July 21, 2014

The Implementation of App Making Software into Everyday Lives – The Future

In this presumably highly anticipated series finale, we will try to do a grey matter gymnastic, with depicting and/or predicting the future of mobile technology, app making software and similar industry related subjects. Instead of using diachronic flashbacks – we will focus our attention towardwhat the next generation will be proud to mention in their memoirs.

We’re not obliged to read Arthur Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in order to feel the future – the same is right at our doorsteps, just around the urban corner. See, mobile software is rapidly consuming the crowds – in turn, demands are getting bigger and manufacturers arehavinghard times delivering the goods. But, putting that aside, and we’re witnessing an innovation in a field which literally took up the whole free space on a global scale –parking. Experts (mobile developers) are working on simplifying the parking drama, in hope that driving around in circles and other “road rage” problems will become a thing of the past. For example, Boston’s Transportation Department took steps toward developing a parking app which will allow users conducting a direct payment from their smartphones; from a simple “kindled campfire”, the whole thing ignited everywhere – Illinois, Miami Beach, Chicago and the leading ones as follows: San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington and Portland. Also, this coincides with the fact that people started moving back to urban environments – bringing their vehicles along. But, not just space – usage of app making software for vehicle parking also reduces the carbon emission, which is logical, given the less time needed for one to find a “resting” spot. Legal consequences somewhat slow down the process implementation, with local governments threating to shut down third party parking app developers; nevertheless, the whole project brings a bright future, and a brighter sky as well.

Jumping to Facebook – not everyone is using it, but surely enough, everyone has heard about the 2005 phenomenon in one way or another. Now, a survey conducted on roughly 5.500 mobile app developers showed their ways of thinking about the subject in mind, i.e. the future of mobile applications. They argued that mobile applications will “take over” everything, starting from Facebook, ending with stickyrefrigerator notes. Namely, a new mobile application, made with free or otherwise app making software, could end up taking down the social media giant; the astonishing user number (estimated at one-billion) would not help either: Facebook stocks went down since its official wall-street launch and surprisingly, the business model doesn’t work quite as imagined. So, a presumption arises – maybe a small mobile app like Appsbar could end up destroying the “almighty” socializer.

Afterwards, developers claim that by 2015, apps will move on to televisions, the “infamous” Google Glass project and game consoles, enabling growth of 83.5, 67.1 and 71.2 percent accordingly. Before venturing into the unknown, almost 74% of the surveyed developers proclaimed hopes for cars of the future – controlled by what is known today as mobile applications.

Other visionaries exemplify today’s importance, or better to say – integration of mobile applications. Imagine one owns a restaurant: in order to be competitive, he must go mobile, either or, and the competition will take over its place in the capitalist surroundings – it’s just the way the global village functions, on its fundamental level. Staying competitive is a hard goal for one’s achievement, regardless if the business goes mobile or not. Of course, an option for going mobile will exist anytime, due to the ever-growing market of freelancers and developer companies ready to do the work.

As a conclusion to the series, we will quote a sentence as heard from Through the Wormhole:

“Mythology says that the gods envy our mortality. Our mortality is what makes life precious and something to be savored. Driven by the pressure of time to achieve greatness, it may be our mortality that gives us our humanity. But as long as we are mortal, we will never stop dreaming of life everlasting. That too, is what makes us human”.

July 21, 2014

Looking for The Best Free App Creator iOS applications

In the previous reads, we saw the history of companies building applications behind closed doors, the three types of mobile apps existing today (native, mobile web and hybrid applications) and the basic steps involving a build of a simple Android application from scratch. The next step nearing the conclusion of the series is reserved for the iOS free app creator, or in other words – how to create an iOS mobile application moving from ground zero.

Apple’s iPhone was a breakthrough to begin with, therefore everything that revolved around and in it was considered a “tech miracle” by outsider observers. The most the company did for its future-to-be hard-core loyal consumers was the introduction of a more intimate computer experience, not just a human to machine interaction, but a lot, lot more. This was growing so fast that 2014 was the year when a somewhat not-so futuristic sci-fi parody paved the public way: the movie Her, a direct homage to Apple’s virtual assistant “Siri”. Furthermore, and this is in no way an article that praises Steve Jobs and his inheritance, the whole company became a “whole”, in turn meaning that every individual was relinquished of its individual needs “dissolving” into the half- bitten apple omnipotent entity.

