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As mobile devices become more mainstream and mobile applications become integral pieces of an increasing number of companies' IT infrastructures, it is vital that enterprise level decision-makers …

As mobile devices become more mainstream and mobile applications become integral pieces of an increasing number of companies' IT infrastructures, it is vital that enterprise level decision-makers understand common terminology in the mobile development landscape. This whitepaper is a compilation of common terms in the world of mobile application development, created by the app development team at PointAbout.

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  • 1. Terms Common In Mobile DevelopmentThe evolution of mobile devices has taken the world by storm. Seemingly every day brings news of aneruption in the number of apps being downloaded or breathless updates on another upcoming revoul-tionary tablet or smartphone.According to Nielsen, 36% of U.S. mobile consumersnow own smartphones. There are currently over 200million mobile subscriptions in the U.S., while the totalnumber of global subscriptions is expected to reach 6billion in 2011. Mobile app downloads will follow thetrend and increase to 33 billion by 2014.While the future of mobile is still unknown given theindustry’s relative infancy, what is certain is that mobiledevice ownership will continue to grow and propelthe demand for mobile apps. For that reason, Point-About has compiled a list of commonly used termsin the mobile app development process. These termsremain consistent regardless of the targeted mobileplatform.• Application Programming Interface (API) - is a set of standardized rules and specifi-cations that define how software programs communication with each other. An API can be created forlibraries, operating systems, and applications.• Application Distribution - is the process of submitting an app to an app store and distributing it topublic consumers or internally within enterprises. Apple has strict guidelines for app distribution; onemust have either a Developer’s license to distribute apps to public consumers or an Enterprise licenseto distribute apps internally within enterprises. Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone platforms havea more lenient process.• Application Provisioning - refers to the process of creating a profile provision on the iOS platformfor a specific app. The provision contains 2 major elements, the app ID and a list of devices (only if anadhoc provision or a development provision, otherwise a list is not required for app store submission). This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 2. • App Store - (termed “Market” for Android and “BlackBerry App World” for Blackberry apps) is anonline store for mobile device users. Developers submit mobile applications to app stores, where con-sumers browse, purchase (varying prices), download, and install apps.• Augmented Reality - a term that relates to a real-time live direct or indirect view of a real, physicalworld that is simulated/augmented by computer-generated sensory input (sound, graphics, etc.)• Authentication - refers to the verification of a user’s identity with something the user provides, suchas date of birth, password, secret question, a smart card (physical item), fingerprint (physical feature).This is also a method for verifying sensitive, private, and/or premium data.• Badge - refers to the iOS platform, a badge is the visual notification bubble that alerts the user to thenumber of unread emails.• Bluetooth - is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixedand mobile devices.• Certificate Signing Request (CSR) - in preparing a device for development on the iOS platform,a CSR is a needed digital asset containing personal information, which is used to generate developercertificates.• Developer Certificate - is an additional needed digital asset, which identifies an iOS applicationdeveloper; after the CSR approval, the developer certificate is downloaded from the iOS portal, thenadded to the developer’s keychain.• Device Orientation - Apple, Android, and Windows Phone 7 devices must be capable of renderingscreens in landscape and portrait views.• Direct Manipulation - refers to or describes interactive systems where users physically interact withtheir operating system offering “user control.” Instead of typing text commands, the user has the abilityto physically interact with directories and files while receiving visual representation of the progress andthe end point. An example of direct manipulation is the resizing of a graphical shape such as a rectanglebox.• Emulator - is a testing tool used in conjunction with device testing or in the case where devices arelimited; emulators mimic the software environment and simulate all or part of the hardware peripherals. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 3. • Encrypting - refers to the act of securing data from being read by unauthorized entities in such a waythat its original state can be restored later.• End-User(s) - is a person or group of persons that a software program or hardware device is designedfor. End-users are the ultimate operators of the software or device after it has been fully developed,marketed, and installed. An “end-user” is distinct from developers or programmers of the product.