10 Tools to create a free mobile app

As we see the number of smartphone users is increasing every single second, the growth of the mobile app market is also rising at a greater speed than ever before. Regardless of the scope and category of the business, whether it is small scale or large scale, the companies are bringing up their mobile app by using various platforms to build mobile apps to help their customers meet their needs and to serve better customer experiences.

Peter Rojas, co-founder of Engadget and Gizmodo says “ I think the biggest change, and the one we’re already starting to see take shape, is that globally the majority of internet usage will be done via a mobile device and for most people, the mobile web will be their primary – if not their only – way of experiencing the internet.” With the increase in the usage of devices such as tablets, smartphones and other wearables like smartwatches, most of the companies have realized the importance of having a mobile app for their business. Companies spend huge amounts of money on hiring the best app developers to build their business apps.

If you are a person with an idea of developing a mobile app, this article will help you understand better about mobile app development tools and platforms. Recently there are numerous platforms & tools available for app building and one may need not to know too much of coding to do so. With available tools and existing templates, you can develop a high-end mobile app. All you have to be aware of is the usage of the right tool to build a perfect mobile app.

Before getting deep into knowing the mobile development tools, let’s understand what they are and how we can accomplish the tasks that we have, these tools. Mobile Development Tools are nothing but software that is designed to assist in mobile application creation. There are two types of tools, native mobile development tools, and

cross-platform mobile development tools. Now let’s learn more about it

Native mobile development tools: These tools help in building high-quality apps that interact on a single operating system. As the app is designed to work on a specific device and its operating system, it can use the hardware and software of the device providing optimized performance.

On the other hand,Cross-platform mobile developmenttools help in building a universal app for various platforms including Coding platforms, Low-coding platforms, and No-Coding platforms. These are cost and time effective in terms of building the app. Compared to a native application, a cross-platform environment has more issues and lower quality.

You will be amazed to know that there are several mobile app development tools available in recent days. But let me ask you, do you know the right one to use? Are you paying for the tools which are not necessary and how do you avoid overpaying on the unwanted tools? Should you be a developer to use these tools?

Well! This article will help you learn more about the best mobile app development tools. Now let’s find out the best tools to build a mobile app.

Xcode:

IDE’s are the latest way to build and design software. Xcode is one such IDE for macOS which has provided a new dimension in designing software. Xcode was first released in 2003 and has evolved over time, getting stable with each release version. V 11.3 is the latest stable version of Xcode as of today. Cocoa and Cocoa Touch makes use of the innovative programming language called The Swift. The combination of Swift and Xcode tools enhances the programming experience to an all-new delightful level.

Our hand-written UI code will be visible in the design canvas of the Live rendering Interface Builder. This live rendering Interface Builder reflects the UI changes instantly as soon as the code is changed or modified. Xcode provides all the tools required by a developer to build an application for Apple products such as iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, etc. Xcode offers a centralized workflow for Design, Coding, Testing, and Debugging.

Android Studio:

Applications for Google’s Android Operating system are designed by the infamous IDE called the Android Studio. The implementation editor of Android Studio is a user-friendly interface for Android developers. This implementation editor offers a handful of coding and designing shortcuts. Designing the application layout is no more tedious coding effort. The Layout designer of android studio offers an easy to use drag and drop layout designer for designing your application layout without spending time on coding.

The newest version of Android studio provides many attractive features like quick fixes, Android-specific refactoring and built-in support for Gradle. Lint tools help in usability, version compatibility, catch performance and other issues. Some of the other attributes include App-signing abilities and ProGuard integration, template-based tools help in creating generic android components and designs. A rich layout editor helps the users to preview the layouts on various screen configurations and allows the user to drag-and-drop UI components. It also supports in developing android wear apps.

Adobe PhoneGap:

Nitobi created a mobile application development framework, which was later purchased by Adobe Systems rebranding it as PhoneGap. An open-source version was released later which was called Apache Cordova. Adobe PhoneGap lets the developer work with one code base, for a different group of technologies. It is an open-source, cross-platform tool that makes use of languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web APIs for building applications.

