App development seems to be the centerpiece of many business brands around the world. These brands flourish on the idea of developing and offering app services to their customer base. Thinking simple and delivering solutions is a shared purpose of multiple businesses around the world.
Despite the high competition from the beginning, Statista claims that the number of apps in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store combined in the first quarter of 2015 was almost 16 billion. Ever since this number saw a major increase and by the first quarter of 2023, hit the 35 billion mark which although is a 2 billion plummet since the second quarter of 2020, is still greater than the first quarter of 2015. Since the last quarter, there has been a nominal increase in app downloads on both these platforms combined by less than one percent.
Statistics, no matter how reasonable, cannot account for the convenience applications provide. Due to this convenience, these apps are monetized for revenue. There are multiple ways in which they can do that. For instance charging a minor user fee of a dollar, offering discounts to buy the premium version with more features, or even selling ad space.
Statista also predicts the capital of mobile apps across the world in the next two years will touch 613 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.
To make your mark in this game, make sure to pick the right kind of mobile app architecture. Below is a detailed analysis of mobile app architectures as well as the basics to develop them.
What Is a Mobile App Architecture Diagram?
Having the right architecture signifies that your mobile application is free from any external support. Every successful mobile app operating on iOS or Android was manually created by individual developers and not with the help of frameworks or any other external means. Developing a functional architecture should not rely on a library’s availability. Your architectural diagram must stay independent of other operating systems and databases so that it can operate regardless of the status of other programs.
Good architecture offers benefits such as transforming the process and maintaining and developing a code in a much simpler and more seamless way. The probability of expanding and changing the program increases with good architecture. It also becomes easier for the developer to test, debug, and understand the program. As a result, it becomes ideal for large-scale projects with exorbitant budgets.
The universality of this type of architecture lets developers install multiple plug-ins and aids in instant troubleshooting, however, it should not be developed through frameworks. The code should be written from the beginning.
Importance of a Good Mobile App Architecture
To create a functional and decent working app, you need to ensure that the development process is flawless and that every element is designed and built accurately. The quality of the app can be compromised largely due to the smallest of issues. Hence, always keep in mind to give it your all while developing the app. This also means that every successful mobile app has an engaging and robust mobile app architecture that persuades its users to keep coming back.
A mobile app architecture is a combination of multifarious structural elements and interfaces forming the composition of the system along with their behavior and interaction with each other. This is the true framework of your app, the functionality of which is determined by its quality. Your final product might be undesirable to the users if you make a simple mistake while designing the architecture of your app. The size of the app determines the convenience of developing a high-quality app architecture. If done right, it can save much time, money, and energy in the future.
There might occur multiple drawbacks if the application is developed without any architecture. These contain higher development costs as well as more complicated processes, issues with app testing and maintenance, higher probability of errors, etc.
It is worthwhile to develop a matching mobile application architecture. It can completely increase the rate of software development processes and offer a simple direction of data flow which makes it much more convenient to scale the application in the foreseeable future.
With the correct architecture, you can also allow dynamic flexibility and incorporate agile development methodology. Testing processes can become much simpler and more efficient. This also results in streamlining any future app maintenance. As a result, mobile app architecture will save enough money and time for businesses.
Elements of a good mobile app architecture
There are numerous apps today, built without an app architecture. A lack of architecture results in an app with the following features:
- Takes much longer and costlier to develop
- More difficult to scale or expand
- More susceptible to errors
- During any staff changes it is harder to manage
- Much more complex to examine and analyze
Multiple software development principles can help boost the development process of mobile app architecture. This includes the data path that makes additional work simpler to execute. It also hints at how to scale and build better on the app in the future.
A visually succinct mobile app architecture aids in providing flexibility as well and Agile development methods increase testing efficiency and simplify future maintenance by reducing the risk of bugs in the app. A robust and effective app architecture can save both time and money in both the short and long term.
