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Best App Development Software Shortlist

After consideration of features, pricing, and useability, here are my picks for the best app development software in 2023:

  1. AppSheet - Best no-code option
  2. .NET - Best for cross-platform development
  3. Visual Studio Code - Best IDE
  4. Azure App Service - Best for companies in tightly regulated industries
  5. WebStorm - Best for web apps
  6. Jira - Best issue tracking software
  7. Mendix - Best for companies that use agile
  8. Rollbar - Best error handling features
  9. Xcode - Best for Apple development
  10. Android Studio - Best for Android development
  11. Appery - Best back-end services
  12. Zoho Creator - Best workflow automation

The app development process can be long and complicated, but choosing the right tool will help you produce higher-quality apps with less hassle. Some tools can also simplify technical tasks so you can focus on delivering the ideal user experience without getting caught up in all the code details. Using my background in development, I have reviewed a range of such tools and narrowed them down to the best of the best.

What Is App Development Software?

App development software refers to a set of software solutions you can use to build applications for mobile, desktop, or web platforms. These can range anywhere from no-code platforms to integrated development environments (IDEs) that allow you to write your own code.

The tools in this list cover various approaches to software development at different scopes and programming languages depending on what your resources and goals are.

Overviews of the 12 Best App Development Software

Let’s look at each tool’s unique features, integration, and pricing to help you make an informed choice:

1. AppSheet - Best no-code option

AppSheet screenshot
Managing security features in an AppSheet project. (Source)

AppSheet is a no-code app-building platform for both seasoned and citizen developers that Google acquired in 2020.

Why I Picked AppSheet: AppSheet provides an extensive library of templates for some of the most common app types, including surveys, inventory management, attendance tracking, and retail pickup. Creating an app is as easy as creating a copy of the template and customizing it if you feel like you need more.

AppSheet Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked for no-code development in AppSheet include the ability to connect to Google Sheets and turn a file into an app, making it easier to manage large sets of data. I also liked that I had the option to capture rich data from sources such as barcodes, images, locations, and signatures.

Integrations are native for Google Workspace, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and Google Sheets, as well as pre-built for Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, OneDrive, and MixPanel.

Pricing: From $5/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Beginner friendly
  • Several app templates
  • Can make apps from spreadsheets


  • Limited customization features
  • Can get expensive

2. .NET - Best for cross-platform development

Microsoft .NET screenshot
BlazorWebView in .NET MAUI. (Source)

.NET is a developer platform from Microsoft that provides a variety of tools for creating apps that work in some of the most popular OSs, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Why I Picked .NET: One of .NET’s newest features is MAUI, short for Multi-platform App UI, which I used to build both desktop and mobile apps from one codebase in C#. The sample project I made ran so smoothly on Android, macOS, and Windows that I couldn’t tell it wasn’t native.

.NET Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked in .NET include Blazor, which allows you to create web apps using C# instead of JavaScript. This feature opens up a whole new avenue for app delivery for C# developers without needing to learn a new language from scratch. .NET also lets you build microservices and leverage its collection of APIs to consume them from your web, desktop, and mobile applications and games.

Integrations are pre-built for Visual Studio, Xamarin, PyCharm, DataGrip, CodePatrol, New Relic, Snyk, Rider, CodeScene, and ReSharper.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Cross-platform app builder
  • Microservice builder
  • Lets you build web apps with C#


  • Manufacturer sometimes ends support for and replaces components
  • Complex class hierarchy system

3. Visual Studio Code - Best IDE

VS Code screenshot
Working with TypeScript in VS Code. (Source)

Visual Studio (VS) Code is a free IDE from Microsoft that’s one of the most popular options in the category.

Why I Picked Visual Studio Code: One of my favorite features in VS Code is IntelliSense, a collection of code editing tools that provide functions such as code completion, member lists, and parameter info. It ships with IntelliSense for a handful of languages, but you can get free plugins for most popular programming languages in just a few clicks.

Visual Studio Code Standout Features and Integrations

Features I like in VS Code include the ability to create profiles that separate your various development environments so you can customize them for specific languages and projects. You can switch between profiles whenever you want and share them with others. I also like that VS Code has a web version that provides most of the features of the full version, so you can work on the go.