• Enterprise License - refers to Apple’s developer programs. An enterprise license is needed to dis-tribute, update, and host in-house proprietary mobile apps to employees within your organization. Thecost is $299/year and offers several amenities including: •access to the iOS SDK, Developer Center Resources, and Apple Developer Forums •the ability to submit 2 technical support incidents per membership year •the ability to create development teams •the ability to test apps on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch •the ability to select pre-release software and tools •ad hoc distribution• eXtensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) - is an upgraded version of the widely usedHypertext Markup Language (HTML) that mirrors and conforms to XML syntax.• eXtensible Markup Language (XML) - is a data format that is frequently used to transmit data viaweb service communications. XML uses tags to identify data fields and can define specific rules that alldata must conform to ensure consistency and validity.• File Transfer Protocol (FTP) - is a standard network protocol commonly used to transfer (down-load/upload) files to a server over the internet.• Fragmentation (in mobile) - describes the current dilemma within the mobile landscape. It is theinability to create a single application that can operate across all devices.• Functionality - refers to the capabilities or usefulness of a software program or application.• GeoRSS - are location-encoded feed formats used to publish and deliver regularly updated web con-tent such as blog posts, audio and video, and news headlines.• Global Positioning System (GPS) - most smartphones include GPS capabilities, which provide lo-cation (Latitude and Longitude) and time information, at all times (when enabled). This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 4. • Graphical User Interface (GUI) - is a type of user interface allowing easier interaction between auser and an electronic device (MP3 players, gaming devices), by the use of images instead of text com-mands. Common examples are menus, the pointer, and icons. • Hardware - can be used to refer to mobile devices of any kind or additional peripheral components. • Hit Target - refers to touch points on devices. It is recommended each toolbar item maintain a 44 x 44 pixel size for good usability. • Hybrid App - is a software bundle that is a com- bination of a native app (Objective C and Java) and a web app (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript). Hybrid apps have the ability to utilize native device functionalities (cam- era, GPS, bluetooth, accelerometer) and be distribut- ed as native applications. Essentially, hybrid apps are web apps with a native outer shell or wrapper. •HyperText Markup Language 5 (HTML5) - is the next iteration of HTML, which is the core pro- gramming language of the world wide web, set to be finalized in 2014. New featureswill be added to handle today’s multimedia demands, decrease the need for additional plug-ins, allowend users to interact with applications and documents offline, and geo-location functionalities.• In-App Purchase - is a way for developers to earn extra income and a way for users to purchase newcontent, services, complementary features, subscriptions, and upgrades, all within a mobile application.• Jailbreak - is most commonly associated with iPhones; the process of removing the limitations im-posed by Apple on iOS devices. Although illegal, the end result is more control over the behavior andenvironment of the device, modifications to the OS and the appearance of the homescreen.• JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) - is an alternative data format to XML. JSON is simpler andmore efficient than XML but lacks some of the power in defining rules about data and describing com-plex data. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 5. • Keychain - refers to the iOS platform. Keychain is a type of storage that contains encrypted informa-tion for multiple services and applications.• Location-Based Services (LBS) - information or entertainment service accessible via mobile de-vices and mobile networks that utilize the devices GPS feature.• Metaphors - refers to the iOS platform and are objects and actions that resemble the “real-world.”For instance, the use of a Folder, both in the real-world and virtual have the same usage, to store docu-ments. When users see a folder on their computer screen, they automatically make the connection.Common metaphors include, tapping playback controls, dragging, flicking, or swiping objects, slidingon/off switches, flicking through pages or photos, and spinning picker wheels to make choices.• Mobile App/Application - is compiled software created for use on a mobile device, which is eitherpre-installed by the manufacturer or downloaded and installed by a consumer.• Mobile Browser - is a web browser designed to be accessed by mobile devices and optimized todisplay web content effectively for small screens.• Mobile Carrier - is also known or referred to as wireless carrier or wireless service provider. It is atelephone company that provides services for mobile phone subscribers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.).• Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) - is a comprehensive suite of products andservices that enable the development of mobile applications by managing the diversity of networks,devices, and user groups throughout the development lifecycle and deployment. MEAPs capabilities/features include: •supporting more than one type of mobile device or mobile OS without the need to generate separate code bases •centrally manage mobile devices, data, and applications •enhances existing business platforms by making them accessible to all users, at all times •leverages existing knowledge and familiar deployment tools • Mobile Fragmentation - refers to the diversities in mobile devices and platforms, and the inabilityto create an application that is compatible and operable with all platforms and devices.