How to build an app?

Month 2: Planning, Thinking, Coding, Thinking

App Development

So last month I gave you a brief into my first month as a Software Developer. It was just an introduction into who I was and who Sparta Digital were. This month lets talk about the app!

I’ve decided that it would be a good idea to write about the experiences of app development from a Junior Developer point of view. There has obviously been some work and planning done on the project prior to me starting with Sparta, but I’m still going to call it “Month 1”.

Demands of the business meant that the technical team focused on the app during the start of the month before moving onto other projects in the latter 2 weeks. We have to keep the lights on whilst making our amazing app after all!

Wireframing

Without going into too much detail the wireframe is one of the key concepts of any app design. It allows all stakeholders involved to focus purely on functions and user interactivity by visually stripping the product down.

Having seen only a couple of wireframes previously I don’t think I appreciated the need and usefulness for them, however with joining the project after its conception the wireframe has enabled me to clearly understand what should happen with the app and what the business team want the app to do. It also helps that we have a crackshot team of Graphic Designers who have produced a great wireframe!

What’s the Junior Developer’s role within the wireframe? Firstly, I had to evaluate it to see if the user’s journey was correct, if functions were realistic and if there were any other areas for improvement. Secondly I needed to understand exactly what the app does, so that I can develop the functions to make it work.

Functional Specifications

This could be a blog post in itself as the research I did when looking into Functional Specs is varied and very opinionated. For now let’s just say it was a great experience to work with both tech & business teams to understand every single element of the app.

Proof of Concept

Can what we want to happen actually happen? We spent a week working on a dummy app to ensure that our key concept was achievable as it was this concept which would give our app it’s uniqueness and excitability.

The Proof of Concept also enabled me to have some more practise with working with Angular & NativeScript, any excuse to get more practise.

The result of the PoC? Yes, we can achieve what we want but it’s going to be challenging.

Branding

You may think that branding isn’t for a software developer… but everyone’s a thinker and everyone can have good ideas, so when it came down to looking into the branding it was really a team effort. Obviously led by our inspirational Project Manager and the marketing team everyone within the business (and probably their significant others!) had their input. I’m happy to say that I had a large impact on the final name, but that may have been because I came up with quite a few names, some awful ones!

KevinStaffPic

``I am a sport and technology enthusiast. Having taken a career change to follow my passion for Software Development.

Away from the computer screen I’m often found in or around a korfball court or cricket field as a dedicated player and coach of both.``

Kevin Moss

Technical Project Manager