Dec 24

Tools for iOS Application Development

iOS Development

When developing for iOS platform the first question that comes in mind is that “do I need a mac for iOS app development?” Today I am going to talk about some of the iOS development tools, their setup procedure for different platforms and their pros and cons.

Native iOS Development:

Apple’s official development platform is known as Xcode and is a free download. If you want to develop iOS app using Xcode or Apple provided development tools then you need a mac. You won’t be able to put your apps up for sale without a developer’s license, but you will be able to play around with the environment.

Apple introduced the Swift programming language as a replacement for Objective-C, which was painful to use for development purpose.

Swift may not exactly be rapid application development, but it is much quicker to program using Swift than Objective –C.

Note: You will need a Mac to develop iOS application, but it need not to be the most powerful Mac in the world. A Mac Mini is more than sufficient for creating iPhone and iPad apps.

By using Xcode you will be able to use all the development tools provided by apple. Which makes it easier to develop iOS application. Then, first of all, you’d need a more expensive Mac instead of an inexpensive PC. The price difference is pretty steep if you want a high-performance development system. Xcode is basically limited to producing applications for the Apple family of devices, which is a reasonable large limitation considering the number of Windows desktops and Android devices.

iOS App development tools will be very useful for the development of application in native platform:

  • Jazzy

  • Hotfix Native iOS Apps

  • Gitter

  • Charter

  • Qordoba

  • Swift Express

  • iOS Up

On Windows:

Before committing to buying a new Mac, you can actually “rent” one for development. You’ll remotely access the Mac and Xcode through your PC.

It’ll be like having the Mac desktop in a window on your Windows Desktop. The really nice thing about this option is that the cost is really low and it’s the fastest option to get up and running. There are few companies out there that provide this service like MaclnCloud, VirtualMacOSX and XcodeClub.

Another way to work on iOS development can be using virtualization software and run a “virtual Mac” on your PC. The services above are essentially doing the same thing on their servers and then they charge you a fee to access the virtual machine.

By setting it up yourself on your own PC, you essentially cut the middle man out of the equation.

The two most popular pieces of software to do virtualization are VirtualBox and VMWare Workstation.

You can download them and then use Google to find a guide on how to install the latest MacOS with either VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation.

VirtualBox is open source software which means that it’s free. That probably explains why it’s a lot more popular than VMWare Workstation when it comes to running MacOS on your Windows machine.

Third Party Solutions/Cross Platform:

With all of the articles that have been published on this topic, you’d think the app world have come to some sort of conclusion by now iOS and Android development. But they haven’t. And it’s because there is no easy answer to the question. Both platforms are great, for equal and different reasons.

Different cross platform mobile development tools have different specialties. Some focus on gaming, some are focused on data security for business purposes, where others are focused on letting you use whatever programming language you like, so you don’t have to learn new ones.

Ultimately, which of these cross platform mobile development tools you choose depends on your needs and goals for your app.

  • PhoneGap:

Owned by Adobe, PhoneGap is a free resource that first-time app developers can use to translate code from HTML5CSS, and JavaScript.

They maintain SDKs (software development kits) on their end for each of the platforms you can develop an app for, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about. And once your app is completed, you can share it with your team members for review to see if you need to make any improvements.

Beyond iOS and Android, PhoneGap also creates apps for BlackBerry and Windows. So it is truly a cross platform mobile development tool!

  • Unity 3D:

Also focused on creating great games, Unity 3D is a game engine you can use if you really want to take care of your incredible graphics.

This cross platform mobile development tool goes beyond simple translation. After developing your code in UnityScript, C#, or Boo, you can export your games to 17 different platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, WebPlaystationXboxWiiand Linux.

Once you’ve got your game on all your chosen platforms, Unity will even help you distribute it to the appropriate stores, get social shares, and track user analytics.

  • Xamarin:

With a free starter option, Xamarin is a mobile development tool that includes app store delivery, performance testing and monitoring, and the ability to do virtual tests on more than 1,000 devices to make sure everything is working and displaying like it should.

Using Ruby or C# for code, Xamarin has created a robust cross platform mobile development platform that’s been adopted by big names like Microsoft, Foursquare, IBM, and Dow Jones.

There are also other cross platform development tools like React Native, Appcelerator, Sencha, Corona etc.

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