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How Long Does It Take to Develop a Web App: Answers to All Questions

  • 14-15 min read
  • July 19, 2021
  • 👍 Rating — 4.5 (117 votes)

A question all app developers get asked is how long it will take them to produce a given solution. That, along with how much web app development costs are the single two most frequently asked questions that developers face.

A question all app developers get asked is how long it will take them to produce a given solution. That, along with how much web app development costs are the single two most frequently asked questions that developers face.

Web applications are growing in popularity by the day. Developing web apps is a complex and rather long-term process where every detail is important, as those details are precisely what defines your uniqueness, differentiating or setting your business apart from any others.

We’ve already covered some related question in our previous articles:

Nonetheless, we made a dedicated article addressing this question because it’s very difficult to tell from the outset how many hours it will take to develop a web app, at least at the early stages of project initiation. The reason why it’s difficult to predict timing is mainly that the answer to that question very much depends on what goes into making a web app (i.e. what feature set you are looking for the app to contain).

Apps are bespoke pieces of software, each different and individual. You get simple apps and complex apps. Some web apps can use a few functions and be a little different from a website. And some apps carry inside lots of functions, just like these web apps made with AngularJS.

You can ask us to build a web page that displays data or another one that accesses the camera, GPS, support social media functions, and so on and so forth.

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How many hours does it take to develop an app

In our experience, the number may vary from a few hundred to several thousand development hours. This time outlay will depend on the complexity of the whole application, features, and integrations to implement, as well as whether there are sudden changes in the desired functionality requests. 

An average web application created for business needs usually includes a lot of features, management tools, different levels of access, so its development is a rather long-term undertaking. However, rushing through things isn’t the best strategy either, because it may harm the quality of the solution. Our experience shows that such an app will take the following amount of hours:

Though it may seem that different project stages are developed one after the other, that’s not necessarily the case as a division of tasks based on specialization enables simultaneous development of different parts of the project. The agile methodology suggests breaking the scope of the software into sprints — small periods of time when the team is working on a certain feature. When the sprint is over, you got an increment — a completed part of your application. Each sprint takes a few weeks. It engages the whole team because the process of developing a new feature almost always requires: 

  • architecture;
  • design;
  • specification writing;
  • coding (frontend, backend);
  • testing.

Why do we choose this methodology? You can read more about it in this article, but long story short: it allows us to be flexible and implement sudden changes without jeopardizing the timeline. 

But before we get down to coding, we always suggest engaging in the Discovery Stage. It takes 1-3 weeks, and as a result, your idea is researched, well thought-out, mapped out, and supported by the preliminary specifications for the whole project, roadmap, and design concept. The next steps are divided into sprints — and the overall time of development and testing depends on the project size and complexity.

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You might suppose that a bigger budget will increase the speed of development directly proportionally, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way — and here we’re explaining why.

The average timing for development of web application

The sample size is sizeable, there are industry researchers (100 development companies participating), and our hands-on experience allows us to give you more specific numbers. On average, it takes 4.5 months to build a front-end application and a backend infrastructure. But if the scope is pretty big, it might take a few more months. On the other hand, if the team has some ready-made modules, the project will be finished and customized in 3.5 months.

But here’s a more detailed breakdown, based on our experience.

FUNCTIONS DURATION
information base, database back-end 2-3 months
social media, in-app purchase, logins, favorites, back-end admin panel 3-6 months
dedicated analytics, unique functionality, visual pattern 6< months

That said, there are areas of the process to watch out for. Intricacies where transgressions in certain parts can lead to the web app development taking far too much time and money. Like with all projects, without proper planning and risk mitigation, development projects can go on and on, resulting in a boogie low-quality app.

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Business features

Want to define main features for your solution?

How much does it cost to develop a web app?

The final cost of your web development will ultimately depend on and be a function of the range of functions and features it will have. It can be a long-lasting and complex process, so it will, most of the time, take at least 3 months time and involve the efforts of a team of developers.

Here is the list of the potential needs for your software solution that defines the cost of the development:

  • Variety & complexity of features and functions
  • Design features
  • Number of services 
  • Technology and frameworks
  • Development team experience, level of expertise, capabilities, location, & rates

In order to start building your web application, you need to find and hire a team of experienced specialists. A crucial step is to build an appropriate business strategy for developing and promoting your solution. That’s a key to success.

In general, you will need a team of professionals who already have rich experience in the development of web applications from scratch and have deep expertise in your industry. They are the following:

  • Back-end developer
  • Web developer
  • iOS & Android developers
  • UX/UI Design
  • Project manager
  • Quality assurance specialist
  • Business analyst
SPECIALISTS COST
Project Manager $6800
iOS & Android developers $9810
QA specialists $6180
Back-end developers $10100
UX/UI Design $2300
Business analysts $2300

How to save time and budget during web app development?