• Mobile OS (Operating System) - is also referred to as mobile platform, is a mobile operating sys-tem for mobile devices, similar to Windows OS and Mac OS for desktops and laptops. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 6. • Mobile Platform - is also referred to as mobile OS, is a mobile operating system for mobile devices,similar to Windows OS and Mac OS for desktops and laptops.• Mobile Subscriptions - refers to the purchase of a mobile phone contract via a mobile phone ven-dor (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.).• Mobile Web - refers to browser-based access to the internet via the use of a mobile device (smart-phones, tablets, feature phones).• Monetization - is a term used in reference to advertisers/developers and how they leverage the mo-bile medium to display advertisements in order to gain a profit.• Multitasking - is the ability to execute multiple programs at one time; it involves the use of only oneCPU or smartphone, which quickly switches from one program to another, giving the appearance ofexecuting all the programs at once.• Native Application - is a software bundle that is developed and designed using the programminglanaguage (Objective C, Java) of a specific platform (iOS, Android) and runs only on specific devices.• Near-Field Communication (NFC) - is commonly associated with mobile payment. NFC is a short-ranged wireless connectivity technology that builds upon the existing radio frequency identificationtechnology.• Open Graphics Library (OpenGL) - is a cross-platform API software to graphics hardware; it is astandard specification used to write applications that produce 2D and 3D computer graphics.The interface consists of over 250 distinct commands that are used to specify objects and operationsneeded to create interactive 2D and 3D graphics. OpenGL is commonly used in flight simulation, virtualreality, video games, and information visualization.• Over the Air Programming (OTA) - is a vital part of a mobile device’s functionality and security. Itworks in conjunction with SMS or text messaging to provide remote control of mobile devices, allow-ing for an efficient, cost-effective method to update a device’s OS, send software, troubleshoot, installmobile apps from app stores.• Provisioning Profile - refers to the iOS platform. The profile associates one or more developer cer-tificates, devices, and an app ID. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 7. • Push Notification - is a mobile service created by Apple that uses a constantly open-IP connectionto forward notifications from servers to iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch. The notifications are receivedand can be opened without the need to launch the application.• Quality Assurance Testing (QA) - refers to systematic monitoring and evaluation of various aspectsof projects, essentially making sure a project is completed based on agreed upon specifications, stan-dards, and functionality requirements.• Really Simple Syndication Feeds (RSS Feeds) - is also referred to as Rich Site Summary. RSS feedsare formatted and used to publish and deliver regularly updated web content such as blogs, audio andvideo, and news headlines.• Request for Proposal (RFP) - is an early stage of the procurement process. It is a document anentity uses to elicit bids for a project from potential vendors.• RACI Matrix - is also referred to as Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) - is used to describe andassign roles in order to complete tasks or projects. •Responsible - the task achiever •Accountable - the final approving authority of the completed project or task •Consulted - subject matter experts; those whose expertise is sought •Informed - those who are kept up-to-date or “in the loop” of progress• Rich media - is also referred to as interactive media or multimedia that responds to a user’s input.Rich media is characteristically known for dynamic motion; it is a broad range of digital media informa-tion consisting of text images, videos, audio, and animation. It can be downloadable and embeddable.• Root (device) - is most commonly associated with Android devices. “Rooting” is the process of re-moving the limitations imposed by Google on Android devices, although illegal, the end result is morecontrol over the behavior and environment of the device, modifications to the OS and the appearanceof the homescreen.• Screenshot - is also referred to as Screen Grab, Screen Capture, or print screen. A screenshot is animage taken by a computer or mobile device that is a visual representation of what is being displayed.• Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) - is a messaging protocol frequently used in Web Services.SOAP consists of information about the message such as error details or data used for security or toensure message reliability. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 8. • Simulator - is a testing tool used in conjunction with device testing or in the case where devices arelimited. Simulators are limited in that they only mimic the software environment, having no regard forthe hardware.