Developer experience


Feb 11, 2018 by Perttu Talasniemi

Developer experience Developer experience

Which company – Apple or Google – provides a better experience for developers and designers? I think we all know the answer.


The answer is undisputedly Google. Let me tell you why.

Let’s start with the pricing. Apple charges from developers a hefty amount of $100 every year for every app they publish on App Store. On the other hand, Google only charges a one time fee of $20 and gives the freedom to publish as many Android apps as required.

From a designer’s point of view Google provides way superior designer experience than Apple. Google’s Material Design Guidelines are light years ahead of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. Google provides excellent documentation, free fonts and templates and awesome set of icons to help app development. But Apple doesn’t want you to get started that easily. They don’t even provide a basic set of most common icons. The icons that they do provide, are spread all over the templates. Come on Apple, it should be so hard to provide a solid set of icons. Take a look of the Google’s Material Icons. Google provides for developers and designers a great set of free icons that are nicely organized and searchable. If only Apple would provide something like this.

At least in these days Apple uses their own font (San Francisco) which they distribute for free. Before that they used – oh so stylish – Helvetica or Helvetica Neue fonts (depending of the platform). Helvetica is not a free font, so it made app development a bit harder for Apple devices. Google has been using their own Roboto font for quite some time now, which they also offer for free. I think Apple copied Google because they realized how unsustainable and expensive it is to rely on paid 3rd party font. All this talk about fonts leads us to another great Google service: Google Fonts that provides hundreds of free and paid fonts. Yet another thing where Google is ahead of Apple.

Google also provides a quite nice Color Tool to help define the app colors. I'm more of an old school guy and I like to tune my colors using the Adobe Color – which by the way also comes as an awesome app. But I haven't seen Apple to provide anything like this? They do define some UI colors in their guidelines but that's it.

Wow, this article ended up being a real handjob for Google but what else can I say that their developer/designer experience is just superior compared to Apple. Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple. I like the devices and I like designing for them but Apple could step up their game and start providing a better experience for the developers and designers. After all, Apple makes a lot of money from App Store.

Comment on Twitter what do you think about Apple’s or Google’s development/designer experience and how they could improve things.

Share and comment on Twitter using #applevsgoogle & #avsg6 hashtags.


Edited on Feb 25, 2018: Added paragraph about colors


#apple #design #development #experience #google