What is mobile app development?
The process and procedures of mobile application development are the processes and procedures that involve writing software for small wireless computing devices such as smartphones or other handheld devices.
Mobile application development is similar to web application development. It has its roots in traditional software development. Mobile apps are usually written to exploit the unique features of each mobile device. A gaming app could be designed to use the iPhone’s accelerometer, while a mobile health app might take advantage of the smartwatch’s temperature sensor.
The two most popular mobile platforms today are iOS from Apple, and Android from Google. Apple phones and tablets come preloaded with essential apps, such as a full web browser and access to the Apple App Store. Android devices come preloaded also with similar apps. You can add more via the Google Play Store.
Types of mobile apps
Native app development was the best way to ensure that an app would work on all devices in the early days of mobile apps. This meant that each device’s processor required a new version of the code. The majority of mobile apps that are developed today are device-independent.
PWA content can be downloaded in stages, just like YouTube videos. This provides a better user experience for the user than a traditional website with responsive design. Instant Mobile Apps may also be called progressive web apps.
Before you start developing an app, it is important to decide which type of app you will be creating. Below is a list of different types of mobile app development technologies, along with information about them.
- Native apps. These apps are created using integrated development environments and languages for mobile OSes like Google Android. Although native apps allow you to customize the features that you need, they are more expensive than other technologies.
- Progressive web applications. A PWA refers to a website that behaves and looks like a mobile application. These apps are created using web technologies like Facebook React.
- Encapsulated applications. An app that is encapsulated runs inside a container. Microsoft Power App Drag-and-Drop app creation tool allows less-experienced developers to quickly create mobile applications. However, the lack of isolation from core OS, OS lock in and relative newness can pose problems.
- Frameworks, libraries and tools. To speed up the development of your mobile app, you can use reusable code created by another person.
Development costs of a mobile app
It is possible to spend millions on developing an app, depending on what type of app you are building and the intended use. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to spend on building a mobile application.
- No-code builders. Developers don’t have to know how code if an app meets basic requirements. Appery.io and Shoutem are free tools that allow you to create apps without having to learn Swift or any other programming language. These tools can’t create games with no-code apps and are not as flexible as they could be. The no-code approach will suit most organizations’ needs.
- Enterprise apps. Citizen Developer is an open-source platform that allows anyone to build mobile apps. It includes tools like Mendix, Amazon’s HoneyCode and Microsoft Power Suite. These devices have drag-and-drop interfaces which allow you to connect to data sources and manage your content flow. The monthly fee is usually less than $50.
- Mobile-optimized website. It is best to create websites for desktop and mobile. However, your website content management tool will likely offer plugins that you can purchase for less than $100 to optimize the site for mobile devices.
- Complex applications. Native apps are best for complex features like 3D gaming or advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Complex apps can cost up to $250,000. This is directly related to the shortage of mobile developers.
What is the process of developing a mobile app?
These steps will help you create the foundation for your app.
1. These questions will help you define your strategy.
- What’s the purpose of your app? What problems can it solve?
- Exist any apps that can perform this function? What are their strengths? What is their biggest problem?
- Who is the app for?
- Are you going to hire developers?
- What’s your business model?
- What amount are you willing and able to invest in the development of this app? Are you looking for investors?
- What is the time it will take to create this application?
- What is your marketing strategy
- Do you have an app that is available on the app store? Are you able to obtain the required licensing agreements, design and testing criteria for your app?
2. Choose your team. Do you need to hire a programmer if you are creating the app yourself? Do you need a marketing specialist? Will you include stakeholders from multiple departments (i.e. C-level, marketing and IT) when you create this app for your company?
3. You can brainstorm and draw out the features and functions of your mobile app to solve the problems that you have identified. You can use a whiteboard, paper, or other tools like InVision, Balsamiq, or Adobe Experience Design to prototype. When designing your vision, keep user experience in mind. This covers design, usability and performance.
4. Using the information from the previous step, create your product roadmap. This will allow you to develop a step-by, step process for assessing your priorities.
5. Choose the app development tools that best suit your needs.
6. Begin app development. App development is easier with an agile process. When building an app, adopt a DevOps mindset. DevOps refers to a modern delivery method that utilizes key functions such as:
- Automation wherever possible
- using cloud services;
- Working with open-source tools
- Keeping in touch with the team is a must.
- Continuously test the code.
7. Your prototype can be shared with investors and other stakeholders. Get feedback from them to improve app development and test further. This includes testing functionality, performance, and ease-of-navigating.
8. After the app passes these tests it is time to release it to users for official beta-test. Before you can create a deployable version, this process involves multiple rounds of review.
After your app has been reviewed and passed all the testing, you can deploy it. Create a feedback channel and offer continuous support.