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How to Lower the Mobile App Frontend Maintenance Cost

By Prateek Saxena
March 6, 2020 7. min read
Last update on: August 25, 2020

There are two types of software projects that come to any app development agency. One which is brand new and has to be developed from scratch and another is one which already exists in the market and has to be updated. 

In both cases, the benefits of mobile app maintenance are manifold. 

While in the case of the former, you will have to spend little time in the whole update and maintenance process, the latter would require your frontend and back end team to come together and understand the product to its entirety before moving on to its updation. Either way, maintenance is a part of the overall mobile app development cost estimate.

In this article, we are going to look into the factors that make mobile app frontend maintenance cost expensive, how can the cost be lowered and ultimately move on to the steps of lowering of maintenance cost in case of Node.js, Angular, and React.js projects. 

Table of Content

  1. Why is App Maintenance Process Important?
  2. What Makes App Frontend Maintenance Cost Expensive?
  3. How Can Developers Lower App Maintenance Cost in Angular, ReactJS, and Node.js?
  4. How can Project Managers Lower App Frontend Maintenance Cost?
  5. FAQs About Frontend Application Maintenance Cost

Why is App Maintenance Process Important? 

Improper mobile app maintenance plan leads to challenges in flexibility and stability, which sooner or later translates into application’s failure. When the code lacks quality or when developers use outdated tools, the app performance suffers and the users experience more app crashes and bugs. Moreover, it hampers app’s scalability capability and the overall next phases of app development. 

In business terms, this means more technology and resources inclusion, greater cost, and delayed launch time. 

Efficient maintenance, on the other hand, makes apps flexible and stable, enabling you to create new functionalities and improving the present ones. And thus, knowing when to update your app is extremely important

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What Makes App Frontend Maintenance Cost Expensive?

Besides the obvious – multiple types of frontend app maintenance, lesser app tests and absence of continuous maintenance, there are some other prevalent reasons that bring the cost of frontend maintenance up. 

A. Non-Structured JavaScript 

There are many ways of structuring a JavaScript project, keeping it consistent is the most important part of Android app maintenance. A well defined structure enables developers to understand what is going on in the project at the first glance without making them search a particular file for hours on end. Even when the product is based on famous libraries like Vue or React, it has the probability of becoming chaotic as it grows. 

In preparation of lowering the frontend maintenance cost, you should consider defining the style guide for project structure to use as a reference for the development team. 

B.  Poor Code Quality

The quality of your code is very essential for defining your project’s success, even when keep aside the fact that it is a part of the list of OWASP Mobile Top 10 Risks. While things like identical file structure, consistent incidents, and semicolons are insignificant for a non-technical person, they hold great value when it comes to defining the project’s success. 

This, in turn, tends to increase the app frontend maintenance cost in the future. 

C. Back-Dated Third Party Packages 

There is a high probability that your product uses open source libraries and third party packages. Since these external resources are updated rapidly, it is important that you too update their versions in your app in order to remove project dependencies’ problems because of vulnerabilities and issues. The new versions contain performance improvements, bug fixes, security enhancements, etc which ensures that the app is working up to its fullest potential. 

D.  Non Automated Build Process and Deployment 

Build and deployment are the last stages before the app gets live. When they are not developed in an error proof manner, it might get expensive to kill the bug later. The absence of automated build and deployment pipeline slows down development to a great extent, while lowering the team efficiency. You should go with the implementation of a continuous integration which includes running automated tests for all the new commits. Doing this, enables you to identify bugs and solve them in real-time. 

E.  Absence of Readme

Readme is one the most important files of a project. It makes the project requirement, its usage, and the development, deployment process clear. If you fail to keep it updated, your development team might end up spending multiple hours in solving issues that have been solved earlier. 

How Can Developers Lower App Maintenance Cost in Angular, ReactJS, and Node.js?

  • Use the latest versions 

All the three frameworks keep introducing new versions from time to time. Ensuring that you are using the most recent ones gives you a number of benefits – increased app efficiency, long term support from the parent team, access to all the latest functionalities and features – some of the key reasons for maintaining the frontend of an app

  • Ask for clear documentation 

Very few projects lasts with the same developers working on it till the end. Documentation plays a significant role here in the application development services for mobile as the developer who is new to the project has a clear understanding of the project and the work status, pipeline tasks are clear to them. 

  • Ensure compatibility with third-party modules

Making a list of third-party modules which are compatible with the chosen frontend framework can be a great start.You will have to proactively ensure that there is a plan B for the future where the modules will get a major update and it fails to be compatible with your chosen frontend.

  • Test before implementing new features

If you have to implement or rewrite some functionalities, first ensure that the app’s behaviour is tested in advance. For instance, if you have to rewrite a logic in your app, it’ll be easier to implement the changes when you are sure that the present functionality has been tested. This way, in case something stops working, you will know it instantly. 

  • Use microservices 

If the issue lies in the monolithic structure, you must extract microservices out of the app so that it can work separately. Every mini-app should serve its purpose right. It will, in turn, streamline scalability for you will be able to move the services around different machines and dev teams – a microservice benefit that is not possible in monolithic

  • Improve the code quality 

If the app works fine but the code quality seems inconsistent or low, you must start with introducing conventions. Start by clearing the file structure by dividing it into logical units. It will be good to implement the static code analysis tools and use type systems. There are other things that you should follow to ensure a sound code quality:

  • A properly configured Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment 
  • Addition of linters in pipeline for ensuring poor/inconsistent codes are not put in production. 
  • Code refactoring should be a must-have development process.

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How can Project Managers Lower App Frontend Maintenance Cost?

As a non-technical project manager, you can majorly take only one step to avoid high maintenance cost in frontendHire an experienced frontend team which has the skillset to give you the desired quality and understand the importance of not delaying tests just for meeting deadlines. Even if you don’t have the necessary monetary resources to employ an entire team of frontend developers, you will have to at least employ one skilled resource for the task. 

The other strategy to reduce frontend maintenance cost, while not so common, is building single page application

FAQs About Frontend Application Maintenance Cost

1.  What makes frontend maintenance expensive?

There are a number of reasons that bring the mobile app frontend maintenance costs up:poor code quality, outdated third-party package, non-structured javascript, non automated build and deployment process, etc. 

2.  How much does frontend maintenance of mobile app cost?

There cannot be one concrete answer to this question. Most often than not, the app development and maintenance costs go hand in hand and are dependent on the app features, designs, tech stack, etc.

3.  How to avoid high maintenance cost on frontend

When it comes to reducing the mobile or web application maintenance cost, the ways around it are somewhat same – using the latest version of toolset, asking for a clear documentation, using microservices, ensuring compatibility with third-party modules, etc.

Prateek Saxena
Prateek Saxena
Co-founder of Appinventiv
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