Home Mobile Development Should you rebuild your old app from scratch? (+Checklist)

Should you rebuild your old app from scratch? (+Checklist)

by Noyal Sharook
rebuild app

In the fast-paced world of technology, keeping up with the latest trends and user expectations is crucial for the success of any app. As the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But what if the app is indeed broken, suffering from performance issues and unable to meet user demands?

The question of whether to rebuild an old app from scratch or simply repair existing issues is a common dilemma faced by both developers and app development firms. The need for a complete rewrite may arise due to various reasons such as the inability to achieve the desired outcome, implementation of necessary changes within a specific timeframe, or frequent performance issues.

In this article, we will examine the various factors that must be considered before taking the route of rebuilding an old app from scratch. With the ever-evolving technology landscape and the associated financial implications, it is important to make an informed decision that aligns with the goals and objectives of the business.

Top Reasons to Rebuild your App from scratch

As with any investment, the choice between fixing or rebuilding an app will ultimately depend on a number of factors, including the cost and time associated with each approach. While fixing an app may seem like a cost-effective solution in the short term, it may not always lead to the desired results and could even result in additional costs in the long run.

Therefore, it is crucial for app development companies to carefully evaluate the available options and make an informed decision that will result in the best outcome for their business. In this section, we will discuss the 5 top reason why rebuilding your app could do good for your business.

Re-Building An App From Scratch

1. Cost of development.

Different applications usually cost different prices to develop them, For some, you just need to part with a few bucks. However, there other applications where you have to dig deeper into your pocket to develop them. Since these apps usually get faulty from time to time, you need to repair them s that they can remain useful to the different users out there.

When it comes to fixing the app, there is always a cost involved. Therefore, depending on your budget and the repair costs involved, you will be able to know whether to repair the app or just to replace it once and for all.

For instance, if the repair costs are the same as the price of the same application when new, you can reconsider your decision and restart the product from scratch. The good news is that a new application will serve you for a long without essentially developing issues, at least for the time being. You should consider this factor before you either repair or replace your mobile app.

2. Ability to be customized.

Depending on the needs of the customer, you might choose to either replace or just fix your app. For instance, if you notice that it is easy to add a certain feature. After all, this feature could make a whole world of difference for both you and your customers.

However, there are instances when you have to replace the entire app if it proves difficult to customize it. Therefore depending on such factors, you can either choose to replace or just fix the app in question.

3, Downtime issues

Once an application gets faulty, you cannot use it until it is repaired. Some apps usually take a few minutes to fix them. However, there are others that take several days or even weeks to be fixed. This downtime effect can affect productivity negatively. 

If you are already in business, you might see a decline in your product margins during this period. Therefore, you might choose to replace the app to prevent such inconveniences that might make you incur huge losses.

4. Safety issues

Some apps usually get compromised over time. Therefore, it might not be safe to use them for carrying out transactions. Also, you might be a bit hesitant before you register on these apps. If you notice that your app is vulnerable to such issues, you can choose to replace it altogether.

The good news is that your new application will have better features that will address safety issues, among other issues that your users might be having. After all, if your app meets the needs of your users, you can trust that it will become more popular and thereby enable you to generate more profits in the long run.

5. Current trends and competition

Nowadays, technology is changing rapidly. As we speak, more apps are being made and launched online. Such apps are better than their predecessors. This means that one is likely to enjoy better features using these apps compared to the apps that used to be there several years ago. Depending on the technicality involved in improving your app, you can either choose to replace or just fix it so that it can remain competitive.

When To Rebuild you App

Re-Building An App From Scratch

On many occasions, app engineers or developers feel that it is far more convenient to re-develop an application (whether mobile or web app) rather than working on existing codes. It has been found that rebuilding can help improve performance and overall productivity incorporating newer features and integrations.

Here are 5 important reasons when you should consider rewriting your current App and not go for update.

1. Unable to Change Design as Required

There are times when even highly experienced developers find themselves struggling a lot while trying to implement any design modifications with an existing app. Whenever an app design is modified, it will lead to either addition or removal of existing features or several rounds or re-arrangements. As a result, it becomes tough to keep track of the various features associated with that particular design.

2. Need to add Extra Features

At times, the addition of a new feature might include re-writing the entire code. As a result, it may lead to the loss of all existing features. Although it may not be the case every time, it may be inevitable on many occasions during an app’s life cycle.

3. Changing the code from one platform to other

It is an obvious fact in the world of app development. To date, no developer has been able to change the platform by avoiding rewriting right from the start.

4. Everything is taking too much Time

When it comes to the rebooting of previous codes or reviewing program or application features, it becomes inefficient to continue with the existing code base. It takes up a lot of time and chances of getting stuck are higher. In such a condition, rewriting of code turns out to be a much better solution than the correction or modification of existing codes. It is the right solution, especially when it comes to future-proofing.

5. Inadequate Structure and Bugs:

One of the primary reasons to rebuild an old app from scratch is due to inadequate structure and bugs. Over time, as the app evolves and new features are added, the codebase can become complex and unwieldy, making it difficult to maintain and update. This can result in bugs and performance issues that negatively impact the user experience and overall functionality of the app.

Here, it may be more efficient to rebuild the app from scratch, as this allows for a clean slate and the opportunity to create a more organized and streamlined codebase. A well-structured codebase makes it easier to maintain, update and scale the app, which can improve its performance and reliability.

Additionally, fixing bugs in an outdated and complex codebase can be time-consuming and challenging, leading to frustration and delays. On the other hand, rebuilding the app from scratch provides an opportunity to eliminate these bugs and improve the overall quality of the app.

You should learn about when to rewrite a code?

When Not To Rebuild your App

Rebuilding an app is not always necessary. There are situations where it’s not recommended, such as:

  1. Just for the sake of doing it: Rewriting the code just to make things look better is unreasonable, especially if there’s no strong reason for it. Only consider rewriting if the app’s performance is poor.
  2. Lack of trust: Every developer has their own way of coding and organizing work, but this doesn’t mean the previous developer’s work was poor. The new developer should evaluate the previous code and improve upon it.
  3. Delaying fixing issues: Some developers may rewrite the code without fully understanding the problem, instead of fixing it properly.

Your App Rebuilding Review Checklist

Here’s a 13-point checklist to determine if rebuilding your app is necessary. Some of these points have higher priority than other but generally, if your score is above 5, it is time to rebuild your app:

  1. Is it difficult to interpret or understand the source code?
  2. Is it necessary to change the language of the source code?
  3. Is the source code problematic?
  4. Is the source code unavailable?
  5. Is it impossible to compile the code?
  6. Is it a significant challenge to debug the code?
  7. Are there significant platform compatibility issues?
  8. Are new techniques or changes required that necessitate re-writing?
  9. Is it not possible to fix previous issues without re-writing the code?
  10. Is it difficult to determine the functional aspects of the previous code?
  11. Are significant changes required to the basic architecture of the program?
  12. Are there licensing and intellectual property issues?
  13. Are developers unwilling to accept responsibility for a lengthy existing code?


Therefore it is evident that there is a myriad of factors that must be taken into consideration before deciding whether to re-write an application from scratch or not. There cannot be an obvious answer in such a scenario, and a lot depends on the case being considered. In any case, it always helps to have the necessary knowledge about both approaches so that the best solution can be identified.

We at Armia see refactoring as a viable option though we could rewrite the codes in some instances. If rewriting is your best option then you need a good plan to achieve a successful outcome.

Before making a decision on which path to choose (rewriting or refactoring), we have to weigh our options and go for the best. You can check our services and get free consultation with our team.

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Re-Building An App From Scratch

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