As a small business, you tend to find yourself in situations where you constantly need to prove yourself. Either to stay ahead of the competition or to win over clients with seamless deliveries. Such situations call for off-the-shelf tools that can save you tremendous amount of time, effort and resources. Mobile application development tools are great life-savers.
Today, the market is so riddled with a dizzying array of cross-platform mobile app development tools that it becomes very difficult to make the right a decision. The scenario looks eerily similar to what your GPS would look like, when you type "nearby apparel stores" from the middle of a shopping mall.
Nevertheless, a little bit of research can bring a lot of benefits to your development process.
In this blog, we bring you a ready-made list of the most popular mobile application development tools, along with a glimpse into how they simplify the mobile application development for you.
Xamarin is one of the most popular tools when it comes to mobile application development. It is a cross-platform tool that allows Xamarin developers to share about 90% of the code across major platforms. Developers can also choose from an array of free and paid components. Naturally, it is a preferred choice for native applications.
It is a mono framework that allows communication with the API of mobile devices. It also permits mobile application developers to create scalable and powerful applications with the help of its QA and testing features. Xamarin has been built on C# and it runs on the .NET common language infrastructure. It is extensively used to build apps for iOS, Windows, and Android platforms.
One of the major advantages of Xamarin is that it provides a faster time-to-market and tends to result in fewer bugs.
If you’re short on time and need to roll-out an app with fewer bugs, Xamarin should be your top pick!
Cost: A few fully featured and OSS development enabled Visual community packages are available for free for small teams. The professional versions with enterprise capabilities and are priced on quote basis.
2. React Native
What makes React Native stand apart from the other tools mentioned on this list is the fact that the apps built on this platform will have the look and feel of a native application, thereby offering an interactive user experience.
This tool is extremely easy to learn and get started, especially if you know JS at the back of your hand. It also increases the initial development velocity via quick prototyping.
Cost: Free of cost for 1 user and $19 for 10 users for all core features and basic support
In addition, PhoneGap also provides a beta service known as the PhoneGap Build. This allows users to simply upload code and receive ready-to-launch iOS, Android, Palm, Windows and BlackBerry apps. These apps are able to access features such as geo-location, camera, push notifications and contacts, despite having a web-based foundation.
Moreover, PhoneGap, enables you to set up your own development environments and thus develop and deploy tremendously scalable, as-native-as-you-want-it apps for mobile devices.
PhoneGap- the perfect pick for mobile developers working on seemingly impossible mobile app development deadlines.
Cost: Free to use for development while in beta; support plans begin at $249.99 per year.
One of the main reason that it works is that it allows web developers to continue using the framework that most of them are familiar with – Angular. This also eases the transition from web to mobile development.
Ionic syndicates Angular with its own UI library to provide a seamless cross-platform mobile application development experience. The experience is so seamless that developers often treat Ionic as a synonym for cross-platform hybrid development.
The experience is so seamless that developers often treat Ionic as a synonym for cross-platform hybrid development.
If you’re looking for a free, open-source framework with a beautiful default UI that is also easily customizable, this tool is for you.
Cost: The starter pack is free but has limited features, the most popular team plan costs $49/month/team member
Sencha's Ext JS is very similar to React Native in terms of functionality. But, the key factor that distinguishes both is the usage of Ext JS framework for development. Sencha provides a visual application builder for HTML5, and also allows custom components to be reused.
Since Sencha uses HTML5 for development, you can test and run your applications on both - browsers and mobile apps. With Sencha, you can also work with different cross-platform tools like Adobe Phone Gap for developing highly functional apps.
In Sencha, the distribution of the application to the Apple Store and Google Play is managed by its native application packager.
If you’re looking to build data-intensive, cross-platform web apps for desktops, tablets, and smartphones, this is the tool for you.
Cost: The annual subscription license for a single developer premium edition (that includes 1 year of development and distribution rights, and maintenance & support) costs $1,440. The enterprise edition costs $9,475 for up to 5 developers.
RhoMobile is a Ruby-based open-source framework that works well with Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, iPhone, and RIM. The RhoMobile Suite comes with RhoHub, a hosted development environment for developers to code. The suite also comes with RhoSync, an independent server that stores all the application data and keeps it updated on the user’s devices.
With RhoMobile, you can develop native-like applications, spread across different platforms applying a single code. It also works extraordinarily well while dealing with available hardware.
This in turn speeds up the process and ensures accuracy.
If you’re looking to build a full-featured, fast, and intuitive mobile app with multiple views,
RhoMobile Suite is your best bet.
Cost: The cost of the RhoMobile Suite is available on quote
As the name suggests, Appcelerator “accelerates” the mobile app development process by enabling developers to create apps with just a few lines of code. Regardless of whether you need a native app or cross-platform application, Appcelerator helps you do it. It also supports iOS, Android, Windows, and browser-based HTML5 applications.
Unlike most other tools, Appcelerator has several platform specific APIs, features, and user interfaces. Moreover, its platform targeted code ensures enhanced application performance. It also spares the developers from learning to code for Android and iOS platforms individually.
It also has a huge community called the Appcelerator Open Mobile Marketplace where developers can buy, sell, and share templates, modules, and extensions.
If you want to deliver native cross-platform apps with the highest speed and performance, this is your best bet.
Cost: The single developer package is free; the pro costs $99/month/user and the enterprise package is available on quote.
The tools listed above have proved to be very effective in development of innovative mobile applications. Some tools are more intuitive, simple, easily customizable and empower the users to transform their ideas into reality while some tools are more complex to use but ensure faster and more accurate delivery. There is a tool available for every requirement, but choosing the right tool has a major role to play in the ultimate outcome.
Keep in mind that the mobile development app tool is just a means to an end. It is the perfect combination of a great mobile app development tool and the right skill-sets that will drive the development of mind-blowing mobile applications.
If you need a few extra skilled hands to get started on your mobile application development, Clarion’s mobile application developers are your best bet.