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Hickie

General App software.

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does anyone know any free software for building mobile Apps.

 

i want to make a small app for my motorbike club which allows members to log on and purchase an entry to be able to attend an event. which will then send their details to my database.

 

Thanks in advance for any info.

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When it comes down to it you will end up using XCode for iOS and probably Android Studio for Android.

 

A buddy of mine is doing a school project using ReactJS.. you are able to rather easily design your app once and it will work on both without coding changes.  I haven't used it a whole lot but it might be right up your alley.

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I've used a range of tools, from native to hybrid development, for both iOS and Android. I would suggest using a hybrid solution that allows cross platform.


As @jcsnider said, you may have to install Xcode and/or Android Studio depending on what platform you want to build for, even when building for hybrid apps. In most cases (all of the cases ive had) you will need to have a Mac to be able to build for iOS.

 

The hybrid solutions (such as React) are very popular and somewhat easy to use due to being web-based.


If you want to create an app from scratch, you can try Cordova: https://cordova.apache.org/
If you'd rather have some kind of UI already implemented, I suggest Ionic (which is built ontop of Cordova): https://ionicframework.com/framework

Both are free. (I've never used nor needed Ionic Pro, which is the paid services they advertise)
 

Theres other solution that I havent entirely tried that are worth mentioning, that i havent had the pleasure to use yet:
https://reactjs.org/
https://facebook.github.io/react-native/

https://flutter.io/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/visualstudio/cross-platform/cross-platform-mobile-development-in-visual-studio?view=vs-2017

 

Theres no "right" solution, but overall my suggest will probably be Ionic until I find a solution thats better then Ionic. TBH, id love to try flutter and it looks very promising, and I may love it most.


I don't want to bother suggesting native development because it's not pratical to develop for multiple platforms.
But for native, I suggest the following:
iOS: https://developer.apple.com/xcode/ (only way to natively code for iOS)
Android: https://developer.android.com/studio/
(Windows phones are dead to me!)

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It really depends on what you're aiming to do, and which programming language you know, but don't think you can learn from scratch and master a mobile development technology in days/month.

As I'm working in mobile development, I can say that you're left with 2, maybe 3 options :

 

As @Khaikaa said, Xamarin Forms might suit your needs. You work with C#, and can create one app for about every mobile plateform (yes, even windows phones) by "coding once".

If you know a bit of HTML + CSS, then Cordova might be a good option for you. I haven't worked with it much, but it seems pretty simple to use.

The last option is Flutter. It's pretty new, use Dart as programming language, but the development process is very different of what we are used to. So, pick that up only if you're not pleased by Xamarin Forms or Cordova.

 

I highly encourage you not to pick react-native: there is not enought components, too much troubles and hassle! 

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Couple of things I feel like I should add:

 

1.  Apple very much likes getting their 30% take of all in-app purchases. I’m guessing Google is the same way. I think if your app is going to allow purchases then they will require that you use their systems so they can get their cut which really hurts your bottom line. 

 

2.  It doesn’t sound like your project is going to be very involved. You might find it to be much easier to do a mobile friendly/responsive website instead — and in that case your users don’t have to install anything on their phones and can use a computer if they so desire. 

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I just had a chance to spend a couple hours with Flutter and its very impressive. The Dart language is very odd to me and will take a good amount of time figuring out how to use Dart and Widgets, but I can tell Google put a lot of thought into Dart and Flutter. I will definitely be giving Flutter another try when I can. I'm mainly impressed with the small amount of code needed, build times, hot reloading, and allowing the use of VS Code (my favorite editor).

But as others have said, find a method you are most familiar with already. If you are familiar with web development, try creating a web app and then you can even port it to mobile with little effort via Cordova. If you are familiar with C#, then give Xamarin a try.

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