How to Make Your Own App in 2023

The growth of mobile technology has made it easier than ever for anyone to make their own app. Developing your own app can be a great way to make money, build a portfolio, or simply create something you’re passionate about.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the process involved in creating your own app in 2023—from start to finish. We’ll discuss everything from the initial idea and planning to designs and submissions for approval. With this step-by-step guide, you can make your own app with confidence and make a real impact in the mobile space. Let’s get started!

Benefits of Making an App in 2023 

Making your own app offers a number of unique advantages. With the latest tools and technologies, building an app is easier than ever before. 

This means you can make your own apps with minimal effort and cost. Additionally, there’s a large market for mobile applications, so developing an app can be a great way to make money for your existing business or new venture.

Flexibility 

Modern app development is highly flexible. You have the ability to make the app as simple or complex as you like and add features or make tweaks to make it more functional. 

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about coding from scratch—there are plenty of tools and services available that make building an app easy for non-technical users. If you do need help with any aspect of the development process, there are professionals available who can provide assistance when needed.

Low Investment

For those who are just starting out, the cost of making an app in 2023 is relatively low. 

You don’t need to make any large investments, as most of the tools you need are available for a reasonable price. Just make sure you steer clear of free app development tools. While these might sound appealing, they’re extremely limited and not viable for anyone who wants to make an app for real users. They’re fine if you’re just creating an app for fun or as a hobby, but for business use, you’ll need a premium solution. 

Note: Use our app cost calculator to see how much money you’ll save by building an app on your own.

Tools for App Creation 

When it comes to making your own app, there is a wide selection of tools available. 

Popular development tools such as Xcode and Android Studio make the coding experience much more enjoyable than years ago. With that said, these tools are designed specifically for developers. If you don’t know how to write code, these won’t work for you. 

Fortunately, you can use no-code platforms like BuildFire to make your own app. These types of solutions use plug-and-play functionality on a drag-and-drop interface to fully customize the look, feel, and use of your app. 

Virtually anyone can create their own app using this method without writing a single line of code.

Access to Large Markets 

Once you’ve created your app, you can make it available to real users across the globe. 

There are millions of users worldwide browsing for apps and downloading apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. For existing businesses, you can use this to expand your reach while simultaneously appeasing your existing customer base.

Reasons You Should Make Your Own App

If you’re on the fence about making your own app this year, here are some of the top reasons that you should take into consideration:

  • Increased Visibility: Creating your own app gives you a chance to boost your visibility among customers and potential clients. By having an app, people will be able to access your services or products more quickly and conveniently. 
  • Establish Your Brand: An app provides you with a platform to showcase what makes you unique and stands out from the competition. You can customize your app with features and content that reflect your brand’s mission and values. 
  • Develop a Loyal User Base: Your app gives you the opportunity to create an ongoing relationship with users and build loyalty among them. By offering exclusive deals, discounts, or other benefits through the app only available to users, you can reward customers and foster a sense of community. 
  • Reach More Customers: Developing an app can help you reach a larger number of customers than you would if you relied on traditional methods such as television commercials or print ads. It also allows you to target specific demographics to make your efforts more effective. 
  • Create Unique Experiences: Apps allow you to offer a unique experience that customers can’t get anywhere else. You can create interactive content, participate in virtual events, or even design an app-exclusive mini-game—anything to keep your customers engaged and entertained while they use your service. 
  • Monetize Your App: If you design the right kind of app or utilize mobile ads, you can monetize your app and generate income. This makes investing in an app a much more attractive proposition for businesses who want to make money as well as grow their brand.

Creating your own app can be a great way to establish your brand and build a loyal customer base. With an app, you can reach more customers than ever before and create unique experiences that keep them coming back. Additionally, apps can be monetized to generate income. Investing in an app now could be the best decision you make for your business.

The Basics of Making an App

Before you dive into the build, it’s important that you have a firm grasp of what this process will look like at a higher level.

Step 1 – Identify a Problem and Create a Solution 

The first thing you need to do is identify what problem your app will solve and how it will benefit users. You should also consider whether or not there are similar apps already available on the market that could offer a better solution.

Step 2 – Identify Your Audience

Before you start designing your app, identify who your target audience is and what features they want. Knowing this information will help you make decisions about the type of design and functionality that will be most attractive to them. 

Step 3 – Choose Your Development Platform

Deciding how you want to make your app depends largely on your existing technical skills. Rather than learning how to code, you can simply use a no-code app builder and do everything on your own. 

Make sure your development supports the operating system or systems you want to launch on. The two main options for mobile apps are iOS (Apple) and Android (Google). Depending on your target audience, you may want to focus on one or both of these. 

Step 4 – Develop Your Design and Start Building

Once you know who your target audience is and what platform they use, it’s time to start designing the look and feel of your app. Consider any additional features that might be useful for users as well. 

Don’t worry about building all of your features at once. Focus on the features that our app needs for its primary purpose. This concept will help you get to market quicker, and you can always add new features down the road. 

Step 6 – Test and Launch

Before launching your app, test it on different devices to make sure it works properly. Once you’ve ironed out any issues, you can submit your app to the App Store or Google Play Store for approval.

What Platforms to Use for Creating an App 

When it comes to creating an app, there are a few different options available. You can use coding languages like JavaScript and HTML/CSS, or you can make use of platforms such as React Native or Flutter.

With that said, the easiest way to make an app on your own is by using a no-code app builder. 

No-code app builders are excellent alternatives for those who don’t have the coding knowledge to create their own apps. This type of platform allows you to quickly and easily create an app using drag-and-drop tools, customizable templates, and other features. Additionally, many no-code app builders allow you to monetize your app and generate income.

BuildFire: The Best Way to Make Your Own App

BuildFire is an app development platform that enables businesses to quickly and easily create their own custom mobile apps. The platform provides a comprehensive set of tools, allowing users to design, develop, and deploy their very own mobile applications faster than traditional development. 

The software offers a variety of options for creating an app. This allows users to create an app that meets their specific needs and accommodates their user base.

BuildFire also provides a host of features ranging from push notifications to third-party integrations and more. These make it easier for companies to manage engagement with their customer base. You can use the platform to create an in-app shopping experience, allowing for both digital and physical goods to be purchased. This facilitates a wide range of customization opportunities, from selling products directly from within the app itself to providing membership services or loyalty programs.

In addition to the simplicity of the build, you’ll also have access to a powerful analytics suite to help track user engagement and overall usage of the app. This data can be used to inform product and feature development, as well as provide feedback on how your target audience is using the app. It also helps businesses identify areas for improvement and focus their efforts accordingly for maximum returns.

Overall, BuildFire makes it easy for companies to create their own custom mobile apps, providing a variety of features and customization options. The platform’s analytics suite helps businesses track user engagement and identify areas for improvement, enabling them to create a better overall experience for their users. With BuildFire, companies can quickly and easily create an app that meets the specific needs of their customer base.

Design Considerations to Take Into Account During Development 

Design is an integral part of any development process. Here are some important design considerations that should be taken into account when developing any mobile app or piece of software in 2023:

  • Usability: Is the app easy to use? Does it require a steep learning curve? Are the controls intuitive? Are the menus easy to navigate? 
  • User Experience: How do the app and interface affect the overall user experience? Is it a pleasant and rewarding experience, or is it cluttered and cumbersome?  
  • Design Aesthetics: Does the design of your app have an aesthetic appeal that will draw users in? Or is it messy and unattractive? 
  • Device Compatibility: Is the product compatible with all different types of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets for iOS and Android? 
  • Accessibility: Is the product easily accessible to all users, including those with disabilities or impairments? 
  • Security: How secure is the app from data breaches and other malicious attacks? 
  • Branding: Does the app reflect the brand in a positive way? Are there any elements that could be improved to better represent the company’s ideals? 

By taking the time to consider each of these design considerations, you can ensure that your mobile app is well-designed and accessible to all types of users. This will help you make an app that benefits everyone involved.

Final Thoughts on Making Your Own App

Creating an app doesn’t have to be a difficult task. With the right tools and resources, anyone can create their own app with minimal effort. Whether you choose to use code or a no-code app builder, you can create an app that will help your business reach more customers and generate income.

Making your own app in 2023 can be a great way to make money, build a portfolio of accomplishments, or simply make something you’re passionate about. With this guide, you should now have the knowledge necessary to make an impact in the mobile space. So dive into the process and make your dreams come true! Good luck!

Developing Phone Apps vs. Tablet Apps: What’s the Difference?

In today’s digital age, it’s hard to imagine life without our smartphones and tablets. These devices have become an integral part of our daily routine—allowing us to stay connected, communicate with others, and access information on the go.

As a result, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are turning to mobile app development as a way to reach and engage with their customers. But when it comes to developing apps, there’s a crucial decision to be made—should you focus on developing phone apps or tablet apps?

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between developing phone apps and tablet apps and help you determine which option is the best fit for your business. We’ll also introduce BuildFire, a leading platform for building and managing mobile apps, and show you how it can streamline the app development process for your business.

Differences Between Phone Apps and Tablet Apps

First, let’s start with the key differences between phone apps and tablet apps. 

Display size and screen resolution

The most obvious difference is the size of their display screens. 

Phones typically have a smaller display than tablets, often measuring between 4 to 6 inches on the diagonal compared to 7 inches or larger displays on tablets. This means that elements such as buttons, text, and images will appear larger on tablets than they would on phones. Some of those elements may need to be rearranged to fit the larger screen space.

The resolution of phone and tablet displays also differs greatly. 

Phones generally have a higher pixel density than tablets, meaning that images and text will appear sharper on phones than they would on tablets. This can make it difficult to design an app that looks great on both types of displays without sacrificing usability.

User interface and navigation

Another key difference between phone and tablet apps is the user interface and navigation. 

On phones, it’s generally accepted that users should be able to reach all of the app’s features within one or two taps, as these devices are designed for quick access to information. 

Tablets, on the other hand, are designed with a focus on larger screens and more detailed information. This means that features may be spread out across multiple screens or displayed in a sidebar, allowing for a richer user experience.

Hardware capabilities and performance

The hardware capabilities of phones and tablets can also vary greatly, as phones generally have less powerful processors than tablets. 

This can affect how quickly an app is able to perform tasks, as well as the types of features that can be included in an app. 

For example, a phone may not have enough processing power to support certain features such as augmented reality or advanced graphics.

Development considerations and cost

It’s also important to consider the cost associated with developing apps for phones and tablets. As phones generally require more coding and optimization than tablets, the cost of developing phone apps might be higher. 

Additionally, since phones have a wider range of screen sizes and resolutions, developers may need to create separate versions of an app for specific devices in order to ensure its usability.

Fortunately, with the right platform, app development can be streamlined and made more efficient. BuildFire is a leading platform for building and managing mobile apps that allows developers to create high-quality apps for both phones and tablets quickly and cost-effectively. With its powerful tools, developers can build engaging experiences on any device without sacrificing performance or user experience.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Phone Apps

Phone apps offer a wide range of advantages compared to other types of software. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the convenience and portability of phones, as they can be used almost anywhere and anytime. 

This makes them ideal for those who are always on the go or need access to information quickly. Additionally, there’s a larger market for phone apps, making them a great tool for reaching potential customers.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider when developing phone apps. The most significant limitation is the small screen size, which can make it difficult to design an app with a rich user experience and display all of the features that users may expect from larger devices. 

Furthermore, phones tend to have limited hardware capabilities compared to tablets and computers, which may limit the types of features that can be included in an app. Due to the wide range of phone models available, developers may need to create separate versions of an app for specific devices in order to ensure its usability.

Pros

  • Convenience
  • Portability
  • Larger market share

Cons

  • Smaller screen size
  • Limited hardware capabilities

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tablet Apps

One major benefit of tablet apps is the larger screen size. This allows developers to create more immersive and interactive user experiences. 

Tablets often have superior hardware capabilities compared to phones—meaning they can support more complex features and functionality in an app.

With that said, there are some drawbacks to consider when developing tablet apps. Perhaps the most significant limitation is the smaller market for apps, as tablets are not as popular as phones. 

More than 83% of the global population has a smartphone. 

But just 2.4% of people own tablets globally. Furthermore, the global market share of tablets dropped by 50% worldwide between 2017 and 2022. 

This means that there are fewer potential customers for a tablet app, it can take longer to gain traction in the app store. 

Additionally, due to their larger screen size and increased hardware capabilities, developing a tablet app can often be more expensive and time-consuming than developing a phone app.

Pros

  • Larger screen size
  • Ability to support complex features
  • Better user experience

Cons

  • Not portable
  • Small tablet market share

Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Phone Apps and Tablet Apps

When deciding between developing phone apps and tablet apps, there are a few key factors to consider. 

Target audience and usage habits

First, it is important to understand the target audience and their usage habits when determining which platform is best suited for the desired user experience. 

For example, if most users will be accessing the app on their phones while they are on the go, then a phone app may be the best option. But a recent survey suggests that 86% of tablet owners use their devices when they’re at home.

So if you’re targeting people who are more likely to consume content at home, then developing a tablet app may make sense.

Business goals and desired user experience

It is also important to consider goals and desired user experience when making this decision. 

Each platform has its own design considerations that should be taken into account to ensure that the user experience is tailored for specific devices. 

For example, a tablet app may require more features and functionality due to its larger screen size, while a phone app may need to focus on usability and speed.

Available resources and budget

You must also consider the available resources and budget when deciding between developing phone apps and tablet apps. 

Developing an app for a new platform can be costly and time-consuming, and it is important to ensure that the necessary resources are available before starting the project. Additionally, developing a tablet app may require additional hardware capabilities and design considerations that could increase development costs. 

Using BuildFire For Developing Phone Apps and Tablet Apps

BuildFire makes it possible for you to develop a phone app and a tablet app at the same time—helping to keep your costs low and launch faster on both platforms. 

This is the best way to save time, reduce costs, and ensure a high-quality experience across all devices. The platform offers an array of features that simplify the development process and provide developers with powerful customization options. 

One of the key benefits of using BuildFire is its simplified app development process. BuildFire is an all-in-one platform that offers a variety of tools and services to help anyone create powerful mobile apps quickly and easily. 

With intuitive drag-and-drop features, automated version management, and comprehensive analytics tools, developing apps with BuildFire is simple and straightforward.

BuildFire also provides complete customization options to help businesses create tailored experiences for each device. 

With specific design considerations for both phone apps and tablet apps, you can rest easy knowing that your app is optimized for all users—regardless of the device they are using. 

BuildFire also offers powerful analytics tools to track user engagement and make informed decisions about how to best optimize the app experience for maximum impact. This is a surefire way to maximize user engagement and make the most of your investment. 

You don’t have to choose between developing phone apps or tablet apps. With BuildFire, you’ll get both from a single build. 

Final Thoughts

Developing phone apps and tablet apps can be a great way to reach a wider audience and maximize engagement. With the right platform and development approach, developers can create high-quality experiences quickly and cost-effectively that are tailored for different devices.

BuildFire is an excellent choice for developers looking to create powerful mobile apps with minimal effort. With its simplified development process, comprehensive analytics tools, and powerful customization options, BuildFire provides an all-in-one platform for developing phone apps and tablet apps that is sure to maximize user engagement. With BuildFire, you can ensure that your app is ready to launch in no time, and each app is tailored for its respective platform. 

Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you learn more about the differences between developing phone apps and tablet apps. 

How to Create a Real Estate Agent App

Real estate apps are an essential part of the home-buying process. In fact, research from the National Association of Realtors indicates that 76% of buyers found a property from their mobile device. 

As a real estate professional, you need to recognize this trend and adapt accordingly. The best real estate apps not only help people find homes but also help connect buyers and sellers with real estate agents. 

If you’re ready to take your real estate career to the next level, this guide is for you. You’ll learn more about the benefits of real estate apps and key features for success, in addition to the step-by-step instructions for creating a real estate app. 

Why Real Estate Agents Need Mobile Apps

Having a website alone is no longer enough to market yourself to buyers and sellers. It’s also not sufficient for showcasing homes for sale and for rent. 

73% of people prefer using apps to search for homes, as it’s the easiest and most convenient way to browse from a mobile device. 

This is an excellent opportunity for you to stand out from your competitors. 75% of home buyers go with the first real estate agent that they interview. So if you can connect with a buyer through an app, there’s a good chance you’ll secure them as a client. 

Additionally, you need to look at the trends of who’s buying houses today. According to Bankrate, 43% of homebuyers are Millennials—representing the highest share of all generations. 

Millennials and younger generations are always looking for the best apps to solve their problems and make their lives easier. They use apps for banking, food delivery, and nearly every other aspect of their life. You can’t expect them to break that trend when it comes to something as important as buying a home. 

Mobile apps are faster than mobile websites and provide a better overall experience for the user. They can also utilize device-specific features, such as push notifications for communication, that otherwise wouldn’t be possible from a website. 

6 Steps to Make a Real Estate App

Creating a real estate app might sound intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. Fortunately, the entire process can be simplified into just six simple steps.

Step #1: Validate the “Why” For Real Estate Business

Before you get ahead of yourself, you need to identify your app’s main purpose. Make sure you’re developing your app for the right reasons, as opposed to creating an app just for the sake of having one.

Without a clear reason for development, your app won’t have any direction or purpose. This lack of direction will be clear in your final product and won’t actually accommodate the needs of your audience. 

You can turn to some of the best real estate apps as a resource as you’re coming up with ideas. Look at the Zillow Premier Agent app if you want CRM features, or look to apps like Trulia for listings management. 

Examples might include better marketing, improved communication, or more control of your listings. Some of you might create a real estate app specifically to improve the way you manage client relationships.

While your final product might end up with lots of different features, the first version of your app should be released with your primary purpose as the focal point. Additional features can always be added down the road. 

Step #2: Identify Your Budget and Desired Launch Timeline

How much does it cost to create a real estate app? Depending on your development method and desired features, it can range anywhere from $10,000 or $20,000 to upwards of $250,000 or more. 

For those of you planning to hire developers, the location of your development team will also impact your cost. 

With that said, most of you can develop a great app without having to break the bank.

For example, using an app maker to create a real estate app is going to be the most cost-effective method for most of you. With platforms like BuildFire, you can create a real estate app on your own without any coding knowledge or technical expertise. You’ll also be backed by the team of development experts at BuildFire, who have facilitated the development of more than 10,000+ apps. 

This will also help you get your app to market faster than traditional development—ideal for those of you who want to launch your real estate apps in a few weeks or months, as opposed to six months or upwards of a year. 

If you want every feature under the sun, it’s going to add to your total cost of development. For example, if you’re looking for an augmented reality feature with virtual tours and complex integrations that need to be coded from scratch, it will be expensive. 

But if you just want to use a YouTube plugin to add video walkthroughs of properties to the app, it will be much more cost-effective. 

For real estate agents that want to create an app that’s affordable but still provides value, app builders like BuildFire can be used as a subscription for just a few hundred dollars per month.

Step #3: Choose Your Real Estate App Development Method

Now you need to determine how you’re going to create a real estate app. Your responses in step #2 can help you decide. But generally speaking, there are three options to consider:

  • Use a DIY app maker to create a real estate app on your own
  • Outsource the project to an app development company
  • Hire developers to build it for you

Technically, you could also learn how to code and create the app yourself that way. But this method isn’t really practical or necessary for real estate professionals. You’re much better off relying on DIY software, as it’s the most cost-effective option and fastest path to launch.

Choosing your app development method is something that we’ve covered extensively here at BuildFire over the years. So if you’re unsure which option is right for you, refer to these resources for more information:

Step #4: Select Your Real Estate App Features

Next, you need to determine which features to include in your app. It’s important to keep things simple in the early stages and only focus on the features you need for your app to function the way it’s supposed to.

Refer back to what we discussed in the first step. What’s your primary focus for creating a real estate app? Narrow your efforts to that reason, and ask yourself which features you need to make that happen.

You can look at some of the top real estate apps on the market for inspiration if you’re unsure what to include. But again, simplicity is key in the early stages.

It’s easy to get lost during the development process and add new features you think of. But this creates delays in your timeline and often adds to your expenses. 

You can always add more features months or years down the road. Later on, we’ll cover more features that are typically included in the best real estate apps.

Step #5: Design and Build Your Real Estate App

Now you’re ready to start building the app. With your timeline, budget, and features already accounted for, this process will be much easier than if you started development without a clear plan.

The exact steps here will look different for everyone, and the development you selected will have a big impact on what needs to happen.

But regardless of your method, it’s in your best interest to break down the project into simple and attainable steps. You can use basic project management software to keep track of what needs to happen and ensure you’re meeting deadlines that align with your timeline. 

If you’re using an app maker like BuildFire to create your app, this process will be extremely easy.

To get started, BuildFire will ask you what type of app you want to create. Just select the real estate industry option to continue.

Based on your response to this question, you’ll be presented with different template options that are specifically designed for real estate apps.

These templates are the perfect starting point, as you won’t be working from a blank slate.

From here, it’s just a matter of customizing the content to align with your brand and goals. Adding features is easy too. You can just install plugins with a single click from BuildFire’s marketplace of 150+ features.

If you want something unique that can’t be found on the feature marketplace, that’s not a problem. Just reach out to the BuildFire team for help, and we’ll create that feature for you. This is not a service that you’ll find from other app makers on the market, which is one of the many reasons why BuildFire truly stands out from the crowd in the app development space. 

Step #6: Market and Launch Your Real Estate Agent App

As a successful real estate agent, you know the importance of effective marketing. You could have one of the best apps on the planet, but it’s useless if nobody knows about it.

You can even start promoting your app prior to launch, so people will be ready for it when it’s finally released. 

Make sure to leverage all of your marketing channels to drive downloads. Share the app on social media, promote it on your blog, blast it out to your email subscribers, and add a download link to your website. 

If you’re using BuildFire to create your app, you won’t have to worry about getting your app live on the app stores. 

You can let us know your app is done with a single click, and our team will get it live for you on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 

Key Features Every Real Estate App Needs to Have

Below we’ll take a look at some features to consider for your real estate app. These are inspired by the best apps in the real estate industry.

User Onboarding

There should always be a free version of your app that you don’t need to register or sign up for. But the best apps also have some form of user registration. 

This allows you to collect more information about your app users that can ultimately improve their experience. You can also use the onboarding details to help with customer relationship management.

Rather than forcing people to provide all of their information to sign up, you can integrate with social media apps to facilitate the onboarding process. Then users can create an account with a single click, simply by logging in with an existing social account

Registering an account gives users more flexibility and personalization with what they see within the app. They can also “favorite” or “like” homes that they want to view later or keep an eye on.

Real Estate Listings

Obviously, your app needs to highlight properties that are for sale and for rent. Rather than adding this information manually, you can set up an integration through multiple listing services.

This will automatically bring the details of each property into your app, simplifying the backend management for you and your team. 

Listing should include photos, videos, price history, tax information, property type—everything a buyer would need to make an informed decision on whether the property is right for them.

Agent Profiles

Potential buyers use mobile apps to network with agents. This is your opportunity to tell people about yourself and what you do. 

If you have a real estate company, then each agent should have their own dedicated profile.

Include a photo, brief bio, and details about how that agent can be contacted. 

Search and Filter Capabilities

It can be overwhelming for people who are browsing for homes, especially if there are hundreds of different properties in the area. To make things easier for your users, you must give them the ability to search and filter properties based on what they’re looking for.

You can set up filters for:

  • Price
  • Distance
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Property Type
  • Max HOA
  • For Sale vs. For Rent vs. For Lease

Users should even be able to search for specific terms, such as “pool” or “backyard.”

Maps Integrations

Adding a Google Maps integration to your app is a great way to showcase properties. This gives users the ability to navigate through listings on a map view as opposed to just a list. 

Your maps integration can also support geofenced property details—only highlighting listings in a specific area.

Mortgage and Payment Calculators

Price is obviously an important factor for home buyers. But the sale price can be very different from a monthly payment. This is especially true when you’re factoring in additional details like property taxes, mortgage insurance, HOAs, and other fees beyond the mortgage itself.

While the calculators in your app should just be used for estimates, they’re still helpful in giving users a better understanding of the actual costs they’ll incur if they buy the property in question. 

Appointment Scheduling

If a prospective buyer likes a property, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to schedule a viewing. Yes, you can still include your phone number and email address with each listing. But people should be able to book a tour without having to leave the app.

This feature can also help you with your lead generation strategy, as the user will be asked to submit their name, email, and phone number to schedule the appointment. 

Push Notifications

Your real estate app should definitely have push notifications to communicate with users. 

For active buyers, this is an excellent option for you to notify them of new properties for sale that fit within their desired search criteria. It also gives you an advantage over other agents who might be sending them new properties via email. The push messages will be seen immediately, as they’re delivered straight to the user’s screen. 

Final Thoughts on Mobile Apps For Real Estate Agents

The real estate market is extremely competitive. As an agent, you need every advantage possible to stand out from the crowd.

A mobile app will give you an edge over other agents who are competing for the same clients.

It can be the reason why a seller chooses you to represent them, as they’ll think the app gives them a better chance to sell quickly. Apps are also highly beneficial for buyers and renters who are looking for a simple way to find properties from their smartphones. 

There are lots of different paths to launch when you’re creating a real estate agent app. But using a platform like BuildFire is definitely the easiest.

Start your 14-day free trial to get started, or request a consultation with one of our app development experts for more information. 

How to Become a Citizen Developer

The modern business landscape is constantly changing. Now, more than ever before, organizations are relying on citizen developers to address business challenges and improve internal processes. 

