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Creating Mobile Apps Without A PC

It may sound like a far-fetched idea but it is feasible! Most people are astounded when they discover for the first time how to develop android mobile applications using just a mobile device.

The idea is fascinating and worth sharing with aspiring android mobile developers in Africa and developing countries in the world. Let me hasten to say that this article is not a tutorial on how to develop Android applications but a guide on the tools that are available for creating Android applications on a smartphone.

Nowadays, the processing power of mobile devices is far much better than that of most computers twenty years ago. Smartphones can be used to write code just like you would do on a personal computer albeit with a few limitations. All you need is a text editor and the passion for software development. Why would one choose to develop applications using a mobile device instead of a computer?

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Most aspiring developers in developing countries cannot afford a personal computer and I strongly believe that coding on mobile devices can afford youngsters in marginalized communities an opportunity to horn their programming skills and become successful in the future.

Those who can afford to buy computers may also benefit from the knowledge of how to write code on a mobile device as it can enhance productivity. One can also code on the go and do away with the need to carry around a laptop. Without further ado let me mention the tools required in developing Android applications on an Android phone.

Many professional software developers may quickly dismiss the idea as a hoax or a waste of time considering that powerful Android applications require Android Studio, a software used to create android applications on a PC. What they do not know is that not all apps require the resources which come with Android Studio. I personally have created great apps in the past using just a mobile device and I feel that it is something worth pursuing.

Armed with just a text editor you can write code in any programming language. However, an Integrated Application Development (IDE) can make your life a lot easier since most tasks are automated. An IDE is used in coding, debugging as well as creating an application package (APK).

There are a lot of IDEs available for developing apps on mobile devices. You have to download and find out which app best suits you. The only challenge is that quite a number of the apps do not work perfectly and therefore the process of finding the best Integrated Development Environment maybe frustrating but worth the effort. Generally choosing an IDE depends on a single factor, the programming language you need to use in the app development. You can develop mobile apps for Android using Java or JavaScript. In both cases you still need to master Android development which involves learning some syntax which is peculiar to Android.

You may want to know if I have a list of applications which I can recommend to developers. The answer is no. I do not have a list yet, but I have tried a number of IDEs and I recommend AIDE and PhoneGap. The former is ideal for those who are proficient in Java while the latter is for those who can code well in JavaScript. It is also possible to use AIDE with both languages, though you need to learn a trick on how to accomplish such a feat, therefore I shall not delve into that in this article.

According to App Four, the developers of the AIDE app, “AIDE is an integrated development environment (IDE) for developing real Android apps directly on your Android device”. Hans Kratz and Dennis Strein, who founded the company in 2012 in Germany said that they believe mobile devices are the future of personal computing.

Our mission is to leverage mobile learning to enable people to realize their potential to the fullest

Hans Kratz and Dennis Strein

PhoneGap is ideal for those with web development skills. According to their website, you can “easily create apps using the web technologies you know and love: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript”.

Developing apps using just a mobile device is fun and practical. It is beneficial to developing countries and it can give aspiring developers in poor communities an opportunity to spread their wings and fly.

About Author

Stewart Mukonzi is a Full Stack Web Developer and Freelance Photojournalist.


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2 thoughts on “Creating Mobile Apps Without A PC

  1. “Developing apps using just a mobile device is fun and practical”

    Have you actually tried to do this in practice? I really doubt it. Even with a keyboard that supports coding installed, the process is pretty cumbersome and more error prone than when on a PC.

    Neither does the PhoneGap app allow you to build apps using your mobile. It’s for testing an app on your mobile (built on desktop) without installation.

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