The best mobile app development software makes it simple and easy to develop custom apps for your business.
This is important because while mobile apps may have been traditionally associated with information and gaming, business apps are now an essential part for many everyday business operations.
This is underlined by the easy availability of smartphones and BYOD (Bring You Own Device) work policies with MDM (Mobile Device Management) solutions in place, which means that employees can now use their iPhones or Android phones for general business process, covering everything from productivity apps to collaborative software apps.
The technology continues to develop, with the increasing availability of augmentation and machine-learning options to provide additional layers of information and communications into your digital services. Whether for marketing services, retail, product development and deployment, as well as Software as a Service (SaaS), app development has come of age.
The market reflects this, with a huge number of companies out there that will offer to design and code apps, not just for iOS or Android, but also smart TV's, game consoles, and other hardware, as well as software solutions.
However, there are also software development platforms available to create white label apps from basic templates and configurations. These aim to make it easy for businesses to create their own in-house apps as required, or even create apps for the open market.
Below we feature the best mobile app development software platforms currently available.
We've also highlighted the best laptops for programming.
The best mobile app development software of 2023 in full:
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1. Appy Pie
Reasons to buy
Appy Pie is a software platform that allows you to develop your own apps without having to do any coding. There are a number of options and tools provided that are easy to use to create the app that you need.
The process is relatively simple, and involves selecting a design and personalizing it, adding the features that you need, then publishing to Google Play and the Apple AppStore.
The interface used is a simple drag-and-drop system that allows you to add features such as chatbots, AI, augmented or virtual reality. To help with development, a learning platform and suite of training videos are provided to help guide you.
The app you create can be for almost any business need, such as for a small business, restaurant, real estate, or even a radio app.
Once you've developed your app, there are options to distribute it to the Google Play and Apple App stores.
2. Zoho Creator
Reasons to buy
Zoho Creator is a multi-platform app builder that allows you to create a new app or use a ready-made one.
The software is especially aimed at businesses looking to simplify and automate tasks, such as creating apps for functions such as sales management, order management, event management, logistics, or recruitment tracking, for example.
However, whatever you're looking to do, you can entirely customize it the way you want. Zoho Creator includes a drag-and-drop editor to help build you app from within a single dashboard.
While initially targeted at businesses looking to develop apps for specific needs within their company, Zoho Creator can also be used to develop apps for the wider market.
Even better, you can integrate data from other apps, increasing its usability. Potential integrations include other Zoho apps, Paypal, Twilio, Google Workspace, and Quickbooks.
Pricing starts at $20 per user per month when billed annually, including 5 apps, 10 BI & analytics workspaces and 20 Integration flows. There is a free version to try, but it is limited to one user and one app.
Reasons to buy
AppSheet is another platform that allows you to create bespoke apps for your business, without having to write with or develop code.
Driven by your own cloud-hosted data in spreadsheet format, you can then select a template to work around the options and features you want, before deploying your app.
It's easy to integrate data from multiple sources, not least from Google Sheets and Forms, Excel from Microsoft 365, or even SalesForce. Alternatively, you can import spreadsheets saved on Dropbox or OneDrive, or directly from MySQL or SQL Server.
On top of these you can add features such as GPS and maps, image capture, code scanning, signature capture, charts, and email notifications.
There's no charge for developing your app, or time limit, and up to ten users can be involved in the process. Once deployed, pricing is according to per active user per month.
AppSheet has several price bands starting with their Starter plan which costs around $5 per user per month. This includes basic application and automation features and connects to spreadsheets and cloud file storage providers.
Reasons to buy
Appian promote the development of "low code" apps which they advertise as taking as little as eight weeks between developing the idea and completing the app.
The main focus of Appian's app development software is enterprise apps for business, to optimize processes using automotive processes and AI, in order to present company data in useful and meaningful ways.
Additionally, by orchestrating data from multiple sources, information can be unified to provide real opportunities for insights on everything to management processes to workflows to operations.
The development process itself involves using a visual editor, to select desired functions and how data is to be routed through these. The aim is to allow for complex options to be set up in a simple way, so that data can be intelligently managed.
Once completed, the design can be saved as a web app or native app for Android and iOS as required. Further changes can be made on the fly without causing downtime.
Reasons to buy
The aim is to jump start app development for a faster and cheaper development process. The process can take as little as a week during which time Appery.io will set up installation, configuration, integration, testing, and training for its completion.
In addition to increased turnaround time, Appery.io also allows for a focus on extensibility, so that the same apps can be modified easily and without requiring significant development time.
Built on an open platform, Appery.io allows for multiple apps to be developed from the same base according to needs, in order to reduce the need for replication in evolving apps. By also ensuring that configurations can be changed rather than be dependent on pre-existing settings, it allows for the flexible development of apps according to enterprise needs.
Appery.io offers several choices of plans starting with the Beginners package for one developer which includes 2 apps and 50K Platform API calls per month, priced at around $25 per month.
Which mobile app development software is best for you?
When deciding which mobile app development software to download and use, first consider what your actual needs are, as budget software may only provide basic options, so if you need to use advanced tools you may find a paid platform is much more worthwhile. Additionally, higher-end software can really cater for every need, so do ensure you have a good idea of which features you think you may require from your mobile app development software platform.
How we tested the best mobile app development software
To test for the best mobile app development software we first set up an account with each provider, then we tested the service to see how the software could be used for different purposes and in different situations. The aim was to push each development software platform to see how useful its basic tools were and also how easy it was to get to grips with any more advanced tools.
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Brian has over 30 years publishing experience as a writer and editor across a range of computing, technology, and marketing titles. He has been interviewed multiple times for the BBC and been a speaker at international conferences. His specialty on techradar is Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, covering everything from office suites to IT service tools. He is also a science fiction and fantasy author, published as Brian G Turner.