In this post I will take a look at what purpose OAuth authorisation protocol serves, how it is being used in mobile application world and how is it relevant to a mobile commerce applications. The first part of the post describes most common OAuth scenarios in mobile commerce apps, the second part is about the actual technical usage scenarios.
OAuth enables your mobile application to gain the permissions from account owners (who as well happen to be your mobile application users) to perform certain tasks on their behalf. Be it requesting the list of their Google contacts, requesting the information to access their Twitter and Facebook posts or do the actual update on their social walls.
At PopularOwl, we create tutorials and courses about open source technologies.
We would like to introduce you to the project we recently created called MobileGap. It’s the list of open source mobile application projects maintained by the community of mobile developers. The motto of this project is ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’
These mobile applications were made open source by their developers and in most cases are hosted on the community code repositories. The MobileGap web application is an open source project itself. It’s maintained in the Markdown format and we use metalsmith.io to build HTML pages.
Social integration use cases in mobile commerce apps
Extending on the subject of mcommerce and mobile SDK integrations this post will be about the value your mobile commerce application can receive from direct integration with social networks.
We will review integration options with the strongest social network out there – Facebook, who has a native SDK (software development kit) available for both iOS and Android mobile platforms.
First part of this post will examine the potential use cases and user flows in mobile commerce application and the second part will examine actual implementation code needed for integrating current version of Facebook SDK library into iOS mobile app (to be used on iPhone and iPad devices).
Payment process is a crucial user experience flow element in any mobile commerce application. Mcommerce application has to have an easy to navigate screens, short user registration process, appealing and attractive design but in the end of the day its the number of sold items what matters to the bottom line. And this cannot be achieved without a payment step.
The nature of native mobile application is very different from the web based app (as it runs on the remote mobile device which application developer cannot control). This requires a specific approach to handling information security and data flow as well as user experience on mobile device screens with limited number of pixels available. Payment steps in best scenarios have to be non intrusive and maybe even transparent for the end user (with the final confirmation required of course).
Because of this and the back-end complexity of the actual payment processing the best option for majority mobile commerce applications is to integrate already existing mobile payment library or bundle provided by reliable 3rd party payment gateway. Such libraries are designed with the mobile architecture in mind, in most cases they have nice and simple UX controls in place and only few click checkout experiences.
In our today’s post I’ll list most popular payment libraries available for mobile commerce applications built on Apple iOS mobile platform (iPhones, iPads) and will do a technical review for one such library which enables mobile applications to accept credit card payments directly in app.
Authentication via 3rd party SDK’s and libraries is quite common in mobile commerce applications. The main reason for this is to reduce number of forms and text fields mobile application user has to fill in before finally purchasing the item inside mobile application.
Statistically, chances are that your mobile application user already has existing accounts on the most popular social network apps, social shopping or eCommerce portals. What many of these 3rd party authentication libraries provide is the possibility for your application user to authenticate with the credentials from that ecosystem and stay loged in for specific time frame. All this process is completely hidden away from the mobile application its running in. This way the privacy of user credentials is kept secure.
Actual log in flow in most cases is handled by 3rd party mobile libraries supplied by the ecosystem itself and is performed either in app or in external mobile browser (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other popular social destinations do provide such libraries). OAuth authorization framework is both – most popular method for enabling such authentications and is recognized as a technology standard.
What your mobile application gets back is verified user details (or scope) from the library provider. In most cases its registered user name, surname and email but as we will see later in this review some libraries do provide more information to application owner (if user agrees) and can be especially useful for designing checkout flows and creating simple mobile experiences in mobile commerce apps.