Mobile application components and their impact on the development costs

Mobile application components and their impact on the development costs
Mobile app components affect development costs - find out how

The components of a mobile application can be quite diverse, and below is a short list of those that make up the majority of familiar applications:

  • User Interface (UI) or Frontend: Everything that end users see when using an application. The user interface consists of various elements such as buttons, text, images, and more, and users usually refer to this part of the mobile application when using the term “mobile app.”
  • Backend: This is a set of servers, databases, servers, and other infrastructure used to support the application. The backend is responsible for processing data and connecting the application to other systems, such as social networks or payment services.
  • Database: This is where the data used by the application is stored, such as user data, settings, images, and more.
  • API (Application Programming Interface): An API allows the application to exchange data with other systems, such as social networks, payment services, or other services that the application uses.
  • Cloud services: These are cloud services used for data storage and sharing, as well as providing other services used by the application, such as image processing or speech recognition.
  • Security: Security is an extremely important component of a mobile application. This includes measures such as user authentication, data encryption, identity management, and protection against hacking and other attacks.

We will now try to explain each of the basic components in more detail and how they are developed and their impact on the overall cost of developing a mobile application:

6 main components of a mobile application and their process

1. Mobile Application UI Development Process

Impact on development cost: 5/10

  • Defining user requirements and needs - this is a crucial step that allows the UI designer to understand the users’ needs and their purpose of using the application. This step in mobile application development is always the most demanding for us because even with all our efforts, it is very difficult to get the user/client/investor to define the requirements in their final form. Many of our clients, at the time of requesting a quote for development, don’t even have clear requirements.
  • Defining user flow and architecture - this usually involves creating sketches and wireframes that show the layout of elements on the screen, user flow, and navigation structure.
  • Designing the UI - in this step, the designer creates the visual appearance of the application using specific colors, fonts, images, and graphics.
  • UI implementation - after the design is completed, the UI is implemented using the appropriate framework and programming language. We most often use Flutter and Dart, and this is the part that everyone is familiar with as mobile app programming

2. Planning and Development Process of the Backend

Impact on development cost: 2/10

  • The backend is a technological component that enables the functioning and interaction between the mobile application and the server. It involves a set of technologies that allow storage, processing, and management of data on the server that is necessary for the application to work.
  • In the development of the backend for mobile applications, there are different approaches depending on the project’s needs and the technologies used. One of the most common approaches in backend development for mobile applications is the use of web APIs (Application Programming Interface). We have gone a step further and most often use Hasura in combination with GraphQL, which goes beyond the traditional API. If there is a need for an API due to interactions with existing systems, we like to use PHP as the technology.
  • When developing the backend, it is important to ensure the security and stability of the application. This can be achieved through user authentication and authorization, data encryption, error handling, and more. Security is often the most neglected component.
  • Finally, developing the backend for a mobile application requires collaboration between frontend developers and backend developers. It is necessary to ensure the consistency and compatibility between the two parts of the application to ensure that the mobile application functions smoothly and best meets the needs of the users.

3. Database

Impact on development cost: 1/10

  • The database is a crucial component of a mobile application that enables the storage, management, and access to the data used by the application. It includes user data, settings, images, sounds, text files, and other data necessary for the proper functioning of the application.
  • The database is important because it allows the application to efficiently handle a large amount of data and quickly retrieve and update it as needed. There are many types of databases that can be used for mobile applications, such as relational, non-relational, and graph databases, and the choice depends on the application’s needs.
  • Decisions regarding databases are always left to our backend developers.

4. API

Impact on development cost: 1-2/10

  • When developing a mobile application, developers usually create the API first, but that’s not the case with us. It doesn’t make sense to work on the API before the previous points are known. The API is developed by first defining what data the application will use and what functions will be needed to retrieve, store, and update that data. Then, the API code is developed to communicate with the database and provide the necessary functions.
  • APIs are typically developed using programming languages such as Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and others. There are also popular API frameworks like Flask and Django in Python, which simplify the API development process, but it’s still conditional.
  • APIs are usually provided through HTTP(S) requests, allowing the mobile application to send a request to the server and receive a response in the form of a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) file containing the requested data. The mobile application then processes the JSON response and displays the data to the user on the screen.
  • As mentioned above, not every mobile application has an API, but mobile applications that interact with multiple systems and databases simply need to have one.

