Alright, here goes...
The law firm I work for is developing an app. I'm one of the younger people at the firm and they've automatically assumed I'm good with tech. They've put me in some kind of 'technical discussion group' or something to discuss ideas/requirements and then approach app-developers with proposals.
I have no clue about apps. So instead of embarrassing myself in front of the group I thought I'd ask some questions here. With your comments I should be able to bluff it or maybe even make a worthwhile contribution.
The basic idea is for an app that updates users on how their case is progressing, pulls in data from third party sources and displays it (e.g. how busy courts are based on number of court cases per month, price comparison etc), allows clients to book in appointments with lawyers, take payments, order services, automatic reminders, SMS alerts, upload documents and so on. It's trying to get service provision as automated as possible, thereby saving time and money on bureaucracy. Anyway, my questions:
1. Does an app work on like a laptop/desktop, or is it just for smartphones/tablets?
2. Can there be interaction between Android and iOS etc? E.g. can an iPhone user communicate via the app with someone who has it on a Windows desktop or whatever. Or is it literally just two different versions of the same app working separately on each platform?
3. Very rough idea re: cost to build and maintain something like that
4. Any further comments you might have
1. Depends on what you mean with apps, if you build an app for one platform then you need to build it for every platform, isen't it much more logical to create a webapp though? that just works through a website, so it works on anything?
2. if you create a bunch of apps, with a server backend, which you would probably need then yes the communication will happen towards this central database and the data is shared. though once again isen't it more easy to build a web app?
3. Depends how big scale the project is, the features you mention are already quite extensive and depending on what company you hire and what features you really really need it could cost 100.000 euro to millions and millions of euro. or up really. You will probably get in a mess of wanting more features and things not working as you hoped they would and having to develop more.
4. If you don't know anything about automation, don't get involved in any decision process about it. thanks, yours, an experienced developer.
The main point is that you guys should first absolutely exactly define what you want to have in this "app";
- What features EXACTLY DEFINED, and how important are those features. So not, simple descriptions, absolutely defined.
- On what devices it should work (android? Ios? windows? mac? )
- Support level needed.
- Uptime requirements.
- etc etcetc....