Build a mobile app with language translator service without coding

I recorded a 3-part video that shows how to build a mobile application without any code. I’m very passionate about Low Code/No Code platforms. I think there is a resurgence of Low Code/No Code tools. As demand for more applications is only going to grow, Low Code tooling can help technical people (and non-technical) to build applications much faster.

In this 3-part video you will learn:

  1. How to create a Watson Language Translator service on the IBM Cloud
  2. How to create a backend with the Language Translator service using Appery.io API Express
  3. How to build a mobile app using Appery.io App Builder

All three videos together are under 17 minutes – so it’s very quick if you want to give it a try.

If you would like to build this application you will need:

  1. A free IBM Cloud account. Sign up for an account (or sign into an existing account)
  2. Appery.io account. Sign up for a free trial account here

Click the menu-icon in the upper-left corner to see all videos in the playlist.

Let me know if you have any question. I will be publishing more videos like this.

Four Pitfalls to Avoid When Building Enterprise Mobile Apps

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Photo from unsplash.com

Erik Shermam from TechBeacon published an article on four pitfalls to avoid when building enterprise mobile apps. They are:

  • Wrong apps
  • Bad user experience (UX)
  • Slow deployment
  • No marketing

Erik and I chatted about one of the pitfalls: slow app development.Enterprises today must deliver apps fast. Build the first version of the app within weeks if not days, get feedback and repeat. The traditional 12-18 months application development cycle no longer works today.

Pitfall #3 from the article:

Pitfall 3: Slow deployment

There’s a huge demand for mobile apps, and many IT departments can’t keep up, says Max Katz, head of developer relations for custom enterprise app developer Appery.io. But not only are corporate technology groups understaffed, many IT departments lack expertise in Android and iOS development.

Enterprises also have to rethink their design cycles. “They’re used to delivering apps that take 12, 18 months, maybe two years,” Katz says. “With mobile you can’t do that. You need to deliver apps very fast, I mean weeks. Some of them, maybe a couple of days.” This is particularly challenging when a company needs native apps for multiple platforms, which can mean parallel development tracks and teams.

Read the entire article

Your Input for 2015 Mobile Audience Survey, Win Prizes

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DZone is collecting input for its 2015 Guide to Mobile Development and would like your feedback.

Your survey answers will provide valuable insights for you and other members of the tech community, and it will help decision makers understand the preferences and challenges around modern mobile software development.

By completing this survey, not only will you receive the report when it is released, but you will also be entered to win an iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy Tab, or Microsoft Surface! Doing more of these surveys will increase your chances of winning too!

>> Start survey.

The 7 Pains of Developing Mobile Apps (and How to Solve Them)

Mobile apps are on a trajectory the likes of which have yet to be charted. Digi-Capital forecasts that by 2017, the mobile app market will reach $70 Billion of global revenue, with non-game apps to double revenue share from 26% to 51%. This will be made possible by 2017’s expected 200 billion app downloads. Currently, mobile apps account for 82% of the overall time spent on daily media consumption. Needless to say, enterprises are scurrying to develop mobile apps to secure their share of this rapidly growing ecosystem. Due to haste, misguidance, and industry fragmentation, there are a number of pains plaguing the mobile app development process. Solving these problems is critical to developing apps with the potential for scalable success. Continue reading “The 7 Pains of Developing Mobile Apps (and How to Solve Them)”

Top Three Challenges in Enterprise Mobile App Development in 2015

 

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Enterprises are adopting mobile technologies at an unprecedented rate. As Business News Daily recently reported, 1.3 billion workers will go mobile by 2015, and with that massive number, the need for enterprise mobile apps can only skyrocket.

With that increase, many mobile app developers will be called upon to create internal mobile enterprise apps. These apps have many requirements and considerations that differ from the typical app destined for the public app stores. In this article, we will take the top three challenges and share some tips on how to meet these challenges:

  1. Security
  2. User Interface
  3. Choosing a Development Technology

Continue reading “Top Three Challenges in Enterprise Mobile App Development in 2015”

Rapid Mobile App Development With Appery.io – Creating Vacation Request App

I just got back from Stamford, CT where I did a talk at the Web, Mobile and Backend Developers Meetup. In about 90 minutes we built a prototype version of a productivity app called Vacation Request using Appery.io cloud development platform. The app helps employees request and submit time off from their mobile phones. The app has the following functionality:

  • User login and registration
  • Submit vacation request. The request is saved into Appery.io database
  • Send an SMS message to the manager notifying him/her of a new request
  • Send an email to the manger notifying him/her of a new request
  • Push notifications to notify of a new request, or notify the employ when the request is approved
  • Customer Console for the manager to view/approve requests from a user-friendly console
  • Package the app for Android

Let me walk you through the app in more details.

