Lee, Can You build Me an App?

No. Sorry. But hopefully I can point you in the right direction.

I have built a fair few WordPress websites for clients over the years, and as a result, quite a common question I get asked is about building apps.

I do have a basic knowledge of what this entails and I could probably (I think) deliver an app-based project, but I aim to avoid them at any cost. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I like to spend most of my time working on music and audio, but secondly, building an app is not a quick or easy process. I find that the people enquiring tend to have a distorted view of how much time and involvement is required to conceive, create, launch and run a successful app.

The common misconception is that it is a quick or cheap thing to do. The reality is far from that. I would say they are much more complex and involved.

While there are some off-the-shelf, build-your-own types of services around, these are usually too restrictive for many and most businesses would need to build one from scratch to create the custom functionality required.

Building websites, especially WordPress websites are much different as the technology is pretty consistent and there are many solutions that are supported by developers for most of a website’s functional requirements.

With apps, you need to decide whether to go down the IOS or Android route, or both. And then you have to update your app to keep up with new operating system updates.

What Are the Options?

My advice is to consider it carefully and understand how much is actually involved in developing an app. To help, I have picked a few YouTube videos that are worth watching.

Custom App Development

The first is by Tom Scott and it is a 16 part series covering all of the considerations you have to make when thinking of launching a new app with custom functionality. This is the traditional way of getting your app into the world and it is probably still the only way if your app has specific custom functionality.

If this seems too involved for you, there is a no-code movement with several, yet growing options where you build certain types of apps without having to use code.

No Code Options

There are many more videos and online tutorials for this method of development, so you would have to do your own research, but I liked the general view of some of the no-code mobile apps creators. Although, I don’t fully agree with him about the no-code website creators, so my focus was on the mobile app aspect of it.

Bonus Video…

Building on the no-code philosophy there are many other services that you can just plug into for a fee, and these can work well for some, especially if there is a feature set that provides the exact option you are looking for. In such scenarios, your activity becomes more about making sure the customer base is covering your service fees, rather than coming up with your own platform or app. While this is great for some, it is inevitable that many ideas would run into restrictions with this type of service and you would still need custom development.

The following video creates an interesting case for using numerous no code services.

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