Application Porting: The Processes and Problems Involved

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Application porting refers to the process of starting with original sources but changing them midway so as to compile the app in such a way as to install them properly on specific computer systems. The app porting procedure involves simple steps of creation of the port; the developer must remember that standard work involved in application porting does not have to be specified.

The increasing dependency of enterprises on mobile apps has led to increased opportunities for app development companies. But the release of thousands of mobile applications in the market every year also poses huge challenges to these development companies & individual app developers. The biggest challenge faced by them is the variety of mobile devices, operating systems, device screen sizes, device features, and target audience requirement. In order to overcome these challenges, an enterprise resorts to the process of application porting, wherein the developer designs the apps in such a way as to enable transferring from one device to another.

Application porting is not an altogether new method to be followed in the mobile world. However, in the past, most enterprises conducted in-house app porting. But with the growing demand for the process, merely following a particular set of guidelines is no longer enough to meet the porting requirements of both large & small enterprises. Enterprises must now take the help of professionals to port apps from one major OS platform to another, as in-house porting is rather expensive & complex. An enterprise must make sure that the development company appointed to port its applications from and to devices used within the workplace must have prior experience in working with designing apps for every operating system.

Types of Application Porting

1. Cross Platform Porting – This involves porting apps from one OS platform to another

2. Intra Platform Porting – This involves upgradation of an OS platform through integration or addition of new features

3. Multiple Devices Porting – This involves porting apps between mobile devices that run on the same OS platform but show different features

Detailed Process of Application Porting

A systematic process of app porting involves the following steps:

1. The app developer must first create reference ports, and then decide on the mobile devices & OS platforms to be used.

2. Gap analysis is then performed in order to evaluate the porting method to be followed for the target devices & platforms.

3. Device & platform assessment are compulsory steps that will help to identify limitations which stand in the way of successful app porting.

4. Code rewriting, code revision, optimization, and GUI changes are then conducted as part of the mobile app porting development procedure.

5. Once the porting procedure is complete, QA testing must be performed on target mobile devices & platforms. No developer should release ported apps before testing them as this may lead to complexities & failure of the porting process.

Problems in Application Porting

The process of app porting is not free of problems. Few mistakes that a developer must take care to avoid are:

1. Onscreen Back Button – This feature must not be present in the Android platform.

2. Right Caret in Lists – The design guidelines of some operating systems prohibit lists using the right caret on device screens.

3. UI Pattern – The design of the user interface is not similar in all operating systems. This poses problems in the porting process.

Despite its problems, app developers are keen to improve on them and provide standard application porting services to enterprises as they are in need of it.
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