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!

Top UX Strategies for Mobile App Design and Development

UX of mobile app

“UX is not just what it looks and feels like; UX is how it works…”

Do you remember the last time when you purchased movie ticket from app? Last time when you bought the book of favorite author? Last time when you went for dinner by booking table from Zomato? Last time when you checked your monthly account statement?

Recently… Right???

With mobile apps, our life is sorted; having plethora of information just on the finger tips. And this all is because UX of mobile app is perfect enough to create user retention. So, to curate the engaging experience for your customers, mobile app UX design plays a core role to form a first impression. The difference between an outstanding mobile app and the awful application is generally the quality of UX, which is important for every organization to stand tall amongst competitors.

When we talk about UX of mobile app, what it is actually?

The UX is the concept of designing with the dimensions like interactive design, information architecture, visual design, usability and human interaction. To be precise, it demands for the customer-first mentality; understanding and anticipating user needs, easy to use and delightful to interact with.

The factors for the excellent UX are:-

  • Discoverability: Are your users able to discover how to use your app for the first time?
  • Learnability: Are your users able to learn how to move from one step to the next one?
  • Efficiency: Once your users start using the products, can they repeat the tasks quickly with higher efficiency?
  • System Performance: How efficient is your UI when user interacts with it?
  • Delight: Does your product satisfy your users?

Developing a mobile app design comes with the set of rules where curating the smooth user experience is the big deal for the flow of any app. Good UX puts life into your app which means you are showing the value of an app to the users.

Let’s learn some of the best practices to implement the best UX of mobile app:

  • Choose the right color palette: Have you ever wondered why some visuals are in red? What would users attract the most ‘Buy today’ button or ‘red fonts’, why submit button is in green and delete in red? The answer is color psychology. Color is the most important aspect of every mobile app as it helps the users to see and interpret the app’s content, interact with the correct elements and understand actions. Designers need to make judgment calls regarding colors usage as it is often difficult to decide color scheme that works well as there are infinite number of possible color combinations. Selection of the right colors can impact the conversion rate and overall performance market of your app. Different shades can simulate the people to react in a particular way and can cause different reactions in the human minds.
  • Make Navigation Simple: Making smooth navigation is challenge on the mobile due to the limitations of the small screen but without exception, your mobile app should have the simplest structure possible. Good navigation is like an invisible hand that guides the users along their journey. Mobile app navigation must be clear, functions must be self-evident, and no explanation or learning curve should be required to go from point A to point B based on their first glance. It should be coherent and consistent enough to remove the confusions in the app and match the visual elements of the work flow respectively. This flow within the app would take UX to another level, amplifying the expected business results.
  • Touch Friendly: In dart game, hitting the bulls-eye is harder to do than hitting any other part of the dashboard. It is because the bulls-eye is the smallest target. To be precise, the smaller the button of the action is, the harder it is for the users to hit the target. So, when you are designing the UI of the app, it is the best to make your targets big so that they’re easy for the users to tap. The control sizes should vary between 7mm to 10mm so that it can be accurately tapped. This size allows the fingers to fit properly making the edges visible and lack of ambiguity for the mobile app users.
  • Follow minimalistic approach: The minimalist design approach emphasize on developing the interface that users can quickly master, helps your design to look clutter-free and ultimately delivers a world-class experience to the users.

Features of minimalism that designers must include are:-Simplicity

– Clarity

– Expressive visual hierarchy

– High attention to proportions and compositions

– Functionality of every element

– Big amount of spare space

– High attention to core details

– Typography as significant design element

– Eliminating non-functional decorative element

The principal thing you must ensure is that, you must avoid unnecessary elements and provide users with only what they actually need from your app.  One action per screen makes it easier to grasp the information quite easier and thereby it helps in the accomplishment of the main business objectives.

  • Opt for On-boarding: Remember your first flight; how much anxiety and excited you felt when the flight took off? But everything went smoothly, once step by step demonstration was given. Every new users who download the app must be treated in a similar way; small walk through screens must be made that educate the user on how to make the best use of the app or can make the silent video in the background that introduces your app to the users. If the users have trouble within initial few screens they may drop off. So, by creating excellent on-boarding experience, it will not only engage your customers but also retain the existing ones. The goal of on-boarding is to show the value of your app to the user, by demonstrating how they can achieve what they want, quickly and efficiently.

