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Top 10 Cross-Platform Mobile Development Tools

iOS or Android? This is perhaps one of the most important questions new app developers must ask themselves before they start building their apps.

For some the answer is difficult, as both platforms have their pros and cons. Generally, it’s iOS for monetization, Android for users. But why not make it both ways and design apps for each platform?

Fortunately you can. Here are the top 10 cross-platform mobile development tools that make both possible.

Xamarin

Xamarin’s robust features and multi-os app development platform has attracted giants in the field including Microsoft, IBM, and Dow Jones. It is one of the leading solutions for cross-platform development, offering a free option that includes app store delivery, performance management and monitoring. Developers also have the ability to virtually test their apps on over a 1,000 devices, ensuring the app is working the way it’s supposed to.

Appcelerator

Appcelerator is an enterprise-focused development platform that allows developers to write code in Javascript within the platforms Alloy MVC framework. This saves you a lot of time as most developers are well versed in Javascript, so you won’t have to learn any new coding languages. There is also a private cloud option, useful for developers that work with any sensitive or private company data.

Features include analytics, performance testing and management.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is one of the most popular cross-platform development tools around. Owned by Adobe, it’s free for developers allowing them to translate code from HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Each platform has its own software development kits (SDK) provided by the company.

The platform covers not only iOS and Android, but BlackBerry and Windows as well. After your app is finished, you can share it with your team to review and make any necessary improvements.

iFactr

iFactr’s platform uses both Xamarin and PhoneGap to compile its native apps on iOS and Android. Developers can churn out mobile apps rather quickly. The platform is easy to learn, needing only a few days of training to grasp the basics. It’s robust prototyping features also gives companies the ability to create prototypes for their developers to test out.

Kony

Kony lets developers create apps using a single codebase. The platform offers a variety of features including the ability to drag and drop widgets. It uses Javascript and offers a Mobile Fabric platform that combines multiple cloud services and middle-ware tools. Pricing starts at $15 per user every month, or you can try it out the free trial version first.

SAP

SAP has long been around the mobile app development block, but it’s only recently started seeing more users. A few years back, the platform consisted of confusing array of features and solutions. Since then, the company released a 3.0 version of its SAP Mobile platform that’s rather simple to develop apps with.  Developers can build cross-platform apps using only a single HTML5 codebase.

Alpha Anywhere

Alpha Anywhere’s enterprise-focused development tools covers all the major mobile platforms, including PC and Mac desktops. It uses Javascript and HTML5 to speed up and simplify the end-to-end app development process. They also have built-in support for offline apps, ensuring apps designed offline properly synchronize when put online, resolving any conflicts and support issues.

Prices start at $1,999 for a year contract or a one month trial version for $199.

5App

5App is rather new to the neighborhood. It’s platform launched early last year, offering two services including an app building tool and an enterprise app store service. The former uses HTML5 and Javascript to create native iOS and Android apps, whereas the latter is a BYOD management tool allowing app developer companies to build internally curated app stores for employees. 5App’s premium service is roughly $3.75 per user, but there’s also a free trial available also.

FeedHenry

FeedHenry made headlines last year after software company Redhat purchased the company for around 63.5 million euros. Their mobile backend-as-a-service platform works alongside a cross app development platform, allowing developers to create, design, and deploy iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps on-premise or via public clouds.

Sencha

Sencha works with companies like Google, CNN, and Samsung so you know it’s good. Developers can create HTML5 apps, then convert them into native iOS and Android apps with PhoneGap. Apps created with Sencha can run on all browsers including the most recent touch-based and smart devices.

However, prices are steep: for just 5 developers it’s $3,225 per year. For 20 developers, its $12,495.

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