You’ve probably heard a saying something like “80% of the work is in the last 20%”. For me, that’s been true for Android development. I’ve been working on an app for several months, and I discovered that the technology demo I did (the core functionality) was only a small fraction of the total work.
For months I’ve been working on developing icons (and keeping multiple resolution versions of them straight), multiple screen layouts (portrait, landscape), and other graphic and workflow tasks in addition to just the coding.
There are also deployment steps (sign your app, get it into the market which has additional graphic and description requirements) to take into account. I can see why a lot of apps seem to have less polish – the developers probably wanted to focus on coding, not the myriad of other things that need to be done.
For example, Google’s Android market requires these things (among others) which are pretty hard to find out about until you register. I think that’s because the requirements changed recently.
- Screenshots (at least 2)
- High Resolution Application Icon(512×512)
- Promo Graphic (optional)(180×120)
- Title (30 max chars)
- Description (4000 max chars)
- Promo Text (80 max chars)
- Application Type/subtype
- Content Rating
In the end, good software development methodologies are still important despite the seemingly small nature of mobile phone apps. In fact, the user expectations and the hardware limitations might make the user interface polish even more important than on traditional desktop applications.
All that said, I’m pleased that I’m getting much closer to being done. The important thing is to not get fixated on the initial impression “This will be easy! I just need to slap some code together and upload it to the market!”. I’m still pretty sure that the barrier to entry is much lower in the Android app market than the Apple app store, but if you want to do things right, there is still some due diligence to do.