The bottom line

The points mentioned above puts attention on major features that most of the customers look for while delivering the well-designed UX of Mobile app to ensure user satisfaction. The world of mobile app development is expanding and will continue to do so by leaps and bounds.

Connect with the mobile app development company, to make sure that the right UI is used in your app that actually works for your business.

Building Modern and Scalable Enterprise Apps with MEAN Stack

MEAN Stack development

Today, web programming being one of the challenging tasks, especially in case of enterprise applications, business owners look for the technology that provides high performance and scalability. Many enterprise leaders struggle to stand tall amongst competitors – so to deal with such requirements; web development companies have to deal with the host of technologies dealing with security, networking, databases and development of server-side and client-side components. Although there do exists much powerful communities that provide solutions for the enterprise applications but the one that enables the modern web development is the full stack solution – MEAN Stack.

MEAN – the full-form for MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js which was possibly the much needed and awaited revolution for the technical sphere. This stack is crafted by diverse teams and considerable community of developers is also involved that pushes forward the development and documentation of each component. And now that MEAN Stack is so much into the world of technology and business, every growing enterprise is striving to become MEAN friendly; leaving behind plenty of solutions who are still showcasing their loyalties towards older versions! The core thing in this stack is the centralization of JavaScript as the primary programming language.

  • MEAN makes switching between client and server easier

MEAN is simple & fast and developing the apps in this technology enables the developers to write the code only in one language i.e. JavaScript for client as well as server side. Entire project can be managed by MEAN Stack formula and Node.js developer can deploy the applications on the server directly without the need of deploying it to a stand-alone server. Additionally, it is OS independent – be it Windows, Linux or MAC. This is the best for startups and enterprises as they just have to accommodate development framework and need not think on technology. No need to waste time in scanning libraries as all JavaScript libraries can be combined with MEAN stack. The saved time can be utilized for other productive activities which are especially crucial in the case of Startups.

  • Facilitates speedy data storage and retrieval

MongoDB in MEAN Stack uses JSON like documents throughout the database which makes it a documented database. The document structure offered by MongoDB is extremely flexible. No hardcore restriction to forcefully enter data into tables to make it usable. For instance: addition and deletion of data can be easily done without making any complex accommodations.  MongoDB doesn’t require any predefined database schemas and rules to establish field relations like MySQL. Hence, when no large schemas are present, the system becomes efficient and fast to use and ultimately benefits the end user increasing their confidence in the start-up offering their services.

  • Uniform code from start till end

With the sufficient knowledge of JavaScript developers, you can manage your entire project with ease. JSON like queries are already available in MongoDB database, hence JSON queries can be used with Express.js and Node.js server and can have similar format for all data transfer. However, some angular queries can be used on client side using Angular.js. Furthermore, usage of express.js and angular.js on the top of node.js results into technology stack that gives the benefit of single language means the full stack developer can manage the stack easily without learning another programming language like Python or PHP. The experts in JavaScript can go through the entire MEAN stack themselves and can control both front-end and back-end activities. This is quintessential because developers couldn’t code, if they don’t have core knowledge of all respective technology. Other than that, page load time can be substantially reduced with node.js framework.

  • MEAN stack supports MVC architecture

When it comes to MVC, there are four aspects that help the developers for easy execution; namely – database, server, client and client UI. In MVC, the model responds to the request for any information or data manipulation according to the controller’s instruction. The controller on the other hand responds to the system that user needs and thus gives instructions to model. To run MVC framework complex procedures, there are numerous stack frameworks on innumerable different programming languages. With one programming language and flexible database, MEAN stack is considered as influential alternative which can compile with MVC architecture very easily. This enhances the productivity of developers and enables the application to load faster and also assures quicker project completions.

  • Regular component updates

MEAN stack components are open source, free to use and their respective communities and support channels do come up with frequent releases and updates. More ideas and insights from the developer community and tutorials on how to overcome hurdles to emerging challenges help keep the products and services relevant to today’s economic of scale. The overall framework is flexible and easy to understand by making it popular with enterprises and developers.

In a nutshell, many business owners make the use of MEAN stack to revamp their existing websites. It is also ideal for other web content like blogs, media websites, data-intensive and real-time messaging applications. If you wish to develop you next big project in MEAN, our skilled consultants will help you craft the perfect business plan. Having hands-on knowledge, our team will quickly transform your idea into world class application. Powerful IT solution – MEAN and reliable technology partner will give that ‘extra edge’ to your business.

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