Mobile Development tools

By Nicholas Wright, CEO at AppInstruct

There are many different reasons to create an app: maybe you see a need for a business app, maybe you just have a great idea. But regardless of the reason, you still have to start at the beginning. In recent posts, I've addressed the most common questions about getting your app off the ground:

The next step in the process is to understand a bit about the technology choices involved, so you can be more informed when you discuss the options with your mobile app developer.

What are your options when it comes to mobile app development technology? First you have to decide what type of app works best for you: native, hybrid or web.

Native mobile apps

Native mobile apps are likely what come to mind when you think of apps. A native app is one that is developed to be 'native' to a specific platform: Apple's iOS, Google's Android, Windows Phone or (decreasingly) BlackBerry OS.

oDesk Blog: Tablet viewThe principal advantage of a native app is that it optimizes the user experience; the app will operate more quickly because it’s been designed specifically for that platform.

The principal disadvantage? If you wish to build and launch your app on more than one platform (e.g. a chat messenger) you almost need to start each one from scratch. Let’s look at each platform more closely.

If building for Apple's iOS, your developer will need to use the Objective-C language—one of the hardest programming languages to master, even for professionals with experience. The good news is that Apple provides its developer community with very good tools. The main one, Xcode, is the tool your developer will use to create your native app.

Building for Android requires Java. Java is a more common language than Objective-C and has less of a learning curve, so it's not as challenging to find proven developers. However, the tools available to create apps for Android—including the most popular tool, Eclipse—aren't as good as Xcode; but a new tool called Android Studio could eventually deliver the same quality of development support as Apple’s tool.

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