Practical Ecommerce

17 Solutions to Build Your Own Mobile App

You don’t have to be a web developer to build your own mobile app for your site. If your budget does not allow for a full custom app or you just want to try a mobile app on for size and test the app marketplace, these app building tools will help you get up and running.

Non-developers, who may not know the ins-and-outs of the various programming languages used to produce apps, can use these tools to create apps for Apple’s iOS — which includes iPhone, iPad and iPod — Android OS and Blackberry.

For traditional web developers familiar with HTML, CSS or JavaScript, many of these tools below will allow you to build an app in the code you understand best, then automatically rebuild the app using Apple iOS native code.

Depending on budget — and programming experience — some of the tools below can help you create a mobile app store. Others will help you create a mobile app for your store blog where you can advertise and let customers know about new products or discounts, helping raise awareness for your brand and goods.

Advanced Mobile Developer Tools

  1. Apple iOS Developer Program. Developers interested in creating iPhone apps must register with Apple’s Developer Program and pay an annual fee of $99. Once activated, you can develop using Apple’s preferred programming language, Objective C. The Apple Dev Center has a wealth of tools, tips, debug tests and guides for creating apps for just about any purpose.

  2. Android OS Developers. Create apps using the Java programming language for the Android OS by downloading the free Android software development kit (SDK). The starter kit comes with sample projects, source code, development tools and an emulator to test your new app. Android provides how-to videos, technical articles and step-by-step instructions on app development to help make the process less daunting. Android charges a one-time $25 developer registration fee to distribute apps in its marketplace.

  3. BlackBerry OS Developer Zone. Develop apps using the Java micro edition (ME) programming language for one of the largest mobile platforms in the world. To become an authorized app distributor on BlackBerry’s App World, developers must pay $200 for every 10 apps that they submit for approval. However, BlackBerry regularly offers promotions to waive this fee.

    App Development Tools for Traditional Web Programmers

  4. Appcelerator. With the Titanium SDK, programmers can create apps for Apple iOS and Google Android OS using standard CSS, HTML or JavaScript code rather than learn a new language like Objective-C or Java. Download and create for free using Titanium Community. Sign up for the Titanium Professional or Titanium Enterprise for $199 or $699 per month, respectively.

  5. MotherApp. You don’t need to know how to program apps for Apple, Google and BlackBerry. Instead, just learn the special MotherApp HTML code — a subset of HTML with special markdown tags — send in the code to MotherApp and in just a few minutes your app is ready for use.

  6. PhoneGap. Build apps with standard HTML, CSS or JavaScript instead of having to learn the multiple styles of programming code for each mobile device operating system. Once you’ve got the code written, upload it and any files to the PhoneGap Build service and within minutes you’ll have an app. PhoneGap is currently in beta and currently only supports Android, Palm and BlackBerry OS with plans to support iOS and Microsoft OS.

App Development Tools for Non-Developers

  1. RunRev. Use RunRev’s proprietary “LiveCode” – an English-like language for programming apps — and develop apps for iOS. Development for Android is coming soon and Windows Mobile is in pre-release. Download the code platform and start developing for $99 to $499, depending on personal or commercial use.

  2. AppMakr. Build limited Twitter, RSS or blog feed apps for iPhone for free and without any understanding of coding. If you are already a registered Apple Developer, you can upload your developer account to AppMakr. Phone support is available for $120 to explain building an app.

  3. iSites. Create a simple and limited app for your RSS feed, blog or other business-related social media content for iPhone and Android. Price ranges from $25 to $99 per month, depending on the app development package.

  4. SassMob. This is a one-size-fits-all app builder with limited options, but can be a great way to try out the world of mobile apps for your web store. Choose (a) customized color schemes, (b) widgets, (c) upload your catalog and coupons (d) and publish product news, all for $99 dollars per month.

  5. MobBase. This is a specialized app builder for artists. Upload music and videos, publish news about your latest show, and set up a photo album and mobile access to your web store to buy merchandise. $20 for a activation and then $15 to $20 per month, depending on app package.

  6. MobiCart. Develop a limited mobile commerce store for free with MobiCart. Upload your logo and pictures of your products, set your prices, select a color theme, set up your store tabs and other pages like contact page, news and Twitter feed and you’re m-commerce store is done. Store works in conjunction with a PayPal account.

