How to Find an App’s Functionality before Writing

By Nikhil Abraham

The biggest challenge with dividing an app into steps is knowing how big or small to make each step. The first step is to find the app’s functionality.

The key is to make sure each step is discrete and independent. To test whether you have the right number of steps, ask yourself if someone else could solve and complete the step with minimal guidance.

Assume that McDuck’s wants to promote restaurant visits by using a web application that sends customers an offer or coupon if they’re close to a restaurant. To make this job easier, you are to create the app for customers visiting just one store.

Your first move is to break down this app into steps needed for the app to function. These steps should not be too specific: Think of them in broad terms, as if you were explaining the process to a kindergartner. With a pen and paper, write down these steps in order. Don’t worry about whether each step is correct, as your skill will improve with practice and time. To help you start, here are some clues:

  • Assume the McDuck’s app activates when the customer presses a button in the app to check-in to a store.

  • When the button is pressed, what are the two locations that the app must be aware of?

  • When the app is aware of these two locations, what calculation involving these two locations must the computer make?

  • After computing this calculation, what effect will the computer show?