Enterprise Cross Platform Mobile Development Tools Comparison
November 30, 2015
* Bluetube was acquired by Perficient in October 2016. If you want to learn more please check here.*
Mobile is a complicated undertaking. Many have incorporated mobile as a method for customer engagement, but an increasing number of companies are beginning to use mobile as an enterprise internal productivity tool with great success.
Those who develop mobile applications for consumers already understand the need to support at least the two main platforms (iOS and Android) but thanks to the popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) in the workplace, enterprises are quickly finding that they too must support at least iOS and Android, and potentially the minor players like Windows Phone/RT.
Since it’s necessary to create an app that will function seamlessly on multiple platforms, the challenge becomes: how to develop mobile applications for each operating system without having to develop in Objective-C for iOS, Java for Android, and .NET for Windows.
Even if your company has each of these development capabilities already, you’re facing the reality that the exact same app must be built two or more times using a completely different technology stack and language each time. That’s an expensive and time-consuming process.
So what’s the solution? In the past few years, a number of products have appeared to try and answer that. Instead of building an application two or three different ways, learning a technology stack that runs counter to all other decisions made by the company, developers now have options.
But with options, comes a whole new set of questions. Regardless of whether the parties involved are technical, decision-makers, or anyone else, we consistently hear the question: “Which cross-platform tool should I use, and why? What’s the difference?”
We’ve set out to try and answer this question for you. Because Bluetube is built on delivering solutions across platforms for a variety of scenarios, we have first-hand knowledge about each of the platforms we’ve chosen to compare.
As a Xamarin Premier Consulting Partner with certified Xamarin developers and an Appcelerator Partner with an Appcelerator Titan on staff, we feel we can objectively and comprehensively evaluate the top platforms to answer common questions at a moderately technical level.
Here’s our comparison.
Here’s a breakdown of how we evaluated each section.
Type of Platform
We fully expect someone not to agree with us here. "Appcelerator is truly native!" Or "none of these are truly native." We ultimately broke it down into three categories:
- Native, as in compiled down to native binaries for all executable codem.
- Interpreted native where a native application executes code or instruction in a non-native language.
- HTML5 based.
Our next disclaimer – just about any of these tools can be used to build enterprise apps, but that doesn’t mean these tools are strongest in that area. Corona, for example, is commonly used for game-building, but it’s a platform that is capable of enterprise apps as well.
This is very simply the programming language you use to develop apps. This is extremely important for those who already know a language as well as enterprises who must consider technology stack, existing capabilities and the impacts on hiring and team building.
This section highlights the capabilities of each platform. Some are only used for development, while others support the full lifecycle of an app. These are important considerations when thinking about enhancing and maturing your app.
We pulled information from the Gartner Magic Quadrant Ranking for each platform. This is good knowledge to have when planning your long-term strategy. A challenger may be good for a short-term project, but if you’re planning on maintaining an app long-term, a leader or visionary may be a better fit.
Here we are looking to bring some of the common or known advantages and disadvantages of each platform out into the open.
Finally, some closing notes and details about each platform that may be of interest.