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How to Build Apps for Mobile Devices and Become an Appreneur
The mobile app is the fastest growing area of software development, and many people are profiting from the app revolution - find out how to get started!
These days, the speed of adoption of new technology has led to some interesting effects for would-be developers. For example, in App Empire by Chad Mureta, a new kind of business owner is revealed - the Appreneur.
Mureta uses his book to tell his story, and how he is able to travel the world on revenue generated by his various apps. Whether you buy into this or not, what is clear is that the means of creating apps is moving into the mainstream, meaning that almost anyone with an idea can become a computer software publisher, and has the potential to make some serious money.
The Instant Online App Builder
Now, don't be fooled by the heading. There are many tools that purport to enable you to build your own app in minutes. With names like AppsBuilder, and iBuildApp, all these services really do is let you customize a set of templates designed to let you provide a way for customers to contact you.
Other sites, such as MyAppBuilder, extend the idea of templates with additional features that provide behavior beyond simple buttons and screens. AppBreeder goes a step further, providing gadgets that can be inserted into the app, and allow everything from playing rich media to programming simple games and handling location-based information.
These are all fine, but they're restrictive for anyone who wants to create a truly new and unique iPhone, Android, or Blackberry App. To do that, some programming is required.
Building Your Own App
There are a few open source platforms that beginners can use for free to help them develop their first apps. The three most powerful are probably:
- RhoMobile - Uses RhoElements to maintain portability across platforms (no longer 100% free);
- Appcelerator - free to try, but there are fees for advanced users.
To get up and running fast, PhoneGap is probably the best starting point, but programming is a resource intensive occupation at the best of times. For most entrepreneurs, the thrill is in the conception, management and marketing of their big idea.
Outsourcing the App Building Process
It still pays to know about programming, but by outsourcing the actual programming process, you can steal back some precious hours to apply your talents elsewhere. The first kind of outsourcing is to use a service such as MEDL's AppIncubator.
Here, the app can be designed online, and the flow described as part of a submission to the talented team at MEDL, who will evaluate the potential. If they like the idea, they will build the app and share the revenue.
The key benefit of using this is that they may well spot a great idea, and develop something that, using their experience in selling apps online, more closely matches the market's expectations. After all, with a share of the revenue, they will want to succeed as well.
For those who need complete control, pure outsourcing is the way to go. The drawback is that you will get exactly what you ask for, in the best case, and what the developer thinks you wanted, in the worst.
One of the best ways to find an outsourcing partner is through vWorker, formerly RentACoder, but there are others.
What is clear, is that in order to be able to communicate effectively with programmers, and get the anticipated result, whilst paying a realistic price, it pays to understand the fundamentals of programming, and some basic software development processes.