Top 11 Cross-Platform Mobile Development Tools That Developers May Love in 2016
With the onset of mobile era, when the first iPhone SDK was released by Apple, web developers have started learning new technologies. Of course, iOS is a pioneer one and still grabbing a big chunk of revenue from the mobile economy. Android had begun competing it and today ranking on the top of the total mobile app downloads.
These two mobile OS platforms are dominating the mobile app market by offering excellent native device and OS experiences. Both are using different programming languages: Objective-C/Swift and Java. Both have different development tools: Xcode and Android Studio.
One is proprietary platform and extracting money from the users by updating hardware and OS each consequent year.
Knowingly and unknowingly, both are victimizing the people by-and-large, developers, and app entrepreneurs who hope some fortunes out of it.
Software engineers and researchers are aware of the victimization traps, and their endeavors are towards the solutions. They want as it enables them to develop a mobile app once, which can work on any device with any mobile OS, yes a universal app.
They have yielded some sweet fruits in the form of cross-platform tools, that almost meet their expectations.
What Are Cross-Platform Tools?
For native mobile app development, native SDK with native tools are essential and developers have to learn the respective technologies with significant efforts.
Cross-platform frameworks bind the bundles of the code in wrappers that allows them to access the native features and functionality at greater extent even though the web app resides in the mobile browser.
At present, mainly three categories of cross-platform tools are in practice.
- Codeless tools for power users to create a mobile app instantly without indulging into any coding
- Developer cross-platform advanced tools based on the web as well as other technologies such as C# to create high-end apps
Why do you need cross-platform tools?
Mobile app development companies or mobile app developers should have cross-platform tools due to some advantages that yield.
- Cross-platform tools are based on common web development technologies, which almost all developers are familiar with and can achieve proficiencies within the least time
- Cross-platform mobile app development accomplishes with a single process and with a single team/batch of the developers that saves cost and time
- Unlike native app development infrastructure, cross-platform tools demand comparatively the least investment
- Cross-platform tools/frameworks evolving rapidly and include compatibility for all features and functionality with native experiences
Who needs cross-platform tools?
Enterprises prefer cross-platform tools the most because they have a number of mobile app development projects with the shortest deadlines and with generic features. Yes, they hardly bet for specific and the latest features.
Apropos to this, consumer app developers refrain from cross-platform development as the consumer app users seemingly made for the native nuances offered by the modern mobile OS versions. Therefore, consumer developers are scrappy to take advantages of every flashy capacity possible with respective native platforms.
In the case of enterprise developers, they have to focus on generic features and functionality only that enable end-users to meet the goal of the enterprise, not any fancy experience.
According to the Forrester, nearly 60% enterprises of the world are engaged in the cross-platform development and the market for cross-platform tools is more than $4 billion.
Moreover, enterprises like the idea of developing one version of the mobile app through a single workflow and cross-platform development only can fulfill it.
Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are always suffering from short of budget issues, so they lean on the cheaper and viable solutions like cross-platform apps.
Today Ionic Framework like cross-platform tools offer native-like experiences by accessing native hardware and OS features using the out-of-box properties of Angular JS and new wrapping technologies.
Therefore, businesses, which are running after native experiences with cheaper alternatives, surely prefer such valuable tools once their mobile app developers convince them through the valid project of the past.
Perception System is a team of cross-platform developers who are doing the same with their patrons and win maximum approvals.
How to select your cross-platform tools
Whenever you are going to choose the cross-platform tools for your next project, one thing you must remember and it is
Writing certain types of mobile applications is good with cross-platform tools, not all apps.
If you were a small company with less than 50, your goals would deliver value to the customer still keeping the development cost at bay. Therefore, PhoneGap, Sencha, and Ionic frameworks are best choices.For instance, any app startup looking for a game app with cross-platform it may seem insane for the developers, but writing enterprise apps for content display and certain utilizes are quite okay with cross-platforms.
