AppMakr is probably among the first of many sites where you can create and publish an iPhone app for your church, ministry, organization or even simply your own personal blog.
Put simply, the AppMakr website takes RSS feeds and presents them as part of your own fully customizable app. Not convinced? Here’s a list of Celebrity A-Listers who believe it’s the bomb:
- CNET: AppMakr lowers barriers to creating iPhone apps
- TechCrunch: AppMakr: Make your own iPhone apps for just two bills
- Mashable: AppMakr Makes iPhone App Creation a Snap
- MobileCrunch: AppMakr Transforms App Store Landscape, Enables Anyone To Make Their Own iPhone App
- Seth Godin: Now available as an iphone app
- Robert Scoble: Hot Startups to Watch in 2010
- Guy Kawasaki: How to Make an iPhone App
- Geoff Livingston: AppMakr Makes iPhone Apps Acce$$ible
Convinced? Let’s get started:
First, AppMakr asks you to input a search term, or url for a website or feed. It then searches for feeds and images to put together to make your app, providing you with a sample version as a starting point which can then be customized.
Customize & Preview
The site takes you through five steps to produce the finished, personalized app – and provides a functioning preview (one of AppMakr’s really neat features) which you can navigate through as the app evolves (here’s my attempt at an 8BIT app as an example):
Images can be picked out by searching for them on the web, by inputting a URL or by uploading images stored locally.
Choose and Order Your Own Feeds
Next the site asks you to choose the tabs which will form the main functionality of your app – displaying the latest posts from the feeds you choose.
It is slightly annoying that you can’t create a static page as one of the tabs – for instance as an “about” tab or with other information, but this is not a serious issue.
The site can display twitter feeds as well but the display can be a bit wonky at times.
Each tweet displays twice – both as the “post” title and as the actual body of the post. And you’ll need to look up your Twitter account and find the RSS feed that goes with it – you can’t just input your user name.
You probably won’t want to use this feature if you’re creating an app for a church or non-profit, but you can choose from several different options to add adverts to your app and generate some income.
Final Preview & Publish
AppMakr allows you to share your finished app design, making it public prior to publishing it. This way you can share it with friends and get opinions or approval before the finished product is sent to Apple for approval.
AppMakr offers two options for publishing your app – either AppMakr will send it for approval using their own developer account or you can publish the app by applying for your own Apple developer credentials. In the first case, AppMakr will appear in iTunes as the publisher – and they’ll put a small version of their own logo at the bottom of the app’s splash screen.
You can preview the trial app I created here. Here’s the final version:
This is the big downside if your church doesn’t have a huge media budget: Publishing your app through AppMakr will cost you $199, and using your own Developer Account will cost $499.
We’ve managed to ease this a little by getting ChurchDrop readers a discount.
Exclusive Coupon Code!
Use the coupon code: CHURCHDROP to get $50 off the final product.
The Bottom Line:
So, what’s our take? Here’s some pros/cons:
- It makes developing your own app quick and easy, and requires no programming expertise to use.
- AppMakr allows you to fully customize your app – using your own icons, splash screen, and header image.
- You get a functional preview as you go along so you can see exactly what the finished product will look like and how it will function.
- The end result looks pretty neat – and can be shared with the world for feedback before publishing.
- The price – although this seems like a small price to have your own app developed. Going to a developer and paying extra would allow for complete customization – or you could develop a mobile site for free.
- Only RSS feeds can be used as tabs – no ability to have a preferences tab or static text.
- Twitter feeds don’t format quite right.
You can see my final verdict and summary below.
Your Turn, Thoughts?
Anyone thinking about using AppMakr?
Would you pay $199 (or$149) for an iPhone app? Would you suggest this option to churches or organizations you work with?
If you decide to give it a go and try creating your own app – post a link in the comments so we can check it out!