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 / Please, please stop using web dev firms to make apps!

Please, please stop using web dev firms to make apps!

Tom Riglar

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Mon Dec 13 2021 - 3 min read

A little while ago a client came to us looking for some help. They’d asked their web development agency to work on an app for them and things had hit a major snag. The team managed to get the first version up and running, but when it came to migrating to version 2, something went wrong and they ended up locking out all of their users’ data by mistake.

It was a disaster for the end client – especially as they were a medical company, so keeping user data secure was a critical priority. But the bigger problem was that the web firm didn’t know how to track down and fix the issue. They were in way over their heads and needed a specialist to come in and help.

We hate seeing companies go through that kind of distress, and we hate seeing excellent web dev firms get burned by biting off more than they can chew. So with that in mind, we have to ask – please, please stop asking your web developers to build your app too.

Layers upon layers of complexity

If you’re not tech nerds like us it’s easy to think that if a team can handle one kind of software, they can do it all. Coding is coding, right? But the danger with asking a web dev firm to make a mobile app is that they’d be stepping outside the ecosystem they know and into a world full of hazards they’re unfamiliar with.

Think of it like this. If there was something wrong with your car, you could take it to pretty much any garage to get it fixed. But if you drive an articulated lorry you probably couldn’t run that down to your local mechanic too. It’s a specialist job and it needs a specialist set of skills.

The difference between a car and a lorry is pretty clear at a glance. But with a mobile app and a website, the differences are buried beneath what the user sees. You can have two UIs that look identical, but scratch through that surface and you’ll find programming languages and ways of interacting with operating systems that look about as alike as a family car and an HGV.

There might be some overlap, and a web developer can definitely learn how to build out the basic structure of an app. But once you get beyond the layout and the navigation, the complexity ramps up fast, and that’s when you need an expert hand putting those layers of software together.

Expertise is years in the making

It’s not just about how websites and mobile apps are different. There’s a depth of knowledge needed to build an app that can handle thousands of users, perform brilliantly and deliver a great user experience. Gathering that knowledge takes years of experience – and not to mention a few mistakes along the way too.

With a dedicated app development agency you’re getting a team that can have honed their skills for this one purpose. At Morrow, we’ve dedicated ourselves to learning the app ecosystems, specifically the React Native framework, inside and out, from concepts and prototyping to building out the infrastructure and optimising everything for iOS and Android. And more than that, we know where the pitfalls are and how to avoid them.

That’s something you just won’t get if you ask your web dev firm to take on your app build. Their skills and expertise are in a very different field, and that can lead to some major headaches if anyone goes wrong with the app.

Remember that web dev firm that accidentally locked out their client’s users’ data? They tried to fix the problem, and they were at it for a month before turning it over to us… and we got the whole thing sorted out in less than a day.

Get the right people in from the start

Ultimately it’s about understanding limitations. Yes, your web dev firm might be able to get you started, but there will always be a point where you’ll need to seek out a specialist team.

That goes both ways too. We know we could have a good crack at learning PHP and WordPress if we wanted to make a website for ourselves. But if a client asked us to tackle serious web development for them, we’d refer them to one of the specialist firms we know.

Otherwise, it’s like asking your optician if they can also do your root canal. Without the expertise in that particular field, something is bound to go wrong eventually. And in the fast-moving tech world, you can’t afford to have your app down or your users’ data at risk while you search for someone to fix what could have been avoided from the start.

To see how Morrow can help you get your app to market, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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