How to Code an App

Today, businesses need developers who know how to code an app. Learn about coding bootcamps, mobile app development tools, and programming languages.

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by Sharon Wilfong

Published August 22, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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In a 2021 survey by Top Design Firms, 48% of the small businesses surveyed said they had a mobile app. Another 27% responded that they were trying to build one. Top Design Firms' survey also indicated that 79% of small businesses outsourced to a freelancer or an app development team. Considering the trend, you'll likely find plenty of work if you know how to code an app.

Mobile apps help small businesses build brand awareness, connect with customers, and sell products. Mobile devices are a part of everyday life, and the apps that run on them enable everything from remote home security systems to smartwatches and eCommerce. Not only that, but apps are getting increasingly more complex. For example, augmented reality is a feature in virtual makeup apps. The good news is that you don't necessarily need to pursue a college degree to be an app developer.

Where Can I Learn Mobile App Development?

If you're wondering where to learn mobile app development, coding bootcamps can be an affordable, time-saving option. Depending on the bootcamp, students can attend part time or full time. Bootcamps typically take 3-6 months to complete.

Additionally, mobile app development bootcamps often offer in-person or online programs. Here are three examples of mobile app coding bootcamps to explore.

How to Code an App for iPhone

First, download Xcode 14 to develop, test, and distribute apps across Apple platforms. You must have a Mac computer to do this. It's free. Next, learn Swift, the coding language for writing iPhone apps in Xcode.

These mobile app development tools also work to write apps for other Apple products, including the iPad and Apple TV. Apple created Swift Playgrounds with interactive curricula for new coders.

Swift Playgrounds provides access to free courses to learn how to build an app for iPhone in Xcode. Students don't need previous coding knowledge, making it a good choice for beginners.

An immersive coding bootcamp is another option that often offers opportunities to build a portfolio and certification validating your skills. For example, an iOS development bootcamp might explore tools including Xcode and GitHub and cover coding languages including Swift and Objective-C.

How to Code an App for Android

Developers build, test, and debug Android apps in an integrated development environment (IDE) like Google's Android Studio. The IDE provides structured code templates, a powerful code editor, developer tools, productivity features, and built-in Google cloud platform support.

Java is the fundamental back-end development programming language for Android apps. This widely-used object-oriented language utilizes objects, classes, attributes, and methods.

Another of Android's essential mobile app development tools is the Extensible Markup Language (XML). Android app developers use XML tags to define, store, organize, and implement user interface (UI) related data.

Android Studio provides GitHub integration, a hosting service used for version control that allows coders to recover files or an entire project quickly. GitHub is also a networking site encouraging collaboration.

Mobile App Development Tools

Many mobile app development tools and programming languages are available for Android and iPhone. Here are a few examples of some of the most useful tools and programming languages for app developers.

Xamarin

Xamarin's mobile app development tools and libraries work for building various types of applications. This open-source IDE from Microsoft is used to build iPhone and Android apps with the C# programming language. It extends C# and its compilers on the .NET developer platform with tools for Windows, Linux, and macOS.

BuildFire

BuildFire is a powerful and user-friendly app builder for iPhone and Android that doesn't require coding skills. It includes an intuitive software development kit with app templates in an easy-to-use drag and drop format. BuildFire provides maintenance and the help to launch the app on Android or Apple app stores.

Appmakr

Appmakr converts WooCommerce and Shopify websites to a mobile app with drag-and-drop app maker tools like flexible check-out. The easy-to-use platform works for Android and iPhone providing extensive third-party plugin support. For example, the analytics plugin gives developers access to website data in real-time to improve user experience.

Flutter

Flutter is an open-source Google framework for building multi-platform applications for any sized screen. It compiles JavaScript, ARM, or Intel machine code to run and deploy to multiple devices from a single codebase. Additionally, Flutter provides automated testing, developer tooling, and a collaborative community to find help when necessary.

