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What Is Mobile App Development?: Ultimate Guideline For 2023

Table of Contents

Apps grew increasingly sophisticated as mobile phones proliferated and development increased. If you own a business, whether you design a mobile web, native, or hybrid app, the search to support numerous mobile browsers can be excruciating. Discover everything you need to understand what is mobile app development.

What is mobile app development?

Mobile application development is the process of creating software for small, wireless computing devices such as smartphones, handheld devices, and other common mobile apps that use a network connection to access remote computing resources.

As a result, the mobile development process entails building installable software bundles (code, binaries, assets, and so on), providing backend services like data access via an API, and testing the application on target devices.

Custom App Development: Everything you need to know

5 types of mobile applications

After understanding what is mobile app development, you need to know which types of mobile applications to develop. Mobile apps are classified into several categories. You may come across the following 5 groupings based on the features of their program work: Frameworks and libraries; Hybrid apps; Encapsulated apps; and Progressive web apps are all examples of native applications. Each of these categories has its own set of characteristics and functions. Let’s look more closely at these types of mobile applications.

5 types of mobile applications

Native applications

Native mobile applications are created in the platform owner’s programming language and frameworks and run directly on the device’s operating system, such as iOS or Android. Although native apps allow you to personalize critical functionality, they are more expensive than other technologies.

Frameworks and libraries

You can hasten the creation of a mobile app by using this reusable code created by someone else.

Encapsulated apps

An encapsulated app operates within a container app. Products like the Microsoft Power App drag-and-drop app creation tool enable less experienced developers to quickly create a mobile application. However, the lack of isolation from the core OS, OS lock-in, and the relative newness may cause issues.

Hybrid apps

Hybrid mobile applications are packaged as app installation packages and developed using common web technologies like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5. In contrast to native apps, hybrid apps run on a “web container” that offers a browser runtime and a bridge for native device APIs through Apache Cordova. Hybrid apps can be made more quickly and more affordably than native apps, but they don’t have as many features as native apps.

Progressive web apps

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a website that looks and acts like a mobile app. These apps are created using web technologies such as Facebook React. By avoiding app store delivery and app installation, PWAs provide an alternative to standard mobile software development. PWAs provide a ‘app-like’ user experience by utilizing a collection of browser characteristics such as working offline, running a background process, and providing a link to the device home screen.

How much does developing mobile applications cost?

The cost of developing mobile applications can range from nearly nothing to millions of dollars, depending on the type of app and its intended application. The following are the price ranges for developing a mobile app:

  • App creators with no coding. If the program only requires basic features, a developer does not need to know how to code. Free tools like GoodBarber, Appery.io, Shoutem, Appy Pie, and BuildFire allow you to create apps without having to learn Swift or any other programming language. Although these tools have limited capability and cannot be used to create games with no-code apps, the no-code method will fulfill the demands of the vast majority of organizations.
  • Apps for business. With tools like Amazon’s HoneyCode, Mendix, and Microsoft Power Suite, the concept of Citizen Developer, in which anybody may design a mobile app, is exploding. These devices provide drag-and-drop interfaces for connecting to data sources and managing information flow.
  • Mobile-friendly website. Even though it’s more practical to create websites for both desktop and mobile platforms, the website content management system you’re using probably has plugins you can purchase for under $100 to make your website mobile-friendly.
  • Intricate apps. An application that needs features like 3D, gaming, or complex artificial intelligence (AI) will probably have to be created as a native application. A complicated software may cost up to $250,000 in total. The cost is inversely proportional to the dearth of mobile developers.

Mobile software development process

The process of developing a mobile app application is not easy. The methods below should assist you in developing the framework for creating an app.

Mobile software development process

Identify your strategy 

Based on the responses to the following questions, you can determine your strategy:

  • What is the goal of your application? Which issues will it resolve?
  • Do any apps that serve this purpose already? If so, what are their strengths? What is missing from them?
  • For whom was the app created?
  • Will you use an internal team or hire developers?
  • What business model do you employ?
  • What are your financial commitments to the creation of this app? What about investors?
  • When will this application be finished?
  • What marketing strategy do you employ?
  • Are you creating your app for a specific app store? If so, do you possess the required design and testing standards, as well as licensing agreements?

Choose your team

Is hiring a developer necessary if you’re developing this app yourself? A marketer, perhaps? Will stakeholders from various departments, such as the C-level, marketing, sales, and IT, be involved in the development of this app if it is being developed for your company?

