So you want to develop a mobile application?
You’re not alone. The market has spoken. More and more businesses are built from the ground up on the back of mobile applications. Simple tools, and softwares can generate millions of dollars in revenue from app stores hosted by Apple, Android, and Microsoft.
These small mobile applications take advantage of the ubiquitous nature of mobile applications and are able to leverage new technologies and provide a user experience unlike ever before. However, the mobile application market is saturated and extremely difficult to traverse.
Mobile applications have to be coded and developed in a specific way to operate on a phone. And that’s not accounting for the need to replicate the process from the ground up on each unique device offered.
To help you get started and learn the absolute fundamentals of mobile application development, we’ve assembled resources online and off to discuss what you need to know, what you need to do, and what it takes to become the next mobile app mogul.
Learning a new language
If you’ve worked in web development, you may be familiar with languages like HTML or CSS that allow you to code for computers. And while mobile phones are computers in and of themselves, phones from different developers each use specific language to work and operate with.
For example, if you want to make a mobile application for Apple’s iOS system, you’ll need to code in either Swift or Objective-C. And that’s only for iOS. If you want to make an application for Android, you’ll need to work in either Java or C++.
There is a host of information and resources online about each of these languages, but the most important thing to remember is that using one of these languages is an absolute requirement. Take some time to learn the prospective language of the phone platform you want to use and try to get familiar with the way it operates and works for you.
You may find that you want to start coding using a language that you’re most familiar with. For many people, this means coding for Android phones before working to port the application over to Apple or other devices. However, if you want to multi-platform in general, you’ll eventually need to learn about iOS and what it offers you.
Multi-platforms and their differences
Speaking of other platforms, you’ll need to keep in mind that any application you build is going to need to be re-created for other platforms. If you want to gain some serious traction in the mobile application development sector, we highly recommend you consider going multi-platform with your product.
However, if you’re still unsure of the differences between the platforms and the types of benefits you can gain aside from the issue of languages, the debate is ongoing and complex.
For instance, Android phones hold the lion’s share of the market, and for most people, that may sound like the perfect place to start. Making Android applications also involves far fewer hoops to go through, as quality control is less stringent.
However, quality control is a double-edged sword, and that means that many Android applications are known for struggling with running on certain devices. Apple prevents this by keeping a tight hold on the platform language and what gets approved to run on the platform. However, that means that you’ll be spending more time appealing Apple and less time perfecting the user experience.
Even if you don’t plan to go for a multi-platformed approach, we recommend building your application with porting in mind. Opting for Apple or Android-specific functionality, for instance, can be frustrating for customers and those downloading the application, as they may feel like their version of the application is underdeveloped and unloved by you.
Working with constraints
Another major consideration to make when going through the app development process is working with constraints.
Mobile phones, while powerful, are nothing compared to the expectations placed onto modern computers. So if you make an application that only a computer can run, don’t expect to have that application run nearly as well on a five-year-old phone.
Working within the constraints of the mobile application world is one of the best ways to develop your app. Never made a phone application before? Look into tools that can wireframe and prototype for you so that the bones of your application are sturdy and steadfast.
Need extra help figuring out what your platforms can and cannot do? Both Android and Apple offer free resources for developers to understand phone constraints.
More often than not, these constraints can spawn inventive, ingenious, and intuitive strategies to solving problems created by the platform.
Taking advantage of features
Once you’ve built the bones of your structure and know the phone’s constraints, remember that there are a host of features common in phones that you can take advantage of.
Onboard hardware like microphones and cameras can be used to allow your customers to send you pictures and audio. Likewise, if your application is helping a customer find something, why not utilize location services and help them skip a step?
Modern application development is all about simplifying the user experience and making sure that a few buttons as possible are pressed in getting your users from point A to point B. Need some suggestions?
We recommend opening up your favorite app and seeing what it does to make your life easier. Does it remember your username and password? Does it utilize facial recognition technologies to secure data? Is the camera, microphone, or location services turned on?
More often than not, many of the products you know and love use the features inherent in a phone to make the most out of the small real estate and processing power. Learn from the best and see what can be implemented in your product.
These are just a few of the basics you need to keep in mind for app development. Remember that knowledge is power, and the better your understanding of how operating systems on mobile devices work, the better your application is going to be in the long run.