Integrations are pre-built for GitHub, Docker, Prettier, Jetty, Yarn, Maven, Spring Boot, Tomcat, Express, and Gulp.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Web version
  • Free
  • Large plugin library


  • Web version isn’t as feature-rich
  • High resource usage

4. Azure App Service - Best for companies in tightly regulated industries

Azure App Service screenshot
Autoscaling with Azure App Service. (Source)

Azure App Service is Microsoft’s fully managed platform that you can use to build and host web apps and APIs.

Why I Picked Azure App Service: Azure App Service connects to a firewall that I used as a data protection measure to control traffic from my app — I could prevent sensitive data from flowing outward and malware from coming in. It also pulled data from Microsoft Cyber Security in real time to stay on top of new threats that I hadn’t accounted for when I last worked on the app.

Azure App Service Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked in App Service include built-in compliance with PCI and SOC standards. For companies that process users’ financial data, this means they’re more audit-ready. It also comes with Azure Policy, which you can use to define policies in your apps and ensure that you remain compliant. It supports various standards across different countries and fields that you can choose from depending on the regulations you need to comply with.

Integrations are native for other Azure products and services, including Government, Container Registry, DevOps, Arc, Monitor, and Cognitive Services.

Pricing: From $0.013/hour

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robust security features
  • Supports various regulatory standards
  • Scalable


  • Higher chance of vendor lock-in
  • Confusing pricing model

5. WebStorm - Best for web apps

JetBrains WebStorm screenshot
The code editing features in WebStorm. (Source)

WebStorm is an IDE from JetBrains whose main focus is on JavaScript for web development on websites and web apps.

Why I Picked WebStorm: WebStorm made it very easy for me to get started because it ships with support for some of the most popular web development technologies. Out of the box, you get full code completion and other editing features for languages and frameworks such as JavaScript, TypeScript, Node.js, Vue, React and React Native, Angular, and HTML.

WebStorm Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked for web development in WebStorm include the ability to preview static web pages and have the preview automatically reload to reflect changes to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files as I edit them. I also liked the static code quality analysis that ran as I wrote my code, with support for various linters, and it caught most errors as soon as they appeared in the project.

Integrations are pre-built for Jest, ESLint, Mocha, Cucumber.js, JetBrains Space, Stylelint, GitHub, TSLint, Protractor, and Karma.

Pricing: From $15.90/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Ships with support for popular web development technologies
  • Supports several integrations
  • Strong code completion


  • Relatively higher cost
  • Resource intensive

6. Jira - Best issue tracking software

Jira screenshot
A project board in Jira. (Source)

Jira is a multipurpose project management and issue-tracking tool from Atlassian, the company behind similar products like Trello and Confluence.

Why I Picked Jira: I picked Jira because of its issue-tracking capabilities, which I’ve used for tracking feature requests and bugs. When you create an issue in Jira, you can tag it with additional details such as a description, severity level, and a screenshot so you always know what each task requires as soon as you take a look.

Jira Standout Features and Integrations

Features that I liked for issue tracking in Jira include automation templates that you can set up to execute workflows from one event. For example, you can have one that checks your repo, then creates an issue and adds a watcher as soon as someone flags a bug in code review. It also supports different agile methodologies, like Scrum and Kanban, so you have more options on how you want to address issues as they’re raised.

Integrations are pre-built for Slack, Microsoft Teams, Bitbucket, GitHub, GitLab, Jenkins, Figma, Miro, Zendesk, and Trello.

Pricing: From $7.75/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Supports different agile methodologies
  • Several integrations
  • Robust bug and issue-tracking features


  • Requires agile training for teams
  • Complex initial setup

7. Mendix - Best for companies that use agile

Mendix screenshot
The dashboard of an e-commerce platform built using Mendix. (Source)

Mendix is a low-code development platform that also provides initiatives for process automation and legacy modernization.

Why I Picked Mendix: As someone with extensive agile experience, the Epics feature in Mendix stood out in how comprehensive it is for teams that use this particular approach to development. It provides both Scrum and Kanban boards that I used to manage workflows and organize sprints.

Mendix Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked in Mendix include the team management functions that allowed me to define clear roles for all stakeholders, including in development, review, and ideation. This facilitates agile development because everyone knows what their responsibilities are at all stages.

