Business Mobile Apps with ZOAPI Apps

This is a natural evolutionary step for ZOAPI and, with pleasure, I announce the extension of ZOAPI Apps into the world of mobile apps. I will begin with a little recap.

The ZOAPI platform is a development accelerator for APIs of all kinds. It offers full function server-side business programming using any of the common API standards. It does this by hiding the technical details and programming complexity from the developer and exposes a highly simplified process flow language with a drag-drop designer tool.

The ZOAPI Apps is a fast, convenient and easy way to build complex business applications using the Data-Oriented design concepts. I have elaborated this in my previous post Data Oriented Applications – ZOAPI leads the way.

Your application ecosystem is incomplete without an equally powerful mechanism to simplify the mobile application development as well. So here it is – announcing the ZOAPI Mobile Apps. Of course, you can create your mobile application the conventional way, integrating with the server using the ZOAPI APIs. But ZOAPI is all about the unconventional. Let me digress for a moment to introduce some design concepts used in ZOAPI Mobile Apps.

Progressive Web Applications (PWA) are the new evolving standard for building applications that run on all types of devices from a single code base. CSS can already handle the device based rendering of pages, what PWA does is it allows the Web application to be installed on the mobile device like a native app. Once installed it behaves like a native application. The implications of this are far reaching for the technology teams struggling to maintain multiple code bases for same application running on multiple devices and OSes.

PWA, I believe, has a great future and is the key design starting point for ZOAPI Mobile Apps.

The second key design principle used is that of data binding. Most Web front-end frameworks are based on data binding, so this is not new. What is new is that ZOAPI binding framework allows you to bind the UI elements directly with the server entities of ZOAPI Apps. It manages the data cacheing and also transparently handles the server communication.

Any mobile business application will also require a back-end server application. For instance in an eCommerce app, there is a backend application to manage products, inventory, users, transactions, and customer issues. ZOAPI Apps and ZOAPI Mobile Apps work together using the same underlying super schema.

With data communication, API handling and cacheing delegated to the ZOAPI binding framework, the Mobile application developer can focus on the User Interface and User experience.

This brings us to the last key design component of ZOAPI Mobile apps – jQuery mobile. Although jQuery mobile is considered obsolete with the emergence of newer frameworks like React, it is the best fit in our design ensemble. The ZOAPI binding framework is jQuery based and jQuery mobile UI model is very simple and easy to learn. Simplicity and programming ease has been the common thread across the ZOAPI product evolution, and this lets us continue that into the mobile applications.

Using the power of PWA, innovative data binding with ZOAPI Apps entities and simple UI framework, powerful multi-device business applications can be easily built with ZOAPI.

Author: Manoj Agarwal, Chief Architect – ZOAPI.

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