Top Resources For Creating Your App’s Backend

Developing an app requires you to know the programming language of your platform, Objective-C in the case of iOS. But a great app does not stand alone without all the value-add services you can offer your users.

When it comes to services like Push notifications, In-App purchases, Cloud storage, it is a pain to develop these from scratch. Here are some services that you can use to lift the pain and burden of creating a backend for your app.

Parse

is a cool tool that can implement all the services I mentioned above and as well as the some Social networking features, letting your users sign in/out of Facebook with minimal code.

Applicasa

is a new Israeli startup that wants to change the space. All the tools in this category make you use low-level tools to manage your data. With Applicasa, you can actually create your backend using drag-and-drop on their cool backend CMS. Read this interview I had with one of the Co-founders, Tzvi Kopetz.

Stackmob

is a service I used in one of my apps. That app never made it to the store but I loved using Stackmob. And was fun implementing a backend database with a minimal amount of coding. Their service also supports Android and HTML5 web apps.

Urban Airship

I use Urban Airship for all my push notifications. Once you get the hang of it, it is so easy to use and setup. The API is so intuitive and straightforward. Since I started using Urban Airship, they have now branched out into In-App purchases and Newsstand publishing.

Top 3 Places to Get Custom or Pre-Made controls for Your App

The saying goes that the best programmer is a lazy one (or something of the sort). All these tools in this list help make your life easier. If you can get a Facebook login component or Slide-out Controller pre-mar for you, why would you want to do it yourself?

I would happily spend $100 on a component that will save me 2 hours of work.

Here are some places where you can get finished controls for your app.

Cocoa Controls

Probably the largest collection of free and paid iOS/Mac OS controls on the internet. Aaron and the Cocoa controls team have a well-curated list of controls that you can download for your app.

Binpress

also has a large collection of (mostly) paid controls. You can get anything from a complete Radio FM app to a Geolocation Earth viewer like Google Earth.

Verious

is a competitor in the custom controls space. They launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2011 and have been tackling the iOS developer tools market which they estimate is a multi-million dollar industry.

Cool to see these companies taking us serious, eh?

Codecanyon

is from the Envato family of sites. The same family that brings you Themeforest and Graphic River. The Codecanyon site is less populated but has some really cool controls like the Dolphin Image/Video viewer

Top Resource for Recruiting and Managing Beta-testers

TestFlight

is basically the only one I know of in the space. Maybe that is because they are the most serious company and do the job the best. Seems like there is no second place. (If you do, please let me know).

You can send binaries of your app to people that are registered on TestFlight and manage the beta testing process before you launch your app on the app store.

Top Resources For App Store Analytics and Ranking

When your app is live, it is good practice to monitor the charts to see which of your marketing efforts are taking off and getting you more downloads.

These resources below will help you with just that.

AppViz

is Mac OS App that allows you to download your rankings for all the app stores around the world. It has nice charts for sales, free downloads and you can break it down by month. (Something iTunes Connect doesn’t allow you do)

App Annie

is your go to resource when you want to charts to see how your app is doing in terms on rankings in the App stores. Not only that, but you can also see the rankings other app that are subscribed to App Annie.

With this you can also do some ninja market intelligence to see which categories to go into for your next app.

That’s all folks!

That’s all for the round-up of tools that you need to save either time or money as a developer.

Of course, these are tools from my own realm of knowledge (which may not beas wide as yours). So if you know of others that deserve to be on this list, please let me know in the comments.

3 comments

  1. Darren Ehlers

    While TestFlight is a great resource (and one that I personally used originally), I have migrated to HockeyApp.net for my AdHoc distribution and crash reporting. Combining this with my Atlassian.net JIRA account, and some modified iOS code, I have a fantastic solution for allowing my app users to provide feedback to me….as well as to receive responses.

    – Darren

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