We at DevTeam.Space recently worked on integrating Instagram accounts with the Photofy iOS app. We also added photo editing features to the app.
Additionally, we made it easier for the Photofy app users to print order forms that allow them to get photographs delivered to their home.
Apps like Photofy have become powerful content creation tools, and entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking to tap into this market. If you are one such entrepreneur, you are likely wondering how to build a photo editing app like Photofy. That’s exactly what I will explain in this guide.
A brief introduction to Photofy
Photofy is a popular photo editing app, and this Raleigh, North Carolina, USA-based company was founded in 2013. The app is available on both Android and iOS. Photofy offers the following features:
- Users can adjust their canvas’s aspect ratio, therefore, they can make it square, portrait, or landscape. They can also zoom in on their photo.
- The app enables users to crop the unnecessary parts of the photo.
- Users can apply filters, moreover, they can adjust the brightness, contrast, etc.
- Instagram users can use Instasquare to get their photos into the square shape.
- Photofy offers light effects and mirror tools, moreover, it has tools to blur parts of the photo or to sharpen the edges.
- The app has an impressive collection of artworks and stickers, and users can utilize them for overlaying on the photo.
- Photofy has a large number of frames, moreover, users can add free form texts. Photofy offers fonts as well as formatting tools for this.
- Users can create memes, use shape masks, and add logo or watermark to their images.
- Photofy lets users create collages, moreover, users can share their photos on social media.
The market for photo editing apps
There’s a growing market for photo editing apps, and the following pieces of statistics illustrate this well:
- In 2018, photo and video apps were the most popular category of apps in the Apple App Store. You can read about this in “App download and usage statistics (2019)”.
- The photography app category was the 5th most popular one in Google Play as of Q3 2018, and Android photography apps had 0.95 billion downloads during this period. You can read about this in “51 jaw dropping app usage statistics & trends, 2019 [Infographic]”.
- Photography apps have a high penetration rate, as you can read in “Market reach of the most popular Android app categories worldwide as of June 2018”.
- A Statista report shows that a significant percentage of Americans in the high-income groups used photo editing apps on their smartphones in 2018.
Building a photo editing app
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Developing a photo editing app involves the following steps:
1. Define the scope of the development project
I recommend that you define the following scope of this project:
- Launch an Android and an iOS app so that you can cover the most popular mobile platforms.
- Incorporate features like that of Photofy.
- The app should support English-speaking users.
2. Choose the right development methodology
While the above-mentioned project scope is good for the initial launch of your app, you might want to add more features later. You could also want to expand to other geographies.
The above-mentioned project scope is to launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) so that you can get valuable feedback from the market. You can then add more features. I recommend that you use the Agile methodology for this project, and I had explained its importance in “Waterfall vs Agile: which methodology is right for your project”.
3. Formulate the best development approach
You would certainly want to launch a functional app in the market quickly, therefore, choosing the right approach is key. I recommend the following approach:
- Use a managed cloud services platform so that you don’t need to spend time and resources for IT infrastructure management.
- Make use of software development kits (SDK)s and application programming interfaces (APIs) to implement the core features.
- Enhance the test coverage with the help of a test automation aid.
You can read “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?” to understand why this approach matters.
4. Prepare for future internationalization
Your team should design and develop the app in a manner so that it can support more languages in the future. There are several best practices for this, e.g., you need to keep the code and content separate. These are “app internationalization” guidelines, and you can read more about them in “The ultimate guide to mobile app internationalization”.
5. Form a project team
You need a project team with the following roles:
- A project manager (PM);
- An IT architect;
- Business analysts;
- UI designers;
- Android developers with Java skills;
- iOS developers with Objective-C skills;
- DevOps engineers.
While hiring freelancers might appear to be a tempting option, remember that this project could be a complex one. You should consider hiring a field expert development team for such projects, as I have explained in “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams”.
6. Use the scrum technique to manage the project
Scrum is a popular technique to manage Agile projects, and I recommend that you use it in this project. The PM should perform the role of a “Scrum master” and set up small, cross-functional “Scrum teams” where developers and testers work together.
The team considers the requirements provided by the “Product owner” in a document called “Product Backlog”, and estimates them. They slot these requirements in iterations called “Sprints”, and this activity is called “Sprint planning”. Read more about scrum in “How to build a Scrum development team?”.
7. Find an MBaaS platform
Mobile app development is easier when you use a Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) platform. Such platforms offer several advantages, e.g.:
- MBaaS providers manage the cloud infrastructure including persistent storage, therefore, you don’t need to develop and manage the mobile backend.
- It’s easier to implement features like push notifications, user management, security, etc. when you use an MBaaS platform.
- Integrating 3rd party APIs, scaling your app, etc. become easier with an MBaaS platform.
