How to make an app

This final grab-bag of links is all about articles with general advice on making apps, and those technologies that enable you to create once and deploy to multiple platforms.

01. Build cross-platform mobile apps with Google's Flutter

How to make an app: Google Flutter

Google's Flutter compiles to native code instead of using a JavaScript bridge

There have been numerous cross-platform mobile frameworks over the years, and Google's Flutter is a new addition to the pack. It's particularly interesting because rather than using a JavaScript 'bridge' as many frameworks (such as React Native) do, it compiles to true native code. Get started by following this step-by-step guide to Flutter.

02. How to build an AR app

How to make an app: How to build an AR app

Augment your reality with this tutorial

Over the past two years, there has been an explosion in interest surrounding VR and AR technologies. AR has also arrived on the web, but with this new technology comes new skills, and right now it feels like the Wild West with no major standards. It's an exciting area to get into, though; follow this tutorial to get up and running with your own AR app.

03. How to build a Progressive Web App

How to make an app: Build a PWA

PWAs combine the benefits of native and web experiences

Progressive Web Apps combine the benefits of native apps with the perks of the web. PWAs can be saved to your homescreen (just like a native app) and thanks to Service Workers, they can run offline. However, unlike native apps, they don't need updating – which is a win for UX and for security. This tutorial shows you how to build a Progressive Web App for yourself. 

04. How to name your app

How to make an app: How to name your app

The naming of apps is a difficult matter; it isn't just one of your holiday games

What’s in a name? Quite a lot as it turns out. What your app’s called isn’t only important from a search standpoint, but also in terms of recognition in stores and on a device. This Creative Bloq article outlines how to pick the right name – and the difference doing so can make.

05. Get to grips with mobile app onboarding

How to make an app: Mobile app onboarding

The right onboarding process can make sure people engage with your app

The majority of people's phones are littered with apps they installed, played around with once, then forgot about. If you want to make sure your app doesn't end up being abandoned, take a look at this guide to mobile app onboarding. It walks through how to show users how your app works, and (where necessary) get them to commit to it without putting them off. 

06. Design better app icons

Getting your app’s icon right is of paramount importance. Icons are what grab people’s attention on stores, and what they prod on a device display. Michael Flarup’s talk from Generate outlines best practice for icon creation. And if you need a little inspiration, check out our feature on the best iPhone app icons.

07. Understand the power of colour

How to make an app: Understand the power of colour

Colour usage is key to usability, accessibility and branding

Given the penchant for relative minimalism in modern operating system interfaces, colour is vitally important. Nick Babich’s feature explores how to create an effective colour scheme through utilising colour theory and strong use of contrast. Need some apps to help? Check out our favourite free apps for picking a colour scheme.

08. Discover the best wireframing tools

How to make an app: The best wireframing tools

Wireframing helps you turn your sketches into a workable app

You can’t – or at least really really shouldn’t – just delve into making an app without thinking things through. One of the more important components of planning an app is wireframing – stripping down your intended product to focus on functions and interactions. This piece lists 20 tools to help you do so.

09. Build a game in Unity

How to make an app: Build a game in Unity

You need to learn Unity if you want to build a game

How often have you fired up a great game and seen the Unity logo appear? This is for good reason – Unity is a powerful tool for cross-platform games development. At raywenderlich.com, there are explainers on the technology, along with how-tos that enable you to create your own Unity games. 

10. Discover GameMaker

How to make an app: Discover GameMaker

GameMaker is another great utility

GameMaker is another tool for creating games that can be exported to a range of platforms. The link above takes you through to a page housing videos that help you get to grips with the technology, creating an exciting arena shooter while doing so.

11. Build an app using NW.js

How to make an app: Build an app using NW.js

Learn how to create a web app with this article

Although we never quite hit the moment where web apps became ubiquitous, many apps do have a foundation of native web technology. In Julian Motz’s Sitepoint article, you’ll use the NW.js framework for creating a cross-platform desktop app.

12. Develop cloud apps using Xamarin and Azure

How to make an app: Develop cloud apps with Xamarin and Azure

This is for advanced app-builders

Xamarin is another cross-platform framework, albeit aimed at mobile. Adrian Hall’s free and open-source book is intended for C#-savvy users who’ve already built with Xamarin, and want to take their efforts further by utilising cloud services. If you’re not there yet, the introduction links to resources for getting that foundation first.

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