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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How much would it cost to build an App like Uber or Grab ?

With startups like Uber & Grab fetching billions of dollars in valuation dominating the financial headlines, many entrepreneurs and technopreneurs are eager to  jump on the bandwagon to become the next Jack Ma or Ellon Musk. 

Anyone would dream of creating an app like that one day ! But the million dollar question is, how much would it cost to build an App similar to the aforementioned ?

Local Development

Generally mobile app development goes by man-hour or man-day. Typically an average app would take around 3 months to turnaround from design to development to testing.  So in South East Asia, it would at least cost USD 30-40K around if you engage a decent app provider.  

In Malaysia, there are also many solo developer that camouflage themselves as large companies to lure eager entrepreneur in paying them hundreds of thousands but deliver end product that's under par or without on-going support and maintenance. 

So, before you engage any developer, make sure you do you due diligence i.e check their office, check their ROC documents and most importantly interview them. 

Offshore Development

Of course you can choose to develop your app in lower cost location such as Indian.  However, for non-technical entrepreneur, managing off-shore development can be a real challenge. You have to understand different working cultures and communication styles in Indian to communicate your requirements and your vision to them. A "Yes" in Indian doesn't really mean "I can delivery what you want" or "What you want is  free of charge".  Most of the time, the bill for variation order ("VO") or redeveloping the app can cost your dearly. 

All in All

End of the day, the costing is very much dependent on what features you want to build into the App, what technology you wish to adopt and where you want to build it. In our previous write up on Building The Next Killer App , I shared with our audience on what options you have in building an app and the associated advantages and disadvantages of those options. 

Besides the upfront development cost, the biggest expenditure in "operating" an app is on marketing, on-going maintenance and upgrades. The reason that Uber and Grab is asking for billions from investors was because they needed the funding to fend off competitions and run aggressive campaign.  

Most of the time, during the first year in operations you have to pour millions of dollars in marketing and ongoing maintenance. Just to give you an idea  - Companies like Uber or Grab would spend up to USD5-10 Million a month on IT Operating Cost.  Building the app maybe cheap, running it it's definitely not for the fainthearted. 
Article courtesy of app developer malaysia

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

5 Steps in Developing a Mobile App

The traditional software development methodologies such as waterfall or even agile is no longer relevant in developing modern mobile apps. With more than 5 years experience in mobile apps development,  we have devised our very own approach in designing, developing and testing mobile apps in 5 simple steps :-

Step 1 - Start with prototyping and forget about documenting the User Requirements Specification ("URS")

Most users can't really "visualize" the end product of a mobile app, hence starting with this phase will help the users "see" the end product before hand. This step also helps user in "thinking" through the business requirements and relevant key features for the apps

Step 2 - Simulate UI flow with dummy data and reiterate the requirements finding phase (using the UI) with the business users

Step 3 - Now, start to document the URS and Integration Points. The URS shall be based upon output of Step 2.

Step 4 -  Start development now -  If you are working on Native Projects with frequent changes in business requirements, start with one platform first and only kickstart the second platform when the business requirements is matured.

Step 5  - Test your user interface front end and backend separately with automated scripts.

For assistance in mobile apps development contact

Monday, 11 April 2016

Latest trend in web design - JQuery.videobg.js

Web design it's like fashion trends - minus the runway, it has different themes every season.  These themes are very much influenced by the current technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 etc..

So what's the latest trend in web design in 2015-2016 ?  The answer is Video Background ! 
Some of the the more prominent sites that has adopted this new trends include - Paypal, Focus Lab and Ingenious Lab .

Doing this is simple , you can leverage on jquery.videobg js plugin. Bear in mind that not all browsers supports mp4 format and to overcome this limitation, the plugin allows you to specify four different types of format including mp4, ogg, webm and jpg (for browsers that do not support video).

Some of the limitations include :

1. It's worth nothing that iOS disabled auto-play for video, in this case your trendy looking video backgroud will fall back to jpg image.

2. Keep your video size between 500KB-1.2MB to achieve reasonable download speed for your website

3. You may use to covert your mp4 .

jquery.videobg can be yanked from


Firefox 4 (the best experience)Yes (webm)Yes
Internet Explorer 9Yes (mp4)Yes
Firefox 3.5Yes (ogv)Yes
ChromeYes (webm/mp4)Yes
SafariYes (mp4)Yes
Opera 10.5+Yes (ogv)Yes
Internet Explorer 8NoYes
Internet Explorer 7NoYes
Android BrowserNoYes
Mobile SafariDoes not modify default behaviour
Older Browsers that support position:fixedNoYes
Archaic browsersDoes not modify default behaviour

For consultancy on mobile solutions or mobile apps contact

Thinking of speeding up your website ? Try Content Delivery Network (CDN)

If you have a website that you think it's too slow and thinking of ways to improve the speed , you can try out CDN.  CDN or Content Delivery Network is defined as "A globally distributed network of proxy servers deployed in multiple data centres. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance."

OK, in plain English,  CDN replicates your content to multiple server farms across the globe and when your users view or download your contents, the content can be served by the nearest or fastest servers. Hence, offering high speed delivery of content.

