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9 Popular Cross-Platform Tools for App Development in 2019

9 Popular Cross-Platform Tools for App Development in 2019

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Picking up the right app development tools is important for building a good app. To help get you started, I’ve already conducted the research to give you the top options available for cross-platform app development tools.

Popular Cross-Platform Tools for App Development in 2019

When business firms think about building a mobile app, their minds go straight to cross-platform app development.

Today startups and SMEs find cross-platform as an excellent form of technology to develop an app on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows simultaneously.

This means by building a single app you can target both Android and iOS, thus, maximizing your reach to the target audience.

In fact, the cross-platform application development market surpassed the figure of $7.9 in 2019.

Ideally, cross-platform technology delivers native-like apps because of the advent of advanced tools and technologies that allow developers to build apps that may appear similar to native apps.

Also, in such a scenario when the number of apps in the Google Play Store was most recently placed at around $2.6 million apps in March 2019. Businesses wouldn’t want to risk missing their presence on Google play store or any other platform.

Budgeting always an issue for businesses if they go for native apps, this is where cross-platform technology has emerged as the premium choice for businesses that aim to build their app multiple platforms.

So, move onto the list of the best cross-platform app development tools to go for in 2019.

1. Adobe PhoneGap

PhoneGap — Best Mobile app development tool (Source: Google Images)

PhoneGap is owned by Adobe and is one of the best cross-platform development tools to use in 2019. It’s based on the open source framework Apache Cordova that gives you access to complete set of PhoneGap toolset which helps streamline the app development process and include the options:

Debugging tools allow you to inspect HTML, CSS, and debug codes in JavaScript. Here is the list of tools:

For iOS App Development

Safari Web Inspector Tool

Steps to Use:

  1. Take your iOS device and connect to your computer.
  2. Now, install and launch Safari on your system.
  3. Make your PhoneGap application launched on iOS Device.
  4. Open the menu of Safari Develop, and look for your iOS Device in the list.
  5. Select “PhoneGap Webview” listed under your iOS device.

For Android App Development

Chrome Developer Tool

Steps to Use:

  1. Make sure your Android test device supports all the developer options.
  2. Now launch your Google Chrome web browser.
  3. Look for chrome://inspect in Chrome.
  4. Select PhoneGap Application on your device.
  5. Developer tools will launch.

For Windows, visit the pageMicrosoft Visual Studio

One of the reasons why I am suggesting PhoneGap is because anyone can learn how to use their tools, even if you don’t have experience of using them. PhoneGap takes care of the development process by compiling all your work in the Cloud, so you don’t need to maintain native SDKs.

2. Appcelerator

Appcelerator — Most popular mobile app development tools (Source: Google Images)

Appcelerator is a cross-platform mobile app development platform that helps get your app ready in a faster way by simplifying the whole process. By using a single JavaScript code you can build native-like apps and mobile apps with cloud-like performance. Another top benefit of Appcelerator is their quality as it can be used for building apps for any device or operating system.

The tool also makes it easy for you to use and test your apps using the automated mobile tests that allow you to measure your app usage and results of your app project. You can detect bugs, crashes, and also make some adjustments to improve the overall performance of your app.

With Appcelerator, you will be provided with access to Hyperloop that is one of the best cross-platform APIs for the multi-platform application development.

3. Corona

Corona– Apps development Tool (Source: Google Images)

Corona is a cross-platform ideal for creating games and apps for mobile devices, desktop, and tv devices using just one code base. This tool speeds up your coding process and you can easily update your code, save the changes, and instantly see the results on real devices. With Corona, your apps are optimized for performance because of the lightweight scripting power of Lua that enhances your app performance at every level.

Corona is free to use cross-platform app development tool that primarily used in 2d games as it’s great to use for high-quality graphics and high-speed development of games.

4. React Native

React Native — Best app development software (Source: Google Images)

React Native allow you to create native applications and uses JavaScript as a programming language to build apps. The strong side of React Native is that you can write modules in languages such as C, Swift, and Java. The best part is you can work on image editing and video processing that aren’t possible with the other API frameworks.

React Native is unquestionably the best platform to use for cross-platform app development because it interprets your source code and convert it to the native elements in less time. Both Facebook and Instagram have used React Native to build their native apps that are the most used applications of the world. So, you can trust on React Native.

5. Xamarin

Xamarin — Best cross platform mobile app development tools (Source: Google Images)

Microsoft Visual Studio Xamarin’s allows you to build apps for different platforms such as Windows, iOS, and Android using a single .net code.

