Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? And if they did, why didn’t I listen? I could have saved myself some trouble while building the fast-growing exercise app Power 20 long ago.

I finally learned that every mobile app needs to update itself automatically, rather than waiting for users to manually accept updates or download new versions. For the developer, this means additional cost and complexity. It costs a more because you have to pay a monthly fee to for web hosting services (just like a website), and you may need a different kind of tech skill to create the database. It adds complexity because now you have to think about how content will be organized on the web server.

The time and complexity is well worth it, though. The web server brings these benefits:

  • The app downloads from the store faster
  • You’ll send assets tailored to each device (so iPads will just get iPad-sized designs)
  • The size of the app is therefore smaller, taking less memory
  • You can update the app without creating a new version of the app on the app store
  • You can potentially collect more info on how people use your app

  • Making these changes will immediately impact your app, and not always for the better. The first time the app launches, the user must have internet access so the app can fetch the content, which can create disgruntled users. Web servers can and do go down, which is another way you can piss off users. Sadly, sometimes you’re the last to know when the web server is down. cialis medicine

    Nonetheless, if you’re embarking on building a new app, don’t be a noob like me and scrimp on the web server early on. Some companies are specializing in simplifying this problem, so I recommend checking out companies like Parse, which seems to offer some badass products.