Top 10 Open Source Mobile Development Tools
The world of app development has evolved significantly over the years. Today, mobile devices have become the most dominant personal computing platform, as they now outnumber desktops in the ratio of 5:1.
Since many people have moved their computing tasks to mobile, the demand for mobile applications has increased significantly. As a result, the open-source world has risen to the challenge of providing innovative and cost-efficient tools for mobile application development.
The sheer number of open-source mobile development tools in the world today can make the process of selecting a suitable one overwhelming. That is why we created this article that streamlines and reviews the top ten open-source development tools in the world today.
What Are Open-Source Tools?
Open-Source software refers to programs that are licensed to include the source code.
In essence, the developer can view the code, modify it and redistribute it under the same open-source license. The freedom to view and change the code offers several benefits explained below:
No Vendor Lock-In: Unlike proprietary technology, the developer is not exposed to the risk of getting locked into a vendor platform while using open-source technology.
Better Security: As a community-driven platform, development on opensource goes through extensive review and vetting by the community. So, bugs are discovered and fixed quickly.
Cost-Efficiency: Most opensource projects offer community versions that is available for free. Moreover, the costs of the enterprise versions are considerably lower compared to proprietary platforms.
Enhances Customization: Having access to the source code gives developers the freedom to customize the application to add features that serve their unique needs.
Reliability: About 90% of the internet is powered by open-source code. Such programs contain superior code and are more reliable than their proprietary counterparts.
In the next section of this article, we shall take a quick overview of the top ten open-source mobile development tools in the world today.
Top 10 Open Source Mobile Development Tools
Here are the tools for mobile development.
Back4app is a Backend as a Service platform built on several open-source technologies.
This platform has earned its reputation as one of the largest BaaS hosting services in the world. In addition, Back4app offers developers infrastructure and tools that enhance the development of mobile applications.
Other open-source technologies used by this platform include Postgres, GraphQL API, REST API, alongside several open-source SDK and Libraries.
Developers on Back4app can access a powerful dashboard for performing various app development and management tasks. It provides features for creating classes, managing data, view app analytics, schedule tasks, send push notifications, and many more.
Back4app is excellent for creating desktop, web, mobile, and IoT applications. The suite of open-source tools on the platforms covers the entire procedure of developing, publishing, and managing mobile applications.
That is why Back4app emerged as one of the top open-source mobile development tools today.
Hasura takes the form of a GraphQL Engine that interfaces a client application to accept GraphQL requests and forward the same to a Postgres database.
In addition, it offers users powerful UI tools such as API explorer for making GraphQL queries and a Postgres database management UI. It is a stable, high-performance, and lightweight framework that offers a practical means of integrating GraphQL APIs on the Postgres database.
Hasura is commonly used to build apps that use the Postgres database and for migrating Postgres-powered web and mobile apps. A few of Hasura’s features include realtime queries, merging remote schemas, integrating seamlessly with the existing Postgres database, and much more.
Hasura is available at Heroku and can also be deployed to cloud hosting platforms like Google Cloud, Azure, or AWS.
React Native is the most widely used cross-platform development framework globally. The framework that started as a Facebook in-house tool for creating native app components was made opensource in 2015.
Since then, React Native has amassed a vibrant community of developers that drives its continued development. As a result, it has a reputation for powering some of the top mobile apps globally, including Facebook, Instagram, and a host of others.
Moreover, apps built with this technology offer a native-like experience and can be deployed to Android and iOS platforms. React Native is available for free under the open-source MIT license.
Flutter is a Google-owned framework released under the open-source BSD license and touted as an all-inclusive solution for developing cross-platform native UIs.
In essence, this technology can be used to create apps for the web, Android, and iOS. In fact, the development roadmap shows that future versions will be capable of building desktop apps.
This framework uses the Dart programming language exclusively. It incorporates the Cupertino and Material libraries that allows it to implement native UI designs for iOS and Android, respectively.
Some of the unique features of Flutter include hot-reloading that reflects the changes in the source code without the need for a new compilation. Flutter enjoys the support of a vibrant community and extensive third-party plugins that add value to the primary library functions.
This AngularJS-based framework offers tools for creating a unique and friendly user interface for apps. Thanks to the library of pre-designed components, beautiful themes, typography, and other interactive elements.
Xamarin started as a software development firm in 2011 that aims to provide developers with the tools for building mobile applications. Microsoft bought over Xamarin in 2016 and integrated the platform into the .Net Framework.
The .Net integration gives Xamarin the power to leverage SDK and the C# code to integrate native functions into iOS and Android Apps. As such, Xamarin apps have a native look and offer a native user experience.
The Xamarin open-source project has contributions from thousands of companies and developers around the world. It is released under the MIT license and allows commercial use.
XCode is a powerful tool for developing programs for Apple products such as Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch.
It combines several app development open-source tools into a single and robust Integrated Development Environment. Instead of manually connecting several tools with scripts, XCode compiles utilities such as build system, compiler, and text editor into a single application package.
XCode provides an all-inclusive solution for application development that handles tasks right from developing apps to testing, debugging, and App store submission.
The UI interface of XCode gives access to all the tools for app development in a single window. Simply select a task, and the interface loads all the required tools and resources in other sections of the XCode UI. This feature allows the user to focus on the current task by showing only relevant XCode utilities.
Visual Studio Code, commonly known as VSCode is the open-source version of the famous Visual Studio from Microsoft. This free version works on multiple operating systems such as Linux, Mac, and Windows.
In addition, developers can enjoy useful coding tools such as Git version control, an editor that highlights syntax and offer code snippets, diversified themes, and many more. All these features make the VSCode popular among developers.
Over the last decade, Parse has grown extensively to become the most popular backend framework for mobile application development.
The fact that Parse provides several tools and resources that expedite application development procedures makes it popular among developers. Today, the platform has one of the largest open-source development community globally.
Parse supports technologies like REST, GraphQL Java, React Native, Ionic, Swift, Xamarin, among many others. Some of it’s features include support for databases, data modeling, push notifications, email notifications, social media integration, and many other features. With all these functions in place, developers can focus on creating outstanding frontend features for their mobile app.
The Parse framework is an open-source project available for free download online. It can be deployed on private and commercial cloud services. Better still, you can use purpose-built Parse hosting services like Back4app.
Git is arguably the most popular opensource version control system (VCS) in the world today created by Linus Torvalds, the inventor of Linux. It is very easy to get Git up and running with million of users globally.
Git is essential for development teams that works together on the same project. It allows them to collaborate without conflicting codes. It also simplifies the procedures for reverting to a previous version of the code when the need arises.
Git controls the procedure for rolling our new versions of a code (Version Control System) by taking the records of changes made to the code. It allows developers to create code branches and merges when without complications.
By storing codes on the remote Git repository and the local programmer computer, Git serves as a distributed version control system, ensuring codes remains secure on the repository even after losing a local version.
A Final Note
This article has streamlined the top 10 mobile development tools in the world today. You can take the time to check out these platforms and select the one that works best for your mobile application development project.
What Are Open-Source Tools?
In essence, the developer can view the code, modify it and redistribute it under the same open-source license.
What the advantages of Open-Source tools?
– No lock-in
– Low costs
What are the best Open-Source mobile development tools?
– React Native
– Visual Studio