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How to create a mobile app in the designer

You can create a simple application and upload it to the store without programming skills. To do this, there are designers and special frameworks for mobile development. 

According to Ericsson, over the past two years, the consumption of mobile Internet in the world has doubled, and its share continues to grow. If you have long wanted to try yourself in mobile development, now is the right time. Apps are popular, and their developers are needed everywhere.

How apps work

 

In a broad sense, the application is a program for mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, smart watches and other gadgets. Most often they talk about applications for iOS and Android platforms. Apps are listed in the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android.

Applications most often have a client-server architecture. This means that they have a "client" part with which the user interacts, and a "server" part - the engine.

Some popular mobile applications, such as Wildberries or OZON, are mobile "copies" of desktop versions that work with the same server, but have a different interface.

There are completely local apps that store data on the same device where it was launched. These can be, for example, games that do not need access to the Internet, or tools that work only offline. Such applications are not always client-server.

Why build your own app

 

Typically, novice developers create applications for three reasons:

  • run their own business. If a specialist has his own business, his own application can bring additional traffic and new customers. Designers are used to create line-of-business applications. They allow you to "build" a simple application with a minimum of code, as from ready-made blocks;
  • Train. For employment, a novice specialist needs experience and a portfolio. Pet projects are a great way to get both. How to create a pet project, we told in the article. Usually, "training" pet projects are simple applications written "from scratch";
  • have fun. Apps can be created for fun or recreation. Sometimes advertising or premium features are added to them, and sometimes they are left non-commercial. Here you can apply the constructor, and create from scratch.

How to prepare to create an app

Think about the goals and objectives of the app

Decide in advance why and for whom you are making the application:

  • who your target audience is;
  • what her needs or problems are;
  • which of them will be able to "close" the application;
  • how it will do it;
  • what result it will give;
  • what do you get out of it.

Define the functionality

 

For example, if it is a store, will it be possible to add an item to the "Cart" - or will users be able to make an order only using the application form? To understand what features are needed, put yourself in the user's shoes. The buyer will be more comfortable if the application has a convenient menu, the ability to filter the catalog by popular parameters, a personal account.

Another feature that should not be forgotten is push notifications. They are displayed in the "curtain" of the mobile system and remind the user about the application.

Select Tools

If you decide not to write code yourself, you will need tools combined with the name Zero-Code or No-Code. First of all, these are services-constructors. Usually the services are paid, but some have free or trial versions.

If you want to write an application from scratch, you will need knowledge of the programming language and a prepared environment:

  • for mobile development on Android — Java and Kotlin;
  • for iOS — Swift,
  • for writing portable "non-native" (cross-platform) applications for any environment - JavaScript and HTML / CSS,
  • for Flutter technology, the Dart programming language.

Some projects for mobile devices are written in other languages: C and C++, C#, Python. For example, popular game engines Unity and Unreal Engine work with C# and C++, respectively.

Think about the interface and design

Usability and design affect the perception of the application. This is where niche analysis comes in handy. Look at how similar apps are made. If the application annoys with intrusive advertising, too catchy design or ill-conceived logic, the user will delete it.

In the design of interfaces there is the concept of responsiveness. When a user interacts with an item, they should receive feedback from them. For example, if a person pressed a button, the interface should visually reflect: the button is pressed. If the application "thought" - you need to display a download circle. If you doubt the convenience, test the application yourself or call for help from friends.

Drawing a design from scratch is not necessary. Designers usually have ready-made options that can be customized. And if you're going to code, you can find free design mockups online and take advantage of them. For example, on the freepik website. You can use the standard elements that the authors suggest and slightly change the style.

Think through the logic

The user will switch pages, jump from one screen to another, possibly open or close pop-ups, and much more. Think about the behavior of the program in different situations: what should be in the application, how it should react to events. For example, what should happen when the user clicks on the button?

You need to think through the logic separately for each component. Try to break down large tasks into smaller ones and solve them consistently.

Plan your next steps

Think about what will happen to your app after you write it. Whether you will develop it or promote it, where you plan to grow with it, how you are going to support it. Even if things don't go as you planned, you'll have a rough strategy.

How to create a mobile app in the designer

In each designer there are templates - ready-made "frames" that can be modified at your discretion. The application can be linked to the existing database or to the CMS of the site, that is, to the content management system. This is useful if you already have a website or database and want to transfer the information from there to the application.

Mobincube

Cost

There are six tariff plans to choose from, from free Free to multifunctional XXL, which costs 1199 euros per month. Free tariff allows you to create, store and download applications, provides access to analytics. But to earn money on the application, to remove the watermark of the designer, to optimize the product for stores - premium functions.

Functionality

To create applications there is a visual editor, premium functions are easily connected from your personal account. Advanced users can edit the source code of applications. You can connect Google Analytics or a database.

