Mobile Deployments for Web Developers

Rate this content
Bookmark

It's easier than ever to use JavaScript to build native mobile applications. But for web developers building in the mobile ecosystem for the first time, deploying cross-platform apps built with tools like Capacitor or React Native can be complex. Learn about the mobile-specific deployment considerations through the lens of a web developer, including the key differences between mobile and web, how to develop a deployment strategy, and how to evaluate tooling options.

Cecelia Martinez
Cecelia Martinez
23 min
05 Jun, 2023

Comments

Sign in or register to post your comment.

Video Summary and Transcription

Mobile deployments are crucial for web developers due to the increasing number of users on mobile devices. Cross-platform development and web to mobile migrations are on the rise with tools like React Native, Ionic, Capacitor, and Native Script. Mobile testing requires native binary compilation and testing on real devices. Google Play and iOS have specific methods for releasing apps to testers, while web development allows for dynamic updates and quick deployment. Mobile app building and deployment require specific infrastructure and code signing processes. App store approval guidelines and versioning updates pose challenges in mobile app deployment.

1. Introduction to Mobile Deployments

Short description:

Welcome to Mobile Deployments for Web Developers. As a web developer, it's important to understand the significance of mobile deployments. Users are increasingly on mobile devices, so building for the mobile platform is crucial. Cross-platform development and web to mobile migrations are on the rise, with tools like React Native, Ionic, Capacitor, and Native Script. Mobile differs from web in terms of the platform, as you're building for hardware and compiling a native binary. The platform sets the rules in mobile deployments.

Hello, welcome. This is Mobile Deployments for Web Developers. I'm Cecilia Martinez. I'm a developer advocate for AppFlow, the mobile CI CD platform built by Ionic. Feel free to connect with me. I'm at Cecilia Creates on Twitter and GitHub, or you can also connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look me up by my name. It's n slash Cecilia Martinez. I'm happy to chat about mobile deployments with you more if you have any questions.

The first question that you may have is, why, as a web developer, that you may care about mobile deployments? Well, increasingly we're seeing that users live on mobile devices. This means that, as a web developer, you're building for the mobile platform in terms of either a mobile web app or, in some cases, actual native applications as well. We're seeing an increase in cross-platform development, which means building from a single code base to mobile web, iOS and Androids using tools like React Native or Ionic. And we're also seeing an increase in web to mobile migrations. What this means is using existing web content or building out a web app and then turning it into a mobile app. You can do this with tools like Capacitor, which is also built by Ionic, Native Script, or anything where you're essentially adding native functionality and then building for the Android or iOS platform. You can also use this using what we call mobile micro frontends, where you're embedding web content into a native mobile application. So you may come to a point where you're asked to create web content for a mobile app and then also a need to understand how to deploy it. So understanding what makes mobile different is really important when it comes to taking a web app and turning it into a mobile application.

Ultimately, what makes mobile different is the platform that you're building for. When you're building a web app, you're building for software or you're building for a browser. Your web app will ultimately be interacting with another piece of software and running in that browser. For a mobile application, you're building for hardware. You're building for an actual native device. And because of that, you're actually compiling a native binary that will then run on that device at a later time once it's been installed. This is different than a web app where we have, you know, interpreted code that is really dynamic and that is running in the browser at runtime. So these are the differences that take place between web and mobile that need to be accounted for. But the overall, like, the big picture difference is that with mobile, the platform sets the rules. With a web app, you have complete control over when you deploy your app, what tools that you use to build it, what dependencies that you use. With mobile, that is not the case. Whether you're building for iOS, Android, or both, those platforms are going to dictate a lot of the deployment process.

2. Web and Mobile Deployment Testing

Short description:

Let's explore the differences between web and mobile deployments. Web testing usually takes place in a dev, testing, or staging environment, with automated testing for continuous integration. Mobile testing requires native binary compilation and testing on real devices. Virtual devices can be used for quick implementations, but real device testing is necessary. You can connect a real device to your dev machine or use a real device farm for automated testing. Test channels are also available.

So let's take a look at that deployment process and the different stages and how web and mobile deployments are different across each stage. We'll go ahead and kick things off with testing. So when we think about testing for web apps, typically, we're testing in a development, testing, or staging environment. There is testing in production that can be done as well, but we'll stick to pre-production testing for now.

So when you're testing in a dev, testing, or staging environment, you can be testing your actual code itself using like unit tests, or integration tests, or API testing. Or you may also be doing end-to-end testing where you're launching your application in a browser typically headlessly and running your automated tests. Ideally, there's minimal manual testing that will take place for your web app. Ideally, you have a lot of automated testing and that allows for automated continuous integration. That means that you have a change to your code base, all your tests run on an automated fashion, if everything looks good, you can go ahead and integrate that change into your code base without the need for a lot of manual testing.

