Dealing with the Complexities of Optimizing Mobile Apps

by Jul 19, 2019

There is no denying that the life of an application programmer has changed dramatically in the last thirty years. Once upon a time, the application they were responsible for supporting ran on a monolithic mainframe and was primarily accessed by individuals within their organization. Troubleshooting issues and optimizing performance certainly posed a problem, but the search for answers was confined to a controlled computing environment. Additionally, users affected by a troublesome application probably did not have other options available to them. They had to put up with the app and hope the developers made the necessary corrections.

Some might consider that paradigm to be the good old days of application programming. It certainly was a simpler time. Then along came the Internet, exponentially expanding the potential user base of a particular application. Shortly after that, mobile devices were introduced which enabled users to access applications from anywhere in the world. These users were no longer satisfied with waiting for your app to respond. They have alternative apps that they can use, and slow or inconsistent responsiveness from yours will cause them to abandon it. Over 50% of mobile site visitors will leave your page if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Why Modern Mobile Apps are Hard to Optimize

We have already touched on the main reasons that it is hard to optimize a mobile application. For one, there is a much larger user group which needs to be satisfied with the program’s performance. You don’t merely need to satisfy the requirements of the accounting department or whatever internal entity uses your application. Mobile apps are meant to be used by anyone with a compatible device, and they expect results now! Meeting the demands of your intended audience will determine if your app has any chance of succeeding or is destined for deletion.

The second reason that it is much more complicated to optimize a mobile app is the radical change in the underlying computing architecture that powers the program. It is not very likely that you develop and optimize your application in an isolated environment. There are many more moving parts involved with delivering a software product to the public than there were when you only needed to reach an audience comprised of your co-workers.

You may have to negotiate multiple cloud instances and storage. Network performance is critical in providing the app with the speed required to hold the attention of your prospective users. Then there is the issue of the variety of devices that may be used to interact with your program. Many apps that are critically important to your company’s business model might run on various laptop computing platforms as well as Android devices and iPads. Keeping everyone happy can appear to be an overwhelming challenge.

Common Problems with Mobile Applications

A variety of issues can be responsible for the failure of mobile apps. Some may cause the app to crash and others may just make it too slow for your users to accept. Among the more common reasons your app does not perform as intended are:

  • Network management – Unresponsive applications will soon be removed from their users’ devices. There are many different network components that need to work together to provide a satisfactory user experience. Determining if the issues stem from your infrastructure or the end device enables you to take the appropriate corrective action.

  • Error conditions – Identifying the source of errors that crash your app are critical to its viability. While the issue may be the user’s device, there might well be improvements that you can make to minimize or eliminate the chance of a particular condition occurring.

  • Dependency on third-party APIs – The shortened development cycle imposed by the pace of the mobile world can force reliance on third-party software tools and APIs that may not be optimized for your specific needs. This can manifest itself in a variety of performance issues that need to be addressed to maintain the usefulness of your program.

Monitoring Helps You Optimize Your Mobile Apps

Monitoring various aspects of your mobile application can provide insights that form the foundation of successful optimization efforts. You need a tool that can monitor and analyze the performance of your application through all tiers of the underlying IT infrastructure. That’s where IDERA’s Precise Application Performance Platform comes in.

The Precise Platform follows transactions throughout their journey including all of the physical and virtual infrastructures involved in their processing. It can monitor all aspects of your mobile application from the time a user clicks on it until the data is stored in the backend database. Create custom alerts for your mobile apps that enable you to detect problems before they affect your end-users. Root cause analysis can be performed on problematic mobile transactions to eliminate the issues.

These are just some of the features of the Precise Application Performance Platform. It provides these capabilities and more from a centralized dashboard that enables you to monitor your applications, databases, and storage from a single pane of glass. The software can be a powerful and indispensable tool for optimizing mobile applications.