UPDATE [2019/09/01]: We have launched our first “Official” mobile application for both iOS and Android for awesome Swedish startup, StillActive.se check it out on the Apple App store here and also on the Android Play Store here and we have another 2 apps in development!
UPDATE [2019/11/05]: We no longer use Cordova in our applications – we are now building our own Native bridges using Java for Android and Swift 5 for iOS. We now have a clearly defined separation of presentation layer and business logic layer providing much better Native performance.
UPDATE [2020/01/11] : We have totally revamped our build process to use automate deliver to client and the app stores using FastLane
Over the past 4 years we’ve worked on all kinds of jobs covering an impressive diversity amount of technology stacks – however, over the years, during all our marketing efforts, one of our advertised services has fallen by the wayside.
People see our agency as more of a high end Website dev-haus or a bunch of Security/Server-side geeks (and they wouldn’t be wrong).
That neglected service is:
Recently we had a client find us via Google while searching for “app development agency prague“.
First off – I was delighted – our SEO is obviously on fleek.
Afterwards we discussed their jobs requirements, the target demographics, wireframes, technology stack and a whole host of other things.
The inevitable next question was going to be “can you show us your previous app related work” – which unfortunately for us – as an agency – we have absolutely no current iOS/Android apps developed under the REPTILEHAUS brand as a team.
Granted, each member of our engineering team have developed apps over the years usually for external design agencies, corporate clients with strict NDA’s and seasonal apps for various sporting events and fixtures – which as sure as the winter snow melts – have long since gone from the respective app stores.
This left us in a pickle.
One which we are still in and want to break out of. The only way for us to do so is to find clients who are willing to take a well educated gamble and allow us to develop their next awesome app – as well as allow us to use their app as our flagship “case study” project.
The added benefit of being our flag-ship app will be that your app doesn’t just get an MVP kind of treatment (assuming you want an MVP, same applies if not) but more so a red carpet royal treatment.
We need an awesome app to be our proudest flag-ship application – One which we can use to garner more business in that area and when we get asked this question again we can say without hesitation “yes, yes we do and look how shiny and fantastic it is”.
Due to that massive black hole in our portfolio we’ve spent the past few weeks preparing and upgrading our iOS/Android app codebase and have gotten all of our infrastructure up to scratch to make sure that deployments are done to a higher standard as well as pushing updates for clients with every single git commit, thanks to our Android production build pipelines.
Theres a ton of ways to build apps nowadays, you can go Native, Flutter, NativeScript or our personal favourite Ionic 4.
Each and every one has its benefits and downfalls – we like Ionic 4 because:
- Its fast for both development time and performance.
- One-codebase to rule them all – 50% cheaper than developing Native and makes maintenance much easier as there is only 1 codebase for both iOS and Android – also makes it easier to fix issues across platforms.
- All the benefits of native device operations (Biometric scanner, Push notification, QR Code scanners and more).
- Ionic 4 is now entirely based on Googles latest Angular 7 framework – previous versions were not – We’ve been building with Angular since it was in Beta so know it like the back of our hand (our flavour of Ionic 4 is fully based off Googles Angular 7 Framework now)
Ionic’s first inception back in 2013 was sometimes slow and buggy – but nowadays theres very little difference between Native built applications and Ionic hybrid apps so long as the app has been coded to a high standard.
Which our intense testing regime, that starts on the developers laptop and continues into the code repository, ensures – with every commit.
Oh yeah, I did mention latest stack, We have now updated all our code bases to Ionic 4 and Anguar 7.
Our apps are lightning fast.
When it comes to building backends for apps theres a whole lot of offerings on the market.
One such one that we have always opted for in the past was Firebase, which is a fantastic BaaS (Backend as a Service) and we love it – or more so did love it.
It is a cool service for prototyping apps with but once you start to use it in a project you are locked into proprietary hell.
Should you wish to move to another stack you need to literally gut the entire app and almost start from scratch.
In the past we have used various backend tech stacks.
One cool one we used in some of the tooling associated with Aerum was NestJS, another nice one for creating RESTful services is Loopback.io and an old personal favourite, Parse Platform, which was owned by Facebook but since then has been open sourced for the masses and its fantastic, especially for creating mobile applications with.
Coupling any of these with a solid NoSQL provider like MongoDB’s Atlas and you have a force to be reckoned with capable of supporting seriously high throughput social networking apps right down to ones for finding a friend for dog walking (were gonna build that app ourselves).
For file storage we use Amazon S3 (the only AWS service we use) or Google Cloud Storage coupled with Google App Engine or REPTILEHAUS own hosting plans depending on the application and its requirements.
When our developers are working on features for your app or indeed, fixing bugs, they will commit their edits to what is known as a git repository, which is just a fancy word for a place to store code.
With every one of these commits our Continuous integration pipeline will begin executing:
- First it installs all your applications dependencies that are necessary for it to run.
- Next carries out unit tests to ensure the code is of high quality and working as it should.
- **If that all works it then gets compiled into a working Android application**.
- So long as no errors happen there it gets submitted to Hockey App and Microsoft App Center.
This process happens with every commit the developer does.
** We do iOS apps later as they require official Apple Hardware to compile whereas Android can be done with any Linux server (our pipelines are run on Linux).
App Hockey / Microsoft App Studio
Another one of our tools and arguably one of the most important is App Hockey which is soon to become Microsoft App Center.
At the risk of saying the word awesome way too much in this post, this tool is awesome.
It allows us to continuously build, test, release, and monitor apps for multiple platforms.
It handles the apps full life cycle.
During development it helps us to test it, and what clients will love is the fact that our Continuous integration pipeline (mentioned earlier) feeds directly into App Center and provides real production builds of the app each and every-time the developer commits code.
You can check in on the progress of development/features while its being built on an hour-by-hour basis if you wish.
And finally when the app is launched into production on the app stores its job doesn’t end there – it then provides us with valuable reporting features for performance issues and crashes too.
Quality Experienced Team
The other thing which is well worth keeping in mind is that we don’t just handle projects alone – it takes a team to raise a baby or in this case an app.
I am massively proud of our engineering team who have shipped tons of highly technical projects, both individually and as a team.
We understand how to put things together for clients, we understand what works and what doesn’t.
We are not just technically solid, we’ve delivered enough projects to have worked out issues – not just in the code but outside of it such as user psychology: will this work; will it not work; will they click that button; or architecting social network websites and how to ensure folks keep on returning.
We pass on this advice and guidance with each and every project we ship. no exceptions.
And thats a wrap. We love Apps. We do Apps.
Hire us to build your App and lets be H’APPy together 🙂
** Special Promotion ** If you are not happy with development after 30 days you pay nothing.