Design & Development

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.

    Apple iOS Developer Project home page.

    Apple iOS Developer Project home page.

  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.

    MotherApp home page.

    MotherApp home page.

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.

    ShoutEm home page.

    ShoutEm home page.

  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.
Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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