Top 6 cross-platform mobile app development tools

Cross-platform mobile app development means writing a single code, which has the ability to run on multiple platforms. This is just a perfect way to create mobile apps for businesses, which have little time or fund to spend over multiple platform-versions of a single app.

Cross-platform apps are based on a code-base with the attribute of reusability. There are a number of tools available in the market, which let mobile developers easily design, develop, and implement cross-platform applications. Here are the 6 best of them. They can be used in developing apps for both Android and iOS OS mobile platforms.

PhoneGap

Developers are aware of the worth of PhoneGap. It is widely adopted as one of the most popular cross-platform tools, which leverages on web technologies. PhoneGap is the best fit for those mobile apps, which do not substantially depend on the native features of a phone. The framework can package an app within a native container that lets JavaScript access device-level APIs as same as a normal app does.

Pros:

  • It is a perfect tool to develop hybrid apps based on HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.
  • The single code-base can be used to implement an app for multiple-platforms like Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Firebox Os, and more.
  • Its plug-in-able architecture has access to device’s native APIs. There are other modular ways to extend an app accessing more features.
  • Also, PhoneGap allows making an app with in-app purchase and payments and these transactions can happen via stores.

Cons: The biggest disadvantage of choosing PhoneGap is its poor performance for graphics-intensive apps.   There is no short of plug-ins to fulfill your requirements but often them they are seen outdated and unsupported on all targeted platforms.

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Appcelerator

Appcelerator is another good tool allowing developers to build multiple platform-versions of an app just by deploying single JavaScript code-base. The web content is provided in a native app to make sure that the code isn’t wrapped around web containers as many available solutions do.

Pros:

  • It’s a perfect tool for quick app development. Developers can prototype in lesser time and efforts.
  • Its scheme-less data store known as ArrowDB that allows developers implementing data models with zero setup-efforts.
  • If there are existing delivery systems like SCM and MDM, Appcelerator can provide seamless integration to them too.
  • It comes with some pre-built connectors for MS SQL, Azure, Salesforce, MongoDB, Box and several others.

Cons: Appcelerator is complained of being too much buggy and apps created using it are also experienced to be laggy. Also there isn’t responsive support available for its developer community.

Xamarin

Xamarin uses the single code base of C# for multiple platform-versions of an app. The language C# has all the capabilities for which developers use Objective-C, Swift and Java. Also, Xamarin allows the same IDE language and APIs everywhere. Furthermore, Git integration is built directly into the Xamarin Studio.

Pros:

  • Xamarin comes with various sample apps which help developers rapidly start with a project.
  • Xamarin also allows sharing nearly 75% of developed code across all major mobile platforms. This feature of the tool decreases the cost and lets developers quickly launch an app in the market.
  • It provides functionality testing and quality assurance for numerous devices to ensure seamless integration (and even offers its own Android emulator).

Cons:  Xamarin is a good tool but it does not allow developers using a number of open-source libraries for iOS and Android app development due to compatibility issues. The free version comes with the limited number of features.

Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch is another popular cross-platform mobile app development framework. It can be used to develop such apps which make use of hardware acceleration techniques. Sencha also allows developers adding quality to an app using well-tested, tightly integrated UI components and libraries. Sencha Touch can even be applied at large business app development projects.

Pros:

  • It comes with built-in-native like themes for almost all major platforms.
  • It can be used to create apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and more.
  • It comes with an agnostic backend data package for working with data sources
  • It also has supported to PhoneGap/Cordova integration for native API access and packaging

Cons: Although the tool offers native-like themes they are available in limited numbers.  Also, it’s difficult to understand it commercial licensing.

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Monocross

If you need creating beautiful apps for the smartphones and tablets running on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Webkit-enabled devices, then nothing is better than Monocross. The platform is based n C#, Microsoft.net and the Mono framework and allows developers to build app supporting multiple platforms.

 Pros:

  • With Monocross, developers have access to the full power of device’s native APIs even while coding in C#.
  • When there is need of deploying an app with best security features, Monocross gives access to several APIs to do that.
  • Developers only need to know C# and .Net to use Monocross for mobile app development.

Cons: There is shortage of documentation, resources and support for Monocross. This is why using this framework isn’t easier.

  1. Codename One

Codename One is also a widely used tool for cross-platform mobile app development. Codename One is a simple platform for rapidly developing app with deep integration and possible native speeds. The app in this tool is created in java.

Pros:

  • Codename One provides support to all popular IDEs like NetBeans, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA and more.
  • Based on a lightweight architecture to allow UI seamlessly supporting across all platforms
  • With build servers developers do not need Mac for iOS app, Windows PC for Windows apps and so on.
  • It also uses ParparVM which provides full compatibility for the future versions of iOS

Cons: The default visual themes are quite primitive and graphical UI builder may not also be suitable for large app projects.

Sofia Coppol is a digital marketing expert in Rapidsoft Technologies, is an offshore software development company which provides Software for Education, Automation, Construction and Finance across the global. She loves to write on latest mobile trends, mobile technologies, startups and enterprises

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