Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

Internews Center for Innovation & Learning
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How to build an app

When you're a coder making an app is not an easy task. When you're manager or jornalism it's almost impossible. Or not? Innovation Labs usually ask for the help of coders and require people with special skills. But what if you don't have a coder in the team and you really need this minimum viable product to be made and shown? These days there's a plenty of app builders there, let's review some of the most intersting tools. Everyone needs an app today. Media need apps more than ever. 487.7 million smartphones and 63.2 million tablets were sold in 2011 according to the recent PwC media outlook. And also people love apps and buy them - global spending on mobile apps will increase to $35 billion by 2015, five times the level of 2010 (PwC). 

What kind of platforms are popular? Mostly these are iOS and Android, not followed by Windows Mobile and Symbian. While there are predictions about WM7, there's arobust statistics of iOS and Android usage. They are different and that the key factor. iOS is more premium and all about design and experience. Android is geeky and all about functionality and being a swiss-army knife. Both are powerful and have apps that are available for both platforms. 

 In this competitive situation it's obvious that it makes sense to create cross-platform apps, forget about compatibility and let people choose which OS they like. So did many app building services. These a thin client operating that grants this kind of access to development and delivering changes to multiple apps made to multiple to a single thin client. One of the most interesting app builders is Mobile Roadie.

Mobile Roadie - the app builder is focused on lightweight interface and rich number of functions. Basically you choose one of 21 templates and paint it in your own colors. Integration with popular services like YouTube and SoundCloud is also available. There's a serious limitation and platform doesn't support video except YouTube and Vimeo, so it makes the app a bad choose for those focused on video monetization or sales. There are some advertising opportunities like iAds and Google Ads, but no chance to bring your own advertiser in, while the statistics is great. Schedule and calendar are available for fans and you to fill it in. There's an app wizard and 

AppMakr - is a simple solution for simple tasks and is quite easy to use. It's more focused on quick publishing some content on the web in the form of the app. The idea of the service is to create apps from web pages. It doesn't work well with media, but it's rather a good instrument to create text guidelines or dublicate a simple website. Templates are not very rich, but are easy to use. So if you're looking for something free and quick - that's the usecase.

Genwi - is another great service which is more like CMS for publishers who used to work with PDF publishing, but now focusing on nice design solutions in apps. mCMS is system that was developed by Genwi to rule this app building process. There's anything you want except good work with video. It easily integrates with monetizing solutions such as Mobclix, DoubleClick, AdMob and others. Analytics and Stats are also available. The most interesting part of this solution are great layouts that are customizable and really feels like magazine. It's HTML5 solution by the way, which means it works on any platform.

These are great solutions, but still if you need a video solution it makes sense to pay attention to some IT giants like Brightcove or Ooyala, that are doing a great app experience, but you can't make it quick and easy. Basically any YouTube supporting solution for video will work well, but the question is whether it will be well-monetized and if all rights will be protected.