As part of the development process, mobile user interface (UI) design is also essential in the creation of mobile apps. Mobile UI considers constraints, contexts, screen, input, and mobility as outlines for design. The user is often the focus of interaction with their device, and the interface entails components of both hardware and software. User input allows for the users to manipulate a system, and device's output allows the system to indicate the effects of the users' manipulation. Mobile UI design constraints include limited attention and form factors, such as a mobile device's screen size for a user's hand(s). Mobile UI contexts signal cues from user activity, such as location and scheduling that can be shown from user interactions within a mobile app. Overall, mobile UI design's goal is mainly for an understandable, user-friendly interface. The UI of mobile apps should: consider users' limited attention, minimize keystrokes, and be task-oriented with a minimum set of functions. This functionality is supported by mobile enterprise application platforms or integrated development environments (IDEs).
Mobile UIs, or front-ends, rely on mobile back-ends to support access to enterprise systems. The mobile back-end facilitates data routing, security, authentication, authorization, working off-line, and service orchestration. This functionality is supported by a mix of middleware components including mobile app server, mobile backend as a service (MBaaS), and service-oriented architecture (SOA) infrastructure.
The platform organizations needed to develop, deploy and manage mobile apps are made from many components and tools which allow a developer to write, test and deploy applications into the target platform environment.
Front-end development tools
Front-end development tools are focused on the user interface and user experience (UI-UX) and provide the following abilities:
UI design tools
SDKs to access device features
Back-end tools pick up where the front-end tools leave off, and provide a set of reusable services that are centrally managed and controlled and provide the following abilities:
Integration with back-end systems
Reusable business logic
Security add-on layers
With bring your own device (BYOD) becoming the norm within more enterprises, IT departments often need stop-gap, tactical solutions that layer atop existing apps, phones, and platform component. Features include
App wrapping for security
Reporting and statistics
Many system-level components are needed to have a functioning platform for developing mobile apps.
Mobile app testing
Mobile applications are first tested within the development environment using emulators and later subjected to field testing. Emulators provide an inexpensive way to test applications on mobile phones to which developers may not have physical access. The following are examples of tools used for testing application across the most popular mobile operating systems.
Google Android Emulator - an Android emulator that is patched to run on a Windows PC as a standalone app, without having to download and install the complete and complex Android SDK. It can be installed and Android compatible apps can be tested on it.
The official Android SDK Emulator - a mobile device emulator which mimics all of the hardware and software features of a typical mobile device (without the calls).
iPhoney - gives a pixel-accurate web browsing environment and it is powered by Safari. It can be used while developing web sites for the iPhone. It is not an iPhone simulator but instead is designed for web developers who want to create 320 by 480 (or 480 by 320) websites for use with iPhone. iPhoney will only run on OS X 10.4.7 or later.
BlackBerry Simulator - There are a variety of official BlackBerry simulators available to emulate the functionality of actual BlackBerry products and test how the device software, screen, keyboard and trackwheel will work with application.
Windows UI Automation - To test applications that use the Microsoft UI Automation technology, it requires Windows Automation API 3.0. It is pre-installed on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later versions of Windows. On other operating systems, you can install using Windows Update or download it from the Microsoft Web site.