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Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Nowadays Xamarin has been continuing to become more and more popular among developers and business units. This is for sure as Xamarin framework allows to create apps quickly by enabling them to code in C# which can be shared across multiple platforms such as iOS and Android. So let’s define some key features Xamarin has and try to understand what makes it so popular and why it is worth to be used.

As it is said on developer.xamarin.com site the Xamarin platform consists of a number of elements that allow you to develop applications for iOS and Android:

C# language – Allows you to use a familiar syntax and sophisticated features like Generics, Linq and the Parallel Task Library.
Mono .NET framework – Provides a cross-platform implementation of the extensive features in Microsoft’s .NET framework.
Compiler – Depending on the platform, produces a native app (eg. iOS) or an integrated .NET application and runtime (eg. Android). The compiler also performs many optimizations for mobile deployment such as linking away un-used code.
IDE tools – The Xamarin Studio IDE and the Xamarin plug-in for Visual Studio allow you to create, build and deploy Xamarin projects.

In addition, because the underlying language is C# with the .NET framework, projects can be structured to share code that can also be deployed to Windows Phone.

Xamarin is the great tool for cross-platform development and delivers high performance compiled code with full access to all the native APIs so you can create native apps with device-specific experiences. Anything you can do in Objective-C or Java, can be done in C# with Xamarin. But at the same time Xamarin is not the same as mobile web/PhoneGap/flash or the other cross platform tools. As it is said Applications built in Xamarin keep and save all the Java features on Android ObjectiveC from iOS.

What features make Xamarin a number one choice for mobile development?

1/ If you’re already familiar with .Net or C#, you would be able to start using Xamarin immediately. It supplies full C# implementation and accurate implementation of the .NET class libraries. In case you are not well experienced developer anyway you will cut down time for learning the basic principles of this framework.
To work successfully on both Android and iOS with Xamarin you just need to learn C# and one core set of classes, while usually they need you be acquainted with two separate programming environments: Java and Objective-C respectively. Anything you can do in Objective-C or Java, can be done in C# with Xamarin.

2/ Using the same C# code base and integrating with SDKs of all of the different operating systems for different OS allow sharing code across multiple platforms so that you are no more in need to write several codes. As a result less code you write less support your app need. The ability to reuse major part of the code cuts the development time mostly in half. That is for sure saves time and money resources to both customers and service providing companies on the app’s multi-channel distribution.

3/ When building apps with Xamarin, developers are able to perform on device processing without creating additional plug-ins. Mobile applications developed with Xamarin, give us a better user experience across various mobile platforms, as these apps are created with standard UI controls. Plus such mobile programs give us a possibility to let platform-specific functionality like iBeacon and Android Fragment becomes a part on the mobile app. Thus, there is no need developing additional plug-ins for device processing.

4/ Xamarin TestCloud allows you to automatically test your iOS and Android apps immediately, on hundreds of devices, offering continuous integration, beautiful reports, test for fragmentation, and object-based UI testing.

5/ Also as it is mentioned by professionals unlike other cross-platform mobile development frameworks, Xamarin is suitable for creating large and complex projects. Since this tool allows developers writing code using only one programming language, companies are able to scale horizontally while not employing additional IT specialist.

Also great advantage is that using Xamarin give us a possibility to focus our efforts on building app features once and then shipping the app. Compare this to the native platform environments where we build the app features once for one platform, then we build them again for the other platform, and then finally we ship. In case of Xamarin we developer one code mostly for three mobile platforms saving time and budget which makes great value for large entities and start-ups.

So to sum up it is definitely the best cross-platform development environment available today and is attracting more and more developers to the community every day. Xamarin is gaining acceptance with large corporations. If you’re looking to develop a cross-platform, native mobile application and are willing to accept some minimal downside, then Xamarin may be just the right tool for you.

So what do you think about Xamarin? Do you use it for mobile-cross platform development? If it is so, can you please let know why do you decide to use it?

Look forward to getting your ideas and comments!

