Mobile Apps and Web Solutions

Android vs. iOS Development

I’ve recent just shipped the same pretty simple app on both Android and iOS, so I thought it would be interesting to capture my current feelings on what is nice - and not so nice - about developing for each platform.

Big Caveat

I’m a lot more experienced building for iOS than for Android, so I’m almost certainly biased towards Apple. Don’t hate me.

Android Good Points

Release Process

Now Apple is getting much better at reviewing apps - my last few releases have all been out in less than 2 days - but it’s really nice to be in full control on when I can push out a new version.

The Google Play developer web site is also more comprehensive than iTunes Connect.

Image Generation

I love the image generation tool in Android Studio, which lets you generate all the image sizes you need for different screens resolutions from one original source.

I also love you can easily generate images from text, which was perfect for use make Font Awesome based icons.

iOS Good Points

Layout

I truly don’t understand exactly how all the different layout options work (LinearLayout, RelativeLayout etc.) Also the visual editor in Android Studio didn’t work well for me, so I ended up working in XML most of the time. That wasn’t fun.

It may be because I’m used to it, but the “storyboards plus constraints” way of laying out UI elements in XCode seems much easier and much more intuitive to me.

I see there is a ConstraintLayout coming in AndroidStudio 2.2, so maybe that will make things easier in future.

Foundation Libraries

IMHO Out of the box, a basic iOS app is simply nicer looking and easier to use than an Android app. I think the foundation classes on iOS are just better designed. I had to do much more work on Android to make my app half-decent looking, especially with my limited design skills.

XCode

Android Studio is just a little less polished to my eyes. Almost certainly this is because it’s cross-platform, and in a few places you can see this where there are non-standard UI elements used rather than platform specific ones.

It’s not that it’s terrible to use, but XCode just feels faster and looks nicer on OS X.

Summary

I still think developing iOS apps in XCode is easier and frankly more fun than the Android Studio/Android equivalent.

However I was pleasantly surprised how much things have progressed in Android Studio since I first played about with Eclipse a few years ago, and I’ll definitely consider doing more Android work in future.

N.B. This blog post has now moved to https://writingontablets.com