  7. Zubibu. Simply import your product feed from your ecommerce store, configure the payment settings for your mobile commerce app store using PayPal and add any additional information pages, and your streamlined store is set up in minutes. Pricing ranges from $14.99 to $49.99, depending on app store package. $14.99 allows for 1,000 products listed and $49.99 allows 50,000 products listed.

  8. UnityMobile. Using UnityMobile’s limited templates, build a straightforward app for your news feeds, blog, social media feeds, catalog and mobile store. Pricing ranges from $9.99 to $149.99 per month, depending on app package.

  9. ShoutEm. Build an app out of your website’s URLs, RSS feeds, Flickr stream, iCal calendar, YouTube videos and lay it all out in your own custom graphics and color scheme. Pricing ranges from $29.90 to $119.90 per month, depending on length of contract. Each package has a limited amount of downloads available, the larger the package purchased, the more customers can download your app.

  10. MyAppBuilder. Submit your app blueprint to MyAppBuilder with features, flow chart, files and anything else you’d like to see. Then MyAppBuilder builds your app in-house with its app platform, and once you approve the app, MyAppBuilder submits it to the iTunes app store on your behalf. Limited to iOS devices, flat rate of $29 per month.

  11. SwebApps. Upload your own background and button images or select from SwebApps’ existing library, format the uploaded elements into their universal app template, select the features you want, such as store, news and RSS feeds, contact information, forms, video and audio streams and much more, and you’re app is ready for use. Pricing ranges from a one-time $399 to a $1,799 fee for development of your app, plus an additional flat $29 per month for hosting.

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Matt Ferner
Matt Ferner
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Comments ( 42 )

  1. Damon February 8, 2011 Reply

    Another tool I’ve used is Taplynx. It is a rapid development platform for iOS. It gives many of the basic features need in all mobile apps in a much easier to use interface than Apple’s native Objective-C.

    I’ve downloaded their SDK and played with it in Xcode. I was able to create two simple demo apps for clients without knowing much Obective-C. It’s free to develop with and licensing fee only if you publish the app to the App Store.

  2. Patrick Boon February 9, 2011 Reply

    This is a very comprehensive list of tools! Another that can be added to the list is MobDis. It allows users to create mobile web applications. I’ve used it to create a couple of very simple mobile web apps and it was quick because I didn’t need to code. The apps are also cross-platform compatible so my friends using iphone, android and symbian were able to view it too. Would definitely recommend it here!

  3. Kenneth Pedersen February 14, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for a great list! It brought me several new bookmarks. Would be very nice if you made an article from some shop owners with a few of these.

  4. robinjewsbury February 26, 2011 Reply

    Another great free tool is eyemags.com where you put in the content once and the system builds 7 different apps which then will work with most mobile phones.

  5. PhipK April 1, 2011 Reply

    Thx great list.

    @ Patrick Boon Do you know is MobDis compatible for WAC 3.0? (http://creatingapps.telekomaustria.com/wac/blog.html)
    Sound like that. So I am asking why they try so hard if there is a solution already existing.

  6. sarah_hennings April 6, 2011 Reply

    @robinjewsbury: thats really nice!! thanks a lot!

    @ PhipK: i think MobDis actually is compatible with WAC 3.0.

    +http://creatingapps.telekomaustria.com got some interesting articles

  7. Robin_Nixon July 17, 2011 Reply

    If you’ll forgive the plug there’s also my new book, HTML5 for iOS and Android, which enables you to take web apps created in HTML, JavaScript & CSS, and turn them into standalone apps that you can upload to the app stores (for free or to sell). See http://html5formobile.com – the wrappers to do this for the iOS and Android SDKs are freely available on the website, and you don’t need any knowledge of either programming language if you follow the instructions in the book.

  8. snewp July 30, 2011 Reply

    Which one of these would be better for developing an app for a radio station?

  9. Dustin Suntheimer October 11, 2011 Reply

    I am looking for a simple App Maker so that my kids and I can build some and have fun. Anything out there that is that simple yet proficient enough to work well?

  10. Vadim Gore October 12, 2011 Reply

    Another app development tool that can be used both by web programmers and ordinary users is Seattle Clouds. It’s interface allows editing pages in design mode and in HTML mode as well.

