Mobile DevOps: Getting Started and Best Practices

Mobile app development has unique challenges when compared to traditional development. Without the right tools and processes in place, fragmentation can occur within a team's development workflows. Luckily, teams can reduce silos and improve efficiency by implementing mobile DevOps.

In this article, we'll explore the importance of mobile DevOps, how it differs from traditional DevOps, the tools you need to get started, and more.

What Is Mobile DevOps?

Mobile DevOps refers to a framework of methodologies, goals, and practices that work together to help teams produce, test, and release technical products. Unlike traditional software development and infrastructure management, DevOps allows you to change and enhance products more quickly and reliably. 

Speed is crucial when it comes to mobile app development. Mobile DevOps strategies enhance deployment frequency by creating a more agile workflow. Development teams are increasingly utilizing DevOps practices to improve their efficiency and quality.

Why Is Mobile DevOps So Important?

Due to the unique challenges that mobile development presents, it's vital for teams to have a process for coordinating all the moving parts of the development lifecycle. Mobile DevOps does just that and allows teams to improve their collaboration abilities. Teams that implement mobile DevOps will experience several other benefits, including:

  • Automated testing: Unit testing, UI testing, and testing across multiple types of devices can be time-consuming and fragmented without the proper process in place. By following mobile DevOps principles, teams can set up automated testing workflows triggered by every commit a developer pushes to ensure the mobile app stays functional amidst updates and changes.
  • Cleaner development environments: Instead of having developers' passwords and API keys spread across different devices, everything can be securely stored and accessed via a hosted development environment. 
  • Reduced silos: With mobile DevOps, there's no one point of failure within your development team. If one of your team members becomes sick or out of the office, other team members can carry on with the project because they all have access to the same development environment.

How Is Mobile DevOps Different From Traditional DevOps?

In essence, the methodology around traditional DevOps is pretty much the same as mobile DevOps. However, there are differences in the tools you use and there's variation in how some of the phases of DevOps are executed. 

With traditional DevOps, all aspects of your product can be deployed in one place. With web apps, you would typically deploy them via Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or your own on-premise hosting. This means you can deploy, update, and patch apps relatively quickly.

However, with mobile apps, you have to deploy both server-side code and then upload the app to the actual apps stores. If the app is buggy and you need to patch it, you have to stop the release to your subscribers and release a patch that needs to go through a review process. For these reasons, updating mobile apps becomes more complicated and time-consuming than traditional web apps.

When it comes to the tooling for mobile DevOps, there's quite a bit of differentiation from traditional DevOps. Not only are the programming languages different, but so are the development environments you use to build your apps. There's also differentiation in how you go about testing. Unit testing is somewhat similar, but there's a much greater need for automated UI testing on many types of devices for mobile apps vs. traditional apps. 

What Are Some of the Top Tools in Mobile DevOps?

To find success with mobile DevOps, you need the right tools. In most cases, it's best to use hosted tools instead of local tools. This is because if you build local tools, you also have to support them. Hosted tools also tend to be cheaper and will be running at all times. Below you'll find the mobile DevOps tools that are a must for improving efficiency and proper organization.


  • Bitrise

Code Hosting Platforms

  • GitHub
  • Bitbucket

Code Coverage Analysis

  • Codecov

Device Farms

  • Firebase
  • Amazon Device Farm

UI Testing Tools

  • Appium

How Can I Get Started With Mobile DevOps?

Finding success with mobile DevOps doesn't need to be complicated. Still, you need to use the right tools and focus on automating essential processes when starting.

One of the first things we recommend is that teams streamline their build process so that a developer doesn't need to build the app manually every time. The goal is to have every commit or pull request continually build upon previous code without breaking the previous build. 

Next, teams can save time by automating their unit test and UI test workflows. This doesn't need to happen with every new line of code you implement, but it is worthwhile to have in place before releasing a new version of an app. Then, you can create workflows that upload to the app stores once you're ready to submit your mobile product. The goal is to start small and scale upon those workflows by adding more automation and security.

What Is the ROI of Mobile DevOps?

Investing in mobile DevOps can be a game-changer for development teams. First off, teams will save a great deal of time when mobile DevOps is implemented properly. Individuals no longer need to wait for other team members to complete their tasks to move ahead with a project. Tasks that were once handled manually can be automated and completed with the click of a button. Furthermore, since mobile DevOps brings more rigorous testing and stability to your builds, the quality of your end products is improved. 

Should Someone Try to Build Their Mobile DevOps Internally or Externally?

Whether you build your mobile DevOps process internally or externally depends on your team's skill set. Some teams may have the expertise to deploy mobile DevOps themselves. Others may be great at developing mobile apps, but they lack expertise in implementing mobile DevOps. It would be best to consult a third party to implement mobile DevOps in these cases. Once the initial setup is finished, most teams will be able to update and optimize the process themselves moving forward. 

Start Improving Efficiency With Mobile DevOps

Teams that implement mobile DevOps not only save time and increase automation but they'll also produce better end products. The sooner you can get a mobile DevOps process in place, the sooner you will see improvements in your ability to develop, release, and update your mobile products. 

If you have any questions or are looking for a partner to help you implement a mobile DevOps process, feel free to contact Majestyk today!

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