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How Much does a mobile app cost really?

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How much does it cost to make an app?

Generally, the cost of making a mobile app ranges extremely: from total zero to unbelievably expensive price that could reach millions. Although, frankly there is no simple answer to this inquiry due to multiple factors at play. Different developer rates, project complexity and time it takes to build an app impact the cost of making a mobile application. The price to make an app depends on the following aspects:

  • type (mobile game, business, social networking, lifestyle. etc.)
  • platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.)
  • design (basic, individual, custom)
  • number of pages
  • features & infrastructure

If we split mobile apps into 3 categories in regards to complexity (simple, moderate, complex), and take 2 kinds of hourly rates into account, this is how much app costs to make approximately:

Complexity Notes Time, h Cost at $50 rate Cost at $100 rate
Simple No API integration, no back-end, standard UI components, simple features like email subscription, social login, calendar, etc. 400 20,000 40,000
Moderate Custom UI features, payment features, API integration, headsets and tablets adaptation, back-end server. 500-800 40,000 80,000
Complex Multi-language support, 3rd-party integrations, custom animations, complicated back-end, professional design, real-time features. 800-1500 75,000 150,000

Cost of developer team to create an app

Even a small application should be done by a team, not by one person, so it will provide a better user experience. It would be much faster and much more qualitative in the end, because everyone is engaged and responsible for their own part of the project. Surely, complex applications require more people to be involved in the development process.

A basic development team may include:

  • Project manager
  • Programmer
  • UI/UX designer
  • QA engineer

Extended development team:

  • 1 project manager
  • 2-4 app developers
  • 1 back-end developer
  • 1-2 UI/UX designers
  • 1 QA engineer
  • 1 system administrator

Duties and cost are represented in the table below.

Team member Duties Hourly cost
Project manager Prevents any miscommunication and misconduct within the team to avoid pitfalls and abide by deadlines. $20+
Developer Writes the code of an app, integrates it with the data source and fixes bugs. $30+
Back-end developer Ensures that the application, the database and the server communicate with each other in a right way and the whole app works correctly. $25+
Designer Works on how an app interface would be laid out and how it would be felt by users. Solves different optimization tasks. $15+
Tester Monitors each part of the app,  controls code and design quality, ensures the end-product meets all project requirements. $20+

Skipping all the factors in cost breakdown, a median price to create an app is $171,450, according to a Clutch survey. Online app cost calculators name a price tag between $200,000 and $350,000 for an app with dozens of features. While typical cost range stated by app development companies is $100,000 – $500,000. But no need to panic – small apps with few basic features could cost between $10,000 and $50,000, so there’s an opportunity for any type of business.

The cost of app design

Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object, system or measurable human interaction – this is what we find in Wikipedia. A famous quote from Steve Jobs adds that design is not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works. In mobile app development design implies aspects like visual design, user interfaces and UX, logos, icons, branding, wireframes, etc.

 

App design is an integral part of the cost to make an app. What are the factors impacting it?

  • Designer
    If you want to hire a professional senior designer,  be ready to pay up to $150 per hour or even more. At the same time, a less experienced designer can take only $45/hour.
  • Geography
    The cost of designers for hire in different parts of the world varies: USA & Canada – $50-250 per hour, Australia – $50-$150, Western Europe &UK – $35-170, Eastern Europe – $25-150, Asia – $10-80.
  • Complexity
    Simple app design cost starts from $5,000 (examples Pomodoro Timer, Flashlight), medium complexity app design starts from $10,000 (e.g. Journey, WhatsApp), complex app design from $25,000 (e.g. Facebook, Evernote).
  • iOS or Android
    iPhone varies from only $3,000 to $10,000, while design for Android phones may cost about $4,000 to $12,500.

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IT Infrastructure Defined

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Techopedia Explains

IT infrastructure consists of all components that somehow play a role in overall IT and IT-enabled operations. It can be used for internal business operations or developing customer IT or business solutions.

Typically, a standard IT infrastructure consists of the following components:

  • Hardware: Servers, computers, data centers, switches, hubs and routers, and other equipment
  • Software: Enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), productivity applications and more
  • Network: Network enablement, internet connectivity, firewall and security
  • Meatware: Human users, such as network administrators (NA), developers, designers and end users with access to any IT appliance or service are also part of an IT infrastructure, specifically with the advent of user-centric IT service developmen

Here is a BMC breakdown of the pieces involved

Switching

A network switch is the device that provides connectivity between network devices on a Local Area Network (LAN). A switch contains several ports that physically connect to other network devices – including other switches, routers and servers. Early networks used bridges, in which each device “saw” the traffic of all other devices on the network. Switches allow two devices on the network to talk to each other without having to forward that traffic to all devices on the network.

Routers

Routers move packets between networks. Routing allows devices separated on different LAN’s to talk to each other by determining the next “hop” that will allow the network packet to eventually get to its destination.

If you have ever manually configured your IP address on a workstation, the default gateway value that you keyed in was the IP address of your router.

Firewalls

Firewalls are security devices at the edge of the network. The firewall can be thought of as the guardian or gatekeeper.

A set of rules defines what types of network traffic will be allowed through the firewall and what will be blocked.