The developed applications are nothing, but a collection of HTML pages wrapped in the application shell, these are fed to native platforms using native API’s. Just like creating any other website, the developers use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create files with PhoneGap.

These files are hosted on the server’s local directory or in the cloud. Plugins are responsible for accessing these files when even the application is being executed on the device. Due to these extensive features, applications design using PhoneGap are highly reusable and lighter. The UI experience and its quality vary from one operating system to another. The Web View Engine of the OS is responsible for rendering the UI. Earlier PhoneGap required an Apple computer to create iOS apps and a Windows computer to create Windows Mobile apps until the major upgrade announced around September 2012. PhoneGap Build generates apps for every supported platform by letting the developers upload JavaScript,CSS, HTML source code to the cloud compiler.

Ionic:

Ionic is a user-friendly framework that is very easy to learn and understand which offers numerous prototypes. Ionics’ ability to integrate with Angular makes it a great environment to work on. Ionic is built on a standard web Technology allowing the developers to build cross-platform web applications very easily which are Hybrid and Progressive in nature.

Ionic Studio is a visual development environment that is powerful and locally-installed environment that helps us build stunning apps easily in minutes.

Ionic is designed in such a beautiful way to display and work on all platforms and mobile devices that are currently available. It includes ready made components, attractive base themes, typography which are adaptive in nature for all the platforms, helps in building a wonderful app. Ionic is created to execute and run smoothly on the latest mobile devices with best practices like touch-optimized gestures and efficient hardware accelerated transitions. Ionic imitates the native app user interface guidelines and uses native SDKs in achieving the UI standards and device features of native apps along with the full potential and flexibility of the open web.

Onsen UI:

Based on HTML5, JS and CSS languages, there are several mobile app development frameworks available in recent days. Onsen UI is one of JavaScript Frameworks and can be combined with Monaca to develop mobile apps like PhoneGap/Cordova which allows making use of phone native features. Onsen UI components are JavaScript framework agnostic and can use AngularJS, Angular 2+, jQuery, Vue.js, React or Meteor.

Onsen UI is a JavaScript framework-agnostic after the release of version 2. This means the developers can build mobile apps with or without JavaScript Frameworks. It’s the features of Onsen UI that makes it so popular. Let’s look at them one by one

  • Easy to learn – Onsen UI is a powerful tool used to create mobile apps with high complexity, yet the tool is so simple which makes it easy to understand and work with. There are a lot of resources like community forums, documentation and other interactive tutorials which makes the learning process easy and simple to use.
  • Native Look – Onsen UI supports both Android and iOS platforms and helps in making the changes to the appearance and style of your app anytime using the same source code for the platform you have chosen to work with. It also comes with ready to use UI components like lists, toolbar, forms, tabs, sides menu, and the list goes on.
  • No need for IOS/Android SDK – Onsen UI helps to build your app without configuring or installing the IOS/Android SDK, which makes this one of the best features.
  • Zero-Time Setup – You may need not know anything new to use the Onsen UI as permits you to build your app with the technologies you already know like HTML, CSS, and JS. This makes it easy and no extra time required to build your app.
  • Optimized Performance – When it comes to lower-end devices, users are concerned about the slow performance on some Cordova/PhoneGap apps. Onsen UI team has worked on the issue and made it optimized to work on a wide range of devices.

OutSystems:

OutSystems is an application development platform that requires minimal coding, hence enabling users to build, deploy, manage, and change professional-grade mobile and web apps in no time. OutSystems offers more than 140 ready-to-use UI templates and layouts to speedup UI development time. OutSystems provides multiple sorts of support options to help developers maximize the use of the software. It provides many exciting features like knowledge base resources, a customer onboarding program, unlimited email support, exclusive webinars, and online training and tutorials.