Templates for applications are adapted to the needs of specific types of business: from registration for an event to an appointment at a clinic.

iBuildApp

Cost

You can create an app for free. But most of the functions to support it are available only when choosing a tariff. The cheapest allows you to create one application and costs 3700 rubles. per month. Other tariffs are corporate, designed for use in web studios.

Functionality

The service is fully Russian-speaking, the cost is indicated in rubles. You can add many template widgets and integrations to your app. There are almost ready-made solutions for different types of business.

Kalipso Studio

Cost

The program is paid, but you can try it for free for 14 days To test the trial version, you need to fill out the form on the official website of the developer. The cost of the license is from $ 83 per month.

Functionality

This service is positioned as an application generator. It supports, in addition to the popular Android and iOS, also Windows Mobile, Windows CE and Windows 10. Unlike the previous ones, Kalipso Studio has only a desktop version for Windows. Applications can be created by dragging and dropping components using the drag-n-drop method. Then they can be customized.

This service is not Zero-, but Low-Code. This means that you may need to program, but not much. But the application will be more flexible and less templated.

Appy Pie App Builder

Cost

The platform is fully paid, but there is a free demo version. The minimum cost of the tariff plan is 999 rubles. per month. In it, you can create applications only for Android. The tariff, where you can create products for iOS, costs 2999 rubles. per month.

Functionality

English-language platform with a nice design and detailed instructions. This constructor also works on the principle of drag-n-drop: components can be added to the application by dragging and dropping. There are many templates. Appy Pie is powerful and simple, flexible and functional for the designer. By default, there are no ads in it, which are placed in the created applications by cheaper services. If you prefer, you can add your own ads for monetization.

AppsGeyser

Cost

You can create a simple template app for free. Optimization for stores, push notifications, support for in-app purchases – paid services. Subscription fees start at $1 per month.

Functionality

The listed designers mainly allow you to create business applications that work in conjunction with the CMS of sites. On the first page, the service asks for which of the two purposes you create the project:

  • to Grow – to develop your business with the help of an additional promotion channel;
  • to Earn — to make money on advertising and other ways to monetize an information or entertainment project.

Different goals have different usage scenarios: a list of templates, additional features, and other details. For example, there are more templates for an information application, there are even simple games. You can manage your ads there. The authors of the designer promise that you can create an application in 5 minutes.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using constructors.

Advantages:

  • high speed of application creation;
  • the ability to create a working product without coding skills;
  • intuitive interface. Zero-Code services are usually created in such a way that they are easy to understand.

Disadvantages:

  • paid access. Free versions have very narrow functionality;
  • template. A standard application created using the builder is a mobile version of an existing site. Essentially, in the builder, you create an interface and bind the app to the "inside" of your site.

If you want to dive into mobile development, you need to practice writing apps yourself.

How to create a mobile app from scratch

You will not be able to "build" the application from components. You need to write code, link modules to each other programmatically and, possibly, draw the design. It will take more time to create such an application, but so you can get new experience and practice.

For iOS. Apple has its own languages for development. The main one is Swift. To write applications in the "native" ecosystem, you need an Apple device with macOS installed. The company offers developers the XCode environment, which "out of the box" supports programming in Swift, can emulate different Apple devices and gives a lot of room for imagination. It can be downloaded for free from the App Store, an app store for macOS.

Users with Windows or Linux PCs will not be able to fully work with XCode and Apple's tools. For them, the possibilities of "non-native" development are available, which we will discuss below.

For Android. Mobile applications for Android are created in Java or Kotlin languages. To do this, there are programming environments, for example, Android Studio, emulators and specialized tools. The Java language is considered the main one and has been used in mobile development from the very beginning. Kotlin is newer, it is fully compatible with Java. You can also use a universal programming environment such as Eclipse.

Non-native (cross-platform method). There is another approach to creating applications: you can use frameworks. The framework provides the developer with a universal "box", a set of interfaces inside which the application runs. The specialist writes logic and graphical interface. And the creation of a "shell" for interaction with the system is the task of the framework.

Non-native applications are usually less productive than native ones, but for most tasks they are enough. You can write with the help of such technologies quickly and without unnecessary costs for porting an application from one platform to another.

Here are some examples:

  • React Native is designed for writing applications in JavaScript. With it, you can write an application, even if before that you were engaged only in web development. The technology stack will be almost the same;
  • Google's Flutter framework. To use it, you will need to learn the Dart programming language. The application will work faster than on React Native;
  • Apache Cordova environment, which allows you to take any web application and "wrap" it with special code to run not in the browser, but in the mobile OS.

Technologies that facilitate the development and use of the native functionality of the device are becoming more every day.

To write a full-fledged application, you need to train: first perform simple tasks, then gradually move on to more complex ones, constantly learn something new. You can get the necessary knowledge for this in our courses.