How to Build a Mobile App for Your Business – Your Options and Where to Get Started
It’s only in the last few years that nearly every business has finally realized it needs a website. Until fairly recently, countless articles would start by informing the companies reading that they should build websites for their business in order to attract more customers, make more sales and find new business opportunities.
Thankfully, that now goes without saying for most businesses and we’re generally all-too aware that this is non-optional.
But now we have a new medium that isn’t seeing the adoption it should: mobile. Creating a mobile app is a fantastic way to allow people to access content from your website and even place orders. It’s quick and easy and once installed, it means your services are only going to be a button-click away from your customers.
And this is becoming even more true since Google recently announced that for the new Android N, customers won’t actually have to install apps to their device to access their content!
The problem? Creating an app is hard. Or at least that’s the perception. And as such, a lot of companies will put it off, thinking that it won’t be worth the investment.
So allow us to open your eyes to just how simple creating a mobile app can be and what the steps you would need to take are to get started.
The Conventional Route
Granted, the conventional route when it comes to creating a mobile app is not as simple as it could be. To start with, you are generally going to need to decide whether you want to develop for iOS, Android or both. This decision should be based on the objective of your app. If it is to generate extra revenue from ads or app sales, iOS is the better choice as the iTunes App Store brings in 75% more revenue than Google’s Play Store.
But if you want to promote your business to the maximum number of people with the minimum amount of effort, then Android is the better choice. That’s because Android exists on far more handsets and is a much more open platform.
To create your app you need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) – the software that you type your code in. This will be Xcode for iOS or Android Studio for Android. You then need to learn the basics of a programming language: Swift for Apple or Java for Android. Then you need to get to grips with the Android or iOS SDKs and you need to learn APIs like Cocoa Touch.
The other good news is that there are plenty of alternate approaches to building apps that are much simpler and require significantly less coding. Better yet, these tools will allow you to publish to both platforms simultaneously!
Another option is to use the excellent ‘B4A’ and ‘B4i’ from Anywhere Software. This is an IDE that allows developers to code in a language called ‘BASIC’ – significantly easier to get to grips with than either Java or Swift. What’s more, is that the language and many of the libraries are the same whether you’re developing for iOS or Android, meaning it’s much easier to port an app from one platform to the other.
Finally, you could even consider using Unity. Unity is a tool designed for creating games and it makes it incredibly easy – you simply drag and drop pre-made elements onto the screen and set their behavior with tiny snippets of code (which is also easy enough to find).
What’s more though, is that Unity can be used to make software other than games and it’s just as easy when used in this way. You can then simply compile two versions; one for each platform. The best part Unity is free!
As you can see then, there are plenty of options when it comes to creating an app and even more good reasons to do so. If you struggle though, you can always get in touch and ColorWhistle will be more than happy to lend you a helping hand…