Do you need a dedicated mobile app, or is a website enough?

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Mobile has changed the way we interact with products and services. Their always on, always available nature gives your organisation a ready-made channel for customer engagement. These statistics on mobile vs desktop usage in 2020 show that only 29% of global website visits came from desktop browsers, compared to 68% on mobile, with mobile’s proportion increasing year-on-year. The numbers vary depending on where you look, but the pattern is clear: you need to support mobile to remain competitive in today’s market. At the very least, you need a mobile-optimised website to tap into this customer engagement. …


Switch off without losing users

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You can’t guarantee that users will ever update to the latest version of an app, so you can expect that a few users will remain on every historic version of your app.

APIs that support your app are likely to evolve. Maintaining and running old versions of an API is expensive. You need to pay for the platform it runs on, you need to pay for the maintenance needed to keep it secure and working. Sooner or later, you should decommission it.

However, when you turn an API off, any historic versions of your app still using it will stop…


How iOS 14.5 will impact apps that use analytics, advertising, or tracking

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As a consultant working with customers to develop mobile strategies and build apps, I’ve been watching the new Apple Privacy rules closely. They have been popular with users so far, so they look like they’re here to stay. If your business is built on tracking data, trading tracked data or serving targeted ads, you probably know already that you’re going to be heavily impacted. But what about other app businesses? Most commercial (and many non-commercial) apps use some kind of analytics, advertising, or another tracking. Although more subtle, these apps will also be impacted by the changes.

Overview

The new Apple…


Include wiki-style links on your site

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Backlinks is a term used to describe the two-way, wiki-style links that are popular in note-taking tools such as Roam or Notion. Linking in two directions is useful because when you link from one article to another, you can also discover the first article from the second.

I recently used Hugo to create a site for notes, articles and other content. I quickly realised that backlinks would be a useful addition, but I didn’t want the overhead of having to edit every note I referenced to add in the backlinks. I set up my Hugo templates to add backlinks automatically…


Building iOS and Android apps with a single team

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To build expert, mobile apps, you need mobile experts — if you are developing an app for both iOS and Android, you need experts in both iOS and Android. The Rolls-Royce approach is to create a sub-team of iOS specialists and a sub-team of Android specialists, each responsible for their own platforms. But mobile experts are expensive and hard to recruit, so to achieve this, you need a big budget, and power in the recruitment market.

If you don’t have the Rolls-Royce budget and recruiting power, you might turn to a cross-platform technology, such as React Native or Flutter. You…


Make the most of limited coding sessions

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Writing an app in your spare time is difficult. Spare time is a luxury that many of us have little of. Opportunities to work on your app are few and far between, and sometimes you can go long periods of time without being able to sit down and focus on your app. Drawing on my experience as both a spare-time developer and professional engineer, I’ve refined my process for getting the biggest bang for my buck out of my spare time hours, and I’ll share some of my tips with you in this article.

There are many reasons you might…


Why shipping regular updates is good for your development process and more

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When you’re developing apps, at some point you need to release updates to your users. There are benefits to releasing updates frequently, but there are lots of factors that make it hard to do.

In this article, I’ll explain why it’s good to make regular releases, what can get in the way of doing that, and outline some strategies that you could use on your project to help you get your releases out more regularly.

Why It’s Good to Release Updates Frequently

Users like new features

Users want to see new features, improvements, and bug fixes — particularly if they’ve paid for the app or a subscription to it. …


For test, production and everything in between

When you’re developing iOS and android apps, your primary focus is on getting your apps out to end users. But when you’re making apps commercially, there are many stages they have to go through before they get anywhere near public release, and each stage requires our apps to be distributed in different ways. In this presentation, I’ll explain how we manage this at Intercept IP.

00:34

First of all, lets look at our requirements for app distribution.

00:37

We need to distribute our apps for various different purposes.

00:41

  • Feature testing — are our code changes fit for purpose?
  • Regression and integration…


The definitive guide to installing and updating pods

The difference between pod install and pod update is subtle, and it isn’t always clear which you should use. But having a good understanding of what these commands do gives you much finer control over how dependencies are managed in your project, so it’s worth knowing the difference.

In the first part of this article I’ll give you a list of recipes showing whether you should run pod install or pod update in some common situations. Then in the second part I’ll explain why the different commands do different things, and how CocoaPods uses the Podfile.lock


Make unit tests easier to code, review and maintain

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Introduction

Unit tests are essential for software projects, but they add overhead. In this article, I’m going to talk about how to leverage the builder pattern to make it more efficient for your team to write, review and maintain unit tests. I’ll start by talking about what the pattern is and why it is particularly useful in unit tests. Then I’ll explain the gains you can make by using the pattern. Finally I’ll show you how to create builder classes in your Xcode project.

This article uses examples for iOS code using Swift, but they apply equally well to just about…

Gabrielle Earnshaw

Mobile app strategy and development. Mobile Subject Matter Expert / Practice Lead at @InfinityWorks, and creator of @Tasktimerappuk and Windsurf Caddy

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