The development of an application includes many variables that must be understood and controlled to control your budget:
- All stages of development
- Complexity of features
- The many profiles of the development team
- Post-production expenses
This article focuses on the budget of a PWA, a web application that works on both mobile and desktop computers. But the advice is given also applies very well to native applications.
Price of a web application: – What is included in the development?
First, before starting the development of the application, you will need specifications or organize functional workshops to be sure that everyone involved in your project understands exactly what needs to be done.
Then comes the development including the following stages:
• Responsive Design- Design is necessary to start development. You must be able to have a design of the graphical interface to implement it then. Nowadays, it is common to want a web application that can be used on smartphones or tablets, so you have to create a design that adapts to all screens. This is called responsive design.
• Frontend programming and design implementation with HTML and CSS- The design will then be able to be implemented as well as all the interactions between the components of the graphic interface and the users.
• Backend programming- The backend includes all the business logic. Many technologies can be chosen for its development.
• Automated tests- The purpose of these tests is to reduce bugs, errors, and non-conforming behavior automatically without having to manually re-test everything with each code change.
• Manual acceptance tests- But that does not prevent having to do manual tests to verify that the web application works as it was defined in the specifications or during the functional workshops.
• Accommodation infrastructure- One last thing that can be included in the development is web hosting. A web application uses a number of libraries, databases and third-party applications that must be configured on web servers. In addition, monitoring systems must be set up for cases where there are production problems.
The Complexity of the Functionalities
While you have to keep in mind everything that is included in the web application development, the complexity of the functionalities will have a significant effect on your project budget. We are not talking about a showcase site here, a web application is much more complex.
Here are some commonly requested features for business applications.
• Authentication and security- Managing users, permissions, and security is something that is needed in almost all applications.
• Process in the background- Some tasks take several seconds to complete. For example, complex calculations, algorithms, or manipulations of large files.
• Data analysis- Like background processes, analysis often requires long calculations but also a complex user interface.
• Complex forms- Forms in several stages, with numerous reports depending on the choices made by users or even forms with numerous fields (several tens) will require more development time than other forms.
• Search- Again, a simple search is quick to implement, but adding many rules, although necessary for an efficient search, will be much more complex to implement.
• Real-time collaboration- More and more applications intended for the general public to manage collaboration in real-time. So, this is something that users are used to having and want more of. But it is often very time-consuming to implement.
So, you have to keep in mind that all the desired features will not necessarily fit within the allocated budget.
To guard against this, you will have to make sure to split the project into several versions with the first containing the most important functionalities. In this case, it will be easier when you receive the developers’ estimates or agency quotes to know what can be done within the budget and what is outside the budget.
Many Profiles in the Development Team
Since development does not only include programming, there are not only developers on the team. And depending on the team you want to build for the project, the costs can be very different.
• Designers- They will be responsible for the design and may also be required to implement the design in HTML and CSS.
• Developers- As we saw earlier, there are two different parts for programming: frontend and backend. These two parts require different skills and are often in different programming languages. A distinction is therefore made between frontend developers and backend developers. But some developers can do both and they are called full-stack developers.
• Testers (QA)- The part of the tests are often distributed among all the members of the team but from a certain size it is recommended to have a full-time QA engineer.
• Project Manager- A project manager is necessary to guarantee the good health of the development. He will be responsible for translating your needs for developers and designers.
For each of the roles, the skills of the candidates will be very varied and building a cohesive team can become a headache. In addition, the wage gap can be significant depending on seniority. In the USA, there is a difference of 50% or more between a junior developer and a senior.
This is why taking an agency is a choice that many companies make. An agency typically has a wide variety of profiles and can build a team that will meet the needs of your project much faster than you can do it yourself.
Choosing an agency in countries where wages are lower is tempting. But in reality, many obstacles exist in the event of problems. You have absolutely no idea who does what and how. In addition, legal issues will be more complicated to resolve.
It is not because the product has been carried out and the web application works that there are no more expenses. First of all, you have to think about spending on hosting.
In addition, an application is never finished. On the one hand, even if you spend a lot of time on the tests, there will be bugs that no one will have detected. Maintenance is an expense that must be foreseen and that is between 10% and 25% of the initial budget. And on the other side, there are the functionalities that could not be put in the initial development to be able to respect the budget which we will now have to tackle.
Giving you a precise cost is impossible. As we have seen throughout the article, there are many factors that go into the calculation of the price of a web application.
It is nevertheless necessary to know all these criteria well in order not to exceed your budget.
It is with this knowledge that you will be able to make the right choices to succeed in your web application project while controlling its cost.