Is AppGyver the Best of Both Worlds for Mobile App Development?

AppGyver claims that it is the “Best of Both Worlds” when it comes to mobile app development, enabling non-coders and coders alike to build and distribute apps easily and quickly.

I was hired by a client to recommend a mobile app development platform for use by people with ideas but no coding experience. A simple app builder not just for the front end but also the back end was required. I evaluated several tools from a competitive and fast moving market. AppGyver stood out as the platform that wasn’t limited by its drag and drop simplicity. In addition to a drag and drop app builder AppGyver can be extended with custom built modules allowing non-coding and coding approaches to be combined.

Composer is AppGyver’s visual app builder; part interface builder, part data source integrator and part build service. Composer is a simple and intuitive tool allowing non-coders to develop and deploy a simple data driven app to a smartphone in minutes. AppGyver uses QR codes and its own scanner app to provide the easiest and quickest method of distributing apps for review that I have come across.

Steroids is AppGyver’s command line interface for building and distributing apps. It provides a useful connect screen that allows the app under development to be connected to the AppGyver and other cloud services. A word of caution… to avoid cryptic errors use nvm 0.30.x, node v0.12.x and npm 2.14.x when using Steroids. At the time of writing npm 3.x was causing undesirable side effects when on Steroids .

Supersonic is AppGyver’s framework, a fork of the open source Ionic Framework. It adds a little bit of AppGyver magic to the mix that gives near native performance by using native UI components to give quick and smooth page transitions. Accessing data is simple through the framework, e.g. supersonic.data.model(‘Beer’) gets all the beers from a configured data source.

Composer pricing will be an issue for many. I’d recommend checking it out before getting too excited, although AppGyver do appear to be flexible and open minded about pricing options. Steroids and Supersonic are free to use.

I hope this helps someone who is looking for a non-coder friendly way of developing mobile apps that also appeals to coders. It won’t be for everyone but it should do well in what I guess is a niche market.

I’ve attached a presentation that I gave recently at a smart data hack, where I was trying to convince people to try AppGyver out. Unfortunately no one did try AppGyver but that was probably down to the time constraints of the hackathon. However, it was still a bit of a pity as I think this tool really has potential.

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