Native Mobile App Development Tools and Technology Stack
Dozens of mobile app development tools have emerged as a result of a decade of smartphone app dominance. These tools have developed large communities which ensure that the development remains flawless. There are relatively newer tools as well which are gaining more traction. Nevertheless, the large-scale development is allowing the developers to come up with the most appropriate frameworks which ensure exquisite app performance, reduced development and build time, and easier maintenance.
This article emphasizes selection of native app development tools for iOS as well as Android. It mentions the key languages, IDEs, and notable development kits.
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iOS App Development Tools
Some of the tools for developing iOS apps are older than iOS itself. For instance, Xcode – a widely used IDE for iOS development – is older than iPhones because developers used to build apps for MacOS before the arrival of iOS.
Language: Swift and Objective-C
Objective-C remained the de facto language for iOS app development for over eight years. The introduction of Swift programming language in 2014 was intended at addressing the shortcomings of Objective-C language. Apart from performance gains, Swift ensures secure dynamic dispatch and eliminates null pointer dereferencing.
Swift 5 introduced in March 2019 released stable version of Application Binary Interface (ABI) – one of the most awaited features. The apps uploaded on App Store using Swift 5 have considerably smaller size because modules no longer have to include API libraries. Swift popularity surpassed Objective-C in 2018. Runtime ABI will further accelerate its adoption.
Xcode provides the most comprehensive development toolset for MacOS, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. By using Xcode, developers can design, code, test, and debug the app modules. They can also integrate various modules to develop a complete app package. Besides, Xcode ensures seamless submission of apps to Store.
This IDE is over 16 years old now. It was built and supported by Apple as its community specifically keeps Apple operating systems while development. Xcode has smaller compilation and build time relative to other IDEs for iOS app development. The developers at ODTap are also developing prototypes using Xcode 11 Beta so that they are well-versed with it once the stable version is released.
Notable iOS Toolkits
Although the developer kit from Apple offers numerous tools for incorporating a range of behaviors within the app, yet following kits are most crucial considering the modern app development trends.
Instead of using third party user interface kits, it is wise enough to use the one built and recommended by Apple itself. The UIKit enables developers to offer multi-Touch event-driven interfaces for iOS apps. It also drawing, animation, and document support, text management, resource management, and accessibility support.
Augmented reality did not receive much hype prior to 2017. However, the introduction of ARKit with iOS 11 app development tools in September 2017 revitalized the interest in technology. The launch of version 3 makes ARKit more attractive than ever with the introduction of RealityKit and Reality Composer. RealityKit offers stunning modules of Physics, photo rendering, and camera effects. Composer enhances the creation of 3D environment providing wonderful experience to user.
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The integration of Core ML eliminates the need to use third party machine learning tools. This highly efficient Apple SDK allows building and training of ML models. Moreover, it also allows seamless deployment.
Android App Development Tools
The adoption rate of Android tools is faster by manifolds than iOS counterparts. One of the principal reasons is the fact that over 81% of total smartphones today are running Android OS. Some of the most notable tools recommended by our Android deverlopers are as follows.
Kotlin has managed to replace Java as the most trusted language for Android app development for its remarkable capabilities. Kotlin allows single line JavaBeans declaration while the code of Java and Kotlin can coexist. Apart from this compatibility, Kotlin also utilizes Java libraries without requiring adapters and wrappers. For this reason, Java developers can easily adopt Kotlin.
This statically-typed language allows interoperability with IntelliJ IDEA. Moreover, it also ensures efficient refactoring, navigation, search, and autocompleting features. These features are assisting this language to grow matchlessly. The number of contributors has increased 2.6 times as reported by Github in its report for 2018.
This IDE has completely replaced Eclipse – one of the most widely used IDEs for Android app development. Studio does not only provide easier development and testing environment but also ensures that you can almost effortlessly compile and debug the code. It is available on Linux as well as Windows and MacOS.
Android Studio 3.4 introduced Resource Manager for data visualization. The asset management in previous versions was widely erroneous and inefficient. This release brings more visibility with improved Properties Panel in Layout Editor. Moreover, Google also made R8 as the default code shrinker by replacing Proguard.
Notable Android Toolkits
Like iOS, Android also has a vast toolkit. Following are the parallel tools for augmented reality and machine learning.
Following the release of ARKit in September 2017, Google released ARCore as one of its augmented reality Android app development tools. Although it is relatively newer, yet ARCore earned cosmic growth in developer community. Samsung uses ARCore for some of the pre-installed apps in their smartphones.
ML Kit is a machine learning tool powered by Firebase. Since it is a third party app, developers can also use it for iOS apart from Android. Google highly recommends it despite being a third-party tool. ML Kit offers Natural Language Processing (NLP) as well as computer vision feature.
As iOS offers Homekit for IoT applications, Android Things is its parallel in Android. It is a comprehensive toolkit for development of smart devices which can be controlled by Android-powered smartphones and tablets.
ODTap is the global leader in native on-demand app development with an experience of half a decade. Our developers would love to work with you to create innovative apps. Contact us today.