Such solutions give companies an edge in the eyes of customers who value simplicity, speed, and personal approach.
These apps commonly have the following features:
- Account creation and administration;
- Asset/workforce management;
- Service booking/cancellation;
- Location tracking and routing;
- Real-time monitoring via maps;
- User communication (chat/call);
- In-app and push-notifications;
- Preferences and ratings;
- Cost estimation and payments.
Of course, under the category of Uber-like services falls vast diversity of offers across domains. You can request tow trucking, fixing your HVAC system, getting a taxi ride and doштп lots of other things. However, it mostly impacts the concept formulation than its implementation in a digital form.
Knowing more about the technical specifics of such solutions can save you a lot of time and money on building an app for service providing and management. That’s why it’s better to have experience in usage and do prior research on the development approach.
If this approach is acceptable the following tools and components aren’t only suitable but can save time and financial resources on the initial stages of product development.
Outlining the task
First of all, it’s important to understand that such a solution isn’t a simple application but rather an Uber-like platform that consists of three main components for:
Customers. A user-friendly web or/and mobile tooling for ordering and paying for services, tracking their processing status, exploring order history, receiving and using bonuses, and so on. To define the full list of requirements the product goals should be determined.
Service providers. A web or/and mobile solution to equip any type of remote workers so they can book jobs independently under the offered brand, receive payments as well as monitor and rate their performance from the management level.
Admin. A web app for moderators and managers that’s more suitable in comparison to mobile considering the possible screen size and sufficient considering usage specifics. Nevertheless, it should be responsive to ensure ultimate access.
Tech stack for an Uber-like app
Since the more significant project part lies in the scope of mobile app development it’s important to select an approach for it. Setting budget and deadlines as prior requirements in the comparison of native vs hybrid development the last option is a clear choice.
Mobile app development - React Native
There are even solutions that allow sharing React code between web and mobile apps. However, they aren’t as good as advertised since both technologies have core differences that separate them from each other. That’s why it’s better to take the individual approach for each part.
React Native has many ready-made components and as the community, it’s growing extremely fast. This technology is applied and supported by such huge companies as Facebook, Airbnb, and namely Uber, which contribute a lot to open-source components that anyone can use in their own apps.
The framework is fully customizable, so if there isn't a particularly suitable component it can be written in native languages Java and Swift and simply used it in the development. This feature gives full freedom in terms of app functionality.
The Components API is compiled into the native environments so all native features of iOS and Android SDKs can be used and help to achieve native app performance and user experience.
Frontend development - React.js
React.js a super-fast JS library with a strong community for building single-page web applications as well as beautiful user interfaces. Having certain advantages in comparison to other popular UI frameworks like Vue and Angular it has the required balance between performance and simplicity for this situation.
Backend development - Node.js or Firestore
This part of the future solution should handle all requests from customer and service provider apps, storing data into the database. That’s why it’s important to review all the options thoroughly before making a decision. In the hypothetical project where the list of requirements isn’t complete, I’m torn between Node.js and Firestore.
The real-time environment in JS allows building a custom backend that will work as a web server. Using such frameworks as Express, Koa, or Sails, you can create API endpoints to process all incoming requests, perform some business logic and store data in any SQL or NoSQL database. This option is offered because of the following Node.js advantages:
Fully customizable. You have control over what exactly is sent to devices, traffic, performance, etc.
High performance. A huge part of the business logic is performed on the server that results in the better device operation.
Data management. Better database performance and control over the available data.
Firestore is a relatively new NoSQL database with automatic synchronization for all clients. In my opinion, it might be an even more perfect fit here thanks to the following advantages:
Direct contact. Web and mobile apps can be connected directly to Firestore (no APIs required) and push and pull data right from it.
Realtime database. No need to create a local device data storage for offline mode - Firestore can handle it without additional efforts.
Node.js is a more advanced option, while Firebase is more time-saving. That’s why the choice completely depends on the project goals and deadlines.
Payment system - Stripe
Adding a payment gateway into your web or Uber-like mobile app has never been a problem. There are a lot of services that will help you easily to enable different methods including credit cards, e-wallets, etc.
The problem here can appear with primary users. They need not only receive money from their customers but also pay to their service providers. So the choice of the gateway should provide payouts, or so-called adaptive payments, in the region where the funds should be sent to.
I recommend taking a look at Stripe. It's one of the popular eCommerce payment solutions that provides a developer-friendly API and has different payout options in many countries.
How to start developing an Uber-like app
There are few obvious but non-optional steps to take once you’re sure in your intention of realization of the product whether of production quality or for internal use.
Complete the requirements
First of all, you need to know exactly what functionality you want to have in your system initially. Talk to your potential customers, service providers, and tech partners, and do all the things Uber-like startups require before they go into the creation fully like a proof of concept, a prototype, MVP, etc.
Research and work on customer development. Don’t assume - know what they want. Considering the popularity of the solutions and services of this type it won’t be hard to find feedback to make initially required adjustments to the concept.
Prepare mockups and explanations
As soon as you have a more or less clear vision of your product, you can proceed to the preparation for its implementation. If you’re going to involve a team (in-house or remote), you need to have some basic specifications and a design vision.
Ideally, create a document that describes what you’re looking for. It will make it much easier for others especially remote developers to understand what you need. But don’t make it too detailed because once the process starts, many things may change.
Blow the whistle for the start
Now you can allow the team to begin with the Uber-like app development. You can use Trello or Jira to better manage the procedure. You can give devs the freedom to start with whatever functionality they want.
But ideally, they should work on all components in parallel so you can review the progress properly. For example, you can’t test functionality that lets service providers accept orders if you don’t have the functionality to create those orders.
This is just one of the approaches to build service apps for focused business process optimization or global company digital transformation.
If you aren't sure that it's the way to go for your project you can always request a discovery phase to define the appropriate development pattern namely for your product.
Aleksandr Uspenskyi , Founder & CPO @Springs