5. Cloud Services (optional)

Impact on development cost: 0-4/10

  • Cloud services enable various other services that the application can use, such as image processing, speech recognition, data analysis, and more. For example, cloud services like Amazon Recognition can be used for analyzing and recognizing objects and faces in images, while cloud services like Google Cloud Speech-to-Text can be used for converting speech into text.
  • Using cloud services makes the development of a mobile application easier by reducing the need for infrastructure and hardware maintenance, while also providing scalability and quick access to data and services available in the cloud. Utilizing cloud services can significantly reduce the costs of developing and maintaining a mobile application.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): The service offers various data storage options, such as Amazon S3 for file storage and Amazon RDS for database storage. AWS also provides application development tools and data analytics.
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP): The service also offers various data storage options, such as Google Cloud Storage for file storage and Google Cloud SQL for database storage. GCP also provides application development tools, data analytics, and machine learning.
  • Microsoft Azure: This service offers similar capabilities to AWS and GCP, including data storage and various tools for application development, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. We simply don’t like Azure.
  • Firebase: Firebase is a mobile application development platform created by Google, offering various services such as user authentication, cloud data storage, messaging, and analytics. Messaging or Chat is perhaps the service we use the most.
  • Heroku: Heroku is a platform for developing and deploying web applications, offering various services such as data storage, application scaling, and security management.
  • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean is a cloud platform that provides virtual servers and other services, including scaling and database management.

6. Mobile App Security

Impact on development cost: 2-3/10

  • Security is a component that our clients least think about because they assume it’s implied, but that’s not entirely true.
  • Security is a crucial component of a mobile application because sensitive data such as personal information, financial details, and other confidential data are often transmitted through the application. Therefore, ensuring the security of this data against unauthorized access or theft is critical for user trust and application integrity.
  • One of the fundamental measures to ensure the security of a mobile application is user authentication. This means that users must provide credentials to access the application, such as a username and password, fingerprints, facial recognition, or other forms of biometric authentication. Additionally, the application should restrict access to sensitive data only to authorized users. This way, most unauthorized access by various bots is prevented.
  • Data encryption is another important aspect of mobile app security. It involves converting data into an encrypted form to prevent unauthorized reading of data during transmission or storage.
  • Identity management is also crucial for mobile app security. It means that the application needs to have access control and manage permissions and access restrictions for users based on their roles and privileges. This includes managing user accounts as well as tracking user activity within the application, and we implement this part in many systems. We internally refer to them as roles.
  • Protection against hacking and other attacks is also a significant aspect of mobile app security. It includes protection against various types of attacks such as DDoS attacks, SQL injections, XSS attacks, and others. This can be achieved by using different security technologies such as firewalls, IDS/IPS systems, and others.
  • In summary, ensuring the security of a mobile application is crucial for its success. Utilizing different technologies and practices to ensure security can help maintain user trust and application integrity.

In addition to the mentioned components, there are numerous subcomponents that we often use, depending on the specific requirements of the mobile application. Some of them include:

  • GPS and Location: Mobile applications that utilize location services allow users to find their own location and discover nearby places. Useful for applications like navigation, weather apps, and social networks. We even have an application that needs to know if the user is in a hospitality establishment.
  • Camera: Applications that use the camera allow users to capture photos and videos and share them with others. Relevant for applications like social media, photo and video sharing apps, image recognition apps, and more.
  • Sensors: Mobile devices include various sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, proximity sensors, and others. These sensors can be used for different functions in mobile applications, including measuring speed and direction of movement, gesture recognition, user presence detection, and more.
  • Payments: Applications that support payments enable users to purchase products and services through the mobile app. Used for applications like e-commerce stores, banking apps, and similar.

** If you want to develop a mobile application and find all of this unclear and complicated, feel free to contact us.

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