If you are trying to build a business that is based around users from the internet and need you to sign up to use your service, then you will need to develop an app for sure. And making sure the app is user friendly and meets the customer needs while not hurting your pocket is important, and that’s what this article is all about.
Being a beginner’s guide we will be covering all you need to know. And we will try to keep it cost effective and suggest you what is the best and low cost mobile app development method and how to do it right!
Often when we download an app from the Apple App store or the Google Play store we never realize the effort the app developers put into the apps to bring it to us. Which is a lot if you ask us, a lot of raw coding, and let’s not forget about the challenges in bringing a new feature that wasn’t planned when we first build an app. So let’s look at all that aspects too in this article.
Quick disclaimer once again, this article is tailored towards someone who is looking to build their very first Mobile app development. We do under stand that keeping the price low will be one of the key factors, and this article will extensively focus on low cost mobile app development primarily and also be very beginner friendly to help you understand everything you need to know about app development for mobile.
So let’s cut the chase and get straight to it, shall we? Let’s start elephant in the elephant in the room.
Mobile app from a development standpoint?
Mobile App Development involves everything from building building the beautiful User Interface(UI) that the user interacts with. And to process all the data that the user needs to use the app we will have to build a back end which handles all the data and does the heavy lifting such as processing and delivering the right data the user needs. And to store all the data we need a data base, this is where all the app’s data and user’s data will be stored.
Sounds confusing? Let’s talk in more detail! And for that let’s just break down what we just said into three sections.
- Front end Mobile App Development
- Back end Mobile App Development
Let’s talk in detail about each in detail and learn what each does, and why it is a critical aspect of Mobile App Development.
What is front end app development?
Front is all your users will see when they open an app, this has to be user friendly visually appealing and stick to the brand’s visual identity. And friend is a huge factor that accounts to almost half of the user experience as this is the only part of the app the user will ever see. Thus, for that factor alone we should be putting a lot of energy into making sure it’s elegant and user friendly!
What are the traits of a good front end?
- User friendly
- Less clutter
- Seamless experience across pages
- Convenient navigation Icons and tabs
- Responsive and fast
These are some factors you will need to consider when considering low cost mobile app development, and it will be wise to focus on these and not cut too much cost on user experience. As a startup the impression of the very first users will be very important and a bad one can result in the longevity of the business.
With that said, for an impressive front end we will need a strong back end that will be able to handle the front end. So let’s talk about back end development.
What is back end app development?
Back end is necessary to serve the front end and also talk to the data base where the app’s data will be stored. Without the back end the app will not be able to process data and load what the user needs. A good back end needs to be reliable and serve the user’s needs via the front end, process all the data and store it in the data base. In short, a back end is what does all the heavy lifting while the front end serves as the user interface.
Why is back end important?
Back end is what is responsible for processing data and fetching what the user needs and stores the data and delivers it to the user. So yes, back end is very important to do serve the apps functionalities.
Most importantly API integration is an crucial aspect of modern app development as it helps the app communicate with other applications. And without a back end we really can’t do pretty much anything.
What is a Database?
Database is where the user’s and the app’s data that the users will need is stored. Everything from when a user signs up to whatever data they input gets stored in the database of the app. And in the similar manner, the data that the user requests for will be processed by the back end and pulled from the data base.
There are tow types of databases, SQL and NoSQL. SQL Data bases store data in tables while NoSQL Databases store the data in non-tabular fashion. You can read more on the types of data bases here.
With that said, when app development involves developing all three of these it is called a full stack development.
How to Develop a Mobile app?
Mobile app development starts with starts with deciding what platform we are going to develop it on and for what mobile platforms. If it is iOS and Android we will have to look into what stacks are best for the full stack development. And since we are aiming for low cost mobile app development it’s best to go with one that can be reused in multiple platforms.
