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Updated: June 7, 2017
Are you holding yourself back from developing a breakthrough app just because you’re daunted by the lines of code you have to write? Don’t. Because today, there are tons of tools to do the dirty heavy-lifting for you. These tools will help you at each stage to convert your innovative idea to an advanced technological product.
BitCot award-winning development team, having developed more than 100 apps, we have explored the plethora of tools out there. And today, we picked the 10 best tools to help you build a custom app.
Xcode, developed by Apple, is an editor with a complete toolset for iOS app development. You can build apps for macOS, iOS, watchOS and more. This IDE enables user interface design, coding, testing, debugging and app submission. It supports source code in Swift, C, C++, Java, Python, Ruby and more. So if you want to develop an iOS app, here’s your first step.
Android Studio is the official IDE developed by Google for Android app development. With powerful tools for editing, debugging and developing an instant deployment system, this is maybe the best IDE for app development. Lastly, with great support and easy-to-understand documentation, it won’t take you much to launch off into complex projects.
Sketch is a powerful designing tool for Mac. You can create interfaces, websites, icons and more. With its exponential growth, it is becoming the norm for designers. Founder Pieter Omvlee commented “We have tried to do that with key improvements to basic functionality and radical new features. We’ve been humbled by the enthusiasm with which people have started using Sketch and the amazing work they have created already.” Among numerous notable features, one we particularly like is its ability to convert designs in CSS. This lets you design any crazy custom shape you can think of. If you want your app to look unique and attractive, Sketch is the way to go!
Today, speed is a primary criteria in any technological development. If you want to quickly build a prototype to validate your idea and find out potential flaws, InVision or Marvel is the way to go. Both are great for rapid prototyping, with numerous design templates and cool workflow tools. Furthermore, both allow sharing to help you collaborate with other developers and colleagues. Lastly hey allow quick integrations with numerous platforms such as:
This enables you to easily import your Sketch designs to your new app without hassle and focus on interaction and flow.
When your app is developed, you would want to track the digital footprint of your users to gain key insights. Mixpanel is the way to go. Available across mobile and web devices, with several tools, it allows you to be proactive in preventing and resolving issues. Simple to implement and scalable, this is one of the best tools for enterprises, executives, product managers, and data scientists.
If you are developing an app for online retail, e-commerce or any other which requires deep linking, we strongly suggest Branch. Deep links basically point to the content inside the app. Without them, on your mobile device, when you click on a link, you would be directed to a destination in your web browser, instead of content inside the app. Branch handles every device, Android, iOS and Desktop, publishes links anywhere, Facebook, Twitter Whatsapp or Pinterest and supports all standards such as Google app indexing, Facebook app links, Twitter cards and many more. Lastly, Branch is partnered with giants like Pinterest, Airbnb, Slack, AmazonMusic, Tinder, Starbucks Snapdeal and over 10 000 more!
Once you have your app ready, you might want to have a beta release for user testing or release it fully. Fastlane is the perfect open-source tool for you. Available for both Android and iOS mobile app development, it helps you automate beta deployment and final releases to Crashlytics, HockeyApp and Google Play and more. It helps you generate screenshots, deal with code signing and releasing your application. In the final stages of your product, we suggest you use Fastlane to save hours of tedious nerve-racking work.
After your beta or final release, you want to keep track of bugs and crashes to better your product. It is a core task for all app developers. But without a powerful tool, you would be wasting hours hunting for the bug and trying to resolve the issue. But with Crashlytics those tedious hours are saved. It is a lightweight and powerful tool to track crash reports, which supports Android and iOS. It’s the go-to solution for all app developers. So don’t think twice, just go for it.
If you have developed a new tool that you want to distribute for everyone to use, you need to convert it into a user-friendly API. This might be a challenging task if we didn’t have tools like Postman. With over 3 million users, Postman is an excellent tool that eases API development for macOS, Windows, Linux, and Chrome. With a great GUI, it makes building API testing, documentation and sharing extremely easy.
Finally, when you want to distribute your app, for beta testing or releasing, TestFlight is one of the best options for iOS. By simply adding names via iTunes Connect, you can send requests to up to 2000 testers. Furthermore, 25 of your own team members can be testers. On the other hand, you could also use Crashlytics for this task. Crashlytics is also available for Android developers, as we covered in section 8.
With these new easy-to-use tools, you can not only speed up app development but also reduce effort. So now, all you need to do is innovate.
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