App developers and outsourcing: what matters for iOS and Android

App developers are more popular than ever. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are one of the fastest growing sectors, while the PC market has had low growth for years.

The term app developer is very general – there are a number of platforms, app types and also technologies which differ very much from one another. If you are looking to outsource to an app developer, you should know the differences. Nobody wants to buy a pig in a poke.

The market for mobile apps is currently dominated by Android and iOS, although Windows Phone is also present. However since the platform has hardly any market share, I will focus on the first two.

How an Android app developer works

An Android app developer works primarily with the programming languages JAVA, C++ and PHP, although Android is still quite young in comparison to these programming languages. Many Android app developers therefore already have a lot of experience with them, and only acquired their additional knowledge in Android apps later.

Although there are commercial development environments available, many Android developer use the free tools provided by Google. (Android developer tools with development environment, SDK and optimised emulators for Google APIs.) Developers who work with commercial development tools like Eclipse (allround), IntelliJIDEA (Java), Cordova (HTML5) and Kivy (Python) have been in business for a longer time, and have a lot of good experience. When hiring for an app project you should definitely think about the future of the app. In order to make future improvements and new versions you will be strongly tied to the previously used programming tools.

The advantage of commercial development environments is that, in contrast to Google’s Android developer tools, some of these alternatives allow cross-platform development, meaning you can develop the same app for iOS and other interfaces at the same time. If you want to bring out the app for multiple platforms, you can save a lot of money this way – unlike completely separate app development. Instead of native apps, you can use hybrid apps which are relatively easy to port to other platforms.

Hybrid apps let the software developer combine the advantages of web apps and native application development. A native wrapper is written in the language understood by the target platform and provides an expanded access to the hardware as an interface to the operating system, and acts as a kind of sandbox for the performance.

App development with iOS

Native iOS apps generally use the language Objective-C (or C/C++). iOS app developers work with the Xcode development environment that Apple provides for free. In contrast to Java, which is mainly used for Android, there are significantly less Objective-C developers. Since Xcode is only available on macOS, many iOS developers focus on iOS in the sense of Apple. It can’t be expected that an iOS developer can port the app onto other platforms.

In contrast to Android which has many different Android versions and device types, iOS developers have it much easier. With iOS, you can assume that around 80% of users have the newest version of iOS installed. Android developers will need to keep in mind all the different scenarios when it comes to app development in order to reach the largest audience. There’s no point developing an app that only runs on the newest Android version, which is just 10-30% of devices.

Further steps in app development

Before approaching an app developer, you should be clear on the most important steps of app development. These are:

App strategy: What type of app is going to be the best? Are hybrids in demand? (promo app, e-commerce app, service app, an app as a commercial product, game, supplement to the website, online/offline, etc.)

Features and look: What sort of design should the app have? Mock-ups can be made before you even approach an app developer. (Menus, buttons, screens, options, features, etc.)

Development phase: What is your schedule until release, and what features should be included in the first version? You should set milestones, which you can discuss with the app developer during the implementation phase.

Release: Once the app is ready, it will need to be released in the respective app store. Should the app developer be in charge of this? What happens with the user accounts?

Service and further development: The first version is when things really get started for mobile apps. If you want your app to be successful, you will be in for the long haul. App developer know this, and take it into account when they give their prices for the first version. You should clarify any follow-up costs which can arise at the start.

App developers from India

You can save a lot of money with an app developer from India compared to an app developer from Europe. Once you have the essential points of app development clearly set out, you can start the search for a suitable outsourcing provider. This is especially easy with outsourcing4work – we have a lot of experience with Indian IT professionals. Our clients will also have one of our Scrum project managers by their side to ensure everything runs smoothly during outsourcing to India. You can conclude the contracts with us and we then take over the payment of the Indian app developer.