This is one of the most asked questions by our clients. This question is usually very hard to answer because an app can be of very different types.
A simple app like a basic calculator may take 1 to 2 weeks to develop. However, a more complex app like a marketplace for buyers and sellers, Uber, something like Instagram or Airbnb usually takes around 3 to 4 months of development time.
Please note that Airbnb, Instagram and uber now have a lot more that’s invisible like analytics, business intelligence stuff and they operate on a much much larger scale and it took them years to reach the stage. When we say 3 to 4 months, we are talking about taking the app to a point where you can launch it. It’s also called MVP or minimum viable product.
The apps usually have a “product design” phase before this development phase which is usually a 3 weeks to 8 weeks process depending on the complexity of the app. Take a look here on what usually happens in the product or app design phase
All apps like uber, Instagram, and Airbnb usually have two major components
- Backend of the App
- Frontend of the app
App Backend is the brain of the app and usually consists of
- Data Storage of the app
- User management
- Server Logic or the core brain of the app
- And all other misc stuff like push notifications, data integrations etc
Frontend of the app is mainly the user interface of the app and may have some complexities like
- Some local storage to make the app work offline (Like the facebook app, it shows the last feeds fetched even without internet connection)
- Some Logic to synchronize data between the app and backend
- Good animations.
So usually you required a team of one frontend and one backend developer for 3 to 4 months. If you are building for both iPhone and android, you would need to add another frontend developer because for each platform. The frontend is built from scratch for each platform.
There is also an option of using platforms like Xamarin or Appcelerator titanium or react native which allows one frontend developer to use the same code base for creating apps for iPhone, android, and windows. Download this ebook to learn more about the cross platform app development tools
How to definitely launch in 3 to 4 months
If you are building an app using the MVP approach and you are following the SCRUM Methodology , you can definitely launch an app in 3 to 4 months time. Scrum style of development encourages development teams to have something working every 2 to 4 weeks.
If you are able to see something functional every 2 to 4 weeks, your development team can prioritize the features in such a way that you can a fully functional version for launch easily in 3 to 4 months
Assuming that you are building from scratch and just have an idea in your head, it can take around 1 month to 5 months to have a fully functional app including the product design and the development phase.
If you are following the scrum approach and have a good development team that is good with DevOps and scrum, you have a high chance of launching earlier within this time frame.
Once you launch, you can begin to move towards “Product Market Fit” which is really what you are trying to achieve with your product.