It's very different on the mobile side. That's because you do need to have a native binary compiled for end-to-end testing. You also need to be able to test it on a device. You can't only just launch it in a browser and do that in your testing environment. So what this means is that you have to leverage both virtual and real devices for testing. And there's also a requirement of more significant manual testing. There are automated testing frameworks for testing both on virtual and real devices, but typically what we'll see is that you'll have multiple rounds of test releases and you'll use that with manual testers and testing tracks in order to get your application fully tested before it's actually released to users.

I mentioned that there are multiple device options for testing, so you do have virtual devices. These will be emulators for Android or simulators for iOS. There's a couple of small technical differences between the two, but ultimately what these are doing is they're replicating a real device, but it runs on your computer. It's a virtual device. These can be helpful for seeing quick implementations of your app or showing it off to stakeholders or doing some debug testing, but it doesn't fully replicate the experience of a real device. That's why typically you do have to have eventually real device testing. You can connect a real device to your dev machine, hooking up your iPhone or your Android device and being able to run your app that you're building. You can also manually install the binary onto your device. AppFlow, for example, has an Android QR code where after you build your Android app you can scan the QR code and it'll install it and open it on your Android testing device. You can also upload the binary to what's called a real device farm. This can be done with automated testing, so you actually upload your application build that you just created and you can run automated tests on real devices in the cloud. Some of these include like AWS device farm, Sauce Labs, there's quite a few out there. But they do allow you to do some testing on real devices without having to provision those real devices yourself. There's also test channels.

Check out more articles and videos

We constantly think of articles and videos that might spark Git people interest / skill us up or help building a stellar career

Raising the Bar: Our Journey Making React Native a Preferred Choice
React Advanced Conference 2023React Advanced Conference 2023
29 min
Raising the Bar: Our Journey Making React Native a Preferred Choice
At Microsoft, we're committed to providing our teams with the best tools and technologies to build high-quality mobile applications. React Native has long been a preferred choice for its high performance and great user experience, but getting stakeholders on board can be a challenge. In this talk, we will share our journey of making React Native a preferred choice for stakeholders who prioritize ease of integration and developer experience. We'll discuss the specific strategies we used to achieve our goal and the results we achieved.
Opensource Documentation—Tales from React and React Native
React Finland 2021React Finland 2021
27 min
Opensource Documentation—Tales from React and React Native
Documentation is often your community's first point of contact with your project and their daily companion at work. So why is documentation the last thing that gets done, and how can we do it better? This talk shares how important documentation is for React and React Native and how you can invest in or contribute to making your favourite project's docs to build a thriving community
Bringing React Server Components to React Native
React Day Berlin 2023React Day Berlin 2023
29 min
Bringing React Server Components to React Native
Top Content
React Server Components are new topic in community, bunch of frameworks are implementing them, people are discussing around this topic. But what if we could use React Server Components in React Native? And bring all optimisation features that RSC allows to mobile apps? In this talk I would present what we are able to do with RSC in React Native!
Building Cross-Platform Component Libraries for Web and Native with React
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
21 min
Building Cross-Platform Component Libraries for Web and Native with React
Top Content
Building products for multiple platforms such as web and mobile often requires separate code-based despite most of the components being identical in look and feel. Is there a way where we could use shared React component library on different platforms and save time? In this presentation I'll demonstrate one way to build truly cross-platform component library with a unique approach of using React & React Native in combination.
React Native Kotlin Multiplatform Toolkit
React Day Berlin 2022React Day Berlin 2022
26 min
React Native Kotlin Multiplatform Toolkit
Top Content
Combining the best of two cross-platform frameworks to build the ultimate multiplatform development experience.
MDX in React-Native!?
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
21 min
MDX in React-Native!?
Top Content
How to use MDX in React-Native to great effect and the challenges you didn't know you signed up for.