It all starts with the phase where requirements are gathered and structured, also known as the Discovery phase. We recommend this article to help understand how to save your time in negotiations with developers. If the requirements are annotated well, you have the opportunity to prevent misunderstandings and future problems. It forms the basis of time estimation and costs. Poorly established requirements can lead to bad planning. On top of that, please keep in mind all the changes that you want to add to the development. Changes that are mentioned when the development stage is already underway mean changes after the code is written, forcing developers to go back on their work, which has a high potential for introducing new bugs and added costs to the project.

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App development
For more info about the cost of your own app development, check this article on our blog.

In addition, we advocate for a thorough testing plan and QA practices. Proper testing practices are invaluable, they help find problems early, which saves a lot of time on the delivery phase down the road. The ideal situation is to thoroughly test your web app and send detailed organized feedback to the development team, thereby ensuring a double safety net in addition to the tester (QA) specialists involved in the project. We use manual testing along with automatic, and this combination allows us to check the project after every development step.

Benefits of web apps

Web applications offer a lot of benefits and are becoming increasingly popular as a result. Read more about the advantages of web apps here below.

  • Access — you have access to any web app wherever you are and whenever you want, you can use it on any computer, mobile device, and browser, or operating system, all you need is for the device to have internet connectivity. Web apps even open opportunities for remote full-time work.
  • Update — unlike desktop apps, web applications have automatic updates, so you don’t have to do it on your own, which saves time. 
  • Security — data on the web-based application is monitored by admins 24\7, and it is easier to detect unknown activity and detect what’s wrong. Also, as we know, the first step of any web app is registration, so if you get a notification that someone is trying to log into your account or hack it from Russia, you can always change the password, delete your data or contact a support team.
  • Integration — a big plus of developing the web app is that it is made specifically for your business, it meets all your requirements, it is a custom web application that includes elements of your brand, has specific functions of access to data relevant exactly to your business needs, so you don’t have to waste time and money on testing whether it will be suitable for you anyway.
  • Technology — any core technologies can be used in the development of a web app, it mostly depends on the requirements of the application at hand, there are three main languages — JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.

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Examples of web applications

Web applications’ popularity is growing every day. Many businesses are already integrated with them. We recommend that you take a look at the latest successful web apps and the specific options that they offer:

Google Drive

Google Drive remains one of the most popular, used, and usable web apps all over the world. This is a place where you can store any documents you want and have access to them whenever you want from any device that can log in and access the documents. You can save files, add, change, or delete them online as well as offline. The registration process is pretty easy as you can do it via your Google account (i.e. Gmail). It offers 5Gb of free storage and diverse types of documents, apart from basic word docs, it offers – presentations, models, researches, photos, albums, etc.

Booking

One more bright example is the travel industry and the most popular web app is Booking.com. After registration, all users get the ability to find any type of hotels and hostels if they plan a business, personal, or family trip. You can choose the right city, filter by prices, and check if there are any free rooms in the hotel that catches your eye. Also, Booking selects the best available offers for hotel rooms with the most suitable prices for you on the date(s) you have chosen. You can save any variant to “favorites” and make a decision later if you so choose. Booking gathers and saves all information about their users – number, email, age, place of birth, work, number of family members, and pets. Also, Booking reminds you about your reservations or savings through email to maintain communication and relationships with users.

Web applications developed by the GBKSOFT team

With 9 years of experience in the software development field, we created dozens of web applications and made a decent base of ready-made modules. We are glad to share our recent high-level web application successes!

Highrise Expeditors

The property management system is GBKSOFT’s web app development that was created for property owners – Highrise Expeditors. It helps to manage your buildings, specifically resolve tenant complaints or violations from the side of owners. The user of this app gets access to the Property Management System after registration and watches the status of their application. Business owners get reminders about any violations or other issues to rectify them as quickly as possible. So this app helps to know every problem that appears in your property business and helps keep the reputation and satisfaction rate among tenants on a high level.

LEO

We’ve also worked with the construction company LEO that needed a web application for bringing their business to a new level. In essence, this company manufactures concrete materials for the construction industry made of cast stone that looks like natural limestone. This company has a small role in the entirety of the building process, but they cherish their reputation dearly. Our developers’ team created a web app that gathers and saves data about clients. Also, every client can register after placing an order and check the status of the construction. In turn, the business owners [customers] benefit in that they now have database storage where they keep all quantities and calculations of stones so as to not lose track of anything. This app optimizes their work, makes it structured, accurate, and credible.

It is obvious that there are many business areas left that can use web applications to optimize, manage, and modernize the working processes of small and large businesses.

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Want to develop your own web application?

GBKSOFT is always ready to help you to create a successful solution.

Top popular web development directions

The tech world is in constant motion and state of growth, and your well-loved existing web app might need some renewal to boost its performance as well. We did some research and picked out a few trendy technologies you definitely should pay attention to!

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence imitates human intelligence and performs cognitive functions with the help of powerful computers. AI has the ability to learn, gather data, analyze it, understand emotions, and solve complex problems. Today we can see the appearance of chatbots or virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, Cortana, which help to involve more customers in the businesses and interact with them more individually. Implementing AI opens new opportunities for digital services for customers, consistency of chat, voice, messages, and websites.

