Introduction to AppStudio

The Easiest way to Program Mobile Devices!

April 2, 2013

What is AppStudio?

AppStudio 3 is the latest tool from NSB Corporation. It's a development environment which creates apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets. Somewhat Visual Studio like in appearance, it has a design screen where you layout your screens, integrated with a code editor. Once you have created your forms and code, it creates an app ready to test or deploy.

NSB Corporation has been making mobile device development tools for long time: since 1993. While they got their start making tools which used the BASIC programming language, AppStudio gives equal support to JavaScript.

The AppStudio IDE runs on both Mac and Windows, with the appearance being virtually identical. Projects can be freely interchanged between the two platforms.

Installation of AppStudio is straightforward and includes everything needed to get started. The download is under 40 megs, about 97% smaller than XCode or Eclipse + the Android SDK.

The first time AppStudio is started, it goes directly into a HelloWorld program:

The main IDE screen. Click on the "i" tooltips for more information. Click on "Code" to see the code.

When you click on Run, your app is created using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS, then deployed as a Web App either locally or to a server. AppStudio provides a handy server ( so you can test without having to set up your own.

Testing can be done in the local browser, a device or a simulator. Since you need to install the iOS or Android toolchain to run their simulators, it's good to find that the local browser is actually a better choice: you'll be able to use the browser's debugger. You can use Chrome or Safari: both are close to their device counterparts.

To run the app on the device, enter the URL in the browser. You'll get this:

Making it work like a real app

The apps you create do not have to be run only in the browser. You can specify an icon and a splashscreen in your Project Properties. If you choose the "Add to Home Screen" option from the bottom, you'll get this:

For iOS. Android varies, but the effect is the same.

What happens if the device is offline?

Your app still runs. AppStudio makes use of an HTML5 feature called Application Caching. What it does is create a manifest of all the files the app needs. When the app is run, these files are saved to the device. If the device is offline, the app will use these files. If the device is online and there is a newer version on the server, it will be downloaded automatically. Even if you are online all the time, this is a useful feature: apps load much faster from the devices's memory than over the net.

Who is it for?

AppStudio is for people who have done some programming with JavaScript or BASIC. JavaScript is the programming language of the web. BASIC is one of the mostly widely known and easiest to use programming languages: AppStudio translates it to JavaScript for runtime. AppStudio's BASIC is based on VBScript, a subset of Visual BASIC.

What does it run on?

On the development side, you can use anything from Windows XP to Windows 8. If you have a Mac, you will need Mac OS 10.7 or later. Projects can be freely interchanged between the two platforms.

Write your app once and run it on any recent iOS or Android phone and tablet. Apps can also be built into websites or run standalone on the desktop.

Can I submit apps to App Stores?

Yes. For Apple's store, you will need to join their developer program ($99/year) and follow their submission guidelines. The Chrome store also has its guidelines, but is less expensive to join. Apps have to be converted to native using PhoneGap before submitting.

What technologies does it use?

What's included?

The download includes everything needed to get started. No additional SDKs, emulators or libraries need to be downloaded. All the components are full integrated on installation. An organized library of samples is included.

Documentation is in a Wiki: an offline version is included in the download. It includes an IDE Handbook, language reference, Technotes and Tutorials.

There is an active and helpful forum. The company offers both free and premium support.

What are people using it for?


AppStudio is a complete, easy to use tool for creating apps for mobile devices. It can be used for a wide range of projects, and is a useful tool for professional, corporate and hobby developers.