Site reliability engineering for native mobile apps

The reliability of mobile applications in the user’s smartphone is a vital quality of any application in the modern world. With all these hundreds of thousands of applications that meet different user needs, in the end, a person will choose the one that is more secure and solves his problems.

Today, many companies are engaged in the development of mobile applications. And often choose this way, believing that the development of mobile applications is a simple matter. Creating sufficiently reliable applications on a large scale is associated with several problems. For example, you need to consider device variations, different display sizes, battery capacity, device memory, compatibility with some operating systems, etc.

According to the Statista website, 25% of apps downloaded by mobile app users worldwide were found to only open once after being downloaded.

This article is about how not to replenish these statistics and create reliable applications.

Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a principle, practice, and dynamic organizational approach to ensure the reliability of continuous application development. World-renowned industry leaders are using this approach to improve feature speed and reliability.

SRE began with the goal of achieving reliability in large-scale distributed systems. You can use SRE principles to improve the reliability of mobile applications.

SRE principles for mobile applications

Creating a 100% reliable system is a rather tricky goal, at least because of its cost. However, if the software development company focuses on designing a dedicated site, this will balance the risk of this system being unavailable in the future. The end goal here should be to make both the business and the end-users happy.

Measuring Application Risk

When you can accurately measure the risk tolerance for an application, it serves as a safeguard against unexpected risks and helps us take the right action at the right time through alerts.

The SRE has Service Level Indicators (SLIs), Objectives (SLOs), and Agreements (SLAs) to describe the essential properties of essential metrics. Choosing the right metrics helps you take the right action at the right time, thereby increasing the reliability of your application development.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are contracts between a team developing a service and its users to define a set of objectives (SLOs) regarding availability, responsiveness, etc. Service Level Objectives (SLOs) are agreements within SLA for a specific metric, such as responsiveness.

Application Availability

Application availability is one of the most critical metrics for measuring reliability. Two broad categories in which an application becomes unavailable are crashes and application versioning.

Crashes

Failures, if they occur frequently, will render any application unusable. Unhandled exceptions are issues that need to be fixed immediately with a high priority.

Monitoring and Alerting

Monitoring and alerting for issues and abnormal behavior at the right time helps solve them more quickly. And it’s just as essential to have problem alerts while a feature is in development. Sometimes this is even more important than receiving the final error notification.

How could we learn from failure?

We must analyze every production failure posthumously. The best way to create an analysis is to follow these steps:

  • Formulation of the problem
  • Business Impact Assessment
  • Deadlines for recognizing a problem
  • Short term fixes to get the company up and running and
  • Sets with training

Conclusion

Gathering discovery errors accumulate over time, and as they are discovered, the number per DevOps team gets. At this point, companies can more clearly understand what trade-offs they need to make to release products, instead of randomly accumulating this technical debt over time.

Delivering robust mobile apps at scale is no easy task. Adopting the SRE approach can be a lifesaver and create a new sociotechnical approach to application development.

Author’s bio: Anastasiia Lastovetska is a technology writer at MLSDev, a software development company that builds web & mobile app solutions from scratch. She researches the area of technology to create great content about app development, UX/UI design, tech & business consulting.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-woman-messaging-on-modern-cellphone-4350099/

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