If you want to make a big impact on your career and help your company succeed without searching for a new job or switching roles, citizen development can help you thrive.

This in-depth guide will explain everything you need to know about citizen development, including what it is and why you should become a citizen developer. We’ll also walk you through the step-by-step process of becoming a citizen developer and highlight the skills you need for success. 

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

What is Citizen Development?

Citizen development allows non-technical employees to create business applications using no-code or low-code software development tools. 

Citizen developers have the freedom and flexibility to improve operational efficiencies within an organization by addressing problems or pain points in processes. They can take the initiative to create applications for business workflows or automations without having to rely on professional developers or IT departments for assistance. 

Organizations use citizen development to reduce IT backlogs—bridging the gap between software needs and the availability of skilled professional developers. 

Simply put, many organizations don’t have enough software developers on staff to address every need for new technology. Fortunately, most business apps can be created without any coding or technical knowledge. It’s just a matter of using the right tools for success, and that’s where citizen development comes into play.

Any employee who understands how to use approved no-code/low-code software can be part of the citizen development movement. 

Why Should You Become a Citizen Developer?

Becoming a citizen developer helps put your career on a fast track to success. It shows your current employer and prospective employers that you’re willing and able to learn new skills and have the initiative to improve the business beyond your day-to-day responsibilities. 

Citizen developers can use technology to create their own solutions that solve business problems. A simple workflow improvement or new automation can save the organization hundreds or thousands of hours over time.

These improvements not only make your current workload easier but it gives you the opportunity to focus on other big-picture initiatives. 

While a citizen developer isn’t technically a job title or role, it’s still viewed as a badge of honor and prestige in the workplace. It’s something that stands out to management when it comes time to make promotions or hand out bonuses. For those of you who are constantly looking for new opportunities in new companies, citizen development experience will give you a leg up over other candidates applying for the same positions.

Furthermore, the act of learning how to use no-code/low-code software in today’s modern world is invaluable. It’s a highly useful skill that can be used in both your personal and professional life, opening doors that you never thought were possible. 

How to Become a Citizen Developer in 5 Simple Steps

The citizen development journey is exciting. If you’re ready to become a citizen developer, just follow the five easy steps below, and you’ll be on the path to success in no time. 

Step 1 – Review Your Company’s Citizen Development Program

People don’t become citizen developers overnight. The first thing you need to do is make sure your organization has a citizen development program. If they don’t, it’s definitely something you can propose. But all of these steps assume that your employer has a program. 

Learn the ins and outs of the program to understand how it works. The policies and procedures vary greatly from company to company.

For example, some companies have active citizen development initiatives that employees can pull from to start a project. Other organizations give you total freedom to create your own solution.

While the IT department won’t be directly helping citizen developers with the application creation process, they typically need to sign off on the tools and development environment for projects in the program. Again, this involvement varies from company to company. 

Step 2 – Reach Out to the Program’s Leader to Express Interest

Once you have a firm grasp of how the program works, you’ll probably need to apply. Depending on your employer, this process might be very official or somewhat lax. 

It’s safe to assume that any organization that has embraced citizen development will be happy to see employees who are eager to assist. 

With that said, some companies may require your direct manager’s approval or something along those lines before you can work on any new projects. Identifying the program’s leader and scheduling a meeting to make sure you’re checking off all the boxes is the best way to ensure you’re following protocol. 

Step 3 – Get Familiar With Your Organization’s Citizen Development Tools

Before you can start officially working on citizen development projects, you need to learn how to use the program’s approved software. 

Most organizations have a handful of tools that have been previously sanctioned by the IT team. You can’t go out and just start building apps using anything. That could be a security risk for your organization. 

Take a look at the list of approved citizen development platforms and start practicing with test projects. 

There will likely be some type of tutorial or training video to assist you with this process. Some organizations may even offer in-person or online training for citizen developers in the program. 

Step 4 – Look For Opportunities That Align With Business Objectives

Next, you need to look for your first citizen development initiative. 

For some of you, this will be easier than for others. Many employees express interest in becoming citizen developers after they’ve already identified a need for new technology in the workplace. But the rest of you will need to look for new opportunities in your day-to-day workflow.

To help with this process, ask yourself this one question whenever you’re working on a task. “Could this be improved with automation or new technology?”

If the answer is yes, then it could be a valid option for you to pursue. But it’s important to choose projects that align with big-picture business objectives. Business leaders will be happy to see you working on anything that improves a workflow or process. But it’s definitely better when those applications can contribute at a higher level. 

Step 5 – Create Your First Automation or Application

Once you’ve identified an opportunity, it’s time to put your skills to the test. 

Start by creating a sketch or outline of the requirements. Break everything down into logical steps. You can use a flow chart to visualize the process.

Then use a no-code or low-code tool to create an application or automation. For example, if you’re using BuildFire’s workflow app builder, you can integrate with Zapier to automate processes with thousands of third-party apps. 

This is just one of the countless ways you can use BuildFire to make your life easier as a citizen developer. 

What’s the Difference Between Citizen Developers and Professional Developers?

Citizen developers are regular employees. They’re non-technical and don’t have any coding knowledge or development experience. 

Professional developers will work on more technically complex projects, while citizen developers work on applications and automations that don’t require custom coding. 

A professional developer will also have to focus more on the backend requirements to run and power apps, including servers, updates, and maintenance requirements. Citizens developers just have to know how to use a tool, and everything on the backend gets handled for them. 

Key Skills For Citizen Developers

Success as a citizen developer is heavily reliant on certain skills and abilities. If you possess any of the skills below, you’re a great candidate for citizen development. 

Deep Understanding of Business Processes and Operations

Citizen developers understand the business and operations at a higher level. They use logical thinking to go beyond what’s required of them on a day-to-day basis.

Some employees simply push papers and do their jobs without asking questions. But great employees understand the reason why they’re being asked to do certain tasks and how those tasks contribute to the team’s success or bigger initiative. 

If you’re someone who understands how and why operations are running a certain way in your organization, it will be much easier for you to spot opportunities for citizen development initiatives. 

Tech-Savvy Digital Skills

You do not need any coding knowledge or programming experience to become a citizen developer. But you need to be somewhat tech-savvy and be comfortable using new software.

If you’re the type of person who hates working on a computer and struggles to find files or convert documents to different formats, citizen development probably isn’t for you.

Citizen developers don’t get flustered or upset when their company decides to use a new project management tool or switches graphical building tools. If you’re comfortable using your company’s existing applications for work-related tasks, there’s a good chance you’ll be comfortable building new applications too.

Self-Motivation

Many organizations do whatever they can to empower citizen developers. But at the end of the day, taking the initiative will fall on your shoulders. 

You must have the motivation to step away from your day-to-day responsibilities to work on automations and workflow improvements. 

Managers won’t be breathing down your neck or checking in to make sure you’re meeting deadlines for the applications you’re building. They care more about your actual job-related tasks. 

But self-motivated workers who are willing to go above and beyond their duties to be successful are usually the best citizen developers. 

Ability to Collaborate With Other Business Users

Citizen development projects don’t always happen in a vacuum. Sure, there are definitely times when you can create your own solution that helps improve a task or workflow that’s only related to your job. But most citizen development projects impact more than one person, and in some cases, they can impact an entire team.

You must be able to clearly articulate how your automation or workflow improves a process. Be prepared to explain how things work to your team as the workflow is being rolled out.

Sometimes a team member might give you some pushback or resistance. You must be able to communicate well and make sure your solution isn’t a burden on anyone else. 

In some cases, this requires some clear communication and collaboration before you begin creating any new applications. You might even need to reach out to another department or team member for assistance. 

Working well with others is an important skill for citizen developers. 

Ability to Follow Instructions

Application development is a sequential and detail-oriented process, even if you’re using a no-code app builder

You’ll come across situations where you don’t know exactly how to complete a certain function or task on the tool you’re using. That’s 100% normal and to be expected. 

In these situations, you need to rely on self-help articles and tutorials that walk you through the steps for your desired action. Maybe you want to set up an integration using a third-party API. Or maybe you want the output of your automation to be put in a different format. 

Whatever the end result might be, the ability to follow directions on your own is crucial. This is something you’ll be doing often as a citizen developer. 

Final Thoughts

Becoming a citizen developer is exciting. It’s a great way to expand your skills and contribute to your organization at a higher level. You can make a big impact on your company and also make yourself more appealing for a promotion or new job opportunity. 

If it sounds like becoming a citizen developer is right for you, just follow the five simple steps explained in this guide. 

For employers and managers looking for new tools to empower citizen development teams, check out BuildFire’s workflow app builder. You can try it for free with a 14-day trial.

What is a Citizen Developer?

There’s an increased demand for software development in the business world. But not every organization is staffed with developers who have the skills to create applications from scratch.

That’s why so many organizations are embracing citizen development to meet demands.

Citizen developers help expand software development initiatives by broadening the pool of skilled employees who are capable of assisting with these projects. 

This in-depth guide is perfect for business executives considering launching a citizen development program within their organization. It’s also helpful for employees who are interested in becoming citizen developers. Continue below to learn more about citizen development and how it can improve your business or career. 

What is a Citizen Developer?

Citizen developers are non-technical business employees who create custom software applications with minimal or no coding skills. These business users are willing and able to solve business problems using modern technology to build applications.

Citizen development programs leverage no-code or low-code software to create apps without the assistance of IT teams. 

As long as the development methods and development environments have been approved by the IT department, citizen developers have the freedom to create apps that streamline business processes, automate tasks, and improve internal efficiencies. 

Citizen developers are not full-time developers. The term “citizen developer” is not a position, role, or title. Citizen development programs empower any employee outside of the IT department to take the initiative to solve problems with application development. 

What Do Citizen Developers Do?

Citizen developers create applications that can be used by themselves or other business users within the organization. They use software that’s previously been sanctioned by IT teams to create apps that improve operations. 

For example, an employee within the HR department can create an application that automates tasks. The software could automate approvals, forms, and notifications based on pre-configured triggers that would save time, money, and reduce the human error associated with manual approvals. 

A citizen developer can create their own app with little or no coding knowledge. They simply identify problems within their day-to-day workflow and take steps to improve those processes through software development. 

The apps built by citizen developers can be used by themselves or by an entire team. 

Generally speaking, the average day in the life of a citizen developer mostly involves doing their regular jobs. But the application development can be considered a small side project, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of their job duties. 

6 Reasons Why Businesses Should Invest in Citizen Development

According to a recent study, 80% of enterprise organizations will have citizen development policies in place by 2024. It’s also estimated that there will be four times as many citizen developers as professional developers at larger enterprises within two years. 

If you’re thinking about creating a citizen development program, it’s definitely something you should consider to keep pace with modern business movements. Below we’ll take a closer look at the top reasons why your business should leverage the power of citizen developers. 

1. Reduce Costs

Active citizen development initiatives may initially seem like they distract from work-related tasks. But allowing citizen developers to work on software development projects will ultimately save your business money in the long run. 

The apps created by citizen developers are great for cost reduction on multiple levels.

First, these applications will likely improve or speed up a business task. So right away, you’ll save costs on labor. But citizen development also clears up free time for your skilled developers and IT teams. 

Keeping a large number of full-time developers off your payroll will save you money. Rather than spending more money on your IT budget, you can allow other employees to create apps.

2. Improve Workflows

Citizen developers work on projects to improve business processes. 

Workflow optimization is a common citizen development initiative that can easily be accomplished with a no-code development tool. 

Citizen development tools like BuildFire make it easy for anyone to create a business workflow app.

For example, you could create an app that streamlines purchase orders. Just add our purchase order plugin to your app, and it manages the entire process for you—including invoices. 

Or maybe you want to create an app that simplifies workplace safety initiatives. You can use the app to facilitate workplace safety surveys and give your staff access to safety documentation. The app is also an easy way to send out time-sensitive messages via push notifications. 

One of the most popular ways to improve workflows with an application is by automating approvals. With BuildFire’s approval plugin, you can set rules to manage automated submissions at scale and eliminate the time spent on manual approvals.

These types of solutions are extremely versatile. They can be used in various departments for a wide range of use cases. 

3. Create Apps Faster

Citizen development projects can speed up the development of business applications by 50% to 90% when compared to traditional development that relies on coding. 

That’s why 63% of organizations using citizen development platforms value the speed associated with the initiative. 

Citizen developers can create their own solutions using drag-and-drop app builders and no-code tools. The reason why this process is so fast is because 90% of the work is already done. All of the technical aspects are handled by the no-code development tools, and the project doesn’t need to go through the IT department. 

The citizen developer simply needs to identify a plugin or pre-built tool, add it to the application, and then configure it based on their unique needs. But this process doesn’t require any coding or development skills—meaning the time to launch is significantly faster.

4. Increase Productivity

Citizen developers improve productivity on multiple levels. 

First, the applications they’re creating typically have a direct impact on productivity once the software is launched. The applications free up their time or their team’s time, letting them focus on other business-related tasks. 

With something as simple as automating manual or tedious tasks, you can potentially save hundreds or thousands of hours per year.

Second, citizen developers free up IT departments. If every application request had to go through the IT team, then the IT backlog would be enormous. 

Instead, you can give more technically complex projects to a professional developer. Those employees can focus efforts on big projects without having to worry about the citizen development journey.

5. Bridge the Gap Between Business Users and Professional Developers

Citizen developers bridge the gap between technology demands and skilled developers. In simple terms, most organizations don’t have the internal resources to create software that’s needed in day-to-day operations.

But thanks to no-code citizen development tools, anybody within the company can become a citizen developer.

There’s no specialized training or prerequisites to get started. Once the approved software has been defined, citizen developers have the green light to work on projects—as long as they fall within the scope of the program. 

Additional Reading: How Does a No-Code App Builder Work?

6. Meet App Demands

The average team uses 40 to 60 business apps. Beyond the apps used by individual teams, the average business app portfolio contains 254 apps. 

99% of IT leaders surveyed say that day-to-day operations are dependent on these operations. 

The modern business world requires employees to rely on a large number of apps for their jobs. This trend isn’t changing anytime in the foreseeable future. Citizen development tools allow you to create apps that eliminate manual management. 

One of the easiest ways to help people do their jobs better is by using more applications—especially when those applications can simplify projects and increase visibility. 

Organizations must do something to increase the growing demand for business applications, and enabling citizen development is the easiest solution. 

Tips and Best Practices for Citizen Developers and Citizen Development Programs

If you’re just getting started with citizen development, here are some pro tips that you should keep in mind for success:

  • Find ways to empower citizen developers and give them the freedom to try new things
  • Embrace the citizen development movement so you don’t fall behind
  • Identify citizen development tools that make it easy for your team to create apps
  • Get familiar with the no-code platform to see how it works
  • Provide citizen developer training and take advantage of any tutorials
  • Create citizen development policies to outline what’s allowed and expected of your team
  • Make sure your citizen development solutions align with overall business objectives
  • Always test new changes made to applications
  • Document all of the steps and work done in the project
  • Make sure the IT department has final approval over the tools you’re using

Final Thoughts

Citizen development has already penetrated the enterprise business world. All signs point to this trend continuing upward for the foreseeable future, which makes sense when you consider all of the benefits and advantages that we covered in this guide. 

Success with citizen development programs all starts with identifying the right software for success.

BuildFire’s no-code app development platform is an excellent solution to accommodate citizen development needs. Start your 14-day free trial today, or request a demo to get started

How to Make a Food Delivery App

Food delivery apps are skyrocketing in popularity.

Recent studies suggest that 86% of Americans have used a food delivery app. An additional 53% of people say that food delivery and takeout are essential to their lifestyles. That number jumps to 64% when you look strictly at Millennials in the survey.

Research from Statista suggests that revenue generated from online food delivery will hit $96.5 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 8.9% in the next five years. 

In short, there’s plenty of money to be made in the food delivery app market. Whether you want to create a food delivery app for your restaurant, set up a food delivery app for a grocery store, or build a food delivery app like Uber Eats or Grubhub, you’ve come to the right place.

Continue reading to learn more about our methodology, including the benefits of food delivery apps, costs, and key features for success.

How to Make a Food Delivery App in 6 Simple Steps

Want to make your own food delivery app? Just follow the simple step-by-step process outlined below.

Step #1 — Validate Your Food Delivery App Idea

The first thing you need to do is conduct market research. While the numbers show that there are billions of dollars to be made in this industry, you need to understand that just a handful of players control the vast majority of the food delivery market share.

As of Q1 2022, 97% of the food delivery market is controlled by three companies—DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub.

Less than 1% of deliveries go to brands that aren’t household names. 

I’m not saying this to discourage you. But you need to set some realistic expectations for yourself. If you want your food delivery app to rival big names like DoorDash and Uber Eats, you definitely have your work cut out for you.

Fortunately, there’s still plenty of money to be made on a smaller scale in this space. 

For example, it’s a great idea to set up a food delivery app for your existing restaurant, grocery store, or convenience store. Even smaller businesses, like ice cream shops, can benefit from food delivery apps. 

This is an excellent way to expand your business and meet customer expectations. 

Creating a food delivery app for your restaurant also cuts out the middleman and helps you eliminate the third-party fees associated with other food delivery apps fulfilling your orders. 

Step #2 — Choose Your Food Delivery App Development Method

Once you’ve determined that there’s a real market need for your food delivery mobile app, it’s time for you to start the development process. 

Generally speaking, these are your options:

  • Hire an app developer
  • Build it yourself using a DIY app builder
  • Use internal resources for development
  • Outsource to an app development agency

Most restaurants and grocery stores likely don’t have an internal IT team. So you can quickly rule out the third option. Hiring a developer and outsourcing your project to an agency are both expensive. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, neither of those will work well for you.

That leaves us with the second bullet on the list above—creating it yourself using an app maker. An app builder will be the best option for the vast majority of you reading this guide right now.

It’s a simple and affordable way to create food delivery apps without writing a single line of code. Platforms like BuildFire make it easy for anyone to make a restaurant app by installing simple plug-and-play functionality. 

For additional resources to help you find the best app development method for your food delivery app, use the following links:

Step #3 — Identify Your Food Delivery Business Model

Food delivery apps work in different ways, and there are several models that you can monetize your app idea. 

  • Delivery services — You create an app and business that handles all deliveries between restaurants and customers. These models charge restaurants fees for using the platform and take a cut of each order.
  • Third-party facilitator — Similar to the first model, the app connects restaurants and consumers. But all of the deliveries are handled by a third party. You’re just running an app as a service, but you don’t actually touch the food. 
  • Direct food delivery apps — This is when a restaurant or grocery store has its own app for food delivery. They run the software internally and handle the order fulfillment internally as well. 

The first two models typically make money by charging restaurants to be featured. They also can make money through delivery fees or charging a percentage of every order. Some even charge premium subscriptions to consumers for loyalty perks. 

The third model works simply by charging customers for the food provided in each order. In some cases, you may upcharge items for delivery or include a fixed delivery fee for each order. 

Alternatively, you can charge a monthly subscription to eliminate delivery fees. This is a great way to encourage customer loyalty and increase order frequencies.

Step #4 — Select Your Features

Every food ordering app will have similar features. Some of you may want to go create a custom food delivery app with unique features for your business model.

We’re going to cover the key features of a successful food delivery app later on in this guide. 

But it’s important for you to have a firm grasp on the features you want before you dive into the development process. Here’s why.

Your features will drive the entire app development lifecycle. It’s easy to get carried away while you’re developing an app and add features that sound cool—even if they don’t have anything to do with the primary purpose and goal of your food delivery app.

So stick to your primary purpose and business model. What features must be developed to make this goal possible?

For example, let’s say you want to create a food delivery app for your restaurant. With BuildFire, you can add the Menu Order System plugin to create different menu categories:

Then you can add specific food items to each menu.

Here’s an example of some items that might be on your breakfast delivery list:

Having a menu is definitely on the must-have list of features for food delivery services. Things like social media integration and message boards probably don’t need to be a top priority right now. 

Create your must-have feature list first, and stick to those during the development process.

Step #5 — Design and Development

This step will be the bulk of your work for a food delivery app. It will look a bit different for everyone, depending on the development model you selected back in step #2.

If you decide to go with a DIY app maker, the design process will be super easy. 

For example, if you start your project with BuildFire, you can begin with a ready-made restaurant template. 

This takes care of 90% of the design work for you. Then it’s just a matter of customizing the text and buttons to fit your branding.

You easily add plugins for things like reservations and other key features to go along with your food delivery services. 

Step #6 — Marketing and Launch

The final step is launching your food delivery app. You’ll want to get it live on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to maximize your reach with potential users.

Then it’s just a matter of marketing your app and getting people to download it.

For local restaurants and grocery stores, you may want to provide an incentive for users to try the app early on. Offering something like a 20% discount on a first order could convince someone to try it out. Even if you’re not making a huge profit on that order, it’s a small price to pay for user acquisition. 

Push your food delivery app on your website. Print flyers and put them in your restaurant or storefront. Send out email blasts to your subscriber list. Promote the app on social media. 

Do whatever you can to drive downloads. Even before your app launches, you can start to create a buzz around the app, so people are ready to download it once it goes live.

If you’re using BuildFire to create your app, you won’t have to worry about the publishing process. Just let us know when your app is done, and we’ll get it live on the app stores for you. 

Benefits of Food Delivery Apps

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of making a food delivery app for your business. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to proceed, these perks can help with your decision-making process.

Market Demand

We talked about the food delivery market earlier. But even looking beyond the statistics, you can see that there’s a grim outlook for restaurants and grocery stores that can’t adapt to the times.

Our society has already reached a point where consumers expect products delivered to their doorstep. Just look at what happened to retailers who couldn’t adjust to the Amazon era.

This same concept can be applied to food delivery apps and services. If you can’t offer mobile delivery to your customers, they’ll simply look elsewhere for food.

Saves Time For Your Customers

Driving to pickup takeout is time-consuming. This is especially true in metro areas where parking is tough to come by. 

It could take 30 minutes round trip to travel a mile or two in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and other major cities. For some people, this time just isn’t worth the hassle. 

A recent survey suggests that 70% of consumers are willing to pay more money to save time and effort on food delivery services. 

Easy to Use and Order Food

Using a mobile food delivery platform is easy for consumers and businesses alike.

There’s no waiting on hold, struggling to understand thick accents, or trying to hear customers over kitchen noises. 

It’s as simple as selecting food options from a digital menu or grocery list. Items are added to a cart, and payments are processed ahead of time. Businesses get paid immediately, and consumers benefit from convenience. 

With a smartphone, anyone can order food from an app. There’s virtually no learning curve, and your business can reach people of all ages. 

Increased ROI

Food delivery apps are money-making machines. So you can quickly generate a return on your initial budget for development. 

If you’re using an app maker, you’ll only have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use the service. This typically ranges anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on the service and features you need. 

Based on the cost of your subscription, you know what your monthly breakeven point on the food delivery app needs to be. 

Expand Your Business

Creating a food delivery app helps you generate another form of revenue for your business. 

Food delivery services aren’t going anywhere. So you can either adapt with the times or risk becoming irrelevant to your customer base. 

This is a logical expansion for any restaurant or grocery store. Other apps on the market are going to offer food and grocery delivery anyways. Why not handle this internally with your own app? 

Key Features of a Great Food Delivery App

To create a food delivery app that succeeds, you need to ensure it has the right features. While the actual features of your app will vary based on your business type and monetization model, these are some proven ideas to steer you in the right direction:

User Registration and Profile Management

Every great food delivery app has user profiles. But there are several different types of users, and you need to make sure each profile and user interface is designed appropriately.

  • Customer — The customer app is where users will browse for food items and add them to a cart. They must be able to search for nearby restaurants or food categories in a way that provides a seamless browsing experience. Customers should also be able to save their payment information and delivery address on file to speed up the checkout process.
  • Admin — Admin profiles will be used by authorized people at a restaurant or grocery store. This allows them to see orders coming in and manage how they’re being fulfilled. Admins also need access to pricing information and the ability to update menu items. 
  • Delivery Driver — If you’re providing a service that uses third-party drivers, you need to have a completely separate interface for the drivers. This allows them to accept new orders and gives them instructions for pick-ups. Drivers should also have turn-by-turn GPS instructions with a maps integration so they can get items to customers quickly and efficiently. 

If you’re creating an app for your grocery store or restaurant and handling all of the fulfillment and delivery in-house, you could potentially combine the administrative and delivery driver interfaces. But it’s generally better to keep those users separate for security reasons, as a driver shouldn’t have access to pricing changes or things of that nature. 

Search Functionality

Food delivery app users must have a way to quickly find what they’re looking for without scanning through an entire menu.

Think of how many items are available at your local grocery store. Imagine having to scroll through thousands of items to find a single product. That’s not realistic.

If customers don’t know exactly what they want, you should have items categorized in a way that makes sense so they can narrow down their options. For a restaurant, categories might include:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Appetizers
  • Entrees
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Dessert
  • Gluten-Free

For a grocery store, the options might look a little different:

  • Bakery
  • Deli
  • Produce
  • Milk and Eggs
  • Canned Foods
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Household Products and Cleaning Supplies

Payment Integration

An integrated payment solution is crucial for a food delivery app. 

Customers must be able to save their preferred payment methods to their profile. This allows them to checkout with a single click, and they’re not forced to manually enter card details for each purchase. 

Setting up payments through the app also ensures that you’re always getting paid for the service. Relying on cash payments upon delivery or taking payments over the phone after an order is placed just adds complexity to the process. 

This also makes it easy for customers to pay using digital wallets that are already stored on their smartphones.