AWS Amplify is the MBaaS offering from AWS, and I recommend that you use it in this project.
8. Get a photo editing SDK solution
Using an SDK solution will help you to incorporate the photo editing features in your app, therefore, I recommend that you use The PhotoEditor SDK for Android and iOS. You can get the following advantages:
- The SDK allows you to incorporate photo editing features like filter, brush, overlays, text editor, etc.
- Users can adjust their images in various ways, moreover, they can use different frames.
- It’s an easy-to-use SDK, and you can read the PhotoEditor SDK features page to learn more.
9. Find a social sharing SDK solution
The proposed photo editing app will need the social sharing feature, and I recommend that you use the GetSocial SDK solution for this. This SDK solution will enable users to share app content across different social media platforms.
Read How We Helped a Marketing Company to Build a Back-Office Custom Ads Dashboard
You can access the GetSocial SDK documentation on the GetSocial overview webpage. There are SDKs for Android and iOS, and you can download them from this webpage.
10. Sign-up for a payment gateway API solution
Users of your app might want to upgrade to the premium version, moreover, you might incorporate the in-app purchase feature later. The app needs an online payment integration for this, and I recommend that you use Stripe for this.
A great advantage of Stripe is its extensive documentation. I recommend that you review the following:
- The overall Stripe documentation;
- “Payments overview” page on its website;
- The Stripe “API reference” documentation;
- “Mobile libraries” page for the Stripe mobile SDK documentation;
- “Stripe on iOS” page for the Stripe iOS SDK documentation;
- “Stripe on Android” page for the Stripe Android SDK documentation.
Visit the Stripe pricing page for more information.
11. Get a bulk SMS API solution to implement the push notifications feature
Your proposed photo editing app needs the push notifications feature to engage its users. A bulk SMS solution makes it easier to implement this feature, therefore, I recommend that you use Twilio.
The Twilio Programmable SMS is the right solution for you. It offers RESTful APIs that you can easily integrate with your app.
12. Use the Experitest test automation solutions to improve your test coverage
The mobile apps need to work with a wide range of devices, therefore, you need to test them against all available devices. That requires a test automation aid, and I recommend that you sign up with Experitest for this.
Its Mobile device & browser lab on cloud enables you to test the app against over 1,000 devices and browsers. Experitest also offers its SeeTest Reporter, and you can get excellent test reports and analytics from it.
13. Get a robust PM tool
A scrum team works on sprints, and the scrum master tracks the project status in the daily stand-up meeting. The team demonstrates the app in a sprint review meeting and asks for the approval of business stakeholders.
A sprint retrospective meeting after the sprint helps the team to learn lessons and improve further. You need a robust PM tool to manage these activities, and I recommend Asana.
14. Designing the mobile app UI
The mobile app needs a user-friendly UI, therefore, I recommend that you use the following guidelines:
- “Design: create intuitive and beautiful products with material design” for designing the Android app UI;
- “Human interface guidelines” for the iOS app UI design.
15. Code, test, and deploy the Android app
I recommend that you code the Android app using Java. Most Android developers are familiar with Java since it’s been the mainstay for Android development for a while.
Java enables coding secure, performant, and scalable apps, which is another advantage. You should visit “Introducing Oracle Java SE subscriptions” to ascertain your licensing requirements.
You need to take the following steps to develop the Android app:
- Use Android Studio, which is the popular integrated development environment (IDE) for Android development.
- Visit “Android Studio for beginners” to get guidance on Java development using this IDE.
- Integrate the SDKs and APIs from PhotoEditor SDK, GetSocial, Stripe, and Twilio with your app.
- Test your app using Espresso, moreover, use the Experitest mobile device lab to improve the test coverage.
- Read “Publish your app” to learn how you can publish the app to Google Play.
16. Developing the iOS app
You should code the iOS app using Objective-C, which has been a popular language with iOS developers since long. Although Swift is another popular language for developing apps for Apple’s platforms, Objective-C still retains its appeal with iOS developers.
Take the following steps for developing the iOS app:
- Use Xcode since it’s the popular IDE for iOS development.
- You need to integrate PhotoEditor SDK, Twilio, Stripe, and GetSocial SDKs/APIs in the app.
- Use XCTest and the Experitest mobile device lab on the cloud to test the app.
- Publish your app to the Apple App store, by following the instructions in “Submit your apps to the App Store”.
Planning to launch your photo editing app?
This guide, platforms, tools, frameworks, and SDKs/APIs can help to expedite the project, however, building a photo editing app can be complex. I recommend that you engage a reputed software development company for this project, and read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” to find one.
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I love all things blockchain and related to app development. What time I have when I am not busy writing for the DevTeam.Space blog of over 350 articles, I spend sitting around wondering what the future will look like 50 years from now.
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