Creativity, innovation, and change are the key differentiators in the mobile app development space that separates ‘the best’ from the rest. These are the parameters that GoodFirms also focuses on while collating the extensive list of the most efficient app development firms. Working towards its goal to serve the thousands of service seekers, GoodFirms centers all its inventory and focus to rightly assess the strengths and capabilities of app development companies and recognizes the best.

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As mobile developers, we are often asked about what it’s like working with Xamarin versus working directly on a client’s target platform. As with anything, there are upsides and downsides to both. One of the most important things to remember, though, is that Xamarin compiles to native code and uses native APIs to display all of an app’s UI. This means the best Xamarin apps should take advantage of all of the platform’s common interface paradigms and best practices. A well-written Xamarin app should be indistinguishable from its native counterparts.

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Article Contributors // Andrew Carter & Michael J. Prichard

The History of Parse

Parse, a Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS), first appeared on the scene in 2011 and grew so quickly that by 2012 it was being used by tens of thousands of mobile developers. In 2013, Parse was acquired by Facebook and went on to power a reported 500,000 applications.

Parse isn’t the only player in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry. Larger companies like Microsoft (Azure) and Amazon (AWS) have offerings, as do companies like Kinvey and AnyPresence. But the difference with Parse is that it has attracted more developers than the existing platforms because of its easy-to-use and well-documented SDKs, highly competitive (often free) pricing, intuitive backend portal, and its ability to handle everything (e.g. cloud computing, push services, user authentication, etc.) with very little configuration or setup. From big-name brands to indie shops, Parse was the obvious choice to accelerate production of MVPs, small to medium scale applications, or specific features of large scale applications.

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After our resume review and an initial interview, WillowTree frequently sends out a test project as part of our recruiting process. For us, a good performance on the test project is key to understanding whether or not you’ll be a good fit here. In today’s post, we’ll offer some advice about the things you should do in your test project to grab our attention, and the things you shouldn’t do. While this advice is tailored to what we’re looking for at WillowTree, we feel following it during a test project (whether it’s for us or not) can help you stand out.

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1. The Mobile Search Land Grab

If you pay attention to one trend in 2016, it should be how mobile search is changing. To date, mobile search has largely disappointedーin fact mobile search declined in 2015, driven by a desire to avoid typing, clumsy results, and a majority of consumer time spent within apps.

Mobile search SHOULD be very different from desktop searchーon desktops, the huge majority of content we are looking for is in the browser, except for specific exceptions like document search. Conversely, on mobile devices, the majority of content we want is within apps, whether commerce apps, news apps, social media and messaging apps, contact lists, to do lists, etc.

The coming big shift will be the ability users have to search their entire device from the primary search bar on the phoneーand then, to deep link into the content within the relevant apps that search turns up. According to Search Engine Land, over 40% of Android searches already show app-indexed results. When useful results are combined with voice search (which has been used by about 25% of mobile users according to ZenithOptimedia) in lieu of typing, we believe the result will be a massive increase in mobile search over the next two years.

This is the biggest opportunity since desktop SEO a decade ago. Companies that intelligently index their apps and allow users to easily find the information they want, and allow other apps to link to that content directly, will have a huge advantage. What is it worth to a hotel chain to be the first result for a search of “hotel room New York” or a news media company for “current presidential polls”?

For more information on how companies can implement deep linking, indexing and other mobile search results, please see our blog post here:

http://willowtreeapps.com/blog/how-to-take-advantage-of-the-biggest-mobile-opportunity-of-2015-app-indexing

2. Loyalty Reinvented by Mobile

One of our favorite quotes from the past few years has been, “30% of American consumers are using mobile commerce,…

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“Why can’t you do your work while you’re at work?”
“There isn’t time. I have to go to meetings.”
– John Cleese, “Meetings, Bloody Meetings” (1976)

What’s worse than long, pointless meetings? More of them – which is what you have if you hold long, pointless meetings. Bad meetings beget more meetings.

Fortunately, the collaborative culture we have here at WillowTree allows us to get things done efficiently. We work on small, focused project teams and often hold meetings. A few examples:

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When I first heard the iPhone would have a touchscreen, I thought of bowling alley scoring machines and ATMs. Touch software had always been awful, and I didn’t want more of it. As it turned out, the iPhone worked very well, but it wasn’t the touchscreen that drew my attention. Browsing the web with my finger was nice, but carrying the web in my pocket was amazing.

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