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App Development Time

App Development Time – How Long Does it Take?

App development can take anywhere from a few weeks to well over a year depending on the type of app and its complexity. If you’re planning to develop an app, knowing what to expect in terms of the development timeline will help inform the entire process. In this article, we’ll look at the factors that influence app development times and share with you some tips that could help you speed up the entire process.

What Impacts App Development Time

app-development-time-impactsHere’s a breakdown of the key factors that impact the time it takes to build an app.

1. Type of App

Some apps require more work and more testing than others because they connect to a database, process and store more data, and have more integrations. If you’re building an ecommerce app, it will take considerably longer than building a simple entertainment app because of the extra work that goes into back-end development.

2. Range of Features

Launching an app that has only one or two core features is considerably faster than building a multi-featured app that requires extensive backend development as in setting up servers and databases.

3. Platform

You can save time launching an app on a single operating system or use cross-platform app development. Building native versions of an app for both iOS and Android for an optimal user experience will increase development time.

4. App Developer

Some developers are a lot faster than others. For example, choosing a large and busy app developer could mean waiting in a queue for at least several weeks before any work begins.

5. How Fully Formed the Ideas Is

If you know exactly what type of app you want, how it will look, and what feature(s) it will have, that will save you time. Otherwise, you may go through a brainstorming process before the first mockups are created that can add weeks to the wait time.

6. Compliance

Building an app in the financial or healthcare markets, for example, means you’ll need to comply with regulations related to security or user data handling. Ensuring full compliance may require specific design choices or back-end development protocols which can add weeks to the development time.

App Development Time – Explained

app-development-time-typesWe’ve seen some of the essential factors that impact the time it takes to develop an app. Now let’s look at some broad estimates for different types of apps.

1. Simple App

A simple app that doesn’t have many integrations and that can run offline or doesn’t require a complex database to run is the quickest to build. You can have a beta version ready for testing in weeks.

2. Database / API App

Apps with more integrations and more advanced backend development requirements need more testing and polishing. Development times can vary from a few months to six months or more. Game apps can also be in development for months or longer.

3. Complex / Enterprise Apps

Apps with lots of features and multiple integrations developed natively across platforms for optimal performance usually go through an extended development process. These apps can take anywhere from several months to over a year before they’re ready for end-users.

How to Speed Up App Development Time

app-development-time-speed-upNeed an app developed fast? There are a couple of things you can do to speed up the process.

  • Get rid of non-essential features—you can add them in later versions.
  • Use cross-platform app development to build apps for multiple platforms at the same time.
  • Hire a team of developers who are used to working together rather than multiple developers separately.
  • Use the Lean app development method to launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) rather than a fully-featured app.
  • Test components as they are being built and automate testing as much as possible.
  • Use a development approach that uses the Agile development methodology with short release cycles.
  • Know what you need—bringing an app to life becomes easier if you know what type of app you want.
  • Develop using a “Cloud Based Architecture“, in order to speed up infrastructure setup.

App Development Time – Final Thoughts

While you can develop a simple app in as little as a few weeks, you don’t want to rush the process. Polishing the design, optimizing performance, and testing the app extensively are all crucial steps in the app development process. Today, when the competition between apps in the same category can be tough, releasing an app that runs smoothly, without glitches, is more important than ever.

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Edward Kuhn

Edward Kuhn is a software architect who leads technical teams across a diverse range of projects using various platforms for Insurance, Medical and Manufacturing Industries.