6 Fantastic Tools for Cross platform Mobile app Development

With the arrival of a number of mobiles OSs into the market, such as the Firefox OS, which aim to challenge the dominance of the long standing pros, iOS and Android, it can become somewhat difficult for mobile application developers to create different versions of the same app for each of these new operating systems. Already, due to Apple’s and Google’s entirely different programming guidelines that force developers to create apps separate for iOS and Android based devices, creating different versions from scratch or extensively tweaking app coding to accommodate newer OSs can be a time consuming process.

Cross platform mobile development offers a way for developer to create apps that work a number of mobile platforms without requiring extensive changes in their coding to suit each mobile operating system. There are a number of tools that help in building cross platform apps for almost all major mobile OSs, and additionally provide utilities to introduce a number of features in those apps.

Here are some of the most widely used and popular cross platform mobile development tools which can be used by professional developers, and some even by newbies too.

1) MoSync

MoSync is an FOSS advanced cross platform mobile application development tool that comes laden with compilers, runtimes, profiles for devices, and utilities. It supports languages like C, C++, PHP, Python, JavaScript and Java since it is based on Eclipse. With MoSync, it is possible to develop apps for Android, Symbian, Windows and Moblin. Support of iOS and Blackberry is expected to arrive soon.

2) Appcelerator

Possible the most popular among developers, Appcelerator is a FOSS tool which used web technology like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby to facilitate cross platform compatibility. Users get access to more than 300 APIs, and it includes customizable metrics for actions and events. The apps can use hardware such as the camera, and the data is stored either on cloud or on the device itself.

3) Whoop

For those who are beginners, Whoop offers an easy solution for mobile app development. It allows elements to be dragged and dropped as well as tweaked from the taskbar, and can be used for Windows, Blackberry, Android and iOS. It’s free to use but because of its simplicity it lacks advanced features making the end product inferior in design and quality than those designed with the help of other tools.

4) RhoMobile

RhoMobile is one of the most powerful and feature rich tool for cross platform mobile development based on the Ruby platform. Apps for Windows, Android, iOS and Blackberry can be created through this tool by writing the code just once and use it for all platforms. While RhoHub is a cloud based environment, RhoSync allows for standalone servers, thus giving more options to developers.

5) Widgetpad

Widgetpad offers light-weight development solutions for Android, iOS and WebOS and is based on web technologies, including HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. It is currently available in the beta version and offers features such as source code editing, debugging, collaboration, versioning, distribution and project management.

6) PhoneGap

PhoneGap is an award winning tool that can help in developing apps for iOS, Android, Symbian, Palm and Blackberry devices using distributed system and web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and CSS3. It gives users the ability to use advanced hardware components of the phone, like the GPS tracker, accelerometer, camera, sound and more.

PhoneGap also gives online training sessions to developers to assist them in building mobile apps using this platform.

7) JQuery Mobile

jQuery mobile allows users to develop cross platform responsive applications. It has a touch optimized web framework and the applications created using it are based on HTML5. jQuery Mobile can help in creating mobile apps for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and some lesser used OSs such Kindle, Nook, Bada, etc. If users wish to include development on the server side as well, then Phone Gap is required.

8) Marmalade

Marmalade allows app building using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript for 2D, 3D games with C++, which is also used for porting the apps across platforms. It uses Microsoft Visual Studio and Xcode as its IDE, and supports iOS, Blackberry, Symbian and Bada mobile OSs.

Businesses that cater to customers from various backgrounds are producing the demand for cross platform apps which can give them inhibited access to most of their customer base. This is why cross platform mobile development is seeing tremendous growth since the last few years. Though in some cases cross platform apps lag behind in providing the same level of user experience and features that apps designed for specific platforms provide, they remain a practical choice for developers who are short on resources to focus on each platform separately.