 

Natalia Kononchuk

Natalia Kononchuk
natalia.kononchuk@altabel.com
Skype ID: natalia_kononchuk
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

 

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The new trend for many medical practices is obtaining an EHR (Electronic Health Record) system. While there are many practitioners still using files and travel cards, EHR provides better efficiencies for billing, reimbursements, audits etc. Admittedly, there are more systems then doctors but acquiring an EHR allows better practice efficiencies and perhaps more money for the practice.
In this post we highlighted the most important EHR trends to see unfold this year. Thus, we expect wearables, telemedicine and mobile medicine to continue to advance. They’ll be joined by cloud computing, patient portals and big data.

Telemedicine and wearables plus EHR

The telemedicine market is forecasted to exceed $30 billion in the next five years, as providers increasingly see the need to reach seniors and patients in rural areas. Telemedicine offers tons of value to seniors. It improves care by getting it to remote patients who live far from hospitals. It also enables homebound patients to get high-quality care. It makes care cheaper, and allows seniors to stay at home longer. It benefits providers by making their jobs more flexible. And it also eliminates picking up new illnesses in a clinical care setting.

Wearables’ mass adoption has made store-and-forward telemedicine much easier. Devices like Fitbits automatically collect valuable health data. Store-and-forward telemedicine just means that data goes to a doctor or medical specialist so they can assess it when they have time.

EHRs are going mobile

More and more providers want to provide medical care from their smartphones, and more patients want to access data through mobile devices. Contributing factors to the popularity of mobile devices include their affordability, ease of use and portability (meaning they are easy to carry between patient exams to access electronic patient information). One of the other drivers of mobile technology in healthcare is the availability of myriad apps for smartphones and tablets. For each of the major smartphone operating systems, there is now an app for almost every conceivable healthcare need, ranging from drug dose calculators to fully functioning electronic medical records. Healthcare apps play a pivotal role in changing the utility of mobile devices. They’re transforming smartphones or tablets to medical instruments that capture blood test results, medication information, glucose readings, medical images, enabling physicians and patients to better manage and monitor health information. Healthcare apps are clearly taking on more mainstream health IT functions and have moved beyond sporadic use by early adopters.
From these facts we may conclude that EHRs will offer better mobile design and functionality.

More EHRs will move to the cloud

Start-up costs for EHRs can prove burdensome for some institutions, while cloud-based tools offer minimal start-up costs and can make better use of providers’ current resources. The cloud also enables better continuity of care. Cloud-based software means you can access records from outside the office. It makes mobile access possible. It makes transferring records a snap. And it makes updating software seamless for providers.

In the coming year, more and more EHRs will offer cloud services.

More EHRs will provide patient portals

Though patient portal usage got off to a slow start in 2013, in last two years it grew in popularity.

While about half of physicians offer patient portals right now, almost another fifth of them plan to offer one in the next 12 months. In a 2015 survey of more than 11,000 patients, 237 physicians, and nine payer organizations representing 47 million lives, almost a third of patients said they were interested in using a patient portal to engage with their physician, track their medical history and receive educational materials and patient support.

More providers will both offer and promote patient portals. Some may even have patients use the portals during office visits to begin getting their data into the system. And patients will start to see their value. Educating patients on how and why to use portals will be the key to getting them to use it.

Big data will reveal more connections

Personalized medicine enabled by big data is an emerging trend in healthcare. Innovation will continue apace in 2016.

Personalized medicine focuses on analyzing a person’s genome, environmental, social, biometrical, and religious influencers, and determining a treatment for the individual based on that data. It’s about moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to instead creating micro-buckets of patients by analyzing their medical records and genome sequences, and treating patients based on the research and records of how other patients in similar situations have reacted. Big data is working to identify the behaviors, risk factors, and early indicators of disease so doctors can prevent it more effectively.

Big data is only the first step. That data must be cleaned and structured so it can reveal patterns in factors that influence outcomes.

