What is Mobile App Development? A Step by Step Guide

By Bashir Niazi | February 18, 2022

step by step guide to mobile app development

Introduction to Mobile App Development

Mobile application development is a sequenced process of creating an application specially for smartphones. These applications can be pre-installed on a device or can be downloaded from the mobile app store. Mobile app development includes writing the programming language, designing the User Interface, app testing, and more. The programming languages used for developing the application are Java, HTML5, C++ and Swift.

Mobile app development is advancing day by day. The field of mobile applications has now extended from industries like telecommunications and e-commerce to industries like insurance, healthcare and sports. Businesses across industries have to meet consumer expectations for real-time, handy approaches to transactions and information entry.

Today, cellular devices—and the cellular packages that release their value—are the maximum famous manner for human beings and corporations to hook up with the internet. To live accordingly, responsive and successful, businesses want to expand the cellular packages that their customers, companions and personnel demand.

Types of Mobile App Development

Types of mobile app development are Native, Web, and Hybrid.

We come across thousands of new applications in the market. Correspondingly, the demand for mobile application development is increasing. Although we’re familiar with operating systems (i.e., iOS and Android), some may not clue in on the specific technology platforms that software developers use to design and develop throughout the process of building apps.

There are three types of the Apps

  1. Native
  2. Hybrid
  3. Web

• Native apps

               Native mobile apps are designed specifically for a single operating system. You can either have native Android mobile apps or native iOS apps. It is not necessary to mention all the other platforms and devices. Because native apps are dedicated to a single platform, you cannot mix and match – like using a Blackberry app on an Android phone or using an iOS app on a Windows phone. 

Programming Languages:

                  Native apps are coded using different programming languages. Some of them include: Java, Kotlin, Python, Swift, Objective-C, C++, and React.

• Hybrid apps

           These are web apps that look like native apps. They might have a home screen app icon, responsive design, fast performance, and even be accessible offline. But they’re actually web apps made to look like native apps. These apps can be installed on the same devices as native apps, but they run through a web browser. All hybrid apps are generally developed through the HTML5 programming language. Although native apps are much faster and more reliable than hybrid apps, hybrid apps have a greater capability to streamline the development process. Because you don’t have to build and maintain apps for individual platforms, your business can save on time and resources.

Programming Languages:

                 Generally, hybrid apps use a mixture of web technologies and native APIs. These are developed using languages like Ionic, Objective-C, Swift, HTML5, and others.

• Web apps

            Responsive websites transition to a different design when opened on a mobile device. Flexible web apps, on the other hand, scale to fit different screen sizes of smartphones. The design of these applications remains unchanged. Web applications cannot run any hardware on mobile devices or sell in app stores.

Programming Languages:

                     JavaScript, Python, Java, C++, C#, PHP are some of the common languages used to develop web apps. But JavaScript has been ruling over all other languages for a decade.

Platforms for Mobile App Development

                    When building an Android app, we have Java and Kotlin to write the code with. While iOS apps are built with Swift. The main difference between these two programming languages is that iOS app development with Swift requires less code writing. Therefore, iOS apps coding consumes less time to complete than coding the apps made for Android phones.

Swift offers the developer to interact more and have high-interaction interfaces. However, it is limited to a single platform. You can do server work and web development with Java and mobile app development as well. So, if you think of making your app available cross-platform, Java may be the better option to go with as an overall solution.

Additionally, there are several other platforms also available for mobile application development. The list of commonly used platforms is as follows:

Flutter, Ionic, Xamarin, React Native are some of the platforms for mobile app development

Important Considerations during Mobile App Development

Major pinpoints

  • User Sign-up & Sign-in and Management
  • Social Media platforms login (Facebook sign-in, Twitter sign-in, etc.)
  • Analyzing User-End Needs
  • Push Notifications
  • Real Device Testing

Storage Management

  • Cloud Storage
  • Real-time and Offline Data
  • Application Logic/Cloud Functions

In-app Automation

  • Conversational Bots
  • Image and Video Recognition
  • Voice Recognition

I hope you have got a basic knowledge of mobile app development. Now it is time to move further towards the easy step-by-step guide to app development process.

Step-by-step guide to Mobile Application Development

Step 1:  Idea of your app

           The idea to run your business is to create something new or improve what already exists. When you look around yourself, every product or service you use is created to solve a problem. Find a specific reason and have an idea why you want to make this app? Why would anyone else have not created the app based on that particular idea? If you find someone in front who has developed the app related to your idea, focus on what makes you unique. Go for the weaknesses in that app. Find the missing potential. That is what you need.

If you don’t have any idea about building a new app. Find a problem in your daily life and try to provide the solution to it through the app.

Step 2: Designing the UI/UX

            At this stage, when you have generated the idea to develop the app. You need to move a step closer to achieving your goal that is the design of your app. Design is not just how your app will look like. It is about how the user will find it interesting. So give priority to a relevant design and UI for your app.

                               “Design is the best way to make technology useful           

The design of your app basically consists of two approaches which are UI and UX. UI refers to user interface while UX means user experience. User Interface contains overall look including fonts, colors, etc. While UX is a user-oriented experience about how the user will experience the app. It includes functionality, providing relevant experiences, emotions etc.

Step 3: Wireframing your app

              Wireframing is one of the earliest and most important steps in the App development. A mobile app wireframe is a two-dimensional sketch that gives a visual assistance and illustrates how an application will work. The wireframing does not have to do anything with the app design.

