Mobile App Development Software Overview
What is Mobile App Development Software?
Mobile app development software includes a wide variety of tools for building, converting, and deploying cross-platform applications for mobile devices.
Businesses often create mobile applications for sale and for internal use. They may also port existing desktop applications to mobile devices. Due to differences in operating systems, hardware capabilities, and UX design, developing or porting a mobile application presents unique challenges. As a result, many vendors have created tools and services designed to assist mobile application developers.
Mobile app development software entails several different types of tools. Low-code development platforms and integrated development environments (IDEs) help developers quickly design, prototype, and launch mobile applications. Conversion tools help developers create mobile-friendly versions of existing applications and websites. Other tools and libraries provide APIs for adding features such as messaging, file sharing, or mapping to mobile applications.
Mobile app development tools are designed to create cross-platform applications that function on different mobile operating systems. Many IDEs, development platforms, and deployment services are capable of creating multiple operating-system-specific builds from a single application. Other tools and libraries are either platform-agnostic or provide functions for multiple operating systems.
Features & Capabilities
- App analytics
- Authentication, authorization, encryption, and device management
- Connection to SQL and no-SQL databases
- Front-end and back-end support for enterprise offerings
- GPS system integrations
- Offline app versions
- Photo & video integrations
- Publishing to App Stores (Google Play, Apple App Store, etc.)
- Push notifications
- Social media integrations
- Translation for multi-lingual app versions
- Update and feature-drop scheduling
Mobile app development software may include the following types of capabilities:
Low-code and no-code development platforms
Mobile conversion/migration tools
Development libraries and SDKs
Content management systems
Mobile App Development Software Comparison
To compare different mobile app development software, consider these factors for each product offering:
Really consider the platform features you need: Mobile app development software must support important features like access controls, deployments to app stores, data synchronization, and scalability. Other features may depend on what your particular development team values for creating a quality app such as authentication, notifications, storage/databases, and automated IT tasks. Lastly, you will want to consider any integrations with third-party services you find to be a crucial part of your development process.
Supported Operating Systems: The majority of mobile devices run on Android systems, but you should strongly consider having your mobile apps deployed on both Android and Apple at a minimum. Additionally, if you plan on dividing and conquering with your team’s resources, consider Windows devices and Blackberry as well. Most mobile app development software offerings support both Android and Apple devices, but if you’re looking to launch your app to Windows devices as well, be sure the tools you are considering can actually help you do so.
Hybrid vs native (vs web): As you know, you have the choice to create native, hybrid, or even web-based mobile apps. It’s a crucial decision you have to make before you begin your software development, because certain mobile app development platforms excel at one kind of app over the other.
Native apps are those that use features that are embedded in a mobile device, such as a camera or a GPS system. Web applications are those that are developed for use in an internet browser, albeit optimized for mobile use. Hybrid apps are a mix of both cloud and native apps.
One advantage native apps have on web apps is their heightened security. However, web apps are much more flexible and easier to design. Hybrid apps make use of both of these advantages and balance out the cons of going one way or the other completely.
Pricing for mobile app development tools varies greatly varies due to the broad scope of included products. Some mobile app development tools are open-source and free, and vendors often offer free trials or free versions of paid software.
Pricing for paid software can vary from under $13.00 monthly for minor services to over $12,000.00 monthly for an enterprise license of a major service.