Computer Science and Engineering Fair Project
Build a simple, and an advanced app for the iPad or iPhone


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Project Information
Title: Build a simple, and an advanced application for the iPad or iPhone.
Subject: Computer Science
Subcategory: Software
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Engineering
Cost: Low
Awards: 2nd Place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($100)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Year: 2014
Materials: Apple's iOS app development software: Xcode 5
Techniques and Concepts: Mobile application development
Description: This project compares the amount of time and code lines needed to build a simple and an advanced app for the iPad or iPhone.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2014/ratt14d
Background

Mobile application development

Mobile application development is the process by which application software is developed for low-power handheld devices, such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones. These applications can be pre-installed on phones during manufacturing, downloaded by customers from various mobile software distribution platforms, or delivered as web applications using server-side or client-side processing (e.g. JavaScript) to provide an "application-like" experience within a Web browser. Application software developers also have to consider a lengthy array of screen sizes, hardware specifications and configurations because of intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms. Mobile app development has been steadily growing, both in terms of revenues and jobs created. A 2013 analyst report estimates there are 529,000 direct App Economy jobs within the EU 28 members, 60% of which are mobile app developers.

As part of the development process, mobile user interface (UI) design is also an essential in the creation of mobile apps. Mobile UI considers constraints & contexts, screen, input and mobility as outlines for design. The user is often the focus of interaction with their device, and the interface entails components of both hardware and software. User input allows for the users to manipulate a system, and device's output allows the system to indicate the effects of the users' manipulation. Mobile UI design constraints include limited attention and form factors, such as a mobile device's screen size for a user's hand(s). Mobile UI contexts signal cues from user activity, such as location and scheduling that can be shown from user interactions within a mobile application. Overall, mobile UI design's goal is primarily for an understandable, user-friendly interface. The UI of mobile apps should: consider users' limited attention, minimize keystrokes, and be task-oriented with a minimum set of functions.

Each of the platforms for mobile applications also has an integrated development environment, which provides tools to allow a developer to write, test and deploy applications into the target platform environment.

Criteria for selecting a development platform usually contains the target mobile platforms, existing infrastructure and development skills. When targeting more than one platform with cross-platform development it is also important to consider the impact of the tool on the user experience. Performance is another important criteria, as research on mobile applications indicates a strong correlation between application performance and user satisfaction.

Mobile applications are first tested within the development environment using emulators and later subjected to field testing. Emulators provide an inexpensive way to test applications on mobile phones to which developers may not have physical access.

Several initiatives exist both from mobile vendor and mobile operators around the world. Application developers can propose and publish their applications on the stores, being rewarded by a revenue sharing of the selling price. An example is Apple's App Store, where only approved applications may be distributed and run on iOS devices (otherwise known as a walled garden). There are approximately 700,000 iOS Applications. Google's Android Market (now known as the "Play Store") has a large number of apps running on devices with Android OS.

There are many patents applications pending for new mobile phone apps. Most of these are in the technological fields of Business methods, Database management, Data transfer and Operator interface.

See also:
Mobile Application Development

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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