2020, a year where everything didn’t go according to plan. But people kept moving forward by adapting online web services. Most of the organisations moved their business to cloud-based systems. But, have you kept your app in good shape? When was the last time the app maintenance took place?
As we are heading towards a much waited Christmas break, there are few things to keep in mind, especially if you or your organisation have few online systems up and running.
Most of us think if the software is doing okay to ignore maintenance and keep using it. But software applications are organic and tend to break over time due to various macro and microenvironmental changes.
Key Points for App Maintenance
Just like houses, software's do attract bugs from places you never know. So similar to pest control, we should find and fix bugs in the system before it gets out of hand.
With usage users of the system will find a million ways to break it and find new bugs. You might not realise it, but behind the scenes, some component will fail. The best way to find this is through real-time crash reporting integration to the application. Therefore, it is always good to integrate these analytical and tracking tools to your application.
Another approach would be testing it through the test suite. More than half of the systems will add in new features and it might not get fully tested. There will be many possibilities where these untested components cause big trouble with time.
Most of the time some test suite might not be testing the proper functionality. Therefore, it is always good to revise the test suite during the app maintenance period.
#2 Keeping up with Technology
By now, you would have noticed how many updates you go through each week.
It is hard to keep up with technology, mainly if your application is entirely depended on a specific technology. Such as iOS, Android or even Windows. Recently with the new iOS updates, there were so many permissions issues which caused existing apps to break.
With control of virtual environments, such as Docker, we could keep using the same application without any dependency issue. But like I said if it works that doesn’t mean you are safe. Upgrading an application to one point higher will be a quick fix. But if it goes more than that, it can have many breaking changes that could be costly.
Therefore, it is recommended to at least update an app every month, or else you will be left behind these technologies.
For example, on the 30th of November, 2017, PHP 7.2 was released. The 30th of November 2020 all support ended, and PHP 8 was released. It is almost impossible to keep track of them, hence gives you a reason to update every month and keep your application in good shape.
#3 Break the Old Habit
Most applications tend to do what the customer/client wants. Sometimes they stick to the old habits which might not be the ideal or the best way. Therefore, you need to identify those processes and fix them up in the app maintenance phase.
If you can do Task A with just one click, but instead take 2 or 3 clicks, it is not the optimal way of getting things done.
Therefore, as opposed to the significant bugs and updates, it is good to tweak the UX a bit. These tweaks may be straightforward but will make your life easy. It might be merely moving a “Save” button to another location which indirectly saves minutes in your business process.
This should be the number one, but I left it at the end because more than 75% of the people tend to forget the 1st half. You might think this is not really app maintenance, but this will keep your application in good health. This may be different from organisation to organisation. Some may think, they don’t need security as they do not save any critical data.
If you think that way, there might be a chance that your application leads to a significant security breach. Therefore it is a crucial thing to keep your application secure. Even without your knowledge, there would be a plugin that might cause a security breach.
As everything tends to go online, many hackers/organisations are willing to break in. On and off, there will be things to do.
- Security patches,
- Password updates,
- Auditing the security procedures and firewalls,
- Backing up data,
- Enabling multi-factor authentications,
- Updating the operating systems,
- Upgrading or moving into an up to date web browser,
- Fixing up office SPAM filters,
There are many more todos, but you get the gist.
Maintain the Life Cycle with App Maintenance
With the Christmas/Holiday break, many tend to ignore app maintenance and they enjoy the holiday. In 2019 December people didn’t expect Covid 19 to hit so bad. Similarly, you never know what might happen. Preparation always trumps rectification.
In conclusion, if your organisation has already made an investment into developing a bespoke web or mobile application and it has had a positive effect, you should keep it steady for the long run. Investing in app maintenance is basically protecting your investment in the long terms and managing your future risks.
We at Fonseka Innovations, have done many projects throughout the years. Before every project, we analyse the business and help them understand about maintaining the product. Most of the applications are in good health due to the maintenance we do. Therefore, if you have any application that needs maintenance or even to plan a new application, you can simply contact us.