Workshops on related topic

Introducing FlashList: Let's build a performant React Native list all together
React Advanced Conference 2022React Advanced Conference 2022
81 min
Introducing FlashList: Let's build a performant React Native list all together
Top Content
WorkshopFree
David Cortés Fulla
Marek Fořt
Talha Naqvi
3 authors
In this workshop you’ll learn why we created FlashList at Shopify and how you can use it in your code today. We will show you how to take a list that is not performant in FlatList and make it performant using FlashList with minimum effort. We will use tools like Flipper, our own benchmarking code, and teach you how the FlashList API can cover more complex use cases and still keep a top-notch performance.You will know:- Quick presentation about what FlashList, why we built, etc.- Migrating from FlatList to FlashList- Teaching how to write a performant list- Utilizing the tools provided by FlashList library (mainly the useBenchmark hook)- Using the Flipper plugins (flame graph, our lists profiler, UI & JS FPS profiler, etc.)- Optimizing performance of FlashList by using more advanced props like `getType`- 5-6 sample tasks where we’ll uncover and fix issues together- Q&A with Shopify team
Detox 101: How to write stable end-to-end tests for your React Native application
React Summit 2022React Summit 2022
117 min
Detox 101: How to write stable end-to-end tests for your React Native application
Top Content
WorkshopFree
Yevheniia Hlovatska
Yevheniia Hlovatska
Compared to unit testing, end-to-end testing aims to interact with your application just like a real user. And as we all know it can be pretty challenging. Especially when we talk about Mobile applications.
Tests rely on many conditions and are considered to be slow and flaky. On the other hand - end-to-end tests can give the greatest confidence that your app is working. And if done right - can become an amazing tool for boosting developer velocity.
Detox is a gray-box end-to-end testing framework for mobile apps. Developed by Wix to solve the problem of slowness and flakiness and used by React Native itself as its E2E testing tool.
Join me on this workshop to learn how to make your mobile end-to-end tests with Detox rock.
Prerequisites- iOS/Android: MacOS Catalina or newer- Android only: Linux- Install before the workshop
How to Build an Interactive “Wheel of Fortune” Animation with React Native
React Summit Remote Edition 2021React Summit Remote Edition 2021
60 min
How to Build an Interactive “Wheel of Fortune” Animation with React Native
Top Content
Workshop
Oli Bates
Oli Bates
- Intro - Cleo & our mission- What we want to build, how it fits into our product & purpose, run through designs- Getting started with environment set up & “hello world”- Intro to React Native Animation- Step 1: Spinning the wheel on a button press- Step 2: Dragging the wheel to give it velocity- Step 3: Adding friction to the wheel to slow it down- Step 4 (stretch): Adding haptics for an immersive feel
Effective Detox Testing
React Advanced Conference 2023React Advanced Conference 2023
159 min
Effective Detox Testing
Workshop
Josh Justice
Josh Justice
So you’ve gotten Detox set up to test your React Native application. Good work! But you aren’t done yet: there are still a lot of questions you need to answer. How many tests do you write? When and where do you run them? How do you ensure there is test data available? What do you do about parts of your app that use mobile APIs that are difficult to automate? You could sink a lot of effort into these things—is the payoff worth it?
In this three-hour workshop we’ll address these questions by discussing how to integrate Detox into your development workflow. You’ll walk away with the skills and information you need to make Detox testing a natural and productive part of day-to-day development.
Table of contents:
- Deciding what to test with Detox vs React Native Testing Library vs manual testing- Setting up a fake API layer for testing- Getting Detox running on CI on GitHub Actions for free- Deciding how much of your app to test with Detox: a sliding scale- Fitting Detox into you local development workflow
Prerequisites
- Familiarity with building applications with React Native- Basic experience with Detox- Machine setup: a working React Native CLI development environment including either Xcode or Android Studio
Deploying React Native Apps in the Cloud
React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
88 min
Deploying React Native Apps in the Cloud
WorkshopFree
Cecelia Martinez
Cecelia Martinez
Deploying React Native apps manually on a local machine can be complex. The differences between Android and iOS require developers to use specific tools and processes for each platform, including hardware requirements for iOS. Manual deployments also make it difficult to manage signing credentials, environment configurations, track releases, and to collaborate as a team.
Appflow is the cloud mobile DevOps platform built by Ionic. Using a service like Appflow to build React Native apps not only provides access to powerful computing resources, it can simplify the deployment process by providing a centralized environment for managing and distributing your app to multiple platforms. This can save time and resources, enable collaboration, as well as improve the overall reliability and scalability of an app.
In this workshop, you’ll deploy a React Native application for delivery to Android and iOS test devices using Appflow. You’ll also learn the steps for publishing to Google Play and Apple App Stores. No previous experience with deploying native applications is required, and you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of the mobile deployment process and best practices for how to use a cloud mobile DevOps platform to ship quickly at scale.
Bringing Your Web App to Native With Capacitor
JSNation 2023JSNation 2023
111 min
Bringing Your Web App to Native With Capacitor
WorkshopFree
Mike Hartington
Mike Hartington
So, you have a killer web app you've built and want to take it from your web browser to the App Store. Sure, there are a lot of options here, but most will require you to maintain separate apps for each platform. You want your codebase to be as close as possible across Web, Android, and iOS. Thankfully, with Capacitor, you can take your existing web app and quickly create native iOS and Android apps for distribution on your favorite App Store!
Contents: This workshop is aimed at beginner developers that have an existing web application, or are interested in mobile development. We will go over:- What is Capacitor- How does it compare to other cross-platform solutions- Using Capacitor to build a native application using your existing web code- Tidying up our application for distribution on mobile app stores with naming conventions, icons, splash screens and more