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By Grace Smith
If you’ve ever wanted to build an app for your business, blog, product or service, but the heavy investment of both time and money put you off, you’re not alone.
The good news is that entering the mobile market no longer necessarily requires thousands of dollars and months of work. There are many mobile platforms available to help you build an app on a budget — quickly, and with no coding knowledge required.
With a small investment, you can create and manage your mobile site or application using one of the platforms listed below, and start reaping the advantages of offering your customers a dedicated mobile experience, including increased awareness, engagement and revenue.
Appery is a cloud-based mobile app builder that you can use to create apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, and includes Apache Cordova (Phone Gap) with access to its built-in components.
Since the builder runs in the cloud, there’s nothing to install or download, and it’s easy to get started quickly. It includes a visual editor using drag and drop components to build the UI. You can connect to any REST API and use it in your app, and instantly add a cloud database and backend to your app if you need to store data.
You can add powerful functionality with the Appery plugin catalog, or create your own custom private plugins to use in your apps. Collaboration is simple, allowing you to share your mobile project with development teams, business users and customers in real time.
Mobile Roadie is an app creator that allows anyone to create and manage their own iOS or Android app. The platform supports all media types, with automatic importing of RSS, Twitter or Google News keywords, and an auto-refreshing fan wall through which users can chat with each other in real time.
You can use the free Mobile Roadie Connect app to preview your app accurately, just as your users would on their devices. The app also guides you through the submission process, with Mobile Roadie checking the quality and appropriateness of your content.
You can push content straight to your app and pull content from it to your own site or blog. The API is language agnostic, so you can pull data in a variety of formats, including XML, JSON, PHP, CSV and HTML. You can easily craft a custom look and feel for your app and apply that to all platforms, and use the suite of marketing tools once your app is launched.
TheAppBuilder provides a suite of apps to suit employees, clients, events and brochures, with two different approaches available. You can build the app using the online toolkit, and either the training provided or TheAppBuilder itself will work with you to define and build the structure of the app and populate it with initial content.
Using the dedicated AppLibrary, you can provide your users with a window into multiple apps and even customize it with your own branding. You can protect both public and private apps with usernames and passwords, and distribute them via the app store, making use of TheAppBuilder’s Active Directory integration to enable login with existing credentials and user groups.
Updating the structure and content of your apps is easy, even after you go live, because you can make unlimited updates and publish on multiple mobile platforms in one click. The platform supports native iPhone, iPad and Android, with updates going live within 60 seconds of submitting a change.
AppMachine is an easy-to-use platform to build and design professional native apps for both iOS and Android. Using the drag-and-drop interface, you can combine different building blocks that offer a variety of features, such as information, photos and video. The building blocks also let you link your app to Facebook, Twitter, or online stores. You can design the app in your own unique style and choose your navigation paths, colors, fonts and icons, taking complete control of layout and watching your progress using the Previewer.
Test your app as you build it and check its progress on your computer, mobile or tablet. Once your app is fully tested and ready to go, you can publish and promote your app, and analyze the user data. AppMachine takes care of everything you need to get your app into Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
GameSalad allows you to create and publish games for a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, HTML5 and OS X. Its drag-and-drop interface allows you to get started quickly, without the need for any programming knowledge.
The game creator features a scene and actor editor, where you spend most of your game creation time, setting up actors in a scene and creating attributes, images, sounds and navigating between actors. The active community forum is a huge plus, with access to help and advice from fellow independent game designers.
GameSalad recently teamed up with Amazon to offer access to development options specifically optimized for the Kindle Fire platform, including drag-and-drop integration with in-app purchase and GameCircle APIs.
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