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Please I want to find answers to my question. I have hired a freelance developer to develop an app in Andriod and IOS. Please is it necessary to demand documentation as I want to do maintaince by myself to reduce cost?

Another question is what would be include in the documentation?

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You are completely within your rights to ask for documentation of any work/development that is done for you by a freelancer, but you need to ask for it up front when you are first contracting the work. Documentation takes time to create, so there will be a cost associated with that. I wouldn't spring that on the freelancer mid-stream and expect to get it for free. You can do a change request/contract amendment to ask for the documentation - but not having the documentation is a mistake, whether or not you plan to do maintenance yourself or not. In the future, if you need to do other work on the app and have someone else work on it, you will kick yourself if you don't have documentation. If you need to know what should be included, you can Google that and get great examples. If you ask your freelancer to "fully document all work," they should know what to do.

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Report Selassie's answer

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Yes, you need to ask for a documentation. It will help the developer to respect the agreement and trust that he or she is involved in a contract.

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Thanks Adedeji

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Selassie hi. Yes, you are entitled to detailed documentation. It is a must with freelance developers. But do not assume, and request it from the beginning. Documentation likes code comments, api descriptions, flowcharts, user guides, help files, etc. Use a contract, including also a non disclosure agreement.

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Report Kenneth's answer

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Hello Selassie,

The agreement is the only legal document that shows each party's responsibilities, rights, and entitlements. It is the only proof of the transaction and should not be seen as an option. It is a must, and kindly ensure that it is detailed enough to capture amongst other things;

  1. The developer's duties and responsibilities
  2. The cost of the job and a receipt showing that they have been fully paid for their services
  3. After sales support
  4. Caveat on trademark ownership and patenting

In addition to the legal document/contract, also ensure that they give you access to all back office (CPanel) files which will enable you to run updates, etc.

You do not want to have issues of claims in the future from the developers when your app becomes successful.

Good luck.

Report Kennedy's answer

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Yes, it's a good idea to request documentation from the developer for the Android and iOS app they've developed. Documentation is essential for several reasons, especially if you plan to handle maintenance yourself in the future:

Understanding the Code: Proper documentation provides insights into how the app's code is structured and how different components interact. It will make it easier for you or another developer to understand the codebase.

Bug Fixing and Updates: When issues or bugs arise or when you need to make updates, having well-documented code can save you a significant amount of time. You won't need to rely solely on the original developer's assistance.

Cost Savings: As you mentioned, maintaining the app yourself can reduce costs, and documentation plays a crucial role in this. You won't have to pay a developer for every small change or update.

Smoother Onboarding: If you hire additional developers or team members in the future, clear documentation will help onboard them more smoothly. Documentation will have complete knowledge base what tech stack/platform(https://www.ficode.co.uk/blog/which-mobile-app-development-platforms-should-you-go-for) and libraries developer() have used in the project.

Long-Term Viability: Apps often need updates and maintenance over time to remain compatible with the latest operating system versions and to address security concerns. Documentation ensures the app's long-term viability.

When requesting documentation, ask for the following:

Source Code: Obtain the source code for both Android and iOS versions of the app. This is the most fundamental aspect of documentation.

Architecture Diagrams: Any high-level architecture diagrams that explain how different components of the app interact.

API Documentation: If the app communicates with external services or APIs, request documentation for those interactions. You must be aware about complete API integration services (https://www.ficode.co.uk/api-integration).

User Manual: A user manual or guide can be useful for understanding the app's functionality.

Code Comments: Ensure that the code includes comments and explanations for different parts of the codebase.

Dependencies and Libraries: Document the third-party libraries and dependencies used in the app.

By having this documentation in your possession, you'll be better equipped to manage, update, and maintain the app independently, which can indeed reduce long-term costs and ensure the app's continued functionality.

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