Best practices for Mobile app development
Best practices for Mobile app development are as follows
- Minimum Cost
- Minimum Duration
- Loaded with Functionality and features
- Fast and lightweight
- Easy to debug and add features and update
- An app for each platform – Easy to develop on multiple platforms
Now that we have got that out of the way. Since this article is about low cost mobile app development let’s look at what are the technologies we can do to keep the budget in line. At the same time give respect to user experience and not compromise much of it.
What are the mobile app development technologies?
There are three types generally when you going for mobile app development, they are
Let’s talk in detail about each.
Hybrid mobile app development
Hybrid mobile app development developing an app using web application development technologies. Basically, you create a web application and then slap it in a iOS or android app shell and make it work just like a normal native app.
But this comes with more downsides than upsides, as you may know by now, at the end of the day it’s just a web application. They are generally intended to work on web browsers and taking a mobile app shell and making it work for an app will work, kind of.
We would only suggest you to go this route if all you need is an app to be published on the respective app store and user experience and satisfaction is not in your priority. As this comes with may more downsides that ups, such as very limited offline access, clutter and relatively slow compared to it’s other counter parts such as cross-platform app development and Native app development.
We have a detailed info graphic below comparing each side by side which will give you a better perspective. And also give you an idea on why we do not suggest this for our low cost mobile app development project even though it can be a cost effective approach.
Why to not choose hybrid app development technology?
If you read through our best practices for Mobile app development practices section once again, it’s evident that a hybrid app will not serve our purpose of being as user friendly as possible. This can be very crucial when we are pooling our very first users into the app, they aren’t going to keep using the app or suggest to their friends and family if it is not user friendly and reliable.
So to conclude, hybrid app is our least suggested technology to go for with a low cost mobile app development project. Which takes us to our tech app development technology, cross-platform app development
Cross-platform app development
Cross-platform app development can be called the best of both worlds as it delivers near native level of performance while also respecting the development time and cost for full stack development. And the best part? We can develop apps for multiple platforms using almost the same codes and back end, which can save lot of that sweet sweet time and production R&D cost. Which is very important when we are considering going with a low cost mobile app development technology.
This does not come with much compromises as compared to hybrid as it works more or less like a native app that was build specifically for the platform. And this strategy for app development will really help the business as it doesn’t have to code the app from scratch for each platform.
Native app development
Native apps are essentially what the name suggests, apps that are build natives for that platform. This is the best way to go for enterprises or medium business that has the resources and money to develop a separate app for each platform. For sure it will perform better than a cross-platform app and marginally better than a hybrid app.
But this improved performance does come with a cost, a lot of R&D cost, human resources and time. For instance if you were to develop an app for each platform separately both have their own native coding languages.
If we were to code an app for iOS we would need to need to have an iOS developer who can code in swift. Swift is the coding language used to write codes for iOS. With that, we would need a dedicated back end that talks with the iOS front end, which takes up a lot of resources.
Just like that, to code an app for android hiring a developer who is familiar with java and android studio will be necessary. Which again translates to lot of resources needed for the mobile app development.
This approach may not be suitable for most start ups or small businesses which are just developing their first ever app. And not to mention the time needed to develop a separate app and then test and debug and do bug fixes separately for each. Which is why we suggest cross-platform app development as the start point. Even if you were to hire an app agency instead of hiring developers for each, it would still cost a lot of capital, and not to forget the time taken to bring the app to the market.
Why to choose cross-platform over native app development?
- Easier to code for multiple platforms
- Convenient to add new features
- Less time taken to fix bugs and errors in code
- More cost effective for start ups & small businesses
- Less time taken to test and release the app
- Near native performance compared to hybrid
here is a clear table explaining the pros and cons of each –
Cross-platform app development vs native vs hybrid
The info graph clearly shows that the pros of cross-platform app development easily outweigh that of other technologies such as native and hybrid. So let’s look more into cross-platform app frameworks, their pros and cons and what are the best solutions out there.
What are cross-platform app frameworks?
Simply put these are app development tools that help in developing native like apps for multiple platforms. These platforms include Desktop (Windows & Linux) and mobile (iOS & Android). These frameworks help us develop apps for multiple platforms using almost the same code. Which saves a lot of time and resources during production and also when new features need to be added.
