It’s been a while since we last conducted an interview with an app developer, and as such in this interview “The 8th of the series” we have chosen to talk to someone who can provide some insights into a slightly different aspect of app development.
Interview with an App Developer
Today we’ve invited Paul Swengler of UNIQ to answer some questions about what motivated him to become an app developer and more about his background, inspirations and what he hopes the future may hold.
Hi Paul, Can you tell us What it is You Do?
Thanks. I am an app developer not an app coder. It may be a subtle distinction, but to the client hiring someone to build an app it is significant. My company iUNIQ provides the full administration support along with the development. We hire the coders.
This administration generally comes into play during two common scenarios:
- Communications are not clear. Often this is simply a technical item. App coders are not business people and thusly unfamiliar with business functions and logic. The business side of an app may require function to accounting or supply side logistics, and coders are not familiar with jargon, purpose, and standard practices of business. Additionally cultural differences exist where regulations and customs dictate how business logic is handled.
- Business clients are not familiar with the software development process. They do not understand the limitations of computers or the interactions between programs and APIs. Frequently seemingly simple adaptations of an application can be problematic and compatibility between software framework versions can be daunting.
Clients often say it is a simple change. At the user level it is. But under the hood it can be a monster to retrofit. Clients will say things like
“Why didn’t you put a button here? Everyone knows there should be a button to do this.”
Why Did You Choose a Career as an App Developer?
I’m involved in mobile because it is an evolution and migration of technology. As Assembly went to Cobol to Basic, to C and the following language iterations, the evolution of app development is migrating. It is now centered in mobility applications. As the Borg would say: “To resist is futile.”
How Do you See App Development Evolving
Application development is currently centered around entertainment and personal apps. However the near future of mobility apps will be centered around enterprise business applications. Businesses have a number of issues they must solve before they adopt a coherent embracing of mobility apps.
These are predominantly created by device manufacturers. First there are no universal standards for mobility. Each manufacturer wants to create a lock on its users by limiting the UI and bloatware. There is no standard for developing apps. Android has one, Apple another, Microsoft a third, and so on. Enterprise adoption requires a broad adoption of one universal interface, but the current BYOD policy of enterprise means there will not be any standard soon.
What about The Future Evolution of Devices
The near future of devices will obscure the generation moniker of iterations. Just as Gen 1 computers were tubes, Gen 2 were solid state, Gen 3 had marginal integrated circuits, gen 4 and so on but the “Gen” was dropped because it became meaningless as computers evolved. Gen 5 will Mobile likely be the last “Gen” reference in mobility, but that will not stop evolution.
Do You Have a Specific Platform you Prefer to Develop Apps For?The number of mobile device manufacturers is expanding, reminiscent to automobile manufacturers of the 40’s and 50’s and computer manufacturers of the 70’s. The field of offerings is significantly small in the beginning, and it expands until the market forces pick the winners, and then it contracts to a limited number of suppliers. To focus on one platform at this stage, with mobile connected devices under 10 years old, is a not a good idea.
When Did You Realise there Was a Business in Software?
Personally around 1956 watching the Bizmac and Uniac computers predicting the presidential elections. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I was able to enter the field. And I have been into computers since Fortran and Assembly.
Creating a software business was simply responding to market forces. Monolithic computers like IBM’s 360 and 370 series were becoming dated when early basic and PCs entered the market. Moving to small systems software was logical, first in desktop, then enterprise and server-based systems and now to mobile. The magic is not in the computers but in the software. Everyone loves magic so, well it’s logical.
What Does the Future Have in Store for You as an App Developer?
The future is, or will be, in mobile apps. There are two categories, one is for entertainment the other for work. Both are promising but I have elected to do business apps. It is because I understand them. I don’t do games or entertainment because I don’t have time to play games. Both venues are profitable but it remains a personal decision.
As developers we are mercenaries. We follow the money or even predict where it will be. Recreational apps are mostly low priced apps of $0 to say $20. Giving the app store 50% of the sale and then paying taxes on the balance means that a $1 app can only generate 45 cents maximum gross revenue per sale.
When an app costs $3000 to build, it requires 6600 sales to break even. In most cases this makes app development only viable for the APP Store, and the developer if he is hired. If writing apps is a hobby then this makes sense, but if publishing apps is to make money then it is a hard road. This is why we do primarily work for hire and business apps.
First of all I’d like to thank Paul Swengler for agreeing to do this interview and for providing highly detailed answers. I think what he’s told us here really sheds some light on what are the many different aspects of app development!
I’m sure what he’s had to say here will help to inspire if not give rise to many questions, from established and would-be developers a like.
Do you have any questions for Paul? Please comment here and share with your friends, family and colleagues too…..