Developer tools from Apple and Microsoft significantly outperformed those from Google for Android, according to a Strategy Analytics survey.

Apple’s Xcode beat Android Studio on all measures on which it was evaluated – including the quality of the editor, language support and test features. Microsoft also had a strong showing, “perhaps providing it with an opportunity to better court developers to the Windows platform”, the analyst firm said.

David MacQueen, executive director of apps research for Strategy Analytics, noted: “The developer environments that Apple, Google and Microsoft provide can have an enormous impact on the quality of apps produced.”

Apple’s strong showing was “no surprise”, as it is the market leader in the apps space. Strengths of Xcode are its accessibility, with Swift aimed at coding novices, and graphical interface for rapid prototyping, as well as its gaming capabilities.

Microsoft’s Visual Studio closes the gap by being the only environment which can be used to code for multiple platforms and also the strength of its editing and testing suite.

Android Studio, the least mature product, is “lacking in all 6 key areas”. However, Google “seems to acknowledge this with planned updates” to include a graphical user interface following the acquisition of Pixate, and better testing tools also planned for the near future.

David Kerr, SVP at Strategy Analytics, said: “Artists, media and marketing professionals are all getting more involved in app design and development. Apple and Microsoft deserve plaudits for enabling them to have a direct input into app design; Google needs to catch up to where the apps market is heading.”

Tools comparison