Conclusion

Moving forward, technology will continue to transform the healthcare industry as it plays a key role in new healthcare delivery models. EMR/EHR, mHealth, telemedicine, and many others identified will continue to increase their footprint in this growing industry. Where do you see Healthcare IT over this year? What EHR trends are you most excited about and what trends did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

 

Svetlana Pozdnyakova

Svetlana Pozdnyakova
svetlana.pozdnyakova@altabel.com 
Skype ID: Svetlana.pozdnyakova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

 

mobile

Can you spend a day without your smartphone? I can hardly imagine it.
Could we imagine about 10 years ago that we would use smartphones and tablets every day, everywhere for almost everything: playing games, ordering taxi, watching tv, ordering food, etc? Possibly, not.
The mobile application industry is growing increasingly fast. It`s almost beginning of 2016 and it`s time to speak about top mobile app development trends that will rock this year.

Cloud driven apps will be on top

Cloud is going to play a leading role for a number of mobile apps in 2016. The cloud gives the possibility to sync apps across multiple devices. As the number of people using multiple mobile devices ( smartphones, tablets, wearables) is on the rise, the cloud approach makes it easy for them to access any data from any channel. Also, thanks to the cloud, app developers can retain the small size of mobile apps.
Gartner.com predicts that by 2018 at least 30% of service-centric companies will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud.

Focus on Mobile apps security

We witnessed a great increase in information leaks and hacker attacks in 2015 that affected a lot of organizations from small companies to industry giants and government organizations. Reports just prove this fact, more than 75% of mobile applications would fail basic security tests in 2015.
This is horrible as many mobile applications store sensitive and personal information. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2016, more than 50% of global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.
So security is a key principle mobile developers should focus on in 2016.
IOS has proved itself as the most secure platform. Android has always been claimed as a non-secure platform, however developers paid more attention to security issue in the latest Android versions.

Shift towards enterprise mobile applications

This trend of the year 2015 will continue to boost in 2016.
According to a survey conducted by Vision Mobile in the beginning of 2015 43% of developers working on enterprise apps were making more than $10,000 per month. In comparison, only 19% of the app developers focusing on consumer apps were making a similar income. The percentage of successful enterprise apps developers is double the percentage of consumer apps developers.
So it`s not a secret that mobile apps developers will focus more on enterprise applications development to generate more revenues

Internet of Things / IoT and wearables

We have seen a big increase in usage of wearable devices in 2015 and this trend will continue to boost in 2016 as well. Certainly, IoT is still in its infancy and it`s mostly consumer based at the moment, but it`ll be adopted for commercial as well as industrial use.
Wearable tech devices, such as Google Glass and iWatch, have already created a huge buzz in the market and are becoming more and more popular.
Analysts predict that IoT will be the next big technological breakthrough and more and more people will be connected to “Things” in the nearest future.
It means that mobile developers and entrepreneurs should be prepared for this trend and consider IoT and wearable technology while developing new applications.

Focus on swift programming

Swift, a relatively new programming language from Apple, has already gained quite a substantial popularity. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, claimed that this set of tools was downloaded more than 11 million times in the first month alone. Now, these numbers are bigger.
Swift is designed as both an application language and a systems language and gives the possibility to develop apps for iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS, and so on.
I`m sure we will hear more about Swift in 2016.

Vaster adoption of location based technology/ Beacon

Another great trend for mobile developers is beacon technology.
This technology has already revolutionized the shopping experience and is expected to be adopted by other domains other than retail for its location tracking benefits.

New cross platform tools

With the rise of wearable devices, smart TVs, mobile applications need to suit the requirement of multiple platforms and devices. Cross platform tools may be a good solution. Sencha, Titanium, Unity 3D, Cocos2D, PhoneGap, are already playing a big role in the mobile app development market. In 2016 we may see the emergence of new cross platform development tools.
So, this was a short list of mobile app development trends that will be on their rise in 2016. I`ll be happy to hear you opinion on the future of mobile industry. What trends would you like to add to our list?

 

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Do you remember the first Pong arcades with unsophisticated graphics launched nearly 30 years ago? Since then video games have become an instant hit among youngsters. However the technology is improving at a rapid space and computer graphics are pushing the limits of photorealism. Today scientists and engineers are integrating the graphics from your television and computer screens into real-world environments. This advanced technology is called Augmented Reality or AR for short, which is about overlaying pieces of a virtual world over the real world (in contrast to Virtual Reality (VR) that is about replacing the real world with a virtual one). AR is a beautiful blend of digital and real images enhancing what we see, feel and smell or hear, e.g. you can point your camera at a movie poster and watch its trailer, or you look at the sky and ask for the weather and it gives you that information. So, basically AR comes down to the following three vital questions: where to display, what and how. Let’s find out.

