Native Apps

  • Small Businesses Are Tapping the Power of Mobile Apps

    In a survey of 2513 small businesses conducted by AT&T, nearly one-third of respondents reported that they are deploying mobile apps. Their goals, they said, are to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs. Almost half of the companies using mobile apps indicated that those apps are critical to the success of their business.

    Have you wondered whether a mobile app could provide an effective way to enhance customer loyalty for your small business? Or are you thinking of deploying an app that would attract new customers?

    If you are like many small businesses owners, you may worry that you lack the resources to design and build a robust mobile app. Perhaps you have put off plans for a mobile app because you assumed that creating one would have to be expensive, time-consuming and complex. It doesn’t.

    ViziApps takes a “no coding” approach to creating mobile business apps, making it possible for non-programmers to design and build a custom mobile app at less cost and in significantly less time than it would otherwise take. By providing an elegant way to create both native and web mobile apps, ViziApps eliminates perceived impediments and enables even the smallest companies to build apps that run on iOS and Android devices.

    If you knew that you could develop a mobile app for your business in a day, would that help you get started? Let us know: would a drag-and-drop approach make it easier for you to get a mobile app up and running?

  • Speed Your Mobile Apps to Market in a Major App Store

    New, disruptive technologies are enabling business and IT people to create robust, visually appealing, data-centric mobile business apps quickly and cost effectively. Using a tool like ViziApps Studio provide step-by-step directions on how to get a ViziApps-built app published in the Apple App Store or in Google Play.

    To publish an app in the Apple App Store using ViziApps, for example, you just need to complete three steps:

    • Prepare the data, icons, images and other items that will be used to promote your app in the App Store with iTunes Connect
    • Brand and build the code for your app using ViziApps
    • Deploy your app to iTunes Connect with the Application Loader.

    Deploying An App to iTunes Connect

    The process for deploying an app to iTunes Connect has changed over time, so be sure to download and refer to the current iTunes Connect Developer Guide for the latest information.

    Knowing what you will need to take your completed mobile business apps through the build and app publishing process will help you plan your time at the onset of your mobile app development project to make your apps available to your users on schedule. By clearly understanding the steps you will need to complete to meet the unique requirements of the Apple App Store and Google Play, you will avoid unnecessary delays and ensure that your mobile apps will be ready when your users expect to start using it.

  • The Cost of Mobile App Development

    We’ve talked a lot lately about exciting changes in the world of mobile apps for small businesses. One of the biggest and most important changes of all is that of the cost of developing these apps.

    Until recently, businesses looking to create an app were dependent on engineers with serious technical chops. And those engineers didn’t come cheap: think $40,000 to $50,000 range and up, just to get an app to the point of publication. Not to mention the cost of purchasing, building, and maintaining any related software or databases. Then, within days or even hours, businesses often discovered — based on user feedback — changes that needed to be made. Every time a business owner wanted to make an update or upgrade to an app, or fix a bug, another $3,000 to $5,000 was required.

    But the times, as they say, are a-changing. As technology progresses, custom application shops are able to produce apps more quickly and cost-effectively. The new bottom line? An app that once cost $50,000 to develop might soon be $35,000 to $40,000 — not an insignificant savings, though certainly still not affordable for many small businesses and departments in larger businesses. And that’s before your first user even downloads your app.

    So is that as good as it gets?

    Fortunately, no. With MobiFlex’s App Studio, you can design and test your app for free: simply log in and lay out your screens and data using drag-and-drop wizards, selection tools, and widgets. Only when you’re ready to publish your app do you reach for your wallet — and even then, the cash outlay is a palatable $99 provisioning fee. From there, you pay a monthly subscription fee — ranging from $10 to $199 — based on the app’s number of users and screens. That means you could use the MobiFlex App Studio to publish an unlimited-screens, unlimited-users app for $199 a month for over 12 years before you’d pay as much for a comparable custom app — and without the whopping up-front bill. On top of that, there’s no extra charge for app changes, bug fixes, and upgrades! And with MobiFlex’s integrated Google Docs spreadsheet capabilities, you can avoid the costs of building and maintaining complex backend databases.

    Not sure how to begin? MobiFlex offers a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. meeting to help you kick off your 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.

  • 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 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.

    • 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 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 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 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.

  • 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:

  • Web Apps Now Available on ViziApps

    If you’ve been following this space, you already know all about – and hopefully have been impressed by – ViziApps’ native app capabilities. But never content to rest on its laurels, MobiFlex has just added web app capabilities to ViziApps 2.0, making it the first and only no coding solution for creating both web and native apps for iPhones, iPads, and Android phones.

    Who doesn’t love a one-stop shop? Now users who choose ViziApps 2.0 can design and test both native and web mobile apps for free. Web apps created with ViziApps are available for immediate use on any of the more than 5,000 mobile devices that support full browser capabilities.

    The addition is a logical expansion for MobiFlex, whose users had been clamoring for ViziApps web app capabilities. And who can blame them? ViziApps 2.0 allows small- to mid-sized businesses and enterprises to fully engage with employees and customers wherever they are through custom mobile apps that can be created and published in days – or even hours.

    Think this is all really going to cost you? Hardly. Publishing fees for ViziApps web apps range from a mere $6.95 to $149 per month, depending on the number of web app pages and page views. And what’s more, to celebrate the launch of ViziApps 2.0, MobiFlex is introducing the ViziApps Free plan, which allows users to publish a ViziApps web app with unlimited static-content pages for up to 2 million page views per month. ViziApps 2.0 also enables users to publish a ViziApps native app for free for their own use on their iPhone or Android phone.

    Sometimes even the best gets better.

  • What is a Native App?

    Mobile applications might be ubiquitous these days, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. In fact, there are two distinct categories of apps — web and native — and their respective functions and capabilities are quite different.

    Let’s look today at native apps. No, they’re not applications that were born and bred in your home country. Native apps run directly on your device — be it iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or Android tablet — and give you the ability to use the resources native to it, including GPS, camera, calendar, and contacts.

    “Big deal,” you might be thinking. “What’s so special about an app that can use my phone’s GPS and camera?”

    In fact, native apps are special, and their value — especially to small-business owners — shouldn’t be underestimated. For one thing, native apps offer true geolocation-based marketing capabilities. If you’re a restaurant or store owner, a native app allows you to know exactly where your users are; if they’re nearby, you can instantly push a coupon out to them. Say you’re the creator of a new kids’ toy; with the help of a native app, you can locate your users and show them a list of places near them where they can buy your products and add-on accessories.

    A native app also gives you the ability to use your device’s camera to take pictures, which can then be integrated into the application’s other functions. Insurance claims agents can use the camera to instantly upload accident photos for their reports, while real estate brokers can add up-to-the-minute property photos to their listings.

    Sounds pretty useful, right? So what’s the catch? Well, traditionally, the development of custom native applications has required significant technical skills — think in-depth knowledge of complicated computer languages — not to mention lots of time and money. But MobiFlex has changed the rules of the native app game. With the MobiFlex App Studio™, users can create these applications faster, for less money, and without any special technical skills. As a result, the native app market has now been opened to a world of small businesses that in the past would not have had the skills, resources, or budget to access it.

    We’ll soon post the lowdown on the other major category of mobile applications: web apps. Stay tuned.