It seems like everyone’s enamored by open source these days. From solo developers through to large corporations, the free software movement has left its mark. And, this is overwhelmingly positive since it liberates developers from the shackles associated with paid software, which may include mounting costs and dubious licensing agreements.
1. Why Opting For Open Source Solutions Makes Sense
The hard truth is that app development can get expensive in the long run. And one reason why this is a common occurrence is due to rising software licensing costs. If we look at the Android development landscape, the mission-critical Android Studio IDE is freely available. While this may be a boon for cash-strapped developers, others may not like using this particular IDE or programming in Java or Kotlin.
Some may opt for Embarcadero’s RAD Studio, while others may settle for Microsoft’s Visual Studio. But for the higher-tier subscriptions, both IDEs are prohibitively expensive. Moreover, many developers may require additional tools such as code obfuscators, profilers, and UI/UX design software, to name a few. And as indispensable as these tools are, they do drive up development costs further.
So what should you do if you find your app development budget getting out of control? Start by seeking free software that offers similar functionality to paid solutions that you’re already using. Now, keep in mind that commercial vendors often have free or trial versions available for you to try out. But these have limited functionality or allow full functionality for a limited time only. Either way, this is far from ideal.
Luckily, we live in an era where open source solutions have become readily accepted. And there’s a good reason why this has happened. Unlike paid solutions, open-source software is free with no remuneration expected from users. Not only that, there are seldom any restrictive policies or cryptic end-user license agreements (EULAs) that raise concern. Instead, open-source software complies with licenses and standards approved by the Open Source Initiative.
2. Several Great Open Source Tools For Developing Android Apps
There are a plethora of excellent tools that should be part of your tech stack. And since these are open source solutions, your team may extend and modify these to fit the requirements of your projects.
- Eclipse – The popular open-source IDE used for creating Android, Java, and web applications.
- Godot – It’s an intuitive, feature-rich, and powerful game engine suitable for AR & VR projects.
- libGDX – A battle-tested, lightweight, and versatile framework for making games using Kotlin or Java.
- LeakCanary – Spotting memory leaks can be tricky, but LeakCanary makes it easy by automating the process.
- Flutter – Google’s cross-platform UI toolkit facilitates speedy development and compiles down to ARM machine code.
- Obfuscapk – Bad actors can decompile your APK and look at its source code, but Obfuscapk protects it with black-box obfuscation.
3. The Realities Of Free Software
It’s hard not to like software that delivers, especially if it’s free. But the question you may be asking is — is free software really that good? Isn’t there a quality downgrade when compared to commercial alternatives? Well, that depends. The quality of open source software has been rising consistently and is often on par, if not better, than commercial solutions.
However, the opposite is also true. It’s not uncommon for open source solutions to lack polish, have too many bugs, and not undergo proper software maintenance. For better or worse, many open-source projects are in the hands of small teams of developers that tend to be underfunded. They’ll often self-fund these projects or rely on donations from the community for support.
The Bottom Line
Android app development can be a fun and rewarding experience. After all, the platform boasts several powerful tools that make it easy to create impressive apps. But don’t shy away from adding more tools in your toolbox that will improve your workflow without breaking the bank. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you create phenomenal apps with the most appropriate technologies.