In Strategy Analytics' new research program, “App Development & APIs, examined Apple, Google and Microsoft's Mobile App Developer Environments,” Apple’s Xcode and Microsoft’s Visual Studio were top rated, with a score of 22 and 21, respectively, while Android Studio scored only 13.
The research group says Xcode beats Android on all measures on which it was evaluated. Developer tools are an important component of platform support and Apple's end to end system for app development to distribution is the reason the platform boasts some of the most advanced applications, says David MacQueen, executive director of Apps Research, Strategy Analytics.
“Apple's strong showing is no surprise, as they are the market leader in the apps space. The strengths of Xcode are its accessibility, with Swift aimed at coding novices, and a graphical interface for rapid prototyping. The discrepancy in gaming capabilities is a major reason why Xcode is rated above the other developer environments,” he adds. “Conversely, Visual Studio, the most mature product, closes the gap as it is the only environment which can be used to code for multiple platforms and also the strength of its editing and testing suite.”
Strategy Analytics says Android Studio, the least mature product, is lacking in all six key areas. Google seems to acknowledge this with planned updates to include a graphical user interface following the acquisition of Pixate, and better testing tools also planned for the near future.
“With apps becoming mass-market and an important tool for all categories of companies, having tools which non-technical staff can use is becoming more and more important,” says David Kerr, Senior Vice President, Strategy Analytics. “Artists, media and marketing professionals are all getting more involved in app design and development. Apple and Microsoft deserve plaudits for enabling them to have a direct input into app design; Google needs to catch up to where the apps market is heading.”