Our App Development Process

Mobiles are the present and future of technology for ministry.

With that in mind, eDOT has been steadily increasing its presence into this realm over the past several years. We began by looking at how to harness text messaging for ministry follow-up and interactions, moved to “mobile first” web design, and we are now designing smartphone apps.

However, smartphone apps are not cheap. Even the smallest, most simplistic app can cost at least $3,000 to $8,000 to make. These apps are generally in one language and don’t require a BaaS (Backend as a Service) or database. More complex apps cost between $50,000 to $150,000 – or higher.*

Our eDOT team is small, and our funding is limited. But we see the huge need for apps that encourage and accelerate evangelism and discipleship. Therefore, we could not be deterred from entering into the world of app development.

First we figured out some of our needs:

  • Apps needed to be for both iOS and Android with the possibility of other platforms as the demographics grew (like Windows 8)
  • The learning curve couldn’t be too great for our programmer (right now we only have 1 full time programmer)
  • We did not want to have to code in more than one programming language (so coding separately for each platform was out)

In our preliminary research, we discovered a mobile development framework called Phonegap (now open sourced as Cordova). This is a “wrapper” system that takes a mobile “website”, usually programmed in HTML and JavaScript, and “wraps” it into a native app for each desired platform. This was the result we wanted.

Initially, we began using Jquery Mobile to develop our mobile web apps. While it is a powerful and relatively easy framework to work with, it just didn’t have everything we wanted. It was then recommended to us by several different developers in the secular world that we look at Sencha Touch.

We’ve begun using Sencha Touch and are really liking its versatility. You can see our first published app at C2CStory.com. Here we created a type of Bible tract app that allows users to tell the story from Creation to Christ using visuals and a set script which is currently in 3 languages (English, French & Turkish).  We’re continuing to build on this app with several more in the works.

* – http://www.astegic.com/cost-to-develop-a-mobile-app