Coupons and Loyalty Rewards

Customer loyalty is the key to success in any business, and it’s no different with a food delivery service. Having a food delivery app actually gives you an edge in this space compared to other business types. 

That’s because customers must use the app for service. So it’s really easy for them to track their loyalty and redeem rewards from their phones.

There are tons of different approaches to this strategy. For example, you can offer blanket deals like free delivery on orders of $25 or more. Or you can have more specific rewards to encourage customer spending. 

Maybe each $1 spent is worth five points, and points can be redeemed for free food. Every Tuesday and Wednesday is a triple points day. This can encourage people to buy on days that would normally be slower for business. 

BuildFire has customer loyalty plugins that can be added to your app in a single click. They’re really versatile, and you can set them up to create a loyalty program that fits your business model.

Push Notifications

Push notifications can remind customers about upcoming specials and promotions. Examples of messages might include:

  • Order now for FREE delivery!
  • Take 30% off your next two orders
  • Buy one pizza and get a free side
  • New restaurant in your area!
  • Craving ice cream?

All of these notifications would encourage someone to open your food delivery app. You can also use push notifications as a way to remind customers when a driver has arrived with their order.

The great part about push notifications is that you can set them up based on triggers and activity. For example, you can send promotions around dinner time, when customers are more likely to order something.

Or you can send a notification specific to something that a customer has ordered in the past. This ensures that you’re not sending notifications to vegetarians about your steak dinner specials. 

Delivery Tracking

Your food delivery application should make it easy for customers to track orders. This will prevent them from calling and wondering what’s taking so long. 

Existing apps on the market have a pretty standard flow for the status:

  • Preparing order
  • Order ready
  • Driver picking up order
  • Driver en route

In some cases, customers might be able to track the exact location of a driver on a map. Although this may not be necessary for everyone. 

How Much Does Food Delivery App Development Cost?

Food delivery apps can cost anywhere from $500 per month to $50,000+ upfront. Your features and development method will have the largest impact on this price.

A DIY app builder is going to be the most cost-effective option. Rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars upfront to an app development company, you can create the app on your own for a low monthly subscription fee.

Alternatively, if you want to create an app like UberEats that integrates with thousands of restaurants and has real-time GPS tracking, it could cost you millions of dollars. 

For a local restaurant or grocery store that wants to create a food delivery app, you can likely get away with spending $10,000 or $25,000 if you keep it simple. Simplicity doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice features and functionality. It just means you need to eliminate the bells and whistles and only develop what’s necessary for the app to work as needed. 

You can use our app cost calculator to estimate your costs on development. Make sure you keep some money in your budget for post-launch app maintenance as well. This is another reason why it makes more sense to stick with an app builder platform, as all of the maintenance and updates will be handled for you.

Develop Food Delivery App — Final Thoughts 

Food delivery apps can be extremely lucrative. They’re great for local restaurants and grocery stores that want to offer customers a modern way to order food. 

You can also create a food delivery app that connects customers with local restaurants and grocery stores in your area. So you don’t need to be an existing business owner to make an app for food delivery services. 

If you’re ready to create a food delivery app, just follow the simple steps outlined in this guide. Pay close attention to the key features for success that we covered as well. This is where your focus should be during the development process. 

Beginner’s Guide to No Code Development

No-code development is one of the hottest buzzwords in tech right now. No-code platforms are rising in popularity, and the use cases for no-code development are continuously mounting. 

With that said, there’s still a lot of confusion about no-code development—especially for beginners who are new to the concept. 

Some of you might be evaluating a particular no-code platform. Others might be comparing no-code development to other software development options. Whatever the case might be, you’ve come to the right place. 

This in-depth guide will explain everything you need to know about no-code development, answering all of your questions once and for all. You’ll find out what it is, how it works, the advantages of no-code platforms, and use cases for no-code application development. 

What is No Code Development?

As the name implies, no-code development is a software development method that doesn’t require any coding. No-code development is made possible with the help of no-code solutions for rapid application development.

By eliminating code from development, it drastically changes the entire development process. You don’t need to hire developers or outsource your project to an agency. Anyone can use a no-code platform to create an app without any technical skills, programming languages, or technical knowledge. 

No code development is commonly used for mobile app development, web app development, website builders, business process management, backend automation, and more. 

How Does No Code Development Work?

While every no-code platform has slight variations, the basic concept remains constant across this space. 

The entire development process is made possible through visual building blocks and graphical user interfaces. Rather than writing code for functionality, you’re simply telling the platform what you want to accomplish through a drag-and-drop interface or WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor.

All of the elements have already been pre-coded by the platform, and the technical components are handled behind the scenes. Then it’s just a matter of saying, “I want an image here” or “let’s change the color on this screen.”

For mobile app development, you can easily add functionality to your app by installing or enabling plugins or extensions. For example, let’s say you want to add videos to your app. You can simply install a YouTube or Vimeo plugin. Or maybe you want the app to give users directions to your business. This can be accomplished by adding a maps plugin. 

No-code platforms focus on getting critical inputs from the user through visual builders. 

As you make changes through your no-code platform, you’ll be able to see those changes in real time through an emulator. So you know exactly what you’re building and how your software will look from an end-user perspective. 

Benefits of No Code Development Platforms

No-code platforms have significant advantages compared to traditional development. We’ll take a closer look at the top benefits below.

No Code Tools Simplify App Development

No code dev eliminates the complexities associated with creating mobile and web applications. 

Traditional app development requires coding skills to build apps. But there are so many redundant tasks that developers need to follow for every app. 

When you think about it, the vast majority of mobile apps share so many of the same core functionality on the backend. There are just slight variations and functionality differences that make the app unique. For example, refer to all of the ecommerce apps you’ve used in your life. They’re virtually identical, except for different products and branding. 

No-code tools have all of those similar components pre-built on the backend. You just have to enable which functions and advanced features you want in your app. Then you can customize everything else based on how you want the app to look or feel. 

Anyone Can Use a No Code Development Platform

Since you don’t need to write code, anyone can use no-code software to create an app.

This empowers citizen development in the business world, and it offers DIY entrepreneurs a simpler path to launch. No code software bridges the gap between non-technical users and software development. 

You don’t need any coding skills, technical knowledge, or specialized training to get started. Everything is very straightforward, and you can figure it out within an hour or two of basic trial and error. The only learning curve is getting used to the interface of the platform you’re using. 

Hiring developers and designers to build your app is no longer necessary. You can start with a pre-built template and just move things around to your liking. All of the heavy lifting is done for you. 

Additional Reading: How to Make an App — The Ultimate Guide

No Code Development Platforms Are Affordable

No-code app development is a cheap alternative to traditional development. 

If you’re going to hire developers or an agency to create your software, you can expect to pay upwards of $10,000 to $20,000 per month in labor costs alone. These high price points historically made app development only accessible to larger businesses with big budgets. 

But no code development platforms are affordable for any budget. For just a few hundred dollars per month, you can build a high-quality app for your business—and nobody will know the difference. 

The final product is still a fully functional app. Only you’re getting it for a fraction of the cost. Here’s an example of some app builder pricing so you can see what I mean:

You’re just paying for a software subscription—and that’s it!

It’s also much easier to budget for your app development project if you’re paying in quarterly or annual installments. So you won’t have to come up with $20,000 or $50,000 upfront like you might if you’re going the traditional dev route. 

Check out our guide on the hidden costs of software development. You’ll be able to avoid these fees if you use a no-code app builder instead of hiring developers. 

No Code Platforms Speed Up the App Development Process

With a no-code development platform, you can launch your app in days or weeks instead of months or years. 

That’s because all of the core components are built for you. You’re just deciding what you want to include and customizing the app with your own content and branding. 

For example, let’s say you’re a gym owner that wants to create a mobile app for personal training subscriptions. Your development timeline is solely based on your content creation. It’s not like you’re creating backend functionality components for home screens, user registration, and design. All of this is already done for you.

You’re simply uploading the videos and training programs to the app, and deciding who can see them based on their subscription level. 

Getting paid through your app is as easy as enabling a payment feature. You don’t have to manually write code for a custom gateway or anything like that. 

If you want to launch an app fast, no-code development is your best bet. 

Who is No Code Development For?

There are so many different use cases for no-code application development. No code tools are used for mobile apps, web apps, websites, business process automation, internal communication apps, integration apps, and more. 

To see if this software development method is right for you, we’ll take a closer look at the types of people who can benefit the most from no-code platforms. 

Small Businesses

Small business users can use no-code platforms to modernize their businesses. We’re living in a world where everything is trending mobile, and consumers expect all businesses—even small businesses—to have a mobile app. 

But most smaller companies don’t have an extra $50,000 or $100,000+ laying around for app development. 

No-code platforms offer a simple and cost-effective alternative to anyone who falls into this category. For just a few hundred dollars per month, small businesses can have apps that compete with Fortune 500s—for a fraction of the cost. 

Citizen Developers

Citizen development is at an all-time high, with no signs of slowing down. These are internal apps used for business processes and similar functions.

Historically, internal business apps required an IT department with specialized skill sets. But now, any mid-size business can empower its employees to create an app without having to code from the ground up. 

This is a cost-effective solution for businesses, and it’s an easier development method for citizen developers. 

Enterprise Grade Applications

No-code and low-code development platforms can also be used by larger organizations that want to create enterprise-grade applications. 

You may not be signing up for the same subscription as a small business user. But you can still get advanced features from a no-code tool without having to code everything from scratch.

For example, enterprise users may want domain-restricted login access, custom terms and conditions, and SSO (single sign-on) capabilities. They might also want advanced analytics related to app performance and users. Some may even require industry-specific compliance features or advanced integrations.

All of this can be accomplished through a no-code app builder. 

Entrepreneurs

Anyone with an app idea can use a no-code platform to bring their idea to life. 

You can do this without having to hire developers or raise capital from investors. All you need is a no-code platform that fits your needs, and you can create the entire app on your own without any help.

This is also a great opportunity for people who already have a brand identity or online presence. For example, if you’re an influencer, YouTuber, or have a podcast, you can easily expand your presence by creating your own channel for content distribution. 

Your mobile app can be a way to share exclusive content with your audience by charging a subscription fee for access. 

Professional Developers

Even professional developers who have the coding skills and programming knowledge to create apps from scratch can use no-code platforms to simplify the development process. 

Rather than coding all of the redundant lines for each project, you can get a huge head start by leveraging the power of an app builder. 

If you find a no-code platform that’s also developer friendly—like BuildFire—then you can also create custom functionality that can’t be found through the plugin marketplace. 

80% of the app will already be built for you. Then you just need to code that extra 20% to make it unique for your clients. 

You can also rely on BuildFire’s backend infrastructure and servers to maintain the app. So you won’t have to go out and configure all of this on your own. Custom features can be added on top of our existing platform and ecosystem. 

Agencies and Resellers

No code development is the best way to make money selling apps—even if you have zero coding skills. 

There are two main ways to go about this process.

First, you can offer app development services to your clients. This is great for existing agencies that want to expand their service offerings or anyone that wants to start a new app development business from scratch. 

Then you can create the apps for your clients using no-code software and maintain them post-launch. 

Alternatively, you can simply white-label an existing no-code tool and pass it off as your own. All of your branding will be on the platform, and your customers will never know the difference. You’re basically giving them the power of an existing app builder and charging a subscription to use the service. 

You can learn more about BuildFire’s reseller program here

What’s the Difference Between No Code and Low Code Platforms?

Low-code development platforms are intended for professional developers. They require coding experience and technical knowledge to create apps, but they drastically speed up the development process. 

Many low-code platforms come with a pre-built architecture and backend development infrastructure. So repetitive features that you’ll find across most apps are already built for you. All you need to do is enable or disable those functions before building the custom features.

No-code platforms are made for non-technical users and don’t require any technical expertise or specialized training. They bridge the gap between software development and the average user. 

Most no-code platforms operate on closed systems, meaning you’re relying strictly on pre-built plugs or extensions. Low-code platforms are open source, meaning you can reuse code from other systems or projects. 

Getting Started With No Code Development For Mobile Apps

The first thing you need to do is find the right no-code solution for your specific development needs. Check out our list of the best app building software as a starting point. 

BuildFire is the ultimate no-code solution for iOS and Android mobile app development. 

It’s the most powerful app builder on the market today due to its limitless customization and scalability. The platform is easy enough for anyone to use but powerful enough for developers to create custom features and plugins. 

You can use BuildFire to create an app quickly and for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development. Best of all, you’ll have the full support of BuildFire’s team at your disposal if you need any help or assistance throughout the project. 

We’ll even help get your app live on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store once it’s done, and manage updates for you post-launch. 

Use this guide on how to build an app without coding for step-by-step instructions on getting started and launching your app. 

You can also sign up for a 14-day free trial of BuildFire to try it out and get your feet wet with no-code development. 

Final Thoughts

No-code development is the future. 

It’s a simple way for anyone to create apps on a tight budget. No code solutions make it easy to get your app to market quickly and don’t require any technical skills or coding knowledge. 

The vast majority of apps can be built using a no-code tool—so there’s a good chance it’s right for you.

If you have any more questions about how this works or specific questions related to your app idea, reach out to our team here at BuildFire for more information. We’re happy to help!

How to Choose the Best Mobile App Development Company

You want to make an app. That’s great! But now what?

If you’re not comfortable building mobile apps on your own, hiring a mobile app development company is the obvious choice. 

But with hundreds, if not thousands, of app development companies to choose from, this can feel like an overwhelming task for anyone going through the process. 

Fortunately, narrowing down the best app development company for your app is much easier when you have a blueprint to follow, which is exactly why we created this guide.

You can use our evaluation criteria below to eliminate options and find an app development company that fits your specific needs. Ready? Let’s dive in!

11 Tips to Find the Best App Development Companies

Use these tips and best practices as a buying guide for mobile app development companies. As you go through each step, your list of qualified candidates will get shorter and shorter, until you’re left with one or two options that can accommodate app ideas.

1. Compare Mobile App Development Companies

Starting from scratch is arguably the hardest part of this entire process. You might start with a Google search for “best mobile app development companies” or “top app developers”—something along those lines. 

The initial search will yield a lot of hits for web apps, mobile apps, hybrid mobile app development, cross-platform app development, and more. But this isn’t enough information to start hiring mobile app developers just yet. 

You need to start with a clear picture of what type of mobile app you want. 

Are you creating a gaming app? A business app for employee communication? An app for your restaurant? The list goes on and on.

Do you need mobile and web apps built by the same custom software development company? Do you need project management assistance? Do you need Android app development, iOS app development, or both?

As you start to answer these questions, you’ll immediately be able to eliminate options from your list. 

You’ll find that some mobile app development companies specialize in niche-specific builds, such as internal apps for business processes. Some are great for AR/VR and gaming apps. Others offer a wider range of custom app development solutions. 

If you need a starting point to work with, check out our complete guide of the top ten best custom software development companies. You can reference this list as you continue through the steps below and eliminate options as you’re qualifying candidates. 

2. Look at Their App Development Portfolio

Now that you have a shorter list of contenders, go through each one to see what types of apps they’ve built for their clients.

You’ll likely see different options like:

  • Ecommerce apps
  • Gym and fitness apps
  • Educational apps
  • Apps for events
  • Restaurant apps
  • Podcast apps
  • Religious apps
  • Employee communication apps
  • Business workflow apps
  • Gaming apps

The best app development companies should be able to build anything. But it’s definitely in your best interest to find a company that has experience with the type of app you need. 

You won’t want your project to be an experiment for the company. So this is definitely an important consideration. 

3. Evaluate the App Design Process

App design and development go hand-in-hand. 

The best app development companies work with you through each stage of the design process. This includes wireframing, design concepts, storyboards, prototyping, and more. 

You should be looking for a development company that understands the importance of UX (user experience) design and UI (user interface design). 

Even a highly functional app is useless if the design stinks. That’s the first thing your users will notice when they download and open your app. 

So if the app development company you hire falls short with design, your final product will suffer. 

4. Consider the Experience of Mobile App Developers

App development companies come in all different shapes and sizes. 

You might find smaller boutique firms with one or two developers on staff. There are also large agencies that employ dozens of developers. But most fall somewhere in between. 

Ask questions about who will be working on your app. How long have they been building apps? What types of apps have they built?

An app developer with a history in web development doesn’t always translate to success in mobile app development. The longer they’ve been building apps, the better it is for you. 

For example, BuildFire has built more than 10,000+ apps. That’s a long history of experience that comes with knowledge that can’t be replicated by taking a development course online. Working with a company like this ensures that your developers have seen it all, and they won’t be surprised if something unexpected or tricky comes up along the way. 

FREE Ebook Download: The Definitive Guide to Building an Expert App Development Team

5. Find a Software Development Company That Can Bring Your Mobile App Idea to Life

You need to find a mobile app developer that believes in your vision. 

Some mobile application development services just put out what you tell them to. They listen to your instructions and do their best to create features based on what you want.

But features and vision aren’t the same things. 

It’s really important for your mobile app development company to truly understand your idea. Where do you want your app to be in the short term? What will your app look like in five or ten years? How does your app solve problems for your customers?

If they understand the problem that you’re trying to solve, they can use that information to enhance the app and its features. 

Otherwise, your app will just be a series of different functions that don’t make any sense towards your greater goal or mission. 

For example, look at an app like Uber.

Let’s pretend you came up with this concept and brought the idea to a mobile app development company. You tell them that you need an app for users to book car transportation. The output likely wouldn’t be the Uber we know today.

Instead, you’d have to explain your vision. You want an on-demand ridesharing service that’s a quick and convenient way for anyone to book a ride from their phone. The app connects drivers with riders in real time and offers a safe experience for both parties. In five years, you want the app to expand, giving people the option to order food and groceries from those same drivers.

If the mobile app development company doesn’t have a firm understanding of your vision, then you’re likely going to be unhappy with the final result. 

6. Look for a Consultative Approach

Understanding your idea is just one part of the equation. But you need to look beyond the basic mobile app development services and find an app development company that offers consultancy as well. 

A consultative approach might challenge your ideas. They could make suggestions or improvements to shape the app based on their experience. 

You can even find a mobile app development company that assists with app market research to validate your idea before the build.

Here’s a somewhat extreme example to showcase my point. Let’s pretend you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade and approach an app development company with an idea for a social media platform. But your idea is basically describing exactly what Facebook does.

A good app development company will tell you it’s probably not the best idea to move forward, as there’s no market demand for this idea. 

Instead, you need a way to differentiate yourself—such as an unfiltered social media platform where users don’t have a chance to edit photos before posting or have public comments. This idea describes the Daylyy mobile app, created by BuildFire. 

Your app consultants should also be able to tell you which features to add and which ideas can be eliminated—at least for the initial release. You can always expand and grow your app down the road, and the best app developers understand this. 

7. Assess Your Budget

How much are you willing to spend on app development?

Some agencies might charge upwards of $250,000 and others might charge $25,000 for the exact same app. 

Cheaper isn’t always better. But with that said, paying the highest price doesn’t automatically mean you’re working with a top mobile app development company. 

Instead of looking at the bottom line price, think about the value you’re getting with the service. 

Sure, you could save $50,000 or $100,000 by outsourcing your project to a developer in Eastern Europe. But then you’ll have to deal with time zone changes, language barriers, and other challenges. The final product likely won’t be on par with an app built by a US-based development company. 

But before you hire mobile app developers, you should have a rough idea of your budget. This will give you a chance to automatically qualify or disqualify options based on the total cost. 

We have a complete guide on how much it costs to make an app that can help you with your budget. You can also use our app cost calculator to get a quick estimate based on what you’re looking for. 

If you’re on a really tight budget, an app development company may not be your best option. Instead, you can use a mobile app development platform to create an app on your own without writing code. 

8. Look For Limitless Customization

Custom software development needs to be a priority. Unless, of course, you’re just looking for something basic—like turning your website into an app

What limitations are restrictions you have? Is there anything that the company can’t build?

The best mobile app developers should be honest and transparent about this. 

In some cases, this won’t be a dealbreaker. For example, let’s say you come across a quality app development company that doesn’t create games or virtual reality apps. 

If you’re just building an ecommerce app or an app for your barbershop, those limitations won’t make a difference in your development project. 

So while it’s ok to vet app developers with some scrutiny, you don’t automatically need to disqualify candidates if they can’t do one or two things that are unrelated to your idea. 

9. Find Out if They Offer Post-Launch Maintenance and Support

The interaction with your app developer shouldn’t end once your app is built. If the company is simply going to hand you an app, then disappear into the horizon, you’re going to be stuck with a big problem.

You should only be considering mobile app development services that offer post-launch maintenance and support. Here’s why.

Mobile apps are a never-ending project. 

What happens when Apple comes out with a new iPhone in six months, and your app no longer meets the compatibility requirements of a new device or iOS version? Do you have the ability to make those changes?

What will you do if your users discover a bug in the app? Can you fix this on your own?

Apps also require tons of backend infrastructure components to operate smoothly. They need push notification servers, web servers, databases, and security patching—the list is never-ending. 

Unless you have the capacity and internal resources to handle this stuff on your own, it’s much easier to just lean on your app development company.

When you’re ready to expand, add new features, and scale your app in the future, they’ll just be a phone call away and can implement those changes with ease. 

10. Read Customer Reviews and Consider the Company’s Reputation

App development services are like anything else. If you’re going to read online reviews before you buy a $20 razor or a backpack, then you should definitely be reading reviews before you spend tens of thousands of dollars on app development.

Take your time to see what real clients are saying about the company you’re considering. 

Don’t let one or two bad reviews throw you off. There will always be some unhappy customers out there, and if you’re a business owner, this is something you’re already familiar with.

Instead, look for consistency. Are the majority of customers happy?

If you’re looking through reviews and you see dozens of people complaining about the same shortcomings in the service, then it’s obviously going to be a red flag. This is a situation where you should proceed with caution and maybe eliminate that option from your list. 

11. Request a Consultation to Get a Feel for How it Works

Once you have a shortlist of two or three companies that fit what you’re looking for, it’s time to move forward and reach out for more information. 

Don’t rush through the buying process. 

Hopping on a call to talk about your idea and see what types of services can be provided for you will make your decision much easier. You should have a pretty good gut feeling by the end of the call if the app development company is a good fit for your project.

If you don’t know what to ask them, you can use this guide as a reference. 

You can schedule your free consultation with BuildFire here. Our team will provide you with a detailed roadmap of how we’ll bring your idea to life. You’ll also get a price estimate that shows how BuildFire can save you thousands of dollars compared to other agencies on the market. 

Final Thoughts

Comparing the top mobile app development companies can be tough if you don’t know what to look for. My hope is that this guide helped steer you in the right direction, so you can narrow down quality options based on your specific needs. 

Depending on your project, some of these tips will hold more weight than others. But they’re all important to consider as you’re shopping around and exploring your options. 

If you’re ready to move forward, check out BuildFire Plus—our all-inclusive app development service. From strategy sessions through design, development, and post-launch support, we’ve got you covered. 

BuildFire is more than just an app development company. We’re a partner in your success. 

What’s the Difference Between iOS and Android Development?

iOS and Android are the two most popular smartphone operating systems worldwide. So if you’re making mobile apps, you need to decide if you’re going to build for iOS, Android, or both.

Most people understand this concept at a basic level—iOS and Android are different. But exactly how are they different?

That’s why we created this guide. 

Whether you’re a prospective developer, entrepreneur, or just a tech-savvy business user that wants to further your knowledge, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll cover everything you need to know about iOS and Android, including a clear explanation of each platform and the key differences between them.

What is iOS Mobile App Development?

iOS app development refers to mobile apps for Apple’s mobile operating system. iOS apps run on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices. 

Apple has various operating systems for its devices. For example, applications built for Mac computers run on macOS. There is even an iOS variant, iPodOS, that’s specifically for iPads.

iOS development caters specifically to the unique device specifications and security requirements of Apple’s mobile operating system. 

What is Android App Development?

Android app development is the process of making mobile applications that run on the Android operating system. 

Android (developed by Google), has a wide range of devices that run using this OS. The list of brands includes Samsung, Google, Motorola, OnePlus, Sony, and thousands more.

In fact, there are more than 24,000 different types of devices that use the Android operating system, distributed by roughly 1,300 companies. 

11 Key Differences Between iOS and Android Apps

Android and iOS are different in many ways. Below we’ll cover the top 11 key differences between the two mobile operating systems dominating the global market share.

1. Programming Languages

iOS and Android are powered by different backend tech stacks. 

Swift and Objective-C are the two main programming languages used to code iOS apps. Swift is designed specifically for Apple products and is typically not used for anything beyond iOS development. 

Android apps generally rely on Java and Kotlin programming languages. But Java also has use cases that work beyond Android devices. So if you’re a developer that’s familiar with Java, there’s an easier bridge to coding for Android. 

Check out our guide on the best programming languages for mobile app development to learn more about all of these languages and more. 

2. Design Strategy

When comparing iOS vs. Android, you’ll also notice some crucial differences between the way apps are designed. 

Apple favors app content over design. So you’ll see more white space used to highlight app-specific features and clarity. iOS developers should refer to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for best practices.

When designing for Android devices, you’ll have a bit more flexibility with color changes, motion, and light. The design guidelines aren’t quite as strict. 
Android developers can refer to the Material Design for Android to learn more about the interaction design and motion between Android devices.

3. Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

Android and Apple both have different IDEs—integrated development environments. 

Android developers can create an Android app using Android Studio, which was initially developed by Google back in 2013.  

