Best iOS App Development Tools You Need to Know to Develop Top-notch iOS Apps

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iOS app development tools

iOS app development is hyperbolized for many reasons. But the fact is, developing iOS applications is not as complex as it seems. Having said that, it’s not like you do not have to have a grasp of basic programming languages and coding. iOS app development calls for as much effort as the other programming languages take while app development.

But, here is a list of iOS app development tools that can alleviate many of the tasks that iOS developers generally have to perform while developing an iOS app. Let’s talk in detail about each of the tools we are going to list down here.

1. iOS UI/UX design tools

Here are the most used iOS UI/UX design tools you need to check out if you are an iOS app developer.

Figma

Starting with the best of all: Figma. Figma is a freemium tool that works on browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge browsers. The chart of Figma’s pricing varies as per the needs of the project.

Talking about Figma’s compatibility, Figma is generally addressed as a collaborative interface design tool. Collaboration is the signature feature of Figma for which it is mainly known for. Figma allows designers to share a design file with other people in order to get feedback regarding the design through comments.

The main features of Figma:

  • Prototyping
  • Team libraries
  • Accessibility and collaboration
  • Smooth handoff to developers 
  • Wide range of useful plugins

Flawless 

Flawless is a tool that allows designers to compare their design with implementation inside the iOS simulator. All you need to do is launch an iOS simulator that comes along with Xcode, IDE, for iOS/macOS development and then you can select an image of whatever type (JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, and a sketch file, too works.

The main features of Flawless:

  • Check motion and animation
  • Create dynamic design
  • Capture an animated

Sketch

Sketch is generally used for designing the UI of mobile applications, web, and wearables. This is a tool for macOS and the files in this tool are saved on their own as a sketch file format. Although these very files can also be checked in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and other software.

The key features of Sketch:

  • Sketch allows you to do app prototyping, logo and icon design, design wireframes, design vector illustrations, and all other types of graphics.
  • Sketch is also a prior choice of designers when it comes to using more accessible design protocols and modules to obtain faster results.
  • Sketch is a good choice for easy collaboration among designers.

Invision

This tool gives the designers clarity, and collaboration, and helps them experiment with their design in every which way they want. InVision is commonly known for prototyping, collaboration, and its smooth workflow. Moreover, Invision allows designers to create interactive mockups for their wireframes and designs.

The main features of Invision:

  • InVision helps developers with real-time project collaboration.
  • InVision consists of some useful testing tools to ensure app visuals and interactions.
  • Also, many developers have stated that InVision is one of the best tools when it comes to creating smooth navigation for apps and websites.

2. Programming languages

When we are talking about the best iOS programming languages of all time, we are surely going to refer to Objective-C and Swift. Let’s learn about these two in detail.

Objective-C

Objective-C is one of the most used languages by developers when it comes to developing software for OS X and iOS. It’s known as a superset of the C programming language and helps developers with object-oriented capabilities and a dynamic runtime environment.

The Objective-C language is a simple computer language that was specifically created to enable typical object-oriented programming. In spite of its small extensions, Objective-C is pretty robust to the standard ANSI C language. The additions to C are majorly related to Smalltalk, it’s the very first object-oriented programming language. 

Swift

Swift is a robust and intuitive programming language which is launched by Apple for developing applications for iOS, Apple TV, Mac, and Apple smartwatches.

Swift is the technology that is basically designed to mitigate the tasks of iOS developers to a great extent. It’s open source and simple to work with the programming language that allows developers to create the best applications if they have a good hand on iOS technology.

3. Editors and IDE

IDE aka integrated development environment is a software that specializes in combining specific tools into a single graphical user interface. Here are certain tools that are highly recommended.

Xcode

Xcode is a gem of a tool for debugging apps along with testing and developing the same. Apple created this integrated development environment, especially for developing and troubleshooting iOS applications.

Apart from that, Xcode helps developers with a consistent workflow for user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging. And the icing on the cake is Xcode IDE with swift programming that makes iOS app development nothing less than fun and easy.

AppCode

AppCode is a robust IDE for iOS/macOS development that is compatible with Swift, Objective-C/C++, C/C++, and various other languages through plugins. It builds a default run/debug configuration for each target and names it after the developers’ projects. Developers can also add their own configurations based on available templates.

4. Backend services

Developers are working relentlessly on new features for their iOS applications like real-time database, automatic synchronization, push notifications, accelerating data delivery, and others. Here we are listing down top backend development tools for iOS development, check them out.

Firebase

Firebase is a BaaS: backend as a service that is known to be quite a versatile platform for iOS developers. It is a backend platform for building Web, Android, and iOS applications. It helps developers with real-time databases, different APIs, various authentication types, and hosting platforms.

Helios

Helios is a fully open-source framework for developing iOS applications that can offer a variety of critical backend services. This backend tool assists developers with integrating advanced features like push notifications, in-app purchases, data synchronization, passbook integration, logging, and analytics.

Parse

Parse is one of the most versatile tools for all iOS developers out there. It is an open-source framework to create applications backends and debug iOS applications.

Also, this tool helps developers with efficient app development along with decreasing the ample amount of time and effort they otherwise put in while developing an iOS app. Parse is backed by an extensive community of developers and has been rigorously evolving at rapid speed.

5. Game development

Talking about the game development industry, it’s evolving with rapid development with its gripping app features that are majorly possible because of robust backend development and UI. Here we are listing down certain features that play a major role in making the game development industry boom.

Unity

Unity is a cross-platform game engine that helps you in achieving multiple types of tasks related to the game production process. It provides game developers with a 2D and 3D platform to develop video games. But that is not the only thing. What makes Unity so interesting for developers is that it’s pretty seamless and easy to use so you do not have to begin with it from scratch.