Good mobile app architecture is not limited to a single platform. It can adapt to both cross-platform and native as a consequence of the unified app development
Layers in Mobile App Architecture
The most popular version of mobile app architecture is displayed in three different layers: presentation, business logic, and data.
This layer incorporates all the necessary elements and components to offer the app to the user. While developing the presentation layer, the developer tries to embody what the user sees and feels while using the app. As a result, this layer is composed of user experience and user interface elements.
- User Interface is embedded with design elements such as fonts, placements, colors, and overall design.
- User Experience deals with the navigation part of the app for the user. It deals with what a user understands and feels while using the app.
During the presentation phase, the developers need to consider the right platform and device type to deliver similar qualities in all platforms and devices.
2. Business Logic
This layer concerns itself with logic and code necessary for operations, data exchange, along workflow regulation. It also takes care of the following elements:
- Data Caching
- Data Validation
- Exception management
Based on the operations and commands of the app along with the resources every single operation takes, this layer exists either on the server or the user device.
3. Data Layer
There are all kinds of utilities in the data layer such as data access components, support data components, data utilities, and service agents. This layer can be divided into two parts:
- Persistence- With the help of API, data access with data sources
- Network- Routing, error reporting, and network communication.
The blueprint of this layer must incorporate elements such as maintenance and validation of data.
Android Mobile App Architecture
In earlier times, the developers did not have access to any libraries to work with on the network. During those times, AsyncTask was quite significant in the development of Android mobile app architecture.
Let’s take a peek at how architecture is created for Android applications:
To implement reliability and functionality, it is important to incorporate certain techniques of Clean Architecture in your mobile app. As mentioned above, such architecture makes your application independent of frameworks and databases.
Boundaries are the separators that help in transitions in Android mobile application architecture. It is carried out by two interfaces- one for the command and the other one for the answer. These are necessary due to the independence of the inner layer from the outer layer, however, at the same time, can transfer valuable information to it.
For much reliability in such an app architecture to streamline the reverse data flow, the principle of dependency inversion is implemented. This means that one can (with the help of the Presenter) make the Uses Cases depend on the interface in its layer (which antagonizes the Dependency Rule) as opposed to on the Presenter.
iOS Mobile App Architecture
The general model of iOS mobile app architecture can be categorized into four individual blocks:
- Kernel level (Core OS)- Functions with the file system that oversees the credibility of multiple certificates belonging to the applications. It is also responsible for the protection and security of the whole system. It also contains low-level access to the components of the device.
- Core Services (Core Service) — It offers file controls and access to multiple databases.
- Media level (Media) — It is filled with tools that process the majority of media data formats.
- Interface level (Cocoa Touch) — This one contains multiple tools for designing mobile interfaces and offers additional layers with user data.
Complex iOS mobile application architecture is designed by an MVC (Model View Controller) with the help of its prototypes. They deliver high-quality architecture. With the help of the MVC model, Apple offers the best practices for mobile app architecture. This model is made up of:
- Model– The first layer of data includes model objects, managers, persistence, and networking code.
- View- Just like the presentation layer, this is a reusable layer that showcases the app to the user.
- Controller- This is a mediator that interacts with an abstraction through a condition
With the help of the MVC model, the developer can see rapid and parallel developments to create distinct and various views which is a top choice for mobile app development.
Hybrid Mobile App Architecture
Cross-Platform Mobile App Architecture
Enterprise Mobile App Architecture
To successfully run a business, multiple companies utilize corporate applications that make it all the more convenient for the client as well as employees to interact with their company. There are different functions in the application such as purchases, monitoring, communication, and filtering services that can be utilized by the company employees.
When it comes to enterprise mobile app architecture, there is generally an impasse between the IT infrastructure as well as business requirements, which is generated by dynamic market changes. Enterprise mobile apps generally deal with issues such as low speed, scalability, unreliability, and the inconvenience of managing and updating software.
