FreewayTalk

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Roger Burton

13 Jul 2015, 8:35 am

Making an app

Hi chaps, given the extensive knowledge here I wondered if anyone knows how easy it is to create an ‘app’ … many thanks Roger

thatkeith

13 Jul 2015, 10:07 am

This reminds me of a little homily I sometimes use when students ask how much it costs to make an app…

“How much does it cost to make an app?” —”About as much as a car.” “…err… what KIND of car?” —”Exactly.”

Making an app is easy. Or very hard. It depends. :)

k

Roger Burton

13 Jul 2015, 10:37 am

Good point Keith though we’re not really talking ‘cost’ here I’m more interested in the technological requirements … I’m a designer and find working with code etc challenging to say the least (where have we heard that before) that’s why, in general terms, I was so pleased to come across ‘F/way’ … I’ve heard from various sources that app creation is pretty specialised. I have a client who’s has a website that I made, he is a one-man ‘chauffeur driven car service’ and does a lot of work for visiting americans and they all tell him to get an ‘app’. I don’t agree with them and don’t even know what an app would do for his business but have to look into it for him. Maybe I’ll just tell him to Google it and find someone to make it for him, after all he’ll probably want me to work for ‘mates rates’ and it’ll end up being a total headache !

r

waltd

13 Jul 2015, 10:45 am

Wow. I doubt he should take this seriously, then. If he wanted to expand his business — have hundreds of chauffeurs working for him, central scheduling, etc. — then I could see this being a profitable investment. Otherwise, it would be many tens of thousands of dollars for what? If he’s the one one guy with the one limousine, then how does he amortize the cost of developing that app, even if it keeps him driving 18 hours a day with some fancy AI scheduling algorithm?

Now if he were to tell all his friends at the cab stand about it, and they all signed up too, then maybe he would have something. Then again, there is Uber and Lyft (here in the US, anyway) trying to eat the lunch of both large cab companies and tiny individuals by “cutting out the middle-man”. Just at the time that (in this alternative scenario) he is trying to set himself up as just such a middle-man.

Walter

On Jul 13, 2015, at 6:37 AM, Roger Burton <[email protected]> wrote:

Good point Keith though we’re not really talking ‘cost’ here I’m more interested in the technological requirements … I’m a designer and find working with code etc challenging to say the least (where have we heard that before) that’s why, in general terms, I was so pleased to come across ‘F/way’ … I’ve heard from various sources that app creation is pretty specialised. I have a client who’s has a website that I made, he is a one-man ‘chauffeur driven car service’ and does a lot of work for visiting americans and they all tell him to get an ‘app’. I don’t agree with them and don’t even know what an app would do for his business but have to look into it for him. Maybe I’ll just tell him to Google it and find someone to make it for him, after all he’ll probably want me to work for ‘mates rates’ and it’ll end up being a total headache !

r

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

waltd

13 Jul 2015, 10:53 am

Oh, and I forgot to answer your underlying question. There are some apps (like Freeway) that let you mock up the UI of an app, and get it wired up enough to appear to work, so you can demo it for potential users. Some of these produce working AppKit layout code, so your time is not wasted. They don’t actually do anything on the back-end, though, so you are left with the candy shell and a few tricks (pretty much what you could mock up using Keynote). Those are useful if you have a team behind you who can put your vision into action. But writing an app (to say nothing of getting it into the various app stores) is a large and technical exercise, often requiring people of several different skill sets, and depending on how your application works, server infrastructure to tie it all together. Oh,and did I mention support? That’s often overlooked, and is easily a full-time job in itself.

Walter

On Jul 13, 2015, at 6:37 AM, Roger Burton <[email protected]> wrote:

Good point Keith though we’re not really talking ‘cost’ here I’m more interested in the technological requirements … I’m a designer and find working with code etc challenging to say the least (where have we heard that before) that’s why, in general terms, I was so pleased to come across ‘F/way’ … I’ve heard from various sources that app creation is pretty specialised. I have a client who’s has a website that I made, he is a one-man ‘chauffeur driven car service’ and does a lot of work for visiting americans and they all tell him to get an ‘app’. I don’t agree with them and don’t even know what an app would do for his business but have to look into it for him. Maybe I’ll just tell him to Google it and find someone to make it for him, after all he’ll probably want me to work for ‘mates rates’ and it’ll end up being a total headache !

r

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

thatkeith

13 Jul 2015, 10:54 am

The phrase “total headache” doesn’t BEGIN to describe how you’ll feel. :) I set out to learn Objective C a few summers ago. I’ve been making standalone software for years using scripting languages (SuperCard and later Revolution/Live Code, and some AppleScript and CLI), and I quite enjoy digging into PHP. However, Objective C gave me migraines and my learning project was an utter failure.

