Mobile app development has been on the rise with the advent of smartphones. But what most smartphone users don't know is that there are a plethora of tools used to develop your favourite app today.
Building a mobile app takes time and work, but it's even harder to choose the best development software tool.
What is more challenging is that some become obsolete or less useful with time.
In this blog, we will discuss the top tech tools and trends for mobile app development and explore the best app development tools useful for the mobile app development process.
What are mobile app development tools?
Mobile App Development Tools are software development tools used to create mobile apps.
Mobile app tools come in different forms. There are native mobile application frameworks and hybrid or cross-platform mobile application frameworks.
What's the difference between both frameworks?
Native mobile app development tools are designed to create apps that work specifically on a particular platform. Developers can use a native development tool to make apps that only work on a certain system family, platform, or device.
An example of a native development framework is an iOS or Android development tool. An iOS development tool would work only on Apple devices, while an Android development tool is designed for only Android devices.
Cross-platform application framework
Hybrid development frameworks are used to create apps that work across multiple platforms. Cross-platform application tools include hybrid mobile app development and rapid mobile app development (RMAD), or ‘codeless’ mobile app development. While this might seem like a favourable option, each tool has its pros and cons.
Web application frameworks are used to make web apps for web APIs, web servers, and web service interfaces that look good and work well. It is referred to as a framework or platform for creating various web applications.
Top Tech Tools for Mobile App Development
There are many tech tools for mobile app development, but we asked some of our developers at Tedbree, and they offered a list of the best tools they use in developing mobile applications.
We'll review these tools in the two categories mentioned above:
Native Development Tools for Applications
A native app is made just for a certain mobile platform and written in that platform's native programming language.
iOS (Objective-C or Swift)
Android (Java or Kotlin)
Xcode is a tool for making apps for iOS devices like iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. It is a mobile development tool. It is a complete Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that helps developers create, test, and deploy apps for Apple's iOS operating system.
One of the most important features of Xcode is its intuitive user interface. The tool provides a range of features that can be used to create iOS apps, including drag-and-drop interface building, code editing, and debugging tools.
Xcode is free to use and can be downloaded from the App Store. It includes a simulator that can be used to test apps on different iOS devices, making it easy to identify and fix bugs. It is also highly customizable, allowing developers to add plugins and extensions to the tool to enhance its functionality.
Android Studio is a development tool by Google for Android devices. With this tool, Android developers can design and code easily with the shortcuts provided. Android Studio also has drag-and-drop features and a layout designer that is easy to use.
2. Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools
Cross-platform mobile app development tools are used to develop software that works on both iOS and Android devices.
Mobile App Development - What are the benefits of choosing React Native?
React Native has a thriving community of app developers from prestigious organisations like Facebook.
Apps for both iOS and Android can use the same code, which saves time and effort.
Developers can execute code changes in real-time using the hot and live reloading functionality.
Reusing the state management, React hooks, and component logic speeds up and improves development.
Flutter is an open-source software development kit (SDK) created by Google and built on the Dart programming language. It's affordable, easy to use, and has a lot of features. This makes it a good choice for both large companies and new businesses. Like React Native, Flutter lets developers build apps for both iOS and Android at the same time. This makes it a popular framework for making apps.
Flutter has some unique features, like "Hot Reload," which lets developers make changes quickly and see them appear right away in the user interface (UI).
It also allows developers to detect and fix bugs during the development cycle and create and customise complex widgets as per the application's requirements.
Flutter's compatibility with existing Swift, Java, and Objective-C codes allows for seamless integration with native functionalities such as location and camera.
Additionally, developers can leverage backend support from Google Firebase, which boosts their confidence in building scalable apps.
Xamarin is used to make mobile apps, and it lets designers and developers use a single.NET codebase to make native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows.
The platform is a Microsoft product, and to make native mobile apps, it uses Visual Studio Tools in an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
It provides various functionalities such as code editing, debugging, refactoring, testing, and cloud publishing. Moreover, Xamarin offers access to on-demand learning materials from Xamarin University's curriculum and monthly Azure credit.
Why choose Xamarin?
The Mono framework is a powerful tool for software developers, providing access to 100% of native APIs and enabling full device capability utilisation with its platform-specific IntelliSense feature.
It also makes it easier to use the C++ programming language to build, test, deploy, and repeat, and it supports enterprise and social authentication, push notifications, offline sync features, and the creation of high-performance shared libraries.
With all these capabilities combined in one package, it's no wonder why many software development companies prefer Mono when building enterprise apps and software.
iONIC uses languages like CSS, HTML5, and SASS-like technologies to build hybrid applications. One striking feature of Ionic is the quick update release to the users and the ease of automating app delivery. This helps developers apply features and fix issues quickly to speed up the app's development.
Ionic is a powerful platform for making mobile apps that has an automated workflow for everything from building native binary apps to testing them.
It also has a central dashboard that shows activity in real time, industry-specific defaults, and pre-built workflows that make development tasks easier to do automatically.
Also, it lets developers update apps, fix bugs, and change content without using MDM or waiting for App Store approval.
