Book Image

Mobile DevOps Playbook

By : Moataz Nabil
Book Image

Mobile DevOps Playbook

By: Moataz Nabil

Overview of this book

To build mobile apps, you need to understand mobile-first features, tools, and processes that help you build, test, and release robust apps faster and more efficiently. The multitude of challenges stemming from mobile development's inherent complexities, including native iOS and Android app creation, cross-platform frameworks, and the implementation of scalable architectures within extensive teams, collectively contribute to a substantial number of obstacles that can significantly prolong the release process. This book will help you understand and implement the best practices of mobile DevOps for continuous integration, testing, delivery, deployment, and monitoring. You’ll explore different challenges faced by developers due to varied OSs, the unforgiving nature of mobile applications, and continuous updates to mobile phones and learn how to maneuver through these challenges. You’ll also get to grips with the latest trends while discovering the potential future of mobile DevOps, with valuable insights and guidance about integrating mobile development teams into your organization. By the end of this book, you’ll be well-equipped to successfully implement mobile DevOps and build fast, qualitative, and efficient mobile apps for your team or organization.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Part 1: Introduction to Mobile DevOps
Part 2: Implementing the Mobile DevOps Environment
Part 3: Monitoring, Optimizing, and Securing Mobile DevOps
Part 4: Moving Beyond Mobile DevOps and the Future of DevOps

The importance of mobile apps

Every day, digital transformation gains traction. Consumers today demand better products and services and businesses need to adopt technologies to stay competitive. This will enable them to be more efficient and to make better decisions.

In addition, there is room for innovation that meets customer needs. All of this requires integration, continuous development, innovation, and deployment. It is all possible with Mobile DevOps.

In particular, mobile app development is becoming more challenging and complicated every day. Today, we rely on mobile apps to accomplish a number of tasks, including online shopping, online payments, money transfers, medical consultations, e-learning, social sharing, and so much more.

With all of these activities, customers expect mobile apps to perform better, have a friendly user interface, be customizable, and multilingual, and have more advanced features, with a small footprint.

When your mobile app launches with bugs, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain and recover it. The process of finding the root cause, preparing a new release, testing it, and releasing the hotfix again requires a lot of effort on the part of the team. You may need to wait weeks or months for that to happen. As a result, your customers will leave negative reviews on the App Stores during this time.

To maximize customer satisfaction and value, you must examine your processes and tooling and identify opportunities for improvement.

But the question is, can your current workflow or setup support your mobile app in the long run? What about the future? Is your team able to cope with the scale? What happens if the business and the team grow? Last but not least, is your team satisfied with the tasks they perform on a daily basis?

Mobile teams focus on handling increasingly challenging tasks. Because of this focus, it is all too easy to miss the process altogether. Mobile developers will spend less time fixing bugs if they stop and check their work regularly (a DevOps process).

Challenges lie ahead

Smartphone usage is growing worldwide. In 2025, there are expected to be 7.49 billion smartphone users worldwide, up from 7.26 billion in 2022. More details can be found at this link: .

By 2026, it is estimated that the worldwide spending on premium apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions will reach $233 billion across Apple’s App Store and Google Play, which is 77 percent above the $132 billion spent in 2021 by consumers.

Additionally, it is expected that over the next 5 years, the gross revenue on both app stores will continue to rise at a rate of 12 percent at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 percent, reaching $233 billion in 2026. More details can be found at this link:

Wow, that’s a lot! There is no doubt that all businesses need to prepare for the next wave, be aware of their challenges, put together a plan for the next wave, and not mention the opportunity to grow and improve.

In mobile development, every business has the following:

  • Unique processes
  • Unique investments and goals
  • Unique people and culture

Here’s an example

Fintech apps play a huge role in our everyday activities. Individuals can use these apps to manage their finances and make financial decisions, and they often offer personalized recommendations and insights using advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Whether in e-commerce, food/groceries delivery, or digital banking, fintech is becoming an integral part of our personal and professional lives.

In the digital age, fintech has already made a significant impact, and these advanced technological tools for both private and marketable finance will only evolve further in their usage and effectiveness.

Mobile apps of this type require different processes from other apps. They need an effective test automation strategy including security testing since security is very important here, app performance is also important, and releasing frequently and quickly is a high priority due to competition or customer satisfaction.

On the other hand, if we are creating a social media app, the requirements and processes will differ.