I also liked the Developer Portal, where I could access open APIs that I used to extend the platform by connecting to other agile tools I needed for collaboration, deployment, and maintenance of my applications.

Integrations are pre-built for Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Azure, IBM Cloud, AWS, SAP, and Google Cloud. There are also APIs you can use to connect to third-party services of your choosing.

Pricing: From $60/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Supports truly agile development
  • Provides several collaboration tools
  • Extensible


  • Only cost-effective for large companies
  • Weak customer support

8. Rollbar - Best error handling features

Rollbar screenshot
The error detection dashboard in Rollbar. (Source)

Rollbar is an enterprise error monitoring platform that provides a variety of tools for error detection, reporting, and resolution.

Why I Picked Rollbar: I liked that Rollbar gave me digital breadcrumbs in error reports that I could follow to pinpoint and address the root cause. These logs included vital information such as network activity, page loads, and console logs.

Rollbar Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked while using Rollbar for error management include the reports that also include the state an application was in when an error occurred, with enough information on arguments and variables that I could reliably recreate the conditions when debugging. In some situations, it also provides a stack trace with contextual metadata and puts your code into perspective so you know exactly what caused the error when debugging.

Integrations are pre-built for Jenkins, Slack, Jira, Microsoft Teams, Asana, GitHub, GitLab, Azure DevOps, Trello, and Heroku.

Pricing: From $15/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robust error management features
  • Detailed logging
  • Fairly generous free tier


  • Requires extensive configuration to avoid being overloaded with the errors it discovers
  • Automatic error grouping means you might miss crucial errors

9. Xcode - Best for Apple development

Xcode screenshot
Building SwiftUI elements with Xcode. (Source)

Xcode is a free IDE from Apple that the company promotes as the ideal choice for applications that run on its platforms, including macOS, iOS, and iPadOS.

Why I Picked Xcode: Xcode ships with extensive support for Swift and SwiftUI, Apple’s preferred app development language and interface framework. The version of Swift in Xcode is supported by Apple directly, and you get access to official pre-release versions of it in the IDE.

Xcode Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked in Xcode include the LLVM compiler that works for C, Objective-C, and C++ and is adapted to Apple’s current generation of processors across its mobile and desktop devices. All these factors combine to make the compiler and resulting apps fast. I also liked the Simulator, which gives you a live preview of what your app would look like on a real device, like an iPhone, with the image updating as you edit the code.

Integrations are pre-built for Apple Developer Tools, GitHub, Slack, GitLab, and Jenkins.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Officially backed by Apple, so it runs smoothly on its devices
  • Device simulator
  • Out-of-the-box support for Swift and SwiftUI


  • Doesn’t support other languages as well as it does Swift
  • Limited to Apple devices

10. Android Studio - Best for Android development

Android Studio screenshot
Using the Layout Editor in Android Studio to create an interface. (Source)

Android Studio is the official IDE from Google that the company says is the best tool for anyone developing Android applications.

Why I Picked Android Studio: I chose Android Studio because of Emulator, a feature that allows you to simulate different Android devices and API levels on which you can test your projects. This helps you account for variations across devices, something that’s valuable for anyone developing Android apps.

Android Studio Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked in Android Studio include package management that allowed me to create separate Android Package Kits (APKs) for different devices from a single code base. This helped me ship products where one APK wasn’t enough to provide smooth performance across drastic different platforms, like an APK for newer phones and another one for older Android TVs.

Studio also translated my Java code to Kotlin and showed me Kotlin equivalents for Java as I wrote. As someone with little Kotlin experience, this made it easy to learn the language on the fly.

Integrations are pre-built for Firebase, GitHub, GitLab, and Google Play.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Official Google backing
  • Allows you to learn Kotlin on the fly
  • Strong application package management features


  • Resource intensive
  • Kotlin-centric

11. Appery - Best back-end services

Appery screenshot
Managing the database of an app built using Appery. (Source)

Appery is a low-code development platform for building web apps, progressive web apps (PWAs), and hybrid mobile apps using JavaScript.

