Best Mobile App Development Tools in 2021 [Native + Cross-platform]

Developing a successful mobile app obviously requires effort, and on the other end gives you fruitful results as well. According to Statista, global mobile app revenue will reach 935.2 million by 2023.

worldwide mobile app revenue

Image Source: Statista

You might have an app idea that you want to make successful. However, you might have faced these questions:

  • How to develop a mobile app without coding?
  • Which platforms are used to develop native mobile apps?
  • Which are the best no-code platforms to develop a native or cross-platform mobile app?
  • When should you choose a native mobile app building tool?
  • When should you choose a cross-platform app-building tool?

As a leading custom mobile application development company in Canada, we have in-house Android and iOS mobile app developers. We met some of these senior developers, asked them about the app development tools we are using currently, and the best app development tools in the market. We curated all the answers and wrote this guide so that you can learn about the best mobile app development tools available in the market.

We have divided this guide into three main sections, native app development tools, cross-platform app development tools, and no-code app development tools. If you are a mobile app developer or an entrepreneur, this post will help you to select the best app development tools.

Native Mobile App Development Tools

Here’s the list of best native mobile app building tools:

LogoNameFree TrialPricing
xcode logoXcodeNoFree
appCode logoAppCode30 days$19.90/month
android studio logoAndroid StudioNoFree
intelliJ-idea-logoIntelliJ IDEA30 days$49.9/month
  1. Xcode

  2. Xcode is a freely available integrated development environment (IDE). It is used to develop software for macOS operating system platforms, such as iOS, iPad, watchOS, and tvOS. Basically, it is a tool for developers to write code and compile applications that can be used on Apple’s different devices and operations systems.

    xcode

    Image Source: Xcode

    Why Choose Xcode?

    • To develop apps on the iOS platform, Xcode is the only official supported tool by Apple.
    • Xcode provides reliable debugging tools for developers to solve the problem in a faster way.
    • It also has an in-built project management tool to manage your project assets and code files properly.

    Core Features of Xcode

    • Basic and advanced editor
    • In-built Interface builder
    • Statics analytic
    • Graphical debugger
    • Powerful LLVM open-source compiler
    • XCTest APIs

    Now, let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using Xcode for iOS development

    AdvantagesLimitations
    Easy to use UINot suitable for distributed teamwork
    Provides best-level of code completionXcode can only work on the Apple OS system
    Xcode’s simulator lets you test apps easilyXcode lacks behind in providing features like refactoring tools and static code analysis
  3. AppCode

  4. AppCode is built by Jetbrains and specifically designed to develop iOS applications. It is an IDE like Xcode used to develop iOS and macOS apps. AppCode enables developers to build, test, and enhance the codes efficiently by saving time for development. On top of that, AppCode supports multiple development languages to create the applications.

    appcode

    Image Source: AppCode

    Why Choose AppCode?

    • AppCode offers customization by allowing developers to use stylish fonts, colours, and code style, powerful features.
    • It helps developers to write flawless code by providing recommendations with code completion of mobile apps.
    • It provides a refactoring process option to change the internal software program without affecting the external behaviour by improving the non-functional property of the application.

    Core Features of AppCode

    • Supports different programming languages
    • In-built tools to test, analyze, and debug
    • Intelligent code assistance
    • Supports Xcode
    • Integrations
    • Refactoring

    Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using AppCode for creating iOS native apps.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    It has powerful search and replaces featureThere are some chances when developers had to kill the process due to recurring flashes in the application during development
    Write better native app development codesIt lacks behind in storyboards which makes developers use Xcode parallelly to work on the graphics part
    It has a better refactoring option to help developers while app developmentAppCode heavily relies on the Xcode and cannot run without Xcode
  5. Android Studio

  6. Android Studio is the official IDE used for Google’s Android operating system. This is the perfect mobile app development tool to create Android apps. It is built by Google and helps developers to create application interfaces using drag and drop features. This tool reduces the time required by developers to create Android applications.

    android studio

    Image Source: Android Studio

    Why Choose Android Studio?

    • It is an advanced code editor which auto-completes the code written in Java and Kotlin.
    • Google offers many SDK and gradles to develop to meet the requirements of the latest Android system and build functionality.
    • It has an easy-to-use interface and provides a drag and drop feature to place most elements of the UI.
    • Android Studio offers rich tips on finding the bugs in the codes and helps to debug the errors faster.

    What are the Core Features of Android Studio?

