Opinion: Tools for easier mobile app development

Opinion: Tools for easier mobile app development
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance business, marketing and technology writer out of Tampa.

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/NorthernStock)

Smartphones are so deeply entrenched in our lives that developers can reach hundreds, thousands, even millions of users – provided that they actually build a high-quality app that can appeal to a large variety of people. While anyone can build an app, creating one that people use, enjoy, and recommend takes work.

This list of 10 tools for mobile app developers is designed to make life easier – no matter what you have in mind. Take a look at the suggestions below to give yourself a head-start.

Intel XDK

While Intel is renowned for its hardware, they have created this powerful tool to assist with HTML5 development. Built as an extension for Chrome, Intel XDK links your editor with an integrated simulator, allowing you to experiment in your browser. Using XDK is quick, simple, and can shave valuable time off of the process by negating the need to switch between programs.


Designed to build content-based apps (with XML and/or PHP), Appscend provides a template-focused design system (for easy, intuitive use) as well as a cloud-based CMS. With Appscend, developers can piece an app together quickly, integrate ads, and upload the finished software right onto your marketplace of choice.


Real-time voice and video calling is a key method of communication in today’s world, with multiple big-name platforms providing this function on smartphones and tablets. With Agora.io, you can quickly, easily, and seamlessly integrate voice and video calls directly into your own apps, thanks to its user-friendly SDK.

Agora has more than 65 data centers around the world and is designed to be the pinnacle of real-time communication software, reacting to current network-issues and deciding how best to maintain high “Quality of Experience” (QoE) for voice and video in real-time. Agora monitors traffic between its nodes to determine the most effective network path across the globe, ensuring consistent high performance.

Sencha Architect

This tool is designed to ease the app-development process for HTML5 software. Thanks to the simple drag-and-drop design, custom templates, and other innovative features, Sencha Architect makes building apps easy for both newcomers and those who have been developing for a long time. Automatic code-generation negates the need for manual coding and removes the risk of human error for smoother performance.


Parse provides the facility to build and maintain powerful mobile apps; with the Parse Cloud covering the backend. It also delivers strong APIs data-tracking and analysis. Parse provides an effective cloud database. For developers creating multiple apps, this enables a smoother production cycle. Comprehensive analytic data allows you to track data and events in real time, so that you can assess growth and find issues all in one place.


This data stream network is designed to help developers build real-time apps with unprecedented ease. Powering thousands of apps on a global level, PubNub allows for real-time communication in countless apps for business collaboration across the world, group chats, location-tracking, or even multiplayer games. This makes implementing interactivity into an app simple, for developers of all skill levels.

New Relic

Metrics play a key role in honing an app today, giving developers the lowdown on their software’s usage. The more you understand your data, the better you can tailor your app to users’ needs. New Relic is a software analytics tool which assesses metrics across millions of apps, providing vital insights such as mobile-activity, user-clicks, user experiences, transactions, and more.

Telerik AppBuilder

Formerly known as Icenium Mist, Telerik AppBuilder is a tool based in your browser which allows you to build your app and test it on all mobile platforms. This eliminates the need to buy additional hardware, and with a reusable HTML5 code base for debugging, in-built simulation, and deployment, Telerik removes much of the manual process of app-building.


Intercom.io is a communication-orientated tool which allows you to analyze your activity-data and communicate with users. With in-app and email-messaging, Intercom lets developers track who is using their apps in real-time and create targeted campaigns to engage specific users.

This helps to boost user-engagement and build a powerful, easy-to-understand picture of user-activity. With Intercom, you can also send personal welcome messages to new users, building strong first-impressions and establishing a hands-on, supportive relationship.


This tool provides front and backend services with a single Javascript code base which features a wide-range of widgets for building native apps across Android, iOS, Windows, and more. Developers can build, test, measure, and tweak their apps to best suit their visions, and Appcelerator’s cloud-based apps can store and monitor data, send emails, and provision for easier management of social-media accounts.

As mobile technology continues to evolve, apps will become more and more sophisticated – giving developers even greater sandboxes in which to play. With tools like those above streamlining the production process, anyone will be able to create and monetize apps with ease to ensure mobile software is accessible to any vision or idea. It’s an exciting time to be creative!

What tools make your mobile app development easier? Let us know in the comments.

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