The Data Jungle - don't worry be 'appy?

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me…  Maybe not, but they can certainly confuse. Not only do I hate political correctness, I’m also no fan of incorrect, misleading or unintelligible labelling. The IT work is notorious for this.

One of my pet irritations is the word app – full name: application.

What do we mean by an app?

Most people have come to think of apps as those icons on your phone which when clicked, downloaded or purchased from an on-line store will allow you to perform an action. In reality an application can be any software designed for a wide range of purposes, including to assist with business operations or many facets of our everyday lives.

Lifewire provides some useful explanations: App is a modern term for software application, and it is most often used in reference to a mobile app or a small piece of software that runs on a website…. Desktop apps are usually much fuller than mobile apps and consist of all the features of a program, whereas the mobile equivalent is a simpler and easier-to-use version.

To use an analogy from the animal world, a standalone icon style app used on a mobile device is like a thoroughbred race horse – fast, designed to run fast up a single track, and may have a short working life. As a bonus it may or not make money for its owner!

The traditional meaning of an application is more akin to work horse - sturdy, strong, capable of pulling heavy vehicles, of moving things, making other things work, ploughing fields ready to grow crops, is reliable, consistent, well behaved and there to support the people for whom it works.

How can you tell the difference?

Does it interact with other software or is what you see on your mobile device is what you get? Is it intended for long term or fleeting use? Is it for business or personal use?

It shouldn’t take long to work out whether you are dealing with a racehorse or a work horse. The former may be fast to build, therefore cheap to purchase, but may have limited functionality. When purchasing a work horse platform for your business it’s almost certainly going to need to work hard for you in the future and repay your investment in a short time. Careful consideration and planning underpins the purchase of such software – including future proofing it.

Unfortunately, because apps are now so commonplace and easily accessible there is a view all applications are free or a relatively small cost. This may be true of racehorse apps, but a true workhorse platform is usually complex, involves interactions with other systems and IT environments, and is the product of years of R&D, and ongoing new feature development. It has been developed with the aim of being around a long time to support the people who use it. For this reason, work horse development companies need to recoup these costs, as other businesses do with products they have developed.

What are we going to do?

Taking the lead from one of our wise mentors we plan to call most of the software we build platforms, not applications.

Zoodata is a one stop software development house. Not only do we build sturdy “workhorse” platforms, we also build apps, ie extensions to the main platform and which operate via a mobile device. As you should expect of a reliable IT consultancy like Zoodata, we can also integrate platforms with other software, do modifications, build new features and maintain your existing platform to ensure it supports your business with the minimum of fuss.

Zoodata is an all-round stable, so if you need a “horse” of any sort (except the Scottish Kelpies seen in this blog photo), we are happy to have a no obligation chat with you ... and we promise not to bring any hay!

Contact: info@zoodata.com.au or phone: 9485 0725.