Why mobile app companies need to adopt Mobile DevOps practices

Mobile is unique. As such, it deserves and requires an approach that differs from traditional DevOps methods. We believe that incorporating a unique set of practices — collectively referred to as Mobile DevOps — into your app development process is a must if you want to succeed in the world of mobile. Here are some reasons why:
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Mobile requires faster iterations

When it comes to mobile app iterations, speed is everything: there is a strong correlation between the frequency of updates and the rating in the app stores. The more agile the approach, the faster and more iterative the code release process becomes.

Mobile DevOps practices increase the frequency of deployment as opposed to the older methods, where larger portions of the code were deployed less frequently. The ideal end result is a fully implemented rolling deployment system: releasing regularly to a subset of users. This can be for testing purposes with either alpha/beta versions, or staged releases to multiple markets. An automated deployment pipeline reduces the time it takes to roll out new iterations, and enables teams to react faster to user feedback.

Mobile apps are less forgiving

UX is one of the most important factors in today's competitive mobile app scene. Compared to desktop apps, users are much less forgiving when it comes to worse user experience, often dropping apps that do not meet their expectations right away.

Since avoiding mistakes in mobile apps is more critical than it is in desktop apps, pre-production testing becomes more important. Teams also need to closely monitor the feedback and ratings on app stores to keep up with future enhancements and continuously improve their apps. Mobile DevOps enables instant reports and feedback, as well as regression testing, all through a transparent process. As a result, developers are able to troubleshoot errors and fix bugs faster, which is crucial for optimizing UX.

Mobile tools are constantly changing

Mobile app development requires a unique toolset that is constantly evolving. From building to deployment and performance monitoring, there are always new additions for keeping up with the ever-growing market needs.

A plethora of tools and practices exist for different projects, platforms, programming languages, and so on — staying up-to-date with all of this is yet another challenge for developers. Mobile DevOps practices address this issue by automating more of the manual tasks and implementing systems in which code, configurations, scripts, and documents across different platforms are easily trackable. Streamlining the process helps teams adopt new tools and leaves more resources for app development.

Mobile as a platform is more fragmented

Mobile apps go through increasingly rapid development processes, which results in more and more releases ending up on different devices. This means that certain features might not work as expected on all supported platforms.

Apps performing well during tests but failing in the hands of the users is a common scenario. The fragmented nature of the leading mobile operating systems — especially Android — is a serious concern for developers. Different release dates, version support, and phones also need to be considered on a regular basis. Enabling rapid testing and accurately predicting the app’s behavior on each platform are the main reasons why Mobile DevOps practices encourage the use of multiple simulators, parallel testing, and real device testing.

What Mobile DevOps means to us at Bitrise

Adopting a new culture

Creating cultural-organizational change in mobile app companies by addressing the gap between teams, and helping them collaborate throughout the development and delivery processes.
Defining goals and purposes that correspond with the original DevOps principles, such as customer satisfaction, sustainability, enhanced teamwork, and shortened software development lifecycles.
Focusing on effective, cross-functional collaboration between project managers, developers, QA, data, design, security, and web service teams.
Resolving human problems collectively by using common sense and implementing a culture of shared responsibility, transparency, and faster feedback as the foundation of a high performing team.

Adopting new technology

Believing that Mobile DevOps and CI/CD automation are inseparable, streamlining the CI/CD pipeline, and adding feedback and real-time performance monitoring are crucial for the success of any app.
Aiming to automate as much as possible throughout the entire lifecycle of app development: planning, code testing, deployment, and monitoring.
Eliminating repetitive and tedious manual processes through continuous integration to help ensure the seamless merging of codes coming from different team members, as well as reducing the risk of errors.
Supporting the use of a source code control system and the implementation of configuration as code in order to help keep track of code changes and other details of the process.

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