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Thread: Building an App

  1. #1

    Thread Starter
    Lively Member
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Building an App

    Firstly, I have Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.9.4 installed and have used it to build .exe programs designed to run on my laptop - so far so good

    Over the years I have written a lot of code in VB6,, C, C++ and ASM (and FORTRAN on punched cards!)

    I have also built a lot of websites using Notepad in HTML, CSS, Java Script and Classic ASP

    I now want to build a website (no problem) from which users can access an app to download onto their mobile. The app needs to be able to tell me (with user consent, obviously) where the phone is geographically. I will then send them a message when certain events happen - possibly by email or Text or pop ups or whatever

    Now for the problem - I still use a Nokia 6310i and am totally clueless on smart phones and apps!

    So, I need to get a smart phone and then build the website (probably in PHP which I have a only a few hours experience of) and then build an app

    So what smart phone should I get hold of?

    How do I build an app using code (I want to be able to delve inside so I really do want to use detailed coding)?

    All help very much appreciated and sorry if this is a dumb question(s) ...


  2. #2
    Super Moderator si_the_geek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Bristol, UK

    Re: Building an App

    For smartphone apps with Visual Studio you can use Xamarin (which uses C#).

    With Xamarin you can create apps for Android and/or Apple devices, and can write them in such a way that the majority of the app is a shared codebase with only some parts specific to Android or Apple.

    The vast majority of devices in use are Android (about 85% I think), and most of the rest are Apple.

    Developing for Apple actually costs you a bit of money, as you need an Apple computer to compile the code (or pay for an online service to compile it), and you also need to pay an annual fee to make your app available to users (which must be via the Apple store).

    Due to Android being much more widely used, and the costs involved with Apple, I recommend focussing on Android (at least initially).

    The good news is that Visual Studio has an emulator for Android devices (and has multiple emulators available based on different devices), so you can do most of your development without even getting a device. When you do feel the need to get a device, it doesn't matter too much which one you get, so it is fine to get a cheap second-hand one. When you feel it is working well, you can even use a service like Firebase to test your app on a variety of real devices over the internet (Firebase allows you a few free tests each day).

    When you have it ready to release, it is best to use an app store (generally about $25 one-off fee to sign up), as that way all users can download your app (users can't download apps from websites unless they change the settings on their device, and some people won't for security reasons).

    There is some useful info here:
    ...and reference material here:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: Building an App

    The web site is probably the tiniest part of the effort required. But web sites don't push notifications, so what you really need is to look into push notification services before you do much of anything else.

    Having some phone app continuously poll a web server isn't really practical. Reinventing a push service doesn't make a lot of sense either.

  4. #4
    Frenzied Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Norfolk UK (inbred)

    Re: Building an App

    Are you sure you want to develop an app?

    Seemed appropriate.
    By the power invested in me, all the threads I start are Niya and Olaf free zones - no arguing about the benefits of VB6 over .NET here please. Happiness must reign.

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