Today I thought I would share three interesting tools for developing Phone Apps for users of varying levels of experience. All of these tools are free or open source programs. These three Phone App development tools are great for what they are designed to do. However each has its own natural limitations. Some requires some skill to use others do not but are then limited in what you can actually build with it.
Three Free or Open Source Mobile App Design Programs
AppMakr has been around for a while starting out with iPhone apps before moving across to Android and windows. It enables someone with no real coding experience to develop apps for all three platforms.
Complete amateurs can have a mobile app up and running in stores within days at the longest. You can chose to publish through AppMakr as well which means you have no need for developer accounts with Android and Apple. You can even charge for your app.
The service is free as long as you don’t mind having a few ads embedded within your app. If you wish to have complete control over this sort of thing the service costs $79 a month per app.
However like anything that tries to do everything for you it has its limitations. AppMakr is originally developed for iPhone and everything else was an after though, as such most of the documentation points back to Apple documentation which may not necessarily be relevant. Also the Apple version has a lot more features because of this if you try following the documentation you may find yourself being led to believe it can do something for Android for example that it might not be able to.
Another limitation of AppMakr is that it is mostly gear toward RSS feed style apps. If you want to develop something more complex you are probably better off going elsewhere.
BuzzTouch is a free online software package that enables its users to create native phone apps for both iOS and Android platforms. The package is free to use with little to no limitations.
Users have the choice to use their servers to produce the software or you can install a copy of the software on your own server and use it from there. Either way the software is free to use.
Users design their app in the control panel visually and can do most things the phone can do through the use of plugins. If you need a map on one page for example you simple drop the map plugin into that page.
Once you have developed your app you then download the source code onto your computer and then use Xcode if you’re developing for iOS or Eclipse if you’re developing for Android to compile the code. The end result is a true native app for each platform.
If you have the time to learn the jQuery Mobile library this is definitely worth your while learning to use.