App Development: Basic Terms

App Development Terms

Agile – An approach to software development that is highly adaptive. Work is divided into short phases, and the overall plan is frequently revisited and adapted to meet changing needs and requirements. The agile approach is often contrasted to the waterfall approach.

API (Application Programming Interface) – An API is code, usually written by another company, that you use to build your own applications. Let’s say you want your app to let users sign in using their Google account (rather than creating a separate account just for your app). Your developer would use one of Google’s APIs to make this happen. Google would make this API public as a way of sharing it with developers.

Back End/Backend – When developers talk about the “back end” of your mobile app, they are referring to the behind the scenes stuff that makes your app do what it does. When you use an app you see only what is immediately in front of you on the screen. This is called the “front end”. The front end is only the tip of the iceberg. The back end is what’s happening behind the scenes on your servers.

Beta Test/Beta Testers – Beta testing happens after your development team has completed their own tests of the application. The product stakeholders have also reviewed and tested the application for acceptance and agreement that it does what it should. During beta testing you’ll distribute your app to a sampling of your intended audience (beta testers) who will put it to use in real-world situations. We haven’t gone live yet and your beta testers should not be using the app for mission critical purposes. We are still testing after all.

Discovery– In the mobile development world, discovery is the first step taken on new projects. It may include research, user surveys, discussions to determine what features are needed, further discussion to narrow down those features into version one must-haves, and so on. Discovery will happen through conversations between the project stakeholders and your development team. It may also include discussions between certain users and your developers. Your development team may suggest job shadowing your intended users to understand the real-life people and processes your mobile application will be designed around.

Mock-Up/Mock Up – This is a term used in the design world. It refers to the realistic illustrations a designer creates to show the client what their final product will look like, and solicit feedback before they start developing it. You might have a mock-up of the pages in your app that are meant to show you what the app will look like when it’s complete. Mock-ups are not pictures of actual working applications, they are illustrations that show what’s possible.

More Terms

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