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How much is an app? Why there is no simple answer.

How much is an app? Why there is no simple answer.

How much is a an app? How much is a car?

I probably get asked ‘How much is an APP?‘ every week. So, we sent out a Tweet to see if other developers get asked this, and we got a good number of responses. It seems it is a very common question. One developer said that his answer was always “How much is a Car?“. It’s a good reply to such an open-ended question.

The other question that we get asked equally as often is ‘I want an APP‘.  ‘To do what?‘ we ask, and will get a typically woolly response ‘Well, I am not sure, but…..we need an APP‘.

The questions themselves, ‘How much is an APP’ or ‘I want an APP’ demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding for what an ‘APP’ actually is, so let’s explain what an APP is in layman’s terms.

So, what is an APP?

An APP is an abbreviation for application, as in software application, which all of a sudden sounds dull and boring. Most business applications are driven by a database and use programming and/or scripting to interact between the back-end, the bit you don’t see, and the front-end, the bit you do.

A good example of a back-end application would be an Airline booking reservation system. If you’ve ever booked a flight you’ll be familiar with the front-end, where you input your travel dates, number of passengers and baggage. The data you see is being served by the back-end application. When you hit the ‘Show flights’ button the application database is queried and responds to the flight information (variable data) that you entered and returns results of the flights available, times and costs. This is an application. The two major components of front-end and back-end interacting with one another to provide a useful user experience and business process.

An APP is not exclusive to Smartphones or Mobile devices.

Web based applications (APPs) have been around since the birth of the Internet. However, the term APP is now almost exclusively applied to applications for Smartphones and Mobile devices.

What does an APP do?

An APP could be a flight booking system or a used car search, a taxi tracking system, or  a software application like a game, or a word processor. It might be a program that interacts with the Smartphones native functions. There is no end to what can be created for specific purposes.

When is an APP not an APP?

If there is no back-end function then it is not an application, it is a website. There will be coding to make the web pages display, but there is no interaction with a back-end system. So what you have here is flat data. Now just to confuse things, flat data can be bundled up in to an APP and although you can download it on to your Smartphone and open it up like an APP it is nothing more than a website displayed on your Smartphone.

So, how much is an APP?

If we have explained this well enough it should now be clear that there is never going to be a single or standard price for an APP. An APP can only be priced against a detailed specification which describes what the APP should do.

If you would like some advice or an indication of cost, please feel free to contact us. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

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