The world has gone mobile. We are in an era where our mobile phones are always within arm’s reach, night and day. And what are people doing on these devices? Accessing mobile applications (apps). Mobile apps have endless potential use cases.

From religious apps, internal employee communications apps, fitness apps, e-commerce apps, small business apps, and more, there is always an app for anything you can think of. You can create an app as an extension for your business or use it to establish a new business.

So, whether you want to create the next Uber or build an app for your business, this is a comprehensive guide to creating a powerful mobile app. If you have experienced a failed app development attempt before, non-technical user, or are a first-time builder, we will guide you through the app-building process with Mendix in a straightforward manner.

First, let us gain a deeper understanding of the Mendix platform and then dive into building powerful mobile apps on the cloud

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What is Mendix Mobile?

Mendix is a low-code platform that allows organizations to develop mobile apps and deploy them elsewhere. Also, it enables organizations to leverage modern mobile technologies, offer rich native user experiences, and easily use native device features.

Mendix platform backs up the entire application development lifecycle from ideation, development, and deployment to monitoring. Mendix assists developers in building rich mobile apps from a single model, with a single platform, and with no code. In that case, enterprises can build mobile apps without the extended technical know-how.

Mendix apps are packaged and published as mobile apps through PhoneGap. In this framework, you can generate a mobile app for multiple platforms like iPhone Operating System (iOS) and Android, install it on tablets and phones, and publish it in app stores. PhoneGap permits you to create mobile apps based on JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and then deploy them to various mobile devices without compromising the native app features. Also, PhoneGap allows you to easily download apps and build mobile apps in the cloud without necessarily locally installing development tools.

5 Tips to Building Mobile Apps on The Cloud with Mendix

Here are some practical steps you can use when developing mobile apps with Mendix:

Model

Building a mobile app is close to developing a standard Mendix web app. Nevertheless, there are several aspects you must consider.

Mendix incorporates a responsive front end. This implies the elements and layout will automatically conform to the screen size. In this case, the pages you model could be displayed on a mobile device. Mobile device use differs from the desktop as it has a small screen, and users use screen gestures, not the mouse. Mobile users expect discrete navigation and distinct type of connection, among others.

To deliver the best user experience, employ the tablet or mobile profile enabled in the project navigation. This navigation is utilized by model apps which allows you to develop a channel for tablets, phones, and desktops from a single model.

When building a model for mobile apps, you may consider the following six takeaways:

  • Use new buttons and open or closed pages instead of microflow actions for better performance.
  • Minimize the number of fields on one page, so the user does not need to scroll.
  • For phones, use template grids or list views as they are touch-friendly, not data grids.
  • Promote optimal performance and user-friendliness by keeping the pages simple.
  • Maintain a good project overview using different microflows and mobile page modules.
  • Regulate employment of transparent CSS features as they may negatively affect performance.

Preview and Test the Mobile App

You need to view and test the mobile application through the app-building process. There are various approaches to testing and viewing your apps, such as deploying a hybrid app on the phone, simulating a device in Google Chrome, viewing through the Mendix Developer App, or using a tablet or phone app.

You can ideally test an offline-capable mobile app in the browser. This is because the Modeler scrutinizes invalid constructions. Use the phone or tablet profile homepage to test your offline app via the browser effortlessly. But remember, you will still test the app on real devices.

Generate a Mobile App

As stated earlier, Mendix uses PhoneGap to build a mobile app. Through the developer Portal, you can use your project’s publish tab. You just need to click on publish for Mobile App Stores and be directed to your hybrid app settings. You can input icons, splash screens, descriptions, app identifiers, and names.

The Publish for Mobile App Stores button directs you to the page where you will generate the hybrid app. You can specify the environment that your app can connect to before bringing about the hybrid app. Then, you can download the app and manually upload it later or send it to PhoneGap Build directly.

Build the Mobile App

Automatic app building starts immediately after you upload or send the app to PhoneGap. This works out of the box for Android. After the build, one can download the Android Application Kit (APK file) through a QR code or download link. Keep in mind this is exclusively for development and testing purposes. For production builds or iOS builds, a developer certificate is a must-have.

Produce the App

Once your certificates are in place, you can publish your built mobile app in an app store such as Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Posting an Android app in Google Play Store only requires you to access PhoneGap Build, download the signed APK and then upload it here

You require an Application Loader accustomed to Xcode to publish in Apple App Store, which you can download from the App Store. You can augment the PhoneGap Build IPA file and send it to Apple iTunes Connect once you start the Application Loader.

Conclusion

Whether you have created several apps or it is your first app, building mobile apps is not always a walk in the park. Take advantage of the Mendix technology today and create an app with low to no coding skills. The platform will walk you through the app development process to publishing it on Google Play and Apple Stores.

Need to learn more about app building with Mendix? Access our glossary page today; we got you covered.

Author

Indium Software is a leading digital engineering company that provides Application Engineering, Cloud Engineering, Data and Analytics, DevOps, Digital Assurance, and Gaming services. We assist companies in their digital transformation journey at every stage of digital adoption, allowing them to become market leaders.