You wouldn’t tear apart your car’s engine with nothing but a pair of pliers and a prayer — it’s more likely that you would go out and buy a ratchet set and diagnostic equipment. The same line of thinking applies to mobile development as well. You need the right tools (i.e., software development kits and platforms) to build robust, user-friendly apps. Here’s a list of tools that will help you create powerful apps and stay competitive in the mobile development space.

  • iOS official SDK: Formerly known as the iPhone SDK, the iOS official SDK is broken down into four development sets: Cocoa Touch, Media, Core Services, and Mac OS X Kernal. Cocoa Touch includes all elements related to touchscreen support; this includes multi-touch controls and configuration, as well as certain localization and camera support features. The Media development set includes all components related to video, audio, photos, and multimedia functions. Core Services includes things like networking. Mac OS X Kernal includes essential functions relating to file systems, power management, and security.
  • Appcelerator: Appcelerator is a cross-platform solution that enables developers to build native smartphone and tablet applications with popular programming languages like Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and HTML.
  • Android SDK: The official Android software development kit comes with a wide range of resources, including emulators, development tutorials, libraries, sample code, and detailed documentation.
  • Windows Phone 8 SDK: The Windows Phone 8 SDK comes with a copy of Visual Studio Express 2012. Though the Windows Phone platform is still struggling to take off from a sales standpoint, it is a very powerful operating system that is likely to only become more integrated and commonplace as Windows 8 (for tablets and desktops) becomes mainstream. This SDK includes plenty of drag-and-drop controls and code chunks, but also has Microsoft’s typical level of deep coding support. Several emulators and testing tools are included.
  • Snapdragon Android SDK: This SDK includes a number of tools for improving application development on Snapdragon-powered devices. This includes powerful facial recognition technology, sophisticated location services, and surround sound recording capabilities.
  • RhoMobile: RhoMobile is based on Rhodes, an open source cross-platform Rails-based mobile development framework. With RhoMobile, you can build robust applications that can be deployed on just about every major mobile operating system: iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry. It really is a one-stop-shop for serious mobile development. Their platform allows you to write your code once and deploy the app over multiple operating systems using their sophisticated mobile development platform. RhoMobile also offers a cloud-hosted mobile development environment called RhoHub and a standalone mobile development server called RhoSync.