Build a real app in a few hours

Most services we use today have a mobile app. But how hard is it to create one, and how long does it take for a web developer to build a convincing app ready for publishing?

Fortunately, nowadays there are tools and frameworks – such as React Native – which make it easy to build an app. In the upcoming Code in the Woods camp we will learn how to build an app that displays real data from some server on the internet, and this will take us just a few days! In fact, most of the time we will learn about the tools, and the actual app development can be done in a few hours if you're lucky. Think about it: it's possible to build a real world app in just about the same time you would have watched two movies.

As an example of such app, I (your instructor!) have built a Recipe Explorer app in a couple of hours, and the code for this app will be available to you during the camp, so you can have example source code to follow and get insights when building your own app.

recipe-explorer.png

This Recipe Explorer connects to an open API backend on the internet and fetches data for many recipes. The data is displayed in an scrolling list, with pictures and textual information. And by pressing an item, you can open another screen with more detailed information on the recipe.

Although this app is really simple, with just a list screen and a details screen, it shows a pattern that you will often see in other apps. Most apps have, among other things, a list screen and a details screen anyway, so as a starting point you should learn how to build that pattern. Other features and screens can be easily added beyond that.

During the camp, you can choose any open API backend to use for fetching data for your app. You can choose the same API service I chose – related to recipes – and build a better app with more creative features, or you can choose something else. Your imagination is the limit, my job is just to equip you with the knowledge and tools, and assist you with any obstacles you encounter on your way. But the best will be to see you come up with your own mobile app with real world data. Make something useful for yourself or your friends, or something beautiful and creative! If you haven't applied yet, there are still some days left. Welcome!