Android Apps – No Coding Development?

04 Sep

For anyone wanting to create their own Android app, the options can seem bewildering. Options range from so called No-Coding app makers to the standard Google Android Java approach.

Most of us tend to pick the easiest options, and this can be fine for many tasks. However when creating software it is usually  best to consider the options because they can have long term implications. Choosing the wrong option can waste both your time and your money.

There are basically two quite different approaches to creating Android apps:-

  1. For those comfortable with programming – Eclipse Java and the Android SDK.
  2. For those new to programming – No-Coding Template based app makers.

HAC is in the middle ground as it offers an easy to understand coding language and visual designer.

There are also tools like App Inventor that make programming easy with their coloured blocks/segments although they are harder to use for larger projects.

Code – just instructions

Code is just a list of instructions that tells the computer how to carry out a task.

There is no need to fear coding and if one follows some basic steps then the coding will be easier.

So if you try to break the task into smaller pieces it can be easier to design and create the code.

Perhaps the reason so many people try the No-Coding approach is because the Java approach and its Object Orientated aspects has a tough learning curve. HAC tries to make coding easier as each HAC English-like instruction executes a number of often complex Java instructions so hiding much of the complexity from the coder.

No-Coding Approach

The No-Coding aproach is very attractive and can produce some impressive looking apps.

Such app makers work by allowing the creator to select a template for a particular task and then personalise or tune the template to their needs. Usually the template changes are mainly to do with their appearance and content but not with functionality. Changing functionality generally needs code changes.

To make an app that way is very simple. Select the template, modify the template and click the build app button. The built app will then be emailed to you after 10 minutes or will be available to download.

However, what about unsupported functionality? For instance, suppose the template can do a task once but you need it to do the task several times and each time process the data before displaying it. In this case you would need to learn some HTML/Javascript. Unfortunately HTML/Javascript are both limited in the functionality they can provide and have limitations in updating displays and handling user feedback. This might not be a problem for your app but its wise to check the web site’s forum posts to see how they implement the functions your app will need.

If you intend to charge money for your app then you might try to deter piracy by some kind of registration scheme using name/address and a serial number. If you are lucky then the app maker might provide this functionality otherwise you will need to code your own scheme.

Where is the Code?

Generally, the code will reside on their No-Coding web server and will be innaccessible inside the template. Although any custom code you made such as HTML and Javascript could be saved onto your own computer.

Being able to see the code can be important if you want to understand how it works, improve it or sell it to someone else.

Of course, if you are happy with the standard template then the issue of code does not arise

Who Owns Your App?

The issue of who actually owns your app and its code can be very important.

Ownership of the app can be a grey area as some No-Coding sites say you are only granted non-exclusive rights to your creation. They explain that this is because of the way their template works inside the app’s runtime engine and that the templates are used by others.

There is also the issue of will the app look like your app. That is, will it display you as creator or will it display the No-Coding website’s name.

If you want to own your app then make sure you read their agreement and are happy with it.

Subscription Issues

With traditional fixed term licensed software, when the license expires the software keeps on working but cannot be updated. Therefore the owner can keep on developing their apps.

With a No-Coding app maker, what happens when your Subscription expires? Is your app locked or can you still access it, see its details or export it? Also will you still be able to modify or rebuild your app?

Is there a limit of how many apps you can make with the subscription or are there extra charges?

Its worthwhile reading their FAQ to see what the subscription offers.

HAC Advantages

Although No-Coding app makers can produce some excellent results they are limited by the number of available templates. With time they will get even better as more templates and functionality are added. However, if you need something special and their template system doesn’t support it, then generally you will have to learn HTML/Javascript and incorporate it into the template.

Comparing HAC to No-Coding app makers:-

  1. Your HAC license lasts forever – no subscriptions.
  2. Security, as your projects and code are stored on your own computer.
  3. Having your own source code puts you in control.
  4. Code is infinitely more flexible than template systems.
  5. To make money, you probably need unique ideas – not templates.

In summary, check out what the No-Coding maker offers and you might find that they offer just what you need.

Bear in mind that HAC doesn’t offer full Android functionality so No-Coding could be the route to go.

Finally, don’t be afraid of coding – its just telling a computer how to carry out a task.


One response to “Android Apps – No Coding Development?

  1. App dev

    13/09/2012 at 4:24 am

    I am trying to find some good developer tools for iphone / android / smartfone. And not just a dev tool kit I also need the translator to convert to iphone / android / smartfone. I am interested in making apps for all new phone models. If anyone is interested in dev projects hit me up please. I have an idea about developing a cellphone app that will upload video instantly to a website with password for secure viewing at a later time even if the cellphone is confiscated.


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