App Development

  • The Critical Role of Data Management in Mobile Business Apps

    Whether you use ViziApps to build a native app or web app for your business, it’s important to consider the role of data management as it applies to your mobile business app. Think about it. Your business runs on data: data on your customers, products, services, inventory, pricing, and more. Therefore, any business app should leverage the collective intelligence of your company to efficiently deliver information to your employees and customers.

    For a mobile app designed to engage and enhance employee productivity, information can be culled from internal systems such as customer relationship management (CRM), inventory control, pricing, purchasing, and expense control systems. Mobile apps targeting customers commonly include product information, pricing details, coupons, and promotions. An ideal mobile business app should be able to access all this information from corporate databases that store critical business intelligence. We’ve built ViziApps to enable you to do just that — easily and without coding.

    Depending on the mobile strategy you’ve developed for your business app (a topic to be covered in a future post), there are different types of data that will need to be accessed to power your app, and different ways to access that data. ViziApps gives you the flexibility to access and update your back-end data with the app in three simple ways: through a web service interface; directly to your database; or by connecting to Google Docs spreadsheets. As always, this integration with ViziApps is done with no coding.

    Data Interface Options

    So which data management connection is right for your business app — and why?

    It really depends on your mobile strategy, who and what your app is designed for, how much information your app will need to access, how that information is currently stored, and how often that information will change.

    To help you determine the right data management interface, we’ve defined how each works within ViziApps, depending on how your data is structured.

    Web Service: If your information is already structured to drive your public or intranet web sites, you can access and update it with ViziApps’ web service data interface.

    Database: If your data already exists in a database, the ViziApps database interface lets you map the fields of your database directly to data fields in your app.

    Google Docs Spreadsheets: If your data is not yet structured in a database or for web service access, or if you want the data to be easily updated by employees through a simple spreadsheet interface, then you can use ViziApps Google Docs spreadsheet data interface. Google Docs spreadsheets provide the capabilities and ease of use of Excel and add powerful but easy-to-use database commands. This way, you can easily build or import information as a flat file database in a Google Docs spreadsheet for use with your ViziApps app.

    Need more guidance on choosing the data management interface that’s right for you? Some practical, real-world examples might help. If your app is designed for field sales or service reps, other employees, or channel partners, then you can connect through a web service interface because it provides direct associations to your organization’s critical and securely stored data. It also provides more flexibility in the types of information provided, and in all likelihood, the web-service-accessible databases are already built through internal systems such as CRM. If your app is designed for nimble customer interaction, connecting through Google Docs spreadsheets can give you a quickly customizable solution for data to be changed and updated easily to accommodate frequently changing dynamics, such as coupons and promotions. ViziApps is built with safe and secure direct access to your backend data using any of the three data management options.

    If you still aren’t sure what method is best for your business app, sign up for a free account on ViziApps and schedule your complimentary one-hour online training session. A ViziApps representative will be happy to answer your questions.

    As you build your business app, consider how best to leverage your business intelligence by utilizing strategic data management to power engaging and efficient mobile apps for your employees and customers.

  • The Differences between Native Apps and Web Apps

    We’ve talked a lot recently about ViziApps extremely varied capabilities: with ViziApps, users have the option of creating and publishing both native apps and web apps — quickly, inexpensively, and without coding.

    So what are some of the major differences between native apps and web apps, and how best to choose between them.

    An effective way to break down the key differences is to look at the areas of speed, function, and cost.

    When it comes to speed, web apps can be created very quickly and published immediately, either with a URL link or QR code. Unlike with native apps, there is no lengthy app store review process. Someone can scan your QR code and have immediate access to your web app. Native apps for the iPhone simply cannot get to market as quickly as web apps because they must go through Apple’s App Store review process.