This is the official IDE for Android app development. It’s built on IntelliJ IDEA software from JetBrains and available to download on Linux, Windows, Chrome and macOS operating systems. 

iOS developers rely on Xcode.

Xcode is Apple’s official IDE for all Apple software, including iOS. You can use Xcode to build apps for iOS, macOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

Unlike Android Studio, Xcode is only compatible with macOS. So you can’t download it on your Linux or Windows machine. 

We have a complete Xcode tutorial that explains how it works and how to get started with iOS app development

So which IDE is better—Android Studio or Xcode?

Each software has its pros and cons. Android Studio is a bit more versatile for developers who already have experience creating apps for other operating systems. But Xcode is easier to set up for beginners.

Both platforms have excellent debugging features, although Xcode might have the edge in this category. Android studio’s advanced code editor and layout design features might be more popular, although some users complain that it takes up too much memory on their devices. 

4. Devices

When it comes to iOS devices, you’re basically just talking about different versions of the iPhone. You can put iPads and iPod Touch devices into this category as well. 

But the list of Android devices is significantly larger.

As mentioned earlier, there are more than 24,000 different Android devices. Since the first iPhone launched back in 2007, there have been less than 40 different versions of this device for iOS.  

5. App Distribution

Each platform has its own app store for distribution.

iOS apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, and Android Apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. 

For more information, check out our step-by-step guide on publishing your app to the app store

Android apps are better if you want to distribute your app to the widest possible audience. But iOS has some cool developer programs for app testing and distributing private apps. 

Additional Reading: How to Distribute an iOS App Without Using App Stores

6. User Base

Android users and iOS users are different.

In the United States, there’s about an even split between the two operating systems. As of January 2022, iOS has a slight edge—controlling 51.2% of the US mobile OS market share

But with a whopping 87% market share, Android dominates globally. 

So if you’re on the fence about developing for iOS or Android, one of the first things you need to do is assess your target market. If you’re developing it for people in the US, you’ll likely need to build for both platforms. But if you’re developing for an international audience, excluding the US, you can stick with Android. 

7. Monetization Strategy

Studies suggest that iPhone users earn more money than Android users. In fact, the median household income of an iPhone user is $85,000, compared to $61,000 for Android.

This is important information to consider when you’re looking for ways to monetize your app

Since iPhone users may have more buying power, you can factor in things like in-app purchases with iOS development. 

But Android developers may need to focus more on other ways to make money, such as in-app advertising. 

8. App Store Rules and Submission Guidelines

Apple and Android have different processes for vetting apps.

Generally speaking, the Apple App Store is much stricter than the Google Play Store. 

Poor quality apps and apps that aren’t very creative can still be published on Google Play. But Apple prioritizes quality and security. 

For example, you can’t just take the mobile version of your website and turn it into an app for the Apple App Store. Apple requires the app to have distinct features and differences from your website. 

Make sure you check out the App Store Review Guidelines before you submit your app to Apple. It’s a long document, but it clearly outlines all of the rules you need to follow. 

Aside from the rules, your app will appear differently in both stores. This means you may need to have a different app name, description, visuals, and other marketing promos for each store.

We have a guide on app store optimization that explains this in greater detail. 

It’s also worth noting that the Apple App Store approval process typically takes a few days, while Google Play only takes a few hours. 

9. App Security

The Apple App Store is generally safer than the Google Play Store. This is directly tied to Apple’s strict standards for submission and scrutiny of apps that don’t meet the standards. 

There are significantly more apps with malware on the Play Store vs. the App Store. 

That’s why it’s so important to have a secure app development method. This will not only protect your business, but also your users. If you create your app with BuildFire, you can rest easy knowing that everything is secure on the backend—regardless of the app store it’s on.

10. App Development Timeline

Generally speaking, Android development is more complex than iOS development. This has a direct correlation with the total development timeline.

Android developers need to account for a wider range of devices and screen sizes. Whereas Apple is much more limited.

Aside from having to adjust the graphics for more devices, Android developers also have to run tests and catch bugs on more devices. This is a time-consuming process.

While it obviously varies based on the type of app you’re building and the features you want, most Android apps take about 30% to 40% longer to launch than iOS apps.

Additional Reading: How to Launch an App Fast

11. Total Cost of Development

Longer timelines generally translate to higher costs. 

That’s why it usually costs more money to create an Android app vs. iOS app.

But again, there are lots of factors at play when you’re thinking about your app budget and total cost of development. 

As you can see from the graph above, the average cost of a complex app using developers in Eastern Europe would be cheaper than creating a basic app using developers in North America.

The average cost of iOS developers in North America is about $150 compared to $168 for Android. Both of those numbers drop to about $35 per hour when outsourced overseas. 

Using BuildFire for iOS and Android App Development

BuildFire is the ultimate solution for cross-platform apps. Rather than developing two separate apps for iOS and Android, you can use BuildFire to create both with a single build.

As a no-code app builder, BuildFire makes it possible for anyone to create an app without any technical skills or programming knowledge.

This helps you get your app to market as quickly as possible and for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development. 

Unlike other app builders on the market, BuildFire is developer-friendly. This means you can create custom functionality and scale limitlessly, so you’ll never outgrow the platform.

BuildFire also offers in-house development services. So if you want to outsource the project completely or just outsource a few custom features, we can handle whatever you need.

Final Thoughts on iOS Apps and Android Mobile Apps

Android and iOS development are very different. 

But most of you need to have an app available on both platforms. Rather than learning how to write code in multiple languages and navigate the difficult waters of platform-specific IDEs, you can just use a no-code app maker like BuildFire to simplify your project.

Sign up for a 14-day free trial to get started today, or reach out to our team for more information. 

App Maker Buying Guide (2023)

If you want to create mobile apps without writing code, an app maker is your best option. 

An app builder makes it easy for business owners and entrepreneurs to create apps at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development. You can also get your app to market quickly, in days or weeks, as opposed to months or years. 

There’s just one problem—the marketplace is flooded with different app makers. Finding the best app maker for your and your unique situation can be challenging, especially if you’ve never gone through this process. 

That’s why we created this guide. You can use the criteria below to evaluate the best app builders by weeding out the bad options and narrowing down the serious contenders. 

What is an App Maker?

App maker software is designed to create mobile apps without any code. Anyone can use an app builder to create their own app for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Historically, mobile app development required specialized skills and developers. Only those who were fluent in writing code in specific programming languages could create an application. Those who didn’t possess these skills either had to learn them or hire people to create the app. 

But app makers bridge the gap to app development for non-technical users. 

All of the technical specifications of the app are handled on the backend of the software. You just need to tell the app builder what features and functions you want included in the app using drag-and-drop technology or plugins.

Some of you reading this right now are already familiar with how this works. Lots of small business owners and entrepreneurs use website builders to power their sites. App makers use the exact same concept, except the end result is a mobile app instead of a website. 

Check out our list of the best app building software to see some examples. 

Benefits of Using an App Maker to Create Mobile Apps

Why should you use an app maker? 

There are significant advantages to using an app builder compared to traditional development. Examples include:

  • No coding or technical skills required
  • You don’t need to hire and manage a development team
  • Faster path to app launch
  • It’s much cheaper to use an app maker
  • There’s virtually no learning curve
  • You can work on your app from anywhere without downloading software
  • It’s easier to make changes and update the app
  • All of the backend infrastructure is managed for you
  • Build for iOS and Android at the same time

Overall, app makers provide a faster and stress-free development experience—saving you tens of thousands of dollars.

Just be aware that if you’re planning to build a gaming app, VR/AR app, or app that’s highly graphics intensive, an app maker might not be the best option to consider. But for any other type of mobile app, app builders get the job done great and your end-users won’t know the difference. 

What to Look For in an App Builder

There are certain factors you should be using to evaluate app makers and compare them side-by-side. Use the criteria below as a buying guide to help you determine if a prospective app builder meets the specifications for your project and needs:

Simplicity

The first thing you need to consider is the ease of use. That’s one of the main reasons you’re considering this method for your mobile app.

If it’s going to take you weeks or months just to learn how the app development platform works, then the software is likely too complicated.

Don’t get me wrong. An app maker is like any other piece of software. There’s going to be a slight learning curve the first few times you’re using it. Even Facebook or Instagram took a few sessions for you to learn where everything was on the app.

Finding an intuitive app builder with a user-friendly interface needs to be a priority. So take advantage of any free trials offered by the platform to get a feel for how it works. You’ll know within a week or two if the software can accommodate your needs or if it’s just too complex for your skill level.

Cost

There will obviously be a cost variation between the platforms you’re considering. Even within a specific platform, you’ll likely see different subscription options—each with more features and functions at different tiers.

Don’t like price alone drive your decision. Instead, look at the value you’re getting.

For example, you might find an app builder on the market for $200 per month and another one for $350. But if the $200 plan only lets you create an Android app and you want to build for iOS and Android, then that’s useless for your project. 

The best app makers let you create a mobile app for iOS, Android, tablets, and PWA (progressive web apps). They also come with app analytics, built-in security, access to premium plugins, push notifications, and more. 

You should also consider the level of service and support you’re getting if you need some help or want something customized. You’re probably not going to get that from a free app builder. So spending a little bit more today can actually help you out tremendously in the long run. 

Features and Functionality

What type of app are you building? What do you want your app to do?

You need to know the answer to these questions as you’re comparing platforms. 

Let’s say you want to create a mobile app to manage memberships for your gym. Or maybe you’re creating an app for internal employee communication. Does the no-code app builder you’re considering have the functionality you need to make this possible?

Don’t just look at what your app will be when it launches. You also need to make sure the app builder offers the functionality you need as your app grows down the road.

BuildFire has more than 150+ plugins that you can use to easily add features to your app with a single click. From appointment scheduling to videos, maps, push notifications, and more, we have you covered.

The best part about BuildFire, compared to other app makers, is its limitless functionality.

If you have a unique or custom feature idea that isn’t available in our plugin marketplace, it’s no problem—our in-house development team can create it for you. So you’ll never outgrow the platform. 

Compatible Platforms

Where do you want to launch your native mobile apps?

With traditional development, you need to code separate versions of your app for each operating system. Your iOS app and Android app are essentially two different projects, both requiring different developers to complete the job.

But app builders let you create multiple apps for each platform with a single build. So just make sure the software you’re considering has that option.

At a minimum, it should offer iOS and Android versions. But the best tools provide you with iPad versions and PWA as well. This helps get your app into the hands of the widest possible audience.

Design Tools

There are lots of makers on the market that really lack design options. Even though you’re using an app creator, it should still feel like your very own mobile app—not a cookie-cutter version that looks exactly like every other app created on the same platform. 

Starting with an industry-specific template is always a plus.

For example, the homepage of an educational app probably shouldn’t be too similar to the homepage for a religious app. An ecommerce app should have a different design from an event planning app.

You should have full control over color schemes, buttons, menus, fonts, and every other visual component of the app and user interface. 

For more information, download a free copy of our ebook—The Definitive Guide to Mobile App Design.

Support

This is a huge factor in the app creation process that’s often overlooked.

No matter how easy it might be to use different app makers, there’s a good chance you’re going to have a question at some point or another. It might not be today or next week, but it could be next month or next year.

When that happens, will the support team be there for you?

Support is more than just a chatbot sending you to a knowledge base article. It’s someone who can offer you real advice and suggestions to get an answer. 

I strongly recommend that you use an app maker from a company that also offers app development services. This will give you the best possible support compared to standalone app development tools. 

In a year or two, you might want a completely customized feature or function to accommodate market demands or a shift in your business model. When this situation arises, you want the ability to lean on your support options without being forced to move your app elsewhere. 

If you’re going to outgrow the platform in a couple of years because the support options are limited, then it’s probably not the best app maker for your project. 

App Performance

At the end of the day, the mobile apps you’re building need to perform at a high level. 

Your customers and user base don’t care what platform you used to build the app or how much you spent. They just want something that works as it’s intended to do.

Downtime, crashing, bugs—all of this spells disaster for your app. 

Instead, you want an app that’s bug-free and loads quickly. You should be able to monitor all of the app analytics from your admin panel to see if users are experiencing problems and how they can be improved. 

Look through some of the apps that were built on the platform you’re considering. Read the reviews and download them to see how well they’re performing. This will give you a good indication of how well your app will perform if you build it with the same platform. 

Why BuildFire is the Best App Maker to Create an App

BuildFire is unlike any other app maker on the market today. It’s a simple yet powerful way to create an app for iOS, Android, and PWA—without any coding experience or technical knowledge. 

You can get started in minutes and choose a stunning template from a unique selection of industry-specific categories. From there, it’s just a matter of adding functions by installing plugins from our marketplace. You have full control over the design, and it’s easy to make changes to your app from anywhere.

But where BuildFire really stands out from the crowd is its limitless customization. 

We also offer full-service app development. So our in-house team is fully capable of creating custom features and functions on top of the platform. 

With other app builders on the market, you’re limited to what your app can do based on the feature list. If a feature isn’t available, then you’re out of luck. 

If you want a custom feature and don’t want to use our developers, that’s fine too. The BuildFire SDK makes it possible for you to use your own developers to create that functionality. All of which can be built on top of our existing infrastructure. 

We also offer exceptional support through each step of the development project. So you can always reach out to our team for assistance and guidance. 

Once your app is done, we’ll even help you get it live on the app stores. All of the security, maintenance, and backend requirements are handled for you. 

BuildFire has been used to create more than 10,000+ mobile apps. So you know that it’s a reputable and reliable solution. 

Start your 14-day free trial to see if BuildFire is right for you.

Final Thoughts

Using an app maker is the best path to development for the vast majority of mobile apps. 

Make sure you use this guide as you’re shopping around and comparing options. If you use the criteria and buying considerations mentioned above, you’ll easily find the best platform for your app development needs. 

Low-Code/No-Code App Development: What’s the Difference?

The terms low-code and no-code are often confused with each other. While both low-code and no-code have some similarities, they’re actually two completely different solutions for app development.

With that said, some low-code development platforms also offer no-code capabilities. Other platforms that are branded as no-code tools have some low-code options built in. (It’s no wonder that even savvy business users confuse these terms).

If you need help distinguishing the difference between low-code and no-code platforms, you’ve come to the right place. 

This guide covers everything you need to know about low-code vs. no-code, including a clear definition of each, the differences between them, the pros and cons of no-code/low-code, and the best no-code/low-code platforms for development. Let’s dive right in. 

What is Low Code?

Low-code makes it possible for professional developers of varying skill levels to quickly build applications with minimal hard-coding efforts. 

Using no code to create software can best be compared to traditional development. The only difference is that no-code platforms offer different shortcuts that streamline the process. Rather than spending time coding repetitive tasks from scratch, low-code platforms have basic software elements and infrastructure already built. 

Low-code platforms follow a rapid app development (RAD) approach that includes things like automated code generation through drag-and-drop interfaces, pull-down interfaces, and other visual building blocks. 

Developers can focus the majority of their efforts on writing code for the smaller parts of the application that make it unique compared to other apps on the market. But all the boilerplate and repetitive code is handled by the platform. 

As a developer, you can still write custom code over the automated code provided by a low-code tool. 

What is No Code?

No-code is exactly what it sounds like. It enables anyone, regardless of technical knowledge or programming experience, to create applications without writing a single line of code. 

The possibilities of no-code development stretch far and wide. They’re trusted by citizen developers to create apps for business processes, entrepreneurs launching new websites, and business owners building mobile apps to expand.

Similar to low-code, no-code development also uses a RAD approach. But it’s completely hands-off when it comes to coding and programming.

No-code platforms are 100% dependent on using visual tools, plugins, modules, and drag-and-drop builders to create an app. 

In simple terms, anyone can use no-code platforms without any specialized skills or training. If you know how to browse the web, you can create an application using a no-code app builder

Some of you might have experience building websites with platforms like Wix or Squarespace. Both of those tools fall into the no-code category. 

What’s the Difference Between Low Code and No Code?

There are definitely some similarities between low-code development platforms and no-code app makers. But at a granular level, you’ll see that there are major differences between low-code and no-code when you look at the details.

Let’s take a closer look at these differences below:

End-User

Low-code solutions are made for professional developers. These users need to have a background of programming and development to use a no-code tool. But they’re just looking for a shortcut that doesn’t require 100% custom code from scratch.

Anyone can use a no-code platform, including average business users who don’t have any development experience. While professional developers could technically use a no-code tool, most would prefer a low-code system—as it allows them to use their unique skills.

Open vs. Closed System

Low-code leverages open systems that allow users to add functionality to an application by writing code. For example, developers can create a custom plugin or feature on an open system and then re-use that code later for another project. 

Traditional no-code platforms are closed. This means that you’d need to rely on pre-built plugins and templates for functionality. There’s no manual code written that can customize anything beyond the platform’s capability.

With that said, there are some no-code platforms that do offer custom extensibility through an open system. 

For example, BuildFire is a no-code app development tool that’s also developer friendly. So if you want to create a custom feature for an app that isn’t available through a plugin, you can have a developer make it for you with the BuildFire SDK. 

Other no-code platforms don’t offer this type of flexibility and customization, which is why BuildFire is the best app building software on the market today. 

Speed

Low-code requires more time, training, and onboarding to get a project through development and deployment. It’s still significantly faster than traditional development, but the specialized skill requirements won’t get the application to market as fast as no-code.

No-code tools are all about plug-and-play. 90% of the work is already done—it’s just a matter of customizing a few details to make the app your own. 

You won’t have to worry about too much time testing your app either since there are fewer chances of errors that would traditionally be introduced into an app through manual coding. 

If speed is your top priority, check out this guide on how to launch an app fast

Use Cases

Both low-code and no-code development can be used to create a wide range of different software and applications. 

With that in mind, low-code is often the preferred choice for apps related to business process management, business workflows, internal business apps, and software for custom integrations. It’s a reliable choice for professional developers working on creating custom solutions for their employers.

No-code development can be used to create almost anything. It’s great for education apps, health and fitness apps, internal communication apps, event apps, ecommerce apps—the list goes on and on.

The main idea with no-code is that you’re taking advantage of as much pre-built functionality as possible. For example, every ecommerce app is going to offer the same basic features. The app will have products, a shopping cart, a payment portal, and some type of user profile. Making the app your own is just about adding your specific products and customizing the content and design to match your branding. 

It’s also worth noting that neither low-code nor no-code tools are ideal for graphics-intensive apps, AR/VR apps, or games. If you’re looking to create the next Facebook or YouTube, low-code and no-code probably won’t get the job done either. These situations are better suited for traditional development. 

What is a Low Code Development Platform?

A low-code development platform relies on visual tools and process modeling techniques to define different parts of the software, including rules, workflows, and user interfaces. 

All of these visuals are converted to code on the backend thanks to the low-code system. 

Developers seek out a low-code platform when they want to automate the basic and generic elements of coding, so they spend the bulk of their time on customization. 

Low-code platforms provide the architecture and infrastructure required for development. Certain databases and repetitive features that are common across all apps are included already—it’s just a matter of enabling or disabling them to your liking. 

90% of the code can be generated automatically using the tool. Then low-level code can be written from scratch to customize the remaining 10%.

How Do No Code Development Platforms Work?

Unlike low-code platforms, the no-code development process does not require any coding skills. A no-code platform relies solely on visual building on the front end. 

You’ll start with a template, and then you can add content in plain text, change the colors, add videos, and control your design from a visual editor. 

Adding functionality is simple. You just need to install a plugin or enable a function. 

For example, let’s say you’re a personal trainer and using a no-code app builder to provide mobile training to your clients. 

There’s a good chance you’ll want to add videos to the app that demonstrate how to properly do various workouts. You can add these with ease by installing a YouTube or Vimeo plugin to your app. Then it’s just a matter of selecting which videos you want to include and where you want them.

Maybe you want the app to have a booking feature for clients to schedule appointments. There’s a plugin for that too. 

Or maybe you want an interactive map that shows clients how to get to a nearby gym where you work. That’s just a click away.

The functionality for all of these scenarios is already pre-built. While those functions aren’t included in the app when you’re first getting started, they’re already available on the no-code platform. You just need to add the ones you want to make your app unique. 

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to build an app without coding for more information on how this works. 

Pros and Cons of Low Cow Code Development Platforms

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and drawbacks of using low-code tools for app development:

Low-Code Pros

  • No-code solutions make it possible to build apps simultaneously for multiple platforms.
  • For large projects, you won’t have to wait for other developers to finish building parts of the app since most of the basics are already coded for you.
  • There’s less risk involved with low-code development because they don’t require as many resources.
  • Fewer risks mean less money, which both translate to a higher ROI.

Low-Code Cons

  • You need to have development knowledge to use a low-code platform.
  • Scalability for enterprise apps isn’t always possible.
  • Making major changes within the platform itself may not be easy.

Pros and Cons of No Code Platforms

No-code software development is growing in popularity for varying use cases. But keep the following considerations in mind before you get started:

No-Code Pros

  • Low barrier to entry into the world of app development.
  • Anyone can use a no-code platform, and no coding skills are required.
  • No-code is the fastest and easiest way to create an app.
  • No-code development is the most cost-effective way to make an app.
  • You don’t have to hire a development team.
  • No-code apps can be built for both iOS and Android.
  • You can deploy your app to both App Stores with a single click.

No-Code Cons

  • Depending on the platform you’re using, some no-code tools restrict your growth.
  • Complete customization isn’t always possible with low-grade app builders.
  • Not ideal for games, AR, VR, or unicorn apps (like Facebook, Tinder, or Uber).

Best Low-Code/No-Code Development Platform For Mobile Apps

BuildFire is the best low-code/no-code development platform for iOS and Android. It’s the most powerful no-code development tool on the market today, but it also provides developers with the tools they need to code custom functionality from scratch.

Where traditional no-code app builders fall short, BuildFire fills the gaps with its truly unlimited scale and customization options. 

With BuildFire, all of your app infrastructure and backend services are handled for you. You won’t have to worry about securing servers or managing databases on the backend to manage your app.

Just use the no-code visual editor to customize your app and see the changes in real-time through our app emulator. 

The platform is completely web-based. So you don’t have to install anything to your computer to make an app with BuildFire. Adding features is simple. Just choose from one of the 150+ pre-built plugins from the BuildFire marketplace.

Need something that you don’t see in the form of a plugin? No problem.

BuildFire’s SDK empowers your developers to create custom plugins and features using low-code technology. If you don’t have developers and don’t want to hire any, that’s not a problem either. You can just reach out to BuildFire, and our in-house development team will create it for you.

When it comes to no-code/low-code app development, there’s truly nothing else like BuildFire on the market today. 

Final Thoughts

Gone are the days when you needed to rely on hard coding from scratch to create software.

Low-code/no-code app development solutions make it easier for professional developers, citizen developers, and the average person to create an app with ease. There’s no need to spend a fortune, and it won’t take a year to deploy your app either.

These tools allow you to launch an app in weeks or months and for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development. 

With all of this in mind, it’s worth noting that low-code and no-code development aren’t the same. The technology does have some similarities, but they’re both very different at the end of the day.

If you’re unsure whether no-code or low-code is right for you, try BuildFire. BuildFire is the best of both worlds, and it’s trusted by business users with no coding experience and professional developers alike.

Sign up today to start your 14-day free trial

Getting Started With iOS App Development

iOS app development can be a lucrative venture. It allows you to reach the one billion people who use iPhones globally. 

Existing businesses and new entrepreneurs alike recognize the opportunities associated with iOS mobile app development. But getting started is often the biggest hurdle, and that’s why we created this guide. 

Continue below to find out everything you need to get started with iOS app development. We’ll even show you a shortcut to success. 

What is iOS App Development?

iOS app development is the process of making software to run on Apple iPhone, iPad, and iTouch hardware. Like any software project, the iOS app development process has unique requirements to ensure the application is compatible and meets the specifications for Apple devices.

iOS applications can be deployed on the Apple App Store for users to download. 

Apple has specific developer guidelines for iOS apps. These guidelines contain the rules and best practices for iOS app development, including what it takes to get your app published to the Apple App Store

Prerequisites to Develop iOS Apps

There are certain requirements you need to have in place before you start developing iOS apps. 

Most of these are technical requirements that provide you with the tools and resources for development. We’ll take a closer look at each one below and link out to some other helpful resources that you can use to learn more about the topics. 

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

The first thing you need for any mobile app development project is an integrated development environment—better known as an IDE. 

An IDE is essentially software that enables developers to build applications. IDEs combine a range of developer tools into one GUI (graphical user interface). 

Xcode is Apple’s official IDE, and it requires a Mac computer to operate. 

There are some workarounds out there to use Xcode on a Windows-based PC. But generally speaking, it’s not in your best interest to go this route. If you’re serious about being an iOS developer, you should have the right hardware. 

With Xcode, you can do more than just create apps for iPhones and iPads. You can also use this tool to create, test, and distribute apps for all Apple devices across every Apple platform. 

This includes applications for Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. You’ll have a compiler, text editor, and name system all in one place. 

The software offers a wide range of debugging tools, project management resources, and asset management features. Overall, it’s a great way to keep all of your coding files organized when you’re developing and deploying apps on the Apple App Store and Mac App Store. 

We have a full tutorial on Xcode that you can use as a reference to get started. The tutorial covers all of Xcode’s requirements, how Xcode works, Xcode features, and how to use it for your iOS development project. 

iOS Programming Language

You also need to decide what programming language you’re going to use to create an iOS app. 

The Swift programming language has become the new go-to option for iOS development. It’s commonly used and encouraged if you’re using Xcode. Objective-C is another popular option to consider. 