It was in no small part because all the documentation I found assumed certain critical but opaque things to be understood, going from dead-simple “Hello World” projects to ‘WTF?’ in one leap. To my knowledge nothing’s changed: it’s all theoretically learnable, but Oh My God you should plan to do this in some kind of face-to-face learning situation where you can get direct, relevant help as you go.

As for the whole web site vs app thing, they do very different things. I’d say in this kind of case, if the client’s customers find him online and are NOT regular, frequent repeat users who have very specific service customisation needs, an app would be a waste of time and money. Apps are money sinks. Before he goes an inch down that road he should work out exactly what an app would REALLY offer that a web site couldn’t, and determine how much of a difference that would actually make to his bottom line.

k

Roger Burton

13 Jul 2015, 11:22 am

Thanks both … I think you confirmed my observations and have therefore given me some ‘support’ when I tell him he’s being a knob !

“Hello World” projects to ‘WTF?’ in one leap.

… excellent.

Roger

DeltaDave

13 Jul 2015, 6:04 pm

tell him he’s being a knob !

What do these Yanks know anyway? More money than sense!

I echo what everyone else has said - how many hours are there in your guy’s day coz he would have to work 24/7 to pay for the app which will never pay for itself.

D

Glasgow, Scotland

iMac 27 5K El Cap and Pro Final

Mike B

13 Jul 2015, 6:20 pm

I take it you mean a stand alone app? Another approach might be… a web based app! Basically your application would be web based but formatted for mobile devices (web site with database backend) rather than a stand alone app (Stand alone app that connects to online database), no need to worry about Windows, Android and Apple versions then updating the stand alone app for changes in operation system changes, this can be time consuming and costly. To create a web based app you would need to know who to work in PHP and integrate with FW, also I found that jQuery comes in really useful with web apps… although this is all difficult is nowhere near as difficult as building a stand alone apps for different devices or getting into the cost of doing so either.

I run a business that has around 100 machines located in different bars, these need to be serviced on a regular bases money in the machines is controlled by counters. The person that does the service calls used to take a sheet with them where the counter numbers where updated on each service, I wanted an easier way of doing this, something that was faster and more controlled and not have to worry if the counter numbers sheet was lost before it was returned… my first thought was a stand alone app for mobile devices which would connected to a web site database, the more I thought about this the more it seemed better to just make a web based app, so I built the admin site in Freeway made mobile friendly, the service person logs in and now just selects the site machine, they enter the counter number from the machine they are servicing and everything is auto calculated instantly at the correct percentages for that machine type and client, they then save the data which is then saved to the web database. This is all done on a Freeway designed mobile web site that integrates with the server database so an internet connection is needed on the mobile device.

OK, so this is not what you want to do but the scope with this is massive and maybe your needs don’t actually need a stand alone app. I have moved my mobile web app on now to control other things such as recording the work that needs to be done and that is done to each machine all from the service persons mobile phone. There is no real limit to what can be done here, if I had the time I would actually start the whole thing from scratch again, knowing what I want it to do now means I could redo it all to function in a far more advanced and streamlined way. When I started this it was to control the machines takes, then added services, then I had it work out when a machine is paid off relative to the returns, then calculating he amount of money a machine takes between certain replacement items, now it records the time the service call was made so I can see a rough outline of the service route for that day… etc. etc.

This might have nothing to do with what you might want but maybe it will give some food for though… HTH

Mike

On 13 Jul 2015, at 12:37 pm, Roger Burton <[email protected]> wrote:

Good point Keith though we’re not really talking ‘cost’ here I’m more interested in the technological requirements … I’m a designer and find working with code etc challenging to say the least (where have we heard that before) that’s why, in general terms, I was so pleased to come across ‘F/way’ … I’ve heard from various sources that app creation is pretty specialised. I have a client who’s has a website that I made, he is a one-man ‘chauffeur driven car service’ and does a lot of work for visiting americans and they all tell him to get an ‘app’. I don’t agree with them and don’t even know what an app would do for his business but have to look into it for him. Maybe I’ll just tell him to Google it and find someone to make it for him, after all he’ll probably want me to work for ‘mates rates’ and it’ll end up being a total headache !

r

Freeway, PHP and MySQL examples

http://www.easibase.com

Roger Burton

14 Jul 2015, 5:29 am

Fascinating insight mike, thanks for sharing.

Roger