Appsbar.com has a nifty capability – Appsbar allows users to create iPhone iOS apps and Google Android apps on the Web for free.Sound incredible – but as the screen shot shows below Appsbar provide a workspace, design templates and a wizard to guide users through all the step required to build a mobile app. Lets return to the question of Free. Appsbar at the time of writing appears to have no hidden fees, no premium features for a fee, no storage costs for your saved apps, no consulting services, no fees that ye Editor can detect.
However, there is a cost. If your app is accepted at either the Android App Store or the iPhone App Store your app will have a small footer devoted to ads which Appsbar provides and derives all the revenues from. That is how Appsbar makes money – they get all the ad revenues your App may generate. That also may explain why Appsbar does not provide any code view or even explain how and what code the Appsbar Wizard generates. So if you have any concerns, be sure to read the Appsbar terms and conditions here.
The Appsbar Wizard in action
The Appsbar Wizard is easy to use with helpful hints scattered on each connected working page.
In the above example, users are guided along on how to set the various App properties. Note at the top of the screen are buttons for the four major steps that the wizard guides user through: Apps Properties, Design Styles, Content pages, and Publishing Check. It is important to note that no step is set in stone, users can comeback and change the properties as they see fit later on. Also note in the upper corner users can swith the view of the evolving app from iPhone to Android at the click of a button. Appsbar is automatically creating both an iPhone and an Android app. For this reason, ye Editor suspects most of the underlying code for the apps is in HTML5; but as yet there is no concrete proof.
Design Style/Properties and Content Pages/Properties
The next two wizard steps are critical to designing your app. The Design Properties allows:
In the Design Stling users set the color and styling for their app’a pages. One would like to set a unigue design for the app icon and button versus accordion menus; but on this version of Appbar those features are not yet available. However, setting and changing the stylings here are easy to do.
The core part of the Appsbar wizard is the creation of Content Pages.
Each template has a mix of these 14 core Content page types. These content pages can be extensively customized and provide a fair range capabilities for creating an informational or marketing app. To do database presentation, involved forms, or gaming – users will have to look toward app development tools like Sencha Mobile, Appcelerator , NetBeans or Android Eclipse.
The following screenshot shows customizing a Photo Gallery page:
As you can see the PhotoWorks Content provides ample opportunity to customize the look and layout of your photo gallery. Users can also customize the icon. There was one problem with the Photo Gallery page – there appeared to be no way to get the thumbnails to show undistorted. Also the preview of the Gallery working was less than encouraging – as seen below:
As you can see the problem is not just distortion but also blurriness. These problems continue when you preview any of the Gallery styles. So it appears Houston [uhhh...Deerfield Beach Florida]we may have a photo fidelity problem. Now this may be just a preview problem and the app will gen the images just fine. Unfortunately my App has 12 to 14 business days to clear the App approval process at iPhone and Android -if i does clear.
Notice what has happened here. The Developer is “Appsbar Tiffany” not ye Editor. So now one can understand why Appsbar takes all the pain of getting your App approved by Apple and Google – they have to in order to get the advertising revenues sent to them. So this is the win-win proposition – Appsbar provides a mobile development service so they get the ad revenues if any from your mobile App [if Google Adsense is any indicator, that revenue is quite variable somewhere between nada and a slow trickle]. In return, users get a mobile App and presence faster, easier and at much lower cost than to do it yourself or through an agency. You figure the value proposition for each case.
Appsbar provides a free. online mobile App development service that is indeed fast and easy to use. In less than 2 days one can have a seriously well designed and working mobile App developed. Then its 2-3 weeks waiting for Apple and/or Google to approve the app. There is a potential problem with the quality of the graphics/images, and the robustness of the forms based page. Ye Editor has simply not been able to test those as my App is still in approval limbo. Any user experience would be appreciated in the comments below. That is why this is called a “preview”. Developers will be chagrined because they do not get to see any source code. Users may be chagrined because after there app is submitted they cannot work on it or even preview it. And finally this situation raises the question – what if, like ye Editor, you plan to do version 2 and 3 of this mobile App. Can you take the existing approved app and modify that.
So here is our overall assessment. As a prototyping tool, Appsbar is pretty god as long as your App gets approved. It would be better to be able to preview it during and after the approval process – read only access to your mobile App. To developers, the return is even less – because there is no preview nor source code nor any API so you can add Appbar plugins. developers may want to take a look at Dreamweaver’s Media Query support, that old Appcelerator standby, Flash Air and any other cross platform mobile app developer that readers care to comment on below.