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The mobile app industry has been growing exponentially ever since its introduction, and now it’s one of the largest industries in the world. In 2013, there were nearly 200 billion apps downloads worldwide. With over 1.3 million apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play, competition for attention is fierce today. Apps are now not only used to play games or chat with friends; they're tools that help us manage our lives and businesses too.

It’s no wonder that the number of people willing to start their own business has been growing as well. Fortunately, today it’s much easier than ever before to develop your own mobile app and start generating revenue from it, as long as you have enough money to invest in it. Here’s a complete step-by-step guide on mobile app development that will help both business owners and developers in their future projects.

What stats say about mobile app development in 2021-22

The growth of mobile apps has not just been limited to smartphones. In the past five years, tablet users have seen a remarkable 1.35 billion rises, which is now accounting for around two-thirds (66%) of all internet-connected device usage worldwide. This means that most people can't go more than 10 minutes without checking their phone somewhere along this time span - whether while on foot as an individual citizen or at work with other colleagues' etcetera. This is the reason what makes mobile app development is an element of huge success in 2021.

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Some important stats to consider on mobile app development:

  • The mobile app industry is expecting a growth of $156 billion in-app spendings by the year 2022.
  • The total count of mobile app downloads went up by 23.3% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mobile applications account for 70-80% of all social media time.
  • An average person is spending 3 hours, 45 minutes of their time using mobile apps.
  • If your mobile app experience is poor, only 9% of people will stay on your mobile app.
  • As per the above stat, 70% of people tend to move if it takes a long time to load.
  • There are approx. 48% of users have admitted that an app helps in maintaining brand credibility.

You might be thinking that the idea of building a mobile app is appealing. However, before you jump into anything, make sure it’s something you really want and have thought through carefully because there are so many factors involved in developing apps for both Android or Apple devices.

There are some stats that show 1 billion dollars worth of business opportunities available, but they also need careful consideration, such as time commitment needed from mobile app developers who will likely work full-time hours on your project. Hence, mobile app development from a reliable app development company is the need of the hour.

Mobile app development: A brief

Mobile app development refers to the software development process necessary to create applications for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Applications running on these devices use facilities added to the devices’ operating systems, e.g., cameras, Global Positioning System (GPS), touchscreens, accelerometers, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth Low Energy, or near field communication (NFC).

Moreover, it is becoming increasingly popular with businesses. The trend for mobile apps began in the 2000s and continues to grow exponentially today. Mobile apps can be used by small, medium, and large businesses as a way to reach their target audience on the go. Mobile apps are also beneficial because they increase customer engagement, increasing your odds of turning them into loyal customers down the line.

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Latest Platforms for Mobile app development

Deciding which mobile operating system to use is a major step in mobile app development, but there are a number of considerations to take into account before you pick up your mouse and start clicking. We’ll look at each of these platforms in turn, giving you an idea of their relative pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision as to which one would be best for your application.

There are two most important mobile app platforms: iOS from Apple Inc. and Android from Google. The former is their proprietary operating system for iPhones, which has become extremely popular because it provides higher security than other alternatives out there, while the latter runs on devices manufactured by various OEMs like Google that meet specific requirements (e.g., not having access to users’ personal information).

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Android supports Java programming language applications, which makes creating an application relatively easy if you already have some experience with Java—but even novice developers will find help available if they need it. As you might expect, though, Android applications do run more slowly than natively written code on Apple devices (which we'll discuss next) while also draining battery power quicker too.

But many developers choose to write apps specifically for Apple devices first because they don't require users to install anything beyond what comes pre-installed when you purchase your smartphone or tablet; however, writing apps specifically for iPhone or iPad does mean that cross-platform functionality is limited. Although developing solely for iOS does offer benefits over developing cross-platform solutions (such as faster speeds), producing high-quality apps usually requires additional hardware, depending on how complex it is.

