Applications are programs that are built to be executed on computers, browsers, mobile devices or any other platform that has a UI (User Interface) you can interact with. Unlike raw programs that are executed on the compilation, applications offer a GUI or Graphical User Interface.
GUI allows end-users of the application to interact with the program’s features or carry out various tasks. Unlike text-based or command label-based user interfaces of other programs, applications are easier to use and offer multiple utilities to users. Developing applications is a critical job role in today’s world, especially with businesses operating online.
Unlike a few decades ago, applications were only built by IT firms and software development companies to serve a certain type of user. However, in today’s world, a large number of small and medium-sized companies need their own personalized application or software.
Websites and web applications are especially popular in major countries such as India. This demand is fueled by a large number of customers shopping online and the huge dependency of businesses on e-commerce. However, unlike websites, web applications are actual applications that are being hosted on remote servers. The frontend (or GUI) of these applications are relayed using the internet and with the help of browsers.
This is why now is the best time to become a full stack web developer. MNCs are shifting to web applications and have started offering online versions of their software and mid-sized companies are always in need of applications due to various business requirements. Full stack web development is an extremely lucrative sector now for any web developer.
Online portals, online websites that convert or edit files, the online version of Microsoft Office, Yahoo Mail, Google Sheets and the various applications we use online are all examples of web applications. Even Facebook, Youtube and other popular platforms are web applications. By learning full stack web development, you can develop applications for the web, and even for mobile.
Types of software applications
There are various types of applications that we use and that we can build. Let us look at the most common types of applications out there.
1. Web Applications:
Web applications have become the most preferred kind of application for all kinds of tasks. This is due to not requiring the application to be installed and these applications not taking up any dedicated storage except the temporary cache. Also, because web applications run on browsers and not on your Operating Systems (OS), they are compatible across most platforms and systems with a browser.
It is not true that web applications do not require computing resources from a device through the client browser, however, it is immensely lesser than what a traditional software or application built for Windows OS or Linux would require.
2. Native Applications and Mobile Applications:
Applications made for mobile operating systems such as iOS or Android need to be installed from their respective app stores or with .apk format files (only for Android). Applications were being developed for mobile devices even when they were being run on Symbian OS, Blackberry OS, Tizen and even Java-based OS. There are also native applications that are developed for ChromeOS, webOS and many other platforms.
3. Computer Applications and Non-System Software:
These applications are software that are built for operating systems such as macOS, Windows or Linux distributions. This kind of application needs to be installed in the memory of the computer as long as the application is needed. A lot of applications also come pre-installed in operating systems that allow us to carry out various tasks.
System software and software without a GUI that are used for carrying out autonomous tasks do not fall under the category of applications.
Steps involved in application development
For most kinds of application development, the steps involved are similar. However, rather than the operating systems, these programs run on the server or cloud for web application development and most modern application development processes. Thus, the steps involved are a bit different for web application development. However, many computer applications are also integrated with the cloud.
Due to the popularity of web development, let us take the example of the steps involved in application development with a full stack architecture. Full stack web developers are familiar with each layer of the application and are thus able to finish the entire development process by themselves.
Step 1: Ideation of foundational visual design and user interface.
Step 2: Designing the visual aspects of the application. This is done with the help of programming languages like HTML and CSS.
Step 4: Then, one can use technologies such as Angular to build applications as modules and components. Most full-stack developers use technology stacks such as MEAN (MongoDB, Express, Angular, Node.js) or MERN (MongoDB, Express, React, Node).
Step 5: This is where the databases are integrated and the network protocols are set up. With the help of technologies such as AWS, developers can also host the application on the cloud.
Different application development processes
Here are 3 most popular application development processes:
1. Agile Development:
Agile development is based on interactive development approaches and expects multiple iterations during the process. Each iterative phase becomes a sprint or a full iteration of all the phases of the development process.
2. Rapid Application Development:
During this development process, rapid prototyping and fast feedback are prioritized over everything else. Development cycles are super short and testing is done while units are modified and rebuilt. Rather than starting from scratch, these applications keep on being modified in order to suit business requirements.
3. Waterfall Development:
Waterfall development projects are planned in a sequential manner and each phase is fully completed before the next phase of the development process is started. Once a phase is completed, it is considered to be the final build and developers do not revisit that phase or iterate.
4. core concepts to know to develop an application
Modern application development procedures follow many essential concepts, methodologies and protocols. There are also many technology stacks that are considered to be absolutely crucial for developers. Let us look at the 5 core concepts for application development.
- DevOps Deployment Methodology: In this development concept, collaboration and organizational practices are focused upon. This concept tries to optimize development processes that require collaboration with different departments. DevOps Deployment also tries to ensure quality and life cycle protocols.
- Application release automation (ARA): In this development concept, tools are used to automate various steps of the building process. These automation tools build automatically as code and are contributed by developers on the repositories. This also promotes automated testing to compare outcomes of various builds.
- Configuration management (SCM): In SCM, version control is the prime focus and the changes made to the build are managed and monitored. SCM concepts help in tracking these various changes and controlling the outcomes of the final build.
- Continuous delivery (CD) and Continuous Integration (CI): The CI/CD methodology takes the development process takes into account the continuous code changes and the building of new components that use the new code. The component builds help in integrating and improving the full application continuously.
- Unit Testing: Unit testing is the concept of testing the smallest parts of components in an application to evaluate their individual performance and compatibility. This is also known as modular testing in various development processes.
Skills and technologies needed at each phase of development
Application developers must be skilled in frontend technologies, backend technologies, libraries, frameworks and databases in order to carry out full-stack development tasks. However, there are many developers who only work on certain development portions and thus need specific technologies and skills.
Here is the choice of skills and technologies available for the frontend:
- Adobe XD
Here is the choice of skills and technologies available for the backend:
- C++ or C#
Here is the choice of frameworks and libraries available:
Here is the choice of database technologies available:
- MySQL or MariaDB
- MongoDB or PostgreSQL
- Distributed File Systems such as Hadoop
Here are some other tools that application developers need:
- Text Editors
- Automation tools for CI/CD
- Integrated Development Environments such as Visual Studio, Atom, and other online alternatives
- NPM and yarn package managers
- Browser Developer Tools
- Project Management Tools
Full stack development is currently one of the most in-demand application skills. With full stack development, you can easily build an application to serve any business or end-user requirement. If you are dealing with the question of how to become a full-stack developer, your first step will be to look into various online full-stack developer certification programs.
The Hero Vired Certificate Program in Full Stack Development includes workshops, industry projects (with MERN stack), and hands-on learning sessions. Enroll now to enrich your skills. Additionally, you will be gaining much-needed exposure to MongoDB, SQL, Node JS, React JS, and various other technologies.