Secrets to successful mobile-apps development


  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011

By GABEY GOH bytz@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Mobile applications developers need to be aware that successful apps are not one-off projects. They are longterm labours that require much fore thought.

Chris Hong, founder of consulting, application development and training firm H. M. Hong & Associates, said it is critical that all stakeholders — from programmers to finance staff — are involved in the project from the beginning.

“Afterthoughts are expensive, you need to have everyone on the same page from the get go,” he said.

Hong said the developers must also invest in talent acquisition and retention; while working with a timeline that puts 60% of the budget into development and 40% into iterative refinement of the eventual product.

He was speaking to a crowd of more than 200 developers attending the Mobile App Developer Seminar 2011 here.

Another speaker, Tan Tze Meng — head of the Policy Planning & Advocacy Unit (Digital Infrastructure) at MSC Malaysia — said mobile apps are a game changer, with app downloads now exceeding music downloads.

It is also a lucrative industry. Tan pointed out that Apple Inc alone has paid out more than US$3bil (RM9bil) to app developers globally so far.

More Malaysians should get in on this pie and MSC Malaysia has an ongoing programme — Icon2 — to assist apps developers to produce higher quality content, with a view to generating more revenue.

Tan said the programme is slated to restart next month for new applications.

MSC Malaysia is a national initiative to develop the country into a knowledge-based economy.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Malaysia’s senior technology advisor, Ian Su, shared details on the support and resources available to the apps developers seeking to create content on the Windows Phone Platform.

Su said that while Microsoft’s (applications) marketplace is not yet available in this country; developers could contact the company directly to get their products online.

He said Microsoft’s App Hub developer portal would be available for Malaysians very soon, but declined to name an exact date.

More fail

Also present was Celcom’s developer programme manager Stephanie Chin, who shared that only 5% of apps launched in the marketplace are successful, with 95% failing to meet the projected take up rates.

“Ideas are limitless but what is your unique selling point?” Chin asked the participants.

She also said that increasing competition in value-added services, from app stores and other telecommunications brands, has led to an industry shift to a prosumer model, which embraces open collaboration and user-generated content.

Developers who are part of Celcom’s developer programme are able to fully leverage on the telco company’s resources to market their apps.

Another speaker, Edwin Choong of Micro Focus, a multinational software and information technology company, emphasised the need to conduct virtual load testing on backend systems before any public rollout of an app.

He pointed to the recent issues experienced by users worldwide in downloading and installing Apple’s iOS5 operating system as a case in point.

The seminar was organised by InStep Learning Asia, a training centre specialising in IT training and certification programmes.

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