    • Intelligent code editor to ease the work.
    • Android emulator.
    • Tools and frameworks for testing.
    • Visual layout editor.
    • Supports Java and Kotlin.
    • Code templates.
    • Compatible to develop all devices app.
    AdvantagesLimitations
    It is an open-source platformUI is not beginner-friendly
    Provides plugins and features for specific needsIt cannot be used on low configurational PCs
    Provides drag and drop GUI to ease the work of developer on designing UI of the appThe emulator takes time to get started and works slow
  7. IntelliJ IDEA

  8. IntelliJ IDEA is an Integrated Development Environment tool to enhance the productivity of developers. It supports JVM languages and helps developers in static code analysis, refactorings, and code completion. A cross-platform IDE allows developers to create an application for different platforms like macOS, Windows, and Linux.

    intellij idea

    Image Source: IntelliJ IDEA

    Additionally, it also supports various programming languages like Kotlin, Java, Scala, and Groovy, which you can use to create mobile apps and application software. IntelliJ IDEA provides the use of Android SDK and other tools, libraries, and frameworks to create mobile apps.

    Why Choose IntelliJ IDEA?

    • It is a complete tool for developers who are looking to manage all the tasks in one place from design to refactoring
    • Due to its feature-rich and cross-platform development facility for developers
    • For businesses who want to develop applications for multiple platforms, IntelliJ IDEA becomes a better choice due to its support.

    What are the Core Features of IntelliJ IDEA?

    • Smart code completion
    • Advanced chain code completion
    • Data flow analysis of code
    • Refactoring of cross-language
    • Duplicate detection
    • Shortcuts of everything to ease work of developers
    • Test runner tools and Decompiler

    Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Android app development using IntelliJ IDEA.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    This IDE has a good code analyzerThis IDE uses a lot of computer resources
    Support multiple platform developmentDevelopers face the issue of understanding error message
    It is better and easier to use than Eclipse IDE

    Want to Develop an Native Mobile Application For Your Business?

    Our experienced mobile app developers will help you to build Android or iOS mobile apps.

Free Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools

Here’s the list of cross-platform mobile app-building tools.

LogoNamePercentage of Developers UsingApp Examples
flutter logoFlutter42%
  • ByteDance
  • Google Ads
  • Reflectly
react native logoReact Native38%
  • Facebook Analytics
  • Instagram
  • UberEats
Ionic logoIonic16%
  • DayClocks
  • Sanvello
  • Sworkit
apache-cordova-logoCordova16%
  • Pacifica
  • Fanreact
  • JustWatch
  1. Flutter

  2. Flutter is a mobile development software toolkit developed by Google. According to a report by Statista, Flutter is the most used cross-platform mobile framework used by around 42% of global developers to create a single codebase application for different platforms.

    flutter

    Image Source: Flutter

    The programming language used to create Flutter is Dart and Google claims it as the client-optimized and suitable language for building fast mobile apps. On top of that, Flutter performs well in comparison to other cross-platform mobile app development frameworks due to Dart’s native compilers and its own set of features.

    Why Choose Flutter?

    • When you want to launch your app in the market within a short period.
    • If you are looking to develop an application with high performance across multiple platforms.
    • If you want to launch your app in the market with reusable code to scale your application in the future.

    What are the Core Features of Flutter?

    • Hot reloading
    • Share the UI code and UI itself
    • 395 widgets’ library
    • Native features and SDK
    • Flutter Fix
    • Flutter DevTools

    Let’s check the advantages and disadvantages of Flutter for creating mobile applications.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    Write your code once and deploy it anywhereFlutter has the inability to access the native APIs directly from Dart
    It allows you to carry out rapid mobile app developmentThere are complaints from developers it lacks behind in providing instantly code push without releasing the new version of the app
    It becomes easier for you to release updates for iOS and Android at one timeFlutter is not a stable framework it’s continuously updating and changing
  3. React Native

  4. React Native is an open-source JavaScript library used to develop native-based mobile apps. It is based on the React library developed by Facebook. You can call it a native mobile app development tool and allows you to create pure native apps without compromising the user’s experience.

    react native

    Image Source: React Native

    React Native is the second most popular framework among developers to create cross-platform native mobile apps. Similar to Flutter, it allows you to create a single codebase application that can run on multiple platforms.

    Why Choose React Native?

    • If you are limited on budget and want to develop a native mobile application
    • It becomes the best choice for cross-platform app development due to its low cost of development and maintenance.

    What are the Core Features of React Native?

