Author: Rashmi Kulkarni

Posted On Jan 28, 2016   |   3 min

Mobile apps are conquering the website platform and have already made its way to be the most popular method to reach out the potential mobile user base. According to an mobile audience measurement report by Neilsen, the findings state that 89% of smartphone users spend their time on apps for consuming various information and media. This certainly depicts the rising importance for organizations to leverage mobile app platform for achieving day to day activites to large scale business opportunities.

Now, after deciding to develop a mobile app for your business, the next crucial decision would be to choose the mobile OS, for your app development. There are multiple platforms available in the market with Android, Apple leading the market, followed by Windows, arriving at one platform further gets complicated if we factor in the diverse consumer demographics according to the mobile platform usage.
Developing a native app for various mobile platforms is not just effort intensive, but also adds up the complexity of dealing with platform specific implementations. This is where cross platform mobile app development frameworks with their WORA (write once run anywhere) capabilities stand out as the preferred choice. There are many such frameworks like- Xamarin, Appcelerator, Phonegap, Kony and many more, each with its own set of distinct features and capabilities.

Choosing the right framework is vital for the success of multi-platform app development. Based on our experience, let’s have a look at the key factors that need to be considered while evaluating the best suitable framework:

  • Native API compatibility– This includes the degree of exposure supported by frameworks for native functions like camera, location tracking and notifications APIs. For example, Phone Gap, Sencha Touch 2 do provide interfaces for calling Native APIs.
  • App UI/UX– Framework like Xamarin provides UI components to achieve native interface and performance. On the other hand, web technology based frameworks like Dojo Mobile or jQuery Mobile do not really match with the native look and feel.
  • Complexity/Learning curve/Roll out period– Web technology based frameworks built over HTML, JAVASCRIPT and CSS require minimal learning curve due to the widely accepted web technologies thus reducing the roll out period with lesser complexity
  • App development cost– App development cost for iOS, Android and Windows app will be considerably higher for native apps, but frameworks like Titanium Appcelerator facilitate native compilation over Java script based development which helps to reduce the app development significantly.
  • Converters– Converter frameworks provide good amount of code re-usability across the platform because common code is rebuilt for multiple platforms. This also makes the app maintenance cost effective. For example, Xamarin requires C# based development which is reused for multiple OS platforms as well.
  • User base– Most of the frameworks support popular platforms like iOS and Android but if targeted user base is widely spread then mobile platform support in the framework needs to cover the scope. For example, RhoMobile supports various mobile OS platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, RIM and Symbian.

Depending upon the business requirements such as ‘native UI’ as a prime factor, ‘covering wide range of platforms’ as a demanding request, ‘reduced cost’ with respect to code re-usability, above mentioned factors will help to make the selection of the appropriate framework.

Cross platform mobile development frameworks are becoming a winning recipe to reach out to the wider user base across various mobile platforms, but there is a long way to go to overcome a few key challenges including security, performance, quality, and lack of standardization. We would welcome your experiences while making the ‘right’ choice for cross platform mobile development frameworks.