A Complete Guide to Mobile Application Architecture

Do you have an app idea in mind? You want to make that idea into a successful reality. When developing a successful mobile app a strong foundation is essential. For that, selecting the right mobile app development architecture plays a crucial role. Not being able to select a proper app architecture can lead to the failure of your mobile app.

According to Statista, mobile apps available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store as of the first quarter of 2021 are:

apps available in the Google Play Store

Image Source: Statista

  • Google Play Store: 3.4 million
  • Apple App Store: 2.2 million

As you can see above, competition in the app development market is escalating. Therefore, choosing a suitable application architecture is the first step towards designing a successful app. So, do you wonder how to choose the right architecture? Don’t worry. We have discussed mobile application architecture in this blog to give your in-depth knowledge about it.

What is Mobile Application Architecture?

In the process of mobile app creation, mobile app architecture refers to a collection of patterns and techniques used to develop a fully well-structured mobile app. The architecture is the roadmap of best practices to be followed during the development of mobile apps. Mobile app architecture has three core layers that are:

  • Presentation layer
  • Business logic layer
  • Data access layer

It allows developers to create the mobile app considering the maintainability and expandability of the app in the future by avoiding the business risks involved. As you have understood the mobile app architecture, now moving further we will look into the mobile app architecture design.

Mobile App Architecture Diagram

Here’s the image of the mobile application architecture diagram to make you understand every component of it.

In application architecture, there are mainly three layers which we have discussed in detail in the next section.

3 Core Layers of Mobile App Architecture

The mobile app architecture is divided into three categories and it is called as three-layer architecture.

  1. Presentation Layer

  2. The presentation layer is all about the user interface and UI process of the mobile application. As the name suggests, this layer is solely focused on the user interface of mobile applications. While creating this layer, mobile app developers need to determine the client type to make the app compliant with the infrastructure. UI/UX design includes various components like theme, fonts, buttons, and app navigation procedure.

  3. Business Logic Layer

  4. In this layer, the business layer contains all the core parts of the mobile app. In simple words, it is a place where developers write code of business logic. The business layer has the solution to all the problems and represents the various components like data validation, data caching, logging, and exception management. Moreover, the business layer sets up business rules, executes complex business procedures, and controls workflow.

  5. Data Layer

  6. The data layer is responsible for managing and securely storing the data of the application. It specifically consists of data access components, utilities, helpers, and service agents. During the development of the app, setting up solid validation is an important part of the data layer for secure data transactions. Remember when designing this layer, you’ve to make it flexible enough to meet the future changes required for business.

    When you start understanding these three layers of mobile application architecture, you might come up with this question.

    Who handles the part of designing all three layers of application?

    An application architect is an expert who possesses all the essential skills and knowledge to design all three layers of application.

What Does an Application Architect Do?

An application architect is a technical expert and who looks into the application design and development stages. S/he has excellent technical proficiency, a strong foundation of object-oriented design, expertise in the development and deployment of enterprise-level applications.

The primary task of an application architect is to monitor the whole system and understand every component’s interaction in the application. Application architects understand the importance of developing an app systematically to avoid any issues.

What are the roles and responsibilities of an application architect?

  • Look over the major aspects of application design and development like interface, middlewares, and structure.
  • Guidance in technical requirements to the development team.
  • Reviewing application code and design.
  • Ensuring the standards of developing applications are followed.

Let’s understand the importance of mobile app architecture.

Importance of App Architecture During App Development

Choosing good mobile app architecture is an important base of a fully structured mobile application which results in an excellent user experience. Following the standard practice of mobile app, the architecture makes it easier for developers to maintain and scale the app in the long term.

Developing an application without architecture is like creating a building without a proper foundation. The bigger the application the more complex problems will arise.

If you do not choose the right mobile application architecture for your project, you might face these challenges.

  • In the future, you might need more time to scale your application because the code is complex to understand
  • The overall code debugging process takes more time
  • A source code without proper architecture is likely hard to test

A well-structured mobile app will ease the problems like above and results in developing an app with a smooth process. It also directly results in the app’s productivity. Besides, it reduces the time required in the overall development process of the application.

Android Application Architecture Diagram

App architecture is a plan created of the standard guidelines defined before the development process starts. Those guidelines must be followed during the development of custom Android apps. It includes the flow of how the different components of the application will be grouped with each other. It is recommended to follow guidelines that help developers to construct a well-written application that is testable, expandable, and maintainable.

Mainly there are four Android app architectures followed by the Android app developers. Here are the architectures:

  1. MVC

  2. MVC refers to Model-View-Controller; it is one of the most used architectures in software application development. In MVC, the Model is how to structure the data of the app, View is how to present app data, and Controller is how to handle the user interaction pattern.

    MVC-in-Android

  3. MVP

  4. MVP refers to Model-View-Presenter, and Android developers started using this architecture as an alternative to the MVC structure. Because it provides modularity, testability, and a better maintainable codebase. Here the Presenter separately works with the Model and View and displays the changes accordingly.

    Model View Presenter

    Image Source: Wikipedia

  5. MVVM

  6. Out of all three Android app architectures, MVVM is recommended by Google for Android application development.

    Android community in MVP a lot of code has to be written to connect the model updates in the View. To resolve this challenge, the Android community resolved it with a reactive approach for mobile architectures.

