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The Impactful Power of Choosing the Right Framework for App Development

What makes a mobile application impactful? In our opinion, any digital product makes the most impact on someone’s life when it responds to their real-life needs. Yet, as the demands of our worlds are constantly changing, so too do people’s expectations of what a mobile application should do for them.

Often, apps tethered to legacy frameworks and outdated UI development approaches can find it difficult to keep up with the ever-evolving consumer market. Therefore, mobile app providers might need to adapt to mobile development toolkits that have greater capabilities.

While this leap to a new framework might seem daunting at first, this article explores why it can be worth making that change.

Why migrate to a new framework

Creating a modern, user-friendly UI can be difficult with an outdated framework. Seemingly simple tasks become complex processes, and it can be very time-consuming to implement complex UI or add modern features like fancy animations, shade or glance effects, QR code scanners, or any other functionality.

Furthermore, once you start attempting to update features, you start to discover conflicts. Elements of your app start to crash, and you end up having to rewrite the code and restructure the architecture.

On the other hand, with a modern toolkit like Jetpack Compose, you are able to create one component for a screen that becomes much more reusable for future features. You can have several parameters adapted to several screens, eliminating the need to repeat the same code.

Swapping over to a new framework makes scaling and adapting your product much easier, as your developers can avoid wasting time rewriting each component added over time. With old frameworks like XML views, you may have to create each individual XML file.

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Overall, this saves valuable time and resources when adding new features and updating your app. Most importantly, your user gets a more beautiful, user-friendly interface.

Case studies

Grab and Disney+ are among many world-leading brands that use Jetpack Compose to reduce code and produce smooth, beautiful apps, while requiring even less people to work on developing and maintaining them. This enables engineers to do excellent work, and can increase development speed by up to three times.

Several other household names use this framework to develop their apps, including Zepeto, Dropbox, Airbnb, Lyft, Clue, and X.

Why are some companies reluctant to upgrade their frameworks?

Moving on from your old framework can take significant rewriting of the mobile app’s code, which can be time consuming at first. Moreover, migrating from familiar XML views to Jetpack Compose can be intimidating for developers without experience using a new Android toolkit. It can feel safer to stick with what you know.

However, making the migration will – in the long run – make the entire app development process simpler, as features will take less time to implement and won’t each require an individual rewrite.

Best practices to start with Jetpack Compose

Cross-team communication is key for ensuring that your app development starts off on the right path and remains so. This is especially important for mobile apps with multiple features. Having proper alignment at the beginning is crucial to a successful migration. This means everyone involved in creating this digital product, from your business analysts to UX designers to developers, must be on the same page.

Spending more time in the beginning to organise architecture and components will save you a lot of time and headaches later on.

A design style guide is a vital tool for alignment. Define typefaces and organise colours, fonts, and other basic components you plan to use for your mobile app. Set standardised names for each component in your style guide.

These key steps ensure clear communication between everyone working on your mobile app, including your internal software team and outsourced developers, for the entire lifespan of your app. Once you set up standardised definitions, your developers and designers won’t have to cross-check.

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This may sound like common sense, but you would be surprised how many projects don’t have things organised from the beginning, with the expectation that things can always be aligned later on. However, the faster your app grows new features, the harder it will be to ensure consistency across development.

The next step to migrate to Jetpack Compose is to create generic, reusable components based on your style guide. This step requires some commitment of resources but saves a huge amount of time later on. Always be sure to follow official Google guidelines on building scalable components, and ensure your team is following the same naming conventions. Having a single source of typefaces, colours, fonts, and components is crucial, as your entire team must re-use it for all future work.

Choose continuous maintenance over rushing migration

As the user base for your digital product grows, you may want to add new features to your mobile application. However, due to the exponential evolution of technology, your framework might not always be up-to-date with the demands of adding these features.

If you only upgrade your framework when you urgently need a new function or app feature, you will inevitably cause unnecessary delays, with seemingly small changes eating up weeks of valuable time. To make matters worse, rushing to migrate will increase your team’s stress levels. Plus, it is always more expensive to perform a framework rehaul than it is to consistently maintain your application’s framework.

Just like how successful business analysts keep an eye on market trends, you should iteratively update and improve your framework with new versions. You can devote as little as one hour to checking if your application framework is still compiling.

This is the best way for your mobile app to release a feature while its functionality is still relevant to your users, ensuring that you make the maximum impact on the market.

Editor’s note: e27 aims to foster thought leadership by publishing views from the community. Share your opinion by submitting an article, video, podcast, or infographic.

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Image credit: Canva

This article was first published on April 17, 2024

The post Why the right framework creates impactful apps appeared first on e27.

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