To first consider the wonders of the app world, we need to discover the meaning behind the term ‘app’.

What is an App?

App is really just an abbreviation of ‘application’, although it shouldn’t be considered an application in the traditional sense. Our minds usually conjure up thoughts of a hefty installation process stored on a physical disk, a piece of software with a fairly elaborate set of features and a pretty substantial financial investment.

Calendar App

The true beauty of an app is that it eradicates these typical notions and instead concentrates on being a small snippet of software that focuses on a limited set of features, often utilising only a small amount of file space. Apps also avoid breaking the bank by typically ranging from a few pounds to costing absolutely nothing. Of course there are exceptions to the rule as software that once existed on multiple CD-ROMs can now be found masquerading as a single app, containing vast amounts of content and features – perhaps only expected on the mightier desktop computers.

As far as the user is concerned though, it is simply a method of acquiring new and exciting tools, games and gimmicks – avoiding completely the aggravation or even understanding of what software actually is.

So let’s break this down a little…

App Stores

Apple App Store

Ever since the idea of an app was invented, the method of distribution is as equally important to any other notion of what an app actually is. Toss out those compact disks and instead look to the on-line shopping arena.

Often referred to as an ‘App Store’, these digital marketplaces allow users to browse a huge collection of apps that can number in the hundreds of thousands – featuring functionality that you always wished for, never imagined in your wildest dreams would appear and of course those that focus on the completely absurd.

This new digital shopping experience provides convenience and more than just a little temptation. With just a few moments you can purchase, install and run an app without the usual tedium. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can browse the App Stores and gain a new ability that will enrich your life or at the very least provide a suitable distraction.

One Feature, One App

As users of software, we often stick to the core features of a product and never dare venture into all of the bells and whistles also available. Often this is referred to as ‘bloat’, unessential additions that sit there hardly ever used – yet of course there will be a minority who take advantage of this extra functionality.

Apps can survive with literally just a single feature and still earn the love and admiration from the community. There is no need to over complicate things and in fact this attitude is discouraged, with favouritism pointing towards those that keep it as simple as possible with exciting new twists.

Cost of an App

MetalStorm: Online

By concentrating on a single function or a limited set of features, apps can be incredibly cheap and even totally free. The amount required to purchase an app doesn’t automatically reflect the quality – with some of the most addictive, useful and pleasing experiences costing no more than the loose change you might find down the side of the sofa.

Digital distribution also reduces costs for developers and publishers and actually presents an opportunity for those code masters in particular to earn greater wealth even with these greatly reduced prices. By cutting out the need to create a disk, print a manual, place in a box and finally shipping to a shop where they themselves will require a commission – the potential to earn a steady living while providing appealing pricing for customers is an obvious advantage.

App Creation Series

There are literally hundreds of thousands of applications and games available to download using the digital marketplace. These range from basic clocks to fully fledged 3D gaming experiences rivalling even the leading portable devices that usually only specialise in this field.

Your challenge is competing with this vast library of already impressive offerings which, although a daunting prospect to the fledgling traveller, can be navigated successfully with the right ideas and implementation. Whether you want to create an income generator or simply desire recognition for your efforts, this book will aim to show you the path and inspire your imagination to overflow with possibilities.

Allow James Woodcock to guide you through the wilderness and raise your chances of realising your development dreams by detailing different routes with this light hearted tour of the Apps terrain. Featuring a myriad of exciting and surprising examples, you can glean important suggestions for your own creation.

App Creation Series Index:
App Creation – Beginners Guide to App Design, Development and Marketing

Illustrations by Steve Ince

Starting out as an artist at Revolution Software, he moved over to production before settling as a writer-designer. With various titles like the Broken Sword series behind him, Steve turned to Freelance in 2004 and in 2008 earned a Writers’ Guild Award nomination for So Blonde.

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James Woodcock

James is a Freelance Journalist, Copywriter, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming, gadgets and technology, both retro and modern. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles, including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, whilst also interviewing well-known industry figures for popular online publications. Creator of the ScummVM Music Enhancement Project and host of the Game & Gadget Podcast. View his portfolio here: James Woodcock's Portfolio.

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