• Software Defects - are referred to as “bugs,” inter-ruptions, glitches, or crashes that occur while an ap-plication is being installed, launched, used, or closed.• Software Development Kit (SDK) - is a set ofdevelopment tools that enables developers to cre-ate applications for a particular software platform orframework.• Streaming - refers to a method of delivering acontinuous, steady flow of data over telecommuni-cations networks, which is presented to and receivedby an end-user. “Streaming” is commonly associatedwith online video and audio.• Systems Requirement Specification (SRS)- is also referred to as SRD (Systems RequirementsDocument), RD (Requirements Document) and othernames. A SRS is a document that lays out the devel-opment process for a mobile project, based on theclient’s expectations, targeted platforms, and preexisting data architecture; a collection of informationmapping out the development process of the creation of a system.• Test Provisioning Profile - is also referred to as an ad-hoc provisioning profile. Test provisioningprofiles are issued to non-developers or those not a part of an iOS developer team, allowing them toinstall and test applications that have not been published in the App Store.• Touchscreen - is very common in mobile devices. It is an electronic visual display that detects thepresence and location of touch within the display area. Touchscreens allow one to interact directly withdevices without the need for a touchpad or a mouse.• Touch User Interface Gestures (pinch, scrolling, zooming, swipe) - are gestures referring to one’sinteraction with Apple, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone devices. Although similar, each plat-form has different gestures. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 9. • Unique Device Identifier (UDID) - each iPhone, iPad, and iPod has a sequence of 40 characters(letters and numbers) that are specific to that device. UDIDs are used by developers who want to createan ad hoc build or deploy an application to a “real” iphone, and for beta testing iOS apps with up to 100devices (users must provide developers with their UDIDs in order to install the beta apps).• Universal App - refers to Apple devices and iOS mobile apps. A universal app is a bundled/comboapp that has the capability to run on both the iPhone and iPad, all while rendering properly on bothdevices. The app utilizes the full small screen of an iPhone and the full large screen of an iPad withoutimages/content being disproportionate.• Use Case - is a modeling technique which developers use to describe the interaction between theuser (or actor) and the software application. Use cases describe steps or actions that help developersdetermine which features to implement and to predict possible problems.• User Experience (UX) - refers to how an end-user perceived, reacted or felt after interacting withan application, system, or device. The user’s experience is indicative of the ease of use, practicality, andefficiency of the product.• User Interface (UI) - refers to the design of a program, a computer, a mobile device, an application,a website, or machine with the focus on the end-user’s experience and overall interaction in mind.User Interface (UI) Paradigms - in mobile development, each mobile platform has UI (user interface)criteria to follow in order to engage the user and offer a similar user experience as pre-installed apps.• Virtual Private Network (VPN) - is a way to connect to a private local area network by using en-cryption. Virtual private networks can be used to send any kind of network traffic including video, voice,or data.• Web Services - is a method of sending data between two computers over web protocols such asHTTP. Data is usually transmitted in one of two formats: XML or JSON. Web Services use either SOAP orREST messaging. Web Services are frequently used by mobile devices to send data to or retrieve datafrom servers.• Wireframes - are blueprints or visual guides that represent the skeletal framework of a mobile ap-plication. Wireframes typically focus on information architecture.• Wireless - in telecommunications, wireless technology may be used to transfer information or com-mands over short and long distances. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.
  • 10. • Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) - is a specification allowing users to access relevant infor-mation instantly via handheld devices such as smartphones, tablets, PDAs, and pagers. WAP is sup-ported by all operating systems and most wireless networks.• Wireless Network - is also referred to as WiFi. Wireless networks use radio frequency waves tocommunicate much like a two-way radio. A device’s wireless adapter translates and transmits data to awireless router, which receives and decodes the data.• Wireless Services - currently refers to 3G and 4G wireless services, measured in Mbps with promisesof high data speeds, always-on data access, and greater voice capacity. It also promises to enable fullmotion video, video conferencing, and high speed internet access.If your company has an interest in or is planning mobile solutions, please refer to PointAbout’s growingwhitepaper/case study directory for an in-depth look at various topics relevant to the mobile landscape.The PointAbout team has applied their collective knowledge to mobilize a number of major brands inthe media, entertainment, transportation, and retail verticals. This document contains Confidential & Private Information of PointAbout, Inc. Visit for more information.