to earn profits. The world surrounding your app is constantly evolving and hence, your app also needs to upgrade from time to time. If you want your app to sustain in the market, you always need to add enhanced features, test and host, deploy, and update UI/UX and much more.  Thousands of mobile apps are released each day; it is naïve to think that just because your app is wonderful, it will flourish. Be it on Android, iOS or Windows, there are many crucial things that you need to maintain your mobile app for long-term. You will need to

– Extend the features and functionalities of your app iteratively
– Enhance it on various grounds like performance, app store listings, user behavior and so on
– Keeping up with the latest UI/UX app trends
– Mobile app analytics for data driven improvements
– Providing quick bug fixes and security patches

  • Security

Opting for the mobile app development frameworks unofficially, exposes you to certain degree of risk as you are using layers of abstraction on decided platform and the coding language which is operating on it. Additionally, you must make note of norms of industry standards, system monitoring and data encryption capabilities when building mobile app. In-case, if you are using cloud services, you need to make sure that it complies with the rules-regulations and standard norms. Although it may sound easier to engage in cross-platform mobile app development, but getting highest level of security can be bit difficult.

If all the above points are taken into consideration, it can ensure a successful end product. TOPS Infosolutions’ team of developers makes sure to concentrate on all the above points and ensures your business growth while taking care of all technical requirements.

If you have got an app idea; it’s time to convert your idea into reality. Connect with us today!

Use of Voice Recognition Technology in Mobile Apps

Voice Recognition Technology

By 2020, 30% of the web browsing sessions will be done without screen – Gartner

Gone are the days when you had access to the commands in the mobile apps just by only tapping on the screen.  With the arrival of Siri – Apple’s personal assistant on iPhone 4S resulted in the rise of speech recognition on mobile devices and today, easy-to-use voice recognition technology is revolutionizing the way people interact and is about to take the giant leap forward.

The reason for voice recognition is gaining traction these days is the level of hassle-free operations it provides. A step-by-step process of how it is done:

  • The user speaks some words by invoking voice recognition mobile app
  • The spoken words are processed by recognition software and converted to text
  • The converted text is then provided as input to the search mechanism which returns the results

Benefits of voice based mobile apps

  • Easier and Faster: Delivering the command with multiple taps on keypad was the only option before but with voice, communication is more natural, three times faster and hands-free mode is yet another benefit.
  • Works precisely: Typo errors can be avoided and streamlined operations enables higher productivity.
  • Security: Voice-dedicated processes are always secured; no-one can interpret one’s voice and requires less training.
  • Multiple uses: Voice recognition through mobile devices makes the life easy and can be carried out on the move. For instance: Use of voice based mobile apps while driving.

Why it is crucial?

By integrating voice recognition skills, you are not just limited to give commands by tapping the keypad in the mobile app. Typing the long statements is always cumbersome, but with the voice assistance capabilities you can make your mobile app independent and provide hands free interaction experience. Adopting voice technology, the mobile app developers will be able to increase the user-interaction, user experience and the mobile app commands would provide the unique way to addressing the UX concerns. Whether you want to avoid distractions or unable to manipulate the touch screen, a voice assistant can be your best friend and can prove to be the easiest solution!

But what abilities do the voice recognition software provides?

Personalized responses: Today, voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are widely used and all of them can recognize different voices with the integrated voice recognition skills to create more personalized user-experience. So, mobile app developers will be able to built voice-based profiles in the mobile app to create more personalized experience for the users. For instance, if you ask your morning route, you will get info about your route and not your spouse’s; the same goes well for playlists, schedules, shopping list, travel info and much more.

Voice Push Notification: Generally, push notifications are in the form of text messages that usually do not disturb the on-going activity of the user but with the voice push notification, user gets distracted as it attracts user’s attention. There are pros and cons attached to it but voice push notification on mobile app offers a wide range of possibilities and is perfect for boosting mobile app engagement by connecting with customers when you want, wherever they are. Mobile app marketers needs to make sure that the sent voice push notifications are relatively important and needs to be timely done so that the users do not get irritated.

Pay by Voice: With the introduction of voice-driven digital assistants, voice-enabled payments in the digital banking solution has open a new avenue for customers for on the go payment. The interface in the mobile banking system is completely voice driven, hence gives the benefit of making transaction with the natural voice conversation. Additionally, remembering the PIN number is not required and customer can use its own voice because of voice biometrics authentication which is extremely safe and secured. When it comes to product purchasing, Alexa searches the eligible items from the order history f Amazon-prime and makes the use of 1-click setting to make the payment.

Voice for Home Entertainment: Voice assistants have changed the way people interact with the devices and not too far in future; it will be primary means to communicate in home. For instance, in the connected home, voice interface will discard the use of light switches, buttons, remote controls and much more. Your customers can ask their TV, set-top box to search for the programs, movies, tv shows, etc. With voice recognition, customers can solve the problem of increasing device functionality without adding extra taps and displays to streamlined designs.

