Alternatives: Outsourcing vs in-house solutions and ‘halfway-house’ options

Not convinced that outsourcing is right for your project or just want to have a go in-house? Well even though this is the App Outsourcing Guide I’ve listed some alternatives or ‘halfway-house’ solutions you might like to consider.

This list is not meant to be comprehensive and deliberately excludes any ‘create your own app in five minutes’ websites, which will not produce the kind of quality apps that this guide is aimed at creating.

Adobe Flash Professional

Although Adobe’s previous troubles with Apple (in particular the iPhone) were well documented1, all of that now seems to be behind the two companies and Adobe is again promoting it’s Adobe Flash Professional product as a solution for iPhone Apps2.

Budding musician/producer who wants to promote their tracks?

Reach new fans and stream your tunes, via your own ‘fan app’ with these guys.

Digital Magazine Publishing – an interesting solution for magazine publishers on the iPad

If your team already uses InDesign to create magazines then Adobe has a great solution for quickly getting them onto an iPad (and monetising them too). To take a look at what is possible, just download the Wired magazine app for iPad3 (which is being used as the showcase for what this new software can do). Load it up and you’ll see it comes with a trial issue which you can view some of the basic features on. To really get an idea of what is possible though, use your iTunes account to buy one of the latest issues in the app itself and then browse away.

One of the beauties of this app is, if your designers/production team already uses InDesign to produce printed publications they can just ‘tag them up’ with this plug-in and before you know it you have an interactive edition too. In fact, companies I have spoken to who have used the software said that none of their designers needed more than two days training to use all aspects of it and most were able to understand and start using it almost immediately.

Once the designers have finished with an issue it is saved as a separate file. It is then loaded into a specially created iPad App and is then available for readers to download (currently you would have to work with Adobe to get the app initially set-up and approved by Apple the first time you use it, but it is a fairly simple process).

The great thing about this system is that if you charge people through the app to download the latest issue (which is then stored on their iPad for easy access) the payment is taken through the iTunes payment system. A simple confirmation by the user that they wish to go ahead with the purchase and entry of their iTunes Store password to authorise the purchase is all that is required (something that most users are already very familiar and comfortable with).

How to get this software? At the time of writing you need to sign up to Adobe’s Prerelease Program and apply. You can do so at:


These guys, based in New York, have an interesting product for creating or updating apps which can be used in a couple of ways. The first option is to let Eachscape create the original apps for you, but then use their product to make ongoing adjustments to the apps yourself. The second is to licence the whole system from them, using it to create apps yourself, and then – later on – use the same product to make adjustments to your apps any time you choose. You’re not going to build an app with it in five minutes but it does use a drag and drop interface that most people will find fairly intuitive. This might be a good option then if you want a developer to create the main app for you, but would like to be able to make tweaks to the app yourself after launch (though each new version of the app will still have to be submitted to Apple in the usual way).


Designed to let you build nearly any kind of iPhone App without doing any coding (though I think if you’re planning on creating the next Angry Birds you might want to consider other options). Providers include:

  • iSites
  • LocalBeacon
  • RedFoundry
  • Xyndi

Mobile websites

There are a lot of companies out there offering solutions for making websites more mobile-friendly. The following company has one that may help if you need something fast or your manpower for doing something in-house is limited.

Having a go yourself?

Head on over, download the latest SDK (software development kit) from Apple and get cracking (instructions and full details are available on their Developer website). You will need a Mac to develop it on (there are claimed workarounds to do the same thing on a PC but for most people a Mac will be required).


1Thoughts on Flash’, Steve Jobs, April 2010
2Adobe Opens iPhone to Flash Developers, 5 Oct 2010 applications/developers
3Wired Magazine for iPad on the App Store