Mobile

Spin out an iPhone app prototype ASAP with Cabana

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Cabana, an online service that lets developers quickly create a mobile application for the iPhone or other mobile devices, announced today that it is coming out of beta at the Launch conference in San Francisco.

The application lets developers drag buttons and other simple functions onto a test screen for a mobile application. They can then dive into a flow-chart style interface that basically lets them program the app with some simple functions. They can add external services, like a Twitter or Instagram module, or simple functions like a refresh button or paging to the previous screen.

Cabana is essentially trying to be the WordPress of mobile app development. Just as WordPress and other simple blogging services made it easy to quickly create websites, Cabana is trying to make it easy to quickly create a mobile application if a designer has a good idea. That’s because many of the best ideas come from designers, not programmers, said Reeve Thompson, Cabana’s founder.

But the best use case for Cabana would be turning out a prototype for an iPhone or Android application as quickly as possible, said Gowalla co-founder Josh Williams, one of the event’s judges. If someone has a good idea and they want to pitch it to a potential client or investor, Cabana might be the best way to go about getting the idea onto the iPhone and in front of an investor, he said.

Cabana makes money by charging its users for the individual tools they used in their application when they decide to publish the app. That means they pay a flat fee for including a Twitter module, an advertising widget or adding the camera application. But it’s free to try out the service and play around with its interface. Cabana also plans to start up a marketplace where users can share functions and widgets for app development.