Developing a web application step by step
Web application development in today's age is a process, just like making a cake can be. You can't bake a cake in 15 minutes, and you have to have the right ingredients as well. The same goes for web applications. You need to plan out how you want it to look, what your app will do, and how you'll set up everything before actually doing the development.
Imagine that you have some idea in your mind of a web app that could go up fast in the market. Without turning your idea into a working product, it remains just an idea. In today's age, it is much more difficult to test and implement an idea than it was 20 years ago.
We've come up with this web application development process flow guide for those of you who want to learn about the best practices for creating successful web applications.
But before moving forward, first, let’s clarify what a web application really is.
What is a Web Application?
To answer this question we need to roll back to the early 90s again when the web was invented.
Almost all of the online content was static. They were just files and people would edit the files, put them on their servers, and they all linked to one another.
These days, almost every website including Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook is built dynamically on the fly by programs called web applications. So, in simple words: a web application is a program that generates content for the website that a browser requests.
Advantages of a Web App
- Web apps can be accessed through various platforms such as a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
- Since web apps run in a web browser and aren't downloaded from an app store, like Google Play or Applestore, users always see the most up-to-date version when they open a web application in their browser.
- Because the web application runs in a web browser, it can be discovered by search engines, like Google, and displayed in search engine results.
So now you know the history of web application and what it is. Now you need to decide how you want to build your web application.
How do you want to build your web app?
The first thing you can think about when you want to create a web app is assembling a team. But if you don't have a ready-to-go group of programmers, designers, testers, and project managers, you need to choose between building a new team or partnering up with an external company.
Let's investigate these options and which one is best for developing your web application.
Build an in-house team
If you decide to build your web application by hiring new team members, it has both advantages and disadvantages.
You can hand-pick people who 100% fit your company's culture and share your values.
At the same time hiring, well-skilled people could be a considerable investment, in terms of time and money.
In the meantime, as a company owner, you often do not have enough technical expertise to hire the right candidates for your project.
Work with an external partner
This could be a short phase because working with an external company that specializes in web app development is always much quicker than building your own team.
This can be risky because the selected team may not meet your company's needs.
You can prevent this by looking at reviews of the company before choosing the right partner, checking their references, and asking for an introductory call or calls before accepting their offer.
A good piece of advice: Try to choose an external development company that acts as a partner with you, not just a customer, and helps you to make your product even more valuable.
IT Staff augmentation
You may not have known about this possibility until now, but there is a service that allows you to integrate as many quality developers, testers, and project managers into your team as you need to complete your web application. This is called the IT Staff Augmentation Service. This is actually a golden middle ground between building your team or working with an external company.
If you want to build your web application in this way, you first need to find a suitable team where this form of collaboration is available, who knows the latest technology to turn your idea into a working web application.
You usually save money by working with such a team because you only pay one bill per month and don't have to spend on HR, hiring, other labour costs, and so on.
In this collaborative form adding more resources to the project is easier and much faster than hiring new members to your team.
What are the key steps in web app development?
Once you've decided how you want to build your product, whether you want to hire new team members or with an outsourced web application development team, it's time to start the product development.
Our process starts with laying the foundations: defining the business objective and outlining the key deliverables.
Step 1: Discovery and planning
This stage of discovering and researching determines what the subsequent steps will look like. Our project manager will work with you to gather all the requirements and define the scope of your web application, to get a clear understanding of your purpose, and the target audience you want to reach.
Step 2: Wireframes & Designs
Based on the provided information, we create a mind map, which describes the relationship between the main areas of your application. Before we start working on the design or coding of the web app, we create a wireframe that visually represents the user interface we want to develop.
The success of your website will depend on how well users benefit from its features. Our goal is to create excellent user experiences, making your web app interactive, intuitive, and user-friendly. In this phase, we take your app into shape, all the visual content, such as images, photos, or videos are created at this step. We create a team for you and develop a UI prototype of your site.
Step 3: Development
The development team starts working on your website, using the Agile framework which is perfect for building web apps. Sprint in agile is normally 1 week to 1 month.
We assess what features make sense to deploy first from the perspective of customer value, organizational value, and risk. We involve you, by inviting you to our progress presentations meetings.
One of the greatest advantages of the agile approach is that we can deliver value continuously and if you have a change of requirements we can put it in the next sprint.
Performing quality assurance testing during website development makes the site stable and usable. That’s why your project goes through a detailed manual testing process by the most precise tester in the world who works with us. :) Our testing process contains user experience testing, functional testing, performance testing, security testing, and lastly device & platform testing.
Release Preparation – Of course, we want to launch your product smoothly and plan for a positive reception from users. Before deploying your web application, we ensure that the product is working as intended and run load tests on the environments to test how it reacts to traffic.
Step 4: Delivery and post-launch support
After the big launch, the development process is not over. The development of a web application cannot stop at the release of version 1.0, because the bugs that arise must be fixed, changes must be implemented based on customer needs, performance must be optimized continuously, and new functions must be added.
We will continue to be available to you as a partner for further development, updates, and DevOps/Maintenance.
What is the cost of a web app development?
The basic factors that determine cost are:
- The desired functions
- and the resources you devote to turning your idea into a real web application.
Let's dive into a little more detail:
- Development team size: Whether you are building your own team or working with an external development company, development costs gradually increase with the number of people involved. Of course, if the project starts with 2 developers from your own team, the cost may seem less, but the implementation time will probably be longer, so the costs may end up being higher than if you work with a larger external team who can deliver faster.
- Technologies: Depending on the idea may require different frameworks, which may differ from the knowledge of your developers. In this case, you have to allocate extra time to education for your team or need to hire or work with an external company that has the specific knowledge.
- Time frame: Everything is based on the accuracy of the planning. A too-short and too-long time frame can increase the cost of development in both cases. The explanation is simple if it takes more time, more resources are needed, which increases the cost of the project. On the other hand, planning within a small time frame will definitely be a critical factor in increasing the price quote of the hired team, however, the delivery and results will come sooner.
- Application type and specificity: It is important to note that most applications must meet certain requirements. Whatever the application, if its operation falls within the GDPR zone, compliance is an additional cost that is mandatory and cannot be omitted. It just has to be accepted with dignity. If your web application idea is innovative, it means reading about innovative technologies and involving innovative resources. In this case, you should expect that it will cost a lot more to develop your web application in the end.
If you are planning to develop a web application, consider if an in-house team will be sufficient for your needs or not. It is not that easy for every company to have its own web application development team, as it will involve multiple hiring and knowledge-seeking processes. This may distract from the main business activity of a company. Another option is to work with an external development partner, which can be an outside company that has an expert team or has worked on similar projects before.