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How to build apps for iPhone, Android and the web

5 ways to make developing your own apps easy

We look at five new services for building mobile applications and web services that were unveiled at the recent DEMO Spring 2011.

Cloud 9 IDE

Cloud9 IDE from the vendor Ajax is a platform-as-a-service focusing both on mobile apps as well as Web tools that run on desktops.

"We have the first commercial platform-as-a-service for HTML5 and JavaScript development," said CEO Ruben Daniels. "This will impact everyone building cloud, mobile and social apps. Everyone here releasing an app will do so with Cloud9, and do it in half the time."

Daniels has teamed up with Mozilla, and claims to have interest from IBM and a company from Mountain View, California, home of Google and other tech vendors. Unlike MobileNation and Bizness Apps, Cloud9 looks like it will require some real programming knowledge, but could be more convenient than existing models.

"The first-ever cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE) for JavaScript developers, supporting HTML5, Python, Ruby and PHP, Cloud9 enables web developers to access, edit and share projects anywhere, anytime," says the DEMO blurb about Cloud9. "Using this next-generation technology, developers can build, test, debug, and deploy millions of applications."

ApSynth

ApSynth targets development of web applications, rather than mobile, and provides its own market for users to publish their apps.

"Once published, applications can be embedded and spread to other websites, blogs and social networks," the company says. "App authors deliver either free apps or set a price for a monthly number of displays on tiers Web page. With ApSynth web apps become a monetised web content just like text, video, etc."

ApSynth will have to compete against existing platform-as-a-service offerings such as Force.com and Google App Engine. ApSynth says it can lure users who need to build SaaS applications but lack IT skills. Bloggers and web content creators are among the target users. The service is in a private beta.

ScreenReach

Rather than help customers build stand-alone applications, ScreenReach gives them a way to develop "real-time interactive experiences", which can then be consumed by end users through ScreenReach's own Screach mobile application.

A smartphone using the Screach app can be transformed "into anything - games controllers, quiz answer pads, voting and polling tools, bingo cards and roulette tablets - the possibilities are limited by imagination alone," the company says.

Customers build using the ScreachXML platform language, and once a service is built it can be used on either iPhone or Android, with support for BlackBerry, Symbian, Palm and Windows Mobile coming later. "Once you have created your experience it will generate a unique experience code - simply tell your audience the code (could be on TV, in print, or by word of mouth) and they can start interacting instantly," ScreenReach says.

See also: How to create an iPhone app

  1. These make developing your own apps easy
  2. Cloud 9 IDE
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