The first page we designed was the Login page:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.44.03 PM

Appery.io Backend Services comes with out-of-the-box User Management built-in so you can register users, sign in users, and logout users. This is how the Users collection looks:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.47.36 PM

As the App Builder and the Database are integrated, it’s fast to generate the login/sign up services automatically:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.50.27 PM

Then the service is added to the page and mapped to the page. This is request mapping (from page to service):

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.55.08 PM

and this is response mapping (from service to page or local storage). In our example, we are saving the user id and the user session into local storage:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.55.44 PM

The steps are identical for registration.

In case login or registration fail for some reason, we will display a basic error:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.59.11 PM

Next we built the Vacation Request page where you make the actual request. This page is based on a template which has a Panel menu that slides from the left:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.22.31 PM

And this is how it looks when the menu (from the template) is opened in development:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.23.36 PM

The Save button saves the request into Appery.io Database (into Vacation collection):

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.26.17 PM

The Email button sends an email to the manager using the SendGrid API. The functionality was imported as plugin.

The SMS buttons sends an SMS message to the manager using the Twilio API.

Once we were done building the app, we added push notifications capability:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.47.07 PM

To send a push notification, the app has to be installed on the device. Packaging for various native platforms is as simple as clicking a button:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.48.51 PM

Lastly, we activated the Customer Console which allows the manager to view the data (vacation requests or any other app data) and approve the requests there. The Customer Console is a user-friendly app that allows editing the app data without asking the developer to do that. It also allows to send push notifications. Access to data and whether you can send push messages is configurable.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.51.41 PM

The goal was to show how rapidly you can build a mobile app using Appery.io. In about 90 minutes, we were able to build a prototype or a first version of an app that saves vacation requests, allows sending an email or an SMS message, with push notifications. And we built a binary for Android. I think folks enjoyed the talk:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 3.00.18 PM

How Mobile is Causing a Shift in the Enterprise

CIO Magazine recently wrote a thought-provoking article about the power shift in the enterprise between IT and the Lines of Business (LOB) when it comes to mobile and I’d like to provide our perspective. The editor used the news of our partnership with Salesforce.com (see page 2 of article) to show evidence that mobile development, traditionally an IT function, is moving to the LOBs.  As you may have heard, Salesforce.com launched the “Mobile Pack for Appery.io” and positioned it as a way to reach out to a much broader base of developers, including business users, to innovate on the on the Salesforce Platform.  We’re quite excited about this partnership and believe there is a very large opportunity to enable developers in the LOBs to innovate.

The Problem

Demand for mobile app development in the enterprise is far outstripping the capacity of most IT organizations.  While IT is preoccupied  with building one or two consumer facing apps for the app stores, tons of other apps, especially employee facing apps that are critical for running the business remain in the backlog.   Most enterprises have dozens of employee facing apps, including salesforce automation, ERP, field service automation, marketing automation, and human resources self service that have yet to be mobilized.  On top of existing apps that need to be mobilized, there are many more new apps that need to be created to enable new use cases that are enabled with mobile devices.  This surge in demand is turning IT into a bottleneck for the business.

It Begins with the C-Suite

Because these apps are so critical to running the business, business units and LOBs can’t wait and are taking on mobile app development projects to meet their business needs.  This is an emerging trend that is picking up steam and is enabled by cloud based platforms such as Exadel’s Appery.io.   Leading industry analysts firm Forrester has documented this trend with their report titled Tracking the Renegade Technology Buyer.   Forrester reported that 24% of business decision makers earmark a full 21% or more of their budget for IT type expenditures.  They also reported that many more CMOs than CIOs (more than twice as many) own the mobile strategy for the enterprises they polled.

Turning IT from a Bottleneck to Supporting the Business

With its visual development environment Appery.io enables a much broader base of developers to create mobile apps.  It enables the people who are closest to the business problem to participate in the development process or even develop complete apps.  But the IT organization does not need to be out of the loop.   In fact, because of Appery.io’s cloud based collaboration features (similar to Google Docs), it enables IT teams to support and participate in the development process, whether it is to audit apps to ensure they meet security guidelines or to more actively participate in development and QA.   Compared to traditional tools that are downloaded throughout the organization, a cloud based approach enables IT to more easily to support the business teams rather than be a bottleneck.

Mobility has become crucial to the success of a business.  Employees utilize mobile apps to increase productivity and customers use them to interact with their favorite brands.  As demand for mobile apps increases beyond the capacity of their IT organization, business users are taking a much more active role in the development of mobile apps, in many cases supported by their IT organizations with cloud based platforms such as Appery.io.