Buildbox

Buildbox is a no-code development software primarily focused on game development without any involvement in programming, coding, or scripting. If we talk about the core audience of the software, it is entrepreneurs, designers, and other gaming fanatics that are not well-versed in game development or coding criteria.

Well, this software allows you to add effects and animations to the characters of the game. The designers have the flexibility to adjust how the character moves, how it shoots, how it jumps, and how it communicates with the users. They can adjust the sounds for each character’s action, as well. As of BuildBox 2.0, designers and developers now have multiple-character support.

6. Security

When we talk about the best app development in terms of robust security, iOS tops the list in that. iOS applications are highly known for their app security. But the robust security is also backed by many competent tools that make iOS applications stand out when it comes to highly-secured apps, let’s check them out.

Frida

Frida is an absolutely free dynamic instrumentation tool that enables iOS developers to execute their own scripts in software that are traditionally encrypted. Malware analysts make use of this tool with jailbreak and without jailbreak devices. This is known to be one of the most efficient tools when it comes to security of iOS applications.

Ghidra

Ghidra is ideal for scrutinizing the iOS binaries and getting cross references. Moreover, Ghidra is a reverse engineering tool that was developed and launched by the NSA and released in 2019. This tool is mainly known for its sheer brilliance to remove malware activities, malware analysts are well-versed in using this tool. It’s also known as a disassembly tool.

7. Plugins

iOS is backed by solid tools and frameworks, out of which we are listing down the most used plugins. Let’s check them all.

Wider

Wider is a stereo widening plugin for Mac and iOS. It helps developers expand the stereo image of a mono signal to a surprising amount of width. In addition to that, it can boost the stereo image of any Mono signal up to 200% of full stereo for an extra wide exaggerated effect.

LRC5

This plugin of iOS is accessible on both iPhone and iPad, LRC5 is a five band EQ. It is a great option if you find GarageBand’s native three band visual EQ a little limited. Neon Silicon could charge for this particular EQ, as it is pretty versatile and a useful addition to your iOS app arsenal.

8. Testing

iOS applications are very well known for their streamlined performance and seamless user experience. For continuing the belief, tools for testing iOS applications are more than important. Let’s learn about these top testing tools for iPhone applications.

EarlGrey

EarlGrey is an open-source native test framework created by Google for UI test automation in iOS. The best part is, Google uses this framework as well internally, for testing the functionality of native iOS applications like Google Calendar, Google Photos, Google translate, Youtube, and so on. Not just that, EarlGrey lets QA engineers get access to one-level-up synchronization features to stable the UI testing.

Built-in synchronization is a main feature of this testing tool that regulates test scripts until any specific UI event occurs then only the process of interaction with app UI begins. Also, this tool synchronizes with the UI and network requests.

OCMock

OCMock is a robust mock object testing library that is used to develop stubs in an iOS application. Mock objects play an important part in software testing as they enable a QA engineer to regulate the behavior of complex, real objects.

Since developers are not able to get built-in support for Mock objects in Xcode. Thus, OCMock is used as a separate library. Also, the OCMock library greatly supports Objective-C. OCMock allows a user to add mock objects in already existing test cases like a cakewalk.

Detox

Detox is one of the most used automation frameworks for testing cross-platform mobile applications. The only downside is that it is not able to support testing on real devices for iOS platforms, but does so in the case of Android.

9. Libraries

Libraries are one of the most important aspects of iOS app development for app developers out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most used libraries by developers. 

Kingfisher

Just like a cameraman catches the best spot to capture, the kingfisher catches images from the web. If something like remote images you work on, then you should give a try to the robust, swift library with these impressive additional options.

RxSwift

RxSwift, the swift version of Rx, is a workable and effective library that facilitates simple self-paced operations and events in a separative manner.

Nimble

With this library, you can match your tested units in iOS with the respective framework. Nimble is the matcher for swift and objective C. It depicts the best practice and ornate features of code in an easily understandable manner.

Spring

Spring helps with a unique experience by simplifying iOS animations in Swift. It animates from the beginning state to the end state without putting the iOS app developer in an adverse situation.

10. Documentation

Since documentation is a pretty important aspect of the software development life cycle, there are certain tools we are listing down to carry out the same process smoothly.

Jazzy

Jazzy is a prominent tool for building Swift and Objective-C documentation that is beyond analyzing sources with the amalgamation of Source kit and the Clang AST model of the code and comments in order to get the on-point conclusion.

SwiftDoc.org

Swift makes sure that the code is clear and efficient. Writing Swift code is interactive and comparatively easier in Swift Playgrounds, playgrounds in Xcode, and REPL. Its documentation is fully auto-generated and is accessible online. SwiftDoc.org allows developers to browse all types of protocols, operators at a rapid pace.

Conclusion

iOS software development is backed by many useful tools, out of which we have stated the most prominent tools of iOS categorically. You can check out these tools and optimize them to gain the maximum advantage of each of the tools. Many tools are so versatile that they can help you with multiple services.

Also, we have an extensive team of iOS app developers who can help you relatively and help you with surprising insights to transform the landscape of your business dramatically.

Reach us anytime to discuss the game plan for your success.

Riddhi Patel
WRITTEN BY

Riddhi Patel

Riddhi Patel is a Sr. iOS Engineer at MindInventory with more than 6 years of experience leading the creation of complex, user-focused software applications by creating highly readable and easily maintainable source code at the highest level of Quality efficiency. With the strength in adaptability, clear communication, problem-solving, dedication, and a relentless focus on the details.
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