Mobile Application Development – A Complete Guide

We use mobile applications regularly. Social media platforms, games, image editors, eBook readers, even your alarm clock is an application. The possibilities of such programs come from the characteristics of the platform they’re going to be used on and the developer’s imagination.

There are 2 “main” platforms for mobile applications. Those are Android and iOS, of course. You’ve probably never even heard about Bada by Samsung or Blackberry OS. And even if such names as Symbian OS or Windows OS (the mobile one), are familiar to you, their presence on the market isn’t that strong.

So, there are 2 ways for an individual or a company to create such a program. The first one is pretty obvious, and includes learning the programming languages and coding everything yourself (or creating a dedicated department of such coders as a company).

However, as mobile applications were becoming popular, new types of businesses started to appear. Custom mobile app development services are one of them and are probably the best option for everyone who has an awesome idea for an app but doesn’t know how to turn it into reality.

But for aspiring developers, learning the whole process of mobile app development is a real challenge. So, to make things easier for you, here’s a guide.

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Platforms and Languages

The first thing you need to choose is the platform. Just like said before, there may be many different ones, but only iOS and Android are worth looking into.

The choice of platform will determine programming languages, limitations, potential integrations, and many other details. But only if we’re talking about the native apps, the ones that are created specifically for one OS and don’t support any others.

Hybrid applications exist too. They’re suitable for multiple platforms but sacrifice many features. Usually, they’re written in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

Right, all of these are indeed web languages, not suited for real mobile application development. And that’s reasoned by the fact that almost all hybrid apps are websites. They’re just made to look like a real mobile program, and will never work offline in most cases.

Here’s a little list of some of the main languages:

iOS

  • Objective-C
  • Swift
  • C#

Android

  • Java
  • Kotlin
  • C++
  • C#

Market Research

Just like in any other business, before even thinking about creating a product for a specific market, in-depth research must be conducted. Things you should look out for are the presence of similar products, the possible competition, the state of the market, and many others.

It’s not enough to just come up with an idea. One must be sure that it’s truly unique and will fit (or create) a particular niche. Otherwise, the chance of success drops significantly, especially if the competition in a particular app type is really strong. In most cases, failure to market your product better than the rivals leads to huge expenses and eventual bankruptcy.

First Steps

Layout

Before you start your work, you should create a plan. It should include every single aspect of the future program. Start with the list of main and side features. Try to outline at least the most basic form of an interface. It will help you a great deal in the future when the time to connect UI/UX with the code itself will come.

Create a wireframe for the software. It’s a sort of plan for everything – where particular code parts will be placed, how will they work, what features will they represent, and so on. Without wireframing the software, your code will become a complete mess, where everything will need to be adjusted or replaced in the end. Think of it as a blueprint, which you’ll base all the future work upon.

Coding

After the foundation for the product is ready, start writing the code itself. Stick to your plan and wireframe and don’t rush the process. After all, the whole project won’t be worth anything if you lose all the features and quality while trying to fit into your own deadlines.

Also, don’t try to implement everything at once into the first version of the program. Stick with the main features, and maybe a few side ones that are helpful and unique. Putting all the planned ideas into the prototype isn’t a great idea, because you will lose a lot of time without even knowing if everything works.

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Testing and Gathering Feedback

After the application prototype is ready, it’s time to test it. Of course, try to check everything yourself as thoroughly as possible. Then, hire specialized testing services, send the program to your friends, and post it on some online resources. Gather all the feedback you can.

The first thing you need to realize is whether the idea is truly unique and useful for users. It’s the most basic thing that will determine whether you need to continue investing resources into your product or abandon the whole project.

Secondly, note every comment about the back-end aspect of the application. There will be many bugs and issues, but don’t worry much about it. It’s called a prototype for a reason. Just make sure to understand how to solve all of them, and remove/replace the ones that cannot be fixed. And if it’s the main feature that won’t work, maybe it’s time to reconsider the whole idea of the project.

Lastly, ask people to comment on the interface and design of the product. Some opinions will be subjective, that’s a fact. But most of the feedback will stick to general factors that are taken the same way by most people.

Final Words

From now on, the app development process is just a matter of repeating the coding and testing parts. Add more features, test them, if they work – continue adding more. Just remember about the main concept, and stop adding new ones when the initial goal/idea is achieved. 

Also, don’t forget about all the business management aspects that will accompany the process of putting the product on the market. But for this matter, it’s better to either hire expert managers and marketers or turn to professional service for help. So, keep developing both the application and yourself personally and good luck with all your unique ideas!

Last Updated on December 15th, 2023