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Statistics say there are at least 2.7 billion smartphone users in the world. Also, according to a study, 10% of people check their phones every 10 minutes. 90% of the time people spend on their phones is on apps.
The mobile app market is thriving. No matter who you are, an individual with a brilliant application idea or an enterprise looking to increase its business, mobile applications have a lot of surprises waiting for you. And to help you with that, we talk about the best mobile app development tools.
What Tools Do I Need to Build an App?
There are two types of mobile app development tools; native app development tool and cross-platform app tool. Among these, you go with one that fits your preference, resources, and coding abilities.
Native App Development Tools
They help you create an app specifically for a platform. For example, iOS uses XCode IDE. The benefit of Native App development is that it makes the best use of the available features in the platform, so the applications are of better quality.
For example, say that you are building a smartphone camera.
We know that Apple phones generally have better camera quality than many inexpensive androids. If you are creating an app only for the iPhone, you can go all out, using all the capabilities of its hardware. On the other hand, if you want the app to be executable on Android, you may have to trade some features for flexibility.
Cross-Platform App Development Tools
Cross-Platform app development tools help you create applications for more than one platform at a time.
In native app development, you would have to code separately for different operating systems. However, in the case of cross-app development, it provides code reusability. About 60% to 90% of the code is the same for every platform.
Thus, cross-platform app development tools decrease the amount of time and effort needed to make applications executable on more than one platform.
What is the Best Tool for Mobile App Development?
It depends on the platform that you are coding for, and the features that are available for you. There are many tools for both native and cross-platform development. We look at some of them.
Native App Development Tools
Xcode is the native IDE from Apple. It helps developers code applications for every Apple device, including Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, iPod, and so on. It supports C, C++, Objective- C, Objective C++, Java, AppleScript, Python, Ruby, Rez, and Swift Source Code.
There are a lot of features, including an assistive interface consisting of Assistant Editor showing suggestions, Split Window View, App testing, Working Schemes, etc. XCode IDE is from Apple itself, and the company has done its best to make it simple to understand and use.
Xcode doesn’t cost any money. Anyway, the one (and the biggest) downside is that it only runs on Mac OS. You can’t install it on windows.
We have another article on our website, How to Build iOS App on Windows that can be helpful to you.
Android Studio is the official IDE for Android. It was made by Google and Jetbrains. Of course, the main programming language you use here is Java and XML, but it can also support other languages if it is needed in your program.
The UI is good, the options are easily accessible, and there are various editors, including the layout editor, which will help you a lot while designing your app. Things such as APK Analyser, Fast Emulator, Intelligent code editor, Realtime editors, and others will come in very handy while coding your app and executing it on devices.
As Android studio is from Google, you can expect fewer bugs and regular updates on the features. The community is big, and looking at the number of resources available on the internet, it will be easy for you to learn the tool.
The native Android app development tool is free. It runs on every desktop device and operating system, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download it on the official link that we provided above.
AppCode isn’t officially from Apple but is a popular native App builder for Apple devices. It is from JetBrains, the same company which made Android Studio alongside Google.
You see, Xcode, in itself, is an excellent IDE, but it lacks some features like in other tools. For example, even for deleting a code with a keyboard shortcut, you will need to install a plugin. Moreover, some of the existing features are not perfect; the code autocomplete (coding assistance) is not always 100% accurate.
Jetbrains marketed AppCode as an ‘intelligent way of building Apple applications.’ Honestly, it does the trick – customization is easy, debugging is efficient, and the UI is simple, even if not the best.
The one thing to note is that AppCode doesn’t come for free. You can get a one-month free trial and after that, pay a subscription fee of US $199 for the first, US $159 for a second, and US $119 for the third year and onwards. Of course, the price can be more or less depending on when you are reading this article.
Talking about XCode vs. Appcode, Xcode is already a sufficient tool for IOS App Development. This applies to both professionals and learners. Still, Appcode offers some better features, and you can go for it after the trial period and if you have the necessary funds and a reason for doing so.
Cross-Platform App Development Tools
Naturally, there are more cross-platform app development tools than native development tools. We list some of the most popular ones:
Phonegap is from Adobe. It lets you create apps for Android, IOS, and Windows. The tool is simple to use, and you can write applications as long as you have good knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Jscript. You can use it for free.
Microsoft Visual studio made Xamarin, and the company itself uses the tool for app development. It uses C# and Ruby for coding. The software is free for individuals, but enterprises need to pay for it. Many experts agree that Xamarin is the best coding tool for cross-app development and make them behave like native applications.
In addition to Android Studio, the native tool, Google also owns Flutter, a cross-development software. As it compiles source code to native code, the apps you build on it look native. The available features help speed up the time required to code your application.
Corona is the tool to go with if you want to develop high graphics 2D games for computers, mobile phones, and televisions across multiple operating systems. You can use it for Apple TV, Fire TV, IOS, Android, Amazon Fire, Mac, etc. The tool is free, has a big helpful community of at least 50,000 people, and uses Lua.
We only provided a brief overview of the popular cross-development tools on this blog. Please open this article, A Complete Guide to Cross-Platform App Development, to know more about these tools and more available options.
How Can I Develop Mobile Application?
Then, you identify the problem that you want to solve with your application. At the same time, decide on which platforms the app should run on and choose one among native and cross-platform development.
After that, you first design your application, depending on how you want it to look and feel. Build a prototype first and then let a beta tester check your application. If it is good, distribute it and later update it as per your users’ reviews.
Mobile App Development is becoming more comprehensive. Many tools are being introduced in the market, mostly, which are cross platforms. Still, with the development of tools like AppCode, it has been seen that even the native app development market isn’t without competition.
What all this means is that you have a plethora of options while choosing the best development software. You can go with one that fits your preference, budget, and the programming language.