Which is Better? Re-Building An App From Scratch or Updating A Broken OnePosted by: Mariya Parackal | On: 2nd Dec, 2020 | Startup
Should you restart a product from scratch or fix a broken product?
Both developers and app development firms face a common dilemma, whether to rebuild from scratch or repair/update an existing application or program. While it is true that re-writing an app might turn out to be a difficult task for many when faced with a crisis, what better can be there?
For whatever reason, if you are not getting the required output or unable to implement the necessary changes within a specific period, or if the app suffers from frequent performance issues, you may not have a choice other than to take the long route.
In this post, the various aspects that need to be considered to decide which approach would suit best would be discussed in detail. So, read till the end.
When To Re-Write
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. ITt has been found that re-building can help improve performance; it can also lead to a good effect. Discussed below are a few crucial scenarios that must be taken into consideration while evaluating the scope of re-writing an application from scratch:
Revamping The Design
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.
Addition Of 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.
Changing The Code From One Platform To The 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 re-writing right from the start.
When it comes to the re-booting of previous codes or reviewing program or application features, it becomes inefficient to continue with the existing codes’ base. In such a condition, re-writing 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.
Inadequate Structure and Bugs:
In case there is a situation where the bugs are so many, the situation may go out of hand. In such a case, if the developers feel that the structure of the application is not so well structured, then there is no alternate than to go for a fresh re-write. You should learn about when to rewrite a code?
When Not To Re-Write
There are times when re-writing happens to be the last resort; there are also times when you are not supposed to re-write at all. The various scenarios are as explained below:
Doing It Just For The Sale Of Doing It:
There is no doubt that the style of developers and the quality of code improves over time. However, it is an unreasonable approach to re-write the code of an application simply because doing so will make things look better. Unless and until you have a strong reason for re-writing the entire code, it should not be done. Re-writing should have opted only when the performance is not up to the mark.
Lack of trust:
In the world of app development, every developer has their way of writing codes and organizing work. It does not mean in any way that the work done by the previous developer was not up to the mark and everything needs to be re-written from scratch. However, the developers must evaluate at least the codes that have been previously developed. It will allow the new developer can improve on what has been done previously and, at the same time, developed their skills.
Deliberate delay in fixing issues:
There have been instances where developers did not bother to understand the depth of the issue properly. They just thought that re-writing would be the best option and did it.
Things to be considered before re-writing:
Take your time … Take your time … Take your time.
As a developer, you must keep in mind that it may take longer to re-write a code than you may expect. So it is always a voice approach to take a fair amount of time to evaluate whether there is an actual need to write the application or not.
When Is Re-Writing The Only Choice Left?
I hope it is clear to you now that re-writing should not be an obvious choice. However, there are enough reasonable arguments that are in favor of re-writing an app. These are:
- It is difficult, almost impossible for the developer to interpret or understand the source code.
- There is no option but to change the language of the source code.
- For whatever reason, the source code has become problematic.
- Again, for known or unknown reasons, the source code is no longer available.
- It is not possible to compile the code for some reason.
- It is a big challenge to debug the code.
- There is a significant issue related to platform compatibility.
- The new techniques or the new changes preferred to require re-writing.
- The only way left to fix the previous issues is through a new code.
- There is no way to figure out the functional aspects of the previous code.
- The basic architecture of the program requires significant changes.
- Issues that are related to licensing and intellectual property.
- If the project is lengthy, developers are unwilling to accept responsibility for the existing code.
Should I restart a product from scratch or fix it all together? This is a dilemma that most people usually find themselves in. For those who are in business, any of these choices will have financial implications. This means that you might either gain more profit or even suffer some losses.
If you had invested more money in a particular product, you might choose to fix it so that you can save more money. Web and mobile apps, just like other products, can get faulty and might need to be either fixed or repaired. However, the decision to either restart a product or just fix it will solely depend on a number of factors.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Current trends
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.
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.