Let me start with the last question: “How?” Below I’m going to itemize five of the numerous AR tools that exist at the moment and that can be used to develop apps for smart-phones, tablets or even smart-glasses.

  1. DroidAR is a free and commercial framework that gives location-based AR functionality to Android apps. For instance, gesture detection or support for static and animated 3-D objects that the user can interact with like clicking on them. Another vivid appliance is marker detection. It’s a part of the functionality offered by DroidAR, however the documentation that exists for the project is under fulfilled. Nevertheless there is a section on the project README file on GitHub that gives an overview of a closed-source version of DroidAR, DroidAR 2. Compared to its open-source fetch it has impressive improvements.
  2. Vuforia is available for Android, iOS and Unity. It has become the industry leading AR platform – with 10s of thousands of apps, and 100s of millions of app installs. The main Vuforia SDK features are multi-target detection and tracking (e.g. images, English text, objects), virtual buttons. There is also a version of the SDK for smart glasses (namely Epson Moverio BT-200, Samsung GearVR, and ODG R-6 and R-7). That is currently open for early access applications from experienced developers.
  3. Wikitude AR SDK is available for Android, iOS, Smartphone, Tablet, Smart Glasses, Cordova, Titanium, Xamarin. Wikitude’s all-in-one AR solution includes image recognition and tracking, 3D model rendering, video overlay, location based AR and so much more.
  4. With the help of AR Browser SDK you can add and remove POIs without refreshing the view, interact with them by touching them or pointing the camera to them and perform activity on them, for instance send SMS or share on Facebook. AR browser SDK is available for Android as well as for iOS. The mail features include 2D POIs, custom callback on clicked POI or on centered POI, video support, great performance and memory management, customized elements: pop up label, radar and radar dots, very simple interface API for developers, start and stop functions to prevent memory or battery starvation and finally check sample code.
  5. Metaio SDK is a perfect tool for developing AR apps on Windows PC, Mac OS and in Unity. You can deploy apps for iOS and Android. Metaio’s functionalities are 2-D image, location tracking, 3-D object, barcode and QR code scanning, continuous visual online and offline search and gesture detection. Moreover, Metaio has also created its own AR. It allows software engineers to develop AR apps using typical web technologies (HTML5, XML, Javascript) and deploy them passim.

Hope I gave a full answer to the question “How?” and now let’s move to the questions “Where? and What?”. The yesteryear AR usage was limited mostly to military applications, which were designed to give helicopter pilots and ship captains more definite methods of acquiring targets and tracking enemy movement. Nowadays, tech companies have an entirely new vision for the opportunities that augmented reality provides, hoping that with advances in computing power and miniaturization, soon the number of people wearing an AR-capable device will compete the same stats we see with smartphone ownership in 2015.

According to the prognosis by 2017 more than 3.5 billion AR applications will be downloaded, 600 billion dollars will be spent in AR technology revenues by 2016 and Compound Annual Growth Rate of global AR market will make up 132%. But if you still can’t figure out where you will be able to use this bleeding-edge technology, I will point out some real ways where people all over the world from different spheres such as medicine, public service and finances will benefit from AR adoption.

