Once you are past the issues and dilemmas regarding small-scale projects that your app can handle and function seamlessly on, the real test begins. Only when your app can perform well under higher workload conditions and complex interoperability options, does it qualify as a highly scalable app that can function smoothly across multiple platforms.
However, it is not a cakewalk to design and streamline your app for different platforms to enhance user engagement and scalability. Below we will discuss scalability and why is it such an important step to be taken by CTOs, developers, as well as startup founders. Make it to the end of this post to understand scalability and its benefits better along with a few practices to implement in your system.
Every entrepreneur dreams of their mobile app achieving commercial success. As the app gains popularity, its user base grows, leading to a surge in demand for its features. With increased user activity, backend operations intensify, and more storage space is essential to accommodate the growing data. Without sufficient scalability, the app is prone to crashes under this escalating data load.
Understanding the Significance of App Development Scalability
Scalability is nothing but the method through which you can evaluate if your app can implement higher amounts of workload on itself and work as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Nowadays, it is a general demand for every business to have a backend system that can keep up with the inundating demand of the app’s users. As a result, it is important to scale your app for such circumstances.
Scalability, in Gartner’s terms, refers to a system’s dynamic ability to adjust performance and costs to the evolving demands of processing. It’s the key to ensuring your application grows seamlessly with user demands and data influx.
More data processing would incentivize more users to engage with the app which increases the user base for the app. Highly scalable apps can handle more requests without compromising the system’s performance. Even in high-traffic periods, scalability is something that guides you through the sea of unavailability and unreliability. Your system might experience downtime without enough scalability leading to a loss in capital, negative customer feedback, and tarnishing brand value.
Challenges of App Scaling across different platforms
As app scaling is a tedious task to pull off, there are multiple obstacles that developers need to overcome before they can render their app scalable. Such challenges include:
Unorganized code makes room for any individual change to break the code into different parts of the application. You can also find specific functionality instantly through organized code. Another obstacle is bug tracking through thousands of lines of code. With organized code, this number is confined to not more than a hundred.
Apps differ in the amount of data they send and receive. Heavy data-driven apps are subjected to serve a smaller user base. However, once the user base increases, network bottlenecks begin to arise that evinces performance setbacks. This harms the user experience greatly since the backend is unable to process the input and execute output with the same urgency.
The addition of better features hinders the release cycle of the app since the developers are stuck in ensuring seamless initial functionality of the app after the addition of such features.
Another hard pill to swallow is the addition of complete UI overhauls from time to time in the future. Such practices can consistently keep the incremental changes from surfacing. Future changes are accounted for while designing UI rewrites. A lot of time and money is saved by dropping new features into the interfaces already built for them.
Test writing is highly incumbent since it hints to the developer whether a change they want to implement will work smoothly without diminishing the existing functionality or not. However, extensive test writing is difficult to accomplish under time-sensitive demands.
Key Factors Impacting App Development Scalability
Now that you understand some of the challenges and issues that developers face when it comes to mobile app development scalability, it is time to consider the different factors that determine the success of scalable apps.
Design and Architecture
App scalability is something that can be easily affected by the design and architecture of the app. Generally, the developers must pick from serverless, monolithic, as well as microservices architectures to develop scalable apps.
Components arrangement along with data models affect the design choices as well as the data-handling processes inside a network. Well-scaled web applications also handle user sessions and state information with the help of a software component in the web application. Some of the elements affecting web application scalability include asynchronous processing techniques and caching mechanisms.
Infrastructure and Resources
Infrastructure is completely dependent on the kind of cloud services that are implemented to develop web applications. The scalability features are the sole factors that determine the company’s decision to change the app’s design.
The capability of the hardware gathered is also a factor that affects the development of scalable web apps. It encompasses a digital network’s data storage, handling, as well as processing capacity. As a result, it is incumbent for the relevant resources to be available for a successful web application.
User Behaviour and Traffic Patterns
Enhancement in user engagement and retention is also a huge but obvious factor in determining scalability decisions for companies. It decides the capacity of incoming requests that highlight the expansive requirements of a web application.
Traffic patterns also define the difference in spikes that highlight the variation in human traffic and user behavior. User feedback is important for organizations to plan their web app scalability as well as the right kind for it.
Third-Party Services and APIs
Applications also rely on third-party services and APIs to operate better and offer a unique user experience. As a result, the performance and scalability options of these services grossly define the probable options for changes in the architecture pattern of a web application.
Code Efficiency and Optimization
A smooth functioning code can improve the data management capabilities of a web application architecture as well as curtail the server load. It also accounts for the occasional bottlenecks inside a code. Hence, it enhances the web performance and evades any unnecessary scalability options.
Different aspects of the infrastructure and architecture of a web application determine its role in the scalability of the web application. They make scalable web app principles that can instruct an organization to make the right decisions when it comes to web application scalability.