Cross-platform app development pros and cons
Let’s start with the pros
- Near native performance
- Easy to develop across-platforms
- Less time taken to develop
- Easier to debug and fix codes
- Convenient add new features across-platforms
- More cost effective compared to Native
- Need less human resources to develop
- Less time needed to bring app to market
And now the cons
- Not as fast as native, but close
- Heavier than native apps
- Harder to design UI as they have to be consistent across platforms
Best cross-platform app development frameworks
Here is the best pick for cross-platform app development for a low cost mobile app development strategy from our experts explaining the pros and cons. We will also be talking about some alternatives and why we choose one over the other.
Easily our best choice for cross-platform app development due to all the benefits it provides and the versitility.
Why to Choose Xamarin.Froms over other frameworks?
- It’s Simple and Convenient – Shorter time needed to develop, standardized UI
- Flexibility – Open Source and Cross Platform libraries
- Performance – Near native level of performance
- Availability – Offline mode / Reduced lag
- Scalability – Easy to add features and grow
- Support – benefits of Azure cloud + better debugging
- Security – Azure cloud security benefits
- API Integration – Easier to integrate APIs
These are some of the reasons for you to go with Xamarin.Forms, with is a framework by Microsoft that mostly uses .NET and C# as it’s primary coding languages which leads to less bugs and easy customization.
And now let us look at some reasons to not use Xamarin.Forms as your framework
Why to Choose other frameworks over Xamarin.Froms?
- Larger File size
- Comparatively more time taken for front end / UI Development, limited customization
- Limitations in sharing codes outside of Xamarin.Forms
- Development cost compared to alternatives, yet significantly less than native
Even though it comes with it’s own sets of downsides we do believe it’s is one of the best options out there for low cost mobile app development as the pros easily outweigh the cons.
If Xamarin.Forms is out of the equation for you here are some pretty good alternative cross-platform app development frameworks you can choose for low cost mobile app development which of course have their own pros and cons.
Popular alternatives to Xamarin.Forms
- React Native
You can read more about each of these frameworks and the pros and cons <here>.
How to get started with mobile app development?
It starts with understanding what your business needs are with the app development and finding the best way to integrate them. And then choosing what works best for you given the budget for R&D and the time in hand to bring the app to the market. Then of course everything we discussed above in this article.
What if I can’t do Mobile app development?
Not everyone is a developer or coding cannot be everyone’s cup of tea, in that case you can always find talents who are good at it or outsource it and hire an app agency to do it for you. If you are planning to form a team it does have other benefits to it than just working on your business’ app.
The talent can be added to your business’ portfolio as well as add to the business’ list of services and can be a good way to earn Money by Developing Apps.
Forming a team comprising of developers
This can sound overwhelming at the start but if you can pool in the right clients it can be a good way to earn money by developing app. Which will automatically convert your business to a an app agency that can monetize off of App Development. But then this is always not what you are looking for or what your business model is, which is why hiring an app agency becomes an ideal alternative to building a team of your own.
Why mobile app development is in so much demand?
Internet has become the part of everyone’s life and the best way to connect your business to the people online is through a website or an app. And if the people love it, they are going to stick around for a while and translates to a user base, so yes you can always earn money by developing app and ensuring it reaches the right people.
So yes, this is the reason for the high demand, it has a become a norm to have an app to market and cater to the audience living online.
And there is a saying, business is all about solving the problem that people have so if your app is able to do that and solve a problem people have. You can always earn money by developing an app for that solution and monetize on it.
About the alternative, hire an app agency
Being a new venture, hiring new employees just to develop the app can be counterintuitive. To top it off, if you are someone who isn’t familiar with development, you are going to have a hard time assessing their skills and is definitely going to add to the list of responsibilities. which is why it is always best to hire an app agency to do the work for you.
Going this route will take away the hassle forming a team which cuts a lot of time. And the best part? You can focus on the marketing and branding aspects of your business while the app agency does the heavy work for you and ensuring your app is at it’s best performance.