The idea of mobile apps is to cater to the target market’s needs as specifically as possible. With the emergence of mobile app development tools, the app development process has not only been more granular, but even easier than ever before.
Since nothing has to be coded from scratch, the app development process becomes way faster and entrepreneurs aren’t shying away from capitalizing on it. In fact, we have data that can accurately predict what demographic of people are inclined towards using what mobile apps.
87% of smartphone users will check their phones at least 1 hour before sleep, 69 percent of whom will check their phones within 5 minutes before sleep. If grabbing attention is everything, then you know how important it is to deliver an exceptional user experience.
Native & Cross-Platform Mobile App Development
Simply put, these are software designed to assist the mobile application development process. There are 2 ways to create apps, and these 2 ways will have a different set of app development tools entirely:-
Native App Development
Having developers create different apps for different operating systems is called Native App Development. Apps like Google Pay, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Spotify have been built natively, i.e. separately for both the Android and iOS platforms.
For Native App development, Android uses Java or Kotlin and iOS uses Swift or Objective-C as its primary programming languages. When it comes to improving mobile app performance, there have always been more possibilities with Native app Development.
Cross-Platform Mobile App Development
As opposed to native app development, developing one app that works for both Android and iOS platforms is cross-platform app development. This means only one line of code is required to get your app running properly on both platforms.
Some of the most popular apps in the world were, in fact, developed with cross-platform tools. Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, Skype, are just to name a few.
What’s the Difference Between the Two?
When people choose Cross-Platform Development, they’re mainly looking for an App that can:-
- Be Built within a Budget Cap – Because of the ability to reuse the code, the cost of building the app drops significantly lower (about 25 – 30%).
- Develop Quickly – When you can reuse the same code for 2 different platforms, you’ll inevitably save time. There won’t be any coordination requirements between 2 developers because there’s only one developer.
- Be Monitored in Real-Time – no need to wait for the app to be built and the code to be compiled before you can make changes. With a cross-platform tool, you can monitor the development process in real-time.
On the other hand, Native App Development is preferred by people who are looking for:-
- High Performing Apps – If you’re looking for better operating speed and overall performance, Native App Development is the way to go.
- UI/UX Abilities – You have a lot more customization abilities with Native mobile app development since it’s capable of a lot more sophisticated designs and animations. Check out the latest Mobile App Design trends in 2021.
- Integration Possibilities – When an app has to have several integrations like Google Maps, several Payment Gateway Apps, even your in-phone apps like Calling and SMS, you want it to be able to handle the heavy lifting.
Top 5 Native Mobile App Development Tools
A native app has to be coded in its native programming language. For example, iOS apps are built on Swift or Objective-C, whereas Android apps are on Java or Kotlin. The native mobile app development tools allow developers to build apps for only a single platform or device.
Let’s have a look at the 5 most popular native mobile app development tools:-
Available for both iOS and Android, Swiftic is one of the best mobile app development frameworks out there. Its pricing starts at $41 per month, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee option for all its plans.
Swiftic’s major focus is on eCommerce platforms, which is why it can be integrated with several stores, including Shopify and WooCommerce. Moreover, it has catalog options for creating your own in-app store.
Swiftic is centered around helping small businesses and has several little features that are widely significant, including push notifications, in-app coupons, scratch cards, customer engagement, advanced analytics and so much more.
Xcode is an Integrated Development Environment which is Apple’s first-party tool that allows you to build native apps for iOS, Mac OS, and Watch OS. Swift is an innovative programming language that has been used in Cocoa and Cocoa Touch.
And when that combines with Xcode tools, mobile app development becomes a seamless live experience. With the iOS SDK, Xcode can build, install, and run Cocoa Touch apps in a Mac-based Simulator for a streamlined workflow.
While live rendering within Interface Builder, you can see your hand-written UI code within the design canvas, reflecting changes you type in code in real-time. Most importantly, it’s available for free.
Xcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging and includes everything developers would need to create applications for iPhone, Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
The term pretty much indicates it’s an Android Mobile App development tool. It was built by Google and its implementation editor is really useful for Android developers. Android studio offers shortcuts for coding and designing which, in turn, makes its layout designer really easy to use.
With its drag and drop features to design the layout, Android studio seems to be designed to reduce time spent on coding. Well, you don’t pay a dime for using this tool, which makes it even more appealing.
In its latest version (4.1.2 while I’m writing this), you’re going to find the following features:-
- Gradle-based build support.