Types of Mobile Applications

Before we get into talking about specific tools and approaches, it’s helpful to talk about different types of mobile applications. Broadly speaking, there are four categories:

  • Native mobile applications
  • Hybrid Mobile Applications
  • Cross-platform mobile applications
  • Progressive web apps

Let’ talk about them in brief here:

Native Mobile apps:

Choosing native app development is a good choice when you want to take full advantage of the platform's capabilities. Native apps can access hardware features like GPS, camera, and microphone, which make it easy for users to get what they need in seconds instead of minutes with cross-platform solutions that may have bugs or require more workarounds because there are multiple coding languages being used (e.g., Objective-C). Push notifications also go much smoother on these types since all communication happens straight between device clients without ever sending data over networks until it's received back at some point - saving bandwidth, too.

Why choose native mobile app development?

Choosing native app development is a good choice when you want to take full advantage of the platform's capabilities. Native apps can access hardware features like GPS, camera, and microphone, which make it easy for users to get what they need in seconds instead of minutes with cross-platform solutions that may have bugs or require more workarounds because there are multiple coding languages being used (e.g., Objective-C). Push notifications also go much smoother on these types since all communication happens straight between device clients without ever sending data over networks until it's received back at some point - saving bandwidth, too.

Know the advantages of native mobile apps:

  • Native applications offer the best runtime performance.
  • Native apps are built using tools and SDKs offered by platform owners like Apple and Google. These apps run natively on the platform of your choice.
  • The cost of building and maintaining different codes for each platform is high.
  • Directly use platform data through platform-specific SDKs.
  • Features need to be implemented differently depending on the platform's SDK tools.

Hybrid Mobile Apps:

Hybrid mobile apps are applications that use web APIs to display content that is then rendered locally on the device. They offer many of the benefits of native apps (e.g., easy app development), but since they're web-based, they can be consumed with any compliant browser without requiring installation on client devices.

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Why choose Hybrid mobile app development?

Hybrid apps possess both the advantages and disadvantages of native apps & web-based apps. Hybrid mobile app development is an especially beautiful type of development because it combines the benefits (not having to wait for a platform such as iOS) with the drawbacks (having less functionality).

Know the advantages of hybrid mobile apps:

  • Hybrid apps are built using the latest web technologies like JavaScript, CSS, HTML and then packaged as mobile apps for the required platforms. Hybrid apps differ from cross-platform apps in that they work through web containers at browser runtime.
  • Web development tools can be used to create mobile applications.
  • Little to no support for native devices.
  • The performance is not native, since essentially, they are built using technologies for web development.
  • The codebase is shared between web and mobile applications.

Cross-platform mobile applications

Cross-platform apps tend to have variable performance in terms of speed and battery life. While they may look the same to users, their behavior can vary greatly because each framework has been built independently of the others. It's not uncommon for one platform's code to be written in Java while another has been coded in Objective-C - both typically lead to compromises when it comes to efficiency.

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Why choose cross-platform mobile app development?

Building separate apps for both platforms can be a time-consuming and budget-draining task. Not only do you have to develop two different versions of your product or service, but also maintain the staff that develops them in addition - all while hoping they're not hacked by someone who knows what he's doing.

This is where cross-platform development comes into play, as it will allow one team across multiple companies to publish content onto iOS/Android devices without having any complications due to an impossible workflow between developers on each side (or lack thereof).

Know the advantages of cross-platform mobile apps:

  • Cross-platform mobile applications can be written in various programming languages and then compiled for each platform separately.
  • A unified user experience can be offered even for different platforms.
  • The code is not written natively. Therefore, it must be met and surpassed, which can be annoying.
  • Since native libraries are not available, the dependency is on third-party open-source libraries.
  • A single code base for multiple platforms.

Progressive web apps

A Progressive Web App is a website that appears to be a native app from the device's launcher. The website needs to meet certain requirements in order for the site to appear as an app on the user's device, such as adding a manifest file and using service worker scripts. Service workers are JavaScript files that run when you navigate a browser or open a new page. When this happens, your web page will have access to offline capabilities - so if your site is designed in accordance with these standards, it'll work even without Internet access.

