Apple’s developer tool for apps
Xcode is a free integrated development environment (IDE) that contains a suite of software development tools for Apple devices’ operating systems. Developed by Apple, this software enables you to create programs and apps for the macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS. As this is the official package for developers hoping to design for Apple products, it’s highly optimized for the platforms and OS they’re aiming for.
Choose your layout
As a development software, Xcode comes with command-line tools and an easy-to-use interface as your workstation. With its support for features from Swift—a programming language created by Apple—you get a more robust user interface framework called SwiftUI. Its declarative syntax is simple and easy to deploy, allowing you to build your app’s own user interface code without much issue.
Your workstation can be configured to your preferences—whether you’d like a single editor present or you want to split your windows into arranged mosaic tiles for easy access. The editor tools can show SwiftUI previews, live views of playgrounds, and their various Assistants. To focus on a single file, you can click-zoom to maximize the pane. Your interface’s intuitive design enables you to even implement Dark Mode support for your app.
When working on your interface, you can simply drag and drop your elements. You will quickly see any changes to your visual UI by using the pop-up inspectors. A minimap sidebar has been added, displaying a bird's-eye view of your open file and its highlights. You can also use Live Mode and switch your design canvas to instantly interact with your running app in Xcode or on a connected device to test whatever changes you’ve made.
Code and test it out
If you like focusing more on the code, however, the Version Editor tool helps by showing a live source code comparison through Git or Subversion history. The Live Issues feature can display errors while you type—and then the Fix-It tool can correct your mistakes. Your code can have documentation comments in bold and italics, letting you learn and even improve your work.
You can even inspect differences in your current source edits compared to any past version by using a comparison view that will update as you type along. Since Xcode has integrated support for Swift, Swift packages are easy to handle and you can even create own packages based on your own code that you can share with others.
Testing your app via the software is easy to configure with the Devices feature. This allows you to simulate common user environments, such as the device heating up. The software can automate tests and build all versions you’ll need afterward. You can also easily take screenshots for debug documentation. However, for actual device testing or release on the App Store, you need to be a member of the Mac or iOS Developer Program.
No rivals to overcome
Overall, if you’re planning to make apps for the iPhone or iPad, then this is your go-to program. As Apple’s official software, there’s not much competition. However, it doesn’t have much customization and versatility when it comes to plugins or more advanced features. The interface is great in flexibility, but you will also often get processing errors.