Beginning from nothing can prove quite a challenge; but even Columbus had a starting point before deciding to venture in vast yet unexplored ocean waters. Also, he had a map. Before doing anything, be sure to sketch out the application – on a physical notepad, in your precious computing hardware or even usinga surface of a napkin! While doing so, ask some questions to yourself: how much space should the app take from the device’s main screen; what would be the main goal of the application; what’s the target audience for the one in mind – you decide on the list length.

Note that very important thing amateurs miss when looking for a free app creator, or making an iOS app from scratch, is the “finger-rule”. The general idea behind this is simple: the mouse cursor takes less space than a normal human finger. Therefore, the area of control should not be tucked into small screen space, but instead shouldaccommodate according to its users.

Also, intuitively, beginners would measure the app within Windows or Macintosh’s inner dimensions. This is not correct, because the applicationwill be used on mobile platforms, and should be treated as such. Consider the portrait versus landscape change as a must when building your mobile software program.

Okay, now you have your outline, but the cognitive process is somewhat slower than you initially thought you have the capability of. Generally speaking, there are three ways you can build an iOS application:

  • Searching for Freelancers
  • Getting more serious with Development Companies
  • The DIY (Do It Yourself) paradigm

While being the not so reliable, hiring Freelancers is still the most budget friendly option out there. Of course, you can exemplify each and every detail to the chosen one (the Freelancer), and appoint every wrong doing while the process lasts. This way, you will “promote” yourself into CEO, but will also have to micromanage. A starting point would include the top Freelance sites: Elance, Odesk, Freelancer and others.

By choosing a Dev. Company, the design dissolves into four main development processes: information, architecture, visuals and interaction design. Of course, make sure that all previous information about the project is correctly placed, because the company takes over everything, from the leading role to the boardroom. This becomes the more budget demanding option, so keep that in mind while rationalizing your demands.

If you remember the free Android app creator – the same applies here as well. DYI starts when you download the SDK from the Mac store (three tools over here: Interface builder – this enables visual build of an app interface; Xcode–a code editor and much more and Frameworks {Cocoa framework} – an essential part of the puzzle, providing every bit of detail for user interaction experience), and begin your aforementioned quest with ‘debugging’, ‘building’, ‘running’ and checking for possible errors in the app.

If everything said so far sounds to technocratic for a user like yourself, and you still want to hire your brain to do the “dirty” work for you, then consider a free app creator, like Appsbar for example. The pros easily outnumber the cons when doing a project this way – you do not have to possess one bit of coding knowledge, the final product turns out to be free and you can customize almost everything in your nascent app. The cons come in when you have to use pre-existing rendered templates, but again –this is a small price to pay for such a big step you’re making.

July 17, 2014

Your first Android App Builder!

Previously, we looked upon the successive history of mobile applications, the developing process of the same, as well as the different types of apps one may encounter at the ever-growing tech market, especially if looking for the best apps out there.

For the readers, a logical continuation would require a demonstration of an android app building from scratch, or via different free pre-calibrated mobile application builders. Before we elaborate the presupposed example, we state the fact that the main battle between mobile platform builders takes the obvious turn – Apple vs. Google, or iOS versus Android. Their main weaponry lays in Android’s open source policies and iOS’sstability and innovative approaches accordingly. And while this issue slowly position’s itself as the perennial “chicken vs. egg” problem, we can easily disseminate it and come to a conclusion leading toward the practical use and accessibility/affordability of the software in mind.

With that being said, there are couples of ways in which you can try to make, or succeed in the goal of making the first application: one being through the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), the other by usingAppsbar.

