The App Store is currently on a fantastic trajectory, it’s becoming ever more a wonderfully self sustaining and profitable marketplace for entrepreneurial developers. One of the best things about the App Store in its current form is how remarkably easy it is for passionate developers to make a mark.
If you have a truly great idea, there’s a good chance you can succeed!
App Cooker is aiming to be the single, all encompassing, tool for designing and mocking up apps – helping you to plan and assess the viability of your idea. Now comes the real question; is it any good?
Design & Interface
It’s appropriate that App Cooker features a stylish user interface that’s been carefully thought through. While it can take a few minutes to understand what each of the sections is for, they are divided into clearly defined areas which add together to help you plan every aspect of your app.
While functionality is obviously the key aspect of a design and prototyping app such as this, it’s good to see the level of detail that the developers of App Cooker have gone into. Each section is themed differently, which not only looks pretty, but helps you to differentiate between them in your mind.
App Cooker uses standard gestures for navigation, it’s quick to react and intuitive.
This is the big section. App Cooker has a depth of functionality that would be very difficult to cover in its entirety, instead I’m going to look a little at each section to give an idea of what you can do.
The App Board is where the app opens, it’s an area that allows you to get an overview of the app concept that you are working on by showing you details from each of the following sections.
The Mockup Editor contains the most functionality of any of the sections described here, and is perhaps the most useful. It allows you to completely plan and sketch out the design and layout of your app, using a multitude of features.
Some of the highlights include:
- Creating Workflows; you can add up to 99 screens in each mockup.
- Preview; take a look at your mockup in full screen.
- UI Widgets; mockup using the real Apple UI widgets.
- Hand Drawing; include your own drawn ideas in the mockup.
- Links; link different screens together, you can even preview the results.
- Images; import images into the graphic editor.
Even as a complete novice it’s easy to see just how powerful, and useful, App Cooker would be for anyone designing apps – anyone, from a beginner to an app champion, could make great use of this feature.
This section is essentially a small widget for helping you to clarify your idea/ideas that gives you tools to help you think about interface style and your definition statement. Encouraging you to have a clear definition statement is a powerful theme here, and something that I’m totally behind – there are so many apps that become bloated and poor because they can’t decide what exactly they want to focus on.
App Icon Factory
I wrote an article not too long ago about the powerful effect app icons can have, and the developers of App Cooker clearly understand this. This widget is a great way to help you draft, and eventually solidify, a fantastic idea for an app icon.
I’m so happy to see the emphasis on drafting and redrafting to find the perfect fit, there are a lot of apps out there that fall flat at the first hurdle (for users in the App Store) and rush out a poor icon. While it’s possible to do your drafting in a multitude of applications, App Cooker aims to keep all of your thoughts contained – and it’s a nice touch.
This is an aspect of app development that often doesn’t come naturally to app developers. You can be passionate and dedicated to developing your great idea, but if you don’t think carefully about how you are making money then there’s no way your app will blossom into a business.
This section is a great tool for thinking about expenses and revenue, and gives you a wealth of options to think about. This is something that it is well worth planning in advance and App Cooker has it covered here. While the options don’t go into extreme detail, they cover the fundamentals and that’s a great start.
App Cooker even includes an option for extra expenses, such as coffee…
App Store Information
While there’s no doubting the value and importance of App Store Information, this section is really the least necessary. It does, however, give you an interesting layout and encourages the use of all of the App Store’s 18 languages.
While you could draft this information anywhere it’s good to be able to keep it together with all of your other design information, and the tips are useful.
App Cooker is currently in the App Store for $19.99, but its price is set to go up (to $49.99) in the not too distant future. The stated reason for this is the slightly unfinished state of the app, the developers are set to add some significant new features in the near future that will complete the set of design and mockup tools.
If App Cooker is something you’re intrigued by then it’s definitely worth considering it now – and also being on the lookout for an upcoming competition!
I think the comprehensive set of tools provided by App Cooker could be invaluable to any level of app developer, from amateur to seasoned app emperor. Each section is carefully crafted to encourage great app development, something which I’m fanatical about!