Using the Ionic package, you can even make native app binaries in the cloud. All of these features make Ionic a compelling choice when it comes to building apps quickly and efficiently.
Onsen UI is a must-have tool for developers who want to make mobile Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and hybrid apps.
As its name suggests, this tool has a wide range of UI elements that are made for mobile devices.
Onsen UI has a lot of benefits for developers, such as being easy to learn and letting them get up and running quickly. It is based on popular web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JS, which simplifies setup.
It also has a large number of ready-to-use UI components, such as toolbars, side menus, tabs, lists, and forms, and you don't need to install the Android SDK or iOS before using them.
Also, the fact that it works with command-line tools like Monaca makes it easier than ever to make hybrid apps. Onsen UI also works with frameworks like AngularJS, React, Vue, and jQuery for integration.
Qt-Creator is an integrated development environment (IDE) that can be used for a variety of tasks and has a wide range of tools.
It has a source code editor, a tool for testing, an integrated GUI layout, and a tool for visual debugging that lets you keep an eye on the app.
The unique aspect of Qt is its custom rendering engine approach, which enables reuse of both the app's logic and the user interface.
There are several reasons why you may consider using Qt-Creator, including its ability to integrate with external SDKs like AWS and PayPal quickly, its declarative syntax, which offers flexibility in composing complex user interfaces, its simple-to-implement property binding approach, and its range of features such as touch-based inputs, shader effects, controls, and animations.
Qt-Creator is powered by C++, which allows developers to interact with native APIs, and it also comes equipped with the necessary tools, including the Qt Quick Test framework, which speeds up the testing process.
This technology platform acts as a container for online apps and mobile features that are built in.
It has a number of important features, like rapid prototyping and deployment, integration of WebView with native app components, use of device-level APIs, and more.
Also, it gives developers a single source code base, a Command Line Interface (CLI), and plugins to add smartphone hardware features to the application.
Popular third-party app management tools are also available through this framework.
Top Trends in Mobile App Development
Technologists have already predicted the latest trends to expect in the year 2023.
These trends are not just a farce but innovations that can fast-track your app development process, enhance the user experience, and increase user engagement.
Here are a few mobile application trends to pay attention to:
1. Integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning
Since a few years ago, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been used in the process of making mobile apps. But so far, only a small number of the ways these advanced technologies could be used have been tested.
While virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa are often the first things that come to mind when considering AI, the capabilities of AI in mobile app development extend far beyond this.
Apple released Core ML 3, Open AI released ChatGPT, and Bing said it would start using AI, among other things.
Mobile apps can have a wide range of AI features, such as image recognition, face detection, text and image classification, sentiment recognition and classification, speech recognition, and predictive maintenance.
Using AI can make apps much smarter, which can improve performance at every level, from the back-end development process to the user experience on the front-end. AI is going to change the way apps are made starting in 2023 and going forward.
2. Augmented and virtual reality
This year, mobile app development is set to be revolutionised by AR and VR technology. We're likely to see a rise in the number of people using these technologies, which gives businesses a great chance to give their mobile customers new and exciting experiences. With this trend becoming increasingly mainstream, now is the perfect time to capitalise on it and make your mark in the industry.
3. Apps for Foldable Devices
Since foldable devices are becoming more and more popular, it's important to plan your mobile app development strategy with them in mind.
Because the screens on foldable devices are bigger, users can have a bigger and more immersive experience.
Multi-window systems also allow users to perform multiple tasks at the same time. Video streaming and gaming apps are likely to benefit from this trend, as they have the potential to increase their screen size or offer additional information and controls with the extra space provided by foldable phones.
Developing apps that take full advantage of these features will be one of the most significant trends in mobile app development in 2023.
4. The internet of things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become more than just a trend in recent years, as brands like Amazon and Google have fully embraced the technology with their Echo line of devices and Google Home Voice Controller.
Other companies are also jumping on board to make use of IoT technology. This includes smart homes, continuous supply chains for retail stores, and health insurance plans that incorporate digital elements.
All these concepts were once thought to be science fiction, but now they're becoming reality. As demand for IoT gadgets and systems increases, so too does the need for apps enabled by this technology, making it one of our top mobile app development trends for 2023.
5. Blockchain technology
As we move into 2023 and beyond, blockchain technology is set to become more mainstream. Intelligent contracts, anti-piracy software, tools for moderating elections, and Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) platforms are just some of the ways that this innovative technology will be used. In particular, mobile commerce and payment apps can leverage blockchain to reduce fraud risk.
In conclusion, mobile app development has become a crucial part of our lives.
To meet the growing demand for mobile apps, there is an abundance of software that developers can use to build high-quality applications, such as React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin. Additionally, cloud-based mobile apps, IoT integration, and AI/ML integration are some of the latest trends in this field.
Furthermore, agile development methods combined with user testing and continuous integration will help create successful projects that adhere to best practices.
All in all, staying informed about the newest tech tools and trends in mobile app development is essential for any developer who wants to succeed in creating great products.