The Final Word

Voice recognition technology being the next big thing in the mobile app development, tech companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and many more are looking for the unique ways to implement natural-language user interaction. Because of its convenience and hassle-free operations it provides to the customers, integrating voice assistance can help to give edge to your business.

Looking to integrate the voice recognition technology in your mobile app? Feel free to reach out our team and it would be great to engage with you in realizing the strength of voice-enabled mobile apps.

Using Agile Methodology for Mobile App Development

agile methodology

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill

Today, with the surge of mobile app development, newer mobile apps are introduced in of play-store and app-store at the lightning speed. But does every mobile app get success? In this clutter app market, it is challenging for every Appreneur to keep the app updated as per the current trends. It may not be able to hit the bull’s eye if not utilized at its full potential.

It is not only necessary to streamline the entire app development process but also to deliver the desired results within a short span of time. So, mobile app development Company need to think of some process that makes the process faster and mainly focuses on flexible planning, customer involvement, risk management and continuous evaluation. To develop the app with such process, agile methodology is the most perfect one as it is integrated with each factor necessary to design the final product precisely as per user’s expectation.

But what is Agile Methodology?

Agile is the product development approach where complicated task is segregated into the series of development cycles and thus each sub tasks become a separate module for a development team. Respective experts are then assigned for each task which ultimately results into a faster development process. The use of Agile application development includes regular communication, constant interaction; achieving the maximum flexibility of the design in the process involved. This means, if the client raises new demand for the product, it can be changed as per the need without affecting the project as a whole.

Basic ideologies of Agile principles

  • Continuous developer-client interaction and inter-team interactions lead to good collaborations and better results.
  • Simple design
  • Product delivered in a shorter span of time
  • More room for modifications in the app at any stage of development
  • Ensures maximum utilization of the resources by simply breaking down the methodology into manageable sprints.

Why you should use agile methodology for mobile app development?

Agile method helps in overcoming many issues that a developer faces using traditional app development method such as assorted demands of users, seamless development, different operating system, unexpected amendment from the client during project development and much more.

Listed below determines some of the benefits of agile approach in the mobile app….

  • Reduces Risk:  The traditional waterfall model has a high risk of failure such as late delivery, scope creep, lack of information, budget shortage and much more. But, agile development calls for parallel testing model enabling you to track the various task in mobile application development with the increased information and reducing the risk form beginning. Other than that:
    • Early and frequent integration of code mitigates the risk of late integration
    • Early and frequent testing of software mitigates the risk of late discovery of errors
    • Early and frequent delivery of software to customer mitigates the risk of late delivery

Having such high clarity followed by the scrum management process provide accurate insights eliminating the problem of later-stage quality issues.

  • Delivers great user-experience: Agile keeps business analysts, designers and developers on the same page and are accountable for the success or the failure of the project. The UX designer starts its development even before the Sprint and works closely with stakeholders to scrutinize the software behavior and digging out the mobile app design requirements. Additionally, due to the different screen size and limited bandwidth in the mobile app, things like session duration, app download rate, and in-app behavior becomes the prime factor to consider for the mobile app owner. The agile approach enables to test with these entities to adjust the design and features of apps for delivering quick and seamless experience. Other than that, a small change in the design can lessen up many issues and agile process will quickly respond to the changes due to the iterative process where all the changes are always welcome for achieving business goals.
  • Ensures error-free and on-time delivery: The best thing about the agile approach is, it reduces time-to-market and provides on-time delivery of the project to the great extent. Due to its iterative nature, developers need to release the features of the first milestone and then add further features in the later milestones. With such process, project follows the proper schedule making it possible for the mobile app development company to deliver the final product on time. Additionally, with this iterative approach and errors recognized at the early stage of the development, minor errors can be easily fixed without letting it affect the entire project and this in-turn gives the filtered version of the mobile app to the users.
  • Seamless Project Management and Enhanced Productivity: Iterating the development of mobile app into different modules, agile methodology enables to manage the entire project with ease and aids the product managers to get an idea of the team productivity. As a result, there is a tracking of each task that enables to provide the realistic deadlines and helps to report the issues instantly during frequent deliveries.

 In traditional approach, it may happen that, designed blueprint doesn’t come out with what was expected and the client may confront after the months of project commencement. But, in agile, it delivers the milestone in sprints providing tangible solutions to mitigate these circumstances. At every sprint, you can get feedback for the same and developers can continue to make improvements until an expected end-product is delivered.

Wrapping it up

Considering the fierce competition in the market and dynamic nature of mobile software, it is the right approach to choose an incremental agile methodology to overcome the challenges of mobile app development. With this methodology, you will not only experience faster decision making but the app will surely hit the market at faster pace.

Wish to create a mobile app that can help to reach your business goals and deliver an exceptional user experience for your customers??? TOPS Infosolutions can help! Our mobile app and software development service brings the idea of your mobile app to the life.

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