With that said, you can also use a general-purpose programming language or object-oriented programming language to develop an iOS app. It all depends on your current programming skills and the type of app you want to create. 

In addition to Swift and Objective-C, Xcode is also compatible with Objective-C++, C, C++, Java, Python, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and Python. Check out our guide on the best programming languages for iOS apps to learn more about your options. 

Swift has become so popular due to its flexibility and simplicity. The concise syntax makes it easy to learn, even for beginner iOS app developers. 

The language is clean, easy to read, and easy to maintain. This is great for making changes and updates down the road. Having clean code also makes it easier to spot mistakes while you’re building an app. 

Designed for safety, Swift also eliminates certain classes of historically unsafe code. These built-in safety features make it an easy choice for many developers. 

iOS Software Development Kit

An iOS SDK (software development kit) is different from an IDE. By definition, an IDE only provides an interface for development. But an SDK offers all of the tools required for programming. 

SDKs provide the software programs you need to create applications using specific programming languages. 

One cool part about using Xcode is that it comes with different SDKs. These come in the form of libraries that you can use to develop iOS apps. 

We have a complete list of iOS development tools that you can use as a reference as you’re trying to find the best iOS SDK for your application. 

Active Apple Developer Account

You need an active Apple developer account to get your app in the hands of real users via the App Store. Without a developer account, you cannot submit and distribute your application. 

To get started, simply join the Apple Developer Program. Aside from being a requirement, the membership comes with lots of different perks that you can use to your advantage. 

One cool part of the program is access to the latest betas. This allows you to leverage Apple’s latest technologies and integrate them into your applications for iOS apps, iPadOS apps, macOS apps, watchOS apps, and tvOS applications. 

The program also gives you access to TestFlight, which is a great way to test your apps before a release. You can invite up to 10,000 external users to try your new builds before deployment. All you need to do is send it to their email address or share a public link.  

You can enroll in the developer program as an individual or as an organization. Both options require an Apple ID with two-factor authentication enabled. 

Organizations must be registered as a legal entity and have a D-U-N-S number to verify the entity status. Apple does not accept trade names, DBAs, or fictitious business names. You also need to have a publicly available website with a domain that’s associated with the organization.

Keep in mind, there is a small fee to join. A developer program membership costs $99 per year. Some organizations may be eligible for nonprofit, education, or government discounts. 

iOS Developer

If you’re not going to build the app on your own, you need iOS app developers to do the work for you. 

But you don’t always need a developer in the traditional sense of the term. As you’ll see later on, we’ll show you a trick to creating iOS apps without writing a single line of code. So if you’re not very technical and you don’t want to hire a development team, you can still create an app on your own.

We have lots of different resources that you can use as a reference as you’re making this decision. First, check out our guide on how to hire an app developer. You can also review our guide on how much it costs to hire a developer

It’s also worth noting that there are different types of developers. Most fall into either one of two categories—freelancers and development agencies. We have an in-depth guide that compares the pros and cons of hiring an app development company vs. freelance developers

You can also download our free ebook on building an expert mobile app development team. This goes beyond app developers and includes tips for hiring designers, contractors, project managers, QAs, and other key players in a successful iOS app project team. 

Other Requirements For iOS Mobile Apps

Beyond the technical requirements specific to iOS apps, there are other things you need to have in place before you can create an app. These requirements apply to any type of mobile application, including iOS apps. 

Clearly Defined Goals

Your iOS app needs a purpose. You can’t just build an app because it sounds cool or because everyone else has one. 

Every successful app must have a goal. This goal will become your north star throughout the development process.

Ask yourself some basic questions to steer the ship in the right direction:

  • Why are you building an iOS app?
  • How will the app meet the needs of your target audience?
  • What problems or pain points will your app solve for users?
  • Does your app have any unique features to stand out from similar apps on the market?

If you can’t answer these questions, you’re probably not ready to start building just yet. 

Defining your goals early and sticking to the plan helps keep your development timeline on track and your project within budget. Otherwise, you can easily get distracted throughout the process and become tempted to add extra features along the way. But this is often expensive and detracts from the app’s main goals. 

Market Research

Market research might be the most commonly overlooked step in pre-app development. But it’s also the key to success when you’re creating iOS apps.

Mobile app market research forces you to understand market trends, industry trends, your target audience, and your competition. This research will ultimately help validate your idea—ensuring the iOS application you want to build will actually address a current market need. 

It’s much better to conduct your research early on. Failing to do so could prove to be a costly mistake. 

You don’t want to spend six months of your life and thousands of dollars on a project only to discover that nobody wants it. But your market research can also help you tweak your idea or adjust your target audience based on your findings. 

The process involves lots of data collection and data analysis. You can use existing resources to learn more about general market trends. You can also conduct your own research through polls, surveys, and focus groups. 

But the best market research uses both methods. It’s thorough and gives you the confidence you need to move forward with your iOS development project—knowing you’re creating the app for the right reasons. 

iOS Version Compatibility

You need to make sure that your app is compatible with the latest version of iOS. 

As Apple releases new iOS versions and updates for each version, some apps might experience bugs or problems with features. This is also common as new devices are released. 

Apps that were built using iOS 6.0 that shipped with the iPhone 5 back in 2012 wouldn’t be compatible with the latest iOS 15.6 version that’s being used a decade later. 

So first, you need to make sure the tools you’re using are updated, and the libraries support new versions. But you also need to have a plan for updates in the future. Otherwise, your app can become obsolete if it’s not constantly being updated to keep up with new iOS releases. 

Using BuildFire For iOS App Development

BuildFire is the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective method for iOS development. 

It’s a no-code app builder for both iOS and Android. So you can use it to create the Apple and Android versions of a mobile application—all from a single build. 

BuildFire provides non-technical users with the tools required to create an app without having to hire a developer or learn how to code. The entire process can be managed from an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. It’s 100% web-based, which means you won’t have to download any software to get started.

Start by selecting a professionally-designed template. From there, it’s just a matter of customizing the content to match your app’s goal.

You have complete control over the colors, branding, and the look and feel of your app. 

Adding features is simple. With just a few clicks, you can add functionality in the form of a plugin from the BuildFire marketplace.

Unlike other app builders on the market, BuildFire is developer-friendly. This means that if you don’t see a feature that does exactly what you want it to, a custom feature can be built using the BuildFire SDK. 

You can either have your own developers create the function or reach out to BuildFire’s custom development team to build it for you.

Best of all, you won’t have to worry about maintaining your infrastructure or ensuring compatibility with iOS updates. BuildFire takes care of everything, and we’ll even get your app published to the App Store. 

Final Thoughts

Having a blueprint to follow when you’re getting started with iOS development is crucial. 

You can use this guide as a resource to ensure you have everything in place before you start building. Once you have everything organized, building the app will be much easier.

iOS app development shouldn’t be intimidating. Even if you don’t have any coding knowledge or technical experience, you can still create an app using an app maker like BuildFire. 

Sign up now and try it for free with a 14-day trial.

How Does a No Code App Builder Work?

No-code development bridges the gap between non-technical users and app development. Something that historically required tech skills and programming knowledge can now be achieved with a no-code app builder. 

If you want to make an app but don’t know how to code, this guide is for you. 

You’ll learn everything there is to know about no-code development, how it works, and how to use no-code app builders for your next project. 

What is a No Code App Builder?

As the name implies, a no-code app builder allows users to create applications without having to write code. If you know how to navigate the web, you can use a no-code platform to create an app from scratch.

No-code app builders rely on simple visual editors and drag-and-drop tools. 

You simply tell the software what to do, where you want things, and how you want it to look. Everything else is handled for you on the backend. 

In traditional software development, the code represents instructions that tell the platform how to execute various functions. But no-code development uses an app maker to define what the app should do, as opposed to how it’s done. 

For example, rather than having to write code for specific screens, button text, menus, and colors, you can use a no-code app builder to customize everything from a visual editor. 

Benefits of Using a No Code Platform For Your App Idea

There are significant advantages of no-code development in creating mobile apps. In many scenarios, no-code will be the ideal method for any development project. 

We’ll take a closer look at the benefits of no-code below:

No Technical Knowledge Required

No-code app builders make it easy for anyone to create native apps. You don’t need to have any coding skills, technical knowledge, or programming experience to bring your app idea to life. 

In short, this means that the average person can develop applications with ease. There’s no need to hire a developer or learn how to code. No-code tools are very straightforward and don’t have much of a learning curve.

Get to Market Faster

Using traditional development to create mobile apps is time-consuming. The average project can take anywhere from six months to 18+ months between the time you start developing and the time you launch.

But no-code development can easily cut that timeline in half. In most cases, you should be able to launch your app within a few months. 

This helps you stay competitive, improve the customer experience, and bring innovation to your business. 

Launch on Both App Stores

There are two main app stores—the Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android. Traditional development requires two different versions of the app—one for each store.

That’s because each platform uses different programming languages.

But with no-code development solutions like BuildFire, you can create an app for iOS and Android in a single build. Just build your app using the visual editor, and let us know when you’re done. BuildFire will get your app live on both stores with just a single click on your end.

Lower Development Costs

No-code lets you create apps for a fraction of the cost compared to low-level coding. 

That’s because the development timeline is shortened, and you don’t need to hire a team of developers. Labor alone associated with hiring an iOS developer, Android developer, web developer, project manager, and quality assurance agent is costly. 

But no-code does not require a team of developers. You can build the app on your own, and your only cost is the subscription fee to use the software. 

The cost of a quality app development platform typically starts around $350 to $500 per month. 

Increased ROI

Lower costs and faster development timelines translate to more money in your pocket. 

You have an opportunity to get your mobile app in the hands of real users quickly, making it easy to see a faster return on your investment. You can break even within months instead of years. 

Check out our app monetization guide for ideas on how to make money with your app.

No Code Platforms vs. Low Code App Builders

The terms “no code” and “low code” often go hand-in-hand. But low-code options are not always synonymous with no-code development tools. 

While it’s true that some platforms incorporate no-code and low-code technology to create mobile and web apps, there are some important differences that you need to understand between these technologies. 

No-code platforms are built for everyone, including users who don’t have any prior experience with programming or app development. Low-code development does require some technical knowledge, and it typically requires trained developers to complete projects. 

Low-code is still cheaper than traditional development, but it’s slightly more expensive than no-code options. Low-code tends to offer a bit more flexibility and customization options than no-code tools, as developers can create custom functions outside of the platform’s limitations.

BuildFire is the best of both worlds. It’s a no-code app builder that anyone can use, and it’s also developer-friendly.

This means that anyone with technical knowledge can use BuildFire to create custom functionality for mobile apps. The no-code platform and low-code capabilities can be used jointly to create a truly customized mobile app.

You can take advantage of BuildFire’s backend technology, including authentication servers, file servers, image servers, analytics servers, push notification servers, databases, CMS, and more. Everything can be built on top of our existing infrastructure. 

How No Code App Builders Work

No code app builders work by giving creators the ability to control where everything goes. It’s as simple as dragging and dropping images or using a visual editor to change the text or colors on a screen. 

As you make changes within the editor, you’ll see the changes in real-time on an emulator. This lets you see exactly how your changes are impacting the design choices and functions of your final product.

Everything is already pre-configured on the backend. So you won’t have to worry about maintaining the infrastructure, paying for servers, or maintaining updates. Your no-code tool will do all of this for you.

Many of the best no-code app builders rely on integrations, data connections, and plugins to support functionality. Adding a function to your app can be as simple as installing a plugin.

Want to add videos to your app? Simply install a YouTube or Vimeo plugin. 

Do you need a way to manage bookings or events? There are plugins for that too.

The plugins can integrate with other tools like Zapier, Google Sheets, maps, and even leverage existing technology on the end-user’s device, like their camera or Bluetooth. 

Types of Mobile Apps You Can Build With No Code Platforms

In most cases, you won’t be restricted by the type of app you can build with no code. You use this technology to create anything from a dating app to a web app and everything in between. 

The only time where no-code isn’t ideal for native mobile apps is when you need to create something that’s highly graphics-intensive or extremely unique. For example, you probably wouldn’t use a no-code solution to build a gaming app or create the next Facebook. 

With that said, you can still use no-code technology to create fully functional apps across dozens of categories. We’ll look at some examples below.

Ecommerce App

If you currently have an ecommerce website and want to turn it into an app, you can easily do so without any technical skills or coding knowledge. 

All you need to do is find a no-code tool that you can sync with your online store. Then you can start selling immediately and increase mobile conversions with an ecommerce app

Events App

You can create an app for one-time events and recurring events as well. Event apps are great for concerts, business expos, networking events, wedding planning, and so much more.

The app can be a one-stop shop to manage attendees, showcase sponsors, highlight exhibitors, share videos, and provide more detailed information about the location.

Apps For Business Processes and Employee Communication

No-code has really skyrocketed in popularity when it comes to building mobile applications for business use. Internal business solutions typically need to launch quickly, and most organizations are very cost-sensitive when they’re investing in this type of venture.

Businesses rely on no-code apps for HR, employee communication, employee self-service, business workflows, company announcements, schedule changes, staff directories, and more.

Fitness and Wellness Apps

No-code app makers allow gym owners, personal trainers, yoga instructors, dietitians, and anyone else in the fitness and wellness space to easily create an app.

This is a great way to expand your business and reach new clients. You can use the app to manage memberships, sell premium workouts, create meal plan videos, book classes at the gym, and so much more. You can even use a fitness app for virtual personal training sessions without ever having to meet clients in person. 

Education Apps

There are tons of use cases for education apps in today’s day and age. Schools and universities are using them to share events, provide a staff directory, create a campus map, and engage with students.

These apps can also be used to facilitate quizzes, tests, surveys, polls, and more. They can be a resource for study materials, document sharing, and even showcase videos of pre-recorded classes. Check out our tips and best practices for creating educational apps to learn more. 

Nonprofit and Religious Organization Apps

Nonprofits and churches may not have the budget or resources to develop an app from scratch. But a no-code app builder breaks down these barriers, allowing these types of organizations to go mobile.

Religious apps are great for sharing sermons, providing a digital bible, collecting donations, and creating a sense of community. Your members can take advantage of social media-like features to connect with each other and manage upcoming events. 

Content and Entertainment Apps

Social media influencers and people with a podcast or YouTube channel can use no-code app builders to expand their reach. It’s just another channel where you can repurpose existing content or potentially create exclusive content that’s just for app users.

This is a great way to make money from your content. No-code app makers allow you to lock premium content and sell subscriptions to your fans. So you can easily earn recurring revenue and drive engagement from app users. 

Best No Code App Builder For iOS and Android

BuildFire is the best tool on the market today for no-code development. It’s a simple and powerful way to create apps for iOS and Android—all for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development.

The software is easy to use, and you can get started building the app of your dreams in a matter of seconds.

All you need to do is sign up, select a template, and you can start customizing everything you need from our visual editor and see the changes in real-time through an interactive app emulator. 

Where BuildFire really shines is its limitless functionality. There are hundreds of plugins on the BuildFire marketplace that you can use to seamlessly add features to your app in a single click.

But unlike other app builders on the market, BuildFire also supports custom development. 

Let’s say there’s a unique feature that you want to include on your app, but you can’t find it in the form of a plugin. No problem. With BuildFire, you can have your own developer create that functionality for you and add it to the app. Or reach out to our team of in-house developers to build it.

Other no-code app builders restrict functionality and limit your growth. But the opportunities are endless with BuildFire, and our platform is built to scale. 

No matter what you want your app to be or how many users download the app, you’ll never outgrow our platform.

You can sign up right now and try BuildFire for free with our 14-day free trial.

Final Thoughts

No-code app development is the future, and the future is now. 

Gone are the days when you need to hire an entire development team and wait a year to launch your app. No-code technology lets you build apps quickly, get to market fast, and save money on development. 

If you’re just an average business user that doesn’t have the time, patience, or resources to learn code or outsource development, no-code is the solution. 

You can use a no-code app builder to expand your existing business or start a new venture from scratch. The opportunities are limitless. 

Launch App Guide: How to Launch an App Fast

Most businesses recognize the importance of app development. But waiting a year or more for your mobile app launch isn’t realistic for everyone.

Sometimes a business needs to launch an app quickly to capitalize on an opportunity.

Maybe you need the app ready for an upcoming event. Or perhaps you’re releasing a new product or service that must coincide with the app launch. It’s possible that you’re creating an app to stay one step ahead of your competition or keep pace with other competitors launching mobile apps.

There are dozens of reasons why launching an app quickly is crucial for so many organizations. 

The average app development timeline before launch is at least six months. But this guide will teach you how to cut that timeline in half. Some of you will be able to create and launch an app in just one to three months by following the blueprint and tips for success outlined below.

Why a Successful Mobile App Launch is So Important

Your mobile app launch can make or break the short and long-term success of your application. 

If you wait too long to launch the app, you could miss out on some time-sensitive opportunities that have a direct impact on app downloads and usage. Conversely, rushing through development and putting out a sub-par product could cause people to stop using the app altogether because of a bad experience. 

A smooth launch with an app that’s bug-free and delivers a seamless user experience is the best way to ensure your app is successful for years to come. Prioritizing the user will keep them coming back to use the app, allowing you to maximize the lifetime value of each person who downloads the app. 

Launching your app in weeks instead of months is useless if the app itself doesn’t work the way it’s intended. So you need to find that balance between a fast launch and a high-quality product.

Full disclosure—some apps simply cannot be built in weeks or months. If you’re trying to create the next Facebook, Uber, or YouTube, it’s unrealistic to plan for a three-month development timeline. Gaming apps, augmented reality apps, and virtual reality apps typically have longer app launch timelines as well.

But the vast majority of business apps can be launched quickly, without sacrificing the app’s quality—assuming you’re using the right technology and following a proven blueprint for success (like the steps in this guide).

BuildFire has been used to create more than 10,000+ mobile apps. So we know what it takes to have success in this space, and we’ve seen our clients launch apps faster than the average development cycle. 

5 Steps for Fast App Launches

Fast and successful app launches are all about simplicity. The entire process can be summarized in just five easy steps:

Step 1 — Market Research

Anyone can come up with an app idea. But you need to validate this idea with market research before you start building anything.

So many mobile apps fall short of expectations because the app developer skipped this step. 

Taking the time to understand your target audience and research your target market will ultimately save you time and money when development starts. You might realize that certain features or functions that you thought were important aren’t actually necessary for the app. 

So you can launch the app quickly by omitting those features altogether. 

For example, let’s say you have a small boutique clothing shop. You want to make an app before the busy holiday season as a way to boost sales from mobile commerce. Great idea!

One feature you’re considering is a barcode scanner. This would allow customers shopping in-store to scan the barcode of an item in the app to see more information about the product, including customer reviews. Sounds like a reasonable feature to include.

But after conducting market research, you might discover that most of your customer base doesn’t want, need, or plan to use that feature. 

By eliminating this functionality from your development process, it will save you a ton of time and money—allowing you to launch the app faster and for less money.

Market research gives you the opportunity to research your current customers, prospective customers, competitors, and similar apps on the market. 

You’re forced to identify what makes your app unique, giving you an advantage over other apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 

Step 2 — Get Organized

Once you’ve completed the market research stage, you need to create a solid plan. Use the following bullets as an app launch checklist and answer some important questions before you start building anything:

  • What app stores are you going to launch on? 
  • Are you going to build your own app or hire mobile app developers?
  • If hiring app developers, will you assemble your team or work with an app development company?
  • Have you considered app builders and mobile app development platforms?
  • What is your app development budget?
  • When do you need to launch the app?
  • Are there other stakeholders that need to be consulted?
  • Do you need to raise money or pitch the app idea to investors?
  • How is your app going to make money?

If you don’t have answers to these questions, you’re not ready to build and launch the app yet. 

For the purposes of this guide, I’m not going to go too deep into each of those questions. 

Instead, we want to focus our efforts here today on launching a high-quality app as quickly as possible. 

But we have tons of great resources and how-to guides that will help you get organized and prepare yourself during the app planning stage. Here are some relevant articles to the questions listed above:

You can always reach out to our team of experts here at BuildFire for more guidance and information. Take advantage of a free consultation to learn more.

Step 3 — Identify Your Mobile App’s Key Features

By now, you should have a clear understanding of how you’re going to create an app. Whether you’re going to create an app on your own or outsource the project to a development company, it’s time to focus on the app’s functionality. 

This is arguably the most important step when trying to launch an app fast.

All too often, people get carried away with mobile app features. They focus too much on the “nice-to-haves” instead of the “must-haves.”

Start by creating a list of features that your app users need to solve a problem or achieve a goal. 

Your initial list of features might have more than a dozen different ideas. But that doesn’t mean you’ll actually develop all of them. Go through the list one by one and start to eliminate the ones that don’t contribute to the app’s core purpose.

For example, let’s say you’re creating an app for your restaurant. There are dozens of potential features that you can include in the app. But what is your real reason for development?

A restaurant app for mobile ordering and delivery will look very different from a rewards app for in-person dining. 

Would it be cool to have the app connect with the user’s contact list and camera? Sure. But is that actually necessary for the app’s primary goal? Probably not. 

Step 4 — Create an MVP

An MVP (minimum viable product) is often associated with beta testing and app analytics. But you can actually use an MVP for your initial launch on the respective app stores if you’re on a tight development timeline. 

With an MVP, you’re taking the core features that were identified in the previous step and putting those into development. 

You’re not going to worry about all of the extra bells and whistles. Just focus on the core functions and give yourself a working version of the app that achieves its goals and primary purpose. 

Here’s another example.

Let’s say you’re creating an ecommerce app as an extension of your shopping website. The primary goal of the app is mobile purchasing capabilities. 

So while a mobile customer loyalty program or mobile customer referral program sounds like great features, neither would be included in the MVP. Instead, you’d just launch an app with the bare-bones functionality for ecommerce purchasing. 

You need to make sure the app integrates with your online store and has a built-in payment gateway—that’s it.

Letting users customize their profile with a birthday, favorite products, and the ability to share items with their friends can be added in later. But the MVP is just for the primary feature or features.

Step 5 — Prepare for Launch

While the MVP development is still in progress, you can start taking steps to promote your app and get it ready for launch. 

Waiting until the development is complete to act on this step is just going to add unnecessary length to your launch timeline. Preparation examples include:

  • Create a dedicated landing page for the iOS app and Android app
  • Promote your app in a blog post
  • Build hype for the app on your social media accounts
  • Create app screenshots to use for marketing materials
  • Prepare for app store search using app store optimization (ASO) guidelines
  • Understand the differences between Android apps and iOS apps when you launch

If you’re stuck on some of these preparation steps, you can always look to free mobile apps and paid apps for inspiration and borrow ideas from their promotional strategies. 

This way, you can publish your app immediately after the development is done.

App Launch Methods For Success

There are actually five different ways to launch an app. But if you’re prioritizing speed without sacrificing quality, only two of these options are worth your consideration.

Method #1 — Using an App Builder

An app builder is the easiest way for DIY users to create their own apps without writing a single line of code. 

All of the backend app requirements are handled by the platform provider. So you just need to add your features and customize the content. 

BuildFire’s app maker is the most powerful way to launch apps for iOS and Android. It’s easy to use and offers limitless scalability. 

You can start in seconds by simply choosing a template. Then you can add features with a single click from our feature marketplace. 

The cool part about BuildFire is that it also supports custom functionality. So if you need something that’s ultra-specific and can’t find it in the marketplace, we can create custom features for you.

Once the app is built, we’ll handle the app store publishing process. You just need to click a button when the app is done. 

BuildFire makes it easy to launch an app fast and for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development. Maintaining the app post-launch and adding features later on is simple. So you can start with basic features and add more advanced functions months or even years after the initial launch. 

Method #2 — App Development Services

If you’re not a hands-on user and would rather outsource the development project, you can look for an app development service that will get your mobile app to market quickly.

BuildFire Plus is the ultimate solution.

Compared to traditional development, BuildFire Plus offers custom app development on top of BuildFire’s existing ecosystem and infrastructure. So our in-house custom development team doesn’t need to start from scratch. 

This gives you a significant head start compared to outsourcing your project to other app developers or assembling an internal product team. 

We’ll work with you through each step of the process to ensure that the app aligns with your business goals, budget, and development timeline. 

Final Thoughts on a Successful Launch for Mobile Apps

Launching an app quickly is important for many businesses and entrepreneurs. Just make sure your development timeline doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the final product.

You can also save time and prepare for a successful launch by working on your app marketing strategy and promotional materials during the development stages.

Focus on your app’s core features and functionality in the beginning. You can always add more features later on after the app launches. 

Turn Website Into App – The Ultimate Guide (2023)

Creating a mobile app is the best way to take your website to the next level. 

While websites are fine for computer browsing, 85% of people say they prefer mobile apps over mobile sites on smartphones. Mobile app users prefer the convenience, user experience, and speed of apps compared to websites. This gives you an opportunity to target a wider audience and generate more conversions.

So how do you turn a website into an app? This guide will show you how.

We’ll start by covering the main advantages of mobile apps compared to websites and web apps. Then you’ll discover the different ways to convert a website into an app and follow our step-by-step blueprint for success.

Benefits of Mobile Apps vs. Websites 

Why should you turn your website into a mobile app? Here are the top reasons:

Ease of Access

Let’s do a quick experiment. 

Take out your phone, and navigate to your website. How long did that take? You had to open your phone, navigate to a web browser, and then type in your site address (hoping not to make any spelling mistakes on a small screen).