Best Practices for Architecting Mobile Applications
To build a high-end architecture of a mobile application, make sure to synchronize all the elements and capabilities of the application. Since you cannot predict the kind of features in demand in the future it is better to only implement a few of them in the first version. If this is not done, it can overload the interface, increase the development time, and defer the product launch.
Below is a standard model of the data system framed in mobile enterprise application architecture:
Architecture for Mobile Application & Tips for Making It
For every simple or complex app that functions well, there is a seamlessly designed architecture. You can save your time, cost, and effort via architecture. You can efficiently and effortlessly test and debug a decent architecture.
Below are a few points to understand if your application has a decent architecture or not:
- Efficiency: Regardless of the condition, the application can deliver the desired results with seamless performance. The system can balance all kinds of loads with being reliable and effective.
- Flexibility: Due to a variety of flexible options, the decided solution is always dynamic to change, and there aren’t many issues. You can switch any element and the impact would be minimal, not negatively affecting the app.
- Extensibility: Numerous functions can be added to the application.
- Scalability: Reduced time for development and updates. Solid architecture lets you channel development in multiple threads.
- Testability: You can quite simply analyze the architecture for mobile applications that showcases the number of errors that are reduced bolstering the app’s reliability.
- Simplicity: The code must be simple enough for other developers to get a hold of. The decent architecture permits beginners to understand the app.
Additional choices to make before developing your Mobile App Architecture
To develop a functioning mobile app, there are a few additional factors to consider to determine the state of your app. There are four key dimensions you need to take care of while developing mobile app architecture.
- Picking the mobile app dimensions that are suitable for preferred devices.
- Testing your app in different scenarios for its functionality on varying quality of Internet connection.
- Improving UI details for the users
- Choosing the right navigation elements for the screen.
These factors are described further below.
Accounting For Device Types
Your mobile app’s functionality and efficiency depend on the parameters of the smartphone. Simulate and imagine how your app might run on different screens, the compatibility of your app with the processor, storage space it requires. Once you cater to these software and hardware issues, your app will show signs of improvement in being more stable and reliable. Ensure that your app can function perfectly well on different devices.
Considering Variable Bandwidth
Make sure to account for the compatibility of your mobile app on variable Internet connections. Developers overlooking this scenario are the reason why there are so many connectivity issues in multiple apps. As a result, be a responsible developer and work on these nuances of connectivity.
Make sure to address this issue before meeting the target audience. Internet connectivity is variable all around the world. Some thrive on 5G while others survive on 3G. Speed and battery usage can be factored into this too. Hence, make sure your solution to this is a comfortable user experience.
Developing User Interface
The UI of an app is developed on the basic presentation layer. It forms the crux of interaction with the users. A simple and creative solution is the best way to offer a desirable UI to the users that can satisfy their demands from a functional app.
Picking the Right Navigation Method
Walking on the fine line between app restrictions and user expectations makes up for a decent navigation experience. However, this can be accomplished only through an immaculate vision of linking the front end and back end in a single solution.
Below are a few methods through which developers can offer impeccable navigation methods to their users:
- Stacked navigation bar. It is the taskbar that connects the links of all other components of your app to their assigned functions in a single frame.
- Tab controller. This helps in switching between multiple tabs with links.
- Modal controller. This is a screen menu that allows the user to switch between tabs and links.
- Single view. A screen that comprises a single element that lets users go back.
- Gesture-based navigation. This interactive tool allows the user to embed gesture-based navigation utilizing finger combinations that effectively communicate with the home icon to output action on the screen.
Catering to multiple customer bases is certainly not an easy task to accomplish. Some styles can speak volumes to a certain customer base while not so much to others. So make sure to find the common ground between all kinds.
Guide to Decide the Right Architecture for a Mobile App
Understand your Target Audience
Your app is a remedy to the user’s soul. If you can visualize your app in such a manner, you will be able to provide much satisfaction to the user with its features. Research the wants and needs of your future clients ranging from who they are to what applications they use. Furthermore, think about the possible solutions you can offer them based on their app usage. For instance, older customers demand a simplistic UI while the younger ones have a knack for motion design.
