Rollout's ROX helps developers roll out new mobile app features

Rollout's mobile software development kit helps developers analyze user behavior and deliver new mobile app features more reliably and effectively

Rollout's ROX helps developers roll out new mobile app features

It seems like a lifetime ago when the primary way we interacted with applications was through a web browser (let alone via an installed application—let’s not even go there). Today, the mobile application is increasingly the way people communicate, socially mediate, post pictures and do the myriad other things that technology allows.

And as the usage of mobile applications has increased, organizations increasingly look to up the sophistication of these applications. Where market opportunity exists, vendor soon follow—and vendors are sprouting up on a daily basis to help organizations increase the complexity, effectiveness and optionality of their mobile apps.

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A case in point is Rollout, a mobile development vendor. The company recently announced ROX, a new offering that will allow software development teams to analyze user behavior and deliver new features in a more reliable and effective manner.

ROX gives mobile app developers the ability to selectively deliver new features to subsets of users before deciding if these feature are ready to be deployed across all users. Think of it as user group testing on steroids.

Traditionally, only the largest app dev teams, with homegrown solutions, have been able to have selective feature deployment through feature flagging. It was yet another example of how capital resources were the biggest constraint when it came to delivering innovation. The rise of cloud computing and modular developer tools, however, has created a democratization when it comes to formerly enterprise-level functionality.

ROX's role in mobile app deployment

In terms of what it is, ROX monitors the performance of newly deployed features and makes intelligent, data-driven recommendations about further deployment. As an example, an online retail store might wish to add a new shopping cart capability to a mobile app. Through ROX, the new feature can be delivered to a small percentage of users to ensure that the feature is healthy (without bugs or significant usability issues) and that the feature delivers on business goals (increased purchase or checkout). Based on this intelligence, developers can more widely deploy the feature or choose to turn it off entirely and retool should issues arise.

All code is included in the app at the initial point of download and simply turned on or off for individual users or groups. This allows both the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace (although ROX is, at this stage, iOS only) to approve all code ahead of time and allows features that are buggy or that do not deliver on business goals to be disabled without the need for hot patching or emergency expedited releases.

“Data-driven deployment is the future of mobile app development,” explained Erez Rusovsky, CEO and co-founder of Rollout. “With ROX by Rollout, that future arrives today. Feature delivery can finally be uncoupled from app versions, resulting in reduced risk for developers and an improved experience for end users.”

ROX looks like a useful tool and will help organizations large and small make better informed, and better implemented, decisions about mobile application features.

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