In the last decade, mobile app development has gotten easier and faster. The development process hasn’t changed much, but it’s been streamlined and developers are more efficient than ever. Today, anyone can hire a developer to create a custom app, but it wasn’t always so easy. Decades ago, the only people creating apps were established computer brands.
A brief history of mobile app development
Mobile app development has an interesting history. The first truly mobile apps ran on Psion’s PDAs using the EPOC operating system in the early 1990s. These handheld computers were a mere sixteen bits and ran simple programs like a word processor, database, spreadsheet, and diary. Some models allowed users to download more apps, provided they had a modem.
Palm OS came out with their own handheld devices and introduced even more useful apps on a touch screen interface. Soon, other brands (like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola) followed, but there was a huge problem. Since every device ran on a different operating system, applications weren’t compatible between devices.
To streamline compatibility, several companies abandoned their custom operating systems and adopted the Windows Phone platform while others went to Android and eventually iOS. Other devices like the Blackberry and Kyocera dual-screen devices have all but disappeared.
App development has been streamlined
Since the 1990s, Android and iOS have come to dominate the market, and there are pros and cons to developing on both platforms. Still, the dominance of these two operating systems makes it easier for app developers to create apps for the masses. Developers only need to learn two main environments to make sure an app reaches the majority of people. However, some developers also specialize in app development for other platforms like Windows.
Nearly all developers have learned to develop in Android and iOS. However, there’s one aspect of software development few developers have taken advantage of: frameworks.
Frameworks make app development faster
A framework is a coding shortcut that prevents a developer from having to hand-code each application from scratch. A framework is more than a collection of code snippets. Frameworks can be models, APIs, geotracking systems, ecommerce capabilities, authentication servers, and even push notifications. Software frameworks can also include code libraries, support programs, compilers, and MVC architecture.
For mobile, common frameworks include Bootstrap, Sencha Touch, Cocoa, Kendo, and AngularJS.
Frameworks help developers focus on custom requirements
By utilizing a framework for basic app components, a developer has more time to create custom features requested by the client. As a bonus, developers who use frameworks to build a mobile app don’t spend their time (and their client’s money) troubleshooting issues that have already been resolved hundreds of times before. Developers who don’t use frameworks are essentially charging their clients while they reinvent the wheel.
Frameworks are essential for speed, but not just any framework will do. Top developers create their own frameworks as they go. Proprietary frameworks are the reason app developers from Buildfire are able to quickly create custom apps for industry leaders like Pepsico, Paypal, and Wienerschnitzel. These big names require a speedy turnaround, but there’s one more benefit to using proprietary frameworks. They’re easier to maintain and update regularly.
Speedy app development means better mobile apps for businesses
Frameworks speed up the development process. Speedier app development means businesses can have custom apps made more affordably than ever. Developers can spend less time creating the foundation and more time diving into the customized features requested by the client.
The future of custom app development
Technology is forever evolving. Perhaps one day there will be an app that uses artificial intelligence to allow users to create mobile apps like a skilled developer. Until then, you’re better off sticking with an expert.