For a generalization of features, research the industry-specific elements to make the user experience familiar. Your workplace elements will communicate with you with the components that need to be added to your app. For instance, due to the more intuitive experience, fashion retailers enjoy a web app over a mobile one while taxi drivers prefer the other way around.
Work on a Prototype First
Ensure to not splurge your investment on the real app from the get-go. Start to develop a native program that is suitable for testing intuitive functionality along with seamless operation. With enough background research on your target audience and scalable solutions, you can effectively satisfy your user’s needs and provide sublime solutions to their problems.
Try to implement cross-platform apps in your app development strategy if the user demands to perform tasks on platforms besides iOS and Android. However, if the users are comfortable working on these two platforms, it is optimal to develop native apps.
Once decided, go for development functionality simulation on a prototype. Develop the kind of environment your users like to operate in if they want to work online or offline, create content based on that, induce a unique navigation method, etc.
Also, make sure to gain some customer feedback. Your app’s architecture must always be in harmony with the demands of the target audience. Thai implies that more convenient features must be implemented such as notifications, a home menu, widgets with high-performance speed, and interesting content.
Sharpen your App’s Key Functionality
Once the general preparations and reality check are completed, you can then begin to work on the offline commands and unique functions of the app. This step accounts for the technical functionality of the app along with a few industry-sensitive requirements.
You need to consider the pros and cons of several architectural models from the technical perspective. For instance, even though native apps have the best user experience, it can be quite pricey to install. On the other hand, web apps are not as costly and do not demand any superfluous downloads. However, they require an internet connection to accommodate their worse user experience. To evade this dilemma, Progressive Web Apps were architectured with higher reliability and enhanced user experience.
Make sure to add offline functionality to your app. There is too much reliance on the internet these days. Users hate it when they have to cease working due to network limitations. As a result, they appreciate apps with offline functionality. Develop the general functionality in a way that it can move offline. Once the user is connected back, make sure to implement the synchronization with the server. Native apps or PWAs are usually the perfect tools for this job.
Check the Availability of Your Development Team
There are always some limitations and restrictions to a project. Make sure to point out such constraints by analyzing your team’s experience and skills.
Figuring out the precise development timeframe is of paramount importance. Speed is a necessary skill to have however, your development team needs much time to deliver the desired results. Hence, make sure to inquire your development team about the knowledge and skills they possess to execute the app development process seamlessly.
The final step to designing a perfect mobile app architecture is determining its development cost. Make sure to balance your budget with key requirements amicably which is quite crucial when it comes to mobile app architecture.
Make sure to factor in the prices for additional resources and maintenance. If required, revisit the decisions made on native apps or different platforms. Also, scrutinize the benefits of ROI before finalizing your decision on mobile app architecture.
The amicable planning of mobile architecture must be performed before the initiation of the development process. This plan is a blueprint of multiple elements of the app and its organization along with the synchronization between them. It involves the refurbishment of classes and templates through the development process. This results in a well-organized and written app that is much more convenient to debug, test, and scale.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is mobile app architecture?
Mobile app architecture refers to the strategies and techniques implemented before the app development process. Making use of these techniques, the developers can create a robust, efficient, feature-rich industry-based application that caters to all sorts of business standards and has minimal risk of failure.
2. Why is it important to have a mobile app architecture?
A decent mobile app architecture allows the developer to save much time and cost which can prove to be much profitable to the business itself. Consequently, app architecture leads to easier and more convenient app testing and debugging.
3. What architecture is best for developing a high-quality mobile app?
Some of the best mobile app architectures are cross-platform, enterprise, and hybrid for both iOS and Android. To make the right choice, revisit your company’s goals and vision to pick the one that suits your business the most. Defining the sort of app you want to build helps to make that decision much easier.