Mobility represents the biggest challenge to developers in years. Explosive demand for apps is placing increasing pressure on developers to build a larger variety of apps in shorter periods. But enterprises know all too well the unique set of challenges mobility presents: The complexities of developing for multiple platforms across an ever increasing range of handsets and devices requires a set of skills that few developers possess.
Leading messaging and mobility solutions provider CIM Mobility of Denmark recently found itself in that situation. It was tasked to build a cross-platform solution to track logistical information to monitor the whereabouts of children in kindergarten—when they are dropped off and by who, when and who is picking them up, when they are out sick or on vacation.
“We are primarily a Microsoft .NET development shop,” explained Allan Krøyer, CIM Mobility Founder. “Mobility is becoming more and more of a priority to customers and of course those apps have to work across iOS, Android and
Although cross-platform development is a relatively recent phenomenon, the marketplace is burgeoning with contenders. Krøyer conducted his due diligence and narrowed the field to Xamarin and NativeScript. “We tested Xamarin extensively, but I felt we needed a solution that was easier for our developers to adapt to,” he said. “There are a number of other solutions in the market but they are mostly new and untested.”
An extensive test of NativeScript revealed a pleasant surprise for Krøyer. “From a developer’s standpoint I liked what I saw in NativeScript,” he said. “But I was elated when I saw it comes out of the Telerik organization. We are long time users of Telerik development tools and I have complete confidence that NativeScript will be around for years to come." I had to contract three people to work on the three operating systems—a business model that is not sustainable as demand for mobile solutions continues to grow. “To maintain efficiency and profitability,” he continued, “we need an enterprise level, easy-to-use cross-platform development solution that our .NET developers can readily learn and use.”
Krøyer was looking to NativeScript to address the excessive testing and maintenance that comes with cross-platform development, as well as the ability to release apps for each operating system to the app stores at the same time. “The build was far easier than we anticipated,” he said. “With NativeScript it became apparent quickly that we would no longer have a need for iOS and Android specialists—our Microsoft .NET team became fully functional—fast.”
The app under development, “DayCare,” posed a significant challenge to the CIM Mobility team. It is extremely complex, with three versions—one for parents, one for teachers and one for administration. Running on three platforms, it is essentially a collection of nine apps. “With NativeScript we essentially have one app to maintain in place of nine,” Krøyer said. “Over time we expect to reduce maintenance resources by at least 50 percent and speed development of future apps.”
Security is also an issue as the app carries confidential data from the server to the mobile device. “We essentially had to build a device management system to handle the complex authentication issues,” he explained. “Parents have their very specific permissions as do the teachers and administration.”
Scalability was also a consideration. “DayCare is a large app with nearly 20,000 users daily,” Krøyer said. “And because the information is so sensitive and critical it must be robust and highly-reliable—crashes are just not acceptable in this environment.”
With the recent release of DayCare on the iOS and Android platforms, Krøyer and the CIM Mobility team are looking forward to more cross-platform development projects. “With so many devices out there it is a necessity to develop on the three platforms simultaneously,” Krøyer said. “We are looking to NativeScript to allow us to profitably and efficiently deliver robust and scalable cross-platform apps that exceed expectations.”
About CIM Mobility
CIM Mobility is a Professional IT Services company specializing in consulting, software development and complex end-to-end solutions for both SMEs and large enterprises. CIM Mobility offers high performance SMS “Text” chat systems and cross platform app and web development. See more at cim-mobility.dk. CIM Mobility develops and hosts highly-scalable systems for Kindergartens, utilizing touchscreens, mobile apps, parent platforms etc. See more at www.daycare.dk and www.cim-mobility.com
NativeScript is an open source platform for building Native mobile applications, supported by Telerik, a Progress company. For more information, please visit www.nativescript.org