When you're ready to develop your first mobile app, the number of choices to do so can be overwhelming. How do you choose the right mobile app development tools for the job?
There are a variety of mobile app development tools available, from those that require coding knowledge to those that don't. It's important to pick the right tool for your skill set and project requirements.
In this article, we'll take a look at the top mobile app development tools and how to choose which one to use.
What Is a Mobile Application Development Tool?
We can define mobile application development tools as tools that are used for the development of applications for mobile devices. With these tools, you can develop mobile apps and publish them for your users to use on their mobile devices.
Mobile App Development Tools That Need Code
In this section, we're going over IDE (integrated development environment) and programming language tools used for mobile app development. These tools are designed to compile and build mobile apps for specific platforms or across them. That could be Android, iOS, Huawei, or others.
Integrated Development Environments
The following are integrated development environments that can be used to develop mobile apps:
Android Studio: Created by Google, Android Studio is the official IDE for developing Android apps. It can also be used to develop apps for other devices, such as watches, fridges, or cars. With a community of over 50,000 developers, Android Studio is the favorite tool for Android app development.
Xcode: This is Apple's official IDE for iOS. It is used to develop iOS apps for Apple products.
VS Code: This is also a popular IDE, used for both web and mobile app development. It supports a lot of programming languages, such as Java, Kotlin, Swift, and Python.
Eclipse: This is an alternative to Android Studio, but not the official IDE for Android development.
The following are programming languages for mobile app development:
Flutter: An open-source cross-platform mobile app SDK developed by the Google Flutter team for building iOS and Android apps with a modern look and feel. It's based on Dart, so it has a fast compile time. Flutter has widgets to make it easy to build basic apps. It also has advanced features like hot reloading your app so you don't have to restart the entire system after making changes. This means your app will automatically update itself when you save changes in its code files!
Ionic: A framework built on top of Apache Cordova, which allows you to build hybrid apps for both iOS and Android. Ionic is developed by Drifty Co., and it's built with Sass and Angular.
Corona SDK: A cross-platform development tool that supports iOS, Android, and Windows. It's also available for macOS.
Xamarin: A cross-platform mobile development framework. Xamarin is used to develop enterprise-level apps, as it allows for more flexibility in how your app looks than other solutions.
Pros of Mobile App Development Tools That Need Code
There are so many reasons you should consider tools that need code for your mobile app development, some of which include:
App stability: Using code to develop your mobile app gives your app stability because it uses the mobile platform software development kit (SDK), which improves the performance of your app.
Scalability: Using coding tools to build your mobile app gives you the ability to build your app for plenty of users because of the infrastructure available, like the APIs, libraries, and cloud hosting.
Full customization: With coding tools, you can fully customize your mobile app any way you want anytime.
Cons of Mobile App Development Tools That Need Code
Some of the cons of using tools that need code for mobile app development include:
Cost of maintenance: When using code to develop mobile apps, you will eventually need to upgrade or update the codebase because of reasons like security issues. Such situations require time and human resources to handle, and they're expensive.
Hiring cost: To build quality mobile apps, you need experienced mobile app developers. The cost of acquiring these engineers can be very expensive.
Timing of development: Using coding tools to develop your mobile apps can slow down your production time because of the different factors involved in the process, such as hiring developers and choosing the right programming language or platform.
No-Code Mobile App Development Tools
These are tools that don't require code to build mobile apps. They work simply by dragging and dropping blocks or logic on the platform, and then you can deploy your mobile apps to the app store for users to download. Some of these tools include:
FlutterFlow: This is a drag-and-drop tool that allows you to create mobile apps in Flutter. With Flutter, you can create cross-platform mobile apps. FlutterFlow is simple and easy to use with lots of templates, logic, and a marketplace.
Adalo: This is also a drag-and-drop no-code tool. You can create mobile apps for Android and iOS and also deploy them to the app store for users to download.
AppGyver: This platform enables you to build apps not just for mobile devices but for desktops, browsers, and TVs using drag-and-drop components. It uses React Native under the hood to improve the app's native performance.
Appy Pie: With this platform, you can create mobile apps and web apps, and also automate workflows.
BuildFire: This mobile app builder helps you build apps faster using no-code drag and drop too. You can publish your app for Android and iOS.
Thunkable: This no-code mobile app development platform also uses drag-and-drop features. It has integrations with other platforms like Webflow, Airtable, and Google Sheets. You can publish your apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Pros of No-Code Mobile App Development Tools
Using no-code tools to develop mobile apps comes with a lot of advantages, some of which include:
Easy to use: No-code tools are very simple to work with. This makes it easy for people with no coding experience to develop mobile apps faster without having to worry about learning how to write code.
Cheaper: Using no-code tools to develop mobile apps is way cheaper than hiring a developer, which could cost ten times the amount you pay for a no-code platform (often $25 to $30 a month).
Improve productivity: Using a no-code platform to develop your mobile apps will increase your development time much faster than using coding tools, which require a lot of manual labor and logic to implement.
Cons of No-Code Mobile App Development Tools
Some of the disadvantages of using no-code tools to develop your mobile apps include:
Scalability issues: Although you can publish your app to many users, there's a limit to how much your mobile app can do. This depends on the ability of the no-code platform you're using and the service plan you paid for.
Customization limitation: You usually can't customize your mobile apps with the features you want because the features of the platform itself are limited. So you would have to build your mobile apps based on the platform features.
Performance issues: Your users might experience performance issues with your mobile app if you use a no-code platform to build it because these platforms do not build the app with the mobile device's native SDK.
How Do You Choose the Right Tool for You?
We have discussed tools that require code and don't require code for mobile development. But the decision of which to choose depends on your project and the pros and cons of the tools. Here are some considerations:
Project size: For larger projects, it's best to use coding tools because of the easy customization and scalability of the mobile app.
Budget: For teams with smaller budgets, it's better to use no-code tools to build the mobile app. This would save on hiring expensive developers to build the app in the early stages. Taking a coding approach would not be a wise choice here.
Development time: For startups or small businesses that want to publish their apps as minimum viable products (MVP) to users faster, a no-code approach is better because these tools are easy to use and faster for building apps.
With the trend of no-code development for mobile apps, there's no doubt that using no-code tools to develop your mobile apps is the best way to go. Therefore, I suggest that you use a no-code development platform to develop your mobile apps.
Now that you know about the different types of mobile app development tools, it's time to choose the right one for your needs. If you're comfortable with code and want more control over the development process, then go with a coding tool. But if you're looking for an easier way to create your app, a no-code tool is the better option.