Learning how to code and produce a basic iPhone or Android app is not a simple drag and drop process. While Apple’s Xcode helps lay down the foundation for building an iPhone app, it can take hours of coding and trial and error to produce a basic RSS feed or portfolio application.
But if you’re really eager to make a mobile app based on your website, business, organization, or just a fun quiz game, a website called Buzztouch may well be the web-based solution for you. Buzztouch is essentially Content Management Software for iOS and Android. It provides a template-based process in which you import your app’s information into the online software, and in turn it will create the code that you need to compile the data for your application. I gave a try and it does work.
What You Need
MUO has previously covered the steps on how to develop a simple iPhone app and submit it iTunes. You should read that article as it’s part of this process. Buzztouch however does not get your app onto iTunes, nor does it compile it in the programming application, Xcode, or the Android counterpart. What Buzztouch does is help you develop your app so that you can export the code to Xcode, and then from there you go through the process of submitting your app to the iTunes App Store. Since I’m an iPhone and Mac user, this review will focus on creating an iPhone app.
The tools Buzztouch provides are totally free. It seeks to inspire aspiring developers, designers, content publishers, and the like to leverage their technology.
However, beyond Buzztouch, you will need a copy of Xcode on your Mac. If you already have a current or older free version of Xcode, you’re set to go. If not, you will have to download it from the Mac App Store, for $5. Once you get your app completed, you will need to shell out $99 for a developer’s license to upload your app to the iTunes App Store where it will go through the approval process.
Developing Your App
Buzztouch provides some excellent video tutorials for developing your iPhone application. I will provide simply an overview of the process. Basically, the core content of the Buzztouch app consists of one or more basic mobile iPhone template items. For example, I partially created an iPhone RSS feed app for MakeUseOf.com, although of course you can download the official MUO app from the App Store.
After you do the free registration on the Buzztouch site, you will need to be familiar with the tools and templates that the app creation software provides. You will need to create and gather the content for your app before you get started in the process. It’s like gathering content for producing a website. In fact, your existing website could be the basis of a web-based iPhone app. Thus a Buzztouch app could be useful for realtors, modelling agencies, small restaurants, performers, bloggers, etc.
You start off the process by creating a name for your site.
Next, you need to add a logo for your app. I borrowed one from MUO’s existing application. A professional looking logo is highly recommended for your app to have any chance of being purchased and downloaded from the App Store. As you can see, Buzztouch makes adding the icon very easy. In each step of the process, an iPhone simulation will show you the results of the content you provide.
As shown in the following control panel, you will need to add a homepage image and introductory information for your app. That’s very easy to do. Where it says “Manage this app’s menus & screens” is the core content of your app.
Clicking on that tool, you are provided with a set of tools for building your app. So far example, if you want to an RSS feed app for your blog site, you would add the RSS feed tool as one of your Home Screen Menu items.
There are 20 other templates for adding items, such as a Streaming and/or YouTube video, an Email Us page, a multiple choice quiz, a single image, a PDF doc, and a share via Facebook tool.
As with any professional looking website, you will want to have the content of your app polished and well edited.
At any time during the process of building your app, you can have Buzztouch compile the code and send it over to Xcode to see the results. After Buzztouch prepares your code, it will download it to your computer. In the resulting folder, you will want to click on the file with the name of your app and the extension, “xcodeproj.” When you click the Run button in Xcode, it will open the iPhone simulator that is a part of the programmer.
You really don’t need programming skills to produce your application, but you do need to be comfortable with using this sort of technology.
A few examples of apps developed by Buzztouch include Ian James’ Piano Live which is designed to keep his fans updated about his live shows and other information;
and Thrifty Car Sales, a calculator produced by Thrifty Car Sales to calculate the interest rate on a car loan, as well as other tips for buying a car.
Let us know what you think of Buzztouch. If you create an app and post it for free download on the App Store, let us know about it. We might consider reviewing it as a follow-up to this article.