Top Mobile App Development Tools for 2020

Contributed by Curotec.

Mobile application development is no longer an afterthought. Smart companies have moved to a mobile-first approach for both web and app creation, considering the features and functionality that will be most important to someone working on their phone or tablet before tackling the desktop version.

Whether you work for a mobile application development company or a company that is building an app for their teams or customers, it’s crucial to be aware of the tools that will make your job easier and ensure a better product. But mobile app development tools are constantly changing and evolving to adapt to device advancements, standards, and capabilities. We’ve compiled a list of modern tools that will help today’s mobile app developers create stunning and highly usable applications.

App Development Frameworks & Cross-Platform Development Tools

Xamarin

Despite being purchased by Microsoft in 2016, Xamarin remains cross-platform. It extends the .Net platform for mobile development and adds both cross-platform and platform-specific libraries, editor extensions, and support for XAML for building dynamic mobile apps using C#. Xamarin is free and open source.

Ionic

Ionic offers a number of tools for developers, including the Ionic Framework. This free, open-source UI toolkit for mobile development enables developers to create native apps for iOS, Android, and the web from a single cross-platform codebase.

Appcelerator

As its name implies, Appcelerator’s purpose is to accelerate the development of mobile applications for iOS, Android, Windows, and HTML5 applications. Pricing ranges from free for a single user to a Pro account with expanded features at $200/month. Enterprise licenses are also available. Appcelerator allows you to write cross-platform applications in JavaScript that run natively on devices.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is Adobe’s answer to Microsoft’s Xamarin. Developers can use web development skills to create hybrid applications easily using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript giving you a single codebase to maintain. However, hybrid mobile applications come with compromises, so developers should consider the trade-offs of easy development and maintenance with reduced potential for functionality.

BuildFire

BuildFire marries no-code application development with custom development capabilities. It’s drag-and-drop interface makes it simple for devs and even business users to create interfaces quickly but also backs that with a developer SDK. BuildFire comes with hundreds of templates as well as plugins for common services like YouTube and Shopify.

Mobile Testing Tools

Experitest

Experitest is a powerful suite that offers mobile test development, execution, performance testing, and test analytics. Experitest integration with your IDE, allowing you to run Appium and Selenium test without changes. It works with a variety of testing frameworks, and tests can be developed in C#, Python, Java, Ruby, and more.

TestProject

Both cloud-based and free, TestProject is a community-supported end-to-end test automation platform for web, mobile, and APIs. As an open-source project, you can share actions with the community and leverage ones that other developers have built or download addons for the platform. And it’s built on Selenium and Appium.

Appium

Appium is a test automation tool for iOS and  Android versions from 2.3 and up. It’s open-source and supports a wide range of programming languages. It’s compatible with any testing framework. One of the most impressive things about Appium is the breadth of applications you can test, from hybrid and native applications to mobile web apps, making it a useful tool for web development companies that also do mobile development. 

Augmented Reality & AI Tools

Easy AR

The EasyAR SDK simplifies the development of augmented reality applications and functionality. With multiple subscription levels, app developers can use the SDK to create sparse and dense 3D mesh maps in real-time, track motion and relative positioning, and map and track 3D objects and planar images.

TenserFlow Lite

While TensorFlow opened machine learning to everyone with its open-source library, TensorFlow Mobile (and what will likely be its successor, TensorFlow Lite) open the world of AI for mobile development. TensorFlow Mobile gives developers access to functionality for speech, gesture, and image recognition, optical character recognition, voice synthesis, and object localization, and more. 

Geolocation & Push Notifications

Pusher

Pusher offers a number of tools to help mobile developers create rich experiences. Pusher’s APIs enable real-time communication features, including in-app chat and programmatic push notification. It’s cross-platform capabilities are offered through hosted APIs and offers automatic scaling and high volume throughput and batch processing.

Amazon SNS

Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) offers a fully managed solution for many-to-many messaging. Not surprising, but SNS can manage high-throughput, push notifications. It’s backed by AWS, so reliability isn’t a concern, and the system is heavily focused on decoupling publish and subscriber services.

Urban Airship

Urban Airship has been around for a while, but it’s still a top application to help companies reach their customer in the moment they are needed – what Google refers to as “micro-moments”. With Urban Airship’s push notification service, brands can reach out to customers with personalized messages that are specific to their actions and attributes. 


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