12 Helpful Tools for Every Step of Building a Mobile Application

12 Helpful Tools for Every Step of Building a Mobile Application

You cannot build a mobile app in isolation using just the native developer kit. Building an app requires that you have the right tools to deliver efficiently on every aspect of its life cycle.

Developing your first app can be a daunting experience, especially when you do not have enough knowledge of the tools available. Adopting these third-party tools will help you get to market quickly so that you can focus on getting the product/market fit for your app.

Prototyping

Prototyping your app gives you clarity on its every aspect, feature and the user flow. You need to have this bit sorted even before you approach a developer for building the application. The more clarity you have on your requirements, the more precise your timeline and pricing estimate for development.

1. Proto.io lets you create a full mobile-app experience without coding. What you get is a complete user flow and navigation of your app with interactive elements such as gestures and touch events to make it interactive.

2. InVision is another tool that allows you to create a fully interactive app prototype. The free tool also allows you to interact with your team members through a collaborative framework.

3. POP helps entrepreneurs, designers or even students to transform their pen and paper ideas into a prototype. If you started by sketching on a notepad, simply import it into this app by taking a picture.

Alpha/Beta Testing

The only way to know if something is working in your app is to test and measure it. You need to keep testing until you reach the desired result.

4. Amazon A/B Testing: Amazon has a free scalable tool for creating and running in-app experiments. Check out Air Patriots’ case study on how it improved its retention using the Amazon tool.

5. Heatmaps highlights the hottest areas on your mobile app, letting you track gestures, device orientation, user flows (navigation) and engagement.

6. Testdroid enables your development to be truly agile. It helps you test your application across different Android devices with different screen sizes, resolutions and different OS versions. Continuous Testing on real mobile devices saves up to 60% budget for mobile app development-testing cycle.

Mobile Backend

If your app requires users to sign up to use or any data is stored externally, then you need to build a backend. This means additional costs as well as signing up with a hosting provider. Early-stage mobile-app startups now have the option of using a third-party mobile-backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) provider to minimize those costs and develop quickly.

7. Parse was recently bought by Facebook. One of the most popular apps using Parse is Instagram. It gives you a great deal of flexibility along with a very easy to use iOS and Android developer kit that automatically takes care of synchronizing your app’s data with its cloud database.

8. Kinvey excels in the third-party integration provided through the platform. With Kinvey, you can pull rich video content from Brightcove’s App Cloud.

9. Xamarin has an impressive set of clients such as Rdio and MarketWatch using its backend. It’s helpful if you’re building native iOS or Android apps in C#.

Analytics

Analytics allow you to analyze user behavior in your app to get insights into what features are being used and which parts are driving conversions. They are also helpful in building an efficient marketing strategy.

10. Flurry (by Yahoo!) is a free tool that gives you insights into your users and app performance. You can track every menu tap, understand the user path, create funnels to optimize conversions and create user segmentations.

Marketing

Most often, the mistake that most entrepreneurs make is to think about marketing only after their product is live in the app store. You should start marketing the day you put your app into production.

11. Hello Bar is the simplest way to drive visitors to your highest-converting landing pages. It also helps you collect more emails and get more social shares.

12. FameBit connects you to YouTube influencers to create content that is shared a huge network. It’s fantastic for startups as videos start at $100.

Which tools do you recommend? Tell me in the comments section below.

(Original Arcticle: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237242)

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Is Android Apps Development Better Than iPhone Development?

App Development

While there are more Android handsets than iPhone, over 30% of internet traffic from mobile devices comes from iPhone, compared with just under 26% from Android devices. The remaining 44% comes from RIM and Symbian devices and other iOS devices like the iPad.

When all iOS devices are considered, 73% of ad revenue generated by them comes from apps rather than mobile websites. The typical mobile user spends around 100 minutes per day using apps, and nearly 18 million apps are downloaded yearly. Today, around 20% of all searches are mobile, and of those, 40% are local searches.

Android apps development is big. Really big. According to research firm Gartner, 79% of all smartphones sold between April and June this year were running Android: 177.9m handsets compared to Apple’s 31.9m iPhone. Another research firm, IDC, estimates that 62.6% of tablets that shipped to retailers between April and June were running Android: 28.2m devices versus 14.6m iPads.

Meanwhile, Google says that more than 1.5m new Android devices are being activated every day, it’s nearing 1bn activated in total so far, and that by the end of this year that total will include more than 70m Android tablets.

Yet a lot of apps still come out for Apple’s iOS first or even exclusively. Right now, if you own an iOS device, you can play Plants vs. Zombies 2, Clash of Clans and Worms 3, but Android owners can’t. Why are android apps developments behind?

Instagram launched on Android 18 months after iOS. Nike’s Nike+ Fuel Band still hasn’t made the leap. Mailbox and Tweetbot are still no-shows, and while much-praised children’s app-maker Toca Boca has 18 apps available on iOS, only one of them is also on Android.

It’s one of the blogosphere’s favorite tech topics. Is the iPhone this, can android apps development do that? Every new nugget of competitive information is fodder for an avalanche of coverage. Oftentimes, a story will declare that android apps development is beating iOS development or that iOS is beating Android.

Really, though, it’s silly to obsess over any one data point. If what you’re after is a clear idea of how the world’s two dominant mobile operating systems are doing — rather than an excuse to make bold proclamations and/or cheer for your favorite — you want to consider lots of data points.

Is android apps development better than iPhone? Let us know what you think. The battle rages on!

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