Apps are a central aspect of modern online functions. If you’re eager to build them, you’re probably wondering how to learn this marketable skill. Although it involves several steps, we can summarize them in three: Pick a programming language, study it, then keep practicing. Python and Ruby are suitable languages for beginners.
Various free and premium online tutorials show you how to clone popular apps. Although they provide good practice, you’ll have to gain more skills to build your app from scratch. Prerequisites include:
- The knowledge of SQL and other suitable database query languages.
- Knowledge of basic DevOps if you’re building a web app.
- Before creating a complete app, you must be fluent in some or all of the necessary languages. They are Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, Go, and C#. Swift and Objective-C are the best options for iOS app development.
Before coding, understand yourself, and have solid reasons for building apps. You’re more likely to succeed and remain motivated if you’re passionate about the process. If you’re a veteran looking to acquire new coding skills, you can use your GI Bill benefits to pay for the course. You only need 12 to 14 weeks to become an accomplished app developer.
Essential Steps To Coding Apps
1) Have a Solid Idea
Start with simple ideas based on your main interests, such as gaming, cooking, and fitness. Don’t worry if the app already exists. You can always make your version functionally better. The internet has an abundance of app ideas. After picking one, outline its characteristics. Write down its intended purpose, the target audience, and other valuable details.
2) Identify Essential Functionalities
List down all the capabilities you expect your app to have. For example, would you like to integrate Facebook’s login feature or allow users to upload data? You don’t have to cram every single idea you can imagine. The best apps have a clean interface that allows fast response. You can always add new features as the need arises. For now, focus on the most practical requirements.
3) Create an Outline of Your App
Although they’re old school, pen and paper are still effective ways of bringing your app to life. Now that you have concrete ideas about your concept, you can sketch its UI’s wireframe. It includes where you’ll place the buttons and what their purpose will be. Since this is the brainstorming stage, you can play around with ideas until you’re satisfied. Remember to stick to the list you created in the preceding stage to avoid complicating the UI. This step helps you have a clearer vision of your app’s look and feel.
4) Design the UI Flow
You now understand how every element in your app should respond when users interact with it. The next step in your coding journey is to chart its UI flow. This feature refers to how it should act from the time a user logs in until they stop. It involves imagining every possible scenario and creating workarounds to potential problems. A flowchart that includes all these actions allows you to design an interface that’s harmonious to multiple users.
5) Outline the Database
Data is essential for an app to function accordingly. Your flowchart will give you accurate expectations of the amount of data you need. If your users must register, you’ll have to accommodate their usernames, email, user IDs, passwords, and verification measures.
If your app requires information from established platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you’ll need to create a seamless integration. An effective way of mapping this data relationship is to draw an Entity Relationship Model (ERM). Your database design should also include any features you plan on adding in the future.
6) Create UX Wireframes
After thoroughly planning your back-end, concentrate on the front-end as well. If you’re not good at creating eye-catching visuals, there are several online wireframing tools you can utilize. They include Invisionapp, Gliffy, Wireframe.cc, Framebox, and Mockflow. Although the app’s appearance matters, its functionality should be your essential concern.
7) Study Efficient Solutions
Instead of wasting time coding your app from scratch, you can save time by utilizing tools made by other developers. Depending on your design, you can use readily available solutions for data syncing, networking, authentication, and to build some aspects of your UI. Firebase and AFNetworking are prime examples. Github has valuable resources from experienced and talented developers that you can use to perfect your app.
8) Build Your App
This step is the final and most exciting one. There are various tips to help you complete your coding journey. Have a checklist of every function and create each one individually. Write tests to reduce bugs and help you master Test-Driven Development (TDD). Every programming language has testing resources.
If you get stuck during app development, you can always Google for solutions. Dedicated communities such as StackOverflow also offer useful suggestions to your queries. If possible, find a mentor who can give you one-on-one practical and real-time advice. Remember, practice makes perfect. Your initial effort might have a lot of faults, but in time you’ll get better.