    Android app architecture

    Image Source: Wikipedia

    Here, MVVM refers to Model-View-ViewModel in which a ViewModel is a model that when it gets updated then View observes it and updates itself. This way, it updates the LiveData from View automatically from the ViewModel.

  7. MVI

  8. MVI stands for Model-View-Intent, it is the newest architecture for building Android applications. This architecture is inspired by its unidirectional and cyclical nature due to the Cycle.js framework. This architecture works differently from MVP, MVVM, and MVC.

    model

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iOS App Architecture Diagram

As similar to Android application development architecture is important. Here in developing iOS app architecture plays an important role. To develop an iOS app, developers need to follow the guidelines of chosen architecture. It allows them to write a more clean code and maintainable application for future business requirements.

There are three types of iOS app architecture which are described as following:

  1. MVC

  2. This is the important and most preferred iOS app development architecture. On top of that, this architecture is mostly recommended by Apple itself.

    The purpose of selecting the optimal architecture saves your capital and time for development. For developing macOS, iOS, and watchOS it is the default architecture followed by the developers. The MVC architecture pattern is differentiated into three different categories:

    ComponentsUse
    Model:It contains the logical operations of the database and that data is stored locally on a browser.
    View:It shows the data to users and has all the required functionalities that enable users to interact with it.
    Controller:It is the core part of the architecture as it creates a connection between the model and the view.
  3. MVVM

  4. Another known architecture used to develop the iOS mobile applications. Basically, it is derived from the MVC module pattern. Besides, it has four principles, such as simplicity, blendability, designability, and testability.

    Android app architecture

    Image Source: Wikipedia

    The interesting part is that it separates the logic of the view controller into a new component called the view model. The View Model is responsible for all the presentation logic of the application. The advantage of the MVVM design pattern is that it makes the view controllers small and further manageable.

  5. VIPER

  6. VIPER has five elements, such as View, Interactor, Presenter, Entity, and Routing; it is considered as the clean architecture for iOS applications. It is customly developed to build components for different use cases in the application. VIPER is considered hard to start due to its many different components. Now, let’s dive into the different components.

    ComponentsUse
    View:The simple work of view is to get the inputs and show the data as requested by the user.
    Interactor:It includes business logic based on the per-use case.
    Presenter:It contains the view logic and view state and updates the view upon the instructions from the interactor.
    Entity:Entities of apps are the model which is used in the interactors.
    Routing:The router controls the view displayed to the user and the next view which is going to be displayed.

    VIPER

    Our in-house iOS developers use VIPER architecture to create custom iOS applications for different portable devices. Because

    • Clean architecture
    • It helps us to design efficient
    • Scalable mobile applications

Want to Create Your Own Custom iOS Application?

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After understanding the different types of Android and iOS architecture, you might be wondering which architecture fits best for your project? Which architecture do you need to select? On what basis? How to choose the right app architecture?

It sounds hard. But, it is not.

Follow these three simple steps and you will be able to choose the right architecture for your next project.

3 Steps to Choose the Right App Architecture For App Development

3-Steps-to-Choose-the-Right-App-Architecture

There are no rules to choose the mobile application architecture because it certainly depends on the project development requirements. It is also not compulsory to use the architecture to develop a small application of 4-5 pages. But, if you want to develop an enterprise-level application then it’s recommended to use the mobile app architecture to build a well-structured application.

  1. Understand the Requirements and Complexity of Project

  2. Generally, to make your mobile app idea successful, you need to think about a particular problem or pain point. You will be required to find information about your customers to gather the requirements.

    Understand the industry specific-requirements to get an idea of the type of application usage. To understand it well let’s take an example like, for interior design service, a web application would be a more preferable choice, while in the case of food ordering service, the mobile application would be the better choice. By this, you will be able to choose the right mobile architecture.

  3. Utilize the Expertise of the App Development Team

  4. The second best way to identify the right architecture for mobile app development is to utilize the expertise of your app development team. Make sure to provide a clear vision of your application. It will help them to suggest the best mobile app architecture.

    For instance, you have determined the timeframe required for the development of the application. It will help them to provide you with the right suggestions as per your requirements. Moreover, you can also justify it if it’s a small application or enterprise-level app.

    For example, if you want to develop a small iOS native app, developers might suggest you use MVC structure. Because that application won’t require a high level of management during development. But, if you want to develop an enterprise-level iOS application, then developers might suggest you use clean architecture like VIPER.

  5. Preference of Your Client

  6. Generally, the third step determines the choice of your client to decide the mobile app architecture. If your client wants to develop an application specifically with the suggested architecture. Then, in that case, you need to opt for that architecture to develop the project.

    FAQ About Mobile App Architecture

    1. What are the various types of application architectures in software development?

    2. There are mainly five different types of application architectures:

      • Layered or N-tier architecture
      • Monolithic- architecture
      • Microservices architecture
      • Event-driven architecture
      • Service-oriented architecture

    Conclusion

    The mobile app architecture is the essential part of every mobile app, which is directly connected with the features, functionalities, and user experience. It is viable to say that choosing the suitable mobile app architecture is the crucial step as it’s connected with the success ratio of your business app.

    Being a leading mobile app development company in Canada, we have experience in developing different kinds of applications like:

    If you have an app idea and want to discuss queries regarding app development, you can contact us by filling up the form below.

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Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel
Designation: Co-founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies

Mr. Rakesh Patel is a Founder and CEO of Space-O Canada. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.