    On the other hand, when it comes to function, it’s hard to beat a native app, which can use on-device resources such as GPS, calendar, contacts, and camera. These native resources are critical in terms of location-based marketing functions such as pushing coupons to nearby users. That’s a real key differentiator for native that you don’t get with web apps. Also, if you want your brand in the App Store, or you’re targeting a public app user base and you want to say, “Just go to the App Store for our app”, native is the way to go.

    As for cost, web apps tend to win here. Web apps are generally less expensive to create and publish because they involve simply repurposing existing HTML or other content that’s already been created for other marketing or business purposes.

    Of course, whether you’re creating native or web apps, ViziApps features the lowest cost options available, and even offers free options for certain users. With ViziApps, both web apps and native apps are free to design and test; publishing costs run from $7 to $149 per month for web apps to $10 to $199 monthly for native apps.

    ViziApps makes it affordable for small-to-medium sized businesses and business units in larger enterprises to build either native apps or web apps at a fraction of the cost of custom app development.

    Create a free account on ViziApps and find out for yourself how easy and quickly you can build your own native apps and web apps.

  • The Enterprise Is Creating Custom Mobile Apps

    Mobile App Management solution provider AppCentral has published a report that confirms what many have long suspected: enterprises are building and deploying custom mobile apps. And not just for their employees. Partners, distributors and contractors are also getting mobile apps built specifically by companies that recognize the need to provide productivity tools for the extended mobile workforce.

    The AppCentral report, “Custom Mobile App Usage in the Workplace,” summarizes finding based on a survey of 200 people, representing 100 companies, who use smart mobile devices to perform their jobs.

    One of the most interesting findings for readers of this blog: 68% of respondents indicated that their employers made one or more custom mobile apps available to them. In addition, non-employees, such as partners and contractors, are also being supplied with mobile apps tailored to a particular business need. And 62% of companies surveyed allow their employees to bring their mobile devices to work.

    At ViziApps we view BYOD as a significant driver for custom business apps. Our users are leveraging ViziApps to create mobile apps without coding. In companies that have not anticipated the popularity of BYOD or the demand for mobile apps it would generate, business users are building apps with ViziApps in significantly less time and with much smaller budgets than they would taking a traditional approach.

    The AppCentral survey found that IT is not the main funding source for the development of the custom mobile apps being built in the enterprise. Instead, funding comes from business units (for 36%) or marketing and executive leadership budgets (for 31%), where the need for apps originates.

    Those findings reflect a trend that jibes with forecasts Gartner made last year, which predicted that by 2015, custom mobile app projects will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4:1.

    Based on its findings, AppCentral recommends investing in custom mobile apps as a way to remain competitive. We can’t disagree.

  • The New Must-Haves for Mobile Apps Today

    SC Moatti has built mobile products for many of the greats — including running cross-platform notifications for Facebook. In her experience, whether an app succeeds depends on the culture of the company that makes it. “Mobile has an entirely different resonance and cadence for users, which makes the development of mobile apps fundamentally different too," she says.

  • Users of ViziApps Mobile Apps Get Changes Instantly

    Once a mobile app built with ViziApps is published, getting app updates and upgrades to users is easy and free! ViziApps pushes bug fixes, new functionality, and other enhancements to user devices automatically.

    That means that updated mobile apps do not have to be re-submitted to the Apple App Store or Google Play for another round of reviews before publishing. After an app is updated (for example, with new features or content), the new version of the app will run the next time the app is opened. The app user will see the message at right.

    Live Update Message

    By allowing changes to occur in the background on user devices, ViziApps has streamlined the update process, making it easy for mobile app creators, as well as users.

    Best of all, updating an app created with ViziApps is free, and there is no charge for getting live updates to users’ smartphones and tablets.

  • ViziApps 2.0 Provides Rich Data Management

    In Mobile Is the New Face of Engagement, Forrester analysts Ted Schadler and John C. McCarthy describe how smartphones and tablets will continue to change the way companies interact with their customers, employees and partners. Through “context-aware apps and smart products,” they write, businesses will empower those constituencies.