In the simplest version of a firewall, rules can be created which allow a specific port and /or protocol for traffic from one device (or a group of devices) to a device or group of devices. For example: if you want to host your own web server and only limit it to only web traffic, you would typically have two firewall rules that look something like this:

Source Destination Port / Protocol Description
any 10.1.1.100 80 / http Web traffic in
any 10.1.1.100 443/ https Secure web traffic in

The source is the originating device. In this case, any means ‘allow any computer to communicate’. Destination is the specific IP address of your internal web server. Port/Protocol defines what type of traffic is allowed from the source to the destination. Most firewall devices allow for a description for each rule that have no effect on the rule itself. It is used only for notes.

Firewall devices can get complicated quickly. There are many different types of firewalls which approach managing traffic in different ways. Detailed firewall capabilities and methods are beyond the scope of this post.

Servers

A network server is simply just another computer but usually larger in terms of resources than what most people think of. A server allows multiple users to access and share its resources. There are several types of servers.

  • Perhaps the most common type of server is a file server. A file server provides end users with a centralized location to store files. When configured correctly, file servers can allow or prevent specific users to access files.
  • Another common type of server is a directory server. A directory server provides a central database of user accounts that can be used by several computers. This allows centralized management of user accounts which are used to access server resources.
  • Perhaps the most common type of server is a web server. Web servers use HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) to provide files to users through a web browser.
  • There are also application servers, database servers, print servers, etc.

Physical plant

The physical plant is all of the network cabling in your office buildings and server room/ datacenter. This all too often neglected part of your infrastructure usually is the weakest link and is the cause of most system outages when not managed properly. There are two main types of cabling in the infrastructure -CAT 5/6/7 and fiber optic. Each type of cabling has several different subtypes depending on the speed and distance required to connect devices.

People

By the strict ITIL definition, people are not considered part of the network infrastructure. However, without competent well-qualified people in charge of running and maintaining your infrastructure, you will artificially limit the capabilities of your organization. In larger organizations, there are specialty positions for each of the areas mentioned in this article. In smaller organizations, you will find that the general systems administrator handles many of the roles.

Server rooms / Data center

The server room, or data center (in large organizations), can be thought of as the central core of your network. It is the location in which you place all of your servers and usually acts as the center of most networks.

Infrastructure Software

This is perhaps the most “gray” of all infrastructure components. However, I consider server operating systems and directory services (like MS Active Directory) to be part of the infrastructure. Without multi-user operating systems, the hardware can’t perform its infrastructure functions.

DAVE LAZOR EXPLAINS WHY A SOPHISTICATED IT INFRASTRUCTURE IS IMPORTANT

Most start-ups and small businesses that aren’t technology-based companies start out with a “DIY” infrastructure that gets the job done – they invest in basic hardware like desktop computers, laptops, a simple phone system and a router for a solid Internet connection. Delivering services and communicating with employees, suppliers and customers is typically accomplished through cloud applications that allow you to share files over the Internet, like Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Apps for Business.

But as the company grows, issues of security, connectivity and overall productivity are increasingly questioned. Computing speed and reliability are important, but what about system disruptions and security breaches? Cyberattacks on small businesses are up 300 percent since 2012 due to weaker online security and their ability to be an entry point to other, perhaps larger businesses’ sensitive data.

Ensuring that your IT infrastructure is reliable and secure is rudimentary. To gain a real competitive advantage, a strategic infrastructure is vital. Smart investments in hardware, software, network services and people to manage it all could be the difference between a profitable company and a failing one. Taking shortcuts to save money is unwise – even something as simple as poor cabling could make a fancy software application unusable.

To tackle the next-generation IT challenges, business leaders need to get involved in the infrastructure conversation, elevating the importance of IT infrastructure and making the right investments for the future.

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Introduction To Mobile Applications

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1. Native Applications:

These are applications developed to be used on a particular platform or operating system such as Android, iOS etc. Native apps are usually written in languages that the platform accepts. They are also built using the specific Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the given operating systems, such as Android Studio for Android Apps and XCode for iOS Apps.

The principal advantage of native apps is that they optimize the user experience. By being designed and developed specifically for that platform, they look and perform better.

Examples of some popular Native Applications are Instagram for Android, VLC media player for Android, WordPress for iOS, and 2048 game for iOS,

Native Apps are usually built using either of the following languages;

  1. Swift or Objective C for iOS applications
  2. Java, Kotlin for Android applications
  3. C# or VB.NET for Windows applications

2. Hybrid Applications:

These are applications developed to be used across multiple platforms i.e can be deployed on both iOS and Android platforms. Hybrid mobile applications are built in a similar manner as websites. Both use a combination of technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. However, instead of targeting a mobile browser, hybrid applications target a WebView hosted inside a native container. This enables them to do things like access hardware capabilities of the mobile device.

Today, most hybrid mobile applications leverage Apache Cordova, a platform that provides a consistent set of JavaScript APIs to access device capabilities through plug-ins, which are built with native code.

Examples of some popular Hybrid Applications are MarketWatch, Untappd, FanReact, and TripCase.

Some popular frameworks for building Hybrid applications include;

3. Progressive Web Applications (PWAs):

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web app that uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience to users without requiring them to install an app from the AppStore/PlayStore. They are usually accessible by a web URL which can always be pinned or saved on your phone’s home screen. PWAs are usually built using HTML, CSS, JavaScript also.

Examples of some popular Progressive Web Applications are AliExpress’s PWA, Financial Times PWA, NASA’s PWA, and the recently just launched PayStack’s PWA.

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