    Another strong point is the free preview app "Seattle Clouds" for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It can be used for testing your app vs the online simulator. Install it on your device, login with the same credentials you use on seattleclouds.com and observe directly on your device all the changes you make to your mobile app.

  11. Linh Tran November 2, 2011 Reply

    Great article. http://www.mobosurvey.com allows you to create surveys and forms that they host. The survey/forms will have a native feel of any devices including mobile devices. You can also embed the survey/form into your webpage.

  12. Paul Armstrong November 5, 2011 Reply

    Nice list. Don’t forget AppCobra.

  13. Brett Miller November 11, 2011 Reply

    Sure you could build your own app, but I suppose you could go online and learn to do repairs on your own car.  Automated tools tend to create "less than ideal" Mobile Apps and you quickly run into limitations.  

    I strongly advise finding a reputable app developer.  I’d be happy to introduce you to such an individual or agency. 

    Brett
    http://www.customsoftwarebypreston.com

  14. AppNotch April 18, 2012 Reply

    We recently launched AppNotch.com … a super fast & real-time app building tool to generate Mobile Sites and Native Apps in 4 steps. Takes less than 30 seconds. Nothing to Download or Install. No Programming Required. Just Drag & Drop. Its 100% Free. Take a look and give us your feedback.

  15. Hayley Solich May 22, 2012 Reply

    Is it possible to add ecommerce to your site to sell mobile phone apps direct from your website? Might be an ignorant question, but curious as to what the technology would be for that?

  16. sunehri June 18, 2012 Reply

    What a great article! I’m learning to use these websites to further develop my knowledge in the MD field. Are there any certifications or courses of study out there?

  17. sunehri June 18, 2012 Reply

    Also, if I wanted to generate revenue through my APP by allowing for AD space, do any of the above technologies allow you to do so? Does anyone have experience doing so? Need a little info as to how that can be done. Thanks,

  18. skybuilder July 9, 2012 Reply

    I have been beta testing the SkyBuilder Mobile Engine. It is very easy to use and I have already made 3 great apps this past weekend. Check out my videos and get a free pdf called "4 hour App Machine" here: http://howtomakeamobileapplication.org/

  19. Shakes12 July 9, 2012 Reply

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for such great information. I do not have any programming knowledge and I have build all my client’ s websites using wordpress, just drag and drop.

    Is there any application I can use to build mobile apps the same way i do with wordpress? I will like to use any with std themes, plugins, widgets etc?

    Thanks

  20. morta8 August 2, 2012 Reply

    Impressive list, but there are always newer and newer tools to satisfy the needs of the consumers. For event apps here’s InstApp, a new development tool specially made for event organizers, but I think in the close future it will be expanded to much more segments: http://www.instappbuilder.com

  21. raiis2001 August 4, 2012 Reply

    Mobile create new channels of connection and communication create your mobile and location friendly mobile site using dizilife http://www.dizilife.com who provide templates to help you to plan and create/host your mobile site for free.

    Dizilife also offers offer location sensitive mobile site creators for free with integrated QR code builders giving merchants another tool to reach out to customers on the go.

    Full disclosure I’m affiliated with dizilife

  22. Cristina Velasco August 18, 2012 Reply

    Nice article… Is it possible to add ecommerce to your site to sell mobile phone apps direct from your website?

  23. Vicki Easton August 19, 2012 Reply

    If all you want is a plug and play app then totally agree with some of the solutions/companies you have mentioned above, Mobile Roadie, Oponiti and Mippin are other useful examples. However if you are looking for a more bespoke app then getting the brief right is absolutely critical.

    1) Ask the right questions and do your research, whats already out in the market and do I need to reinvent the wheel or just make some tweeks?

    2) Know your target customer and what they want – how will they use your app?

    3) Find a developer that fits the brief and can deliver, get 3 quotes for comparison and consistency.

    Obviously its more complex than that (my recent blog gives you abit more meat – http://www.exiconglobal.com/blog/how-to-make-a-mobile-app/) but its a starting point.