    • Code once and run anywhere
    • Capacitor
    • Hot Reload
    • Open Source
    • Native modules
    • Faster app development

    Let’s check the advantages and disadvantages of React-Native for creating mobile applications.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    React Native has reusable components for faster developmentPerformance is low compared to native mobile apps
    It enables your development team to create applications fasterIt has been experienced by developers they face debugging React Native harder
    Many popular apps are using React Native like Bloomberg, Walmart, and SalesforceIntroducing new features in React Native takes time by Facebook
  5. Ionic

  6. Ionic is an open-source, free SDK used for cross-platform app development to make native mobile applications. It is simply used to develop hybrid mobile applications, web applications, and progressive web apps. Native vs hybrid mobile applications have major differences in performance and user experience.

    ionic

    Image Source: Ionic

    This mobile app development framework supports web development languages like HTML, CSS, Angular, and Typescript and enables you to create mobile apps. Ionic has UI components and minimum DOM manipulation that helps in adding the functionality used in native mobile applications.

    Why Choose Ionic?

    • If you want to create your cross-platform app with customization using different buttons, colour schemes, and menus.
    • If you’re looking to build a cross-platform mobile app that requires multiple third-party integrations.
    • If your mobile application specifically relies on the device’s core functionalities. Then Cordova plugins in Ionic become the best choice for you.

    What are the Core Features of Ionic?

    • Ready to use UI components
    • It is a free and open-source platform
    • Live reload
    • Code once and run anywhere
    • Ionic Command Line Interface

    Let’s check the advantages and disadvantages of Ionic for creating mobile applications.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    It provides different native compatible front-end UI componentsIonic mobile apps code can’t easily access native applications functionalities
    Using Ionic you get the advantage of building native apps with web flexibilityYou can’t develop a high-end graphical-based mobile application using Ionic
    Ionic is the most preferable choice for rapid prototyping of applications due to its ready-to-use componentsIonic uses Live Reload instead of Hot Reload which eventually affects in the speed of development
  7. Cordova

  8. Apache Cordova formerly known as PhoneGap is an open-source hybrid mobile app development framework. It uses standard web development technologies HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

    cordova

    Image Source: Cordova

    The advantage of using this framework is creating a single codebase application that works on all mobile devices. Since Cordova works using JavaScript you aren’t required to learn any platform-specific language to develop hybrid mobile apps.

    Why Choose Cordova?

    • When your project requirement is converting your web application into a mobile application.
    • When you want to cover a large audience of different platforms like Windows, iOS, Android, and Blackberry.
    • Your application specifically doesn’t rely on the native functionalities.

    What are the Core Features of Cordova?

    • Cordova Command-Line Interface
    • Plugins APIs
    • Android WebViews
    • iOS WebViews
    • App templates

    Now, let’s check the advantages and disadvantages of Cordova for creating mobile applications.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    With Cordova, you can build an app for multiple platformsIt has been observed by developers that plugins have compatibility issues with different platforms and devices
    It has access to all libraries of JavaScript to use in your mobile applicationIt is not optimal to use Cordova for large applications that require data and functionality
    Deploy your app in the market fasterCross mobile app browsers have compatibility issues

Looking to Create a Cross-platform Mobile App and Confused on Which Framework to Choose?

Discuss your queries with our experienced mobile app developers. Get your free consultation.

No-Code App Development Tools

LogoTool NameRatings and Reviews (Capterra)Plans and Pricing
app sheet logoAppSheet4.8 out of 5.0
  • Team – $600/month
  • Business – $2000/month
  • Enterprise – Custom
appy pie logoAppy Pie4.6 out of 5.0
  • Standard – $9.99/month
  • Professional – $29/month
  • Business – $79/month
  • Enterprise – $199/month
quick base logoQuickbase4.5 out of 5.0
  • Starter – $5/month
  • Core – $10/month
  • Enterprise Standard- Custom
  • Enterprise Plus – Custom
  1. AppSheet

  2. AppSheet is one of the top mobile app tools to develop the application without coding a single line. It allows you to create a custom mobile application for your business using its basic app editor. According to the Forrester report, AppSheet is the leader in the low-code development platforms for business persons.

    appsheet

    Image Source: AppSheet

    Furthermore, you can even create mobile applications with powerful technologies like Machine Learning. Not only this, but you can also develop desktop applications using this platform. Ultimately, it is a complete tool to go from idea to develop a complete solution.

    Why Choose AppSheet?

    • If you want to create mobile and desktop versions of your application.
    • If you want to create apps without learning to code or writing a single line of code.
    • If you want a mobile app development tool with rich features to integrate into your app.

    What are the Core Features of AppSheet?

