I want to start this year off big, by announcing a feature that I’m incredibly proud of. In the post on November 15 about the Instant Developer Cloud automated testing system, I promised you that we’d be releasing interesting new features. Today I’m keeping my word. I am proud to present Launchers: the simple way to compile your application for Android and iOS.

Up to this point, with Instant Developer Cloud it has been possible to develop your application in the IDE and test it directly on your device, thanks to InstaLauncher. But how do you publish the actual app to the store? How do you compile it for Android or iOS using the native shell? Launchers are the answer you’re looking for.

A Launcher is a hybrid app, a native container based on Cordova that contains one or more Javascript applications developed with Instant Developer Cloud.

As of today, you can:

  • add one or more Launchers
  • configure properties and resources (icons, splash screens, plugins, etc.)
  • decide which applications it (or they) should contain
  • compile and download APKs and IPAs directly from the Instant Developer Cloud console
  • send the app directly to the stores

Thanks to a dedicated app-build server, all you need to do is use the APK creation button and/or the IPA creation button to quickly get the APK/IPA packages, ready for publication in the store, or publish directly on the beta channel with a few clicks.

With Launchers, you no longer need a PC or Mac configured to compile with Xcode/Java: simply connect to the console from any supported browser to distribute the new version of your app in the Google Play or Test Flight alpha channel.

But there’s more: a Launcher can automatically update its applications without needing to republish on the store. Simply use the console to compile a new version of the app. That’s it!

What do you think?

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I’d like to take this opportunity the week before Christmas to send you all best wishes for a happy holiday season and a magnificent 2017 from me and all my colleagues here at Pro Gamma.

2016 has been an intense year for us, and maybe a bit different than usual: beyond our commitment to moving forward with Instant Developer Foundation, we’ve also seen Instant Developer Cloud materialize.

We’ve paired Foundation with another tool to help you better tackle new customer-facing and mobile-first projects, because as always, our goal is to give you what you need to be able to grow your business.

Instant Developer Foundation also delivered some early Christmas gifts that the community greatly appreciated, such as the graphic engine based on Bootstrap and the integration of Google Chart graphs. I can promise you that we fully intend to continue to help it grow, working as always from the things that come up in our relationship with you.

Before I wrap up with my final wishes, I’d like to let you know that both our admin and support offices will be closed from December 24th through January 1st, inclusive. But don’t worry about any emergencies that might crop up, because as always we’ll be careful to watch for any situations that might require some special attention.

We’ll be back writing the blog in January. Get ready, because we’ve got other gifts on the way.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a good 2017 from all of Pro Gamma.

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In recent articles about app design, we’ve seen how to write the preliminary documents: the User Profiles, User Stories and Business Model. With this material we’re ready to start working on the mockup, which will allow us to assess and test the actual look of the app.

Given that the mockup is a preliminary design of the views for the app, you can use any tool, even pen and paper. Nevertheless, these days there are a number of tools online, some of which are free, that allow you to quickly create animated prototypes of your screens. Just Google mockup tools or prototyping tools to get a nice list. These tools offer templates and icons of the most common user interface elements, so you can design views that will feel very similar to the final versions.

Once we’ve chosen a tool, we need to understand what we’re actually going to mock up. I don’t recommend mocking up all the app views, from logins to settings. The best strategy is to start from the User Stories, and make a mock up for each User Story described in the document. This way we’ll be able to see just the main processes of the app without getting distracted by everything else, and that will allow us to create a prototype that’s more focused on the most important features.

Finally, a little advice on style. In apps, less is more, so resist the temptation to add hamburger menus with all kinds of functions. Be clear and concise when using text, say nothing more than you have to, and capitalize on the power of images and the recognizability of icons, which are often worth a thousand words. Never open the onscreen keyboard unless absolutely necessary, avoiding input fields as much as you can, and minimize the number of taps to complete the process.