First of all, make sure you download and install a Java development kit, since all Android apps are built on Java code basis. Also, for writing the code for your application and future testing, you need to install an IDE on your machine (IDE stands for integrated development environment). Depending on your goals, you may need an eclipse Ide for Java coding. Make sure you read all instructions about the directory setup and pre-installation to make sure something doesn’t end in the wrong place of the disk. Next you should start the Eclipse and from here you can add the Android SDK; by clicking accept your machine will automatically restart and continue where the process previously ended.

Assuming everything is ready software-wise, you are just few steps away of making an application. The first thing you want to do is click the New button in the toolbar menu. A new window will appear: choose the Android Application Projectwhich you can find in the Android folder; then choose next. A form will appear offering an Application name (the name of the app as visible to future users), a Project name (the name visible to you via Eclipse), and aPackage Name (the package namespace for the application – note that this has to be unique and Google recommends using the reverse domain name of you company). Further down, you can find the Minimum Required SDK (the lowest supported Android version by the app you’re creating), then comes the Target SDK (the opposite of the previous one, i.e. the highest supported Android version by your application), the Compile With (this option is automatically set to the newest Android version from your SDK) and the Themearea (the preexisting style which will be applied to your application). Again, click on the next button.

Afterwards, a configuration screen will pop up; leave everything at default and click next. The screen after that will allow you to customize your launcher icon. Next, you can choose your preferable template for the app: the best would be to choose Blank-Activityand click on the next, then the Finish button. Congratulations, you just made your first Android app – builder wise!

Now, if the previous sounded too complicated a project, you can always try the second option consisting of free online android app builder sites. The simplest and fastest one differing from the bunch would be Appsbar –google the acronym or just write appsbar dot com in your browser’s search bar and you will have no difficulty finding it.In the middle (or the diagonal intersection of the site) you can find an icon resembling a robot head. Click “Digi” (the robot head), and a screen will prompt you to fill the required sign up details: you can choose to create new account, or connect your existing Facebook or another social network one to the building software.One this step is finished, just drag and drop the desirable niche icon into the simulator. From here, you can customize every detail regarding the looks and feels of your first application.

July 16, 2014

Cannot find the perfect app building software?

Previously, a brief summary of the history of applications introduced us to Moore’s law, the first mobile device commonly known as “the Brick”, the competitiveness between rival companies, the creation of the WAP platform and its failure, and various things which in one way or another contributed to the strive of making the best app software-wise.

Continuing from there, and we find ourselves at the brink of categorization – a common issue occurring when new technology wants to improve its connection with the contemporary customer using various means such as media, internet marketing or network marketing. Also, when postulated in front of the app world, one can be left glaring in amazement and wondering from where all those executable programs came to be; one can be easily confused too, because the discourse of categorization often ventures into territories not belonging to the same, thus creating an inevitable confusion between individual users and organizations alike (in turn, slowing the development process). If, on the other hand, we presuppose that an exaggeration exists and this issue is not causing global idiosyncrasies, then every third party app builder can name its program in a way which suits his individual needs without the obligation to make it compatible with other platforms/third party developers. This issue will inescapably lead to an eruption of disproof among industry lovers and such, and will tuck potential customers in dead ends – in turn not knowing where to look and what to do with the questions unanswered.

But this is a problem concerning social experts, and as such we will indulge it to them.

What’s important today is the existing diversity of apps, counting in thousands (if not more) of the executable programs for mobile platforms. It seems that the modern world has an application for everything: from communicating with friends via social networks or otherwise, checking the weather channel for live climate changes, buying gifts for friends in countries one’s never been in, watching movies, checking fixtures and results of a favorite team, sharing and downloading content – the list can extend into infinity. Most of these apps work alone, but some need or can be used with other compatible software in combination. For example, a website can be optimized for desktop and mobile device browsers at the same time – in turn syncing the smartphone with the website data and allowing the user to use the internet for its advantage; even app building software sites are not exempt from this rule.