Progressive Web Apps offer many features of native apps while still functioning much like traditional websites but also add certain key features common in today's smartphones platforms.

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Why choose progressive web app development?

Progressive Web Apps are web-based applications that can be used to deliver a consistently high level of service. They're only accessible through the browser on your device, so you should consider developing them if all users will have uninterrupted access and must solve issues directly within their browser without any native features like camera or machine learning module required by these apps themselves.

Know the advantages of progressive web apps:

  • Progressive web applications do not require native or cross-platform development. They bypass app store installations and also traditional app delivery channels. They work within the browser, be it mobile or desktop. A link is added to the mobile device in the form of an application icon. These are basically web applications that also run on mobile devices.
  • It is not necessary to install the application. It runs through a URL browser using the network connection.
  • If the network connection is not available, the interactivity is greatly lost.
  • Little to no support for native devices. It runs using the capabilities of the browser.
  • Applications run on the web and on mobile devices.

So, there are advantages and disadvantages to building an application, no matter which approach you choose. By choosing the right strategy for your needs, it is possible that by fully utilizing every last bit of computing resources available as well as implementing native features into the product, you can reach your goals faster than anticipated.

Programming Language Selection for app development

Besides the mobile app development platforms, the selection of the best programming languages also plays a crucial role if you want to develop the best app for your business. Here I am listing the top 3 programming languages you can consider for your mobile project:

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1) Python

Python is a dynamic, high-level programming language with simple but powerful features. The object-oriented design makes it easy for new developers to jump into the world of coding without feeling overwhelmed by all their options right away while also keeping things organized and tidy at runtime when you need that extra bit of control in your program logic or scriptwriting process - which could be why so many people rave about using Python as an interface between other scripts/applications.

2) Kotlin

Kotlin is a programming language that enhances productivity and developer happiness. It can be used in conjunction with Java to create more efficient, high-performance apps while also providing cleaner code than traditional methods of software development like C or Objective-C does for iOS applications--allowing you the opportunity to focus on what really matters: expressing your ideas.

3) Swift

Swift is a new programming language from Apple that will allow developers to write iOS apps in an easier, more modern way. It's designed with security risks and limitations from Objective-C out of the box, so you can develop for all devices without worrying about those things holding back your creativity or productivity as much! Mobile app businesses should start looking into hiring Swift experts because many big-name companies use this tool too.

You can also use other popular languages, including React Native, Objective-C, Dart, for your mobile app development projects.

Complete mobile app development process

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Understanding requirements first

The very first step in the mobile app development process is to understand the requirements. It includes building an app development strategy, working on your app idea, all related questionnaires of mobile app development according to market research, and then analyzing the whole plan after defining MVP.

How to define the Minimum Viable Product?

Once you have cleared all the functionalities that you can include, the functionalities that your users would like to use from the beginning, you define what your minimum viable product would be. A minimum viable product is the version of your application that has enough features to get you in front of your first customers so that you can get feedback on the product's features and its further development.

Key elements of a minimum viable product (MVP)

  • Functionality - Provides clear value to users.
  • Design-build minimal standard design but of the highest quality
  • Reliability - make production quality top-notch
  • Usability - make the user experience intuitive and refined

Developing the product

After understanding the complete requirements, now move towards building the product. For this, you will need a proper strategy for mobile app designing, wireframes, style guides, mockups, and prototypes.

The three integral parts of mobile app development are explained here:

Backend development

Mobile backend development is the process of building an API backend to power mobile applications. Mobile apps are more often than not connected with an API because they usually run on someone else's infrastructure (such as Apple's or Google's). So typically, you'll need to build two side-by-side systems -- the mobile app itself and its corresponding backend that handles all network requests, authentication, and storage.

It should be noted that backend development for any kind of mobile app should include considerations for scalability. The time it takes to implement the data model will depend largely on how many types of entities you want to represent in your application, but arrays could suffice for simple projects.