    Context-aware mobile apps like those they describe, and like most business applications, require access to data.

    With ViziApps, building a mobile business app that uses business data does not have to be a long, complex process. Or an expensive one.

    For a while now, the ViziApps Studio has been making it possible to create data-rich native mobile business apps online and without coding. Now, with the release of ViziApps 2.0, it offers new design tools that let businesses create web apps that can easily access robust data sources across the web, like Google Docs spreadsheets, also without coding.

    That’s a first in the industry.

    The ViziApps platform enables the entire app building process to be done with drag-and-drop wizards and tools that are easy to choose and use. It offers a storyboard feature, precision positioning and multiple types of back-end plugins for data access for the creation of single or multi-page mobile apps. And apps can be designed once and run across the major smartphones and tablets.

    Create a free ViziApps account and discover how easily and quickly you can build native apps and web apps that utilize your business data. ViziApps makes it easy to bring your brand directly to your customers, enhance the productivity of your employees and improve the effectiveness of your partner relationships.

  • ViziApps Adds Indoor Maps and Navigation with Micello Partnership and Integration

    Micello, Inc., the leading global provider of indoor maps and navigation data, announced its partnership with ViziApps. The new partnership will empower venue owners and ViziApps customers to quickly include and interact with Micello indoor maps in their mobile apps. In the last few years, Micello has generated indoor maps for over 25,000 venues around the world.

  • ViziApps and Help Files – A Great Match

    In case you missed the announcement, MobiFlex’s ViziApps recently added an exciting new capability to its already potent arsenal: the “back” button.

    “Big deal,” you may be thinking. But in truth, it is a big deal. And we’re not the only ones who think so. In fact, in his recent white paper “Integrating Native Mobile Apps and ‘Help’ with MadCap Flare“, Neil Perlin of Hyper/Word Services used ViziApps to demonstrate how native apps can connect to online help documentation.

    For a little background and perspective, we’re seeing the emergence of applying native mobile capabilities to a whole range of ways that people have traditionally used computer systems. And a ubiquitous element of software products and IT solutions — whether desktop, mobile, or cloud-based — is that they all have some form of help documentation or online services to assist users. A key player in the online electronic help industry is MadCap Corporation. Neil Perlin has had 20 years experience in that industry, and he saw a need that could be met by integrating help documentation into mobile device platforms for people to conveniently use. In his white paper, he offers some examples of how that can be done, and he helps people think about ways they can apply MobiFlex’s ViziApps for this purpose within their mobile apps, in conjunction with their other software or business solutions.

    So where does the ViziApps back button come into play? During app development, people often want to leverage existing desktop or online solutions to the new mobile platforms. In doing so, they have a range of existing help documentation and files that they’d like to repurpose, rather than rebuilding it from scratch. With ViziApps, they can link from their app to help documentation with a simple tap of the new back button.

    Click here to view the full white paper

  • ViziApps Development Cycle

    The development cycle for ViziApps is a streamlined process. You develop and update our app by using the ViziApps Studio, which is available on both PCs and Macs and is browser based.

    ViziApps Dec Cycle

    The development environment is a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG one. There’s no HTML5, CSS3 or JavaScript to deal with – no coding at all. Even connecting to backend data sources is done without coding.

    It’s easy to use and unlike environments that use an emulator, ViziApps gives you instant results directly on your device (iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphone).

    You can start by selecting one of the many mobile app templates available in the ViziApps Studio and giving it a name. Then click Select This App to Test on Device. Now you’re ready to run your app on your iPhone or iPad or Android phone.

    If you haven’t already done so, download the ViziApps app from the Apple App Store or the Android market. The first time you run the ViziApps app on your device, you’ll be asked to log in to your ViziApps Studio account. As soon as you do, your selected app will be downloaded and run. Try it.

    Now, make a quick edit to your app in ViziApps Studio. Return to your device and run the app again. You’ll be notified that an updated version is available. Select OK and your updated app will be run instantly.

