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