The best part of Xamarin cross-platform tool is that all the apps built on it look and feel like native apps that is because it uses the native interfaces that work the same way a user wants to use them.

With Xamarin, you can give your app a platform-specific hardware boosts to achieve the performance similar to native apps. Also, most of your coding approx. 75% will be the same, regardless of the platform you’re building your mobile application for. Xamarin works on a single code by identifying it and accelerates the process for cross-platform mobile app development.

Xamarin works on both Mac and PC systems and offers you tools such as debugging, UI design tool, and code editing.

6. Qt

QT: Cross Platform Mobile App Development Kit (Source: Google Images)

Qt is the best cross-platform tool for mobile app development. Why I’m counting this tool in the best cross-platform tools is because of its quality features that allow creating fluid, UIs, applications, and embedded devices with the same code for Android, iOS, and Windows.

If your app is not performing well and you want to rework on it, you can easily make changes to your app using Qt that will automatically make all the changes applied to your app. This software tool also allows you to see how your app is performing on different platforms. Moreover, it’s easy to use and don’t have a complex interface like some other cross-platform tools I’ve seen.

7. Sencha

Sencha: Easy Mobile App Development Tool (Source: Google Images)

With Sencha you will get all the modern Java and JavaScript frameworks that help you build your web apps easily for any device. It provides you 115+ fully supported and test UI components that you can easily integrate into your apps. It is one of the most comprehensive tools to perform end-to-end testing of apps on all the platforms.

In addition, Sencha provides you with the “Themer” to create reusable themes by customizing themes built on iOS, Ext JS, ExtAngular, and ExtReact. Sencha offers a data visualization table that makes it easier for you to track your app information. This also makes it possible for you to organize your app content and how your content is displayed on the browser, device, and screen size.

8. Unity3D

Unity3D: Open source Web App Development Tool ( Source: Google image)

This cross-platform app development tool is so popular because of its graphics quality that is absolutely incredible. It’s so easy to use this tool and you can use it for more than just a mobile app. With Unity3D tool you can export your app or games to 17 platforms that include — iOS, Android, Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, Linux, Web, and Wii.

Unity3d can also be used to track user analytics and share your app on social networks. You can also connect with the network of Unity3D developers called Unity Connect to find help and get your questions answered if you’re having tech issues with coding or something else.

9. 5App

5App: iOS and Android App Development Tool ( Source: Google image)

5App is a unique tool designed specifically for businesses into learning, HR consulting, and firms that want to organize and deliver resources to their employees or to the right people at the right time.

5Apps uses HTML5 and JavaScript for coding of apps and emphasis on the security of app data. The tool allows you to quickly create relevant content to support your employees’ learning and performance.

The finished app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices, so you can choose accordingly as per your company’s needs.

Final Thoughts

Today, businesses face tough competition and their main focus is on the target audience. That’s why businesses need to take advantage of cross-platform app development tools as possible.

In my list of top 7 cross-platform mobile development tools, you can find a tool that can manage all of your mobile app development needs. This isn’t always easy to choose the best development tool because of so many options available on the market. So refer to my list of top cross-platform app development tools to build your mobile app.

Article by Amyra Sheldon from hackernoon.com

Hop Onto The E-Commerce Train, Its Not Too Late!

Hop Onto The E-Commerce Train, Its Not Too Late!

Hop Onto The E-Commerce Train, Its Not Too Late!

This year has been a great year for e-commerce. It has been a year of acquisitions and launches. One of the biggest thing that happened in e-commerce this year is the launch of Noon.com by Emaar Properties chairman Mohammed Alabbar on the October 1.

What is Noon.com? Noon is the Middle East’s homegrown competitor against e-commerce giant Amazon. Noon also took over Souq.com, who is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the region beginning of 2017.

In light of this prolific growth, Communicate has spoken with agencies who are working with current e-commerce players to figure out their role in this new wold order.

Then and Now

The media director of Starcom, Anna Woloszczenko said “e-commerce in MENA owes its growth to four flagship regional markets, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt for varying reasons across markets, ranging from sheer population size and potential, to broadband infrastructure, to record digital penetration levels.”

According to a study that has been done by the Global WenIndex (GWI), the region is still very much behind compared to the global benchmarks. Studies has also shown that, 75% of people purchased at least a product online in the previous month globally. While this number was only 56% in KSA and 66% in the UAE.

What’s Trending

The strategic planner director of MEC, Marie Abiad, said that while she was working on a travel brief, “we noticed that, surprisingly, in the region, people don’t spend as much time to book flights and hotels as they do in other parts of the world.”

I normally takes consumers around 30 to 40 days from searching before making a booking. On the other hand in the region, it takes  to 20 days.

