Building Agile Smartphone Apps in Agriculture
And why CropIn favours Flutter
Digital innovations have profoundly shaped agriculture around the world in the recent decades. Combining modern science with technological advancements has enhanced efficiency and productivity at all stages of food production and distribution. Moreover, with farming becoming increasingly technology-driven, cloud-based smartphone apps in agriculture are creating substantial financial value for both smallholder farmers and large agribusinesses.
CropIn’s mobile applications strengthen connectivity and information flow between stakeholders in the agroecosystem. When combined with information from other sources, the data collected and analysed by the applications also help them make smarter decisions that ensure the efficient use of resources for sustainable agriculture.
CropIn’s smartphone apps in agriculture are used by many users worldwide due to their intuitive interface and easy-on-the-eye designs. There were, hence, several concerns that we wanted to accommodate when we embarked on mobile app development.
- Versatility: As mentioned earlier, a wide array of devices use CropIn’s mobile applications, from low-end smartphones to tablets and high-end devices. Users can utilise these devices in diverse environments, including remote farms, warehouses, and office spaces, where internet connectivity varies considerably.
- Complexity of storage: The majority of data that our apps collect is very rich. Further, some of this data is collected from remotely-located farms with barely any internet connectivity. The apps, therefore, must be capable of storing this data locally in a certain structure to make it easier to process it further later.
- Data security: We develop our apps with data security as the key theme across all our digital solutions. We must take every measure to not compromise on the safety and security of whatever data gets stored in the phone.
- Concurrency of updates: The app developers need to keep track of the new updates for both Android and iOS and make the required changes from time to time to ensure the app continues to function with stability and ease.
In essence, the computing that CropIn’s mobile applications does is intensive, which makes them one of the more complex applications designed for a niche user base.
How Does CropIn Enhance The User Experience?
At CropIn, we make every effort to make sure our registered users find it convenient to use our mobile apps to go about with business as usual, no matter where they are. Naturally, we must build cross-platform smartphone apps in agriculture that provide the user with a flawless and uniform experience, no matter the device or the operating system.
The simplest solution that occurred to us was to switch to cross-platform development, which allows us to expand our reach to users, both existing and new, using a single code base. Like several other well-known names like Google, eBay, BMW, and Groupon, we opted to use because it helped save us time, maximise our resources, and, most importantly, build natively using just one codebase.
Previously, our apps for Android and iOS were designed separately during the development process to make them compatible with each specific device and its current OS version. Here, the Android developer’s app code cannot be reused by the iOS developer for the same app on an Apple device.
One of the primary advantages of using Flutter is that by using just one source code, our developers could build and maintain applications for both iOS and Android in parallel. It allows our high-performance apps to feel natural on the different platforms while they continue to share as much code as possible. Using this cross-platform UI toolkit, we now have unified mobile apps with feature parity between both platforms.
Using Flutter has empowered CropIn to achieve much more in terms of how the app behaves and performs on various devices without compromising quality, security, or the performance of our apps. Additionally, as we grow as a global ag-tech provider, we wanted to be fluid with our releases and ensure they are available for our users faster than before on both Android and iOS devices.
What Are The Benefits For App Users?
- Improved Testing: The Flutter framework allows us to run tests fast and in isolation. The other advantage is that we can now run automated tests for both platforms. Additionally, we have reduced device-specific issues, thus limiting unfavourable experiences that users would otherwise possibly face.
- Quicker Updates: From working on two independent applications natively, it now takes significantly less time to develop new features, remove or update existing ones, or fix bugs for both versions of the apps. As a result, users can enjoy new and improved features from us at an impressive turnaround time.
- Seamless UI/UX: Flutter’s layered architecture allows us to customise the apps with great details, thus helping us deliver a functional yet highly immersive UI. Furthermore, it accommodates all critical differences between platforms, including navigation, icons, fonts, and scrolling. As a result of Flutter’s flexible layout system, our various apps adjust readily to multiple screen sizes and formats without us having to perform a lot of additional layout work. The benefit for the user is a native performance experience on both iOS and Android.
CropIn is undoubtedly one of the first, if not the very first, companies to develop smartphone apps in agriculture using Flutter.
Why Does Our Engineering Team at CropIn Prefer Flutter?
While our mission is to design and implement future-proof solutions for the agroecosystem, we, as a global enterprise, are constantly advancing our services to ensure we provide the best possible user experience. As a cutting-edge framework, we believe that Flutter is one that CropIn can grow with to provide an intuitive mobile experience for our user base. As a result, Flutter holds promise for steady, long-term growth.
CropIn is undoubtedly one of the first, if not the very first, companies to develop smartphone apps in agriculture using Flutter. It is something that is in line with our technical know-how on the frameworks that our team works on. Adopting Flutter has enabled us to build dynamic and immersive applications that add further value to your business. It also stands as a testament to our commitment to bringing the latest frameworks to advancing the agri sector. We endeavour to take advantage of the best out there and be agile about developments while we continue to adopt newer and better frameworks.
Originally published at www.cropin.com.
Our special thanks to Vijaysarathi Kallam, Former VP of Engineering at CropIn for his valuable inputs.