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LaunchKit Mobile Dev Tools Open Sourced in Google Buyout

LaunchKit has open sourced its suite of namesake mobile development tools after being acquired by Google.

LaunchKit, developed by a small start-up in the San Francisco Bay Area, provides the tools for building and monitoring mobile apps via a single dashboard. Those tools include Screenshot Builder, App Website Builder, Review Monitor and Sales Reporter.

As the LaunchKit service isn't part of Google's plans, it will be discontinued in a year, the company said in a blog post this week.

"Today, we're excited to announce that the LaunchKit team is joining Google!" co-founders Brenden Mulligan and Taylor Hughes said. "We'll be joining their Developer Products Group, which is committed to building amazing developer tools, and we'll be taking everything we've learned building LaunchKit and continue our mission at an even larger scale."

According to his LinkedIn page, Mulligan is now a product manager in that Developer Products Group, "leading Firebase Growth, a suite of developer tools to help people build and grow more successful apps."

Tools Now Open Sourced
[Click on image for larger view.] Tools Now Open Sourced (source: LaunchKit)

The scenario is similar to what happened with the Parse Back-end-as-a-Service (MBaaS) being acquired by Facebook, which earlier this year announced it was shutting down the project in one year, with some of the technology subsequently being open sourced.

In this case, all LaunchKit tools (serving some 50,000 developers) are now freely available on GitHub so developers can create their own local LaunchKit service.

"This repo contains an unbranded version of all the code that powers LaunchKit," the GitHub site says. "We have packaged things up to run easily with Vagrant and Ansible, so getting started running LaunchKit's services locally should be fairly straightforward."

In this week's blog post, the company execs said, "As we focus our efforts on building great developer tools at Google, we also want to make everything we've built at LaunchKit even more accessible. As of today, we've open sourced our services so anyone can set up their own instance of our tools! As for the official LaunchKit service, it will continue to operate independently for existing users for the next 12 months, then it will be discontinued."

Here are the company's descriptions of the tools that are now free to use by any developer:

  • Screenshot Builder makes it easy to create beautiful, custom images for your app store page and export them in the resolutions Apple and Google require.
  • App Website Builder makes it easy and quick for any app developer to create and host a fully responsive website for their app.
  • Review Monitor is a free service that checks the App Store for new reviews and posts them to your Slack channel or sends them to your e-mail.
  • Sales Reporter posts your apps' daily download totals and sales summaries into your team's Slack channel and e-mail inbox.

"We want to personally thank the amazing community of mobile developers who have inspired us since day one," the LaunchKit execs said. "We've been so proud to build tools you've loved, and can't wait to show you more of what we'll be working on at Google."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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