The proliferation of smartphones of various hues has made the mobile ecosystem hopelessly fragmented. Cross platform mobile application development is the in-thing now, as developing a native app for each platform is both time-consuming and resource crunching. At the bare minimum, a new app has to be compatible with and available on Google Play, iTunes and Windows, the three major mobile platforms, and this basically entails reinventing the wheel three times over.
Building a cross platform mobile app, however, is not easy, owing to the differences in the programming language, event model, UI model, and resource models. HTML5 emerged as the bright new hope at the turn of the decade, but flattered to deceive, often creating data integrity, security, and syncing issues.
The following are ten popular cross-platform mobile application development tools that gained centre stage in 2016, not ranked in any particular order.
Microsoft’s Xamarin is the most powerful and robust among the several cross-platform application development tools in vogue. It enables developers to build applications for different operating systems, using a single programming language, code base, and class library.
With its C# codebase, Xamarin allows developers to roll out Android, iOS and Windows apps without duplicating the effort. Xamarin comes equipped with a rich set of features, such as Lambda Expressions, Dynamic programming, LINQ, and a wide range of new .NET APIs. It has added F# of late, as well. These features allow developers to share a lot of the app logic between platforms, drastically reducing time to market compared to building native UIs for each platform.
Xamarin supports both Model-View-Controller (MVC) and Model View ViewModel (MVVM) patterns. The MVC pattern allows developers to keep application logic and presentation separate, and modify, test, update, and maintain application code easily. The MVVM pattern allows programmers to reuse the code base to create other projects. Users need to chalk out platform specific code only for the UI, with the option to reuse all other code. The clients get a fluid performance of native apps without maintaining multiple code bases. Xamarin also offers a cloud service, facilitating the testing of any number of devices.
Custom plug-ins that may be compiled easily further promote reuse. Xamarin Forms allow developers to achieve 96% reusability on their projects.
Kinvey works on a cloud backed model, with HTML5 as the base. The suite Integration with Gizmox’s Visual WebGui HTML5 platform allow developers to roll out the apps developed under HTML5 using C# or VB.NET, and Visual Studio, thereby offering a solution to the security and other technical challenges that deploying cross-platform HTML5 poses. The app facilitates simple, fast-paced agile app development.
Xojo positions itself on offering a simple way to create cross-platform apps, not just for mobile platforms such as Android and iOS, but also desktop apps for Windows, Linux, and OS X, and for Raspberry Pi as well.
The Xojo development tool allows developers to create a single code base and compiles the developed apps as native executables for the required platform. The powerful code editor and an intuitive drag and drop option make the task of developing apps very easy. The Xojo backend does all the work, and infuse the new apps with controls familiar to the platform, giving it the look and feel of an app developed on the native platform.
The Mag+ app SDK is highly preferred in the print industry, for catalogs, magazines, and other marketing collateral. The app offers core components for each platform, and allow developers to build atop these components. It is even possible to roll out simple cross-platform apps in double quick time, without any coding.
6. Corona Labs
Corona is popular in the gaming industry, to develop cross-platform 2D graphics games app and educational apps. Corona adopts the powerful and flexible Lua programming language, which is written in C. Corona SDK generates instant results, as soon as the developers write the code. The SDK allows setting up prototypes in double quick time, with minimal code, accelerating time to market.
Cocos2D is open source and mostly used to develop cross-platform games and animated content.
MobinCube offers a series of templates with drag-and-drop functionality, allowing users to roll out apps on the fly. The simple and easy non-code methodology allow even ordinary, non-technical users to develop apps that work across platforms.
Dropsource is a browser based app builder, offering automated solutions for creating Android and iOS apps. The editor offers easy drag and drop interface, connect apps with any RESTful API, and an integrated development environment to customise the source code.
BiznessApps thrives on offering simple solutions to small businesses who want to get basic apps running without hassles. It facilitates developing cross platform apps and mobile websites, through drag-and-drop development and automated submission to the app store, without the need for coding. There are a host of value added features such as seamless integration with third-party systems, rich analytical insights, and more, on offer.
The many cross-platform application development tools on offer are all easily within reach, and the possibilities endless. However, you still have to develop the apps, and make sure to get the UX, the overriding concept and other crucial ingredients right. When you partner with us for your cross-platform mobile application development, you gain from our vast expertise and our highly skilled talent pool, who are seasoned in developing hundreds of cross-platform apps, for all purposes, and for all sectors.