Monday, December 05, 2011

#ALGORITHMS: "Smarter App Prototyping Sans Programming"

Instead of requiring sophisticated programming skills just to design a mobile application, a smarter prototyping technology divorces design from coding, allowing business analysts to create demonstration apps before IT programs them.

Enterprise visualization software is no longer just for displaying the results of complex analytics, but can now be employed to accurately render the user experience for applications that have yet to be written.
Giant corporations have been using sophisticated application development tools for the Web that allow rapid prototyping of simulated user experiences before IT codes the application. Now those high-end tools are coming down to the mobile application arena, allowing any business analyst to prototype mobile applications in hours instead of months. Once the prototyped simulations are validated by users and approved by management, they can be handed off to IT for coding.
"We are transforming how business analysts communicate with IT," said Emmet Keeffe III, CEO and co-founder of iRise. "Instead of IT coding an app only to find that it does not meet user's expectations, our rapid-prototyping and visualization software allows analysts to present a working app to users before IT even starts coding it."
The consumerization of IT has put tremendous pressure on enterprises to create mobile applications fast, and such rapid-prototyping and visualization software can cut up to 50 percent off application development time, according to Keeffe, who claims iRise customers report this productivity gain. Today, iRise's customer list includes General Motors, UPS, FedEx and J.P. Morgan. By adding mobile application development with its latest release of iRise, the company hopes to further diversify its customer portfolio.
The latest release of iRise now includes support for mobile application development on either PCs or Macs, plus it includes special features that allow direct access to the hardware of the most popular smartphone and tablet platforms such as the iPhone and iPad. Using tools akin to a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program, business analysts can craft mobile applications that look-and-feel just like those already popular on mobile platforms.
"We mimic the easy parts of Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, so that apps can be quickly prototyped using familiar tools," said Keeffe.
"The iRise program is like a CAD [computer-aided design] environment that comes with all the elements you need to specify apps without coding them, including scrolling, using sliders, flipping through pages, stretching or compressing displays and so forth."
The iRise program renders an entire functioning iPhone on a PC or Mac screen while developing simulated applications. Users can also download the free iRise Mobile application from the Apple Store to try out a newly created application simulation. After users beta-test the simulated application and the business analyst incorporates their suggestions, the entire prototype can be shipped to IT for coding.
The newest iRise release includes an iPhone Content Module that contains the Apple's user interface (UI) elements, from the barrel spinner to the sliding on/off switch, all of which meet Apple’s iOS UI Element Usage Guidelines.
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