Application Craft Launches with $1M to Help Anyone Build Cross-Platform Apps

Today UK startup Application Craft is launching to the public to give app developers one platform to build and deploy web, native and desktop apps. The company’s cloud-based app development platform aims to “kill the complexity” by helping anyone create a cross-platform app, and it’s officially launching today with $1 million in angel funding.

While some DIY app platforms like Appmakr and TheAppbuilder are aimed the true beginner, someone who doesn’t know how to code, Application Craft assumes its users are developers familiar with JavaScript. CEO Freddy May used to be a developer, and said that as mobile apps grew in popularity, he realized that it’s difficult to get an app out the door. He said the company’s platform is similar to Microsoft’s Visual Basic integrated development environment (IDE), which launched in 1991 and was designed to be easy to learn and use.

“At Application Craft we believe that mobile application development should be available for developers of all skill levels, not just people who can write native code, or advanced HTML5/CSS/JavaScript apps,” May said in an interview, adding that they’ve tried to make app development accessible by moving all aspects of the development into a browser-based tool, and by simplifying the development process wherever possible. “The reason we know this is important is it frees developers from having to make technology stack choices.”

Application Craft offers developers a browser-based integrated development environment (IDE) where they can build, test, and debug their apps. Developers can build their front-end screens using a drag-and-drop user interface designer, write front-end and server-side code, and add functionality using the widgets toolbar, which features open sourced widgets that allows users to add everything from geo-targeting to social media sharing. “You sign up, you can immediately startup developing…and Application Craft is also the default deployment platform,” May said.

Developers can also monetize their consumer apps by connecting their ad provider with an Application Craft widget. “You’ve got a code-free way of monetizing your consumer apps,” May said about the advertising functionality. Today’s launch includes additional features like multi-language support and several new widgets, including a document signing tool. The company also works with clients to develop custom apps and widgets.

There is a free version with all basic functionality, and pro accounts are $45 per month per developer, with enterprise plans available as well. The pro version is targeted at experienced developers, and gives users enterprise data integration, app migration, advanced widgets, and support for Google Analytics. The pro plan allows developers to keep ad revenue made within the apps (any revenue made from advertising using a free account is kept by Application Craft). The free account lets developers create up to 10 apps, and pro versions offer unlimited apps.

In terms of who’s creating apps using Application Craft, May said it’s mostly used for consumer apps created by development companies, businesses, and individual developers. He said it’s also being used by professors to teach students desktop and mobile development. He said that though they’re currently targeting people with at least a basic knowledge of JavaScript, they’ll be launching JavaScript tutorials by the end of 2012 so people can learn to code and then build their app on the platform.

“We have made it about the easiest way of writing JavaScript as possible,” he said. “But we’re effectively saying if you want to build something which is reasonably powerful, you are going to need to learn JavaScript.”

May said he will be using the recent round of funding for hiring and marketing, and said thousands of apps have been created on the platform since it launched in beta in 2011. While there are DIY app platforms like Appmakr and app creation platforms for experienced developers like Appcelerator, May believes his company is taking a unique approach to mobile apps. “We have competition in all those different areas, and they’re competing for the way an app is built,” he said. “We don’t have anyone who’s doing the Visual Basic approach.”




Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin Bury is a Co-founder and CEO at Willful, an online estate planning platform. Also a former Managing Director at Eighty-Eight, a creative communications agency based in Toronto. She was formerly the Managing Editor at BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter at @erinbury.

0 replies on “Application Craft Launches with $1M to Help Anyone Build Cross-Platform Apps”