Before I begin, shout out to all my regular readers! Thanks for all your warm wishes and concern over my expired domain, you know who you are… 😉
Also, a quick update on my family for those who are interested, Xavier Logich (my infant son) was born 02/04/17 at 12:05 in the afternoon via an unplanned Caesarean weighing exactly 8 Lbs. (3.62874 Kg. for my readers who use metric) and we are doing well.
My Little Logich
Why a name like Logich? Because it is a reminder that no matter what, if he thinks things through he can do anything! 🙂
Okay, enough about my personal life lets talk about PHP Mobile App Development!
To start, if you are PHP programmer, you have essentially been excluded from client side development for years. PHP can and does power many cloud based apps (all or in part) but was never available as a client side language. Get ready for that to change!
The Internet’s favorite language ( VERY debatable I know 😛 ) is coming to mobile devices.
I previously blogged about Server for PHP which creates a server for PHP on an Android device. Couple that with MariaDB Server by the same developer and you have a nice package for running PHP code directly from your Android phone or tablet. That’s great for learning to code PHP on a mobile device as well as for hobbyists looking to do something fairly quick / something for your own use.
However this isn’t a really great option for developing mobile apps that you intend to sell, and lets face it… you like to code, but you are also trying to pay the bills!
Here is where the magic of KikAppTools comes in.
Obligatory disclaimer: I am not affiliated, employed or sponsored by KikAppTools (or anyone for that matter) however I am seeking paid sponsors for my content so if you would like to sponsor my work please contact me or support me on Patreon.
KikAppTools lets you write PHP code that compiles down to a native mobile app. The dev tools are cross platform and they include an Eclipse-based plugin should you want that though it’s not required, notepad/nano/vim will work just fine for all you old school hardcore unhinted coders. 😛
Why KikAppTools? If you are a PHP indi developer or a small group/team/startup that relies on PHP then KikAppTools lets you stick with PHP on mobile projects and leverage your existing team of skilled PHP programmers rather than having to outsource the mobile development portion of your project or hiring additional programmers skilled in native mobile development.
- PHP from start to finish, leverage your existing dev team on entirely new or larger projects.
- It’s FREE, even for commercial applications.
- You own the app, no sublicencing of your code.
- The dev’s are a small but skilled group of programmers who are very responsive to feedback and are desperate for alpha/beta testers so if you run into trouble they are happy and motivated to help solve your problem (But do them a favor, check the help forums first so you don’t overwhelm them with the same 5 questions).
- Their Github account has working demo application code.
- They have a “showcase” page for apps built using KikAppTools so it’s like getting free advertising for your startup or app!
- It’s “bleeding edge” new (read that as in active development) so there are no guarantees that there wont be occasional bugs while they continue to develop.
- Command Line Compiler/Build tool. Currently there is NO GUI interface so it’s not exactly the most “user friendly” interface and the menu system could be simplified in my opinion.
- No auto update system (but they will email you when an update is available).
- Requires native SDK build tools to be installed. At its core, KikAppTools is a PHP to Objective-C (iOS) or Java (Android) transpiler and Builder so even though it will auto build your app you will still need to install the iOS & Android SDKs.
- Small (but growing) community.
If you have any interest in mobile app development and PHP do yourself a favor and at least keep it on your radar as the developers seem to be making tons of progress!
Further, although its currently free because they they are focusing on making a great product first and will worry about monetization strategies second, in their FAQs section they say they are:
“contemplating accessible licenses for developers (Indie/Business/Enterprise – paid monthly or annually) depending on the features”
I am sure plenty of PHP developers will have no problem paying for this service, however, Speaking more to the developers here… These days there are a lot of options for creating mobile apps (some of which cost nothing) that I think it would artificially suppress adoption (even by motivated PHP programmers) simply because there is a barrier to adoption.
I think Unity3D has a great use license that encourages student developers to work with it for free and even lets indi developers make some money before it costs them anything.
My 2 cents is that KikAppTools could have a similar license where lone developers or small teams can make up to some value for free every year and after which a “pro” or better license would need to be obtained if more than a few seats or more than some level of profit from the app. This would encourage developers to give it a try while also getting them to stick around and actually use it. Further, it guarantees that as KikAppTools use grows the developers profit will grow as well.
And with that, this post is starting to get long…