Monday, January 31, 2011

Creating mobile Apps? My thoughts on two helpful environments

I wanted to spend some time over the holidays (It is summer down under) learning to develop Apps. My purpose is to start an App development club at my school, so I needed to find a set of tools with the following features:
  1. Low cost;
  2. A visual environment for the user interface;
  3. An easy(ish) programming language to add functionality;
  4. A clear learning path to take my students and me from beginner to advanced developer; and
  5. A helpful community who are ready to point me in the right direction when I get stuck.


First Environment: RunRev's LiveCode.
Quick Review: This is a brilliant development environment. You can build applications for Mac OS, Windows, Linux and iOS devices. It ticks all the boxes for me, except for point 4. I could not find the clear path. I think that it is a shame, given how good the environment is.

Recommendation: Should you decide to investigate LiveCode, you must join their Facebook page so you can be notified about their regular webcasts.

People to connect with: Mark Schonewille (@xtalkprogrammer) and Obleo (@oab).

Second Environment: Corona SDK
Quick Review: Not a development environment as such, but functionality provided by the guys at Ansca Mobile and a simulator to show you what it all looks like. You can build your app and then distribute it on iOS or Android devices. Corona ticks the boxes apart from point 2. I can definitely see myself teaching my students using Corona. The programming language used is Lua, trendily obscure!

Recommendation: If you're a beginner, take a look at the excellent tutorials on Techority.com.

People to connect with: Peach Pellen (@peachpellen) and Jonathan Beebe (@beebegames)

A final word:  SpriteDeck adds a visual GUI builder to Corona. It looks like a great little tool and I will write about it as soon I get the chance to evaluate it.

Let me know what you think about these, or other, App development environments.

1 comments:

Tim Wicks

said...

Not really on topic, but we are testing out the capacity of iPads in special needs classrooms. You know, apps are really cheap, but as soon as special needs is in the picture, $200 and $300 apps are there!