iOS Developer Tool Belt – Essential Services and Libraries

As an iOS developer there are many products, services and libraries that you must consider when building, testing, launching, marketing and monitoring your apps.

Here are the ones I have chosen to use currently.

Services

Crash Reporting

Crash reporting is essential. Knowing when you’ve introduced bugs and getting stack traces should be top of your list.

There are a wide variety of services to use for this, but the one I think stands head and shoulders above all others is Crashlytics (acquired by Twitter). The web interface design I find a little over the top, but the initial setup and email alerts are amazing.

https://www.crashlytics.com

Analytics

I have tried a lot of analytics services (even our own). At the moment I have settled on Google Analytics. It’s super simple to integrate and if you are tracking web and/or Android it’s all right there in one location. The live functionality is fun during launches and updates.

https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/ios/

Reviews & Features

I made AppBot so of course I think it’s the best 🙂 You need to know what people are saying about your app, you may not always like it, but good reviews are essential for a successful app. The best way to improve reviews is to read them and accept feedback.

Get a daily email digest of reviews for your apps from all countries. Once a week any Apple features of your apps in the store (e.g. Editors Choice) will be email to you.

http://appbot.co

Sales & Downloads

Of course we all want to know how are apps are going, pick any one of the following they all get the job done.

Testing

For testing I really like http://www.usertesting.com you can create an ad hoc build of your app and get videos of people using them.

A really useful looking service that I am yet to try is http://www.testelf.com, a full service mobile app testing site.

Beta Testers

You have built your app and want to send it to friends and family to check out. There are two services that stand out:

  • Hockey App – http://hockeyapp.net – reliable and solid. Paid.
  • Test Flight – http://testflightapp.com – Most regular app testers (and review sites) are already on here, so they could find it a bit easier to install your app.

Source Control

I hope your app is in source control, it’s saved me many times as a backup and it’s a great collaboration tool. My source control of choice is git (and also most open source software).

There is two services I recommend:

  • GitHub (Paid) – https://github.com – the choice of most open source software.
  • Bitbucket (Free for small teams) – https://bitbucket.org – A great option if you have a small team with lots of repositories.

Custom Web Service Hosting

If I need to use a custom web service for my application (which I write in Ruby on Rails) I current use two different hosting options depending on the size and budget of the app.

  • Amazon Web Services – http://aws.amazon.com – AWS has an amazing amount of products, great support (both paid and on the web) and is great to scale with. But it isn’t cheap, I use it for larger projects.
  • Digital Ocean – https://www.digitalocean.com – For smaller projects and personal hacks I have recently began using Digital Ocean, amazingly cheap and has been solid so far.

Collaboration & Project Management

I really like Trello http://trello.com. Free, simple and a great iPad app.

Support

AppbotX – http://www.appbot.co/appbotx

Software, Frameworks & Libraries

Dependency Management

CocoaPods – http://cocoapods.org is “the best way to manage library dependencies in Objective-C projects”. Use it.

Networking

I absolutely love AFNetworking (https://github.com/AFNetworking/AFNetworking). Use it for any networking and study the code for how to write simple and clean Objective-C.

HUD / Progress

MBProgressHUD is a great drop in component for showing modal progress.https://github.com/jdg/MBProgressHUD.

Side Menu

I’m not a fan of side menus (like in Path & Facebook), but a lot of people are. More than likely you are going to have to implement one at some point. The best I have found is ViewDeck (https://github.com/Inferis/ViewDeck).

More Controls

CocoaControls – https://www.cocoacontrols.com – Is a great site to look for controls you might need.

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