iBuildApp: Android app maker review

Today I am taking a look at iBuildApp, a popular online app maker for Android and iOS (iPhone and iPad). Online app creators are an interesting alternative if you don’t know how to develop Android apps yourself: no programming skills are required to use iBuildApp.

You can sign up for an account by providing your email and a password or by logging in with Facebook. This will get you a free “Start” account. Paid options exist which do away with the ads and iBuildApp branding that come with the free version. The paid options are monthly/yearly based plans for one native application so if you have several you will need a plan for each app. The prices of the plans are related to the number of downloads per month (screenshot).

Limiting the number of downloads seems a little strange as the free version supports unlimited downloads. However, iBuildApp serves many small businesses that create apps for relatively small numbers of users: for them it makes sense to pay for a version without the iBuildApp branding and ads. You can also choose to develop web apps, either free or paid, and here the number of downloads is always unlimited.

For iOS apps, iBuildApp can help you with submitting the app to the app store for $299. Another paid option is a tool for resellers. With this you can provide iBuildApp as a service to customers under your own brand.

iBuildApp has its own app store where you can download the creations of fellow users: as of writing this, over 150 apps where available.

Building the app

Clicking the large “Create App” button on the site leads to a page where the user must choose an app template. There is a choice of only five templates: “Bar&Restaurants”, “Custom1″, “Ebook 2″, “Music” and “Small”.

More templates are available in the Marketplace. Here you’ll find over 2700 templates priced between $0.50 and $5.00. You can also create your own template with a drag and drop interface.

Next you must name your app and subsequently you are directed to the main page where you build the app, labeled “App management”. This consists of five tabs.

The first tab is “Build your app”. On the left side of the screen is an image of an iPhone or Android phone which displays the app’s screens as you develop them, a very useful feature. You can push the buttons and the icons on the phone and the corresponding options are displayed in the “Customize your app” pane on the right. This is where you can edit the background (color, image), the logo image for the app’s header, the text on the “home page” of the app, manage navigation (add or delete buttons and tabs on the home screen) and manage content such as relevant contact info, URLs for video, social media. The “Manage Content” section also has an HTML editor. The same can be done by choosing pages from the Manage Content menu on the right.

The second tab, “App settings”, has options to choose the target mobile platform (Android, iPhone or both), the time format, upload a splash screen image and integrate advertisements if you have a paid plan for the app.

The third tab is called “App Info” and here you can edit the app’s name, choose a category for the app, write a description, list some keywords, add a website URL for the app and upload a logo.

The fourth tab is where you can configure options for push notifications and GPS notifications, a pretty useful feature.

Similar to AppMkr, iBuildApp has an “App Quality Indicator”. A little bar is displayed which fills up gradually as you add content to the app. When you have added all the required content, you will be able to go to “App Publishing”.

Finally, this brings us to the fifth tab: “App Publishing”. Here’s where you create an MD5 fingerprint for the app and setup a Google maps API key. You are then prompted to wait a few minutes while the app is being built. The finished APK package for the app can then be downloaded and uploaded to the Google Play Store or an Android device.

The result shown above is based on the “Custom 1″ template. The buttons on the screen were actually part of a grid of 9 buttons, three of which I deleted. The result looks messy with the empty spaces where the buttons used to be. This can be avoided by making your own template. This will take some time and effort but is probably worth it.

I also made a basic web app with iBuildApp to see how it would compare to the native app. The web app is basically a mobile website that’s hosted on an iBuildApp server. The web app design options are pretty much the same as those in the native app building process. Unfortunately, the web app did not display properly on my Android device: no such problems occurred with the native app option.

Conclusion

iBuildApp is similar to products such as Buzztouch and AppMkr: all of these allow you to make apps that are based on internet content. The free version has iBuildApp branding but this is quite unobtrusive. The process of building an app is fast and you’ll get a ready to install APK file within minutes so I suggest you give this one a try for yourself!

How To Develop Android Apps NOW

So, you want to become and Android Developer? Or you have this great idea for an app but don’t know where to start? Congratulations, you have come to the right place… I am going to show you how to develop Android apps!

Android is the upcoming mobile platform. Since the end of 2011 Android handsets have been outselling the iPhone. The Google Play Store (formerly Android Market) is growing very fast, bursting at the seams with apps, apps, and more apps! But don’t let that phase you: as more and more people discover smartphones, the need for great new apps is bigger than ever!

Now, let’s get down to business: you want to develop an app, so where should you start? There are several routes, depending on the skills you already possess and the time and effort you are willing to put in. The most obvious but als the hardest way is

Programming the app yourself

Android apps are built using the Java programming language in combination with something called the “Android SDK”. Do you already know how to code software in Java? Great! You only have to learn your way around the Android SDK and you are good to go. If you know some programming but not in Java, there are also ways to convert your code to Java so it will work on Android devices. But, if you don’t know how to do any programming you can…

Use a software product to develop the app

There are several Android app makers which write Android apps for you! These come in the form of software that either runs on your computer or online. So, you don’t have to learn how to write android apps yourself! However, most of these Android app creators are a bit limited in their flexibility. If you want more control over the end result you can

Outsource the development

There are many freelancers and companies who can develop the app for you. Of course, this option comes at a cost but you will be surprised how much you can get done for only a small amount of money! The advantages are that you don’t have to learn how to program yourself and that you can use your time doing something else.

