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8 Ways To Build Mobile Application for Android

There are many ways to build mobile application for android. Some of them don’t even need coding. You can just supply information you need in the app and they will do the coding for you. But they have limitations in functionality though. But if your requirements are small and you if you don’t have enough time to spent on learning coding then it is better to use such services rather than building an app from scratch using Android Studio.

Here I’m listing 8 different ways to make an Android App. They differs in the functionality, flexibility and the amount of programming knowledge required. Go through each of them. I have given the website links to each of them. And all of them have a “Getting Started” section which demonstrates the app building process. Choose the best one you need based on the requirements. I will give some guidelines from my experiences too. So lets start from the simplest.

AppYet.com

AppYet is a template based app building website. It is free and no programming knowledge is required to build app. They have a template app with them. They edit the app template based on the input from the user and build it and sent you the APK via email. The template is basically an RSS reader application. So you can build an app for your website, blog, youtube channel, podcasts, twitter account. You can start your own news app with this and add advertisements to it. You just need to provide the Google’s AdMob publisher Id to it. There are lot of options to customize the app, its colors, themes and pretty much everything. I would say that it has premium quality output. But the only thing I didn’t like was the size of the app after installation. Even a small configuration app uses more than 30MB which is not cool. But all the other aspects of this service is really good. If you don’t want to do coding and just want to make an app for your website then go for it. There are many similar websites too. Just Google for them.

Website: http://appyet.com/

Cordova

You can add a web browser element (WebView) to an Android app. Inside it you can show a website or any html file with styles and javascripts. There are many apps that use this technique to create apps. Flipkart, Amazon, Facebook etc. are examples. So the idea is to design the app in html and css, add dynamics and user interactions to it using javascript and ajax. Any web framework such as jQuery, Angular, React or Bootstrap will work in this technique. So it will be easy for web developers to make and android app easily.

Cordova is a framework and building environment for building apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. You just need to write once it will work for all platform. Access to the system components is provided using the javascript API that comes along with it. The only thing I don’t like in this technique is the memory consumption of the app. Since it uses WebView a whole web browser is running in backend for rendering the app. Otherwise it is a very good option for beginners and those who are familiar with html and web designing.

Website: https://cordova.apache.org/

PhoneGap

This is basically a distribution of Cordova built by Adobe. Actually Adobe built Cordova and they donated it to Apache. And then they built PhoneGap with additional functionality such as app for instant testing of the output, app building engine. If you decided to use Cordova then I recommend to use PhoneGap because it adds more flexibility to work with Cordova. If you want to start from scratch then chose the former.

Website: http://phonegap.com/

Ionic

Ionic is a damn huge framework. It uses Cordova and PhoneGap. That means it has all the functionality of both and has additional features on its own. It is built on top of AngularJS, an interesting javascript framework supported by Google. Ionic has its own building tools, market, cloud testing facility and many more features for improving the app presentation, building process. So if you are familiar with Cordova or PhoneGap and want to move to next step further then take a look at Ionic. You can also start from Ionic if you want.

Website: http://ionicframework.com/

Basic4Android

Basic is the most basic programming language. It is a very simple and easy to learn programming language. Visual Basic is the GUI development supported version of Basic. In this project they are building something similar targeting Android platform. Their main project is Basic for Everything (B4X) and Android is also a part of it. So if you like Basic language or know how to program using Visual Basic then it will be easy for you to build apps with B4A. I have tried it once. But I didn’t like it much because I didn’t find it as flexible option. It is just my personal opinion though. Otherwise it is very lightweight and has lot of support in their website.

Website: https://www.b4x.com/b4a.html

Kivy

It is a python based Android development engine. It is actually a library for python. You can define the UI and actions with python scripts. The advantage is you will get the complete potential of python scripting in your app. This is huge. They have lot of documentations and videos for developing apps with Kivy. If you are beginning to do programming then python is a good start. If you know python you can use it in many places. It is cross platform. So if Kivy’s features satisfies your requirements then go for it. But just keep in mind that it is not a very popular method for building Android apps.

Website: https://kivy.org/

Xamarin

It is one of the hardcore app development systems. An interesting thing about Xamarin is that it is based on .Net platform which is core modern Windows softwares. You can write code in C# inside Visual Studio, the official software development system from Microsoft. It allows cross platform development targeting iOS, Android and Windows Phone. It is a complete app development package with all features you need to make an app. Many companies use Xamarin instead of official Android Studio. And now their engine which is called Xamarin Core has been open sourced. So in my opinion it is a very good option.

Website: https://www.xamarin.com/

Android Studio

This is the official development platform for developing Android apps. Initially Google provided a plugin called ADT for Eclipse IDE. But now it is not much useful. On the other hand Android Studio is built by JetBrains company with the support from Google. And the entire software is based on intelliJ IDE which is one of the rivals of Eclipse. This is a huge package with lot of functionality. It has everything you need to build an app from zero to Google Play. Java is used to code in Android Studio which is of course the native language of Android apps. Android Studio also allows to write native libraries in C and connect it with app using JNI with the help of Android NDK. That is you have everything you need in one place. I will be explaining my tutorials based on Android Studio because it is my favorite and it is very flexible. It is a bit heavy software, eats RAM and hard disk. But it does the job flawlessly.

Website: https://developer.android.com/studio/index.html

So these are some of the methods I have tried for different purposes. You can chose any of them or you may look for better. It is up to your requirements and your way of solving things. But in my opinion it is good to know how to build an app in Android Studio. Because it is the official method recommended by the creators of Android.

To be continued..