Person holding an Android phone displaying a home screen with app icons. How to Code an App

How to Code an App From Scratch

The presence of smartphone users globally has skyrocketed, and so has the use of mobile applications. Whether you are an entrepreneur looking to launch a business or a software developer looking to enhance your portfolio, now is the perfect time to create an app.

Today, it is easier than ever to learn how to code an app from scratch. All you need is an innovative idea and a mobile application builder. This article is for everyone interested in app development and app design. Read on for the basics of developing an app for Android and iPhone, different app development tools, and a step-by-step guide to code an app.

Why Creating an App Is a Good Idea

Creating an app in 2021 is a great idea because it is one of the best paths to reaching hundreds of real users in a competitive market. Whether it is a dating app or a game, Android and Apple stores are popular platforms for business success. Several studies on the growing number of smartphone users reflect this sentiment. 

According to Statista, it is estimated that there will be around 311.53 million smartphone users by 2025 in the United States alone. This means a mobile application will give you the chance to convert those millions of users into customers. 

In addition to the exposure and the fresh stream of conversions, mobile applications are great for capturing user engagement. This is because many apps have an offline mode, are often faster and more convenient, and can use other mobile features such as GPS, camera, and Apple Pay. 

Another great factor of mobile applications is the freedom to design. Applications allow functions such as tap, swipe, and hold, unlike a website where a user has to press buttons like back and refresh. 

These effective features are significant for user experience and user interface design, also known as UX/UI design. Mobile applications also allow for easier marketing by sending pop-up notifications on the user’s screen rather than sending marketing emails or texts. 

Mobile App Development: The Basics

Before jumping into a step-by-step guide for app software development, it is important to know the core concepts of mobile app development. The first thing every application creator needs is a solid app idea that is attractive, unique, and different from its competitors. 

To turn your idea into reality, you’ll need to conduct user testing, research industry trends, do competitor and market share analysis, and make a list of functions that your app will offer. Once you have finalized your app idea, you will need to decide whether to build your app for the Android or Apple platform. 

This will depend on your target market’s location and the professional developer’s coding skills. Additionally, know that iOS apps use the Swift and Objective-C programming languages, and most Android apps use Java and Kotlin. You must know how to code the correct languages for the platform you’re hoping to use. 

How to Code an App for Android

Many app creators use the Java programming language to code for Android apps and Android studio. Java is object-oriented and one of the easiest programming languages for server-side use. Along with Android development, Java’s programming environment is great for enterprise applications, web-based applications, VPNs, and mail servers. 

In addition to Java, there are tons of other languages the android app development process uses. You can learn Python, Kotlin, C, C++, and Lua as tools for building different types of apps for Android. Make sure to choose the language depending on your app’s technical specifications and graphic design. 

How to Code an App for iPhone

The two most popular languages used to code an app for iPhone are Objective-C and Swift. However, just like Android apps, you can use plenty of other languages for iOS app development. They include Python, Java, HTML5, C#, and C++. 

The app design styles and interactions on iPhone and Android differ and are determined by the official guidelines from Google Play and the Apple App Store. Therefore, the platforms use different languages for easier access to the platform’s file systems, hardware, and features. 

How to Code an App: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are a multitude of ways to code an app, but the key to an app’s success lies in building a well-optimized and user-friendly mobile application. So, to help you become a mobile app developer, below is a simple step-by-step guide to programming and launching an app. Personalize the steps to meet your app development process. 

Step 1: Decide on Your Idea 

The first step to coding an app is to come up with an idea that will give your mobile application a great probability for success. To successfully execute this step, you must know the ins and outs of your industry and business. This requires extensive competitor analysis, monitoring industry patterns, and collecting user engagement data. 

For those with zero business background, you can enroll in a variety of courses that will provide you with helpful business tips. Make sure your application idea caters to the masses by providing a unique solution and easy access. 

Step 2: Brainstorm App Specifications 

Once you have a solid idea for your app, it’s time to research and start your technical coding journey. Start by making a list of personalized app specifications. Research the operating platforms and their guidelines, different programming languages best suited for your app, and software tools that will help execute your app vision. 

You are better off building an Android mobile application if you want a larger global reach. You can also build an app for both Android and iOS to have a wider pool of users. This will depend on your budget, resources, and time frame. Many people begin with coding an app for one system and adding the second system as the app gains traction. 

 Step 3: Start Designing 

After completing your research, look into your app’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design features. Build a mock-up design of your app based on your soft design. Use this step to find out which tools and languages work best for your application’s advanced features. 

Code a prototype of your app that showcases the general outlines of your app. You can use this to pitch your apps to more investors and clients. You should also make sure you design a functional and aesthetically pleasing graphic design interface.