Now open any app on your phone.

Obviously, it’s much faster to open an app than it is to visit a website. When you turn your site into an app, you’ll always be just a click away from anyone’s smartphone or tablet. 

Push Notifications

Push notifications offer a significant communication advantage over websites.

For websites to communicate with visitors, you need to rely on email opt-ins. Even if you manage to get subscribers, your next battle is getting them to open your email marketing campaigns—which is a completely different ballgame. 

But push notifications go directly to a user’s home screen, similar to a text message. So you can communicate with app users at any time, keeping your brand top-of-mind for any campaign or goal.

Loyalty

Mobile apps typically drive more loyalty compared to websites. That’s because apps live on a user’s home screen. They’re much more inclined to open a mobile application if they’re staring at your app icon dozens of times per day.

When you consider the fact that the average person picks up their phone 58 times daily, it drastically increases the chances of your app being used as well.  

Apps also make it easier for you to create customer loyalty programs, encouraging users to spend more money and convert more frequently. Then they can track their loyalty rewards progress directly from the app. 

Engagement

Apps provide a more pleasant experience for users compared to the mobile web. This translates to more engaged audiences.

If your site isn’t loading quickly or there isn’t a seamless navigation between screens, people often get frustrated and bounce. But native apps tend to perform much better, which translates to people having longer sessions and completing more in-app actions. 

You can also monitor user engagement statistics and tweak your app accordingly to ensure users open the app more frequently. They’ll continue having long, engaging sessions. 

Conversions

Mobile apps convert higher than the mobile web

This isn’t just an opinion or an observation—there are hard numbers to back this up. Just look at these app conversion rate differences between mobile apps and mobile sites:

Mobile applications perform higher in every industry. On average, apps convert at a 157% higher rate compared to mobile sites. 

Imagine getting a 150% increase in conversions simply by creating a mobile app. That alone should be a good enough reason to move forward. 

Meet User Expectations

People want to do more from their mobile devices. This includes everything from mobile banking to online shopping, scheduling appointments, watching videos, and reading blogs. 

Imagine trying to find a business online, only to discover they don’t have a website. You’d be shocked, right? 

While you wouldn’t quite have the same reaction to them not having an app, you’d still be a little surprised. Brands having mobile apps has become the new normal. We’re reaching the point where not having a mobile app is almost like not having a website. 

Improve the User Experience

Apps provide a better user interface and user experience compared to mobile sites in almost every way. That’s because mobile apps can use native device features, including cameras, Bluetooth, photo reels, contact lists, and more.

Mobile apps are made specifically for mobile devices, whereas websites are generally designed for larger screens.

Obviously, having a mobile version of your website improves the user experience. But it’s not quite to the same extent of having a fully native mobile app. 

Generate More Revenue

Apps give you the opportunity to make more money.

You can either use your app as a way to generate revenue using your existing business model or potentially open up new revenue streams. For ecommerce apps and subscription services, having an app is an absolute must. 

But even content creators can generate new revenue by offering in-app purchases to premium content or making in-app advertisements. 

You can use your app to book appointments, sell tickets, manage events, and even collect deposits as well. The opportunities are seemingly endless. 

App Store Presence

Having an app gives you an opportunity to expand your reach. Right now, you might only be reaching people who follow your brand on social media, read your blog or discover you through an organic Google search.

But you’re neglecting all of the potential users who are browsing the Google Play Store to find an Android app and the Apple App Store to discover new iOS apps. 

According to a recent study, 48% of people say they find new apps by browsing app stores. An additional 34% of users say they find new apps through app store recommendations.

These are both two of the top three app discovery methods. 

By having your app available to download on additional channels, you can attract an entirely new audience to your brand. 

Competitive Advantage

Creating an app gives you an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. There are two ways to look at this.

One, if your direct competitors don’t have an app just yet, then you can beat them to the market and gain a significant advantage. Depending on the situation, you might even be able to steal their customers. Two, if your competitors already have an app, then you definitely need an app to keep up with them and stay relevant. 

Users could look at your brand and think that you’re not modern or keeping up with the times if you don’t have a mobile app. 

Offline Support

Mobile sites and website apps have a major flaw—they need internet access to work. So if someone is on the go and can’t connect to a WiFi network, they won’t be able to access your website without using cellular data.

But mobile apps work offline, meaning they’re always available to users. 

You can also set up your app to have offline-specific features. For example, look at an app like Google Docs. People can’t save changes to documents without an internet connection. But they can make changes and have everything saved to their mobile device. Then as soon as they get an internet connection, the files will be moved and backed up to the cloud.

6 Ways to Convert Your Website Into a Mobile App

There are lots of different ways to convert your website to an app. But not all of these options are great. We’ll cover each one in greater detail below so you can discover the best solution for your situation.

Use a Website to App Conversion Platform

Lots of tools on the market make it easy to create apps from a website. However, many of these conversion platforms are extremely limited. They’re essentially taking your existing website and just repurposing it into a mobile version, and that’s not what you want.

A mobile app should have distinguishably different features from your website. Your app could actually be rejected from the Apple App Store if it’s too similar to your site.

Most of these platforms don’t support custom features, and you can’t even send push notifications or do other basic actions. 

Pros

  • Cheap
  • No coding required
  • Get app to market quickly

Cons

  • Limited features
  • No custom capabilities
  • Can’t connect to native APIs
  • Not distinguishable enough from your website
  • Limited room for scale and growth

Overall, this option is really only viable for smaller websites on an ultra-tight budget. You want an app for the sake of having one but don’t really care about making money with it or getting lots of downloads.

Code the App Yourself

If you’re tech-savvy and want to create your own app without hiring anyone or using a third-party platform, you could always code it by yourself. But for most people, this obviously involves learning a completely new skillset. 

Learning how to code is not easy. Even after you nail some of the basic concepts, your first handful of projects probably won’t be amazing. Do you really want to experiment by building a native app from your website?

For business use cases, the answer is almost always no. 

Pros

  • You have full control over every detail
  • No need to hire other developers
  • Cheap
  • Complete customization options

Cons

  • Longer development timeline
  • Must learn how to code
  • Final product is likely to have some flaws
  • Need to maintain all of the backend infrastructure on your own

If you have some basic coding knowledge and you don’t mind experimenting, this could work for you. Maybe you even did all of the coding for your website, and you want to transition those skills to a mobile app. But for the vast majority of people, learning to code probably isn’t the best path for converting a website to an app.

Hire a Freelancer

Hiring freelance mobile app developers is an appealing option to many people. That’s because freelancers are often a cheap way to create native apps. There are plenty of freelance job boards and platforms to connect you with developers from all over the world. 

Risk is the biggest downside associated with hiring a freelancer. Your success and failures fall solely into the hands of a single person.

What happens if the project gets delayed? What if they get sick? How will you handle things if they’re not responding to calls or messages?

Language barriers can also be challenging, especially when you’re working with international developers. 

Pros

  • Cheaper than an app development agency
  • You don’t have to code anything on your own
  • Thousands of developers to choose from

Cons

  • Difficult to vet developers and find the best person for your project
  • Need to get the freelancer to understand your vision and business goals
  • Lots of back and forth communication is required
  • Costs can get out of control if there are any delays

Check out our guide that compares app development companies vs. freelancers for more information. If you know you want to outsource the project but don’t have the budget for a US-based development company, a freelancer could be a good option if you’re willing to take some risks.

Hire a Development Agency

Outsourcing your website app project to a development company is almost always a better option than going with a freelance developer. The costs will usually be a bit higher, but the final product and complete development option are usually worth it.

With an agency, you’ll have a complete team of experienced developers and designers at your disposal. This means your app will get to market faster, and the final product will be superior to other options. 

Most development agencies will also walk you through other key parts of the app development process, like wireframing, design, and post-launch support. 

Pros

  • Complete customization
  • Get your app to market fast
  • Entire team working on your project
  • Some agencies specialize in niche-specific apps

Cons

  • Most expensive option
  • Some agencies have strict contract terms

App development agencies can be amazing. Just don’t expect them to be cheap.

Use an App Builder Platform

An app development platform makes it possible to create an app on your own without writing a single line of code. Many of you might be familiar with this concept if you used a website builder like Wix or Squarespace to launch your website. 

These tools are designed for DIY users that want to keep costs low and still have an excellent final product. 

There’s definitely some work to do on your own, but it’s usually not very challenging. You can start with a template and just customize everything else from there with your branding and content. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No need to outsource
  • Start with a template
  • Control everything on your own

Cons

  • Not every app builder offers custom solutions
  • You may need to test different tools to find the best one for your needs
  • Some app builders aren’t built to scale

Just be aware that not every app builder is the same. Some have stricter limitations on what you can build and how much you can customize. Other options are good for post-launch features like unlimited push notifications. 

Use BuildFire

BuildFire is the best way to convert your website into an app. It’s an app maker platform with custom development services under one roof—providing a solution for everyone, regardless of your goal or budget.

For DIY users, you can use BuildFire’s app builder to convert your website to an app with ease. Our drag-and-drop platform has virtually no learning curve, and you can start building today. Adding features is easy. Just find what you’re looking for in our feature marketplace, and you can add it to your app with a single click.

Compared to other app builders, BuildFire stands out with its limitless scalability and functionality. Even for DIYers, our team can provide assistance and create custom features uniquely for your app. That’s the value of app development services vs. stand-alone app builders

If you want to completely outsource the project, we also offer a fully custom app development service that includes planning, design, development, updates, and post-launch maintenance. 

Pros

  • Build iOS apps and Android apps simultaneously
  • No coding required
  • Affordable alternative to traditional development
  • Limitless scalability
  • Fully customized features and development solutions
  • App builder and development services under one roof
  • One-click publishing to Apple App Store and Google Play Store

Cons

  • Not ideal for gaming apps
  • Not ideal for VR or AR apps

BuildFire has been used to create more than 10,000+ mobile apps. Sign up for a 14-day free trial to get started, or schedule a free consultation to learn more about our custom development solutions. 

How to Convert a Website to a Mobile App in 7 Steps

Now let’s look at the exact steps required to turn your site to an app. The entire process can be summarized in seven simple steps.

Step 1 — Verify the Need for a Mobile App

The first thing you need to do is make sure there’s actually a market need for your app. In some cases, having a website alone could be fine for your situation. 

Let’s say you’re just starting off with a small personal blog right now. If you’re on a really tight budget, you might consider growing your blog organically before taking the plunge into mobile development. Creating mobile apps does involve some time and money. So if you’re not ready to commit, then it’s probably in your best interest to wait. 

You should also do some market research to make sure your app will offer something that people actually want or need. This will also help you stand out from your competitors. 

Step 2 — Brainstorm Features For Your App

Now you need to take some time and think about your app features. Instead of focusing on the features first, you can start by brainstorming functionality.

What problems will your app solve? How will your app be different from your website?

Remember, the app needs to be distinguishably different from your mobile site to be accepted by the app stores. You can’t just reformat the same content and put it into an app. 

While your initial list of features might be long, you’ll eventually want to narrow that list down to a shortlist of features that support your app’s primary purpose. Start with those features, and you can always add more down the road. 

Step 3 — Determine Your Budget

Take a look at your finances. How much money are you able to spend on an app? 

The answer to this question will be really important when you get to the next step, and it also plays a significant factor in your app’s features.

Generally speaking, complex apps with lots of features will be more expensive to build. But if you’re just creating a simple app with slight variations from your website, you can probably get away with spending significantly less. 

For example, BuildFire’s app development platform starts at just $159 per month. 

This is a cost-effective alternative to traditional development, which can cost upwards of $100,000 or more. 

Step 4 — Choose Your App Development Method

Based on your goals, budget, and technical capabilities, it’s time to select an app development method. Here’s a quick summary of the options we discussed earlier for creating mobile apps:

  • Website to app conversion tool
  • Code the app on your own
  • Hire a freelancer
  • Higher a development company
  • Use an app builder
  • BuildFire

Refer to our full guide on how to make an app for more information on different app development solutions. You can also get a free copy of our Buyer’s Guide for Mobile App Platforms ebook

Step 5 — App Design

Once you’ve chosen a development method, it’s time to start thinking about your app design. 

There are a couple of different options to consider here. First, you can simply sketch out the UX/UI design on your own before passing it off to an app designer. Alternatively, you can start with a template and customize everything on your own.

With BuildFire’s app builder, you don’t need to hire a designer or pass the project off to a design team. You do it all on your own. Check out our app design resources for inspiration, tips, and best practices. 

If you don’t want to design the app by yourself, that’s fine too. We also offer full-service design and development. 

Step 6 — Testing

Testing is something that you should do in stages throughout the development process. 

The best testing options depend on your development method. If you’re outsourcing the project to a development team, they’ll likely handle all of the testing on your behalf.

Making sure your app functions the way it’s supposed to without any bugs, glitches, or crashes is crucial—especially when you first launch. If your app doesn’t make a good impression on your audience, they likely won’t come back and use it again. But on the flip side, a great first impression helps ensure that the user will continue using your app again and again—allowing you to drive engagement and conversions. 

Step 7 — Prepare for the App Stores (Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android Apps)

Start thinking about how your app is going to look and appear in the app stores. Just know that your iOS app has different guidelines from Android apps.

Each app store has unique rules and submission guidelines that you need to be aware of. 

Our complete guide to app store optimization (ASO) will help steer you in the right direction. If you use BuildFire to create your app, we’ll also help get your app published. You just need to make one click, and we’ll handle the rest on your behalf. 

Turn Website Into App — Final Thoughts

Ready to turn your website into a mobile app?

Sign up for a 14-day free trial of BuildFire. It’s the easiest and most powerful way to create an app for iOS and Android—no coding or technical skills required. Alternatively, you can let our team handle all the design and development for you with our all-inclusive app design and development services. Schedule your demo to learn more. 

How to Create Great User Stories For Your Mobile App

One of the most challenging parts of making an app is creating a final product that truly represents the initial vision. This is especially true for complex project requirements, where you need to translate ideas into tangible functionality. 

User stories simplify this process.

Whether you’re a developer, entrepreneur, business owner, or app development agency, understanding the power of user stories will ultimately help you deliver better software. 

This in-depth guide will explain everything you need to know about user stories, including how they work, why they’re important, user story examples, and how to write user stories for mobile apps. 

What is a User Story?

A user story describes what an app user wants to do within a software system to achieve something valuable. User stories are short, plain language descriptions of a goal from the end-user perspective. 

User stories do not describe a specific software feature or business objective.

A good user story is short, and clearly articulates who the user is, what they want to do, and why they want to accomplish something. 

User stories don’t need to be very descriptive. You can write a user story using informal language in a single sentence. Just include the following pattern:

  • Role — “As a [user persona]”
  • Feature — “I want to [complete an action]”
  • Benefit — “So that I can [get some value]”

When you put this user story template together, you might get something like this:

As a project manager, I want to stay organized, so I can keep my entire team on track.

This could easily be an example of a user story for project management software.

There are lots of different ways to showcase user stories—and they don’t have to be packaged as some type of formal final project. You can even write user stories on post-it notes, index cards, or share them digitally with your project team. 

Why Are User Stories So Important For a Software Development Team?

User stories have become crucial for agile software development. 

Before agile user stories were implemented, teams would spend weeks writing highly detailed requirements and specifications for a given software project. But there’s a disconnect here in the language used by programmers and developers compared to the language used by the general public. So there would often be confusion among stakeholders involved with the project.

Without an agile user story, the specifications would look something like this:

  • The app should do [this]
  • The app will do [that]
  • The feature will complete [something else]

But this type of direction is not helpful. You end up with long paragraphs of style details that many people working on the project won’t read or understand. Even the developers would skip over these, as they would instead look to start writing code as soon as possible.

User stories changed everything.

Today, user stories are known as the smallest unit for an agile framework. They can easily be added into different parts of one sprint to another within agile development.

Some of the top benefits of user stories include:

  • Focusing on the user — Using a checklist or to-do list will keep a project team task-oriented. But by following user stories, it keeps everyone concentrated on solving problems for the app users.
  • Promoting collaboration — User stories help define your end goals. This makes it much easier for teams to collaboratively decide the best route to take, ensuring that the end user’s needs will be best served.
  • Driving creativity — Instead of using uninspiring tasks or objectives to define the project, user stories encourage everyone to let their creative juices flow. This inspires critical thinking and problem solving based on user needs.
  • Building momentum — Each time a new user story gets achieved, the team feels a sense of accomplishment. These small wins help build momentum throughout the entire project, so the final product doesn’t feel like an insurmountable mountain to climb.

While user stories can be used for any type of product or project management initiative, they work great for application development. 

Key Elements of a Great User Story

The key components of a great user story can best be described by the acronym INVEST. This acronym was first coined by Bill Wake, an expert in the field of extreme programming and agile project development. 

INVEST has become the gold standard for defining success with user stories ever since. Let’s take a closer look at each part below:

Independent

Every user story must be treated as a single component within the whole project. 

This means that teams should be able to work on each story in any order, without any type of co-dependency from one user story to another. There should not be any overlap between stories, as this adds redundancy and confusion.

If any user stories are dependent on each other, it usually means that one can be omitted—whichever is less valuable.

Negotiable

Creating a user story relies on collaboration between clients, designers, programmers, and stakeholders. It starts with a conversation.

In a perfect world, everyone will be on the same page with the story—although that’s rarely the case. Stories should be written in a way so that the priority, project requirements, and scope can easily be changed. This aligns with other principles of agile project management. 

Valuable

Value is arguably the most important element of a user story.

If the story isn’t adding value to the end-user, eliminate it. Mobile apps must be designed to add value, and every story must be written keeping this concept top of mind. 

Estimable

Priority is another important aspect of user stories. 

Each story should be sized appropriately in a way that defines its priority level. High-value features with a long development process might not always get the highest level of priority in the development timeline. In some cases, it’s better to knock out quick wins and complete other stories first. 

Small

Every user story should be looked at as a small block of work within the larger project.

The exact size of the task or story depends on the project management method you’re using. Sometimes a story can be completed in a single sprint. Other times they could take longer. 

For agile methodologies, stories shouldn’t take more than three or four days of work.

Additional Reading: Project Management Methodologies For Mobile App Development

Testable

When a story is complete, it should be tested for the product. This ensures that every user story fulfills its acceptance criteria, which varies by the project. 

How to Write User Stories For Your Mobile App

Now that you understand what’s required of a good user story, it’s time to start creating user stories for your app. Follow the simple steps below to get started.

Identify Different User Personas

The first step of writing user stories is defining the types of users who will use your mobile application. This is different from identifying the target audience. 

A user persona describes what the person does when they’re connected to the app. It’s even possible that a single user could have multiple associations when using the product. 

For example, let’s look at an app that everyone is familiar with—YouTube.

Someone might use YouTube for educational purposes and learning new skills. But that same exact person could also use the app for entertainment. The user story for each of these scenarios would have different personas. 

Establish Goals For Different User Types

Now you should have a list of different user personas. For each persona, you need to define the goals for the end-user in your user stories. Think about why they’re using the mobile application. 

What goal will they gain by interacting with the app? 

Let’s stick with the YouTube user story example. 

The educational user’s goal might be finding the most informative video on a particular subject. Where an entertainment user’s goal might be discovering a closely related video recommendation upon completion of another. 

This will lay the groundwork for your software features. 

Define the “What” and “Why”

You’ve already answered the “who” of your user stories. Now it’s time to answer the “what” and “why” with user story mapping. 

User stories typically follow these guidelines:

  • What value is a feature going to provide the end-user?
  • Why does this specific type of user want to use the feature?

If you can’t answer the what and why, then you probably need to reevaluate the user story and its purpose within your mobile app. 

Define the Acceptance Criteria

We briefly talked about the acceptance criteria earlier in the “testable” part of the INVEST acronym for user story key elements. 

What exactly is the acceptance criteria?

Think of your user stories like any other story—it must be logical to make sense. Look back at the what and why, and answer it with “how.”

The acceptance criteria explains exactly how you’re going to deliver value to the other. You’ll answer this without getting into the intricacies of application development (this comes later in the process). But you’re going to use your imagination to play out how the story unfolds.

For example, you might say that a user could press a button to automatically share a location with their friends. Or maybe they need to perform a specific gesture to confirm their order before finalizing the checkout process. 

User Story Examples

Let’s take a closer look at some examples of user stories that you can use as a template or inspiration:

  • As a mobile commerce customer, I want a shopping cart button, so I can easily store items that I’m interested in purchasing.
  • As a dry cleaning customer, I want to receive a push notification when my order is done, so I can pick it up right away.
  • As a student, I want to invite my classmates to download the app, so we can work together on a project.
  • As a manager, I want an option for anonymous feedback, so my employees feel comfortable sharing information with me.
  • As an HR rep, I want to generate a report on employee feedback, so I can understand which departments need better training materials.
  • As a basketball player, I want a court reservation feature, so I can book a private time to practice at the gym.

By using a natural language description, like the examples above, a user story helps everyone understand the goal of a particular initiative within the app. 

Pro Tips and Best Practices for Writing User Stories

Before we finish up, I want to leave you with some proven tips for success when you’re writing user stories. Keep these in mind as you’re going through the steps described earlier in this guide:

  • Always write the user story from the user’s perspective. 
  • Keep the description simple. You can always add smaller user stories later for context.
  • Stay organized with a user story map so you can see the big picture of your backlog.
  • Create user stories before you start worrying about product features.
  • Use the stories as inspiration for your mobile app features. 
  • Encourage creativity and collaborative brainstorming from your development teams. 
  • Confirm the need for a feature before development begins. 
  • Use the user stories to estimate tasks to ensure your development team members can handle the workload.
  • If you’re stuck, you can start with “epics.” These are larger user stories that can eventually be broken down into smaller stories. 
  • Keep everything simple, concise, and in terms that everyone can understand. 
  • Continue to refine the stories until they’re ready.
  • Keep your stories in a place where they’re easily accessible and visible to every team member. 
  • Don’t rely on user stories alone to create an app

Final Thoughts

User stories describe the value given to a user when they want to perform an action within your app. 

Start by identifying the user personas. Then establish goals for each persona. User stories written down should answer the “what” and “why” related to each persona. Then you can use those questions to define the acceptance criteria.

Keep the INVEST acronym in mind as you’re writing user stories. 

You can follow the steps in this guide along with the user story examples as inspiration for getting started. 

What is an App Prototype?

Anyone can come up with an app idea. But your mobile app ideas alone probably won’t be enough to pitch investors or impress company stakeholders. 

Creating an app prototype will give you a significant advantage in these scenarios. 

When you create prototypes, it shows potential partners, investors, and stakeholders that you’re serious about the project. It also gives everyone an opportunity to see the look and feel of your software development project instead of just reading words on a page or hearing you talk.

This in-depth guide explains everything you need to know about mobile prototypes and how to make them. 

What is a Mobile App Prototype?

Mobile app prototypes are preliminary mock-ups that look and feel like real apps. App prototypes exhibit the app’s fundamental purpose and design but do not contain any functional code. 

App prototypes can come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are just basic sketches, while others are high-fidelity prototypes, interactive prototypes, or clickable prototypes. 

You can create different types of prototypes at each stage of the app design process. Your idea might start as a hand-drawn sketch on a piece of paper. These types of prototypes are crucial during the early brainstorming phases of app development, and they allow your design team to quickly iterate the ideas. 

Low-fidelity prototypes often transform into digital prototypes that showcase the app’s functionality. These prototypes display the app’s basic structure and big-picture vision.

Benefits of App Prototyping

There are lots of different advantages to prototyping in the development process. Let’s take a closer look at the top reasons why you should create a prototype:

  • Fast Iterations — Even if you already have a clear vision of your app concept, prototypes let your team cycle through multiple drafts and versions of the idea before writing any code. This helps with quick iterations during the planning stages and even helps validate ideas.
  • Improve Clarity — Prototypes help get your entire development team on the same page. They align the creative ideas with the designers, developers, project managers, and stakeholders. You can even use early prototypes to get quick feedback before proceeding with user testing or more advanced market research.
  • Enhanced Selling — For those of you taking your app idea to an investor pitch in an effort to receive funding, a prototype will help you stand out. It’s tough for prospective investors to pour money into an idea without knowing what the final product will look like. In addition to selling your ideas to investors, you can also use a prototype for selling your idea to your board of directors or even prospective customers. 
  • Low Risk — Creating a prototype gives you the opportunity to fail early with virtually no risk. During the prototyping process, you and your team may realize that the idea isn’t very practical and won’t turn out the way you initially envisioned. It’s much better to come to this realization at this stage when there’s very little investment in the project. 

How to Make a Mobile App Prototype

Now that you understand what a prototype is and why it’s so important, it’s time to create a prototype for your mobile app. Just follow these simple steps below to get started:

Define the Problem

The first step of creating an app prototype is similar to the first stage of making an app. You need to identify the problem that your app will solve. 

For some of you, this might seem fairly simple. But you’d be surprised how many people come up with an app idea just because it sounds cool—even though it’s actually not solving a problem or addressing a market need. 

If you’re going to pitch an app idea to investors, partners, or a board of directors, they’ll shoot it down immediately if it’s not meeting a market demand that solves a problem. 

Don’t try to skip or breeze through this process. Taking the time to clearly understand the goal and purpose of your app will become the foundation for every aspect of the development project.

Identify Key Functions

Now that you’ve figured out the problem, you need to come up with features that will address that problem. In short, you’re defining the app’s functionality.

You can start the brainstorming process by listing all potential features that the app could have. But then you’ll want to narrow the focus specifically to functions that serve as a core requirement for the app to work.

