There are quite a few free app makers out there, and a quick Google search should easily reveal the more popular ones. Most of these work fine for a very simple application – but they’re all different in how they work – some are drag and drop, while others are designed for coding simple what if statements.
Depending on your level and set of skills, there are a few different methods or approaches for making an app yourself. A few key considerations are the amount of time you’re willing to spend on it, the potential price or cost of such a project, and your experience with coding and previous apps.
There are a few different options if you’re open to the idea of programming your app from either scratch or by using a template or boilerplate to get a bootstrapped and basic app to build on.
Whether you choose to follow a detailed step-by-step tutorial that holds your hand while you code, or whether you install Android SDK and Studio and dive deep into the official documentation, programming an app is the single most flexible solution out there.
With more than 2 billion mobile devices running Android and iOS, the market is a massive one, and as such there’s been a growing number of tutorials, how-to’s and guides to help the budding developer program his or her first app.
With little to no experience with development, many people try out various visual editors or state machines to help ease the coding.
Unlike the app makers we mention in the next step, a visual editor helps with some basic elements but is not a complete solution for a one-click drag ‘n drop app, so some knowledge of a programming language is required to achieve an app ready to publish on the stores, and therefore using just a visual editor is not really recommended, as you will need to program features anyway, so you might as well either learn more and code it all, or proceed to the next point in the list; app makers.
These app generators are a so-called “what you see is what you get” type of service that’s become popular for many simple apps these past years.
With a complete system designed to help you make mobile applications easily, you can drag and drop images onto the desired screens, add text like you would in a normal text editor, and more.
The more advanced app makers out there offer plenty of customization options, and often includes a number of beautiful themes.
The functionality of these types of apps, however, is often limited to just the very basic features such as static text, images and so on. If you wish to develop a login screen or build a database of users the app makers are probably not for you.
A relatively new invention are plugins designed to convert your existing WordPress website into a complete mobile app. This generally works by converting it into a webview or hybrid app, so full native functionality is not included, but for a simple e-commerce catalogue, or information app, this solution can be a painless one compared to some of the other options on this list.
What is best, Android or Apple’s iOS?
While both Android and iOS have their advantages and disadvantages, most businesses choose to develop for both platforms to reach as many users as possible.
However, there are scenarios where it makes more sense to just develop for one platform, make that app great, and then port to the other platform respectively.
This can help keep costs down, and most apps that go live and start getting users soon need some unexpected updates or features, that you would otherwise have to make twice.
With both brands having about an equal share worldwide, certain countries and geographical locations have a clear preference and market share for either Apple or Android and as such it can be wise to do the diligent market research to determine where the main focus should lie.
In developing countries where we see a much larger percentage of the relatively cheaper Android phones there could a case to be made by saying Android’s better. But better at what? It’s better in one way since there are more users, but that’s just one part of the puzzle.
Even though you might be developing for the African or Indian markets, if you’re selling a high-end service or product through the app then iPhone users might make more sense to target. This is because iPhone users, in general, tend to have more disposable income, and thus more likely to part with the money you charge.