Step 4: Program the App Features 

Once you have a prototype and have a programming vision for your app, it’s time to do the backend development. In this step, you’ll polish your app’s features and specifications and get a feel for the overall functionality of the app. In addition, make sure to clearly outline the design, marketing, and business plan elements at this stage. 

Step 5: Hire a Team

A capable and successful app doesn’t only rely on the mobile application developer but also on the efforts of several other teams. Start by setting up interviews for the UX designers, UI designers, a marketing team, and a business development expert. Choose the candidates that best suit your budget and required skill levels. 

Step 6: Create a Final Version

Once you have established a professional team of experts, it’s time to build your app. After the coding is complete, remember to do ample app testing for software bugs and fix them accordingly. Most apps need many people to build them and make sure every element is running smoothly.

Step 7: Conduct User Testing 

Now it’s time to get data on how your target users respond to the app. You can set up multiple user review sessions with a small set of target end users and get actual user feedback. Use the feedback to tweak your application for a better user experience. 

Step 8: Sell Your Application 

After you feel comfortable with your application’s status, it is now ready to be released. To gain business success, it’s important to market your app. Market your app on marketplaces including Apple and Google. You can also hire social media influencers to advertise for you. 

Using No-Code Mobile App Development Platforms

Two people using apps to perform a transaction at a cafe. How to Code an App
These app development platforms make coding your own app easier. 

The best part about coding an app from scratch is that you can create a mobile application with minimal coding knowledge. There are plenty of no-code mobile app development platforms that will do the programming grunt work. Below are the three best platforms that will code your mobile app for you. 

Appy Pie

Appy Pie is a popular application builder platform that offers app builder, website builder, and design services for a monthly subscription or a one-time licensing fee. Appy Pie’s mobile application development product can build Android, iOS, and Windows mobile platforms. 

The basic and the gold monthly packages of the platform only support the Android OS, and only allow distribution via Google Play. The two packages also come with limited push notifications per month. 

So, if you want to build an app for both iOS and Android and get more push notifications, then you will need to subscribe to the Platinum plan. However, if you are new and want to test out the platform before committing, Appy Pie offers a seven-day free trial where you can develop, design, and test your app within the time frame.  

Build Fire 

Build Fire is another application development platform that offers builds, designs, and publishes your app for both the Apple and Android platforms. The platform offers push notifications, custom app development, and user management. 

This platform also publishes the app to the Android and Apple development platforms for you. However, Build Fire is a bit on the pricey end, so be sure to use its 14-day free trial to check if it’s for you or not. 

Good Barber

Good Barber is a no-code app builder platform that offers to build native apps and progressive web applications for Android, iOS, and websites. The platform boasts more than 500 features that include a content manager, user-generated content, push notifications, and search engine optimization. 

Good Barber offers a 30-day free trial where you can develop your app and learn whether this platform is for you. If you choose to subscribe to the platform, know that it offers both monthly and yearly packages. 

Other Useful Tools for Creating Apps

There are plenty of other software tools that are best suited for those with app development knowledge. If you are an experienced mobile application developer with coding skills, you can use these tools for creating apps. 

Flutter

For everyone wanting to develop a mobile application for the Android platform, Flutter is the tool for you. It is a Google software UI tool that builds native apps for web, mobile, and desktop platforms. The tool is popular for its single code base deployment, where you need to write just once. 

Flutter offers a fast development process, customized user interface designs, and great native app performance monitoring. Companies including Capital One, BMW, eBay, Google, and Alibaba Group use Flutter. The best part about this toolkit is that it’s free and open source. 

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA is a development environment coded in Java that helps developers during the coding process of mobile applications and computer software. The toolkit operates as a developing mentor where it analyzes your code, conducts clever error analysis, completes refactoring, and supports quick navigations. 

IntelliJ IDEA is the top choice for IDE developers as it offers a smooth development workflow experience and increases development productivity. You can use the community edition to get free and open-source access to the tool. 

Xamarin

Microsoft-owned Xamarin is a cross-platform and open-source development tool that offers .NET and C# to build applications for Android, iOS, tvOS, macOS, Windows, and watchOS platforms. It offers plenty of libraries and frameworks including Objective-C, C++, and Java. Its cross-platform developer allows you to develop on both Windows and macOS. 

Additionally, it offers popular DevOps tools such as Azure DevOps, GitHub, and Visual Studio App Center. The .NET platform of Xamarin is open source and free. If you want to build apps for many different platforms, this tool is a great choice.

Get Started

There’s no better time to get started on your journey of mobile application development. You can reach hundreds of users via apps and expand your business ideas. All app developers need to start somewhere. According to PayScale, mobile app developers earn an average salary of $73,051 per year.

If you have experience with app development, you can use tools such as Xamarin, IntelliJ IDEA, and Flutter. If you’re a beginner, you can use the popular no-code platforms to get started with your dream application development project. Either way, you could code the next great app.

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