  • Digital Marketing. AR use in digital marketing is notably appealing. It’s recognized as an enhanced marketing application, as not only can additional content be put within 2D advertisement, but also can result as interactive, awesome and high viral potential eye-catching tool. Key digital aspects: advergaming, Augmented packaging, interactive consumer products, street marketing and geolocalized apps. As a rule consumers react very positively to amusing and ingenious marketing. Thus the brands become memorable.
  • Customer service. Nobody likes to call to a customer support and listen to the endless scripts recited by a rep. However in the future if you have any problems with setting up TV or the cables cut off, the customer support can come to you. Imagine having a service technician come to your house to fix your washing machine. He’ll point his head-up display at the washer. A camera will capture the model number and then upload it to the corporate cloud. That will prompt a download of schematics and instructions, along with an overlaid virtual-reality view of the machine’s components on his display. So instead of hearing generic instructions, like “Press the red button” and “recheck the port,” someone could walk you through the process and see the things you’re seeing, enabling the customer service rep to point things out in more detailed, visual way and helping problems get solved in a more efficient way.
  • E-commerce and M-commerce. AR can offer a virtual fitting room where clothes can be tried on live. It gives you a chance to browse a virtual catalog of clothes, shop directly within your favorite magazine, or go to a virtual store and avoid the queues. Rosenthal of Goldrun, the creator of an AR pop-up shop for Airwalk in a New York City park says:” Augmented reality is going to radically change the shape of commerce.”  AR can turn such public places as parks and airports into shopping centers. It’s a perfect way to kill time and a clever way for business owners to economize money on commercial real estate.) However even real shops could benefit from integrating AR into their design. They could display their items that will be on shelves soon, or items that aren’t sold at that location – and soon you’ll even be able to feel these items with the help of your phone. It’s obvious for everyone that augmented reality could juice up window displays and cut costs.
  • Urban Exploration. Are you in a new neighborhood or in an unknown city? You can throw away your guidebook and turn on AR-application with real time display of enhanced maps. Acting as a GPS, Augmented Reality provides classified and suggestive information that you are looking for whether it’s a restaurant, bar, grocery store or museum and library, etc. And another awesome way to explore your city – or any city -is to overlay 3D maps that show what the city looked like at any point in history. If you’re walking down Broadway, you would be able to “see” horse-drawn carriages parked on the street in front of old parlors. It’d be as if you were walking in a history book.
  • Educational resources. Seeing the potential for AG in educational sphere isn’t hard. Education will be emphasized by Augmented Reality systems and can be used to re-create historical events, activate regular books into 3D images, or even present structures of the galaxy; all superimposed in real-time. So when viewed through the lens of smartphones one can see the picture of an engine animated in an engineering textbook or a working 3D model of a beating heart that you can walk around of rotate by hand.
  • Rescue and Safety operations. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid emergencies in our life. Rescuers, firefighters and policemen very often find themselves in a chaotic situation where they need to make sense of the environment and navigate a place they’ve never been. Wouldn’t it be great if they could see a virtual map of the site or have “X-ray vision” to see sewage or power lines?

While some years ago there was a vast debate about its foreseen impact on society, today AR applications are becoming mainstream. There are apps that allow a museum exhibit to tell its own story, that help you decide which furniture looks better in your bedroom, that bring a tiger you just drew on a piece of paper into life, or that warn you about all the signs you ignored while you were driving. These are examples of already available apps that provide some sort of AR functionality. The one thing is for sure is that smartphone population is rising, thus the level of processing power as well. As long as the resulting augmented content remains engaging and innovative, consumers will certainly adopt augmented reality as a new and fun twist to conventional marketing and services.

Besides I would like to notice that the new era of true digital immersion is waiting just over the next horizon and now is a perfect time to implement AR technologies into your business. It is now up to you – developers, designers, entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, investors, artists, marketers, hackers, journalists, and more – to bring the augmented reality experience to consumers in a fun, productive – and lucrative way. If you have already tried it, you are welcome to share your experience in comments. If not, it will be interesting to know what predictions you have re AR. What is your opinion? Please, feel free to share your thought below.

Thank you for your attention:)

P.S. By the way, did u know that in 1901 author L.Frank Baum first mentioned electronic display spectacles overlaying data onto real life, in 1975 television weather reports were the 1st application of AR on TV, in 1989 the term “virtual reality” was coined by Jaron Laanier, today AR is already used by Boeing, BMW and Volkswagen on assembly lines and in the nearest future AR contact lenses will be implemented to the United States Military.

 

Anastasiya Zakharchuk

Anastasiya Zakharchuk
anastasiya.presnetsova@altabel.com
Skype ID: azakharchuk1
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

iBeacon is the name used for Apple’s technology that provides location-based services and information to mobile applications on both Android and iOS devices using Bluetooth Low Energy.

