​Apple and Microsoft rule developer roost as Google lags behind

“Apple and Microsoft deserve plaudits but Google needs to catch up to where the apps market is heading.”

In the battle for developers, Apple's Xcode and Microsoft's Visual Studio offer the best mobile developer environments.

Strategy Analytics’ new research program, App Development & APIs, examined Apple, Google and Microsoft’s Mobile App Developer Environments and claims Xcode and Visual Studio were top rated, with a score of 22 and 21 respectively, while Android Studio scored only 13.

The research analyst firm reports that Apple’s Xcode beats Android on all measures on which it was evaluated.

Microsoft also offers a strong showing, perhaps providing it with an opportunity to better court developers to the Windows platform.

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.

“The developer environments that Apple, Google and Microsoft provide can have an enormous impact on the quality of apps produced by developers,” says David MacQueen, Executive Director of Apps Research.

“We assessed the tools provided on a number of criteria, including the languages supported, the quality of the editor, and the testing tools available to developers.”

MacQueen says 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.

For MacQueen, the discrepancy in gaming capabilities is a major reason why Xcode is rated above the other developer environments.

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.

Android Studio, the least mature product, is lacking in all six key areas, according to findings.

MacQueen says Google seem 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,” adds 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.”

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