Planning Your New App: How to Save Time & Money on Development

Published By: Andrew Schwartz

Planning Your Application

Planning your new mobile application from the beginning will save you a huge headache in the end. A proper application plan allows you to think through all the obstacles that may arise during development. By planning ahead, you'll be able to grasp the larger picture, allowing yourself to see the scale of your project and get an accurate idea of the development time, upfront development costs, and future development maintenance costs. There may also be third-party costs such as data fees for API access, security, and hosting. Once you have these questions answered you'll either feel more comfortable moving forward or you realized you need to take a step back and re-adjust your plan. Either way, if you are just thinking your ideas through, you haven't spent any money on the development process. To learn more about the mobile development process, contact us for a development checklist.

Development Options

Once you've thought through your application, its time to think about how its going to be built. When it comes to mobile applications, there are many different ways: you can build with native platforms, native-based cross-platforms, web-based cross-platforms, and web-app-based online CMS platforms. This is a quick guide to break it down so you can get you started with the best platform for your project, and a killer development plan that’s both definitive and will solve all underlying issues.

Below are a few examples of some options you may have when it comes to building mobile applications. These are some ways to get you started, by understanding the development process you can save yourself valuable time and money. If you've read this far, you're probably serious about developing your application; check out our blog on creating user stores to get started!



You can write in a native language that the machine will understand; native languages vary from machine to machine. For example, iOS uses mostly Swift, and Android uses mostly Java. When writing in native languages, you will not be able to reuse the code for each platform; ie: iOS, Android, Windows mobile OS. The development process is slow because each platform will need its own set of debugging and testing. However, the final product will always be superior. From animation visuals to loading time performance, native applications also win. A native application development environment will cost more money and require additional time to complete compared to its cross-platform counterpart. For this reason, they may not be the right solution for small business or entrepreneurial applications.

Compile to Native

You can also write the code once in standard languages (C#, JavaScript, etc.) and compile it into the native code before distribution. This is what native-based cross platform builders will typically do (and some cloud-based platforms). These range from free to paid-for-support, and some even require costly licenses fees. This method is quickly scalable making it good for database-based applications that will be built for many devices. This is because it offers a standard level of performance comparable to native applications, so much of the code can be shared, almost like a library full of books (sometimes over 90%). Meaning, more budget can be allocated towards debugging and testing, ensuring development is fast—creating an end product that is reliable and high performing. These cross platform systems rely on updates in order to stay current with each operating systems native code, much like web-based wrappers. For this reason, community and support is key when choosing this type of development platform. They must be selected wisely to ensure current and future reliability.

Web-based Wrapper

Finally, the last option is to build mobile applications using web languages such as HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, PHP, etc. and then wrap up the code inside another application that can communicate with the device in its native language. This is referred to as a “wrapper” and essentially runs an embedded web page on your device; good for simple applications and small scale (repetitive) projects on a short time-frame because there are generally less bugs. Ideally used to create food ordering systems, phone scheduling, application "online" booking for small restaurants, and doctors' offices.

These can be developed quickly on a low budget but often suffer with slow loading times and poor reliability. Additionally, you will rely on the underlying framework to keep your project up-to-date and bug free. These web-based application builders can be done with a local development environment or through an online service that allows you to build your application with a GUI. Beware of these online platforms: users may not know the terms they are agreeing to, in addition to sharing their information or ideas. You may also be subject to fees when a set number of users joins. For this reason, we believe if you're going to build a web-based application, you should do so with an open source local development environment.


  • iOS - Objective-C, Swift
  • Android - Java but portions of code can be in C, C++,
  • Blackberry - Java
  • Windows Phone - Visual C++

Web-based Cross-platform

  • Ionic
  • React
  • Cordova / PhoneGap
  • jQuery Mobile
  • Sencha Touch
  • Ratchet

Native-based Cross-platform

  • React Native
  • Xamarin
  • Haxe
  • NativeScript
  • RubyMotion

Cloud-based Builder-platform (usually cost money monthly)

  • IBM Bluemix
  • appmakr
  • Bizness Apps
  • Bobile
  • AppMachine


Download Our Development Checklist

Native languages are constantly being changes and updated, and new platforms are being development each day making app development easy, fast, and more "human" friendly. This is just a small selection of the application development marketplace. To list out each and every possibility would take hours, or even days. We wish you the best of luck with your application development. To get a head start, or if you ever have any questions, email us at

Andrew SchwartzAndrew is the head of operations at Make Directory Developers. He holds a deep passion for computers and technology and loves to help answer questions.