On this website, you will find all sorts of great tips and strategies for any of these three approaches.

The fact is, it doesn’t really matter how you get it done, which ever way works for you is the best. The goal is to get a cool app published in the Google Play Store. You can make something that possibly millions of people can benefit from… and maybe even make some money while you’re at it!

So, what are you waiting for? Check out the other articles on this site to get you started on your app-tastic journey!

How to hire and instruct a freelancer to develop your Android app

…and why you need basic programming knowledge if you do.

There are several reasons for considering hiring a programmer to develop an Android app for you.

1. Time: even if you know how to develop Android apps yourself, you may not want to spend a lot of time programming. The work can be tedious and some tasks can easily be handled by someone else. Especially if you are short on time and you want to spend it on more valuable activities.

2. You don’t know how to program. If using an online app maker doesn’t provide sufficient options to make the app the way you want it to be, then you will need to get someone who can do this for you.

3. You know how to program a little but you get stuck.

Let me explain the last scenario a little further as this is exactly what happened to me! I started out reading books about Java and the Android SDK. I had a little previous experience with HTML, JavaScript and PHP. But when I reached the point that I had to build an “XML parser” for my app I got stuck badly. I Googled and searched the forums (mainly Stack Overflow) and there sure were lots of examples but I just did not know how to proceed. I could have tried more things but then it dawned on me: what if I let a freelancer solve just this problem for me?

So, I went on oDesk and posted a job asking for help writing an XML parser for my Android app. Within a few hours I had over 30 responses. I screened all of the freelancers for cost per hour, previous experience, user ratings and the match between their skill set and my job. Then I chose two programmers to do the same job.

Here is where it became interesting: my description of the job was carefully worded. I did my best to use the right programming jargon to make sure that the contractors would immediately understand what I wanted them to do.

As it turns out, one of the pair had a much better understanding of the job than the other one.. he also took only half the time to finish it! The quality of their work, by the way, was similar.

The smarter/faster guy was a little bit more expensive per or but he was certainly with it! I have been assigning new tasks to him which he handles with ease.

For me, there are two lessons in this story. The obvious one being that it is wise to “test” your freelancers before you commit to one for a longer period of time.

The other lesson is that I was only able to explain the job and evaluate their work because I have a basic understanding of programming. This is key to being able to concisely and clearly communicate your wishes.

Even of you are not an expert (I certainly am not), it is still very useful to have some understanding of programming. Not so you can do all the work yourself; you may well have other, more important demands on your time. But knowing a little goes a long way in helping you plan supervise the work. This can prevent problems with the app itself, development delays and it helps to keep costs under control.

Happy developing/delegating!

How to develop Android apps: coding Java using Eclipse

Programming an Android app yourself is “the long, hard road” but it can be extremely satisfying! Learning how to develop Android apps without any previous coding experience means you will have to learn about Java, the Android SDK and a few programming tools.

To get started, follow these steps to get you up and running developing apps.

1. Download and install Java Developer Kit (you can skip this if you are on a Mac)

You probably already have Java installed on your computer: this is called the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). But you need the Developer Kit (JDK). I use version 6, because 7 didn’t work with Eclipse (more on that later). You can download the JDK here.

2. Download and install Eclipse

Eclipse is the program in which you actually write the code for your app. Among other things, it helps you to find errors in the code you write. It is also needed to compile the app: turning your code into a program that runs on Android devices. Getting the right version of Eclipse can be tricky, I spent some time finding a version that worked with the JDK on the 64 bit version of Windows 7. In the end I found that on my system, version 3.6.2 worked with the other tools in this guide.

3. Download and install the Android SDK.

The Android Developer Kit contains the tools to make Java code that works on Android devices. It has options for making versions of your app for different devices and different versions of Android. There is also an emulator: this simulates an Android device on your computer so you can test your apps without having to install it on an actual phone or tablet!

4. Add platforms and packages to the Android SDK.

You need to do this so you can develop apps for different versions of the Android operating system. It also has some very useful tools. Find out how you add these here.

5. Install the ADT plugin for Eclipse.

This will add the functions to Eclipse that you need to make Android apps. Learn how to do this here.

6. Start building your first app – Hello World

Making a “Hello World” program is usually the first project when a programmer starts with a new language or platform. Doing this exercise, you will be introduced to the basics of Android app development. There are several tutorials for this, I used this one.