Why I Picked Appery: I found Appery to have enough back-end services to help me get a low-code app up and running from the visual builder. I was able to create and manage the databases that held my assets and could access an inbuilt query editor to run queries and tests within them.

Appery Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked while evaluating the back-end services in Appery include the ability to create instant REST APIs for your database using the visual builder. You can use these to connect to external tools and move data between platforms automatically. Appery also has a job scheduler that you can use to handle recurring or one-time back-end jobs, such as authentication or push notifications on time on your behalf.

Integrations are available via REST APIs that you can use to connect to third-party solutions.

Pricing: From $25/month

Trial: 14-day free trial


  • Robust back-end services
  • REST APIs to extend all apps
  • Large library of pre-built plugins and templates for faster development


  • Limited pre-built integrations
  • Dated interface

12. Zoho Creator - Best workflow automation

Zoho Creator screenshot
Setting up an automated workflow with Zoho Creator. (Source)

Zoho Creator is a low-code app-building platform that allows you to develop a variety of applications, including desktop, mobile, analytics, BI, and online portals.

Why I Picked Zoho Creator: I liked that Zoho Creator had strong workflow automation capabilities that I could leverage to speed up my processes and cut down on repetitive tasks right from the visual builder. For any custom scripting, I could use the company’s Deluge language, but I rarely needed to go that route.

Zoho Creator Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked while testing automation in Zoho Creator include the fact that I could set up workflows for various areas of the application, including forms, approvals, and payments, and receive notifications that kept me in the loop. I also liked that I could extend the scope of my automations by connecting to external services like CRMs and staffing solutions to bring data from those platforms into my workflows.

Integrations are pre-built for Twilio, SharePoint, JD Edwards, Microsoft Dynamics, Infor ERP, SAP, Google Calendar, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and Google Workspace.

Pricing: From $12/user/month

Trial: 15-day free trial


  • Robust workflow automation features
  • Large template library
  • User-friendly interface


  • Limited pre-built integrations
  • Requires knowledge of the proprietary Deluge language for custom scripting

Other App Development Software Options

Even though these app development tools didn’t make my primary list, they’re still worth checking out:

  1. iBuildApp - Best for institutional apps
  2. Quixy - Best business process management (BPM) features
  3. Caspio - Best for building no-code database apps
  4. Appian - Best business process automation features
  5. Appy Pie - Best for creating help desks
  6. IntelliJ IDEA - Best for Java apps
  7. Visual Studio - Best for C++ development
  8. Shoutem - Best for development with React Native

Selection Criteria For App Development Software

In selecting the best app development solutions, I focused on features, functionality, usability, pricing, and integrations. Here’s what I looked for in particular for each of those criteria:

Core functionality

I had a look at app development software that had key functionalities such as:

  • Cross-platform support so I could develop applications for a wide range of devices
  • Version control so I could experiment and roll back changes whenever I wanted
  • Debugging capabilities that allowed me to find and resolve issues

Key Features

To carry out the core functionalities mentioned above, I was looking for the following key features:

  • IDEs that make it easier to write my own code if that’s the avenue I chose
  • Support for multiple programming languages to give me flexibility and my app more functionality
  • Performance analysis and monitoring to ensure the app runs smoothly after the first round of development


I was looking at the usability of different solutions relative to the general expertise level for where I was recommending it. For example, a no-code tool is more likely to attract non-technical users, so it needed to use little to no overly technical language, especially in debugging.

Value for Money

The cost for app development software can depend on the projects you’re working on. For example, if you’re developing for Apple or Android, you can use Xcode and Android Studio for free. However, if you’re developing for other platforms or using other languages, you can expect to pay about $15 to $25 per user a month for an IDE. These include features like smart editors that can autocomplete your code and built-in developer tools to centralize your work.

In general, the more a tool cost, the more critical I was of it. For example, a low-code platform that would add up to tens of thousands of dollars a year needed to be more self-contained and not rely on external integrations.

People Also Ask

Here are answers to some of the most common questions asked about app development software:

More App Development Tool Reviews


Application development software comes in various forms that cater to different approaches, from no-code to full code. Teams with little to no technical expertise should go for the former, while more experienced devs could go with either depending on how much custom functionality they want and the kind of resources they have at their disposal.

If the information in this article helped you and you’d like more.

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By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.