Integration with OutSystems is easy. There is no need to write custom code for configuring integration thus significantly reducing effort and time eliminating errors.OutSystems generates all the data structure and methods to combine with external system. SAP system is built by integrating SOAP and REST services which makes it easier for the developers to use them optically in the application logic. From the developer’s point of view, there is not much of a difference between invoking a REST API, an OutSystems method or a SAP BAPI.

Xamarin

:

Xamarin is an open source app platform and a popular cross-platform product for building mobile apps from Microsoft. It uses C# and .Net languages for building apps on iOS and Android platforms. It also allows sharing 90% of its code across the major platforms. Xamarin company was built as a commercial project until Microsoft took over it in 2016. It became a part of Xamarin Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment as the Microsoft made Xamarin SDK is open-source.

Xamarian uses a single language i.e C# to build apps for all mobile platforms. Because of its natively compiled feature, Xamarin is the best option in creating high-performance apps with the native feel and look.

.NET is a developer platform combined with different tools, libraries and other programming languages that can be used in developing many types of applications. The .NET platform provides elements that apply to various types of apps along with added frameworks like Xamarin, .NET helps in developing specific kinds of apps.

Features added in the .NET platform are the programming language C# and its compilers, base libraries to work with dates, files/IO, string and many more. Tools and editors for Linux, Windows, macOS, and Docker. Xamarin extends the .NET platform with tools and libraries helping in developing apps on iOS, Android, macOS, and more.

Appcelerator:

Appcelerator is one of the best and leading mobile development tools liked by many of the developers? It is an open, extensible development environment for building native apps over various mobile devices and platforms including Android, iOS, BlackBerry also HTML5 and hybrid. Appcelerator uses a single JavaScript codebase for developing cloud-connected mobile apps and rich native mobile apps.

The development process is simplified by an Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE). It comprises an open-source SDK with over 5000 mobile OS APIs, devices, a powerful Eclipse-based IDE, Studio, an MVC framework, Alloy and Cloud Services in the mobile backend.

For any commercial application, the Titanium SDK and an integrated development environment (IDE) are offered free of cost. Appcelerator including cloud services, additional support, and analytics capabilities comes with an additional charge. Certification courses and training programs are provided for an additional cost.

React Native:

React Native is yet another powerful tool for creating native apps for iOS and Android. It combines the best components of native development with React, a high standard JavaScript library for developing user interfaces. The best part is, you can make use of React Native on your existing iOS and Android projects or you can simply create a new app from the start using the JavaScript provided by native code.

One can develop a platform-particular version of components using a single code that can be shared across multiple platforms. With React Native, you can manage dual platforms and share a common technology. React Native allows you to develop a rich native app providing ultimate user experience.

MobiLoud:

MobiLoud is a WordPress plugin that helps in building a native mobile application for both iOS and Android devices suitable for all business types. It combines with WordPress websites to transform them into native mobile apps and permits the users to publish the apps on Google Play and Apple App Store. The advantages of using MobiLoud tools include push notifications, login, and subscriptions, mobile advertising, performance monitoring, external link embedding, offline access, and analytics.

White label branding helps users in personalizing the font, color, style, logo, and content of their app which is facilitated by MobiLoud. It also helps in building a mobile app quickly and in the easiest way for your WordPress site. Since they use native apps to build mobile apps, the execution is pretty fast and smooth on iOS and Android devices. It also offers more features and functionality than any other competing websites in creating app services.

Conclusion:

Having said about all these tools available in the market, we can conclude that the demand for mobile apps continues to grow day by day, the pool of tools and solutions also continues to grow in helping the developers save their time in building high-quality apps. When thinking of building your app, don’t wait to try one of these top 10 mobile app development tools. You need not worry about getting committed before going to use these tools as most of them offer a free version, trial or a demo version. So be wise to choose the best tool that suits your app.

Each tool has its pros and cons based on their limitations and strengths. Choosing the right framework as per the project requirements will always be in the hand of the app developer. One should be wise enough to make the use of the right tool. It has become a lot easier to build mobile applications these days, thanks to mobile app development tools making it easier, faster and convenient.

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