Besides other questions, one of the top queries that people and companies ask developers when it comes to mobile app/game development is that how long exactly does it take to build an app functional? How long does it to build an app from start to finish actually depends on a number of factors and there is no one particular answer to this.Dave Bisceglia, founder and CEO of Boston-based iOS game development studio tells that it actually depends; it depends on you and your team that how long you take to finish an app building project. He further said that since the demand for high quality apps has gone up in the past few years, development companies are now seen spending 6-12 months on more complex apps.

Why has the demand of quality apps risen, anyway? Ever since the App Store and Google Play Store have come into existence there have been numerous apps added and the number has shockingly gone well above a million apps. Who is making all these apps? Hundreds and thousands of developers all over the world are working hard daily to create apps of every kind, games, social media, productivity apps etc, you name it and somebody is already onto creating it.

Boston-based Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) mobile-cloud-platform vendor Kinvey carried out a survey involving 100 native mobile developers and they concluded in their survey that for a team to develop and create a fully functional app takes around 18 weeks right from the beginning till the end. 18 weeks might seem too long for some developers while others might require another 18 weeks to complete the job. Given the insane number of apps that are created and put live out there every month, this time period might look a lot to build an app but smartphone users know this already that not every app in the stores is worth downloading. Most of them have flaws, big or small, lack functionality, design or overall framework for best user experience.

Which Takes Longer, Android or iOS?

Does creating an app on Android or iOS takes longer than the other? The answer was a yes. But this is a thing of the past now. It used to take longer because of the fragmentation issues of developing an app for a wide variety of smartphones. But later in 2012, Google updated and streamlined the Android Software Developers Kit (SDK) to handle screen sizes, pixels and various operating system types in a better way which improved the things a lot. For a developer who has the skills, should not be difficult to create an app on either iOS or Android. Android’s improved developer tools and SDK has removed the complexity of multiple device form factors.

Having that problem fixed, now an app building process depends partly on the developers’ skills and partly on the approval process which usually takes hours in case of Android and may take even weeks when it comes to Apple.

Since there is no fixed time duration for developing any app, here are a few factors that affect the time duration of app completion.

How Big Is It?

Bigger project, more time required. It’s as simple as that. If you are creating a fairly simple app with just a few screens and no complex design, animation, database or social media integration then your work is a matter of just a few days. However, with bigger apps that involve extensive database, social media integration, reviews, videos, graphics or more, you require time accordingly to build, create and execute. The complex your app is, the more number of features you need to add and take care of, the more time you will need to get the things done.

Design and Graphics

Not every design and graphics aspect in your app would require equal amount of time and attention. You may spend a lot more time designing a certain graphics portion and considering the complexity of the design, this may impact the time duration of project greatly. This is just for a simple app with some really good design elements that you need to focus on. However, for gaming apps the story is entirely different. Games are usually graphics and design heavy and need plenty of time to put together the concepts, design, execute and finalize them. This may take week or even months to develop. Since user experience depends on these things especially the app’s graphics and design elements, you should never compromise on getting the work done in shorter time with low quality. Always take your time and deliver the best.

Integration with Third Party Systems

An app may be required to be integrated with third party systems for a number of reasons. You might be developing an app that needs to fetch information from certain sources and pout it out in front of the users, you may be creating an app which requires integration to all the big social media networks or chances are you are developing an app for your e-commerce website which is used by the users to purchase services/products and it requires to be integrated with one or more payment modes. All these types of integrations require extra development efforts and of course, time to achieve the goals.

Cross-Device Compatibility

Building the app for once operating system is one thing and creating the same app across multiple platforms requires extra amount to time and money as well. All platforms follow different set of rules and standards that are required to be met by the apps, and because of this planning and executing the app’s development over various platforms can greatly affect the time required to complete the project. It is always a good idea to build the app for one operating system first, test it thoroughly on that and later consider expanding the platform compatibility once the app is up and running. This will not only save you time but cash as well.

Custom Components vs. Existing Components

It is not entirely necessary you build all parts of the app from scratch; there are certain services available such as online templates which can ease the process of creating certain portions of the app. But it does not mean you should not integrate and customize them. Using a built-in template with required features will definitely save you on time but it can also limit your design idea and skills to customize every feature you want to add. You will surely maintain your app’s originality in idea and design if you choose to build everything from scratch, but mind it, this takes time.

Testing Phase

Might not be considered the most important phase of app development but testing the app is equally important if not more than creating and developing it. Testing the app is crucial to its success and ensures its smooth functionality and that people do not face any kind of trouble while using it. A bug encountered by a user and making its way to a bad review in app store would be the last thing a developer would want for their app therefore, make sure you give appropriate time to the testing phase which usually takes around 10 to 15% of the total time.

So in summary, the complex the apps is, the more integration with third parties, the more design complexities, the more time it will take to execute it with the surety of perfect performance.

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