Don’t get carried away here. Yes, any app “could” have certain functions. But ask yourself—does it really need this function for the app to work?

If the answer is no, then you can skip it now for the prototyping phase. You can always come back to this idea later on down the line. Stick with a maximum of five key features and design your prototype around that functionality before you worry about all the screens.

Sketch Your Ideas

Now it’s time to take your ideas and put them on paper. This step is the earliest part of the design process and doesn’t require a prototyping tool just yet.

You can draw your initial sketches and UI elements with a pen and paper. 

Take the primary functions from the previous step and start to think about the user experience. How will the user interfaces look when real users want to complete a task using the app?

If you’re stuck, you can always look to existing apps for inspiration. Borrowing ideas from other successful apps on the market can really help mold and shape your sketches. 

These sketches aren’t supposed to have advanced animations or act as a working prototype. You just want to create a fluid UI for your first prototype that will eventually transform into something more tangible throughout the process. 

Use Your Sketch to Create a Wireframe

Now you can take your sketch and bring it to the next level by creating digital assets. Start with a low-fidelity wireframing tool to speed up the process.

Many people confuse wireframes with prototypes. While the two terms are related, they’re actually very different.

Wireframes will contain the basic layout and structure of the app, which is something you’ll need to create a prototype. But a prototype is much more advanced. 

The best prototypes show more attention to detail in terms of design and visuals. Some prototypes are even clickable and interactive. You can think of the wireframe as your bare-bones structure of the prototype at its most basic level. 

Turn Your Wireframe Into a Mobile App Prototype

As mentioned above, prototypes essentially turn wireframes into something more advanced. You’ll definitely want to use a prototyping tool to help you with this step, and we’ll discuss some options to consider shortly. 

While your wireframes can be sent to your team members for feedback, the target audience of a prototype is a bit different. Prototypes are better for sharing with executives, decision-makers, investors, or even potential customers. 

The idea of a prototype is to make the app feel real for anyone who might have a vested interest in the project. You can also hand a prototype off to your developers, so they have a better sense of what they’re building toward. 

I like to think of the prototype as a way to bring the wireframes to life. You’re adding legs and giving the wireframe some personality when you create a prototype. 

While a wireframe might just be used internally, a prototype is something that you can show off. You can add it to your website or even share it on social media as a way to build hype for your app and start promoting it before launch. 

Best Prototyping Tools For Mobile Apps

Creating an app prototype is easier when you’re using a prototyping tool. While there are various tools on the market that seemingly offer similar solutions, the following five options are a good place to start your search:

Figma

Figma is branded as a collaborative interface design solution. It’s a web-based graphics editor and prototyping tool that’s an industry favorite amongst the design community. 

This tool is really useful during the early stages of app development when you’re working collaboratively with a team for brainstorming. You can take advantage of its online whiteboard for workshopping ideas before bringing them to life with a prototype. 

Then you can take those ideas and have them at your fingertips as you bring the design work from ideation to execution. 

Figma even offers a free prototyping tool that you can use to design a mobile app

Moqups

Moqups is an all-in-one platform for wireframes, UI design, and prototypes. This prototyping tool has been used by more than two million people to create a prototype. 

The platform comes with out-of-the-box stencils for different use cases and design elements. This includes mobile app design for both iOS and Android. 

You can use an extensive list of fonts and styling options to bring your mockups to life and easily drag and drop images to the prototype to fit your branding. 

Plans for solo users start at just $13 per month. 

BuildFire

BuildFire is an app-building platform and app development service under one roof. It’s not actually a prototyping tool in the traditional sense, but you can still use BuildFire to create a prototype.

Here’s how. 

BuildFire Plus is our all-inclusive design and development service. Our team can take your idea and turn it into a reality through each step of the process, including pre-launch and post-launch initiatives.

During these early stages, we’ll create a wireframe and eventually turn that wireframe into a prototype before we start building anything. This service is ideal for anyone who would rather pass off the app development responsibilities to a trusted development partner. 

You’ll have the opportunity to review the wireframes and prototypes before any development begins, ensuring everyone is on the same page before the app gets built. 

Justinmind

Justinmind is a free prototyping tool and UI design platform for mobile and web apps. 

You can use it to transform your wireframes into a fully interactive prototype. 

Unlike some of the other tools on our list, Justinmind is not a web-based solution. You do need to download software to your computer to use Justinmind to make a prototype. It’s available for both macOS and Windows machines. 

The basic plan is free forever, and premium subscriptions for advanced interaction and design start at $9 per user per month. 

Proto.io

Proto.io is one of the most popular tools on the market for creating an app prototype. 

It was initially built to work on mobile devices, but the platform has since expanded to a web-based version that still supports any mobile app prototype initiative. 

What really makes this tool stand out from the crowd is its simplicity. It’s trusted by entrepreneurs, marketers, project managers, entrepreneurs, and UX designers. If you have a great idea and want to create a mobile app prototype, Proto.io makes it possible.

It’s a bit pricey compared to similar tools. There’s no free forever plan, and the entry-level package starts at $29 per month. 

You can save up to 20% by committing to an annual contract, and you can try Proto.io with a 15-day free trial. 

Final Thoughts on Mobile App Prototypes

Creating a prototype is a crucial step in the early stages of app development. 

You can make a prototype on your own by following the steps in this guide and using one of the prototyping tools on the list above.

Alternatively, you can reach out to BuildFire and let us create a prototype for you. 

Best App Building Software of 2023

Building mobile apps no longer requires coding skills and technical knowledge. With the help of app makers and app creation software, anyone can create their own mobile app without writing a single line of code. 

But not every app builder on the market is created equally. 

To help you find the best app development platform for your specific use case, we’ve reviewed and tested the best app makers and narrowed down the top ten options.

Top 10 Best App Building Software

Before you start building mobile apps, check out these reviews to see which app builder best fits your needs, app idea, and business model.

1. BuildFire

BuildFire is the most powerful app builder for iOS apps and Android apps on the market today. 

Trusted to create more than 10,000 mobile apps, it’s the easiest way for anyone, regardless of technical ability, to create an app from scratch and get it in the hands of real users. 

As a web-based solution, there are no software installation requirements or steep learning curves to get started. You can sign up for a free trial today and start building your app immediately. 

To get started, choose from a professionally-designed template in your app category. Then it’s just a matter of customizing the content to fit your vision.

Adding features and functions is simple. Just browse from the hundreds of pre-built functions on the BuildFire marketplace, and add them to your app with a single click.

What makes BuildFire stand out compared to other app builders is its limitless customization and scalability. You’ll never outgrow BuildFire, and you can always add custom features.

If you have a function in mind that you don’t see on the feature marketplace, just connect with a BuildFire rep, and the pro services team will build it for you.

BuildFire is the best way to build mobile apps quickly and for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development. When you’re done building the app, you can get it live on the app stores with a single click. The BuildFire team understands the publishing requirements for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and they’ll assist you with the publishing process.

BuildFire’s app development platform starts at just $159 per month, and you can try it for free with a 14-day trial. 

2. Inspire U Mobile Apps

Inspire U is a no-code app builder that advertises the ability to build your own app in four hours.

It’s a simple and intuitive platform designed for creating custom mobile apps without any technical knowledge.

The company was founded by a marketing consultant that quickly realized the opportunity and demand in the app development space. After working with so many clients that needed an app, Inspire U Mobile Apps was born.

This customer-oriented brand is built on the foundation of hard work, quality, innovation, and trust.

They also run app development workshops to help teach people how to use the software. 

To learn more about Inspire U Mobile Apps, check out the full story here

3. Zoho Creator

Zoho Creator is a no-code app maker designed for business process solutions. 

Unlike some of the other tools on our list, you do need some technical knowledge to use Zoho Creator for app development. 

The platform has been used to create more than seven million business process apps. It’s commonly used for business processes like:

  • Sales management
  • Project management
  • Customer portals
  • Data management
  • Enterprise resource planning

For the most part, Zoho Creator isn’t really made for customer-facing apps. It does have a drag-and-drop interface but still requires some technical experience to get the most out of this tool.

If you have an in-house IT team and want to provide them with ways to improve internal workflows, Zoho Creator is a top option to consider. 

4. MobiLoud

MobiLoud is a basic solution for anyone that wants to quickly turn a website into a mobile app.

If you’re not worried about any customization and just want your site transformed into a web app or native mobile app, MobiLoud gets the job done.

While this is a quick solution for web apps, it’s not really a viable option for a business app.

A website in the form of a mobile app is going to be pretty restrictive. MobiLoud doesn’t quite have the same customization options as other app development solutions on the market.

It’s also worth noting that some app stores require differences between your website and app before they publish your app. So this method could cause your app to get rejected.

That said, if you’re in a pinch and need a super basic app as quickly as possible, MobiLoud can be a good temporary solution. 

5. Unity

Unity is a niche-specific app development solution.

If you’re interested in creating a mobile gaming app, this app development platform should definitely be on your radar.

The software comes with custom tools for iOS and Android—making sure you have the power to create whatever you need for the game to work well on native platforms.

Generally speaking, games are a bit more complex compared to other types of apps. So some technical skills and general tech knowledge will definitely be helpful if you’re using this platform.

They have a wide range of tools and resources, including:

  • 2D game tools
  • Universal render pipeline (URP)
  • A game library
  • Addressable asset scripting
  • Visual scripting
  • Augmented reality foundations
  • Analytics

If you’re ready to take your game idea and bring it to life, Unity is a solid option to consider. 

6. Swing2App

Swing2App is a simple app development platform based in Korea. 

If you’re looking for a basic and low-cost solution to create an app, this is a viable option to consider.

It’s worth noting that the platform doesn’t quite accommodate custom capabilities. Swing2App is more of a cookie-cutter solution, which really only supports basic mobile apps. 

Cookie-cutters are fine for some people, but they’re not always ideal for business use or monetizing apps. 

Lots of customers rely on this solution for converting a website to a mobile app. 

7. Skuid

Skuid entered the app development space in 2013. 

For nearly a decade, the tool has been used to develop apps for business productivity and internal solutions.

Similar to some of the other app makers on our list, Skuid isn’t really designed for customer-facing mobile apps. 

One unique standout of this mobile app builder software is its recent partnership with Salesforce. It was recognized for its ability to create apps that drive customer success using this well-known sales tool.

Skuid can be used to create apps for guiding sales, partner portals, people operations, and other internal business processes. 

They also pledge to give 1% of their equity, employee time, and product licenses back to the community.

8. Linx

Linx is a unique app development solution compared to other options we’ve reviewed so far.

Based in South Africa, this low-code development platform is designed for creating and hosting backend applications. 

Like other low-code solutions, Linx does require some technical knowledge. You can host on-premise or cloud solutions that contain built-in monitoring, management, and metrics.

Some examples of what you can build with Linx include:

  • Integrated systems (like mining and supplier integrations)
  • Backend web applications
  • Automated backend processors
  • Endpoints for Webhooks
  • APIs and microservices

It’s worth noting that this low-code IDE is probably the most complex solution on our list. While you technically don’t need to write code, some basic coding knowledge and technical skills are definitely helpful. 

Linx is built for developers. 

9. Alpha Software

Alpha Software provides mobile app development tools for both low-code and no-code apps.

It offers two different Alpha app development solutions—Alpha TransForm and AlphaAnywhere. 

You can use this platform to create cross-platform apps using a low code system. If you want to create a no-code app, then you can use it for things like automating workflows and digitizing paper forms. 

The platform offers offline capabilities, simple licensing, and the ability to integrate with any system.

It’s commonly trusted by SaaS solutions and professional services that have specific use cases. 

10. Xojo

Xojo is a solid app development option for developers that want to create a native app across multiple platforms.

You can use Xojo for desktop apps, web apps, mobile apps, and Raspberry Pi. 

Unlike other web-based tools on our list, Xojo does require a software download for you to use it. The software is compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux machines.

Overall, Xojo is a beginner-friendly tool that’s designed for developers. 

It has more than 40+ built-in user interface tools that you can use to customize the look and feel of your app. The software also supports advanced features like inheritance and polymorphism.

How Do You Create Apps With an App Builder?

Using an app builder to create mobile apps is a bit different from traditional development. The best app makers don’t require any coding skills or programming knowledge to get started.

It’s worth noting that some low-code tools on our list are made for developers and do require some tech skills.

For no-code mobile apps, getting started is typically as easy as creating an account and choosing a template. You can do this directly from your web browser, without any software downloads or installations required.

Here’s a quick glance at what the initial stage looks like when you’re creating apps with BuildFire:

Once you’ve selected a template, you can dive straight into the app development process. 

Just set up your account, and you can immediately start adding features and functions from the marketplace. 

This process will look a little bit different for everyone, depending on the tools you’re using. For more information, check out our in-depth guide on how to make an app.

How to Find the Best App Builders

Now that you’ve had a chance to look at some of the best app development solutions on the market, it’s time to find the right app development software for you. Keep the following considerations in mind as you’re comparing options and narrowing down a shortlist. 

Ability to Create iOS and Android Apps

This is the first thing you should look for if you’re seeking mobile app development software for real users. The best tools let you create iOS apps and Android apps in a single build.

If you can’t simultaneously create Android native apps and iOS native apps using the platform, it’s going to add to your costs and extend your project deployment time.

App Development Timeline

How long will it take for you to create the app?

Some app development solutions say you can build the app in hours. Others advertise weeks or months. 

This answer is going to vary for everyone. It depends on what type of app you want to build and the features you’re adding. If you’re going to add custom features beyond the plug-and-play options offered by the software, it’s typically going to take a bit longer.

Free Trial

Always sign up for a free trial of app development software before you start building.

These trials are the best way to get a feel for the app builder and what the solution offers. After playing around testing a handful of these solutions, you should be able to quickly identify which one gives you the most flexibility. 

App Development Software Cost

Your budget is obviously an important factor when you’re comparing app development tools.

With that said, you shouldn’t look at price alone if you’re assessing two tools side-by-side. While one tool might have a lower price tag, it could be extremely limiting compared to tools with more custom options. 

Generally speaking, cheaper app development software translates to less flexibility. You’ll be bound by certain restrictions of the tool, making it tough to scale or add custom features. 

Some solutions might have a higher price point, but they come with pro services solutions and added support before, during, and after you launch the app.

Check out our guide on the value of mobile app development services vs. app builders to learn more about this concept. 

Customization

Lots of app makers on the market are rigid and don’t leave much room for customization. You’re bound by the limitations of the software and what that tool can handle.

BuildFire is the only app maker that truly allows you to create fully custom apps without writing any code. That’s because BuildFire offers limitless scalability and customization. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the feature marketplace, BuildFire has a team of expert developers that can create custom functionality for you. 

Assess All the Features

This is something you can focus on during your free trial of an app development tool.

Assess the features and see if there’s something missing that you’d need to complete the full app. The best tools should include features for push notifications, analytics, app publishing, and more.

You can also look at the pre-built functionality for things like calendars, video integrations, polling, social walls, event management, images, ecommerce integrations—the list goes on and on. 

Ease of Use

Simplicity is key when you’re comparing app development tools.

If you don’t have any technical skills or coding knowledge, you need a solution that lets you create native mobile apps without writing any code. 

With any software, there’s always a slight learning curve. But you shouldn’t have to go through any complex training or courses to figure out the tool. Some solutions on our list are a bit more advanced and designed for developers. These often come in the form of low-code app development as opposed to no-code app development. 

White-Glove Support

Having a team of experts at your disposal definitely makes some tools stand out from the crowd.

If you have some questions or need something done for you, you’ll definitely want to lean towards a tool that offers white-glove assistance. This can range from basic questions about using the software to full-service feature creation. 

App Performance

The best app development software delivers a stunning final product. After all, isn’t that what’s most important?

Some tools might be cheap and easy, but the end result is a rigid app that crashes and has too many problems. 

Check out some of the existing apps that have been built using the software you’re considering. See if those apps perform well or if they have bugs and errors. You can also refer to the user reviews of those apps to see whether or not real users are happy with the in-app experience. 

App Submission Process

Development is just the beginning part of creating and managing an app.

But once the process is complete, how are you going to get your app live on the app stores?

The Apple App Store and Google Play Store each have a unique publishing process. So it’s in your best interest to use an app builder that provides a seamless submission process. 

White-Glove Support

Having a team of experts at your disposal definitely makes some tools stand out from the crowd.

If you have some questions or need something done for you, you’ll definitely want to lean towards a tool that offers white-glove assistance. This can range from basic questions about using the software to full-service feature creation. 

Final Thoughts on the Top App Building Software

The best mobile app development software should be easy to use, customizable, and built to scale. 

This guide contains something for everyone, but some of these tools definitely stand out compared to others. 

We also have an in-depth ebook—a Complete Buyer’s Guide to Mobile App Development Platforms that can help you narrow down your options and find the right solution for you.

If you’re ready to get started, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial of BuildFire and start making your app today.

Best Custom Software Development Companies

Custom software development is the design, creation, deployment, and maintenance process of a system or application. Unlike off-the-shelf software, custom development is unique and fully customized based on the requirements of specific users.

Software development services are commonly used for mobile app development, web development, business process automation, and similar use cases. 

But not all software development companies are created equally. Some specialize in certain areas of software development services, and others are undoubtedly better than the competition based on their reputation and the quality of software development offered.

If you’re seeking a custom solution for mobile app development, web app development, or another type of software development, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you find the best software development company for your unique situation. 

Top 10 Best Software Development Companies

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of custom software development options on the market today. But after extensive research, testing, and combing through real user reviews, we narrowed down the ten best software development companies for most businesses.

1. BuildFire

When it comes to custom software development for mobile apps, BuildFire is at the top of its class. This industry leader in the mobile app development space has been trusted to create more than 10,000+ mobile apps for clients across every industry imaginable. 

What makes BuildFire stand out from the crowd is its white-glove service. They’re more than just a custom software development company—BuildFire is a partner in your success.

BuildFire specializes in getting custom mobile apps to market fast and at an affordable price compared to other custom dev solutions. 

The team at BuildFire works with you through each stage of the development process, including the pre-development planning through the post-launch maintenance and updates. 

While other developers out there simply build your app and pass off the final product, BuildFire continues working with you to ensure the app can scale as your needs change over time.

Your journey with BuildFire starts with a free consultation to ensure the project is a mutual fit for both parties. Then the team takes your ideas and runs a competitive analysis to see how your app will stand up against industry leaders in your particular category. 

BuildFire also handles all of your designs, prototyping, wireframing, system architecture, and everything you need for custom software development. 

These custom software development services are trusted by mid-size organizations and enterprises in categories like ecommerce, education, fitness, events, internal communications, and so much more. 

Whether you need an internal app for your business or a public app for Android and iOS users on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, BuildFire has you covered. 

Schedule a free consultation to learn more.

2. Social Connection Marketing

Social Connection Marketing is a local digital marketing agency located in West Virginia. The firm is relatively new to the world of custom software development, but they’re already making a huge impact on its clients.

This agency got its start by offering traditional digital marketing services, specializing in videography for small businesses. With many of its clients requesting mobile apps, Social Connection Marketing eventually expanded its services, becoming a custom software development company in 2021.

Social Connection Marketing created a custom mobile app for a local county in West Virginia. The app showcases local businesses, schools, libraries, and other highlights of the area. 

Since creating this app, they’ve been contacted by other counties in the area about developing a similar project. 

They’ve also created mobile apps for local wedding planning companies to promote local vendors in this industry. 

You can read more about the Social Connection Marketing story and how they expanded from a digital marketing agency to a custom software development company. 

3. Altar.io

Altar.io is a European-based custom software development company. 

With offices in Lisbon, London, and Milan, this company specializes in software solutions like UX/UI design, UX wireframes, UI mockups, clickable prototypes, and more. 

They offer a seven-day project scope to help get your ideas organized and align your vision with your business goals. 

Altar.io also offers a unique service to quickly build an MVP (minimum viable product), helping you get your bare-bones idea to market as fast as possible. 

They’ve worked with organizations in financial technology, smart home technology, and other industry-specific niches. 

4. Experion Technologies

Experion Technologies has been in the custom software development space for nearly 15 years. 

They typically offer custom software development services to organizations across industries like healthcare, financial services, retail, and transportation. 

Experion Technologies is a bit smaller compared to other players in this space. They only have about 300 clients, but those customers are located in 30+ countries.

One unique standout of this firm is its focus on product engineering services. This goes beyond traditional development and includes blockchain, AI, machine learning, cloud services, cognitive computing, and more. 

The idea here is to focus on building forwarded-thinking software products to achieve business goals and provide innovation throughout the product life cycle. 

In addition to product development, Experion Technologies provides UX/UI services, product testing services, technology modernization consulting, and more. 

5. Brainhub

Brainhub is another custom software development company located in Europe. 

This software engineering company specializes in custom software development, web development, and application development using .NET, Node.js, React Native, ReactJS, and TypeScript.

Brainhub’s core services include web development, mobile development, desktop development, UI/UX design, product development, staff augmentation, and more.

They also offer tech and agile consulting to help streamline your technology, strategic planning, and overall product delivery. You can even lean on Brainhub for MVP development and product scaling. 

For organizations that have internal developers but don’t have the resources to create custom software, Brainhub can help. Your team can work with them to help create a custom tech stack for your software needs. 

6. Netguru

Netguru is a custom software development company based in Poland.

This firm was founded back in 2008 and has over 630 software developers on the team.

In addition to providing custom software solutions, Netguru specializes in agile project management. They market themselves as an on-demand agile product team. 

Their process includes a product design sprint, scoping session, UX review, and research before diving into custom software development. 

Within these larger service offerings, they offer additional agency services like UI design, illustrations, branding, and more. So if you’re interested in getting software services paired with web development, design, and project management, check out Netguru to learn more. 

7. Vates

Vates is a custom software development company based in South America.

They offer a wide range of software solutions, including application testing, big data, IoT, IT consulting, and more.

Vates also has custom software development services for Atlassian products, offering strategic consulting, installation, and training for these tools. 

This organization has more than 30 years of experience developing custom software. 

They offer functional testing, user acceptance testing, usability testing, compatibility testing, and other development tests. You can even use Vates for automated testing for desktop software, web software, and mobile software. 

8. OTAKOYI

OTAKOYI is a custom software development company based in eastern Europe. 

The company brands itself as having perfectionists and open-minded individuals on the team. They value radical honesty and use these qualities to offer consultancy with custom software development. 

Some of their core services include:

  • Web development
  • Mobile development
  • UI/UX design
  • Chatbots
  • Engagement platforms
  • Research and development (R&D)
  • DevOps
  • Software product development

OTAKOYI prides itself on only using world-class technologies that have stood the test of time, ensuring they can support your business goals for the long run. 

9. The NineHertz

The NineHertz is a US-based organization that launched back in 2008. 

In addition to custom software development, they also offer IT consulting services and boast an impressive 92% client retention rate.

The NineHertz made our list because of its very unique service offerings. 

This is a custom software development company that specializes in game development, which isn’t something that everyone offers. They create iOS games, Android games, 3D games, NFT games, AR games, video games, casino games, and more. 

The NineHertz also creates custom software for blockchain, crypto exchange, NFT marketplaces, NFT development, IoT, and more. 

If you’re seeking a solution in one of these niche categories, you can visit their website to learn more. 

10. Develtio

Develtio is a full-service software and custom software development company located in Warszawa, Poland. 

Founded in 2017, this firm is a relatively new player in the custom software development space. But they’re still delivering quality results to clients, earning them a spot on our list.

Develtio specializes in unique dev services like:

  • Website maintenance (SLA)
  • Web development
  • Mobile development
  • Software development
  • WordPress development
  • Chatbots

Their web services and online stores really make this company stand out from the crowd.

Develtio has a team of 50+ experts, including project managers, UX designers, UI designers, copywriters, and programmers.

Check them out if you need help with a custom web development project.

How to Find the Best Custom Software Development Company

Now that you’ve seen the top development companies on our list, it’s time to narrow down your options to find the best custom software development solution for your specific needs. 

You can use the criteria below as a buying guide to help steer you in the right direction:

Mobile App Development

If you want to create a mobile app, you need to find a custom software development firm that specializes in these services. For mobile app development, it’s best to stick with development companies that offer app development as its core service. 

You’ll see mobile app development listed as a service on many websites, but that doesn’t mean the company is a specialist in that field. Instead, go with a solution that lives and breathes mobile apps.

Web Development Services and Web Apps

Web and mobile developers are two different breeds. So if you have custom web development needs, you can’t always get that from a mobile app developer. 

Try to find a web development company that offers a wide range of web development services under one roof. This goes beyond custom software development and includes web design, custom tech stacks, and more.

If you have a specific web application need, like a customer portal or internal solution, look for a company that has experience with those types of projects. 

Small Business vs. Enterprise Software Development Company

Development companies come in all different shapes and sizes. Not all of them are equipped to handle the needs of just any business that contacts them.

Make sure the agency you’re considering has experience working with companies similar to yours. For example, if you’re a small business or a startup, some enterprise software development companies may not even consider working with you.

Conversely, if you’re in the mid-market or SME space, you probably shouldn’t be working with a small-town firm.

Location of Software Developers

Working with a global software development company can be attractive for many organizations, especially if you’re trying to save some money by outsourcing a project overseas. 

While this may work fine for simple projects, this isn’t always the best route for custom software development. 

You want to make sure that your custom software developer is easily accessible. If you’re in the US, working with a company in Europe or Asia can pose some challenges with time differences and language barriers. So just keep that in mind when you’re creating a shortlist of contenders. 

