Choosing a developer can be a scary task, particularly if you don’t know much about developing an app. You might get wildly varying price quotes or ideas and it’s hard to sort the good from the bad. First, ask to see examples of their work and find out what code they know and what technology they have dealt with. Ideally a development team should have varied talents and the ability to handle everything from encryption to GPS. If you want to have your smartphone app on multiple platforms such as iPad and Android, make sure the developer knows how to work on the different types of phones. Hiring people with less experience often means they’ll be learning on the job or stumbling through your project and that’s a high risk to take. Secondly, ask about the ownership of the code. If you decide to leave and go with another company, you don’t want to walk away with nothing. And finally, find out how their team functions. Many development companies are popping up and they only have development experience but lack in design or business management…they might be able to make you something nice but they won’t be dealing with you very efficiently and professionally. Look for a team that is open to communicating and will know what they are doing at every stage of the game.
This is a great post from a Linux site that covers a wide range of the issues and questions involved in developing an app, both from a client and a developer’s perspective. Although these answers to a lot of the issues they raise, such as the unknown amount of time it takes to be accepted by Apple, are still up in the air, other represent good reasons to contact an experienced app develop who can help you avoid stumbling blocks.
In this insightful post, GigOM looks at the factors you should considering before choosing what platform to develop your app on, such as what technical firepower do you need, where will it makes the most money and what is the longevity of that platform.
So maybe you aren’t even this far, maybe you don’t even know what WWDC is.
First, it stands for the Worldwide Developers Conference and it’s where Apple developers from around the world come to California to learn how to develop on the latest Apple products. It’s also where most of Apple big new product announcements are made. This year the BIG announcement was about iPhone 4, or iOS4. This latest version of iPhone is extremely advanced and introduces some new features. Below, we’ve listed a few of these new features and how it might apply to a business creating an app:
• Gyroscope - iPhones and iPad’s already have an accelerometer, which make things like games fun. But now they will have much more sensitivity with the addition of a gyroscope.
• Retina Display - This is the name that Apple is giving its advanced display screen. It is the same SIZE as the old iPhone but it is much denser with pixels which means it makes a clearer picture. If you are a photographer, for example, it means you pictures and graphics will look that much better.
• 2 Cameras - Isn’t one enough? Not with Apple’s new feature called “FaceTime”, which is a totally futuristic feature that allows you to video conference with people over wifi on your iPhone.
• HD video - The iPhone not shoots higher resolution HD video
• LED flash - In addition to making your pictures look better, the LED flash will also make scanning barcodes and QR codes in low lighting much easier.
Besides the new iPhone, there were a few other announcements made at the WWDC keynote that may influence your app-making decision:
• The iBookstore, previously only available on iPad, is not available on iPhone and iPod touch - If you want to create an iBook, this means it goes much further.
Still got questions about iPhone 4 or the new iPhone operating system? Or did all these cool new features give you some ideas? Contact a company that can help you.
A wireframe is a bit like a blueprint for an app or website, it lays out all the foundation of where buttons go and helps in the developing process. Today a lot of companies don’t use wireframes because they do what it called “agile” development, which means they do minimal planning so that they can stay flexible and change as things come up. However, a wireframe can be really valuable when it comes to sticking to ease of use for an app. If an app is easy to use, people are more likely to use it, and having a good plan is more likely to make that happen. A wireframe also saves money in the long run because it enhances communication between designers and developers and avoids mistakes and confusion in the app creation process.
For an example of what a wireframe and business plan looks like from an app company, click here.
They seem like they should be the same, don’t they? They are both made up of code and use the internet, so why are they priced so differently? Most companies are coming from the experience of having a site developed, they understand how long it took and cost and why, and so it can be hard wrapping your head around an app. THREE years ago, there were no iPhone or Android developers, this is a new field and there’s aren’t a glut of people doing it yet. Even a child nowadays can hack out a little HTML, and content management systems are everywhere, so it isn’t hard to get a presence online anymore. However, for iPhone and Android they use a higher grade of code, such as Objective C, which not a lot of developers know yet. You are also tapping a whole new world of functionality that isn’t there for a website such as touch screen, Blue tooth, GPS and accelerometer and that makes the code that much more difficult.
To learn a little more about the process of developing an app, click here.
Asking “how do I get accepted to the iTunes store is a bit like asking “How do I get accepted to Harvard?” You may have a perfect SAT score, but not a good enough grade point, or the person looking at your application may just not like your essay. Imagine iTunes is a bit like that review board, they aren’t just doing a check list, they are subjective. At Apple there is actually an independent person that looks at your app and decides whether or not it is green lit, and their requirement list as always evolving. No one can guarantee your app acceptance but there are some things you can do to raise your chances:
• Keep out the T&A, in other words, Apple doesn’t like sex apps. Steve Jobs has made it clear that these won’t fly in the app store.
• Offer more than what a mobile site can offer. Apple is cracking down on apps that are just vehicles for an RSS feed.
• Don’t compete with Apple or ATT functionality. For example, being able to make Skype calls through 3G threatened ATT’s function.
The Android store is much more of a wild west and apps are accepted without review.
There is little worry about being accepted here. It’s worth noting that if you have a launch date you want to have you app up by, you need to be sure to take iTunes acceptance time into account. A developer can promise you a date they will be done by, but they can’t control Apple and an app can take between a week and a month to accept an app.
To learn more about iPhone and other smartphone apps, click here.
There are more and more companies appearing who can quickly turnaround an app using templates. Thye give a really appealing low price tag, but you have to realize the tradeoffs you are making. Just like you can almost always recognize a blog done in Wordpress or in Blogger, these apps will usually have a look that makes them clearly a product of that company or that template. You will also lose some flexibility. Many time you won’t be able to use the cool features that make smartphones so great, such as GPS or accelerometers, you will simply have text and menus. Template companies are a good option for some, but just like a Google Page will always look like a controlled, standard site, your app will appear that way as well.
For an example of a traditional, full-service developer, visit here.
You would think it would be easy right? Once you have an app developed on one platform, just throw it on over to the next. Unfortunately, like most things, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Just like Microsoft and Apple are two vastly different operating systems for a computer, so are all the mobile platform. You are dealing with entirely different software, and entirely different ways they are used such as whether they use a stylus or a finger, or whether people swipe or click or if there is a back button on the screen or on the device. You will save time in that many of the graphics can be re purposed and the usability has already been defined, but you can’t escape having to code for different platforms. On the outset of a project you should figure out what platform will be first, and then what to follow with. The iPhone has the largest amount of app consumption, but Android phones are growing in ownership.
It can be difficult to choose which platform to start development on first. If you are looking for tips or advice on which platform to put you app on, you can ask here.
It’s great to talk about all the amazing things an app can do, but at the end of the day you want to know what it’s going to set you back. Unfortunately, apps don’t come with easily-defined price tags and they can vary greatly based on what functions they perform, how customized they need to be and if they need servers. I know, that’s not the specific answer you wanted to hear. In eneral, the price tag for an app can start as low as $1,000 if it is a very simple app made with a template, and can scale up to $100,000. You will have to work with your developers and designers to help keep the project on budget and figure out which features are a must and which ones are a want. Some of the things that can push the cost of an app up are:
• If existing Apple fields and forms are skinned. For example if you want a “To do” app that look aged.
• If it needs to connect to a server so that people can share. This is a factor for many social apps, they will need to communicate to a server so you will be dealing with server costs.
• If it has a lot of art or sound effects. These sounds and art will need to be licensed or created, adding more cost.
• If it has a quick turnaround. This means there will need to be more developers or other projects will have to be pushed around.