In the world of mobile apps, we distinguish native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps; however, these are native apps which provide the best user experience and exhibit the highest functionality. So let's see how native apps are built.
The most important part in the process of building a mobile application is to have an idea. Since there's well over a million applications available at App Store (Apple) and roughly the same amount at Google Play (Android), the idea has to be innovative, if not revolutionary.
First of all, it's advisable to sit down and browse through available apps in search of those similar to our idea. If you find a few similar apps, it doesn't mean your idea shouldn’t be further pursued, because if you feel like you've figured out a better way to present it, then you should definitely consider developing it. However, if there are numerous apps alike, be aware that it'll be very difficult to get ahead of the competition.
The following guide covers only the essentials of mobile application development process so that you have a general idea of how it's done.
Step 1. Drafting Design
After you've come up with an idea that has the potential, it's time to present it to a developer so that the two of you can sketch its preliminary design. This step is important, for it allows you to get the first feel of your app.
Usually, it all boils down to three things: Flow, Wireframing, and Graphic Screens.
Flow, is an outline of how the screens of the app interconnect.
Wireframe, is where the text fields, buttons, boxes, etc. are going to be located.
Graphic Screens, cover colours, shape of buttons, logo, etc.
Step 2. Documentation
Detailed documentation consisting of: help files, manuals, technical documentation, and specifications; are necessary requirement every mobile application should meet to be allowed to enter the application market. They also contain detailed description of how the app works internally and externally.
Step 3. Developing Process
Native applications for both iOS and Android have to be written separately to work for their respective operating system.
Apps for iOS can be developed in either Apple's Xcode IDE (Integrated Development Environment) or Swift (Apple's new IDE). IDE is a platform where developers can write the app, emulate it on virtual machine, and ship it to App Store if the app is free of any bugs and complies to the App Store's requirements.
Android's version of IDE is Android Studio, and it has basically the same functions as its Apple counterpart. The biggest difference, however, is the approval process of the app to Google Play. Compared to restrictive requirements posed by App Store, apps for Google Play can be published without going through a review process; thus, it's easier for developers to publish the application.
Step 4. Beta Testing
Before the app is shipped to the application store it has to undergo extensive testing. Beta-testers will point out any glitches and problems which developers can fix before the application is sent to the App Store for approval or for immediate publication to Google Play. Beta testing ensures that future customers will be satisfied with the quality of application.
Step 5. Launch
When all of the steps above are done, the time has come to launch the app in the application store. Whereas it takes a little over a week for Apple to approve or reject an app, Android apps appear in Google Play the moment they're shipped there.
After the app is available at the store, the sole focus should be put on ensuring that the application reaches desired target audience through distribution of various promotional materials such as videos, screenshots, and reviews.
Do you have an interesting idea for an app? Or maybe you'd like your small business to have one? Contact us and we'll help you turn your idea into a great application. We develop custom software that specifically addresses your needs.