But according to Stanislas Brunais who is the senior director at OMD says that the lead time and conversion is longer. It can take up to 30 days sometimes. However, booking that are made in the GCC tend to be quicker and done in a maximum of three to four days.

Brunais also added, “consideration happens a lot on mobile and conversion is more skewed toward desktop, either because the mobile experience is bad or because people are more inclined to share their personal details on desktop.”

Because mobile devices play a huge role in many peoples lives today it is also part of the customer journey, especially when it comes to the consideration phase. It is extremely important that e-commerce players track their audiences across their devices.

Of course there is always the issue of trust. According to a report by PwC, 62% of the Middle East e-commerce consumers are worried about being hacked on their mobile devices and risk personal information being stolen.

What Sells?

When it comes to regional e-commerce companies, Souq and Noon are two of the biggest players and it is not fair to leave out the travel industry and service providers. If a timeline was created and put together, travel will be the first, followed by fashion, then transport, then local and international brands such as Sephora or Chalhoub, said Brunais.

Wise Money

According to local media reports, football has been reducing in the UAE this is because the Middle East (UAE and KSA) in particular are strongly driven by the mall culture. Hmmm.. so does this mean that it would make sense that retailers incest in an e-commerce platform?

This is an industry in which clients need a lot of education on, Rodriguez said. Businesses who have a good understanding of the importance of an online store and are ready to take the step might have another question in their mind: should we invest and build our own platform or be a part of a market place?

According to Brunais the answer is clear. He says that brands need to be present everywhere because users are where the data lies. “And the only way to do it is to have your own website but, if you rely only on marketplaces to sell your product, you will never get that data,” he says.

Shop Talk

Brands today should know how to position their selves whether it be through meta tags and descriptions or content based tab takeovers and offers. Pure advertising on just your e-commerce sites are however quite restricted to direct buys and traditional formats. Rodriguez thinks that this is due to the e-commerce sites wanting control of who gets to advertise on their site and also being able to charge them at a high price.

What Lies Ahead

Obviously there are great opportunities for both local and regional players to up their online game. A report by KMPG for 2017 shows that, an astounding 58% of online purchases in the UAE were imported. This just goes to show that the UAE customers are willing to shop online. They just prefer to shop from global e-commerce stores.

Also, e-commerce is receiving major help form a governmental level as well. The Arab Federation of e-commerce was created with a goal of helping the industry grow from $20 billion in 2017 to 200$ billion beyond 2020.

 

 

 

Voice Commerce: The Future Of E-Commerce

Voice Commerce: The Future Of E-Commerce

Voice Commerce: The Future Of E-Commerce

Voice commerce? Will it work? Many of us still remain skeptical over this futuristic idea of retail. There are limitations when it comes to anything voice activated, like Cortana and Siri have showed. But of course as we move forward with the years, so does technology. There has been improvements made to the voice activation technology that has hinted big changes are in the near future. Voice commerce will definitely effect customers interaction with retail.

The Rise Of Voice Commerce

Voice Commerce: The Future Of E-Commerce Dish Television Provider Alexa

At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, there were quite a number of Alexa-powered devices which definitely shows how people are adapting to voice commerce. Guess what? All guest who attended the event were also gifted a LG smart refrigerator that allows you to order food items using Alexa. Even big car companies such as Ford and Volkswagen have jumped on to the voice commerce wagon and installed AI systems into their vehicles. This makes it much easier for drivers to drive and shop at the same time! How convenient and not to mention safe!  Satellite television provider , Dish has also integrated Alexa into their consoles.  Allowing users to use their voice to pick a movie category, change the channel, look for the latest movies and of course to shop as well!

Amazon has also come out with the Alexa Voice Service which is an API. On top of that, being the e-commerce leaders that they are, they have also introduced the Alexa Skills Set. It allows APIs and tools to easier develop voice-driven abilities for the AI. With the amount of attention Amazon is giving to Alexa clearly shows that the e-commerce giant is betting on voice commerce to blow up in the e-commerce world in the years to come.

What Voice Commerce Can Mean To Retailers

Voice Commerce: The Future Of E-Commerce Starbucks Voice Control, Virtual Assistant

Voice commerce will be a benefit to both users and retailers. Technology will definitely streamline and improve customer experience. With technology nowadays, people can check the availability of a product or order/pay for their coffee from Starbucks with just a click on their smart devices. With voice commerce up and coming, soon there will be no need for clicks.

