Photography apps are very popular with photography enthusiasts, and many entrepreneurs are trying to tap into this growing market. If you are such an entrepreneur planning to launch such an app, this guide on how to build a photography app such as Picasa is a must-read for you.
The market for photography apps
A company named Lifescape had launched Picasa in 2002 as a tool for organizing, viewing, editing, and sharing digital photos, and Google had acquired it in 2004. It acquired considerable popularity, however, Google discontinued it in 2016, focusing on its Google Photos instead. You can read more about Google‘s decision in “Moving on from Picasa”.
That didn‘t dampen the market for photography apps, and apps like Google Photo, Flickr, and Photoshop Elements are highly popular. Mobile photography apps fall in the photography category, and this is the 10th most popular category in Google Play, according to this Statista report.
An example of a photography app
Let‘s review a photography app so that you can understand what to offer in your app. ACDSee is a popular photography app, and it offers the following features and advantages:
- Users can organize their digital photos and videos, with ACDSee offering capabilities for facial recognition and location data processing.
- ACDSee has both photo editing and video editing software.
- You can do several things with its powerful software, e.g., crop images, create slideshows, repair blemishes, correct red-eyes, categorize your albums, etc.
- Apart from its desktop app, ACDSee also has Android and iOS apps, therefore, you can use its mobile sync feature. This feature enables you to send photos and videos directly from your smartphone to ACDSee Photo Studio.
- ACDSee has standard and premium products, and it offers video tutorials for their products.
How to develop a photography app
I will now describe the steps to create a photography app, and these are as follows:
1. Define the project scope
You should consider the following scope for this project:
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- Offer a web app, an Android app, and an iOS app.
- Include the following features:
- Organizing photos;
- Photo editing;
- Synchronizing between mobile and desktop.
- Build the app for launching it in one geography.
2. Choose the Agile SDLC model for the project
You can launch a “Minimum Viable Product”(MVP) with the above-mentioned scope, and obtain market feedback. This feedback might prompt you to add more features like video editing, alternatively, you might decide to launch the app in other geographies.
This kind of projects benefit from the Agile SDLC model, therefore, I recommend that you use it. You can consult our guide “What is software development life cycle and what you plan for?” to learn more about Agile.
3. Agree on a project approach
I recommend the following approach for this project:
- Design and develop in a manner that facilitates future launches in other geographies. You need to use app internationalization best practices, e.g., keeping the content separate from the code, and you can learn more about this in “The ultimate guide to mobile app internationalization”.
- Use platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) platforms to expedite your development.
- Utilize software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) to simplify the development.
- Improve your testing efforts with test automation aids.
You can read “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?” to understand the benefits of this approach.
4. Form a development team
You need to form a development team with the following roles:
- Business analysts;
- UI designers;
- Web developers;
- Android developers;
- iOS developers;
- A project manager (PM).
You might wonder whether to hire freelancers or use a field expert development team and our guide “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams” can help you here.
I recommend that you adopt the Scrum technique since it helps in managing Agile projects. The PM should perform the role of a scrum master, and form small, cross-functional teams called “scrum teams”.
These teams work on iterations, which are called “Sprints” in the scrum parlance. You can read “How to build a scrum development team?” to learn more about scrum.
5. Sign-up for AWS Elastic Beanstalk
You should use a PaaS platform for the web app development, and I recommend AWS Elastic Beanstalk, i.e., the PaaS offering from AWS. PaaS platforms offer several advantages, e.g.:
- PaaS providers manage cloud infrastructure, networking, operating system, middleware, and runtime environment, therefore, you can focus on development.
- You can easily integrate database, application performance monitoring (APM), auto-scaling, and DevOps services when using a PaaS platform.
- PaaS platforms make it easy to integrate 3rd party APIs with your app.
I have explained the advantages of using PaaS in “10 top PaaS providers for 2019”.
6. Sign-up for AWS Amplify
You can use your existing AWS account to sign-up for AWS Amplify, which the MBaaS offering from AWS. There are many advantages of using an MBaaS platform, e.g.:
- MBaaS providers manage cloud infrastructure and persistent storage, therefore, you don‘t need to develop and manage the mobile backend.
- Mobile app development can be complex since there are multiple mobile platforms and devices, however, you can easily manage this complexity if you use an MBaaS platform.
- You will find it easy to implement security features, moreover, you can easily implement user management and push notifications.
- Scaling your mobile app is easier with MBaaS platforms, furthermore, you can easily integrate 3rd party APIs.
You can read “How to choose the best mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)?” to understand these advantages better.
7. Buy SDKs offered by PhotoEditor SDK
I recommend that you use an SDK/API solution to implement the core features like editing, organizing, and synchronizing photos, and PhotoEditor SDK has the right solutions for this. This will allow users of your app to do the following:
- Adjust and transform photos;
- Use filters, overlays, frames, brushes, and texts;
- Organize photos in libraries.