Brainstorm 

Brainstorming and outlining the features and functions that your mobile app will include, as well as how it will address the issues you’ve identified Prototyping can be as easy as sketching ideas on paper or a whiteboard, or it can involve using software like InVision, Balsamiq, or Adobe Experience Design. Think on the user experience while you develop your vision. This covers aspects including performance, security, usability, and design.

Create your product roadmap

Utilizing the information from the prior phase, create your product roadmap now. This will make it possible for you to develop a step-by-step procedure for evaluating your priorities and deliverables.

Choose your tools

Choose app development tools based on your needs.

Begin developing your app

Building apps is best accomplished using an agile process. When developing the software, adopt a DevOps attitude. DevOps is a modern delivery technique that employs important features such as leveraging automation whenever possible, cloud services, open source tools, regular communication with the team, and continuous testing of the code.

Create your prototype 

Make a prototype of your app so you can show it to potential funders or other stakeholders. Utilize their comments to improve app creation and additional testing. Functionality, performance, and navigation testing are all included in this.

Beta test

The app will be released to users for official beta testing after passing these tests. Before developing a deployable version of your program, this process involves incorporating user fixes and going through several rounds of review.

Mobile app development lifecycle

The “Front-End” of the mobile application, which is located on the mobile device, and the “Back-End” of the supporting services are its two interconnected key elements.

The data is obtained by the mobile front-end from the back-end using a variety of service calls, including APIs. In some circumstances, the company creating the mobile application may also own and run these APIs. In other situations, a third company may be in charge of the API, and the phone app development is given access through a business deal.

For instance, by calling media or advertising company services, a developer may get social media or advertising content. In this scenario, a developer may be required to sign a contract in order to acquire credentials and a key that provides access to the API and regulates how that developer can use it, how much it will cost, how frequently it may be used, or how much data can be requested over what time period.

Mobile app development lifecycle

Front-End of mobile apps

The user interacts with the program visually and interactively using the mobile front-end. There may be a large number of different persons participating, depending on the size of the team creating the app. The size of the team might range from a single developer who handles every aspect of creating the app to tens or even hundreds. REST and GraphQL are just two of the methods and approaches used to access back-end services. Some back-end service APIs are accessible to the app directly through platform calls.

Through a software development kit, others must be incorporated into the program (SDK). The success of mobile applications depends on back-end services, which mobile developers must take into account. Developers must make various crucial architectural decisions, including which services to use—those they should construct themselves or depend on from third parties. Mobile app developers should only create their own services if they are extremely specialized to the application’s domain.

Back-End of mobile apps

Reliable back-end services are necessary to offer high-quality phone app development that satisfy and keep customers, regardless of the front-end platform or development approach being employed.

The success of the phone application development depends heavily on the back-end services, thus the developers must make numerous crucial architectural choices. These choices include which services to develop themselves and which third-party services to use, as well as whether to operate and maintain their own services or to use third-party services.

The solution is becoming more obvious; mobile app developers should only create their own services if they are very specialized to the domain of the application and contain original intellectual property if they want to increase developer productivity and efficiency. Additionally, they ought to virtually always use cloud-based services to create and maintain their backend infrastructure, even for the services they create themselves.

Front-End of mobile app & Back-End of mobile apps

Mobile software development services

Mobile software development services encompass more than many businesses are aware of. After all, creating an app involves more than just programming. Programming, marketing, business, finance, and other disciplines are just a few of the many specialties represented in the mobile app development sector. Your mobile app project is organized, conceptualized, designed, optimized, and maintained from beginning to end by services in the mobile app development sector.

This is the reason that the entire process of developing a mobile app, from conception to completion, involves planning, marketing, cross-platform support, design, consultation, testing, maintenance, and optimization. For any new mobile app to have a successful end-to-end development cycle, their respective areas of expertise must be combined and balanced.

Mobile application developers can take advantage of a vast array of cloud-based and third-party services to accelerate the creation and distribution of their applications. A developer, however, is unlikely to be able to become an authority in each of these particular services.

Instead, mobile developers should seek out a development environment that enables them to swiftly and simply integrate, apply, and consume the most frequently needed features into their applications while still keeping the ability to utilize the various different services that are offered.

Essential

  • User Registration, Login, and Management
  • Facebook login (Facebook sign-in, Twitter sign-in, etc.)
  • Analytics and Push Notifications for User Engagement

Database Services

  • Using the cloud
  • Offline and Online Data, Application Logic, and Machine Learning

Conversational Bots

  • Speech Detection
  • Language Recognition

As a result, phone application development is a drawn-out and fascinating process. They demand careful planning and preparation that must continue even after the initial launch in case you decide to add further features in response to customer feedback. But this is achievable if you really understand what is mobile app development. 

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Bùi Xuân Hiền

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