Mobile App Development Explained
Every time you look at your phone to see how many miles you’ve walked today or to check your bank account, you use an app. Mobile apps are part of our lives, and an increasingly important one, yet we rarely think about how they are created.
Let’s have a look at what mobile app development means, what technologies are used, and what are the trends for the future.
What Is Mobile App Development?
Mobile app development refers to the process through which a team of developers creates the software behind any application that runs on a mobile device. Before launching it on the market, the same developers test the app and fix any bugs.
In order to run an app, you need to install it on your device and have internet access. User feedback is very important to mobile app developers as they use it to add new features, improve on the old ones, and release patches to fix problems.
What Are the Main Platforms Mobile Apps Work On?
Have a look at your phone. Chances are the Mobile App Platform is either an Android or iOS phone, as these are the two operating systems that dominate the smartphone market. There are other operating systems, but they share a much smaller part of the market.
Android was developed by Google and is the OS installed on many types of smartphones and tablets. iOS was created by Apple and it’s the platform iPhones run on.
When a team of developers start building an app, they need to make sure it will be able to run on both Android and iOS devices. It’s quite a challenge as they need to use different software development kits (SDK).
This is the reason why sometimes you hear that a new app will only be available to Android users and iPhone users will have to wait. Or vice versa.
What Is the Mobile App Development Cycle
A mobile app has two core parts—the front-end or the app you see and use on your phone, and the back-end, which supports the front-end and gives you access to various resources.
The very first app ever invented is the old Snake game that ran on Nokia phones. It was nothing more than a front-end as it didn’t have or need a back-end to support it.
Modern apps, even the basic Candy Crush installed on your device, have both a front-end, the one you interact with, and a back-end, the part that allows you to unlock new levels and stores your progress on a server.
As a user, you need internet access to use such an app. The front-end communicates with the back-end by making network calls and using a dedicated API, or Application Programming Interface.
There are two types of APIs developers use. In some cases, the API is owned by the company that created the app. Or it can belong to a third party such as an advertising company. And now you know why some apps have ads and others don’t.
Mobile App Front-End
Most people working in app development are actually involved with the creation of the front-end part. This refers to creating all the visual elements and designing the user interface.
A team of developers includes creative or graphic designers, motion graphic developers, or even engineers.
Mobile App Back-End
No matter how skilled the development team is, the success of an app depends on the user experience. This means offering reliable back-end services.
At present, many app developers are switching to cloud computing as it allows them to leverage third-party services. Since they won’t have to build many such services themselves, they can work more quickly.
For instance, a development team using cloud computing will have an easy time creating an application that can run on both Android and iOS devices. Also, this new way of building cloud-based apps eliminates other issues such as scalability and data security, as it’s the cloud service provider that takes care of them.
Mobile App Development – Additional Resources
- Android: Developer Guides – These documents teach you how to build Android apps using APIs in the Android framework and other libraries.
- iOS: Apple Developer Documentation – Browse the latest developer documentation, including tutorials, sample code, articles, and API reference.