The beacons themselves are small transmitters that can be placed in stores or specific points of interest, such as museums or airports. Apps installed on mobile devices “listen” for the signal and respond accordingly when the phone comes within range.

iBeacon changes shoppers into byers

First of all, iBeacon technology opens great possibilities to retailers. Some of American and European big retailers already take advantage of iBeacon: Walmart, Macy’s, Tesco, etc

Using iBeacon, customers can find and watch videos, receive coupons and other discounts in real time, depending on where they are in a store.

IBeacon also helps to collect analytical info about customers` experience. Businesses and retailers now have a direct way to find out what customers are doing, exactly where in the store they are doing it, what they are looking at, how long they are looking at it, and maybe what they decided to buy at the last second instead.

At last, iBeacon can bring popularity to contactless payment. iBeacons ability to track a specific phone, linked to an Apple ID and user account opens the door for an Apple-based payment system.

iBeacon is not only about retail. The iBeacon ecosystem has the potential to change other industries. Here are some examples.

Event Industry: conferences and concerts, museums and exhibitions.

Here are a few ways iBeacons could help to manage events and improve the attendee experience:

-Attendee check-in. Using the event’s app, attendees check themselves in and avoid line-ups.

-Navigation. iBeacons provide devices with extremely accurate location services. In large conference facilities, museums and exhibitions, iBeacons can be used to power hyper-accurate floor maps.

-Networking. Using iBeacons, attendees can network through an opt-in feature in the event’s app, allowing them to discover and message other attendees. With Linkedin integration, attendees can get a detailed look at who is around them and decide who they would like to connect with. iBeacons were successfully used at Cannes Lions festival for networking with attendees.

-Promotions and advertisements. Instead of distributing brochures or physical promotional materials, an exhibitor can send targeted promotions to attract attendees to their stand.

-Gamification. Integrating gamification into events will provide new ways to engage and stimulate attendees. For example, iBeacons could be used for social games to drive networking, venue tours tailored to indiviual interests, or scavenger hunts for exclusive information and prizes.

Home automation systems

As we get closer to the coming smart home revolution, it’s clear that smartphones and tablets are going to be the devices that we use to control our lamps, lights, thermostats, sprinklers, security systems and entertainment systems. Beacons will detect when you arrive home and as you pull into the driveway , the lights will come on. The door is unlocked for you as you approach itJ

Restaurants

Enabled with touch devices, waiters don’t have to rush to the kitchen in order to dispatch orders. In other cases, clients can make orders directly on tablets available at the table. With iBeacons, the app automatically knows which table the waiter is at. It can display the client name (with eventual dinning/preferences history) and automatically associate orders with tables without requiring waiters to manually select a table number.

Education

The iBeacon platform offers a wide range of applications that can be applied on an educational context. From simple games that require students to move around, explore and find things to more scientifc or technical experiments in the classroom. Moreover teachers can track who from the students are present and send notifications to the parents whose children are away.

IBeacon is a new emerging technology that may change the world we live in. Things move quickly in any field in which a technology innovation has backing and breadth like this. This short list is only an introduction to the possibilities of iBeacon and where this technology can be applied.

And what do you think of iBeacon? Will it change our lives in the near future?

I`ll be happy to know your thoughts.
 

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Being a mobile application developer, you should understand how important it is to be up-to-date on all the latest application development tools and technologies that have been brought into the world of mobile application development. Let’s have a look today at some essential ones that will be useful for Android developers. Of course the following list is not completed, so please feel free to add your own best tools in the comments below.

Fluid UI

Fluid UI is a browser-based wire framing and prototyping tool developed by Fluid Software and used to design mobile touch interfaces. It helps to rapidly create prototypes by arranging pre-built widgets into a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor during the requirements stage of app development. It enables iteration and collaboration between user and client. Fluid UI is built with the latest web technologies HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Open source libraries are also integrated into the tool – primarily jQuery. About 300,000 designers in 204 countries are using Fluid UI to visualize the basic flow of their mobile apps. With Fluid UI, you may choose from more than 3,500 mobile, desktop, tablet and wearable widgets or upload your own images to get a pixel-perfect appearance for your Android application. Recently, Fluid UI has come up with its Enterprise edition that has been built keeping the large business organizations in mind.