  24. Sam Demaree October 21, 2012 Reply

    It’s all about finding the top mobile apps selling on the app store and making a simple app that’s similar. If you want an easy software that will make you an app expert, check this out.

    http://b03b51vipjg5asd3hlz9rbug3p.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=MOBILEAPPCREATOR

  25. Denise_Jonston January 24, 2013 Reply

    This is a good list of tools.
    Another good mobile app development tool for creating mobile sites for small businesses is biznessapps software. It’s highly customizable so that you can create really professional mobile apps for all different kinds of businesses. It’s worth checking out even if you aren’t much of a programmer:

    http://www.biznessapps.com

  26. mwayland January 30, 2013 Reply

    We recently launched Apprezone.com … a real-time app building tool to generate Web and Mobile business applications. Takes minutes to create an database online App. Nothing to Download or Install. No Programming Required. Just Drag & Drop. Its 100% Free. Take a look and give us your feedback.

  27. Balázs Miklós February 8, 2013 Reply

    And there is also Instapp

    http://goo.gl/8Q4aV

  28. Diana Neculai February 28, 2013 Reply

    Here is another great service: https://ixapi.com. In many mobile applications, there is the need to buy, setup and administrate a server together with a database where developers create an interface to communicate with it. Using the IXAPI service, they don’t need to do that anymore.

  29. Kani Saburi Ayubu March 2, 2013 Reply

    If you already have a responsive ecommerce website do you still need a mobile app?

  30. victor_nad March 11, 2013 Reply

    This is really pretty comprehensive list of resources! Haven’t heard much about some of them! Thanks for sharing!
    You might want to play with ibuildapp.com. I used this platform to develop couple apps for my parents restaurant, it was pretty easy(since I don’t code AT ALL).
    Also ibuildapp is helpful in the sense that it has tons of designs available, whereas many of the other options are pretty limitless.

  31. testind106 April 19, 2013 Reply

    You can add one more — TURANTO: Cloud Application Development Platform — input is simple english & output is web, mobile application & android app. If you are a paid user then you can download all code & customize as per need. website:www.turanto.com

  32. jamesclarke June 5, 2013 Reply

    Really helpful article.

    I came across a new app builder the other day. It’s one for businesses and provides an idiot-proof template where an app can be built for a business in under ten minutes! After reading into the company, I realised they were powered by the world’s leading app builder. I really feel that it’s the future for businesses!

    http://www.appsme.com/?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=posting+&utm_campaign=freetraffic

  33. Arth I-Soft September 17, 2013 Reply

    Great list of tools all those very helpful to develop mobile application, please share another helpful tools. I have already bookmarked your site. Thanks for this great info.
    http://www.arthisoft.com/mobile-application-development/

  34. antonio spathis September 17, 2013 Reply

    This is a very interesting list ,thanks.I’ll
    follow you!

  35. Marc J October 17, 2013 Reply

    You can easily build your application on myapp.net. There’s a CMS to make your app and you can fill it easily in few times. No coding is asked because it has been thought for non-programmers. You can see directly the result in the application simulation. It’s cheap and first month is free! http://www.myapp.net

  36. Ingrid October 22, 2013 Reply

    Thank for this article, it seems to be really useful!
    I found more interesting thought about app building here http://bit.ly/1cTMljG

  37. Sienna Amelia November 15, 2013 Reply

    Great list and I personally use sweb apps and app incubator …But I don’t guess that iPhone application development would never be an managed with no development knowledge. I was Non-app developer then I turned my thoughts and started learning some iOS developer courses.

    http://www.dreamtechie.com/2013/09/best-collection-of-iphone-application-development-courses-and-guides/

  38. mobile application development February 11, 2014 Reply

    Love your blog and the information you’ve provide about mobile app development is so informative! This is my first time to your blog so will definitely add it to my bookmark list.

  39. AndromoDarryl February 27, 2014 Reply

    As one of the people involved in Andromo’s creation, I just wanted to add it to the list of options for creating native Android apps without programming: http://www.andromo.com

  40. Jimmy February 28, 2014 Reply

    We have a latest website where are huge information about mobile Apps. Do you wanna build your mobile Apps? come check out our website, http://www.taoteapps.com, we have a lot information to help making your mobile deployment a success.

  41. App Building Softwares March 18, 2014 Reply

    You can find some great app building softwares here http://appbuildingsoftware.com/

  42. pking August 19, 2014 Reply

    Probably the easiest one – Embarcadero Delphi just WYSIWYG

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