Because of this, I believe that there is no silver bullet and each team or company should come up with its own solutions.

Let me tell you a story

In order to understand the importance of Mobile DevOps, let me share with you a real-world scenario that occurred before we had any processes, technologies, or stack in place for Mobile DevOps.

Suppose that we are working at XYZ, a fintech company, and the process of developing and releasing mobile apps could be faster and more efficient. Before an app can be released, the development team spends weeks or even months building and testing new features, and the QA team finds bugs that needed to be fixed manually because they don’t have test automation scripts. Because of this, new versions of the app are rarely released, and when they are, they often have issues that need to be fixed later.

The current challenges can be summarized as follows:

  • Our new features are released every 3 months: This is a huge factor because we have to keep up with competitors and release new features as quickly as possible.
  • Our deployment process is chaotic and painful because we don’t have a clear deployment process or release manager.
  • The Continuous Integration (CI) pipelines or workflows are inflexible and fragile and our team spends a great deal of time and effort dealing with daily issues related to the CI server and configuration, as well as network issues and device issues.
  • There are a lot of problems associated with manual testing, including them being time-consuming and effort-consuming. Additionally, UI tests as well as emulators may not work well if we have automated tests, which drives us to have flaky tests.
  • There are no security testing tools available to us and we have no idea which tools to use for security testing.

It was frustrating for the management team to see the slow rate of app development and the many issues with it. Despite knowing it needed to improve the way it developed and released mobile apps, it didn’t know where to begin. Previously, the team released every 3 months, and the first goal was to reduce the release cycle to 1 month or 2 weeks (a weekly or bi-weekly release cadence).

In order to improve its mobile app development process, the company adopted Mobile DevOps practices. It started a collaboration process between its mobile development and QA teams on the principles of Mobile DevOps, including CI, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment.

Mobile DevOps = faster releases

With Mobile DevOps, the company was able to significantly improve the speed and reliability of its mobile app development process. The mobile development team was able to make small, frequent updates to the app, and the QA team was able to quickly identify and fix any issues that arose.

As a result, the company was able to release new versions of the app more frequently, with fewer issues.

The management team was pleased with the results of the Mobile DevOps implementation, and the more stable and frequently updated apps led to significant improvements in user satisfaction. As a result, the company was able to deliver high-quality apps to users more quickly and efficiently than before.

But was it easy? No, it required a change in the team’s mindset and the involvement of all the team members to achieve success.

Is this something that takes a short amount of time? No, it’s a journey that never ends, a process that’s always evolving to address the challenges of developing mobile apps.

Considering my point of view, I believe the following:

Mobile DevOps is a journey, not a destination.

Now that we have addressed most of the main challenges that mobile teams face on a daily basis, let’s learn why we need to consider a process such as Mobile DevOps.

Why does Mobile DevOps matter?

Mobile DevOps enables teams to release new features, updates, and bug fixes at a faster pace. This agility helps meet evolving user demands and gain a competitive edge in the market. It ensures higher app quality with automated testing and continuous monitoring by reducing the number of bugs and issues reaching end users, which leads to improved user experience and customer satisfaction.

It also promotes collaboration and communication between developers, testers, and operations teams. This collaborative environment facilitates knowledge sharing, feedback exchange, and a culture of teamwork and collective ownership.

During the previous short story, we encountered different challenges that hindered our progress such as the following:

  • Inflexible and fragile development environment
  • The QA team takes a long time to approve the new release
  • Releasing a new version of the app takes a long time
  • We don’t have a clear process or responsibilities for the releases

It then realized Mobile DevOps processes could help it resolve all of these issues because of the benefits of Mobile DevOps, including the following:

  • Solving problems and delivering results faster
  • Your business will be more agile as a result
  • Building trust and collaboration
  • Innovation results from automation
  • Costs and risks are significantly reduced
  • Focusing on customer satisfaction
  • Faster feedback and time to market
  • Improved ability to build the right solution
  • Better product quality
  • More reliable releases
  • Improved productivity

Mobile DevOps processes can help businesses solve problems faster, become more agile, build trust and collaboration, reduce costs and risks, focus on customer satisfaction, and improve product quality, reliability, productivity, and the time to market.

This will be a quick introduction to Mobile DevOps since we will go into it further in Chapter 3, Mobile DevOps Fundamentals.