Monday, June 2, 2014

Review: DZone's 2014 Guide to Mobile Development

DZone is launching the public release of its DZone's 2014 Guide to Mobile Development today. The 35-page PDF is intended to be used with the DZone Mobile Development Research site to "explore the mobile application development landscape, examining best-practice strategies and comparing tools and frameworks that accelerate mobile development."

For those desiring an "executive summary" of the state of mobile development as described in DZone's 2014 Guide to Mobile Development, a single page (page 3) contains a paragraph and five bullets summarizing what the guide covers along with four "key takeaways" from the mobile development research.

The "Key Research Findings" section (pages 4 and 5) includes summary text and colorful graphics to illustrate results of surveys of mobile developers. The findings include things such as types of mobile developers, types of mobile applications being developed, and common timeline for mobile app development.

Pages 6 and 7 of DZone's 2014 Guide to Mobile Development look at developing mobile apps as web apps, as native apps, and as hybrids of those. Pages 10 and 11 elaborate more on the "state" of apps that are native, web-based, and hybrid and presents a table of 7 comparison factors for the three approaches.

Pages 14-15 of DZone's 2014 Guide to Mobile Development discuss issues related to integration of mobile applications with back-end enterprises. Pages 21-22 discuss perceived performance versus actual performance metrics.

The 23rd page of DZone's 2014 Guide to Mobile Development features a "Mobile Application Development Checklist." Pages 24-34 are the "Solutions Directory" and it is this section that may be of most interest to those trying to decide on tools, frameworks, and platforms to use in their new mobile development projects. Each "solution" has a brief description listed along with certain characteristics (the set of characteristics depend on whether it is a framework, mobile application development platform [MADP], or both).

The DZone 2014 Guide to Mobile Development also includes several pages of full-page advertisements as well as pages split in half with the top half containing text about a mobile development issue and the bottom half containing an advertisement for a related solution addressing the need discussed in text. These half-page text sections and associated advertisements are typically written by "research partners" (Progress/Progress Pacific, Outsystems/Outsystems Platform, ICEsoft/ICEmobile, Telerik/Telerik Platform, and New Relic Mobile Monitoring).

The DZone 2014 Guide to Mobile Development is a polished product that will likely be of most benefit to those considering starting mobile application development or those just entering mobile application development. Although it contains ideas likely to interest even more experienced mobile application developers, much of it is introductory in nature. Experienced mobile developers who want to see what others are doing will also find the research findings interesting and may find it useful if they are looking for an alternate framework or MADP to adopt. This report is not a highly detailed, but instead focuses on high-level trends, survey results, and product offerings that affect mobile development.

The sections of DZone's 2014 Guide to Mobile Development that I found most interesting are the Summary and Key Takeaways, Key Research Findings, Cross-Platform Problems and Solutions, The State of Native vs. Hybrid vs. Web, the checklist, and the Solutions Directory. Reading this report has helped solidify some of my opinions by providing background and support, has helped me increase my understanding of a couple things, and helped me to think about some common mobile development issues from a different perspective. I also was able to read about some frameworks and MADPs that I had not previously been aware of. In short, this report provides a succinct and well presented summary of the overall current state of mobile development.

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