We’ve all done it — in the shower, in the car, even while on break at work. We’ve all had a great idea for an app that would revolutionize how the world works. However, it turns out that software development isn’t as easy as coming up with an idea and doodling pictures of the logo. Software development takes energy, and more significant than that, development of a worthwhile and usable app will take time.
You may be overeager to get your product on devices around the world, but if you want to protect yourself and your potential profits, you need to take software development step by step. Luckily, here’s the guide to help you do that.
Step 1: Assembling Your Team
No app developer is an island; even if you have the technical skill to write the software yourself, you’ll need employees savvy in business to help you market and distribute your app successfully. A team will also help you to refine the app’s features, perhaps making it more useful for a broader range of users, and thus more likely to explode in popularity upon release.
You should start recruiting crucial members before you begin development for this reason — it could be a disastrous setback if you change a major factor within the app after you’ve started writing code — but you can also continue to accrue team members after you start creation. Because this is an ongoing process, the time it takes will vary, but the initial hiring and subsequent discussion phase should take at least a month.
Step 2: Building the Back End
Though your users have no idea, apps don’t exist on their phones alone. Apps take up quite a bit of memory, meaning you as the developer need to have access to servers and storage space to house the app’s data. Do research into cloud storage, colocation options, and server ownership, and decide which is right for your burgeoning company at this stage.
Because you want users around the world to have access to your app, you need to get your app approved by various app providers (like Google Play and Apple’s App Store) so users can find and download it. The application and acceptance process for some app marketplaces take a frustrating amount of time, so the earlier you submit your information, the sooner you’ll see your app available to users.
Step 3: Making the App
Once you’ve brainstormed and storyboarded to your heart’s content, it will be time to hit the computer and start building the app itself. The type of app you’re creating dictates what steps you’ll need to take during development, but most apps will require consideration in these key areas:
• User management. The systems through which users will create and manage their accounts, as well as security features to protect user data
• Data integration. Connection of your app to other vital user apps, most crucially social media.
• Update integration. Confirmation that updates and new versions won’t crash the system completely.
• Offline capabilities. Caching processes that allow data to be saved locally and prevent conflict during usage away from the Internet.
• User interface design. Simple, streamlined menus and screens to prevent user confusion and frustration.
• Tests, tests, and more tests.
• And more. Apps are complicated creatures, and each one is unique. If your app is as groundbreaking as you think it is, there are probably a dozen (if not a hundred) more steps you’ll need to complete during development.
Most studies show that this step of the process takes about 18 weeks. Remember, the faster you move during production, the more likely it is that your app will turn out buggy and unusable, so it’s crucial that you take your time and produce the best product you can. Otherwise, your app won’t receive the recognition it deserves from users.
Step 4: Licensing the Software
You want to avoid as many legal snafus as possible — that’s a given. While eventually your app may be so popular that you must hire a complete legal team, when you’re just getting started, all you really need is a trustworthy license to allow your users to know the limits of their usage. If you use software licensing products from SafeNet, you can probably get your app up and running in the store within a week or two. If, however, you try to go rogue by writing and implementing a license yourself, it could take significantly longer.
Rarely does a hastily constructed app make headlines; these apps are shoddy and full of glitches, providing a terrible user experience and virtually none of the capabilities its developers were hoping for. If you want your app to shine, take the time to create something beautiful and useful. Your users will thank you with their downloads.