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Product Management

24 App Development Tools to Help You Work like the Pros

Ezra Siegel  //  February 27, 2014  //  9 min read
The experts on Apptentive’s Mobile Team provide answers to your questions about from between app development to successfully marketing your app. Got a question? Ask it in our comment section below or on Twitter using #MobileTeam. In each post we’ll highlight a different topic where the Mobile Team will share their insight and experience.

This week we asked the Mobile Team:
What are your favorite resources or tools for app development and why?


Chiu-Ki Chan
My go-to resource is appdevwiki.com, a treasure trove for both Android and iOS. It has a great collection of libraries to jump start your app, but also links to design patterns, mobile services, app marketing etc, covering all the different aspects of mobile development.

Chiu-Ki Chan –Square Island

Dan Counsell
Beanstalk and Lighthouse without a doubt. While these tools are not directly for development, we literally couldn’t manage without them. Beanstalk has been our preferred platform for version control since I can remember, mainly due to the fact that we have a mixture of older Subversion projects along with newer Git based projects. Lighthouse on the other hand helps us manage the release roadmap for all our apps, everything from bugs to big feature releases.

Dan Counsell – DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
In the discovery phase we use communication tools like Basecamp and Hipchat to keep our teams in sync. We wireframe apps with Adobe Illustrator and push pixels with Photoshop. As of late we’ve started prototyping animations in Quartz Composer and on device.

During distribution we use a continuous build system called Jenkins and a distribution tool we built called AppBlade – both tie in and work well together. On the analysis side we’ve used tools like UserTesting.com for light usability testing of apps, Crittercism for ongoing crash reporting and usage monitoring, and Localytics for deep analytics tracking and user segmentation.

Ben Johnson – Raizlabs

Mike Lee
I use Xcode and Instruments and all the standard tools as provided by the platform provider on a stock system that’s as normal as possible. It’s not cool or edgy or anything, but it’s really convenient when I need help. It’s hard enough when things go wrong without having some weird configuration.

Mike Lee – The New Lemurs

Leigh Momii
There are lots of great forum based sites out there where you can ask the community questions and get answers. I regularly visit sites like StackOverflow, as an example. For mockups/UI, it’s hard to beat a tool as clean and simple as Balsamiq. My favorite IDE is still Visual Studio – the amount of options in there along with the debugging tools is awesome. I also really appreciate what PhoneGap and Bootstrap have done for development and enjoyed dabbling with them – very powerful!

Leigh Momii – HTC

Kyle Richter
There are basic tools such as Xcode that every developer will use. However as you begin to grow to work with larger teams(both large and small) additional tools become a necessity. For issue tracking I like LighthouseApp, its basic enough not to be overwhelming or confusing while being powerful enough for large teams.

For communication Google Hangouts is great for free video calls between multiple parties and Campfire for private text based group chat. Of course version control is a good idea for single developers, but its critical for groups, I like git with github as a provider. The most important thing is to find tools that solve the problems you are having, there is no solution that works for everyone. See what tasks are holding you up and consuming your time and find a tool to make it less of a problem.

Kyle Richter – Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
Amazon mechanical turk. This under-appreciated resource is terrific for doing market surveys, quick and dirty usability tests on new designs, compatibility testing, and more. You’ll get a fair amount of junk back, but at a buck or two a pop, you can afford to ignore feedback that’s not helpful.

Dan Shapiro – DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
Most of the tools I use revolve around API calls. For debugging these, I mainly use 3 tools. Firstly, Postman (Chrome extension), is great for reproducing requests. The best thing about Postman is that you can export a collection of requests as JSON. Secondly, Charles Proxy (Mac app) is the best for quickly seeing what’s actually going on, especially when you’re not sure requests are being triggered. Lastly, I started using Runscope (SaaS) to easily send details about requests, as well as monitor endpoints for changes.

Michele Titolo – Michele.io

Conor Winders
Hands down the absolute best development tool I started using last year was Reveal. Reveal lets you inspect the interface of your iOS app at run time, as well as make and test changes on the fly. It’s not that I use Reveal with every app we build, but when I do need to use it, it is simply the most amazing and useful tool in my workflow.

Have you ever been stuck in the “tweak font/frame/anything size/position, build & run. Not quite right, :( try again” loop for more than 2 minutes? Have you ever worked on a super complex, multilayered interface that you just can’t build and test in Interface Builder? Have you ever wondered why the hell a particular view isn’t showing up or receiving touches? Reveal will help you debug and fix all of these problems and more in minutes. I’ve literally saved weeks thanks to this app.

Conor Winders – Redwind Software

What tools or resources to you find to be exceptionally helpful during app development? Share your questions and comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.

Apptentive Guide to Mobile Product Management

About Ezra Siegel

Ezra is the VP of Community at Apptentive. He is a Chicago Sports Diehard and loves travel. Some day he would he plans to visit every country in the world. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ .
View all posts by Ezra Siegel >

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