The wireframe for a mobile app involves a minimum amount of information needed to solve the following tasks:

  • To show the users how exactly the application will help them. How they will find it useful.
  • Demonstrate each step of the User’s walk-through within your app to pinpoint possible hidden features before the development starts.
  • To present all the main objects, page elements, content & navigation areas on screens.
  • Gather all of your team members and stakeholders on the common page of what you’re building. It will also give you a streamlined lead to your destination.

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Step 4: Development

               After going through all the pre-planning steps, it is time for the action. There are many approaches, technologies, and programming languages that can be used to build a mobile app. Each has its own strengths and shortcomings. Some of them might be cheaper to use, but are less rewarding, whereas others might take longer to implement and be precious.

Let us introduce you to different development areas during mobile app development.

Front-End Mobile App Development

            In computer programming, the front-end developer focuses on the coding and creation of elements and features of the app that will be seen by the user. In front-end development, there are basically 3 approaches. These are native, cross-platform native, and hybrid. Here is the brief for every single approach leading towards a greater app development process.

Native

            Apps built with this approach are written specifically for each mobile platform. The code can’t be used again between Android and iOS, but these apps can be optimized for each platform. The User Interface can look completely native and the app should work smoothly. This is a very costly approach but is much assessed and tested.

Cross-platform  

              Apps built with this approach may have little similar (or entirely the same) code but still, run natively. Some of the commonly used languages for cross-platform app development are JavaScript, Kotlin, Dart, Swift, and C #. This is a common platform between the various approaches in the term it is more cost-effective. But still, there are ways to optimize these apps for each platform.

Hybrid

               Hybrid apps are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These apps combine the elements of both native and cross-platform apps. Hybrid apps are mostly web apps that interestingly look like native ones. PhoneGap and Ionic can be used to accomplish this. This option can be the cheapest, but it can be really difficult.

Back-End Mobile App Development (Web API & Server)

                  Some questions might be ticking your mind that where all the data is stored? What makes front-end development possible? The answer to all the questions related to these are back-end developers. The back-end developer is the reason behind all the functionalities and the performance that a user experiences. Your app’s performance and scalability are based on your server.  When choosing a backend API, there are multiple options available. There are certain things that you need to keep in mind that will lead you to your goals.

Here are a few things you have to decide before writing the code:

Languages used for coding – Different languages can be used to build your API. Common languages used are Java, C++, Golang, JavaScript, PHP, and Python.

Database – There are two major types of modern databases, SQL and NoSQL. SQL is the more common and best choice in almost all cases. Some common SQL implementations include MSSQL, MYSQL, and PostgreSQL. You have to design your particular database scheme in addition to selecting a database engine. Reliable and well-organized data are necessary for your long-term success.

Proper Infrastructure development – In this step, you need to decide where and how you will host the API and database. These decisions will lead you towards finding the hosting costs, scalability, performance, and reliability of your app. Hosting providers include Amazon AWS and Rackspace generally. After picking up the provider, you have to pre-plan how your system will function when traffic increases. Cloud-based solutions allow you to pay for resources as a utility and scale up and down according to the need. They also help with database backups, server uptime, and updates to the operating system.

Step 5: App Testing

             App testing is another important step while building your app. It can save your time, budget, and effort if you include this step in the early stages.

App testing has the following objectives to achieve:

  • Usability Testing
  • Security Inspection
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Compatibility Testing

Usability Testing

             Usability testing intends to evaluate the app based on the representative user’s experience. How the app responds when users use it. The purpose of usability testing is to make the app as easy as possible for the user to execute. In simple words, it’s just like doing some general testing measures within the app. After noticing the significant deaths in the app, the best possible enhancements should be made.

Security Inspection

              In this era of advanced technology, people are more dependent on apps. Ultimately, the scam forces are also coming into more action. The security measures are necessary to make sure you have a safe and secure internet surfing through apps. By conducting proper security tests manually, companies can detect business deficiencies and injection liabilities that might not be evident from automated security tests. So, in mobile app development, security testing of your app is mandatory in order to make sure the user’s privacy.

Following are some security testing tools used commonly:

  1. ImmuniWeb MobileSuite
  2. OWASP ZAP
  3. Micro Focus
  4. Android Debug Bridge
  5. Codified Security
  6. Drozer
Performance Testing

             In mobile app development, your app’s success solely depends upon the performance of your app. You need to make sure your app is giving its ultimate performance at any stage or time. Users are likely to uninstall your app if it doesn’t perform well with time. There are several performance testing methods to make sure it’s delivering its optimal performance.

In mobile app development, app performance testing majorly consists of three approaches; Device performance, Server/API performance, and Network performance.

Compatibility Testing   

               It is the capability check to identify whether your software is capable of running on different hardware, operating systems, applications, network environments, or mobile devices. In mobile app development, different tools are there to test the compatibility of the app. These commonly used are; TEST IO, APPIUM, Robotium, Browser Stack, etc.

Step 6: App Launch

          After all the development procedures, there comes the time to launch the app on the google play store or Apple app store.

Following are the best possible approaches that can lead to a successful app launch.

  • Making a marketing plan
  • In-App Analytics
  • Creating hype for launch date using social media
  • Develop a proper Support system
  • Start Email-marketing for your app

Conclusion

       Mobile app development is no less than a hectic task full of attention, dedication, willingness, and focus. Its reward is as fruitful. Undoubtedly, mobile app development has become the most popular business trend at present. Also, you should not feel shy about learning mobile app development at any age. So, be patient and consider your first app a big achievement even though it has not hit the peaks yet. Keep working on the betterment options also and you’ll be achieving your goal nearly. FOR SURE!

Bashir Niazi