JavaScript
JavaScript remains the most popular programming language of the past years. It continues to grow and improve its functions. We can see the appearance of new frameworks, libraries, and designs. These updates keep JavaScript in the first place. This programming language fits any type of OS development as it is flexible, powerful, and innovative.

Progressive web applications
PWA is considered to be the most popular type of web development. The page loads are the same as in simple web pages, but progressive websites have a wide range of powerful functions. Despite the speed of the internet and choice of web browser, PWAs work perfectly fast and simple. PWAs provide an excellent user experience without cache problems. Also, PWAs are secure as they work through HTTPS.

Single-page applications
SPA is a JavaScript-based application that provides excellent work on customers` devices. The single-page application works quickly and easily to use as it loads only the required content of the page, not the whole page. This type of web development is suitable for adaptive websites, for support of mobile apps, applications for tablets, and computers.

Motion UI design
Motion UI is considered to be a trend because of its dynamic graphics, excellent animation, and influence on the convenience of app usage. This type of design provides a smooth transition to the user interface. Motion UI gives developers the ability to animate the content simply.

Conclusions

At the end of the day, all the best practices we’ve covered so far turn out to be worthless without good communication. Regular, high-quality communication between all parties makes the project run smoothly. It’s important to share the same vision and avoid misunderstandings. At GBKSOFT we strive for good planning and constant communication with our clients.  We do our best to explain every step of the development and are suitable for your requirements. All it takes from you is to contact us, communicate your needs, and consider the web app to be developed.

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Take your time!

Ready to start developing your web application?

If you use builders like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace, it might take a few weeks. However, such a website will have a template design and limited capacity which won’t satisfy your needs. A custom-developed website will require more time, but it will be created according to your goals and will give you the maximum results.
1-4 months depending on the website complexity, features, and integrations with third-party services.
The cost, as well as the time, depends on the overall scope of your prospective application: what features are must-haves, what technologies are most suitable for your app, what design solutions you are aiming for. Before starting the actual development, our team estimates the scope, time, and budget. Since GBKSOFT utilized the effective Agile approach, normally the estimated and actual budgets match.

Creator

I believe that the tech sphere is one of the most important markets nowadays, therefore I like to dig into new trends and explain their main point in simple words. My interests include how new technologies improve our everyday life, including education, traveling, communication, and workflow.
Evgeniy

Expert

Evgen is a key person that makes your project scalable and easy to maintain. Thanks to his advanced and deep knowledge of innovative technologies our team can produce project with high level of complexity and loading. And apart from being a great expert he's also a reliable team player ready to back you up.
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Comments (15)

Jordan Morris
Oct 21, 2020 at 7:11 PM

Thank you for the great & informative article!

reply
Yaroslav Palets
Sep 15, 2020 at 8:58 PM

The blog is amazing. The information has shared here it is helpful and effective.

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Ksenija Kolomiiets
Sep 16, 2020 at 10:49 AM
Yaroslav Palets,

thanks a lot! We do our best!

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David Werner
Jun 09, 2020 at 7:45 PM

I just completed a fully functioning web app in 3 weeks. It is an employee timekeeping app logs GPS location with each time punch. Then automatically correlates location with a client address. Has full employee user administration back-end and generates downloadable CSV files with the time keeping data for the Payroll department to use. They plan on adding more features down the road.

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Robert Herjaves
Jun 03, 2020 at 4:01 AM

That makes sense that companies do estimations on certain projects. I bet it takes loads of QA measures to ensure a safe project. I’ll have to consider getting software updates for my computer apps.

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Swati Mohan
Mar 04, 2020 at 12:23 PM

Good Job! This is an awesome post. I couldn’t find it anywhere on google.

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Shirley Harville
Nov 19, 2019 at 8:31 PM

For an experienced developer, you could get a prototype done in a few weeks. Without having programming knowledge, it would take much longer. You would need to be familiar with Objective-C and Apple’s development tools for iOS, or with web development tools and using a system like PhoneGap. The apps themselves are pretty simple- they connect to a back-end web service, send it authentication, and ask for pictures. The harder part is doing the back-end work of storing the pictures and doing the account authentication, especially doing it in such a way that you could easily scale up to millions of users. Modern cloud systems like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services certainly make this easier, but it still takes a lot of know-how to get it right.

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piby
Oct 16, 2019 at 9:56 PM

Someone explain this to my manager ??‍♂️

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Arya Steve
Oct 15, 2019 at 8:56 AM

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

reply
Aria Wilson
Jul 31, 2019 at 8:29 AM

Hello,
Nice article, Tony!
You share a helpful post here. Actually, I want to develop a web app for my business and I want to know how long it will take to complete the project, and here in this post I found the answer, it will help me a lot.
Thank you for sharing this informative post with us.

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Thomas Richardson
Feb 12, 2019 at 1:34 PM

Hey Tony,
I really appreciate your effort of sharing information with us. Your article never fails to add useful information to my knowledge.
When we need to hire custom web application developer your article will help me to catch the things and find out my best. Thanks for sharing with us valuable things. Sharing this!!!

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