    When you’ve finished your development/testing cycle and you’re ready to publish, ViziApps is ready to help. Select the Publish button within the ViziApps Studio and simply follow the steps. There’s a nominal $99 one-time setup fee for each published app.

    Detailed steps for publishing apps are available on the FAQ page of the ViziApps Studio – Look for What are the steps to getting my ViziApps app into the Apple App Store?

    When your app is published, your customers will download your app with your icon and your splash screen. They do not need the ViziApps app that you used while testing. Your app will behave exactly like the ViziApps app, that is, when an update is available, your customer will be notified when he/she launches the app.

    To make a change to update or upgrade your app, you work in the same develop/test cycle you used when you first developed your app. When you’ve finished testing your update, you can easily make the new app available to all current and new customers; and you can update your app as often as you like. There’s no charge. And your changes show up on the app automatically without any manual intervention.

    All this without coding! Mobile app development has never been easier.

  • ViziApps Eases Building Data-rich Mobile Apps with Online Guide and Graphical Query Tester

    ViziApps provides app creators with a major advantage – the ability to quickly produce data-rich mobile business apps without coding.

    And now, with a new online reference guide available in the ViziApps Studio, app makers have a handy reference to help them build apps using Google Docs spreadsheets for access to a wide range of data, including text, images, and maps. The searchable documentation speeds development of robust data-rich apps for the iPhone and iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.

    ViziApps users tell us that delivering their business data into the hands of mobile users is driving new revenue and attracting new customers for their business. Providing mobile access to business data is what sets their apps apart from their competitors. So, make the most of your business data in your next mobile app. Check out the new data management documentation in ViziApps Studio to learn how to present and manage data in a way that gives your app users the information they need – wherever they are.

    Simply click the “Spreadsheet User Guide” button in the Manage Data section for info and tips on

    • Introduction to database commands
    • Updating and deleting data
    • Incorporating images and maps
    • Using Google Docs spreadsheets
    • Data Management best practices
    • This is just a sampling of the topics provided to help app creators select, create, and efficiently manage data for use in their mobile business apps. Check it out by clicking the “Spreadsheet User Guide” on the Manage Data page in your free ViziApps Studio account.

      Easier Testing of Data Management Designs

      Recent enhancements to the ViziApps mobile app creation platform allow testing of any spreadsheet query directly from the ViziApps Studio. In other words, it is no longer necessary to go out of ViziApps to your mobile device to test individual spreadsheet queries

      Now mobile app creators can use this new graphical query tester early in the app design process to verify which queries are working and to identify issues that require attention. Every spreadsheet query in the ViziApps graphical query tree now has a green icon that represents this new testing tool for that particular query.

      When a user clicks on it, a pop-up appears with that query for testing.

      This new ViziApps capability speeds app development and eliminates the need for app creators to move in and out of the ViziApps Studio to test every query made to a database.

      The tester works for all query types. For update, insert and where condition tests, the app creator enters test values in the empty device fields and clicks the “Test” button. That simple action submits the query and then displays the results in a second graphical response tree. Both single values and array values are displayed, as well as any query errors that may occur.

    • ViziApps Expands Intuit QuickBase Support to include Sub-Account Authentication and Query Response Limits

      Companies worldwide use QuickBase to create cloud-based business process applications, without doing any coding.

      Those businesses often require access privileges to company data at different levels of authorization. Using ViziApps Studio, enterprises and small businesses can design QuickBase apps that enable end users to access data at the appropriate level of authorization. These QuickBase apps can run on iPad, iPhone, and Android tablets and smartphones.

      For example, a Sales VP may have a higher level of authorization than regional sales people have. While the Sales VP may access sales results in all regions, an individual sales person might have access to sales results only in his/her region. When an end user logs into their QuickBase ViziApps app, their login credentials will automatically determine which data to select depending on their level of authorization.