Strategies for Developing Scalable Apps across different platforms
Now that you understand the factors responsible for scaling apps across different platforms, it is time we get to the scalability solutions for mobile apps for the issues and challenges that entail app development. Some of these strategies are:
Take an API-first approach
APIs are considered as the distinct and modular parts of a web application. It keeps the app’s functionality accessible through an API. The scaling derived from the API-first approach also becomes easier as an app built from disseminated parts can be put together with much convenience through only the intended parts. API gateways also provide a wide range of functionality across multiple API endpoints.
Cache Enough Data
Web applications generally deal with data constraining its performance while dealing with heavy data. This can be solved easily by caching. A cache is capable of storing data temporarily which can be later delivered to the client, avoiding the need to connect and query the database on the demand of the client. This comes in handy while scaling read-intensive web apps as it eliminates the query time and offers access to data quickly.
Implement multi-tier software architecture
The web app needs to be divided into multiple tiers by incorporating multi-tier software. Some of these servers are databases, applications, and web servers. Each of them functions on separate servers and hardware, simplifying scalability in applications.
Multi-tier software also allows developers to change the server configuration or hardware of the app of each tier without affecting any of the other tiers when it comes to performance. This becomes cost-effective as changes are made only to the affected tier. In a single-tiered architecture, the whole application needs to be overhauled to meet the scaling requirements.
Choose microservices over monoliths
Monoliths are screwed tightly and occupy a large and complex code base. This is why scaling single components can get somewhat difficult without impacting the whole application. It can prove to be costly to scale a monolithic application. Horizontal scaling requires the duplication of the entire application. This is pointless since specific features in the application are enough. It also requires more computing power than necessary.
A microservices architecture is capable enough to scale necessary elements only. The codebase of the app is divided into individual modules in a microservice architecture. This individual scaling offloads computing power and meets the workload requirements.
Keep an eye out for key metrics
As a precaution, it is important to observe metrics like memory use and CPU, latency, and network throughput. Observing CPU usability allows optimal workload maintenance and power balance regulation. These metrics also tell us the amount of CPUs to be increased to match the workload rate. With an observability tool, you can set an intended CPU utilization level which when reached initiates an autoscaler to increase the CPU output.
Uptime analysis is also important as the higher the uptime, the better the user experience. A logging tool can come in handy when the app fails as the paucity of data logs indicate delays. This information is then utilized to scale the application.
Future Trends in Cross-Platform Scalability
Even with the rapid evolution of technology, app development is bound to evolve too. As a result, some of the trends that might take place in the future regarding scalability are given below:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)- AI tools are quite powerful and robust for developing cross-platform apps. It helps in app testing, analysis, and personalization.
- Internet of Things (IoT)- IoT integration with cross-platform can establish a seamless user experience. It can aid in developing apps and connecting multiple devices.
- Low and No-Code Platforms- This allows developers to create apps with limited or Low code which makes development quicker and more accessible.
- Cloud Technologies- Cloud-based app development allows room for improvement not just in scalability, maintenance, and security which also enhances the development speed of the app. Developers are also able to focus on features and other functionalities.
- Increased adoption rate- Cross-platform app development is widely efficient and cost-effective which is why it is only going to be adopted further from here on out.
- Enhanced User Experience- Due to the implementation of trends such as AI and IoT, cross-platform apps will provide an even more personalized and seamless user experience.
- Improved Functionality- Developers will create more apps with advanced features and functionalities as cross-platform app technology improves.
- More tools and platforms- The demand for tools will increase exponentially as the demand for cross-platform functionality increases. This will create more demand and opportunities for the developers to be more flexible and dynamic.
If you made it to this part of the blog, it implies that you now have a general idea of how things are when it comes to app development scalability across different platforms. With all the challenges and issues faced while scaling your app for different platforms, it becomes much more efficient for your business to drive customers this way as you increase the reach of your brand amongst your target audience.
Putting out effective strategies to counter issues related to scalability is the only way to scale your app successfully. Whether the issue is coding-related or design-specific, the right strategy will let you develop an app that is scalable across all kinds of platforms.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
1. How does scalability help in widening the user base for a business?
Due to the dalliance of the same app on multiple platforms, the product targets a wider range of audience across multiple platforms. This is how scalability can tackle the issue of limited visibility.
2. How to evaluate the scalability of an app across multiple platforms?
Factors like cross-platform compatibility, interactive design, and utilization of adaptability frameworks are some of the ways to assess the scalability of an app across different platforms. You can also conduct tests on multiple devices and operating systems to spot any performance issues or inconsistencies.
3. Can scalability affect the app’s performance and speed?
Yes, this is true. Efficient scaling of an app results in speed efficiency and high responsiveness across all platforms. However, the vice versa is possible as well. Poor scalability can deliver tardy performance, overall average user experience, and user interface issues.
4. What are some of the tools that help in app scalability?
Some of the tools and frameworks that help in app scalability include Appium, Xamarin Test Cloud, and Firebase Test Lab. Such tools help in conducting automated tests on multiple devices and platforms, assessing potential scalability bugs and issues early on in the development process.