Things to consider before developing apps for multiple platforms

If you are an app developer or a business wanting to reach your customers using a mobile app, you will be faced with a...

Things to consider before developing apps for multiple platforms

If you are an app developer or a business wanting to reach your customers using a mobile app, you will be faced with a huge question of which platform (s) to develop first. Though smartphone market is dominated by two platforms iOS and Android, other platforms such as Windows 8 and BlackBerry have a decent market share. If you are operating on a limited budget or time, developing a native app for each platform will not be possible. If we add the different form factors such as mobile, tablet etc. it gets even more complex. However, multi-platform apps are possible with the help of programming language translation, HTML 5 and few development tools.

Translation – One solution could be to write the app in one language and then have it “translated” to other languages that can be used on other platforms. For this, translators are needed to translate from one language to other. A slightly different version can be to use drivers. Developing an app using a specific framework say HTML, JS, Python, CSS, Ruby and PHP and running it on a driver that has access to all the scripts. By making this happen, you could run the app in mobile phones which have the similar kind of driver. Downside of using this approach is: you may not get access to native features of phone such as local storage, camera etc. and optimization could be a big turnoff!

HTML 5 – Another promising way is to develop the app using HTML5 which could provide direct APIs to GPS and other mobile-specific features. HTML5 is not only the extended version of HTML 4, but it also includes Level 2 HTML and XHTML 1. HTML5 is still in its improvement stage as it still could not support few features but when becomes completely supported it would be easy for developers to create a single app for all platforms!
Cross platform development tools

Mobiles in Multiple platforms

Appcelerator – Appcelerator platform helps app developers to develop applications for any desktop, mobile or tablet. This tool helps developer use widely used languages such as JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby and HTML5 for developing apps. Access to native features of the phone such as storage, camera, GPS etc. is added advantages of using this tool.

PhoneGap – FOSS framework provided by PhoneGap allows developing apps for different platforms like Android, iOS, Windows 8, BlackBerry, Symbian etc… with the help of web development languages like HTML and JavaScript. It provides access for few more features like camera, GPS, accelerometer and many.

Overall, tools and resources available for developing cross platform mobile apps is getting better constantly and have matured a lot recently. To summarize best user experience can be achieved only using native apps, but hybrid apps are getting better and it is a decent compromise.

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