State of App Development in 2018

In 2018 we continued talking to a lot of companies developing mobile apps and we also regularly analyzed a ton of behavioral data to understand how we could improve Bitrise to give the best experience for mobile developers. We've drawn our conclusions and thought it would be interesting to break ...

In 2018 we continued talking to a lot of companies developing mobile apps and we also regularly analyzed a ton of behavioral data to understand how we could improve Bitrise to give the best experience for mobile developers. We've drawn our conclusions and thought it would be interesting to break them down into numbers and share the big picture with you.

Questions we asked our database included:

  • What is the most popular platform?
  • How quickly were the new Xcode versions adopted?
  • GitHub/Bitbucket/GitLab?
  • How many apps do companies have?
  • How much time did builds run on Bitrise?
  • What integrations or steps are most frequently used?
  • Which 3rd party integrations are the most popular?
  • How many times did companies do releases?
  • How many times did companies deploy to their testers?
  • Which open source projects were updated the most times and who were the most active contributors to Bitrise?
  • How do these compare to our findings in 2016 and 2017?

Hours saved in 2018


In 2018, your builds ran for 1,215,284 hours, that is 50,636 days or 1,664 months or 138.7 years. In 2017, it was 659,017 hours or 75.2 years, just about a lifetime. In 2018, just about two lifetimes.

These lifetimes and all the other results presented below were compiled from the data taken from all the active apps of last year on Bitrise. We had plenty of apps, builds and customers to draw relevant conclusions on the state of app development in 2018.

Most popular platform

In 2016, of all the apps added to Bitrise, 67% were iOS, 22% Android and 12% Xamarin. In 2017, Bitrise kept introducing out of the box support for more platforms, but unsurprisingly, the two most popular platforms were iOS with 44.3% and Android with 36.1%. Xamarin was still the third with 11%, while React Native apps came fourth with 6%.  The platforms with the least number of apps were Ionic (1.2%), and MacOS and Cordova, both with 0.7%.

Now we have an even more refined picture of platform distribution: in 2018, the two most popular platforms were still iOS with 39.2% and Android with 38%, but there was a serious change in the runners-up.

Surprisingly, Xamarin dropped from 11% to 3.7%, with half as many apps as in 2017.

Not so surprisingly, React Native came up to 13.3% from 6%, resulting in 3 times as many active apps on Bitrise.

"React Native came up to 13.3% from 6%, resulting in 3 times as many active apps on Bitrise."

MacOS saw a slight increase in percentage by doubling the no. of repos added.

There were 3.5 times as many Ionic and 2.7 times as many Cordova apps added.

Even though we only introduced out-of-the-box Flutter support in January 2019, 0.5% of apps added to Bitrise in 2018 were created using Google's multiplatform mobile SDK.


It's a very Flutter January

An interesting side note on Flutter adoption specifically involves looking ever so slightly into 2019. Since our announcement of fully featured Flutter CI on Bitrise on January 23rd, newly connected Flutter projects on Bitrise haven't just outpaced more established cross-platform technologies like Xamarin or React Native: Flutter projects have actually accounted for close to a third of new projects over the last week. This means that, for the period, it has actually managed to outperform Android and close in on iOS as Bitrise's most popular mobile technology.

"Flutter projects have actually accounted for close to a third of new projects over the last week."

This isn't necessarily something we expect to see continue throughout the year, but it is a testament to the incredibly engaged and enthusiastic community Flutter has sprouted. For a good example of that engagement, just check out the related Tweet on our Bitrise Twitter account.

Xcode adoption rate

Bitrise is dedicated to providing the latest, the safest, the more feature-rich versions of developer tools, so our infra-engineers work hard to provide our users with the newest Xcode versions in 48 hours after release.

Our users seem to appreciate this approach and adopt the new Xcode versions quickly. This chart shows trends of adoption of Xcode versions released in 2018.

  • By the time a new Xcode version was officially released, it was always available on Bitrise.
  • The current version, 10.1 was only released on October 30 but by end of the year, 50% of all Xcode builds happened on it (red area on the chart).
  • Meanwhile, the share of versions released in 2017 or before (all versions before 9.3 - grey area on the chart) dropped below 5% over 2018.

Git hosting in the cloud

No real changes here since 2016. Even though Microsoft acquired GitHub and there was some migration, GitHub kept its first place with 54% (2017: 53%). However, Bitbucket, the second major player lost 4% from 34% to 30%. What they lost seems to have gone to GitLab, which were at 8%, as were the custom solutions.


Apps and their owners

An average company has 3.35 apps on Bitrise, that is exactly 1 more than last year's 2.35. Most of these two apps naturally are iOS and Android as Bitrise supports both (and more).

About our steps/integrations 🌟

There are currently around 220 steps and integrations in the Bitrise ecosystem. Each of these steps are responsible for a small task, that can be inserted in the build workflow. These can range from running tests, archiving the app, deploying, releasing or notifying team members, among others.

The most used ones

Our Script step ran about 8.6 million times, more than 2.5 as many times as last year. This step is used when someone needs to run a custom command or install/update a tool which is not (yet) available on our virtual machines. Developers deployed to Bitrise on about 3.7 million occasions (2.5 times more than in 2018) and used the Certificate and Profile Installer doubled to around 1.8 million times.