    • Basic and advanced editor
    • Track data changes
    • Codeless app development
    • Date import facility
    • Offline access of mobile app
    • Multiple platforms support

    Here are the advantages and disadvantages of AppSheet for creating mobile without writing a single code.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    AppSheet is a one-step solution from ideation to developing a solutionAs the number of tables increases in the application, the performance degrades
    You can make apps for Android and iOS platformsA tier-based pricing structure will ultimately add to the cost of app development
    It is a completely mobile and desktop application development tool for small, medium and enterprise-level businessFor beginners, it takes time to understand how does the platform work
  3. Appy Pie

  4. Appy Pie app development tool to help small and large businesses to create iOS and Android apps. It is a no-code app development platform that allows you to use the drag and drop app feature. Appy Pie is a simple and beginner-friendly platform that enables you to create native mobile apps, cross-platform mobile apps, hybrid mobile apps, and progressive web applications.

    appy pie

    Image Source: Appy Pie

    Why Choose Appy Pie?

    • If you don’t want to make complex enterprise-level mobile applications then Appy Pie is the right choice for you.
    • If you want to make an application for a small business within a limited timeframe.
    • If you’re a non-technical person and want to create an application by yourself.

    What are the Core Features of Appy Pie?

    • Drag and drop app builder
    • Push notifications
    • Integration with CRM systems
    • Analytics integration
    • Chatbots
    • Augmented Reality
    • API integrations
    • Data importing and exporting
    • Deployment functionality
    • Debugging module

    Let’s check the advantages and disadvantages of Appy Pie for creating mobile applications.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    You can develop applications for multiple platformsAdvanced features are available in the paid version
    It is a feature-rich tool to create applications for different businesses like e-Commerce, restaurants, and small businesses.A few of customers have complained about the customer support
    This platform is easy-to-use and beginner-friendlyWithout opting the subscription you won’t be able to publish your app on Google Play Store and Apple App Store
  5. Quick Base

  6. Quickbase is an application development tool that enables you to create a mobile app for business requirements. It provides enterprise-level solutions that include workflow automation, real-time insights, task management, and team collaboration.

    quick base

    Image Source: Quick Base

    Why Choose Quick Base?

    • If you are looking for a solution from which you can keep track of your projects.
    • If you are looking to develop a mobile application to streamline your business processes.

    What are the Core Features of Quick Base?

    • No-code development
    • Integration with third-party app
    • Workflow automation
    • Pre-builts templates
    • Drag and drop interface
    • Form builder
    • Integrations with databases

    Let’s check the advantages and disadvantages of Quickbase for creating mobile applications.

    AdvantagesLimitations
    It easier and affordable option to create applications based on cloud platformQuickbase use interface is not flexible
    Quickbase is easy to learn for developing applicationsLack of API integrations that increase the work of developers while integration app with third-party service
    It provides you option scale your application as organizations growsA few of users have faced lack in the customer support

Furthermore, we have described the frequently asked questions section that will help you to make decisions and clear your doubts if you have any.

FAQ About Mobile App Development Tools

  1. How to select the best app development tools for your project?

  2. To identify the mobile app development tools the process is divided into four steps:

    Step 1: Identify your business requirements.
    Step 2: Choose a platform native or cross-platform.
    Step 3: Make a decision as per your investing budget.
    Step 4: Take a trial or demo of the tool and finalize it.

  3. What are the best app development tools for creating Android applications?

  4. The best mobile app development tools for making Android applications based on functionalities, features, and support. Here are the two tools:

    • Android Studio – Officially backed by Google
    • IntelliJ IDEA – Developed by a well-known app development company JetBrains
  5. Which is the best app development tool for creating iOS applications?

  6. The ideal mobile app development tool for making iOS applications based on functionalities, features, and support. Here’s the name of the tool.

    • Xcode – Officially backed by Apple

Conclusion

Selecting suitable mobile app development tools from the different options available is tough.

You’ve to pick the right tool because it will give you advantages like

  • Speed of development,
  • Codebase,
  • Cost-saving,
  • Scalability

It helps in making your app successful in the market. Therefore, the above list of mobile app development tools will help you to choose a reliable option.

Being a premier mobile app development company in Canada, we offer a free consultation to all our clients who fill the following form. We have experience in developing different mobile applications solutions, such as an on-demand photographer app, Youtube intro maker app, an expense tracker app. To get your free consultation, fill the following form.

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Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel
Designation: Co-founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies

Mr. Rakesh Patel is a Founder and CEO of Space-O Canada. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.