Mobile application development
What is mobile application development?
Mobile application development is the set of processes and procedures involved in writing software for small, wireless computing devices, such as smartphones and other portable devices.
Like web application development, mobile application development has its roots in more traditional software development. However, a fundamental difference is that mobile applications are often written specifically to take advantage of the unique characteristics of a particular mobile device. For example, a gaming app could be written to take advantage of the iPhone’s accelerometer, or a mobile health app could be written to take advantage of a smartwatch’s temperature sensor.
Today, the two most prominent mobile platforms are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Apple phones and tablets come preloaded with essential apps, including a full web browser and the Apple App Store. Android devices also come preloaded with similar apps and you can install more using the Google Play Store.
Types of mobile applications
In the early years of mobile applications, the only way to ensure that an application could function optimally on any device was to develop the application natively. This meant that new code had to be written specifically for the specific processor of each device. Today, most of the mobile applications developed are device independent.
Like YouTube videos, PWA content is progressively downloaded, giving the end user a better user experience than a traditional website using responsive design. Progressive web apps can also be called instant mobile apps.
Before developing an application, you must determine what type to create. Below is a breakdown of various types of mobile app development technologies with information on each.
- Native applications. These applications are created using integrated development environments (IDEs) and languages for mobile operating systems such as Apple iOS or Google Android. Native applications allow you to customize the necessary functions, but can be more expensive than other technologies.
- Progressive web applications . A PWA is a website that looks and behaves like a mobile application. These applications are developed with web technologies such as Facebook React.
- Encapsulated applications. An encapsulated application runs inside a container application. Products like the Microsoft Power App drag-and-drop application authoring tool allow less experienced developers to quickly create a mobile application. But the lack of core OS isolation, OS hang, and relative novelty could pose problems.
- Frames and libraries. You can use this reusable code written by someone else to speed up the development of a mobile application.
Costs of developing a mobile application
The cost of developing an application can range from next to nothing to millions of dollars; it all depends on the type of application and its intended use. Here’s a breakdown of the ranges you can expect to pay to build a mobile app:
- App builders without code . A developer does not need to know how to code if the application has basic feature requirements. Free tools like GoodBarber, Appery.io, Shoutem, Appy Pie, and BuildFire offer the freedom to build apps without having to learn Swift or other programming languages. Although these tools have limited functionality and cannot be used to create a game with no-code applications, the no-code approach will meet the needs of most organizations.
- Business applications. The concept of Citizen Developer, where anyone can create a mobile app, is exploding with tools like Amazon’s HoneyCode, Mendix, and the Microsoft Power Suite. These devices offer drag-and-drop interfaces that can connect to data sources and manage the flow of content. The price is usually tied to a monthly subscription of less than $ 50.
- Mobile optimized website. Although it is more practical to create mobile and desktop websites, the website content management tool you are using likely has plugins that you can buy for less than $ 100 to optimize your website for mobile devices.
- Complex applications. An application that requires features, such as 3D, gaming, or sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) , may need to be developed as a native application. The cost of a complex application is typically $ 250,000 or more. The price is directly related to the shortage of mobile developers.
What is the mobile application development process?
The following steps should help you develop the framework for creating an application.
- Define your strategy based on the answers to these questions:
- What is the purpose of your application? What problems will it solve?
- Are there applications that perform this function? If so, what do they do well? What are they missing?
- Who is the application designed for?
- Will you hire developers or use an internal team?
- What is your business model?
- How much are you willing to invest in developing this application? Will it have investors?
- How long will it take to build this app?
- What is your marketing strategy?
- Are you designing your app for one of the app stores? If so, do you have the necessary license agreements and design and test criteria?
- Select your team. If you are creating this app on your own, do you need to hire a developer? A marketing person? If you are building this app for your organization, will you have stakeholders from various departments participating in the process (ie C-level, marketing, sales, IT)?
- Brainstorm and outline how your mobile app will solve the problems you have identified and what features and functions it will include. Prototyping can be as simple as using a whiteboard or paper to sketch ideas, or tools like InVision, Balsamiq, or Adobe Experience Design. Consider the user experience when developing your vision. This includes things like design, usability, security, and performance.
- Develop your product roadmap using the findings from the previous step. This will allow you to create a step-by-step process to assess your priorities and deliverables.
- Select application development tools according to your requirements.
- Begin application development. An agile process is the best for creating applications. Take a DevOps mindset when building your app. DevOps is a modern delivery methodology that uses key features such as:
- apply automation whenever possible;
- use cloud services;
- work with open source tools;
- frequent communication with the team; and
- continually test the code.
- Build your prototype so you can share the app with your investors or other stakeholders. Use your feedback to refine your application development and conduct further testing. This includes tests for functionality, performance, and ease of navigation.
- Once the application passes these tests, it is time to roll it out among users for the official beta test. This process includes multiple rounds of reviewing and adding user fixes before creating a deployable version of your application.
Once your application has undergone the necessary tests and reviews, it is ready to go. At this point, create a channel for user feedback and provide ongoing support.
Find out what a no-code platform is and how it can be used to save businesses time and money while being able to deploy more applications at a faster rate