4 Best Cross Platform Mobile App Development Tools

29 Aug. 2014 Mobile App

In the recent years, mobile computing and mobile app development has evolved to a great extent with technology up-gradation in both hardware and software. The mobile devices have not only gone sleeker but their easy of use has improved drastically, pleasing the user and generating a greater market penetration. Today, mobile phones and smartphones have become one of the basic necessity among users enabling productivity and helping them solve numerous tasks.

One of the major challenges with the mobile development evolution is the device fragmentation due to which it makes it difficult for mobile developers to create apps as there are numerous platforms. With various mobile operating systems comes many different features and functionalities which creates a major hurdle for mobile app developers to create a single app running on every mobile device.

To solve this issue, cross-platform mobile development tools were developed to ensure uniformity by offering common device functionality features and solve common platform and device coverage problems. Multi platform mobile development tools acts as the gears that smoothens the development process of cross-platform mobile applications by writing a single codebase for apps that can be used across different mobile operating systems.

Cross Platform Mobile App Development Tools
Cross platform development frameworks create hybrid apps that can run on multiple platforms

Today, many phone operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry have different architecture making it difficult for the mobile developers to code a single app in different languages. This results into massive investment of time for developers to learn these platforms and create platform specific apps that work across their products.

Also, the big giants like Apple and Google almost ensure that the code written by developers follow contradicting pattern, making it difficult for mobile developers create a single codebase that is effective on both the platforms. Sometimes, the developers might have to duplicate their code and keep tweaking it in order to make their code work for both iOS and Android platforms.

Cross platform mobile development tools plays a vital role as today’s advanced mobile app developers are seeking to be agile in their mobile development abilities and use the best tools available in the market to develop a cross platform mobile app across many platforms. This task also needs to be within a limited amount of time for maximizing the revenue for their apps.

However to develop a mobile application for various mobile platforms like iOS, Android and Windows Phone, the platforms have a relative number of limitations which need to be taken into consideration. For e.g. each platform have their standardized native development languages, UI/UX standards and development environments. In order to eliminate those constraints, the mobile developer needs to create a cross-platform mobile app in one of the widely used cross platform mobile development tools that helps in reducing the development cost and the effort for developing mobile apps.

Benefits of Cross Platform Mobile Development Tools

  • A single development framework to create cross-platform apps that can run on all platforms with little efforts
  • Cross platform development tools reduce the time for app development
  • Large community support for frameworks
  • It helps to deliver a uniform user experience across various mobile platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry and more

With the above benefits, the adoption of mobile cross platform development tools have increased marginally helping developers and enterprises to be more agile and productive.

Cross Platform Mobile Development Tools Comparison

Given below is the list of the most widely used cross platform development frameworks available for today’s mobile app builders.

Cross platform mobile development tools
4 Most Popular Hybrid Mobile App Development Frameworks
  1. PhoneGap / Apache Cordova

  2. The PhoneGap application development framework also known, as Apache Cordova is one of the best cross platform mobile development tools among the others. In this development framework the developers create the cross-platform mobile app using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

    Advantages – PhoneGap Cross-platform Framework

        1. It is free and an open source enabling developers to easily create apps without any major investment
        2. Follows basic development languages like JavaScript, HTML, CSS which helps PhoneGap/Cordova developers to build apps
        3. Installation of PhoneGap apps are similar to a native app installation
        4. PhoneGap enable to send and receive payments through the app store

    Disadvantages – PhoneGap Cross-platform Framework

        1. With use of high graphics, the performance of the app is slightly affected
        2. Need to create plugins based on the app if not available in the library
        3. Need to have ample amount of information for using the development interface
  3. Appcelerator Titanium

  4. Titanium mobile application development framework is also considered to be one of the best hybrid app development tools. As per its website, Titanium runs smoothly on 5000+ device and provides API’s as per the mobile operating system helping mobile developers to create native applications.

    Advantages – Titanium Cross-platform Framework

        1. Easy media streaming code with a single line code
        2. Use of JavaScript, HTML and CSS for creating the app
        3. Provides developers with app analytics and marketplace
        4. Appcelerator’s Titanium mobile SDK has an independent IDE
        5. Rapid community growth and adoption

    Disadvantages – Titanium Cross-platform Framework

        1. To target multiple platforms, the SDK’s are managed locally by developers in a controlled build environment
        2. Increasing code complexity day by day
        3. Poor flexibility with many bugs and errors in the API’s
  5. Adobe Air

  6. Adobe Air is a cross platform web development framework helping developers create mobile apps for various mobile platforms using development languages like JavaScript, Adobe Flash Professional, Flex, ActionScript and Adobe Flash Builder.

    Advantages – Adobe Air Cross-platform Development Framework

        1. Mobile developers can deliver innovative user experiences with Adobe Air
        2. Focused on creating apps with rich media content like games and which require flash
        3. Easy to install
        4. Apps made in Adobe Air caters to mobile, tablet and desktop displays

    Disadvantages – Adobe Air Cross-platform Development Framework

        1. Developers need to learn complex languages for using Adobe Air
        2. No external applications can be executed
        3. Developers cannot access COM automation
        4. Limited database access in Adobe Air
  7. Sencha Touch

Sencha touch is also one of the best cross platform mobile development tool to create HTML5 and JavaScript based mobile apps.

Advantages – Sencha Cross-platform Development Framework

  1. It is a broad framework of JavaScript for cross platform mobile development
  2. It provides lot of development abilities to business logic, accessing data and utility classes
  3. Massive library with out-of-the-box components
  4. Easy documentation for developers to create mobile apps in Sencha

Disadvantages – Sencha Cross-platform Development Framework

  1. High chances of vendor lock-in as it is not open source
  2. Works only on JavaScript which might create issues while creating the mobile apps

Next Step

There are numerous cross platform app development frameworks available in the market for developers and enterprises. Out of which, some are open source and some are licensed like Xamarin. Some have better advantages in enterprise mobile app development and some in cross platform app development. In order to develop a reliable app that can work on multiple platforms, you need to assess the frameworks mentioned above.

Choosing the frameworks that fits your needs to create the apps of your desire is a tough task. Rishabh Software enables your business to develop, integrate or upgrade your app to the cross-platform app development. Our team of mobile developers implement cross-platform mobile app development best practices for delivering scalable mobile apps.

Rishabh Software is a global software development company offering cross-platform development services with its team of mobile developers. Through our 5+ years of mobile app development experience in cross platform mobile, we help clients to achieve their business goals and act as knowledge consultants for hybrid and cross platform mobile app development.

If you want to know more about which cross-platform framework is ideal for you, or if you are looking to develop an enterprise mobile solution for your business need, then do feel free to get in touch with us.

Get a Free ConsultationTalk to our experts to get more information on our mobile app development services.

  • Nick Jemison

    We use Apache Cordova for our cross-platform projects and I must say it is the mobile development tool ever. Thanks for the review, it’s good to have all of them compared.

    • Kaushal Shah

      Thanks for your kind words and time, Nick. We hope to provide more of such useful content in the times to come. Keep watching this space for more updates.

  • alva christi

    We use phonegap for building cross platform apps.The pros of this approach have long been touted as the need to only maintain a single code base and have the ability to fix any problem immediately available for any platform. Another benefit has also been represented that this approach greatly reduces the cost of software development as the one code base requires less testing.

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