Imagine you have your content hosted in say in... Canada and a user from Asia downloads the content. It's very likely that a local ISP would route you to multiple "hops" before it can get to the source of the content. With CDN, the contents are stored in multiple server farms including Asia's farm and it will take less hops to reach/download the desired content.

Lately we have a chance to add our latest website with rich media contents to CDN network. We choose Cloudflare and the migration from transitional DNS service to CDN network was seamless.

Below are the steps.

1. Create an account with your preferred CDN provider . In this case we choose Cloudflare @

2. Create all your DNS entries i.e your A, AAA, CName and MX records.

3. Point your root DNS to cloudflare's DNS , see below :-

4. Choose a CDN plan, you can opt for different plans for better speed and performance etc.

5. Wait for another 30 minutes .. Tadaaaaa, you are now on CDN network !

Besides the added speed, CDN network also provides additional security from DDOS attacks etc and unload most of the loads on your infrastructure.

For websites with loads of multimedia content that requires high speed delivery, CDN is the way to go .

This article is provided by , your preferred mobile solutions provider in Malaysia + South East Asia

Thursday, 7 January 2016

How to setup .htaccess and .htpasswd in Godaddy Web Hosting

It came to my frustration that Godaddy did not have a proper documentation on how to set up .htaccess and .htpasswd for basic web hosting user. 

Below is a simple tutorial on how to setup :- 

1.Find out what’s your Absolute hosting path, your absolute hosting path specifically points to your hosting account on our server's file system. 

 - Log in to your Account Manager. 
 - Click Web Hosting. 
 - Next to the hosting account you want to use, click Manage. 
 - In the Server Details section, click Show details. 
 - Your absolute hosting path displays in the Absolute Hosting Path section 

2. Set up the .htaccess file with the sample content below:- 

AuthType Basic 
AuthName "Protected Area" 
AuthUserFile [Absolute Path]/[Path to your folder]/.htpasswd 
Require user [Username] 

*If the folder you wish to protect is /usr/local/somefolder, the .htaccess and .htpasswd shall be stored in /usr/local/.htaccess and /user/local/.htpasswd 
*Replace Username with the username that you wish to grant the access 

3. Set up the .htpasswd, you can generate the username and password with the following tool 

* It should look something like  user:$apr1$xkRl/va4$x984dmr3HeWUYVK6FURpE. 
* The username shall appear in the .htaccess file [Username] section

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Are you ready to build the next killer app ?

Mobile penetration rate stood at 110% percent in early 2015 in Malaysia, and there is no sign of slowing down. This means that for every Malaysia citizen there is 1.1 mobile phones; and smart phones that run on Android and iOS probably make up 50-60 percent of the total phone population. Many businesses see huge opportunities in the mobile space and that’s when they approach us to build mobile apps that could create new revenue streams or tap into cost saving opportunities. Most of the clients who come to us have two questions in mind :-

  •  How long would it take to build a mobile apps ? 
  •  How much would it cost to build my desire mobile apps ? 

How long would it take to build a mobile apps ? 

For the first question, nobody can really give you an accurate answer. What I can offer is a general guiding principle in mobile app development. Mobile apps should not take more than 3 months to build, for the simple reason that any apps that take more than that timeframe will very likely be “mildly” obsolete by the time it hits the market. A mobile apps can become obsolete when there is an upgrade to the mobile operating system or there are changes to the mobile technologies and change in mobile trends. So, it’s recommended that the development cycle of consumer apps or even enterprise apps to follow this guiding principle. If you really have a massive enterprise apps to build, it may be wise to have it broken down into smaller phases and the core features can be released within the first quarter and the rest could follow after that. For the second question on the cost, it would very much depend on the technology you wish to adopt. There are generally 2 different types of techniques or technologies (of course there are others that are less popular) that we can use to build mobile apps and these are:-

(i) Native Apps 

Native apps are built on the native codes of Andriod or iOS and it offers the best user experience, highest scalability and highest device compatibility. Common apps like Whatapps, GrabTaxi, Uber all built on native technology for scalability and best user experience. The downside of Native apps would be the cost and time, the native codes written in say iOS can’t be reused or recycled in Android. Hence, it requires double the time & effort to build an apps that runs on both platforms. Such technology is suitable for projects that require intensive integration with the device (such as direction pointing device, finger print and OCR etc), high performance apps (such as real-time auction, video editing) and superior user experience.

(ii) Hybrid Apps

Hybrid is defined as a web apps, primarily built on HTML5 and JavaScript, which is then wrapped inside a thin native container that provides access to native platform features. Building hybrid apps has the advantage of faster development cycle, which also means lower cost. However you may not be able to reap the benefit of what native apps have to offer. Hybrid app is generally slower in performance and at times may not be compatible with some smart phones. This is due to the fact that hybrid apps uses the built in browser on your phone to display and process information and not all browsers behave the same way – especially those of lesser known brands. Typically, hybrid apps is only compatible with 70-80% of all smart phones in the market today. Hybrid Apps approach is suitable for non-transactional apps that only require display of static information or performing minimal data processing. However I noticed that many banking apps has adopted this approach. I believe cost and speed of pushing the product to the market are the primary factors in deciding on which technology to adopt for the banks.

Stay tuned on the next part of this blog that I shall share ideas on how you could develop the next killer app.

This article is contributed by Ingenious Lab Sdn Bhd. – Leading mobile development company in Malaysia

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