Pencil

The main purpose of Pencil is to provide a free and open-source GUI prototyping tool that can be easily installed and used in order to create mockups in popular desktop platforms. It provides various built-in shapes collection for drawing different types of user interface ranging from desktop to mobile platforms. Starting from 2.0.2, Pencil is shipped with Android UI stencils pre-installed. This makes it even easier to start prototyping apps with a simple installation. Popular drawing features are also implemented in Pencil. Available in its current version 2.0.5, Pencil serves extremely helpful for creating stunning mockups for apps targeting different mobile platforms.

Intel XDK

Dedicated to those who deal with HTML5 development, Intel XDK is pre-built into Chrome and lets you streamline the process of developing your Android app very conveniently. You can use Intel XDK to design, test and build HTML5 apps efficiently. Plus, you can take the opportunity of delivering your app on multiple app stores and form factors. Intel XDK is developer-friendly and makes the process of designing, building and testing apps very easy. Built with the aim of cutting down the app development time, Intel XDK supports integration with various third-party plug-ins that work as great tools for in-app purchasing and flawless advertising.

Parse

If you find it horrifying to develop the back-end for your Android application, then Parse is the right tool for you. It comes with different APIs which you can use for such things as storing data as well as setting up the push notifications feature for your Android application. Plus you can add custom JavaScript to your application’s server-side interaction. Whether you’d like to insert lengthy code into the right data path or make simpler the app’s interaction with multiple social networks, Parse will do all this for you.

Appscend

It is a cloud-based app development tool which comes with a wide range of shortcuts that enable you to make your app available for the world. This tool utilizes PHP and an XML markup language for merging the intuitive properties of cloud-based CMS and template-based design system to help you with balancing of the app content. The Appscend UI permits you to add advertisements, followed by uploading the app to Google Play and other popular app stores.

Adobe PhoneGap

If you’d like to create fantastic Android apps using your favorite web technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, then PhoneGap is the perfect tool for you. With PhoneGap, you can easily create mobile apps using the standardized web APIs available for the mobile platforms that you intend to target. The Adobe PhoneGap Enterprise edition enables you to develop Enterprise mobile applications that function brilliantly across multiple channels and platforms.

Genymotion

If you have difficulties starting an emulator and running your Android application, then Genymotion is the right tool for you. It is an Android emulator which comprises a complete set of sensors and features in order to interact with a virtual Android environment. With Genymotion, you can test your Android applications on a wide range of virtual devices for development, test and demonstration purposes. Trusted by over 2,500,000 app developers across the globe, it is fast, simple to install and powerful thanks to user-friendly sensor widgets and interaction features. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems.

Android Debug Bridge (adb)

Android Debug Bridge is a versatile command line tool which lets you communicate with an emulator instance or connected Android-powered device. With it you could upload and download files, access multiple features via the shell available on emulator or device, install and uninstall packages, perform a query for emulator/device instances etc. It is a client-server program that includes three components:

• A client, which runs on your development machine. You can invoke a client from a shell by issuing an adb command. Other Android tools such as the ADT plugin and DDMS also create adb clients.
• A server, which runs as a background process on your development machine. The server manages communication between the client and the adb daemon running on an emulator or device.
• A daemon, which runs as a background process on each emulator or device instance.

LogCat

LogCat serves as the Android logging system which gives you a good tool for viewing and collecting system debug output. You can access it from within Eclipse and Android Debug Bridge. With LogCat it’s possible to easily get useful diagnostic details about different things that have taken place on your logging system. Other than that you can easily let your applications log the debugging and diagnostic details to this tool. What is interesting about LogCat tool is that you can run it as Android Debug Bridge command or directly in the form of a shell prompt which belongs to your connect gadget or the chosen emulator.

AppIconSizes.com

Android application development expects a developer to use a variety of icons, default Android graphics and splash screens. Fortunately, there is AppIconSizes.com which allows you to auto-generate icons and splash images, followed by unzipping and copying them into your Android Studio project. Since AppIconSizes.com does all the processing in JavaScript, you don’t have to worry about your files getting exposed to the public. As a free-to-use website, AppIconSizes.com created icons after taking into account factors like proper resampling, no watermarks, no flash etc. One of the greatest advantages of using AppIconSizes.com is that the files aren’t stored on the web server. This means, different launch images and icons can be created and downloaded in the form of a zip file.