Most popular Bitrise steps 2018: Most used
  1. Script
  2. Deploy to Bitrise
  3. Cache:Pull
  4. Cache:Push
  5. Send a Slack message
  6. Certificate and profile installer
  7. Gradle Runner
  8. Install missing Android SDK components
  9. fastlane
  10. Run yarn command
  11. Run npm command
  12. Run CocoaPods install
  13. Xcode Archive & Export for iOS
  14. Xcode Test for iOS
  15. Set Xcode Project Build Number

Most used third-party integrations

Our users love getting automated messages to their Slack channels: Slack is by far the most popular third-party integration with close to 2.5 million runs in 2018, over 2.5x times more than in 2017. (Read more about using Slack with Bitrise.)

"Slack is by far the most popular third-party integration with close to 2.5 million runs in 2018"

The second most used integration is Hockeyapp and Codecovcomes third.

Most popular Bitrise steps 2018: 3d party
  1. Send a Slack message
  2. HockeyApp Android + iOS Deploy
  3. Codecov
  4. Fabric / Crashlytics deployer
  5. Deploy to iTunes Connect / TestFlight (with Deliver)
  6. Google Play Deploy
  7. Amazon S3 File uploader
  8. SonarQube Scanner
  9. Gifs with Giphy
  10. Send HipChat message

Most used community steps

We’re very grateful to the community using Bitrise and most of all to those who contribute to our service. Our users can contribute to Bitrise by writing new steps or upgrading previous ones as all Bitrise steps are open source. The following steps were all written by the members of our community, thank you for all of them!

Change Android versionCode and versionName step was used close to 200,000 times, becoming the top performed community step. Change value in file came in second and Trigger Bitrise Workflow third.

  1. Change Android versionCode and versionName
  2. Change value in file
  3. Trigger Bitrise workflow
  4. Set Android Manifest Version Code and Name
  5. Generate Text File

Most used steps per category

  • Build
Most popular Bitrise steps 2018: Build
  1. Gradle Runner
  2. Xcode Archive & Export for iOS
  3. Xamarin Archive
  4. React Native bundle
  5. Ionic archive
  • Test
Most popular Bitrise steps 2018: Test
  1. Xcode Test for iOS
  2. Gradle Unit Test
  3. Codecov
  4. [BETA] Virtual Device Testing for Android
  5. NUnit runner
  • Deploy
Most popular Bitrise steps 2018: Deploy
  1. Deploy to - Apps, Logs, Artifacts
  2. HockeyApp (Android + iOS)
  3. Fabric / Crashlytics deployer
  4. Deploy to iTunes Connect / TestFlight (with Deliver)
  5. Google Play Deploy
  • Notification
Most popular Bitrise steps 2018: Notification
  1. Send a Slack message
  2. Send HipChat room notification
  3. Send Email with Mailgun
  4. Send HipChat message
  5. Microsoft Teams Integration
  • Utility
Most popular Bitrise steps 2018: Utility
  1. Script
  2. Git Clone Repository
  3. Cache:Pull
  4. Cache:Push
  5. fastlane


In 2018, we had about 200 contributors adding, changing, creating code for Bitrise steps or documentation. We are very grateful to all of you. 🙏

The Top 5 contributors were:

  1. @koral--
  2. @brandyscarney
  3. @manucorporat
  4. @dwieeb
  5. @jgw96

Open source

Bitrise started to provide free developer plan features for Open Source projects in early September. Since then privacy friendly search engine Duckduckgo built their apps 1144 times on Bitrise, while Flank clocked an impressive 995 builds.

Tusky (343), Stellar iOS Wallet (320) and Arrow (311) ran an equally impressive number of builds, especially considering we only started our free support for these OSS projects a few short months ago.

Deploys & releases 🚀

Continuous integration and delivery practices let companies deploy and release their apps more rapidly than they would care to do manually. This means that developers can iterate more quickly and gather more feedback about bugs in their apps.

iOS apps were released to the App Store more than 130,000 times during last year, almost 3 times as many as in 2017. As for Android, 95,000 Android apps were released to the Google Play Store, 5 times as many as in the previous year.

Counting averages here doesn't tell us too much, though. Digging deeper we see that individual or freelancer developers tend to release their apps only a few times a year, while bigger teams choose to do quick, periodic releases.

Meanwhile, internal app deploys happened close to 4,313,000 times (more than 2.5 times as much as in 2017). This lets companies test their apps with a fresh build running on their devices each time something is changed in an app.

Automate everything!

Some of the world's most interesting companies build their apps on Bitrise, like Traveloka, Cheddar, Pulselive, Careem, Just Eat, Buffer, Drops, DeNA, and Pixiv along with tens of thousands of other startups, enterprises, and indie developers. We're proud to say that in 2018 we've saved 1,215,284 hours for all these companies altogether, 556,267 hours more than in 2017. That's 138.7 years saved in 1 year, as opposed to 75.2 in 2017!


We hope these insights were as interesting for you as for us. We love feedback, so please comment or share this article if you have any suggestions, or if we missed anything you might be interested in! We're proud to help so many great people saving countless hours and ensuring code quality, making sure that you have more time for your ideas and for your code.

For more, keep an eye out by following us on Twitter, on Instagram or be a part of our Discuss Bitrise community.

Or, if you prefer Slack, go to and join the conversation in these channels:


Happy building in 2019!

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