There have been a number of app development platforms launched recently that are aimed at allowing organisations to build apps without the need for the skills normally associated with building native software.
For example, Indigo Rose’s Andromo App Maker for Android allows developers to build apps by selecting from a menu of features they want to include such as RSS feeds, interactive maps, Flickr galleries and music players. Andromo App Maker has spawned more than 15,000 Android apps since being launched in September last year.
Meanwhile Bitzio’s Everyone Apps platform for iOS and Android has also proved popular, with around 80 apps built using the technology after just two days of it being on limited release.
Another recent arrival is Magmito for Business, which US operator Sprint had just started to offer its small and medium-sized business customers. This platform works across iOS, Android and BlackBerry, as well a feature phones.
At first glance, one would think that app developers may be thinking that if these platforms take off, their livelihoods could be put at risk. Businesses will turn to easy-to-use tools to build apps, and people without specialist programming knowledge could knock out the next Angry Birds.
But developers would be wrong to be too concerned, as the very nature of these ‘programming for beginners’ development platforms means they’re missing two key elements that go into apps built from the ground up: innovation and originality. These platforms are aimed at a particular market that wants to use apps for a relatively basic purpose and aren’t looking to break new ground.
Simply speaking, apps developed on these platforms won’t make you stop and think “how did they do that?” And this is where the existing community of developers comes in.
The in-depth technical knowledge that developers possess means apps they build can be almost anything they want them to be. A blank screen to be populated with code by skilled programmers offers myriad possibilities. It’s unimaginable that games like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja, could have been created in any other way.
Developers should be safe in the knowledge that their hard work, knowledge and innovative thinking will always shine through. These simplified development platforms will democratise the business of app development to an extent, but they’re never going to replace the talented developer in the grand scheme of things.
The workaday and simple apps developed using the likes of Andromo, Bitzio and Magmito are fine, but unlike the millions of talented developers out there, they’re not going change the world.
The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members