Frontend development

Mobile frontend development is the process of creating the mobile app's UI and UX that is rendered on desktop browsers as well as mobile devices. It typically includes such tasks as research, requirement analysis, stakeholder interviews, prototyping and wire-framing using an appropriate design language, collaborating with developers to ensure both developers and designers are working from a shared understanding, managing production assets across multiple codebases, and ensuring consistency of assets between screens.

It's about making sure that your user is able to view what you want them to see - be it on your user’s desktop screen or their phone – which often depends on how they're accessing your content. Frontend developers will often use tools like HTML editors (e.g., Dreamweaver) or CSS editors (e.g., Bootstrap) to build interfaces/pages with text, images, etc.).

API Development

API is short for Application Programming Interface, which is a set of specifications that define the ways in which software components interact. The most common way in which APIs are developed is with REST - Representational State Transfer. This means that, unlike SOAP, HTTP requests are formatted into smaller queries to be sent over the wire instead of being bundled into larger transactional messages for WS-* or ASMX systems.

In a nutshell, mobile app APIs allow for the communication of data among different pieces of software. Mobile API development is an emerging field with many advantages and drawbacks, but it will undoubtedly become increasingly relevant as developers find them a viable platform for more complex tasks.

One important thing to know is that mobile APIs differ from backend web services in their performance requirements; mobile APIs must use network protocols optimized for delay tolerance, low power consumption, and very limited bandwidth (compared with backend web services, which usually require high-speed networks).

Testing of the Final Product

To create the most successful mobile app possible, it’s essential to test from concept all the way through launch and beyond. So how do you test an app? What types of testing are required? And what about phases of testing? To start, you’ll want to know that there are two types of testing – static and dynamic – that can be performed on an app throughout its development cycle.

It’s important to remember that mobile app testing is different from many other types of software testing because mobile apps live on multiple platforms. The same app can be created and tested on an iOS platform, but it’s not always the same as testing the same app on an Android platform or even creating and testing that same app on a Windows phone or tablet device.

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Unit Testing:

Unit tests are automated tests that test a single component of an application. Unit testing covers one class, methods within a class, and components within a method. Unit tests should be fast and independent of other classes in an application. Commonly used techniques for unit testing include mocking objects and using dependency injection.

Automated unit testing can greatly improve code quality by reducing defects at the early stages of development while also preventing regression bugs caused by subsequent changes to existing code.

Integration Testing

An integration test is a software testing procedure that evaluates how independent modules, components, or systems work together. Integration tests verify whether there are any interactions between systems or elements of a system during normal operation.

For example, if two software programs run simultaneously on a computer to accomplish a certain task, an integration test might be checked to make sure they can communicate correctly and perform their tasks successfully as a pair.

UI Testing:

Integration tests are expensive to develop, run and maintain. As a rule of thumb, UI tests are ten times slower than unit tests. Moreover, they are fragile because every time you change your codebase, UI tests need to be updated too. That’s why it’s important to limit the number of UI test types in order to keep your application fast and simple.

For instance, if your app has a login form, it makes sense to have just one UI test that checks the correctness of the login. The more complex logic there is – the more integration tests should be written.

Other different types of mobile app testing are mentioned here:

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Functional testing:

Functional tests ensure that an app does what it’s supposed to do, including tapping into mobile-specific features like GPS or notifications. It is a great way to catch issues with apps before they reach the market. There are many different types of tests that can be conducted to ensure that the app performs as designed and looks as intended. For example, techniques such as automated tests, user acceptance testing (UAT), and exploratory testing can find defects before an app goes live.

It's estimated that each hour spent on functional testing can save anywhere from 10-40 hours down the road in customer support and bug fixing time since it eliminates defects early on instead of afterward when they cause problems for customers.

Usability testing:

Usability testing is a popular and effective way to identify the usability problems in an app before its release. It involves observing real people who are using your app, trying to spot mistakes they usually make, and determining whether or not the goals of these users are met with no trouble.

Users aren't perfect, so don't expect them to navigate through your mobile app without making any mistakes. Mobile App testers should constantly be looking out for issues that may prevent a user from continuing their journey within the mobile app you're developing. Usability testing shows how easy it is for users to use an app and whether they intuitively know where everything is.

