I’ve been in many offices of new clients that are looking to build an app. Much of the time, they already have a team of developers in their company. So, this question comes up a lot:
“Why can’t we just get our web guys to build it for us?”
It’s a good question. A non-developer will see a programmer as a programmer. Sure, the languages might differ, but they can lean, right?
And the truth, I usually tell them, is that they CAN get their developers to build it. But, they need to invest the time and money into training them (not to mention keeping their skills up as app markets change). So, an experienced app developer will save them time and money overall.
So, yeah, you could technically get your web guys to do it. But I don’t recommend it. It rarely works out well.
Here are some key things that trip up new IOS developers when they are starting:
Device Testing is crucial.
Many web frameworks allow you to test everything in the browser. Testing speeds up development and is a significant advantage hybrid app frameworks have over native development environments like XCode and Android studio. However, it’s not until you start testing on iPhones and iPads that you find out about memory issues and performance. Hybrid applications have acquired a bad name over the years because of lazy developers not using these frameworks to their full potential (and not testing on real physical devices).
Apps are Distributed.
Apps are distributed, so you can’t just edit code in one place and update every client. You need to consider the apps and data already stored on everyone’s phones. How do you upgrade each client from one version to the next (and make sure they all have the update?).
The things that make apps “apps.”
An app would be useless if it can’t give you the benefits apps give you. These would be things like a local database, push notifications, GPS functionality, etc. These require a new mode of thinking, and it’s not easy to learn them quickly.
Finally, an app is not distributed like a website. You have to pass Apple’s review process. Talk to an Apple iOS developer, and they will tell you how difficult this can be. This review process is a learning process in itself. Many developers have had their app go from 100% complete to 50% full as they found they had to make changes for the Apple reviewers.
So, when I meet with these clients, I tell them to use their developers ONLY IF they plan on creating multiple apps. Their web guys are web guys, though. They are good at what they do. If you want an app for your business, you need an app developer.
And that’s what we do.