Mobile app development is a complex process involving many steps. LTCS aims to explain these steps and the process we use to successfully develop and deploy the app that is right for your business. In the next few paragraphs we will discuss the basics of what is required to get a mobile app developed and published.
The first step is a discovery process between your business and your mobile app development firm. The goal is for both sides to understand the fundamental requirements of the app. The information gathered will affect many of the infrastructure and design decisions that will be made in the future.
A mobile applications infrastructure or “technology stack” is the collection of software and hardware used to make your app a reality. The selections made for your infrastructure in most cases will be made by your mobile app development team based on what was learned in the discovery process.
Most mobile apps will require a back-end or API service to function. This simply means that the app will have a web application that it communicates with to store and retrieve data that is critical to it’s operation, such as user account data or new content.
Mobile Frameworks vs Native Code
Mobile apps require you to build on at least two different platforms. This is due to the fact that the market is split between two mobile operating system providers, Apple (iOS) and Google (Android). The market controlled by these two competitors and it seems unlikely that will change anytime soon. This creates the issue of having to create two different apps with two different code bases, which is one of the big costs of mobile app development. Creating the apps separately using the development tools of each platform is called native code in the app world. While this is the most feature rich option when creating apps there is also another option.
Mobile cross-platforms frameworks allow you to share code bases between both Apple and Google. To learn more about this please click here.
Mobile Design Phase
The mobile design phase is where a LTCS representative meets with the client to flush out all of the requirements for a mobile app. Once everyone agrees on what the app must do, we then move on the user interface. LTCS will provide the client a set of mobile wire-frames, which are a graphical representation of what each view of the app will look like. These files are used in the development phase to make sure that the app looks and does what was agreed upon.
Mobile Development Phase
The development phase is where the majority of the work is done in the mobile app creation process. A mobile app development team will take all of the design and infrastructure information and start actually coding the app. LTCS prefers to use an agile development process, which basically means splitting up all development tasks into two week sprints, that are reviewed and revised after the end of the two weeks. This allows the developers and the client to closely monitor the progress and make sure that mobile app functionality and look and feel meet expectations.
Quality Assurance and Testing
Any good development process needs to included time for testing. Even the best development team will make mistakes that result in bugs. LTCS has a tester check the functionality of the mobile app during the development phase. Once a piece of code has been completed by a developer it will be sent to a Q/A tester to make sure the code does what the requirements state. Once the app is completed we also go through a compete testing of the completed app before release.
A mobile app is more difficult to get in to the hands of a client during the development process than a website. This is because most apps are only accessible from the App Stores and they are only for apps that are already tested and ready for release. There are tools that allow developers to submit beta versions of the app to testers and clients before the release. LTCS prefers HockeyApp but is flexible if another vendor is preferred. Below is a list of some popular mobile app beta deployment platforms.
Deploy to Mobile App Stores
The final phase in the mobile development process is to publish your completed app into to Google and Apple’s App stores. Once your app is published all of your customers should be able to download your new mobile app to their device. This process can be some what complex especially for Apple. LTCS’s experience in this process will help to assure that your launch goes as smooth as possible.