Voice commerce can also improve on a more personalize shopping experience, as businesses can collect and use data more efficiently with customer interaction. This possibility was proven through using the Adobe prototype. With Alexa integrated into the application, it could quickly recognize the user and ask particular questions about their stay and preferences so Alexa could then give them customized information, promotions and recommendations.

In addition, not only will this help customers receive a more personalized experience but it will also help business collect specific data on its customers. Companies can then use this data to come up with clever and effective product and marketing strategies.

The Future Of E-Commerce

Voice Commerce: The Future Of E-Commerce Cortana (Microsoft) and Alexa (Amazon)

Today, voice-activated virtual assistants are present in most of the devices and while their functions often overlap, they have their own isolated and defined ecosystems. However, the collaboration of Cortana (Microsoft) and Alexa (Amazon) will be something to be excited about. With the collaboration of these two giants, there will definitely be a huge impact on the future of e-commerce.

The collaboration between Microsoft and Amazon will allow Cortana and Alexa to talk to one another! This will be giving Windows 10 users the capacity to access Alexa’s skills by giving voice commands to Cortana. While on the other hand, Alexa will be able to assist Amazon Echo users to keep them on top of appointments and reminders that Cortana has gathered.

This collaboration will also allow the two AIs to combine their specific capabilities to further enhance voice-control purchases. Both AIs have attributes that can complement one another to make this one of the best collaborations in the voice commerce sector. Cortana is great at finding and securing user information while Alexa has defined skills that can be used in specific cases. The conclusion is that, Cortana can be used to look for a specific product online while Alexa will be able to organize the ordering.

Voice commerce technology is gaining ground and can open great opportunities to both user and businesses. With the collaboration of the two different virtual assistants voice-controlled commerce isn’t far off.

 

Google Contacts App Now Available On Android

Google Contacts App Now Available On Android

 

Google Contacts App Now Available On Android

Guess what?! Google’s contacts app is now officially available on all Android phones! Before this, the only way you would be able to obtain the Google contacts app was to buy a Pixel, Nexus or Android One phone. All the Google fans out there you no longer have to look for alternative apps to fill in that blank space in your phone anymore. Android phones which are running on 5.0 Lollipop or newer will be able to download the app from the Play Store. If you’re not a fan of your current contact list app, download the new Google Contacts and give it a shot! You might just have found the best Contacts app ever.

google contacts available for download in the play store

The new app will be very helpful to users who have more than one Google account, it will allow users to switch between them easily. The Google Contacts app also gives you a gateway between your phone and the web. The web version has a very similar design and feature set. Not to mention, the app ties closely with apps like Facebook too. A great feature the app has compared to others is that it has a feature that suggests contact info and can also merge duplicates. Download the app to try it out and if you don’t, stick to the contacts app that came with your phone.

 

Article originally written by Jon Fingas and Poster on endadget on the 14/8/2017

Asos Adds A Search-By-Photo Function To Its App

Asos Adds A Search-By-Photo Function To Its App

Asos Adds A Search-By-Photo Function To Its App

 

The tech world never fails to amaze and surprise! Asos has recently launched its search-by-photo function on its latest iOS app update. The update will allow the iOS users to take a photo of a fashion piece or accessory with their camera and upload in an existing outfit picture or screenshot from Instagram from their device’s camera roll. The Asos app will then show them items that are similar to whatever they are trying to find.

Asos has also reported that this feature will be available on their Android app soon! So to all the Android users, have no fear, just patients.

The company has said that 80% of UK traffic for ASOS comes from mobile devices, so does almost 70% of UK orders. It is also reported that each user spends at least 80 minutes per month on average in the app.

Asos has tested the feature on a few fashion pieces the company carries and has reported that it works well. The company has also said that the function will not necessarily find a perfect match. As there are only 85,000 searchable products in Asos’ index. However, the function will at least pull up a product similar sorts of patterns to the picture the customer has uploaded. So the customer will end up with the same fashion feel.

With this new addition to the app, Asos aims to drive sales of its stock by greasing the clothes discovery pipeline (searching using text can sometimes be quite tedious). It is also to encourage a bit of serendipity in the shopping experience. Asos has been around since 2000 and has been a long time player in the ecommerce space.

Over the past 5 years or so, there have been quite a number of startups who have tried to build fast and convenient visual search engines. They often target the fashion industry.

There are many tech platforms who have also recently started showing more interest to visual search too. They see a potential to combine the vast quantity of visual data they hold with recent developments in deep learning/AI technology that is helping realize the potential of computer version.

Pinterest has recently launched a camera-based feature that can turn a real world object (e.g a mug) into Pinterest results (e.g a cup of coffee). Another example is eBay, the ecommerce platform also has its own ecommerce- focused image search in the works due to launch this fall. Isn’t that cool? At this rate we won’t be needing keyboards anymore soon.