For a midsize company with hundreds of staff members and vast customer base, Appcelerator and Xamarin are the choice of tools for you.
For large enterprises, focused less on user experiences with native touch and security concerns are fewer can go with any suitable cross-platform.
- It highly focuses on the time-to-market and accelerate it is has given name App + accelerator = Appcelerator.
- It provides open and extensible development environment so you can get hybrid apps as well as Web Apps for mobiles
- Its SDK supports more than 5K devices and plenty of OS APIs
- It supports Eclipse-based IDE Studio and MVC framework Alloy
PhoneGap is an open source framework based on Apache Cordova. Therefore, it wins a huge support of developer community in evolution and growth.
- Technically, Cordova offers a set of device APIs to access the specific native device functions across the numerous device platforms
It is a new generation cross-platform framework to deliver high-end native-like mobile experiences.
- It is built with SaaS so offer all advantages of cloud technologies
- It is optimized for Angular JS to create a powerful SDK to develop rich and robust apps
- It is performance obsessed and bring speed with minimal DOM manipulation, no jQuery, and hardware accelerated transitions
- It is so native focused that today no other cross-platforms compete it
Based on Microsoft technologies, Xamarin has earned a prominent reputation in the hybrid app development niche.
- It relies on C# code that sharing across all mobile OS platforms
- It allows app testing on hundreds of actual devices using its cloud services
- It has own interface, development tools, and online classes to support leaning
- It provides native API access
- Gives form interfaces to share the code
- Have ability to add components straightly from the interface
- Easy integration with back-ends including Microsoft Azure, Parse, and SAP
It is right tool for HTML lover web developers for hybrid app development.
- For better results, developers choose it because it offers support for handful yet useful devices on different mobile OS platforms
- With pre-built components, it boosts the productivity and save plenty of time on writing code for different platforms individually
- It has translation tools like PhoneGap to convert HTML code into the native iOS, Android, and other mobile OS platform technologies
Cocos2d is primarily used in two-dimensional game development. It gives developers the option of five different forks or platforms to develop on, based on their preferred programming language:
- Cocos2d-x uses C++
- Cocos2dXNA uses C#
- Cocos2d-Swift uses Xcode and Objective-C
- Cocos2d(Python) uses Python
Also focused on creating great games, Unity 3D is a game engine you can use if you really want to take care of your incredible graphics.
This cross platform mobile development tool goes beyond simple translation. After developing your code in UnityScript, C#, or Boo, you can export your games to 17 different platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, Web, Playstation, Xbox, Wii and Linux.
Once you’ve got your game on all your chosen platforms, Unity will even help you distribute it to the appropriate stores, get social shares, and track user analytics.
Corona’s SDK comes with the promise that you can start coding your new app in as little as five minutes after the download. It’s another cross platform mobile development tool that’s optimized for 2D gaming graphics and helps you make games 10 times faster than it would take to code everything from scratch.
Corona’s programming language is Lua, which is written in C, making it a cross platform language. Corona chose Lua because they found it to be really robust with a small footprint for mobile apps.
Qt is a subscription-based service that lets you code in C++, and then export your app to the different platforms on which you want to develop.
Once the apps are exported, the Qt interface lets you access your apps on their respective platforms and devices, so you can see how well the app is operating and make changes if and where needed.
The best part? You don’t need to own so many different devices for testing.
Since each cross-platform framework comes with distinguishing features and capabilities. We at Perception System are furnished with most experienced and seasoned cross-platform developers who can estimate the utility level requirement, feasibility exploring, skill sets of various mobile features like GPS, sensor usage, camera utility, Augmented Reality etc. As an option of hire cross-platform team, Perception System provides skilled developers with complete infrastructure of all kind of cross platform development and testing facility. To know more do visit our official website.
Vidyut Joshi is a head of mobile development team at Perception System, the leading Mobile App Development Company. He has been in the industry for 10 years and has a great knowledge of cross platform app development and its related services.