7. Build your first real app.

What kind of app do you want to make? If it is a complicated idea, perhaps it is best to start with something simpler: for instance, an app with just one of the many functions you have in mind. Or, if you have several ideas for apps, start with the one you think will be the easiest to create.

If are planning to do all the developing yourself, you will run into problems (even if you are an experienced Java developer!). For instance, Eclipse tells you that there are errors in your code but you don’t understand the error message… or maybe if you compile and run the app it stops immediately or crashes when you push a button.

When you run into problems like that, try Googling the error message. Many times you will find the information on a site called Stack Overflow. Here, programmers come together to discuss coding problems. Many talented and experienced programmers are there to help you.

6. Publish in the Google Play Store.

Great, you’ve reached the finish line: your app is ready to be unleashed upon the masses! However, if you want those masses to actually find and use your app, the story doesn’t end here. Promoting and maintaining your app are subjects that I’ll cover in other tutorials.

By now I can imagine you are overwhelmed by all this information. Just getting the right tools in place can be daunting for some people, I know it was for me. But fear not: just take it one step at a time… It will be difficult at times but, like I said in the beginning, achieving your goals will be all the more satisfying. So get to it and let me know what you get out of it!

Happy developing!

Get amazing custom icon application designs for your ideas in hours. ‘The world’s most iconic designers ‘

With a staggering over 400,000 apps in the App Store, the number continues to grow everyday. You may have developed an outstanding application that you know users will love, but your need to make it stand out among the crowd and raise its visibility in order to get it selling. When you are ready with an iPhone application, you need make your potential customers aware of it, and create a demand in the market. Your main objective should be to grab the attention of the users and get your presence felt in the App store.

So, how can you achieve this objective?

Standing out and being noticed among some odd 400,000 apps in the App store may be difficult, but not impossible. There are several minute details that you need to take care of. Most of the times, developers don’t give much attention to outer presentation and this is where they lack.

Presentation matters!

The law of marketing in today’s world works on presentation. No matter whether your product is excellent or average, the ways it’s presented really matters a great deal! The first impression is the most important one. The icon or deign is the first thing that catches the attention of the potential customers, hence it should be truly impressive. The features of good apps icon are:

 

  • High quality
  • Catchy design
  • Less use of words
  • Shiny and impressive

Identifying this need of the developers, our team of creative designers has come up with a solution for you. Our team basically consists of designers, application lovers, icon lovers, who have put together their years of experience and expertise to create apps icons that will make potential customers take notice your application. With the help of these well-designed and high quality apps icons, you will be able to create a buzz with your unique applications.

Why choose AppIconz.com ?

Our team of designers believes in creating the best designs. We study the trends of the market, and identify the potential customers’ demand. With our years of experience, we know exactly what works and what doesn’t work in the market. Hence, you can count on us to give you the best apps icons to promote and publicize your application.

With amazing custom icon application designs, you simply can’t go wrong. You can pay attention to devising new marketing strategies and updating the product, while our icon gurus make sure you product grabs the attention of the target users and stays in the limelight!

7 Best Android Business Apps

androip appsOver the years, apps on mobile phones and tablets have gotten better and better. Now you can sit at home and complete all your office assignments or jobs in your mobile phone. Business apps have been around for a while now and they have made life a lot easier for the corporate world.

Here is a list of the top 7 business apps your smart phone must have.

#1: Microsoft Office (Free)

With the introduction of the fully featured MS Office mobile app, you can now use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the go. The features provided for each are almost similar to the desktop version. They have been optimized for touch devices and easy user interface for efficient work.

#2: Google Drive (Free)

Several cloud storage apps have come out over the years, but Google Drive is the most effective and widely used. This app is mostly preinstalled in smartphones and has been integrated with QuickOffice. So signing into your Google account can give you access to all your documents and can be backed up online. It can be used to store documents, files, images online and can be accessed anytime with internet connection.

#3: Microsoft Remote Desktop (Free)

This app links your smart phone to your desktop. So you can access your Work PC on the go and use the Windows applications. This app is perfect for small business owners to keep them connected to their desktop at all times.

#4: Bump (Free)

Tired of exchanging business cards? This app will help you swap contact information, photos between two phones just by bumping them against one another. This way you don’t have to keep track of all the contact information and business documents and other paper trails. Bump will save all data and back it up on cloud.

#5: Google Voice (Free)

This app comes in very handy as it unifies all your phone numbers, help you make cheap international calls and send your SMS via email. Google voice integrates all your numbers and gives you a unique Google Number. It is integrated natively with the phone address book.

#6: Business Calendar (Free)

This mobile app helps you keep track of all the business appointments, important dates and deadlines. The UI is very effective and can help you save in-depth details about appointments over multiple days.

#7: OneNote (Free)

It’s easy to use interface and ability to backup all documents automatically to the cloud has given this app an edge over its competitors. With several inbuilt features and facets, this app by Microsoft is a hit.

These are some of the widely used business apps out there.