What are your thoughts?  We’d love to hear your perspective via a comment.

Originally posted on the Appery.io blog.

Top 3 Issues with Enterprise Mobility Today

As a result of our conversations with our customers, we can tell that the biggest issues in enterprise mobility are:

  • Time to market
  • Backend integration
  • Security of mobile applications

Time to market is perhaps the number 1 issue.  Demand for new or updated mobile apps is outstripping the capacity and capabilities of the IT organization, creating a back up.   Competitive pressures, the launch of new products, the need to update existing applications and new platform releases all cause an increase is the demand for mobile apps. This is such a significant issue for businesses that many line of business executives are building their own mobile development teams or outsourcing the development projects.   We hear horror stories about outdated apps sitting in the app stores waiting to be updated.  Or about the need to port existing iOS apps to Android.   It’s a never ending process.

Backend integration has always been a challenge in enterprise development.   How do you integrate with all the legacy backend systems?  And with the advent of mobile and the cloud, integration can be even more complex.  Apps need to integrate not only to systems within the enterprise, but also services that are in the cloud, from enterprise SaaS systems to social networks.

Mobile security is critical for many enterprise applications especially given that phones can be easily lost or stolen.   To improve performance many apps leverage the locale storage on devices that could be easily compromised.   In addition, code that runs in the browser such as HTML5 and JavaScript is easily exposed to potential attackers who can then exploit the code’s vulnerabilities.

Fortunately, Appery.io addresses these challenges well:

Appery.io was designed to accelerate mobile innovation in the enterprise.  It addresses the time to market concerns with:

  • A rapid development environment.  You can develop a complete app using drag and drop, but unlike alternative visual tools, Appery.io gives you access to the code to give developers complete flexibility.
  • Cross platform support.  Because Appery.io apps are based on HTML5 and JavaScript, they run across platforms.  There is no need to develop iOS and Android apps separately, which saves time and money.
  • Cloud based.  Appery.io is fast to adopt as there is nothing to download or install.   Just point your browser to the platform and start developing.

Appery.io simplifies backend integration with:

  • A catalog of prebuilt plugins for cloud services or enterprise systems such as Salesforce.com
  • RESTXpress, software to securely integrate to enterprise systems behind the firewall, including any JDBC database or application that supports web services
  • Rapid integration to any REST API, using a visual interface that self learns new APIs in seconds.

Appery.io supports building secure mobile applications with:

  • MobileSafe – a feature that provides maximum security for mobile apps.  The app runs in a secure cache and integrates with a secure server, all with an unbreakable level of encryption (AES 256)
  • Both the data and the application code are secure when using MobileSafe.

Appery.io addresses the top 3 issues with enterprise mobility today.  It enables enterprises to innovate fast to meet aggressive time to market demands, simplifies the process of backend integration, and supports the deployment of highly secure applications.

Originally posted on Appery.io blog.

A Mobile App Is More Than Just a Backend

There are more than over 40 services that provide a mobile backend as a service, also known as BaaS. The most well known are Parse (acquired by Facebook), Kinvey, StackMob, and many more. Appery.io also provides a mobile backend.  All make it very easy to setup a backend for your app such cloud database, Push notifications and other features. built.io is a new backend as a service (BaaS) provider and joins the already crowded space.

Many believe that to build a mobile app (HTML, hybrid, or native) all you need is to create a mobile backed. In the article What Happens When Almost Anybody Can Build A Mobile Business App? the author talks about how easy it is to create a mobile app using build.io backend services. And it is very easy — to create the mobile backend. But who is going to create the app UI and then connect the UI to the mobile backend? A mobile app is not just the backend. A mobile app has user interface (UI), backend services, 3rd party APIs and then connections between UI and the services.

What tools can you use to build the mobile UI and connect the UI to the services? One response I recently got was: “Use Eclipse or xCode”

The reason you would be using cloud-based backend services is because they are very simple to create and use. You don’t have to install anything, configure anything. Just sign up and start building your backend. Eclipse and xCode are very powerful tools but they are not easy to use. They are traditional tools meaning they need to be downloaded, installed and configured. At least for Eclipse, you would need to download and configure various frameworks to build the app UI. It’s not easy and will take a long time. So, why would you easily create a cloud-based mobile backend but then pick more complicated tools for building the UI?

A mobile app is more than just a backend. It is mobile UI, backend services and 3rd party APIs, all integrated. Appery.io is the only cloud-based platform that provides all the tools you need:

  1. Visual and source UI development tools
  2. Integrated backend services (BaaS)
  3. Connections to any API as well as pre-built connectors to many popular APIs