Use the following SDKs:
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- The Android SDK for the Android app development;
- Its iOS SDK for the iOS app development;
- The Vue.js SDK for web app development.
You can use the detailed documentation that comes with each SDK to ease your development. Contact the sales team of PhotoEditor SDK for its pricing plans.
8. Get the Braintree Direct payment gateway SDK/API solution
Your users might want to upgrade to a premium version when you launch it, alternatively, they may use the in-app purchase feature when you provide it. In either case, they need a payment gateway integration, and I recommend that you use the SDK/API solution from Braintree.
You need to do the following:
- Sign-up for the Braintree Direct solution.
- Review its documentation.
- Consult the guides and tutorials for the Braintree Direct solution.
9. Buy the Twilio bulk SMS solution
You would want to provide the push notifications feature in the mobile app since this helps you to engage users. An effective way to do this is to get a bulk SMS solution. Twilio has the right solution for this, and you need to do the following:
- Sign-up for its Programmable SMS solution.
- Read the documentation for this bulk SMS solution.
- Get additional guidance from “Messaging services and copilot”.
You can review the pricing plans of Twilio here.
10. Get a test automation aid to test the mobile app
There is a wide range of mobile devices, moreover, there are different versions of them. Your app should work on all of them, however, this requires you to test it against all of them!
This is hard to achieve with open-source testing frameworks, therefore, I recommend that you get a test automation aid from Experitest. You need to do the following:
- Sign-up for the Experitest Mobile Device & Browsers Lab on the cloud, which offers you a wide range of devices to test against.
- You also need robust test reports and analytics, therefore, I recommend that you use SeeTest Reporter from Experitest.
11. Sign-up for Jira to manage the project
A scrum team works as follows:
- A “Product Owner” provides requirements in a document that is called the “Product Backlog”.
- The team estimates these requirements and works with the business stakeholders to assign priorities to them.
- They then slot these requirements into sprints.
- There are “Daily stand-up meetings” to discuss the project status.
- Business stakeholders review the app in a “Sprint review meeting” and approve it if it meets the requirements.
- The team also holds a “Sprint retrospective meeting” after the end of a sprint to conduct a lessons-learned exercise.
You need a robust tool to support these activities, and I recommend that you use Jira, which is a well-known PM tool.
12. Design the user interface (UI)
The web and mobile apps need great UIs, and you need to use appropriate guidelines and best practices for this. I recommend that you use the following resources:
- “The guide to design consistency: Best practices for UI and UX designers” for the web app UI design;
- Human Interface Guidelines for designing the UI of the iOS app;
- Material design guidelines for the Android app UI design.
13. Develop the web app
There are thousands of high-quality open-source shared tools and frameworks for Node.js, and this helps programmers to achieve high productivity. You can read about the advantages of Node.js in “10 great tools for Node.js software development”.
You need to do the following to develop the web app:
- Use IntelliJ IDEA, i.e., a popular integrated development environment (IDE) to code the app. You also need this Node.js plugin.
- You will need to add database resources to your app on AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and I recommend that you use PostgreSQL and MongoDB. You can read “Adding a database to your Elastic Beanstalk environment” to understand how you can add these resources.
- The next step is to integrate the Vue.js SDK from PhotoEditor SDK, subsequently, you need to integrate the SDK/API from Braintree.
- After you test the web app, you can deploy it using the DevOps tools on AWS Elastic Beanstalk. You can read “Deploying Node.js applications to AWS Elastic Beanstalk” to get guidance on this.
14. Code, test, and deploy the Android app
I recommend that you use Java to develop the Android app since it‘s a popular choice for Android development. You need to do the following to develop the Android app:
- Use Android Studio, which is a popular IDE for Android development.
- Integrate the Android SDK from PhotoEditor SDK, moreover, integrate the SDK/API solutions from Twilio and Braintree.
- Use Espresso to test the Android app, along with the Experitest mobile device & browser lab.
- After you have tested the app thoroughly, you need to publish it to Google Play by following this guide.
15. Developing the iOS app
Objective-C is very popular with iOS developers since most of them have used it since long. This powerful language with helpful features have been around for quite some time, and you can read more about it in “How to convert app from Swift to Objective-C?”. I recommend that you use Objective-C to develop the iOS app.
Coding, testing, and deploying the iOS app involve the following steps:
- Use Xcode, which is the IDE championed by Apple for development on its platforms.
- Integrate the iOS SDK from PhotoEditor SDK, and you also need to integrate the SDKs/APIs from Braintree and Twilio.
- Use XCTest along with the Experitest mobile device lab to test the app.
- After comprehensive testing, publish it to the Apple App Store by following these instructions.
Planning to launch your photography app?
I have described platforms, tools, SDKs, APIs, frameworks, and guidelines that would make it easier to develop a photography app, however, such projects tend to be complex. The complexity increases when you add more features. Consider taking help from a software development company for such projects, however, consult our guide “How to find the best software development company?” before you choose 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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