6 Easy Steps to Create an App

Learning how to code an app takes time and can be complex, depending on your goal. However, you can start planning right away. Following are six basic steps in creating an app.

1. Develop Your Idea

It's essential to understand your target audience as you develop your idea. Go beyond a features list to envision the app's value to users. What does it do? What makes it unique? Why do users want to download this particular app? The answers will lay the foundation for idea development.


2. Design Your Mockups

A mockup is a rendering of the app's design showing how the finished product will look. It enables developers to map navigation and test different design approaches before development begins. Mockups help keep stakeholders focused and can inspire potential investors, making them an essential tool in the product development cycle.


3. Create a Prototype

A prototype is an early app version demonstrating its functionality and an opportunity to fine-tune the product. It's essential to involve other stakeholders who can help validate navigation, test functionality, and focus on user flows. Prototypes may be a wireframe with placeholder images and basic text or be finely detailed.


4. Determine Your UX/UI Plan

The user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) plans should cater specifically to mobile users. Think about how to create intuitive navigation and a seamless experience across user devices. Continue to fine-tune navigation by focusing on user goals and personalization that makes navigation easier, leading users toward the appropriate content.


5. User Testing

User testing measures an app's user-friendliness and is an opportunity to learn how to better support your marketing objectives. It helps improve customer satisfaction and decreases time on customer support. Decide on your objectives, design the tasks, choose the setting, run the test, then analyze the data and make adjustments.


6. Publish and Market

Before publishing, determine an app release date and create user personas with demographics, mobile preferences, and unique identifiers. Create a website or landing page and develop a content marketing strategy to engage prospective app users. Publish to the appropriate platform, such as Google Play (Android) or the Apple Store (iOS).

Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Apps

Can free apps make money?

Free apps make money by selling advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and in-app purchases. In-app advertising allows developers to get paid for advertisements within their mobile apps.

Affiliate marketing is another option offering app monetization by promoting another business's products and earning a commission on sales. A sponsorship is a collaboration with another brand that generates new business for both companies using storytelling and pooled resources.

For example, users might purchase co-branded products or locate complementary products from each brand through the app. Finally, in-app purchases provide added convenience for customers, with product links that connect to the business's website and inventory.

Is Python good for mobile apps?

Developers can create mobile apps in Python, but it doesn't have built-in mobile development capabilities. Java for Android and Swift for iOS are the most widely recognized languages for mobile app development.

Still, developers have options such as BeeWare, Django, and Kivy frameworks to create mobile apps in Python. For example, BeeWare provides libraries and tools to develop and deliver Android and iPhone native Python programs.

Developers will find Rubicon Java for interacting with Java libraries and the Toga GUI toolkit for native iOS. Rubicon ObjC is a Python-based library tool for Objective C libraries on iOS.

How much do 1000 app downloads make?

Revenue varies dramatically depending on the app, from no revenue to over $80,000 daily. According to 2022 revenue data gathered by MCRO, the top 200 apps at the App Store generate around $82,500 daily.

That number drops considerably to $3,500 daily when counting the top 800 apps, illustrating the wide variance in revenue. Additionally, gaming apps generate around $22,000 daily, while entertainment apps bring in approximately $3,090 daily.

Data also indicates that the platform significantly impacts revenue potential. iOS holds around 24% of the global market, and at 76%, Android apps are the most widely downloaded.

Can you build an app for free?

An open-source UI framework like Google's Flutter allows developers to build mobile applications for free. What's more, the framework uses a single codebase enabling you to release the app on iOS and Android.

Flutter is flexible, relatively easy to learn, and has a large library of developer videos and other learning resources. The platform contains fonts and icons, motion APIs, navigation, scrolling,

and widgets that perform on Android and iPhones.

To get started, you'll need to install Flutter for Windows, macOS, Linux, or Chrome OS. Then set up an editor plugin for Android Studio, Emacs IntelliJ, or VS Code.

Feature Image: Francesco Carta fotografo / Moment / Getty Images

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