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Best Tools and Frameworks for Fast Mobile App Development

In most cases, when the idea of the project comes in your mind, you want to turn it into reality and bring to the market as soon as possible. In such situations, people are looking for technologies that will allow them to speed up the process of development without sacrificing the quality of the product.

According to the Kinvey study, creating a fully functional mobile app takes about 18 weeks from start to finish.

So how did they come up with this number? They simply conducted a survey questioning developers on how long it would take to complete a variety of functions starting from server data to design.

Participants of the study varied from native mobile to web developers. Among them, 30 identified themselves as mobile web developers, 27 as native, and 43 as enterprise level developers. The survey organizers gathered all the data and received 18 weeks, the average time needed for mobile app development.

For sure, it all depends on technologies, development team, and complexity of the project and there is no “one size fits all”. In this article, we will describe the factors that influence the development time, and main frameworks and tools that will help you to speed up the development.

Factors that Influence Mobile App Development Speed


  • Type of Mobile App
  • The time needed for mobile development directly depends on the type of mobile app you will choose. For example, it`s much faster to build hybrid apps than native ones, because the code is built with the combination of web technologies only once and then compiled into native iOS and Android operating systems. But one huge drawback of such apps is that they come short of speed and performance.

    If you want to save the development efforts and receive the high-quality product, think about cross-platform development in React Native. React Native`s building blocks are reusable “native components”. Components you use in iOS or Android have counterparts in React Native, so your app will feel and look more native in comparison with hybrid apps.

    • Technology Used

    There are a lot of frameworks that suit better for long-term enterprise projects, development of which takes more than 6 months. Among them are .Net, Asp.Net, Spring. First two are maintained by Microsoft which guarantees that they will be relevant in 5 or 10 years. But according to the developers` reviews, applications built on these technologies are often slow.

    In addition, building apps with .Net and ASP.Net takes more time and expenses. These technologies do have a lot of advantages. However,we will not review them in this article, as we want to focus on fast mobile development . Let's discuss the alternatives that can be used for your project. These technologies include Meteor, Express, and Koa.js. Comparing to above mentioned technologies, they allow developing mobile apps faster (2-3 months) without giving up quality and performance. We will review them in more detail later on.

    • Number and Complexity of Functions

    If you are pressed for time and need to bring your product to market as fast as possible, try to outline the most important features needed for start and include them in the first stage. In this case, your first users can test the product and leave a feedback. Great chance to make a headway!

    • Planning

    Planning is everything. Before going to the development team, think about all aspects of your project, its aim, target audience, and main features. Right planning is the most important part of development process.

    • Communication

    Ensure that the development team you choose spares enough time for communication and reports on what they have done. You must be informed about the current stage of your project and its progress. Communication is also important to ensure that you both are on the same page and avoid any misunderstandings.

    • Development Team

    No need to explain this. Everything depends on the team. Take your time to do the research, read reviews about the company, their expertise, experience and values. Be sure that you are handling your project in good hands.

    Now when you know the most important factors that influence the speed of development, let's consider the advantages and disadvantages of fast mobile app development.

    Pros and Cons of Fast Mobile Development


    Pros


    • Opportunity to faster get your app to Appstore or Google Play, gather feedbacks and proceed to the new release.


    • You can check whether your app fits the market


    • You can save the development efforts by building the app for web, iOS and Android simultaneously.


    Cons

    • Sometimes fast development, especially coding-free development may lead to further problems in project maintenance as well as the architecture drawbacks.


    • Know the difference between fast and qualitative. Sometimes trying to speed up the app development process may cause that some important aspects of your app will be missed.

    What Can I Do to Speed Up the Development Process


    • Compose the Clearly Defined Wireframes and Set the Distinct Tasks to the Developers

    Wireframing is a process of planning your project that includes a blueprint of your website or application with its main features, user stories, design, and scope definition. It surely saves planning time because all the necessary visual documentation is already defined. If it is done correctly, it also saves time spent on communication and thrashing out different unclear issues.

    • Launch MVP

    MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a development technique that aims at building a product with enough features to satisfy the users and receive the first feedbacks. There are a lot of MVP strategies that will allow you to invoke intrigue in your product, talk to your potential customers and listen to their needs.

    • Choose Cross-platform Development

    Cross-platform development with React Native allows reusing 90-95% of code between the native and web platforms. Moreover, only one development team is required, and you don't need to hire separate developers for iOS and Android platforms. As a result, it saves both the time and money.

    • Choose the Agile Approach

    The agile approach is a set of values that aim at delivering the software incrementally by dividing it on iterations. At the end of each iteration you receive a fully functional product that can be tested and improved later on during the process of development. One of the biggest advantages of agile approach is that there are no fixed prices and deadlines and you can pause the development process any time if you feel that there are enough features to promote the project.

    5 Frameworks for Fast Mobile Development

    MeteorJS

    Meteor JS is a full stack JavaScript framework that combines different libraries and packages, and simplifies the development process. MeteorJS makes it possible to launch the MVP in 3-4 weeks. With Meteor JS both front and back End are built with one language - JavaScript, which definitely saves the developers' time without influencing the quality. One of the best features that make Meteor stand out is the data synchronization among the server, front End, and mobile apps. It means that if the client makes changes, the data changes are automatically sent to the server and saved in the database. This synchronization is fully automated and doesn't require any manual work. Thus, Meteor is an automated framework with a high level of responsiveness, great user experience, strong security, and broad functionality.

    Cordova

    Cordova is a platform for building mobile applications using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Cordova maintains a set of plugins called Core Plugins. They provide access to such functions as Camera, Dialogs, Geolocation, Battery, etc., that are available for all platforms. Note that these plugins are not built-in and you have to install them before creating a project. Also, Cordova has frameworks that provide a code base with native widgets like tabs, lists, toggle buttons which you can use in your application. Cordova gives a great opportunity to develop across platforms, but remember that everything depends on the features you want to have. If you need a mobile app with phone features than it is better to choose a native app or think about developing the mobile app with React Native.

    ReactNative

    React Native is a JavaScript code library developed by Facebook and Instagram in 2013. The main advantage of ReactNative is that components you use in iOS and Android have counterparts in React Native and your app looks and performs like a native one. Also, you can apply React Native UI components in the existing code of your application without rewriting it. React Native enables you to build mobile applications faster as you don't need to write a separate code for each operating system.

    Node.JS

    Node JS is an open-source JavaScript environment that runs on Google`s V8 engine. It has the event-driven architecture that suits best for real-time chat applications and games. The client side and server side are both built in JavaScript, which speeds up the synchronization process.

    Case: Fast Development With MeteorJS and MongoDB


    Leanlanes is a project developed by JSSolutions in 1 month. Our goal was to simplify the functionality without cutting it and release the MVP in a short period of time. LeanLanes is a web-based GUI prototyping tool available for all platforms. With LeanLanes users can create user-stories and complex prototypes for the mobile application based on reusable graphic components.The project was developed with MeteorJS and MongoDB, which proves that these technologies allow to develop the high-quality product as fast as possible and satisfy the clients` needs.

    When it comes to fast mobile development, ensure that you are not sacrificing the quality by increasing the speed. A thoughtful approach, right planning and modern technologies - these are the integral components of a qualitative product.