Before getting started, some good advice is to study both your competitors and other applications with a similar process. You’ll be able to appreciate some of their ideas and also see how you can stand out. That’s what I did before starting the mockup for ToBuy, which you can find here.

It’s interesting to compare the mockup with the final app, which you can test in preview here. In truth, the differences are minimal because the mockup and the app share the same graphical theme, meaning the device’s native theme.

This article wraps up our little overview on app design. At this point we can start to see how to move from the mockup to the app, which means tackling the actual phases of development. In the meantime, if you’ve created some mockups and you’d like some advice on how to optimize them, I’m at your disposal.

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It is with enormous pleasure and something of a thrill that I’m writing this post today to make a very important announcement: on November 15, 2016, Instant Developer Cloud concluded the preliminary phase and the first final version has been released.

Simply register on the console to be able to develop your app directly from your browser and test it directly in the device, thanks to the InstaLauncher app that you’ll find in the Android and iOS stores. But you also know that this was already possible in the preliminary version.

Starting today, it takes just a few clicks to purchase a production server and make your web applications available to end users. Just enter your information, choose the server type that best meets your needs, and confirm the operation. Your new server will be available in a few minutes. There’s something for every taste, beginning with the XS size, with 1 shared CPU and 0.6 GB of RAM, through to a powerful XXXL with 16 CPUs and 60 GB of RAM memory.

Compiling, installing, returning to a previous version of the application, and running queries to your database in the Cloud will be child’s play thanks to the console. But that’s not all.

We’re well aware that in developing a product, one of the most important phases, if not the single most important of all, is the test. That’s why Instant Developer Cloud was equipped with a system of automated tests that makes it possible to flag regressions in the code, check the application behavior under load conditions, and launch step-by-step test sessions.

It’s simple. Simply choose an installation of the application and record a few work sessions; then you can use these records to run a test on the original installation or any other instance of the application.

I’m happy to say that these are just the first public steps for Instant Developer Cloud Final. In upcoming weeks we’ll release lots of very interesting features. But I don’t want to give away too much in a single article.

As usual, we welcome your feedback! For any clarifications, problems, or doubts, write to support@instantdeveloper.com

Now we’re officially on the road and I can hardly wait to start this journey together!

Have fun!

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The business model: why does it influence design?

10.11.2016

In recent articles about app design, we’ve seen which documents need to be written before making the mockup: the User Profiles describing users, and the User Stories that describe the processes. Today I’d like to get into some detail about the third and final preliminary document, the business model. First let’s see how it affects [...]

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15.5 is here

03.11.2016

This weekend we released version 15.5 of Instant Developer Foundation, and as you will have noticed, it’s one of the most important versions in recent years. In addition to the great innovations you’ve already heard about, like the introduction of a new graphic theme based on Bootstrap and the option to use two new libraries [...]

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App processes: how to describe them with User Stories

27.10.2016

In my last article dedicated to app design, we saw how to create a User Profile, which is the document that describes the user types, the obstacles they have to overcome, and the advantages they can gain by using the app. However, before we proceed with making the mockup, there’s another step we have to [...]

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App users: how to create a User Profile

20.10.2016

In recent weeks I’ve tried to highlight the challenges that designing an app poses, especially for those of us who have already developed a lot of business software. To get off to the right start, we can do ourselves a favor by writing a few specific documents before starting the mockup. In this article I’ll [...]

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App design: where to start?

13.10.2016

In our last article we saw that before we start developing an app, it’s helpful to begin with a product design phase that can bring the idea to life through a mockup that shows the user interface, and perhaps a few work flow examples. A variety of programs exist for developing mockups. The main advantage [...]

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From idea to app: what’s the path?

06.10.2016

In recent weeks I’ve had the opportunity to help a few members of the Instant Developer community set up projects using the Cloud edition, working from their own app ideas. It was a very interesting experience because it helped me understand what obstacles must be overcome for people who have already developed a lot of [...]

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