Security testing:

This testing ensures that apps don’t leak data to unauthorized parties. Mobile security testers audit the resilience of an app against new cyber threats and weaknesses in its design. Their work is crucial in ensuring that nothing which compromises operation or users' data confidentiality will get through apps, not only for the sake of developers but also for many companies whose reputation can be tarnished by a single exposed vulnerability.

This testing involves various tools and methods such as debugging, static engine parsing (to uncover human error), binary protection (to uncover algorithm errors), fuzzing (for unknown risk scenarios), and compatibility probes.

Performance testing:

This testing looks at how quickly your app loads and performs, especially on mobile networks with varying connection speeds. It is the process of measuring the performance of a mobile app running on multiple devices to check if it meets required quality standards.

Mobile performance tests are run with specialized ad-hoc scripts and actual mobile volume data sets. The data sets simulate different kinds of mobile networks and conditions an app could be submitted to.

A mobile app already knows how much storage it will take up, but there's no way for a human or phone to know how much processing power or battery life is left for other system managing tasks - like messaging apps that rely on network connections. In order to not overload one side at once, tests should be conducted in cycles before taking data from them.

Stress testing:

It sees how an app responds under heavy load, which is useful if you have a lot of users or expect a surge in traffic.

Mobile stress testing is a process where the app developer tries out their app in a variety of conditions to see how well it behaves. The objective is to make sure the application will continue performing its desired function after experiencing operating bugs and network problems typical in mobile networks.

Acceptance tests:

are performed by employees who work directly with mobile apps, making sure that new updates can be smoothly rolled out across different departments.

Mobile acceptance testing refers to methods of analyzing an app before it's released for the main purpose of catching bugs. These are issues in the design or coding that could affect performance, stability, or security when using an app but which are difficult to find in other ways.

There are many influences on how well a device will run certain apps during different times. The user's operating system can have an impact on whether or not they'll be able to install the application at all or if there might be any hardware incompatibilities that cause problems with running it.

Regression testing:

It looks for bugs after you make changes—so instead of spending time chasing down every bug you introduce during development, regression testing lets you set up automated checks to find bugs as soon as they occur.

Mobile regression testing typically involves a team of members to test a variety of common user tasks on a particular release – the aim being to uncover bugs and/or functional problems. The purpose of this activity will be to identify any newly introduced errors, as well as errors that have been fixed but which have been reintroduced owing to changes made in other parts of the system.

Mobile product teams often take an iterative approach where they release new builds over time with various goals in mind, including improved usability, performance optimization, and exploration for new features.

To keep tabs on all these different types of mobile app testing efforts, consider developing some kind of central system for tracking results and metrics throughout each phase of development.

One way to accomplish that would be through something called Continuous Integration, in which various teams pass along their tests to an integration point, usually called a build server.

This server then runs tests on whatever has been submitted by development teams over time, ensuring that no new bugs are introduced into production code when new builds are delivered.

This gives developers detailed information about when they introduced problems without requiring them to sift through volumes of previous issues themselves. While most small-to-medium-sized businesses don't need continuous integration (it's really only necessary for enterprises), enterprise businesses should also look at creating separate test tracks depending on risk level.

Final deployment & maintenance of the app

After testing, it's time to deploy the app and find ways for post-maintenance of the respective app.

The deployment process for mobile applications can be time-consuming and often require many tests. Here’s how you might go about deploying your multifaceted project:

  • Make sure it passes all deployment tests.
  • Make end-to-end unit and integration tests that work in any situation.
  • You can rebuild the app with ProGuard off or fix code before shrinking.

Conclusion:

Completing the process of making an app from start to finish can seem like a major undertaking, especially if you’re new to app development and aren’t sure where to start. But as long as you follow the above steps involved and ensure that your app meets all of the required specifications, you’ll be able to launch your app successfully and reach users all over the world. The above guide will walk you through every step of mobile app development, from coming up with the idea and design to testing and launching your finished product.

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