      Here’s how it works. When a user registers QuickBase as a data source for their ViziApps app, they will see a dialog box like the figure below. They just add the field names in the app that will be used for end users to login and access the QuickBase data. Then, when the app runs, the app users just login and the data query designed in ViziApps uses the authorization from their login.

      Also, the ViziApps Studio now enables users to specify a limit to the number of responses for any data query, since large data sets may have much more data than is needed by a mobile user.

    • ViziApps JavaScript Capabilities Enhance Hybrid Mobile Apps

      ViziApps built its reputation as the only platform that allows users to create robust, data-centric mobile apps without coding.

      But for IT departments and app creators who want to use their programming skills to further customize their apps, JavaScript support in ViziApps makes that possible. Adding JavaScript provides the ability to add unique “glue logic” to apps, giving ViziApps app builders ways to include more complex operations in hybrid mobile apps.

      Features and functionality that ViziApps app creators can provide with JavaScript include:

      • Using the accelerometer
      • Media capture (media files)
      • Connection (check network state and cellular network information)
      • Enhanced camera operations
      • Using the compass
      • Accessing on-device Contacts (work with the contact database)
      • File transfers
      • Geo-location mapping
      • Play media (record and play back audio files)
      • Send notifications
      • Accessing storage (hook into native storage options)

      JavaScript capabilities in ViziApps open up new ways of making mobile apps even more innovative. For example, a user could incorporate JavaScript as a way to record a message in a ViziApps hybrid mobile app. Another use might be to populate maps using Google Maps and the mobile device’s GPS geo-location capabilities and then provide that information to hybrid mobile app users.

    • ViziApps Mobile App Development Tool Gets Another Strong Review

      Create Own Apps, a website that reviews DIY mobile app development tools, has awarded ViziApps a 4-star rating. The site was created to help mobile app builders compare different solutions and find the right one for their mobile app development projects.

      We’re delighted to receive this recognition for the ViziApps drag and drop tool, which is used by enterprises and small business to build mobile business apps for use in a wide range of industries. Read the full review here.

    • ViziApps named one of Massachusetts Largest Mobile Startups

      The Boston Business Journal named ViziApps as one of the Top 20 Largest Mobile Startups in Massachusetts. ViziApps joined the ranks of Mobiquity, uTest, Fiksu, Apperian, and Kinvey in this recognition of our growth by New England’s premier business journal.

    • ViziApps Now Allows Use of JavaScript in No-coding Mobile Apps

      ViziApps is first and foremost a platform that allows users to create robust, data-centric mobile apps without coding. But for app creators who want to use their programming skills to further customize their apps, new JavaScript support in ViziApps makes that possible. With the addition of custom JavaScript, a wide range of additional features can be included. For instance, by incorporating unique “glue logic”, ViziApps app builders can include more complex app operations in their mobile apps.

      (If you haven’t tried ViziApps yet, start now by signing up for a free account.)

      This new JavaScript capability opens up new ways of making mobile apps even more innovative. For example, a user could incorporate JavaScript as a way to record a message in a ViziApps hybrid app. Another use for JavaScript might be to populate maps using a mobile device’s GPS geo-location capabilities, then provide that information to Google Maps. In the ViziApps Studio, where our users build mobile business apps, we have provided the option of using custom JavaScript as a way to extend ViziApps functionality and distinguish our users’ mobile apps in a highly competitive marketplace.

    • ViziApps now offers Facebook, SMS, and Email Sharing

      It should go without saying that Facebook is becoming one of the most important marketing tools at a small business’s disposal. The power of social media — and Facebook in particular — to help a business engage with and build community among its customers cannot be overstated.

      Which is why we have, with MobiFlex 1.96, added a Facebook sharing capability to our ViziApps mobile app development tool. With it, users have the ability to share text and media files — including images, videos, and audio — via Facebook, as well as via SMS and e-mail. Users simply select the Share action in the property sheets of buttons, image buttons, tables, and switches.