Software Maintenance

Application creation is actually just one component of custom software development. You also need to consider how you’ll be assisted with software maintenance.

If the company you’re using is just going to hand off the project and run away, then it will be your responsibility to maintain everything. Most businesses don’t want that burden.

Look for a solution that offers post-launch maintenance and support. This includes things like content updates, tech updates, server maintenance, and everything you need to make sure your software continues running smoothly for its entire life cycle. 

Experience of Software Developers

Custom software development takes a lot of practice. The success of your project is directly tied to the developers you’re working with. 

In fairness, every custom software developer needs to start somewhere—but you shouldn’t volunteer to be their guinea pig or experiment.

Working with a reputable agency with an entire team of developers is your best bet. They’ll work collectively to ensure you’re getting exactly what you ask without cutting any corners.

That’s why it’s better to work with an app development company compared to freelancers

Price of Custom Software Development

The cost of your project obviously needs to be taken into consideration. But it shouldn’t be the sole factor in your decision. 

Cheaper isn’t always better, and the most expensive option doesn’t always translate to the highest quality. 

Check out our guide on mobile app development costs to learn more about what to expect as you’re pricing out different options and getting quotes.

Final Thoughts on the Top Custom Software Development Services

Custom software development is the best way to get what you want without buying a cookie-cutter solution. 

There are tons of great development companies out there offering services for mobile app development, web development, desktop app development, design, project management, game development, and so much more.

The top software development companies on our list each specialize in something unique, making it easier to find the best option for your specific needs. 

For more information, refer to our complete learning hub for outsourcing app development. This page has tons of relevant guides that will help steer you in the right direction as you’re making such an important decision. 

Create a Shopping App

The ecommerce industry is booming, and mobile shopping trends dominate the overall ecommerce category. 

In fact, 73% of the total ecommerce market share worldwide comes from mobile commerce. 79% of mobile users have purchased something online from a mobile device within the past six months.

But not all mobile shopping experiences are created equally. 85% of people say they prefer mobile apps to mobile sites, and apps convert at a 157% higher rate compared to the mobile web. 

So if you want to maximize the potential of your ecommerce operation, creating a shopping app is the way to go.

This ultimate guide will walk you through the step-by-step process to create a shopping app.

How to Create a Shopping App in 9 Steps

Anyone can make a shopping app by following these simple steps:

  1. Market Research for Your Online Store
  2. Platform and Tech Stack Selection
  3. Choose Agency for Shopping App Development
  4. Identify Features for Minimum Viable Product
  5. List Additional Features for Your Store to Stand Out in the Future
  6. Create a Mockup of Your Online Store App
  7. Begin Mobile Shopping App Development Process
  8. Test Your Shopping App
  9. Launch Your Shopping App

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a complete understanding of shopping app development and how to succeed in this space. Let’s dive in!

Step 1 — Market Research for Your Online Store

Before you start building anything, you need to validate your idea with market research. This step will look a little bit different for everyone, depending on the stage of your business.

There’s a good chance you fall into one of two categories:

  • You have an existing ecommerce business and want to add a mobile app
  • You’re starting a new business from scratch and want a mobile app on day one

For those of you who are already selling products online, you probably went through the market research step when your business first launched. So some of these tasks may be a bit repetitive. 

Anyone starting a new shopping business from scratch must take the market research step very seriously. Otherwise, you could pour money into a business that the market doesn’t want or need.

Identify Customer Needs and Requirements

The first thing you need to do is identify a target customer profile. Who are you selling to?

Selling to “everyone” is not a recipe for success. You need to narrow things down to an ideal customer profile. Then you need to find out if your products actually meet a market need for your ideal customer. 

Running a SWOT analysis is the best way to start your research.

This process not only looks at your potential customers but it forces you to evaluate your internal initiatives, competitors, and overall market landscape. 

Very few new businesses offer something that’s 100% unique to the market. There’s a good chance there are other online stores and shopping apps selling something that’s almost identical to your offer. 

What makes your product unique to the market? Are you taking a broad product and targeting a niche audience? How will your value proposition stand out from the competition?

These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself and answer with confidence before you can proceed.

Business Model

Shopping apps typically fall into three different models:

  • B2C — Business selling products directly to consumers.
  • B2B — Business selling products to other businesses, sometimes at wholesale.
  • C2C — Customers selling to other customers through an online marketplace (like eBay or Etsy).

Which model are you going to use for your shopping app? 

Monetization Strategy

Next, you need to determine how you’re going to make money from your shopping app.

Compared to other mobile app categories, shopping apps are fairly straightforward. For B2C and B2B shopping apps, your primary focus should be sales revenue. I would not recommend adding ads to your shopping app, as this can ruin the customer experience.

For C2C shopping apps, you can make money by either charging sellers a fee to use the platform or by taking a commission of each sale. You could potentially charge for promoted products to appear high in the search results as well.

Step 2 — Platform and Tech Stack Selection

Once your idea has market validation, you can start to think about the technical aspects of your shopping app. 

Choose Your Platform

What platforms are you building for?

  • Android — Android apps are available for download on the Google Play Store. Android dominates the global market share, with 71.7% of smartphone users owning an Android device. 
  • iOS — iOS apps are available to download on the Apple App Store. It’s a bit more challenging to get your apps approved for the App Store, and iOS controls 53.66% of the OS market share in North America. 

If you’re strictly targeting users in countries outside of North America, it makes more sense to build for Android. But if you’re targeting North American consumers, building for both iOS and Android is the best option. 

This will make your shopping app available to the widest possible audience, and you won’t be neglecting any potential consumers. 

Native Development

Next, you need to decide on how you’re going to create a shopping app for the platform or platforms you’re targeting. 

Native app development requires low-level coding specifically for a single operating system.

So if you want to create an Android and iOS app through native development, you’d essentially be building two completely different apps—one for each operating system. 

This is the most time-consuming and most expensive path to development, and it’s typically not necessary for basic shopping apps. 

If you want to add complex features like augmented reality built into the app, then you might need to go native. But otherwise, this development path is only necessary for gaming apps, virtual reality apps, or apps that require precision and the highest possible performance. 

Cross-Platform App Development

Cross-platform app development is typically the best option for most shopping apps. This means that you can create an app for both iOS and Android with a single build and codebase. 

Cross-platform development typically saves you at least 40% on development costs and drastically reduces your development timeline. 

If you want to create a shopping app on your own without hiring a developer, you can take advantage of no-code ecommerce app makers like BuildFire. 

It’s a simple and cost-effective way to create an ecommerce app for iOS and Android without writing a single line of code. So even non-technical users can do this on their own.

Step 3 — Choose Agency for Shopping App Development

Assuming you’re not going to create the app on your own, you need to find an agency that can create a shopping app for you.

This is typically better than hiring a freelance team that hasn’t worked together before. There are lots of different roles and responsibilities in the app development process, so it’s usually best to go with an agency that has a proven track record. 

Team Composition

The exact number of developers and team members required will vary slightly depending on your project scope. But here’s a general idea of the positions required to create a shopping app:

  • Android developer
  • iOS developer
  • UX designer
  • UI designer
  • Project manager
  • Web developer
  • Quality assurance agents

Again, this is why it’s much easier to just go through an agency. Assembling a team like this on your own is challenging. Ecommerce app development agencies will have all of the resources in-house to accommodate your needs. 

How Much Does it Cost to Create a Shopping App?

The average cost to create a shopping app ranges from $30,000 to $700,000, with a median of $171,450, according to a recent survey,

But there are lots of different factors that contribute to the cost, including:

  • Development method (native vs. cross-platform)
  • Location of development team
  • App complexity
  • Features
  • Tech stack

For example, hiring a freelance developer in India to create your app will likely be cheaper than using a US-based agency. But there will likely be a significant difference in the quality of the final product between these two options as well.

Using a cross-platform development solution is one of the best ways to save money here, as you won’t need to create two separate apps for iOS and Android. You can make an app for both platforms with a single build.

Discovery Phase

The discovery phase is an important step here when you’re consulting with different agencies. You can shop around and get a quote from your top considerations to get a better understanding of the cost, timeline, and other factors.

Essentially, you just want to get a feel for the agency and see if they sound like a good partner for your shopping app development project.

BuildFire Plus is our all-inclusive app development service. 

We offer everything from pre-development strategy sessions to post-launch maintenance and support. We’ll help you run a competitive analysis to validate your idea and get started with prototypes, wireframes, and mockups before the build. 

Our expert development team can create a custom shopping app for iOS and Android faster than traditional development solutions without sacrificing quality. We’ll work with you each step of the way to ensure your app achieves its intended goals. 

Step 4 — Identify Essential Features for Your Shopping Application

Now it’s time to think about the features you want to include in your shopping app. Try not to get too carried away here with the “nice-to-have” features. First, focus on the bare minimum and essentials required for your app to run smoothly.

You can always add more features later. 

We’ll cover some examples of different essential features in greater detail below:

User Registration and Sign-In Process

The best shopping apps offer the ability for users to sign up and create an account. This gives them the ability to save key information in the app, like their name, shipping address, billing address, and payment information.

This will help increase your conversion rates as your users won’t have to manually enter these details for each purchase. They can simply add something to their shopping cart and buy it with a single click. 

Letting users create an account can also help you customize their shopping experience with recommended items based on their purchase history. 

Easy Navigation

It should be really easy for users to find what they’re looking for when they’re browsing for products in the app. A good rule of thumb is that every product page should be no more than three clicks from the home screen.

That’s why it’s so important to put your wireframes on paper before you start building anything, as this will help you design a smooth user flow. You can borrow ideas from big players like Amazon to map out your navigation. 

User Profile Editing

Give users the ability to edit their profiles with preferences. Registration should only ask for the minimum information required to create an account. But give them the option to go back and change their settings at any time for an enhanced customer experience.

For example, users shouldn’t have to enter their birthday to register. But you can ask them to add that information to their profiles later on if they want to receive special deals on their birthday. 

This is a chance for them to customize other preferences, like managing what types of push notifications they want to receive. 

Product Catalog

Obviously, you need to sync your shopping app with your product catalog. This is not only necessary for the app’s functionality, but it will also help you manage inventory and fulfillment. 

For example, if you have an existing Shopify store, you can simply sync your Shopify account to the app to import the product catalog. 

In-App Smart Search Engine

This feature is really important for any shopping app with more than a dozen or so products. 

You can’t expect users to scroll through hundreds or thousands of products to find what they’re looking for. So you need to give them the option to search for products by name or narrow down the results through a search filter. Filter options could include parameters like gender, size, color, product type, etc.

User Reviews

Roughly 95% of consumers read reviews before they buy something. 

That’s not all. According to BigCommerce, products with at least five reviews are 270% more likely to sell. 

It’s no secret that user reviews have an influence on mobile purchasing decisions. So make sure you include reviews on your product pages. 

Shopping Cart

Obviously, you need to have a shopping cart feature and payment gateway to process transactions. 

There are hundreds of options to consider here, like Stripe. In many cases, you can use the same shopping cart solution that you’re using on your website. Otherwise, you can talk to your development agency to see what they recommend.

Easy Checkout and Payment Options

The best shopping apps have a smooth checkout process. Eliminate any friction in this process and make sure that customers can add items to their cart and finalize the purchase with as few clicks as possible.

Offering as many payment options as possible is another way to keep conversions high.

The options will typically depend on the shopping cart software you’ve selected. But the best shopping carts will support:

  • All major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover)
  • Debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay

This is the bare minimum that you should be accepting. But the more payment options you have, the better it will be for your conversion rates. 

Ideally, you’ll want users to buy from their profile. But having a mandatory login can be problematic, so you should still offer a guest checkout option. 

Shipping Options

You should offer some form of free shipping option, even if you require users to spend a certain amount of money to receive free shipping. Roughly 70% of consumers say they abandon shopping carts due to shipping costs. 

Offering multiple shipping options at varying costs can also boost conversions. Give your customers the option based on how quickly they want the shipment. Examples include:

  • Free standard shipping (5-7 business days)
  • $7 rush shipping (3-5 business days)
  • $25 expedited shipping (next day)

Again, it’s all about giving your customers as many options as possible to accommodate their needs.

Key Admin Panel Features for Online Shopping Apps

In addition to the customer-facing features for your shopping app, you need to consider the features that you’re going to use on the admin side to manage your application. 

  • Order Tracking
  • Inventory Management
  • Catalog App Builder for Product Management
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Customer Support Tools

This is something you need to evaluate when you’re comparing different development solutions and agencies. See what they’re going to offer you in terms of management features and how those features will impact your costs.

Step 5 — Identify Additional Features That Help Your Store Stand Out

Now you can start thinking about other features that go beyond the basic functionality mentioned above. To be clear, you do not need to add these additional features right now. 

For your first build, you should focus on simplicity and getting your app to work as it’s intended. Adding too many features at once can be messy and ultimately take away from your app’s primary purpose. 

With that said, you can start to brainstorm these ideas now and think about them for future updates. Examples include:

  • Customer wish lists
  • iBeacon
  • Maps
  • Augmented reality
  • Machine learning
  • Social media sharing options
  • Barcode scanner
  • Push notifications
  • Chatbot for improved customer service

Again, none of these features are required for your ecommerce app to work. But they are “nice-to-haves” that could ultimately help your app stand out from competitors.

For example, if you’re creating a shopping app as an extension of your brick-and-mortar retail business, adding a barcode scanner can enhance the in-person shopping experience with mobile. Users could scan a product in-store to see user reviews and save it to their wish list for a later purchase. 

But for now, you probably don’t need to worry about adding these features. Just focus on getting your app to market. 

Step 6 — Create a Mockup of Your Online Store App

Mockups are non-functional static designs of an app. This will help you and your team understand the look and feel of your final product. 

The purpose here is to help establish things like fonts, visuals, images, content layouts, color schemes, and the overall user experience from a design standpoint. 

Wireframes, designs, mockups, and prototyping are all part of the BuildFire Plus white-glove service offering. 

This stage ensures that you’re on the same page with our design and development team before they start building your app. 

Step 7 — Begin Mobile Shopping App Development Process

By now, you should know the answer to the following questions:

  • What platform or platforms are you building on?
  • What development method are you using?
  • What app development company are you proceeding with?
  • What features do you need for an MVP (minimum viable product)?

Now you can actually start building the shopping app. If you’re outsourcing this to a development company, then there’s really not much work for you to do here.

Just make sure you have a basic understanding of the development timeline and have a rough idea of when the app will be ready. In the meantime, you can start putting together promotional materials and build some hype for your app with marketing strategies prior to the official launch.

Step 8 — Test Your Shopping App

Once the app is finished, you need to test it before making it available for real users. 

First, you need to make sure the app is bug-free. Then you need to verify that it works as intended. There are lots of different approaches for application testing, including alpha testing, beta testing, user testing, and more. 

Aside from looking at software glitches, you should use this as an opportunity to gather user feedback and conduct additional research. 

No app is perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. So try not to focus on getting everything perfect prior to launch. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in development forever.

But the idea here is to put out a product that’s fast and functional without crashing. 

Step 9 — Launch Your Shopping App

Now it’s time to officially launch your shopping app!

You’ll need to get it submitted to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Each of these platforms has different requirements for approvals and submissions, so make sure you understand the guidelines thoroughly before submitting.

Examples of what you’ll need here include an app name, description, screenshots, app category, and an app icon. 

To ensure your app is highly visible in searches, check out our complete guide to app store optimization (ASO)

Make sure you’re promoting your app on your website, social media, and as many channels as possible to get the word out. Your app marketing strategy will have a direct impact on your downloads.

Conclusion

Shopping apps are superior to mobile websites in terms of revenue generation, conversions, and customer satisfaction. 

If you’re ready to get started, reach out to our team at BuildFire for a free strategy session. We can create a custom ecommerce app with all of the features you need to succeed. We’ll assist you with the pre-development steps and even handle your post-launch updates and maintenance. 

Click here to book your free consultation.

How to Publish an App to the App Store

Creating a new app is exciting. But getting that app into the hands of real users isn’t always easy.

First, you need to publish your app to the App Store so it’s available for download.

The two major app stores are the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store—one for iOS and one for Android. But each platform has its own unique guidelines, rules, and submission requirements. 

This guide is going to focus specifically on publishing an iOS app to the Apple App Store. Once the app is published here, it can be downloaded on an iPhone or iPad.

It’s worth noting that Apple is very particular with its submission guidelines. You’ll need an Apple Developer account, and the App Store listing must match the app’s functionality. There are lots of other small details that Apple takes into consideration before they’ll approve apps.

That’s because Apple wants to protect its users. Apple wants its user base to feel comfortable knowing that any app downloaded from the Apple App Store is safe and won’t break their devices.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

Where to Start: Submitting an iOS App to the App Store

Submitting your iOS app to the App Store is the final stage of development. By now, the app should already be built, tested thoroughly, and you should have an app name that you’re confident in using. 

If your app is still in development, there’s nothing wrong with looking ahead toward the App Store submission. Just know that it’s too early to take any of these steps. Apple won’t approve any unfinished apps to the store, even if you have all of the other app information required for the listing. 

You should also consider the legal prerequisites of launching a mobile app. For example, if you’re launching an app in EU markets, the app must comply with GDPR guidelines. If you’re going to offer app purchases and collect payments through the app, you’ll need to think about things like PCI compliance as well. 

How you’re collecting, handling, and sharing user data is really important here. You should refer to the official Agreements and Guidelines for Apple Developers to ensure you’re following all of the appropriate requirements regarding user data. 

App submissions must only have content that was either created by you or that you have the proper authority to use. If you’re using content from another source without the proper legal licenses or permissions, it can be grounds for either rejecting your app from the App Store or getting it removed from the App Store.

You’ll need to have an Apple Developer account and Apple ID as well. Submitting your app from a computer running on macOS is not a requirement, but it’s definitely common considering the software and tools you’ll be using.

For example, if you’re using Xcode to create an iOS app for iPhone and iPad, you can take steps to prepare your app for publishing directly in the IDE.

App Store Submission Requirements

Before we get into the steps required for publishing, you need to understand the App Store guidelines for app submission.

You can review all of the App Store review guidelines here. These are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Developers are responsible for making sure everything in the app complies with Apple’s guidelines, including analytics services, third-party SDKs, ad networks, and more.
  • Attempting to cheat the review system or manipulate ratings is grounds to remove your app and kick you out of the developer program.
  • You must comply with Apple’s guidelines regarding apps for kids.
  • Apps may not include objectionable content (discrimination, explicit materials, etc.).
  • The app’s privacy policy must comply with all Apple guidelines. 
  • Apps must be complete and fully functional before you submit them for review.
  • Apple has certain technical requirements and software standards that must be followed.
  • You may not just copy another app and make subtle changes to pass it off as your own.
  • Apps must have minimum functionality that goes beyond a mobile website.

In total, the App Store Review Guidelines are quite lengthy. There are five major categories—safety, performance, business, design, and legal. Each section is broken down into different subsections, like this:

So give yourself ample time to review this document in detail before you go through the steps for submission.

6 Steps to Submit and Publish an iOS App

The App Store publishing process can be summarized in just six steps. 

  1. Sign up for the Apple developer program
  2. Prepare the app for submission
  3. Create a listing via App Store Connect
  4. Capture App Store screenshots
  5. Upload the app using Xcode
  6. Submit the app to be reviewed by Apple

We’ll cover each step in greater detail below:

Step 1 — Join the Apple Developer Program

You must be a member of the Apple Developer Program to submit an app to the App Store. So if you haven’t done so already, sign up for an Apple developer account

If you’re enrolling as an individual or sole proprietor, you can sign in using your Apple ID and enable two-factor authentication. Apple will ask you for some personal information, like your legal name and address.

To enroll in the developer program as an organization, you’ll also need an Apple ID with two-factor authentication enabled. In addition to the Apple ID, enrollment requires:

  • D-U-N-S Number
  • Legal Entity Status
  • Legal Binding Authority
  • Website

Just click “Start Your Enrollment” on this page to get started.

The membership pricing starts at $99 per year, and it gives you access to other exclusive Apple developer tools and services. 

You can use the account to manage your apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The membership also comes with beta software, app analytics, testing tools, and everything you need to manage your App Store listing. 

Apple developers also have access to TestFlight—a way to collect feedback from up to 10,000+ testers before submitting the app to the App Store. You can invite them with an email address or public link.

Step 2 — Prepare the App for Submission

Identifying bugs and problems with your app before submitting it to the app store is just one aspect of app development. There are other things you must do to get it ready for review.

First, you need to set the bundle ID in Xcode. This is used to uniquely identify your app in the system. Xcode will give you a default identifier when you create a project from a template, but it’s important to create one that’s unique. Just be aware that you cannot change the bundle ID after it’s been uploaded to App Store Connect. 

You can adjust these settings in the “General” menu of your project editor in Xcode.

Next, you need to configure your app version number and build string. The version number will appear in the App Store, and it’s expected to be in a format of [Major].[Minor].[Patch], such as 9.12.1.

Apple requires you to set an app category with your submission. This is designed to help users discover your app in the App Store. Options include:

  • Books
  • Business
  • Developer Tools
  • Music
  • Medical
  • Navigation
  • Education
  • News
  • Finance
  • Photo & Video
  • Productivity
  • Food & Drink
  • Reference
  • Games
  • Graphics & Design
  • Shopping
  • Social Networking
  • Lifestyle
  • Sports
  • Kids
  • Travel
  • Magazines & Newspapers
  • Utilities
  • Weather

Primary categories must match the primary purpose and function of your app. Choosing a category that doesn’t fit your app’s functionality is against Apple’s guidelines and grounds for removal. 

You need to prepare an app icon and provide a launch screen as well. The launch screen is the UI that appears when your app launches and quickly disappears when the first screen loads. The purpose of a launch screen is to enhance the UX by offering some visuals while the app is loading. 

Review all of Apple’s official guidelines to prepare your app for distribution. 

Step 3 — Create a Listing via App Store Connect

The App Store Connect is where members of the Apple Developer Program can upload apps, submit apps, and manage apps post-launch. It comes with everything from sales reports to analytics, test resources, and more. 

Here’s a quick overview of how to create a listing for App Store Connect:

  • Log into your account
  • Select the “+” button from the “My Apps” menu
  • Add the platform (iOS), primary language, bundle ID, and SKU
  • Add the app name and category
  • Provide a URL to your app’s privacy policy
  • Choose your app’s pricing

You’ll also have the option to decide how your app is released after the review information is approved. 

You can manually sign back into App Store Connect and release it when you’re ready, or set it to be published on a certain date (assuming it passes certification). Apple gives you the option to select the app to be released immediately following its approval as well. 

Step 4 — Capture App Store Screenshots

Now it’s time to prepare your screenshots for the App Store. There are two basic approaches here that you can follow. You can either use raw screenshots from your app or use a mockup template to showcase your app.

These screenshots are the perfect way to help showcase to the world what your app does and how it works when they find you in the App Store. 

Here’s an example of how Delta Airlines uses app screenshots to showcase its top features:

Apple does have a lot of different screenshot specifications for app previews that you must take into consideration. That’s because they have so many different devices on the market.

iPhones range from 4.7-inch screens to 6.5 inches. iPads range all the way up to 12.9 inches.

You can view all of Apple’s screenshot specifications here. I also recommend reviewing this API collection resource for app screenshots for more technical requirements.

Step 5 — Upload the App Using Xcode

Now it’s time to actually upload your app from Xcode. Do not proceed with this step until you’re confident that the app is free of bugs and it runs as intended. If the app doesn’t function, it won’t get approved for the App Store. 

For new apps, the version should be set to 1.0.0. 

Xcode 11 makes the publishing process really easy. In the past, lots of extra steps were required. But not most of the work now gets handled in a couple of clicks. 

Start by creating a full app archive. Go to your list of simulators in Xcode and click “Generic iOS Device” from the menu. 

Then select “Product” and “Archive.” This will prompt Xcode to bundle your app. Depending on the size, this could take quite a bit of time. 

Once this process is complete, just go to the “Archives” tab, and click “Distribute App” on the right side of your screen. Then select “iOS App Store” when it asks for your method of distribution.

Xcode will go through a few steps to ensure you’re not trying to upload a broken app. If something is missing or there’s a problem, Xcode will likely stop the upload and ask you to add missing assets. 

You should see some type of confirmation on the screen when the upload is successful. 

Step 6 — Submit the App for Review

By now, the archive from Xcode has been sent to App Store Connect. But you still might have to wait until App Store Connect actually processes the upload. So don’t freak out if it’s not showing up in your account right away. 

You should get an email when the archive is officially processed and ready for you. This can save you some time so you don’t have to keep manually checking.

Once it’s available, just select the archive and click the “Submit for Review” button at the top right of the page.

According to Apple, 50% of apps get reviewed within 24 hours and 90% are reviewed in 48 hours. So assuming your submission is complete, there’s a good chance you’ll have an answer within two days.

The app’s status will get updated upon review, and you’ll receive a notification with the status change. 

Conclusion

Publishing an iOS app and going through the Apple review process might seem a bit intimidating, especially if you’ve never done this before. But if you create an app with BuildFire, we’ll handle the publishing process on your behalf. 

You’ll still need to create your own Google and Apple Developer accounts, but our team will handle the majority of the heavy lifting. So you won’t have to worry about most of the steps in this guide. 

If you’re still in the planning stages of your app project, request a consultation to see if BuildFire is the right partner to achieve your goals.