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Ever since the first iPhone was launched way back in 2007, the iOS platform has become a haven of sorts for developers with dreams in their eyes and an app idea distinct from the rest. We have all heard numerous success stories of small, indie developers reaping rich rewards for developing an exceptional iOS app. From Angry Birds to Crossy Road and Downwell, there are numerous apps which have managed to capture the mass attention, and were developed by first-time indie developers.
So what sets such successful apps apart from the rest? In our honest opinion, it's all about the quality of the code and the value it adds to your customer's lives. Everyone can code using Xcode, but it's the real tools of the trade and add-ons which can help you add that extra oomph to your app.
As you must already know, iOS developers use programming languages such as Swift and Objective-C, within a development environment called Xcode. iOS developers can use the below mentioned tools in addition to the ones mentioned above to build unique, functional, and high-quality apps, while ensuring the overall effectiveness of the app does not take a hit.
The iOS design philosophy is what sets the whole platform apart from the rest. When creating an iOS app, many developers often stumble during the design phase, thereby not being able to suitably capture their viewers' attention. The following best iOS development tools can be of great help in such cases -
Cocoa Controls: This is a huge, daily-updating repository of components (code) which you can use in your iOS apps. It's great tool to find code, which you need not write on your own, and can help you adhere closely to Apple's design philosophy
Mocks: Are you not sure know your app should look?
Mocks helps you create visual mockups easily, and comes with a bunch of default controls to make the task easier for the developer
Glyphish: A virtual treasure trove of high-quality icons, Glyphish provides readymade icons, so can get away without designing icons yourself! This helps you focus on your strengths, while the design aspect is relegated to just choosing what suits your app the best and then applying it.
Skala Preview: You don't have to wait anymore to view your designs on an actual device now!
With Skala preview, a remote screen viewer for iOS, you can quickly check how your designs will look on the real screen.
More often than not, you would like to build extra functionalities within your app to allow server to share data with your app, send push notifications, etc. In such cases, following tools can provide an easy-to-deploy drop-in solution, such as -
Helios: An open-source framework, Helios provides essential backend services for iOS apps, including push notification support, in-app purchases, Apple Passbook integration, etc.
Kinvey: One of the more popular backend service tools, Kinvey offers a whole gamut of services including cloud storage, support for notifications, and more importantly, a path breaking innovative feature which leverages Facebook open graph for apps without websites.
Firebase: Firebase offers a holistic approach towards backend infrastructure services, and can power the backend of all your apps, along with providing data storage, static hosting, user authentication, etc. The data is stored as JSON, and syncs with all connected clients in the real-time, while providing social media user authentication features as well.
Parse: An open source offering, Parse provides end-to-end backend-as-a-service for apps. With just a few lines of code and one of their many SDKs, you can save objects in the cloud, while using their "Cloud code" to add custom business logic whenever required.
Using third-party libraries can make your development time that much shorter, while saving you excess costs and hassle. The following libraries can help you develop faster, while maintaining high efficiency -
JSONModel: It is an open-source library which can help you with parsing and initializing model classes with a JSON response from the server. It works best with apps having a complex data model, and which require constant JSON communication with a remote server.
AFNetworking: When it comes to networking, this tool can make your life a lot simpler. Not only it is lightweight and extremely fast, but has a huge community helping it evolve on a daily basis. It is one of the most popular third-party iOS libraries.
Even the most seasoned developers need tools to improve iOS apps, especially when it comes to testing. The following tools make the job of QA and testing much simpler -
Specta: It is a BDD framework which is extremely light-weight as well.
What sets it apart is its ease-of-use, and the ability to be used anytime during testing without having to rely on outside matchers.
Kiwi: A brilliant tool, Kiwi helps developers perform a Rspec-style testing for all iOS apps.
It also comes inbuilt with a robust stubbing and mocking library.
App Beta Testing Tools: Once the testing phase is over, many app developers also prefer to beta test their apps by enlisting the help of a group of people. Beta testing allows you to test your app in the real-world conditions, and some of the best tools for doing so include -
TestFlight: A free tool offered by the Apple developers program, TestFlight is great when you have a small app, and you want to distribute easily and collect feedback for. It also combines useful error reporting features with analytics to offer an unparalleled comprehensive suite of features.
TestFairy: A unique solution for application beta testing, TestFairy can record videos of the exact test case running on the phone, and provide detailed reports of CPU and memory usage, GPS problems, etc. It also automatically creates NSLogs for iOS devices, and allows users to easily share usage feedback by just shaking their phone.
A lot of developers face problems during the app deployment. Be it for test purposes or the final roll-out, proper app deployment cannot be ignored. One of the most important tools for app deployment is -
AppBlade: A successful cross-platform deployment tool, AppBlade helps automate most of the issues associated with deploying apps on the iOS platform. It can automatically collect UDID information from iPhones to ensure that the app is installed without any hitch. Unlike most other deployment tools, it does not require any separate helper application to be installed on the phone as well.
Fastlane: By allowing you to properly define and run your app deployment processes from different environments, you can unify and automate your apps release process. It integrates incredibly well Jenkins, and helps you release new updates for your app at the push of a button.
Hopefully the above article on iOS development tools was able to help you add a few new tools to your arsenal.Interested in knowing more? Read up on this article which details out the most popular mobile application tools and technologies which developers can use to create stunning apps. As most developers would know, toolsets, when used correctly, can help you save not only time and money, but also help you develop better. At Flatworld Solutions, we consider ourselves iOS development specialists. We strive to build iOS apps which actually make a difference to your customers' lives.
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