How to Make a Desktop Application: A Guide to Development Project Organization

ScienceSoft has been developing desktop applications for multiple platforms since 1989.

The key points of desktop application development

Desktop application development is aimed at building software that is installed on a personal computer so as to provide enhanced data security and enable the full use of PC processing power for response time-sensitive tasks. Desktop applications can also be created to complement a mobile app or provide an offline-alternative to a web app with the intention of ensuring stable performance that isn’t affected by the presence or quality of Internet connection.

Steps for organizing desktop application development

The complexity and duration of a desktop app development project vary depending on the functional scope and chosen development methodology. The essential steps often are the following:

1

Discovery

2

Project planning

3

Software design and planning

4

UX and UI design

5

Development and testing

6

Launch and evolution

Talents generally required for the project

Business analyst

Analyzes business needs, describes the project scope, composes high-level desktop app requirements, takes part in creating a project management plan.

Project manager

Creates a project management plan, composes ‘software planning and design’ documentation, keeps track of the development deliverables and deadlines, manages the project team.

Software/Systems architect

Contributes to composing ‘software planning and design’ documentation, provides architectural and engineering oversight of a desktop app development project.

UX designer

Performs UX research, drafts UX wireframes, and adjusts them during UX testing.

UI designer

Transforms final UX wireframes into UI design mockups, fixes mockups until final approval.

Software developer

Delivers code for the desktop app, performs code review, fixes issues on QA’s notices.

DevOps engineer

Responsible for the automation of a desktop app development and delivery.

QA specialist

Converts requirements into a set of testing cases and scripts, conducts the necessary tests to ensure application consistency with the project quality standards and SRS, logs testing outcomes.

Sourcing models of desktop app development

All in-house

You have full control over the development project but may encounter issues related to a lack of experienced resources.

Team augmentation

All processes are in-house, but development is partially outsourced to lower production time. Implies high confidence in the in-house resources’ management and tech skills.

Partial outsourcing

All functions except for project management are outsourced. Requires experienced PM talents in-house but raises questions about their post-project use.

Full outsourcing

You outsource business analysis, project management, and development but have to allocate efforts for properly managing your vendor.

Development frameworks ScienceSoft recommends for building desktop apps

Qt

Best for: multi-platform development

Description

  • Widget toolkit for developing cross-platform desktop apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Over 1 million users worldwide in 70+ industries.
  • Used by BMW, LG, Panasonic, Microsoft, Walt Disney Animation Studios, etc.
  • Helped develop such desktop apps as Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, AMD Radeon Graphics.
  • C++ programming.

Pricing

Free.

.NET (.NET Core)

Best for: Windows-only applications

Description

  • Framework for building desktop (Windows, macOS, Linux), web, mobile, and IoT apps.
  • Open-source with 60,000 developers and 3,700 companies contributing to tool’s improvement.
  • Extensively used by Microsoft, General Electric Aviation, Siemens, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • C#, C++ and Python programming.

Pricing

Free.

Costs of desktop application development

The costs of desktop application development vary greatly depending on the app functional scope: from $40,000 for apps with very simple functionality to the $200,000-$400,000 margin and higher for average/high complexity apps.

Below are some of the major factors that define the final price of the project:

General cost drivers

  • Type of app development (native vs. cross-platform) and a number of targeted desktop platforms.
  • Number and complexity of application features.
  • Location and structure of the project team.
  • Vendor’s pricing model (in case of cooperation with a vendor).

Additional costs

  • Use of any paid development tools.
  • UX and UI design efforts.
  • Application deployment/distribution costs.
  • Application maintenance costs.

Consider ScienceSoft’s professional services for desktop application development

With over 32 years of experience in building desktop software, ScienceSoft offers professional consulting on and development of desktop applications.

Consulting on desktop app development

  • Desktop app functional scope definition.
  • Project success metrics for stakeholders.
  • Long-term app evolution plan.
  • Risk management plan.
  • Assistance with tech stack definition and methodology choice.

Desktop app development services

  • Eliciting business requirements and describing the app scope.
  • Formulating functional software requirements.
  • Desktop app architecture design.
  • UX and UI design.
  • Desktop app development and QA.
  • Support and evolution.

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is an IT consultancy and software development company based in McKinney, Texas, US. We design and create desktop software for multiple platforms as well as advise our customers on the organization specifics for desktop app development projects. As the holder of ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications, we rely on mature quality management and guarantee the cooperation doesn't pose any risks to the customers' data security.