- Android-specific refactoring and quick fixes.
- Lint tools to catch performance, usability, version compatibility, and other problems.
- ProGuard integration and app-signing capabilities.
- Template-based wizards for creating common Android designs and components.
- A rich layout editor that allows users to drag-and-drop UI components, option to preview layouts on multiple screen configurations.
- Support for building Android Wear apps.
- Built-in support for Google Cloud Platform, enabling integration with Firebase Cloud Messaging (Previously ‘Google Cloud Messaging’) and Google App Engine.
- Android Virtual Device (Emulator) to run and debug apps in the Android studio.
AppCode is one of the best mobile app development tools for iOS/macOS development. The way it stands out is with its ability to not only work with Objective-C but with programming languages like Swift and C/C++ as well.
Developers now reap the advantages like automating routine tasks and saving time, locating and fixing errors, taking advantage of intelligent community support, and increasing their overall productivity.
It comes with a price of €8,90 per month, but like many other mobile app development tools, you get a free trial for 30 days, and with time, you’ll realize how valuable of an asset AppCode is for your business.
With NativeScript, you have direct access to all iOS and Android APIs. You can even reuse CocoaPods and Android SDKs, find free plugins, templates, and application samples on the Marketplace.
Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools
As we discussed earlier, with cross-platform frameworks and tools, you can develop Mobile Apps for multiple platforms (mainly Android and iOS) at the same time. This helps developers to use the same lines of code, which means it’s roughly half the job.
Here are 5 of the most widely used cross-platform mobile app development tools:-
Xamarin is yet another open-source platform that’s in the race for being one of the best mobile app development tools out there. Since it’s built by Microsoft, it focuses on building Windows applications using C# with Visual studio.
However, you can use it to build modern and exceptionally sophisticated mobile apps for iOS, Android as well. Xamarin is built on .NET, which automatically handles tasks like memory allocation, garbage collection, and interoperability with underlying platforms.
Xamarin is packed with many features, such as the following:-
- It has the ability to integrate 3rd party code like Objective-C, Java, C, and C++ libraries.
- Xamarin offers complete binding for the underlying SDKs.
- It has dynamic language features, functional constructs like lambdas, parallel programming, LINQ, generics, etc.
- This platform has a large collection of classes that have features like powerful XML, Database, Serialization, String, IO, Networking support, etc.
- Xamarin uses Visual Studio, a new age IDE that includes features such as code auto-completion.
- It has a sophisticated project and solution management system, a comprehensive project template library, integrated source control, etc.
With the ability to build any Android and iOS apps for a mobile device, even desktop apps, and progressive web apps, all with one codebase, Ionic stands out to be one of the most versatile mobile app development tools out there.
It contains pre-designed components, typography, and interactive paradigms. On top of that, it has an interface that’s really simple to use and is accessible to anyone with web development skills.
Ionic comes with the Ionic CLI (Command Line Interface). It’s a tool that provides several helpful commands to Ionic developers like starting, building, running, and emulating Ionic applications.
When it comes to cross-platform app development, Adobe PhoneGap definitely comes in the top 5. It’s free and open-source, which makes it accessible to thousands of developers while having great community support.
Instead, the components will be reusable and your apps will be lightweight. PhoneGap gives you access to all the native device APIs (camera, GPS, accelerometer, etc) so that the app you build with web tech behaves just like a native app.
This word may have gained popularity for the wrong reasons recently. But when it comes to mobile app development tools, Corona is quite popular. It is a cross-platform framework used to create Android and iOS. It can also be used to create apps for various devices like iPad, Amazon Fire, Mac Desktop, etc.
Corona is based on Lua, an open-source programming language designed to be lightweight, fast while being powerful. Popular titles like Warcraft, Angry Birds, Civilization, and several other franchises have utilized Lua in developing these games.
It has several plugins that add features like in-app advertising, analytics, media, etc to the Corona core. If anything isn’t already in the core or supported via a plugin, you can call any native (C/C++/Obj-C/Java) library or API using Corona.
It’s totally free and has more than 500k developers. This means a great degree of community support as well.
As long as this guide looks, it’s really short since there are so many native and cross-platform mobile app development tools for various different purposes.
This was just a short guide to show you how about the most popular mobile app development platforms in 2021. These are the tools that can build seamless, high-performing mobile applications.
Hopefully, this served you as a holistic guide and you can start building your own mobile app. Having a hard time developing an app on your own? Well, give us a shot!
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