It goes without saying that all the above mentioned Android application development tools offer excellent options to a developer. And what are your favorite ones? Please feel free to comment below ☺

 

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Skype ID: yuliya_tolkach
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

We are often asked about which iOS game engine to use. It is believed that most companies are looking for a free game engine so here is a comparison of the different open source iPhone game engines that actually have apps out there.  Also these game engines now support the iPad.

Sparrow Framework

The Sparrow Framework is a very lightweight 2D game engine created in Objective-C.

It was built from ground up for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. You can easily integrate it with your existing UIKit apps, access all iOS APIs directly and benefit from native performance.

If you have already worked with Adobe Flash or Starling, you will feel right at home: Sparrow uses the same concepts and naming schemes. Even if you’re coming from a different background, you’ll get the hang of it quickly, because everything is designed to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible.

The game framework includes all the necessary features you’d require for creating a basic 2D game such as easy animation, and a sound engine.

Cocos2D IPhone

The Cocos2D iPhone game engine is a port of a game engine originally created in Python and converted to iPhone Objective-C.  As you can tell from the name, Cocos2D is designed for 2D games, that being said, although the engine is in a 2D world, the engine includes a growing collection of high quality 3D special effects.  Cocos2D has also been released on the Mac so you can ease the release on 2 platforms.

Cocos2D is the first engine to check out, while many may be turned off by the engine not supporting a 3d world, if you look at most of the top iPhone games the gameplay is 2D, in fact the iPhone’s touch screen controls can make it difficult to operate in a 3D world.

The engine provides more examples than any of the other engines out there because of the large community.

iSGL3D

iSGL3D (iOS Scene Graph Library) is a 3D framework for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch written in Objective-C, enabling the creativity of developers to flourish in a 3D world without the complexities of OpenGL.

With its rich set of features, iSGL3D provides the necessary tools to develop 3D applications in an incredibly short time frame, even with a minimum of experience in 3D graphics. The principal behind iSGL3D is to make construction and manipulation of 3D scenes as simple as possible for a developer.

With a single line of code you can add a 3D object whether it is a simple primitive, a sprite (or particle) or your own imported asset. Properties on these objects allow you to modify their appearance, position, rotation and more very simply. You can add containers too to group objects and manipulate them together. In a short period of time you can build up a complex 3D scene.

Moai SDK

The Moai SDK is an open source 2D game engine. It designed more for people who know what they’re doing. While it includes the ability to start developing a game immediately from a downloadable binary, it only supports using the FreeGLUT library on the desktop. It is designed in such a way that it expects the developer to be able to create the windowing system themselves.

The main language used with Moai is Lua. Most of the time you shouldn’t need to use C++ to extend the base engine, but the capability to do so is there. The documentation for the Lua codebase is kind of weak however, so you should be ready to do some searching to find out how to use various capabilities. You can create your games with Moai on both Windows (Visual Studio) and Mac (Xcode).  In order to
submit your games to the iOS app store you will need to do so with a Mac.

Oolong Engine

The Oolong Engine is written in C++ with some help from Objective-C. It will help you to create new games and port existing games to the iPhone, the iPod touch and the iPad.

Oolong provides support for a wide variety of features and provides excellent performance.

Haxe

Haxe is a multi-platform language that most notably compiles to SWF and has been used in many Flash games.

Galaxy Game Engine

The Galaxy Game Engine is a very promising engine with an extensive feature set. This is a BSD licensed 3D engine that includes some very useful tools such as a level editor, terrain editor, model viewer, particle editor, and shader IDE.

Sure, we may make this list longer, but let me stop here. The most important thing, which I’d like to notice, is that you should select the engine which fits your project needs and suits your purposes in the best way.

And what do you think? To what engine would you give your preference?

Feel free to share with us your thoughts!

mk

Marina Karabanova
Marina.Karabanova@altabel.com
Skype ID: m.karabanova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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