Cross-Platform Mobile Development Framework Based on MDA Approach

Cross-Platform Mobile Development Framework Based on MDA Approach

Charkaoui Salma (Faculty of Sciences Ben M'sik, University Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco), Marzak Abdelaziz (Faculty of Sciences Ben M'sik, University Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco), El Habib Ben Lahma (Faculty of Sciences Ben M'sik, University Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco) and Abdelbaki Issam (Faculty of Sciences Ben M'sik, University Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJTD.2018010104


This article describes how these days the mobile application market keeps getting bigger because of the different mobile operating systems. So, it has become a challenge for application vendors to provide an application planned for multiple platforms whose operating systems use different technologies. This fragmentation makes the development of mobile applications quite difficult and very expensive. This can be observed at all levels, data storage, software architecture, user interface, access to phone data, communication between applications, etc. To resolve this problem, several solutions exist in the mobile market to develop mobile applications according to the principle “develops once, use everywhere”. In this article, the authors propose a solution based on the MDA approach called “TimPhoneGenerator”. Using TimPhoneGenerator, applications only need to be coded once for all targeted platforms, which reduces development time and costs.
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Recently, the emergence of smart phones has changed the definition of mobile phones. Phone is no longer just a communication tool, but also an essential part of the people's communication and daily life. Moreover, the authors cannot mention Smartphones without speaking of mobile applications. Propose mobile applications becomes a strategic issue for companies, result, the mobile application market just keeps getting bigger.

The diversity that exists in the mobile area, including the large number of operating systems that use different technologies, produces a “fragmentation” (Charkaoui, 2015). Recognizing the importance of defragmentation and wanting to optimize the design process of mobile applications, the idea of developing a single application that works everywhere (or almost everywhere) became a goal that was much more difficult to achieve - but remains as attractive as ever. This fragmentation makes mobile application development rather difficult, hence the use of cross-platform development framework.

Some work such as PhoneGap, XMLVM, Titanium, etc., have sprung up, each of them is based on an approach. Several approaches exist to address the cross-platform development. In the paper (Charkaoui, 2015) a comparative study is given on the various multiplatform development approaches that exist in the mobile market. Only Web-to-native wrapper and MDA approaches allow realizing hybrid applications (Charkaoui, 2014). A detailed study of these approaches was made in “ Cross-platform mobile development approaches “ paper (Charkaoui, 2015).

Model Driven Architecture (MDA) has received attention because it provides abstraction through high level model like UML (Unified Modeling Language) (Kim, 2005), thus it facilitates the design of complicated and complex software. For the time being, limited number of solutions based on models exists in the mobile market (Heitkötter, 2013; Vaupel, 2013). Our research work is based on the MDA approach (Charkaoui, 2015) to achieve a cross-platform development framework targeting the leading platforms of the mobile market, namely, Android, IOS and windows phone. These mobile platforms don't work in the same way each one has its own language, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), IDEs (Integrated Development Environment), etc. To realize a cross-platform mobile development framework, different points must be studied in the system architecture of this latter; namely, data storage, software architecture, user interface, access to phone data, Communication between applications, etc.

In this research work the authors propose a cross platform mobile development framework called TimPhoneGenerator based on MDA approach, since Models are the key for all project lifecycle, from requirements capture, through the modeling and developing stage, up to testing (Bernardi, 2012). The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Section II presents some relevant related works concerning the topic of the present work. Sections III gives an overview on the proposed solution. Section IV presents the modeling framework using the MDA approach. Section V is devoted to present the code generation principle using Acceleo plugin. Section VI evaluate de cross platform mobile development framework. The last section concludes the paper and proposes further work.

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