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Author: Adam Krychek

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

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.