 

Article originally by TechCrunch on the 10th August 2017. Written by Natasha Lomas.

 

Apple Removes VPN Services From App Store In China, Making It Harder To Circumvent Online Censors

Apple Removes VPN Services From App Store In China, Making It Harder To Circumvent Online Censors

Apple Inc. has removed dozens of virtual private network services from its App Store in China, dealing a blow to Internet users there hoping to evade censorship to reach a host of banned sites, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Providers of such tools, called VPNs, say the technology giant bowed to government pressure when it pulled down a reported 60 services that tunnel through China’s so-called Great Firewall to access sites and applications deemed a threat to authorities such as Instagram, the New York Times and many Google properties.

“We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts,” said VPN provider ExpressVPN in a blog post Saturday, the day the apps were taken down. “ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties.”

The move comes as China tightens restrictions on both Internet users and technology companies — a broader strategy to consolidate President Xi Jinping’s power and counter foreign influence. The recent crackdown could also be timed to coincide with the 19th party congress next month. China typically enhances security and government control during times of political sensitivity. This month, access to Facebook’s WhatsApp service was disrupted.

“The crackdowns come in waves,” said Bill Bullock, chief executive of WiTopia, a U.S.-based VPN provider. “It usually happens over national holidays or [political] events. They’ll flex their muscles to show they have control and then it typically subsides after a while.”

VPNs provide access to blocked sites by allowing users to mask their web browsing through an unblocked server outside the Great Firewall. Outside China, the software is commonly used as a layer of security.

It’s unclear how many of China’s more than 700 million Internet users have accessed a VPN, many of which are provided by companies overseas. Experts had long considered VPN usage largely restricted to the educated elite, expatriates and foreign businesspeople who need the software to work with the outside world. So long as the tool wasn’t adopted en masse, authorities had little to fear.

But in January, China required VPN providers to register and obtain government approval in order to operate. Apple said it had no choice but to remove all VPNs that did not comply with this law.

Sunday Yokubaitis, president of Golden Frog, provider of the VyprVPN app, said in a blog post Friday that he received a message from Apple that his app would be removed from the China App Store because it contained illegal content.

“Golden Frog’s core mission is to fight for a free and open Internet experience for users around the world, so we will file an appeal with Apple — but I am not hopeful,” Yokubaitis wrote. “When it comes to their App Store Apple is the judge, jury and executor, and now it appears the Chinese government is Apple’s overlord.”

This is not the first time Apple has acquiesced to authorities in China, the company’s second-biggest market after the U.S. It has pulled apps from its China app store that mention the Dalai Lama and ethnic Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer. Apple also removed the New York Times app this year and disabled its news app in China in 2015.

Earlier this month, Apple said it would build its first data center in China to speed up cloud services for customers and comply with new cybersecurity laws requiring foreign firms to store digital information on China-based servers. Apple says the government will have no backdoor access to the data center.

Unlike in the U.S. where Apple can counter government policy on immigration or climate change, China provides little room for dissent. Thanks to the success of its iPhone, Apple is one of the only foreign technology companies to have flourished in China, a country that’s championing the idea of Internet sovereignty in lieu of a free and open global Web. It’s a strategy embraced by other autocratic regimes such as Russia, which revealed Sunday that it had passed a law banning VPNs.

Whether Apple has enough leverage to defy China’s authoritarian government is open for debate. On one hand, the company indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of factory workers and its mere presence provides China with international cachet. On the other, China’s ruling Communist Party considers social stability and its control of information paramount to remaining in power.

Advocates of Internet freedom say the effects of Apple’s VPN removal won’t be known until after the congress is complete.

“It’s possible Apple has made the calculation that if they capitulate now they’ll get the VPNs back up later,” said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was highly critical of Apple’s removal of the New York Times app. “However, we cannot be sure if Apple is taking them down permanently. If they are, I will be the first to person to rake them over the coals.”

For some Chinese Internet users, a complete ban on VPNs would be devastating.

Mindy Zhang, an editor at a travel magazine in Beijing said she needed to scale the Great Firewall for work. She usually uses a VPN she downloaded for free, but that no longer works. She now pays for another service that hasn’t been shutdown.

“I think if the government is planning to completely shutdown the VPN services and block us…that would be catastrophic and hopeless for a certain amount of liberal young Chinese if not all Chinese citizens,” said Zhang, 25. “I will keep my fingers crossed that day never happens.”

This article first appeared on the Los Angeles Times on 31st July 2017 by writer David Pierson.