Why are desktop apps still relevant?
Despite the shift in recent years towards experiences delivered to desktop and laptop users via a web browser, there are still many reasons to develop a desktop application.
In fact the same reasons that drive the development of mobile apps are equally valid for desktop, plus some more besides, including :
- Your users may demand a highly responsive native user interface that simply can't be matched by a browser client application.
- Your users may need to be able to work with large files or carry out intensive processing using the power of their own computer, this can also save you a lot of money that would otherwise need to be spent on cloud services if you have a lot of users requiring intensive processing power.
- Your app may need to work when offline, or remain highly responsive when there is a slow or intermittent internet connection.
What technologies do you recommend for a desktop app supporting Windows, Mac and Linux?
Microsoft's powerful dotNet (.NET) framework is well established as the default way to build desktop applications for Windows, giving Windows users a truly native experience. There are also excellent libraries allowing native user interfaces to be built for Mac and Linux using .NET, giving those users a native experience too.
Where a look and feel native to the user's operating system is not a priority, and is unlikely to become a priority, we recommend Flutter so the entire code base including User Interface can be shared between the different operating systems, saving development costs and reducing platform specific issues. The other benefit with Flutter is the fact that you can easily transition to a truly cross platform app supporting mobile & web too, from your Flutter desktop app codebase, without needing to re-write the user interface which is a big bonus in some cases.
How does the consultancy process work for desktop application development for Windows, Mac and Linux?
To start with we work together to understand your requirements, it's not at all unusual for clients to just have an idea for their application at this stage, equally they may have detailed specifications, or already have existing code that needs updating.
Once your requirements are clear, if necessary, we work with some great designers who can create fantastic UI & UX designs for your desktop application, although if you have these skills in-house then we will be happy to work with your designers too.
Depending on the complexity of your app, and how likely your requirements are to change there are different ways we can proceed with either a fixed scope & fixed price, or an agile approach to building your app. These are explained in more detail, along with the rest of the process on our home page.
Quality assurance testing happens throughout the development process, both through the development of automated tests and through manual testing of the app on different computer specifications. Prior to a full app release it is usual to set aside some time for quality assurance testing and resolution of issues, including end to end testing, user acceptance testing, security testing & compatibility testing.
Once the release is ready, if you wish to deploy through the Microsoft Store for Windows and / or Apple Store for Mac we can handle the release for you, or guide your staff through the process.
You own the source code to the development work you've paid for, and while we will of course be there to support you for future updates when you need us, you are completely free to take it to another development partner or build your own team.
The process of developing an application update is really a smaller scale version of the process explained above, with documenting of requirements, design, followed by development either on a fixed scope or agile basis, quality assurance and release.
To get started, tell us your application idea and let's take it from there.
How much does it cost to develop a desktop app for Windows, Mac and Linux?
The costs can vary as dramatically as the level of functionality that can be found in Desktop apps, to the extent it is hard to even quote a range. A simple utility may cost under £1000 (under $1300 or under 1200 euro), even if it actually provides a lot of business value as it plugs a critical gap. On the other hand, it's safe to assume that applications like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Excel have had many tens of millions spent on their development.