Templates and themes have been around for a while. Online giants like CodeCanyon and Themeforest are the forerunners in the race, but there are thousands of other template and theme providers as well. Until a few years ago, template business was majorly focussed on websites and Wordpress templates. But things are quickly changing now. On summer of 2018 the mobile app ecosystem, one of the biggest industries on this planet, will turn 10. Google and App store have seen a huge growth in apps in recent years as shown in the graph below. With the growing rise in app-based startups, it is imperative for developers to use a modular way of app development which costs least time and money. That is where app templates come in.
A collective experience of several app development agencies says that majority of the app development is a repeat process. This is specially relevant in today's age where startups are often found building an 'Uber for something', or an 'Instagram of something'. Even the apps which are not exactly cloning these famous apps, are actually using similar components in them. This inevitably calls for a modularization of app development process. App templates are ready-made source-code (sometimes also called app starters), which give a head start in app development.
Imagine you are set out to build an 'Uber for something', and you get the full app UI off the shelf. You can then plug in your logic, your product and your back-end into the app and get it ready for app store. This way you save a ton on your development cost.
Following are the major advantages of using a template for app development
App templates are undoubtedly efficient in a large number of cases. But there are certain limitations as well.
A lot of factors point towards a rise in usage of templates and app builders for app development.
There are a good number of places where you can buy the app templates off the shelf. For a starting point, you can browse
- Ionicmarket - Ionic market is the collection of apps made in Ionic hybrid technology. It has significantly grown in recent years and good number of app starters and templates are available here
- IonicThemes - Another individual marketplace for apps made in Ionic technology
- Enappd - An app starter collection with a variety of Ionic and React Native apps, including Netflix clone, Food delivery apps, Taxi booking app etc.
There are numerous small teams offering their own custom app templates. Even for a full-blown app, you are probably safe off contacting a team of developers who have created the templates, as they know the stuff in and out.
Fortunately no. Apple and Google have probably thought of all this way before, and their app development suites (Xcode and Android Studio respectively) come with a UI design suite with drag-n-drop feature possibility. Recently, Ionic also has released their own app builder, which allows easy UI building for the apps. But all this is still time consuming for an early startup, and you cannot always take care of code standards even with UI design suites like Xcode and Android Studio.
There are other online app builders available which allow you to design your app in a drag-n-drop fashion. In the end, you get the source code of the design and a resulting APK or IPA. This is similar to XCode and Android Studio, but easier on resources as you can just do everything online. The options and designs available with online builders are often very limited as well, but it is a good start for the development. Some popular app builders are Appy Pie, Shoutem, Ionic Creator, Bizness Apps etc.
Hybrid apps have changed the way apps are developed today. If an early stage startup wants to launch their own Android and iOS app, the costs are often not very affordable. This is specially the case for startups which don't have their own technical team. Since Android and iOS are built on two different technologies, you need to hire separate developers and hence, the costs rise.
For early stage startups (and even for a majority of mature businesses) , it is ideal to have a technology that can serve the app on both iOS and Android. That's where Hybrid technology comes in. There is no single standard for hybrid technology, but the major ones are
The biggest advantage is, as described earlier, a single technology to serve both Android and iOS. This reduces cost and time to market, which are the keys to success for early startups.