Improving Mobile App Functionality and Performance

Carl Weinschenk

A key choice faced by businesses is whether to base their outreach, both to internal teams and to customers, on mobile apps or mobile websites.

Adotas, an interactive advertising site, looks at the issue from the perspective of outreach to consumers. From the listed 10 advantages of each approach, there are two takeaways. First, it is not a slam-dunk in either direction. Indeed, both approaches have powerful justifications and rationales. It also is clear that the way to go is dependent upon what the business wishes to accomplish. For instance, mobile websites are cheaper, quicker to develop, and easier to update. Mobile apps, however, are easier to use, can be used offline and provide better data about users.

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Top Five Reasons to Implement a Multi-Channel Approach to Mobile Development

The Adotas piece doesn’t outline a downside of mobile apps: inconsistent performance. IBM and AT&T took this issue head on, however. EWeek reports that the companies at IBM Innovate 2013 conference in Orlando said that they are addressing performance issues by integrating AT&T’s Application Resource Optimizer (ARO) and Big Blue’s Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) software development tool.


The acronyms are confusing but the tool will perform a simple task, at least conceptually. It enables developers to see how an app is performing on a wireless network and provides tools to improve that performance. The heart of the tool is ARO, which was launched in January 2012, and now is used by more than 1,500 developers. The idea is to wring inefficiencies out of the app creation process:

ARO enables developers to diagnose previously undetectable inefficiencies in app-to-network interaction. It can identify the events happening at multiple layers within an app and pinpoint inefficient resource usage. ARO can then make specific recommendations on how developers can optimize their apps to improve performance, speed and battery utilization while also minimizing the network impact.

IBM made other news on mobile apps, too. GigaOm reports that the company is working with 10gen, developers of a high-performance document database called MongoDB, on a standard that will make it easier to write applications that draw on multiple sources.

The story says that MongoDB is “immensely popular” among Web and mobile developers who work with semi-structured and unstructured data. It is, however, not used for mission-critical applications due to “lack of transactional integrity” – no precise definition is offered – and other problems. Not being appropriate for mission-critical applications is a big problem for an enterprise app, of course. The answer, according to GigaOm, is the new standard:

At its core, the new standard — which encompasses the MongoDB API, data representation (BSON), query language and wire protocol — appears to be all about establishing a way for mobile and other next-generation applications to connect with enterprise database systems such as IBM’s popular DB2 database and its WebSphere eXtreme Scale data grid.

Powerful and complex mobile apps represent a significant change in how developers and their bosses do business. These changes grow even more profound when the apps, perhaps working alongside mobile websites, can handle sensitive data.



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