There are three main types of apps:

  • Native Apps
  • Mobile Web Apps
  • Hybrid Apps

Native Apps are “indigenous” to the device’s platform. They can be accessed through icons on the home screen, and can be purchased (if applicable) via app stores such as Google Play, iTunes or Appsbar. Some of them are free, others have a price tag. They’re made for one platform and can take full use of all features the device offers, such as lists of contacts, calendars, GPS calibration, different time-zones and other. Previously we mentioned the word “indigenous” – this reflects the exclusivity of the native app for one platform, whether it would be an iOS, Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or other; if a company or a developer group wants to extend the app availability to other platforms, then they’ll have to make a separate program in order for everything to function properly. These projects demand more resources and are time and effort consuming. Examples: Angry Birds, Instagram, Kingdom Rush.

Mobile Web Apps are not applications in the right sense of words – they are mere copies or clones of existing ones and supplement the mobile web browsing. As the name suggests, they are websites written in HTML 5 code and an inexperienced user can easily confuse web applications with native ones. Examples: Appsbar, Real Warriors, Mercedes-Benz International.

Hybrid Apps are easy to guess: they’re mixture of the previous two, allowing companies to save time and effort for app building software; they exist in application stores, but use HTML rendering in a pre-existing browser, with the stipulation that the browser is fixed within the application. Examples: Facebook, LinkedIn, Tuneln Radio.

July 16, 2014

Should you use a free app maker?

You may have read articles that give a lot of praise to apps, especially in relation to business.  It’s no surprise that businesses are responding,consumers now rely on mobiles much more in their everyday lives, from looking up information about local shops to general web browsing.

Most large corporates have swiftly began developing mobile apps.  Enabling them to send offers or (push notifications) to customers devices, allow customers to shop on the go, find additional information about products, collect loyalty points or make appointments.

UK consumers have been found to spend over 40 hours per week using their smartphones, so that’s a huge amount of marketing time, because an app sits on their mobile home screen they can’t really miss it.

For many businesses apps are a ‘nice to have’ luxury

The capabilities for apps are almost endless, but will probably struggle to find an app development company offering their services for less than £1000, and that’s for a simple app with minimal features. More complex apps could set you back in the tens of thousands, so for the vast majority of small business owners, apps remain a “nice to have” but far too expensive luxury.

This is why dozens of free app makers have popped up on the web, to provide a solution for business owners who don’t have a corporate sized marketing budget, or the app programming skills to create their own app from scratch.

The reason that a free app maker is able to offer their services is because they rely on reusable templates, so there’s no need for ground-up development each time, users don’t need to spend weeks learning how to use the tool, in fact you can probably create an app in an afternoon… Although it’s recommended that you spend serious time making sure to get your branding across, and make sure you’re app provides real value to your users.

Once the template is developed it’s a case of the business owner deciding what bits they want to use, and filling the app with their company branding.  Most good free app makers will include the option of:

  • Social linking
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Events
  • Coupons
  • Information/contact request forms
  • Some even providing in-app purchases, so like an ecommerce store, built into the app.

Who would use an app maker?

Free app makers, if used correctly can provide a basic app presence for many businesses that otherwise would go without, just the simple fact of having an app is a bit like a status symbol.  It’s something to make a fuss about and something to set you apart from your competitors.

If you’re looking for a lot more complexity, and a unique design, an all singing all dancing app with bells and whistles then a free app maker probably won’t be what you’re after.

However if you’re happy with a simple informational app that does the job, lets customers contact you, keep up to date with your business and lets you promote offers then it’s worth having a look at.

If you’re a hair salon or restaurant for example, an app could be the perfect opportunity to encourage repeat custom, post special offers, and collect new appointments.

How does it work?

The first place to start is to decide what’s important to you, what are you looking for in an app builder?  Perhaps take a look at existing apps you like, see what features they use and then translate it to your business. Appsbar provides a wide range of examples of feature-sets for different types of businesses, from catering to charity, bands, bars and more.   Although it really comes down to what you want, most app builders will lay out the features you can use, and then let you start creating your own pages for each of them.  No complicated code, all you need to worry about is what you want, and how you want it.

Then when you’re ready choose which app stores you would like to publish to and you’re off!

When working with app builders it’s important to make the app as personal to you as you can, spend time focusing on what’s important to you and your business, making your app a unique and valuable experience.