      The addition was a no-brainer for the MobiFlex team. We’ve always been committed to helping our users engage with their customers, employees, partners, and community at large, and Facebook is one of the fastest and most effective ways to do that.

      So what else is new? MobiFlex 1.96 has added an array of other features, including a Select action for tables that enables multiple table rows to be selected and counted; and a Go to Previous Page action, which we discussed here last week. The latter allows users to improve their app’s user experience and seamlessly link from their app to external resources, such as help documentation, with the tap of the back button.

    • ViziApps Now Supports Intuit QuickBase for Integrating Data in Mobile Apps

      Companies worldwide use QuickBase to create cloud-based business process applications, without doing any coding.

      Now, using ViziApps Studio, enterprise and small business users can easily build mobile apps using QuickBase data to run on the iPad, iPhone, and Android tablets and smartphones, without coding. Taking advantage of the ViziApps drag and drop process for creating apps, QuickBase users can quickly and cost effectively build mobile apps that provide access to robust cloud-based data.

      ViziApps® provides the features described below for creating QuickBase mobile apps.

      Click & choose database fields and drag & drop device fields

      • A drag and drop process for creating QuickBase database operations, using familiar database commands such as select, insert, update and delete.

      Test database commands in the Studio

      • A graphical test for verifying that database commands work properly right in the ViziApps Studio.

      Preview app running with QuickBase access

      With these new capabilities, QuickBase users can build data-rich apps for iOS and Android devices. Adding QuickBase database operations takes just minutes.

      The no-coding ViziApps process enables business and IT professionals to build mobile business apps for use by employees, partners, and customers. As a result, businesses can have the mobile apps their users need to access and leverage data virtually anywhere and anytime.

    • ViziApps Offline Sync – Use Your Mobile App Anywhere

      What does Offline Data Sync mean in a mobile app?

      Offline data allows a user of the mobile app to view, add, delete or modify data in the mobile app with no connection to the internet or network. All of the changes the user makes will be automatically synced with the main backend database, once the mobile app user comes back into online network connectivity.

      So, why this is important?

    • ViziApps partners with Apperian for direct enterprise app publishing & management

      The ability to publish and manage mobile business apps for private use can open major opportunities for engaging employees, partners, or customers. Now ViziApps will let users combine the ability of making their company data mobile with easy app publishing and management through Apperian’s App Publishing and Management platform.

      ViziApps is partnering with Apperian, Inc., the enterprise mobile application management (MAM) pioneer, to enable ViziApps users to publish their apps directly with Apperian’s MAM platform and their own enterprise app store. Apps enabled by Apperian are easier to distribute, monitor, and manage for employee, partner, and customer users. ViziApps enterprise users will soon enjoy a number of benefits building their mobile apps, including:

      • 1-Click app publishing and seamless integration with Apperian’s “enterprise app store” platform that hundreds of enterprises are already using today
      • Access to rich mobile app management capabilities to manage and track app updates, apply security policies, manage testing, and track user feedback
      • Increased exposure for published apps to drive faster user adoption and higher ROI
      • Integrated app signing to sign or re-sign iOS and Android apps for full enterprise distribution, or update existing apps with new credentials
      • User feedback capabilities that will let users post comments, ideas and report bugs quickly and easily

      Apperian is the leading provider of mobile application management (MAM) technology. The company’s EASE platform delivers enterprise mobility services that enable many of the world’s largest corporations to securely manage the full lifecycle of mobile apps. To learn more about Apperian App Publishing and Apperian’s EASE platform, go to: www.apperian.com.

      For questions about ViziApps and Apperian App Publishing and Management, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    • ViziApps Selected to show Rapid Mobile App Innovation at TechJam 2015!

      gtj logo

      The Mass Technology Leadership Council selected ViziApps to demo our Rapid Mobile App Platform at TechJam 2015. See us there Thursday May 11th in Boston: https://masstlc.proximate.com/btj2015#?p=np