To make app development more accessible, Minneapolis‘ Mobile On Services BuildAnApp provides novices with simple templates for use by businesses and organizations. The template works on several platforms including the iPhone, Blackberry, as well as Windows Mobile.
The company plans to add platforms like Google‘s Android, Nokia, Symbian, and Palm. Furthermore, the firm will introduce API (application programming interfaces) to bring in content on the Web or in other databases. And customers will be able to integrate their apps with online services such as Facebook, Twitter, and OpenTable.
One challenge involved in developing an app is determining the platform. Computerworld reports that BuildAnApp ameliorates this dilemma with proprietary software that enables the app to be delivered on three of the most influential smartphone platforms.
BuildAnApp has 16 basic templates, including one titled “other” that allows for a wider range of page types selected from other templates. Computerworld says “the company is also developing a ‘pro’ version of the service for skilled developers creating more sophisticated applications.”
The company’s focus is to ease development for smaller businesses. The user picks a template, chooses typical types of pages and populates the app with information. Once finished, the developer can keep the app private by requiring a password.
Because the program is in beta, customers have a free 30-day trial, after which time they can pay $7.99 for a one-time content or app update or pay $14.99 per month to make unlimited updates. Customers can take it one step further by paying $59.99 for unlimited updates for six months. BuildAnApp will also submit the developed app to Apple’s App Store for $19.99, which includes resubmissions in the event that the app is rejected.
Computerworld mentioned an interesting analogy: “Analysts liken the emergence of a service such as BuildAnApp to the evolution of Web development from pure HTML coding to easy-to-use design services such as GeoCities and Blogger.”
A small business could use a mobile website but apps have advantages. For instance, consumers can access and use the information even when out of range of their wireless networks; an app layout may not only look better than a mobile website, it may also be easier and more logical to use; and apps generally run faster because they operate locally.