Budgets are limited, and time even more so. When you’re under the gun to deliver a great mobile experience, the road map for building an iOS and Android application stretches farther than any executive could permit. And, it's riddled with such a dizzying array of cross-platform mobile app development tools that it looks like your GPS when you type "nearby restaurants" and you're in the middle of a food court. Even when you answer solely to yourself, the demands of jaded mobile users will push you to your limits.
On my last romp through the mobile world, I spent a year developing Quotograph for Android. Quotograph was a side project, and by most measures, a disastrous failure. During Quotograph’s postmortem, I made two vows to myself. First, I promised to validate my ideas before I built them, and second, I swore to go cross-platform from the beginning—goodbye separate codebases. The next question I asked was a natural one: which tool is right for me?
After Quotograph’s release, I began to work with OutSystems. They provide an enterprise solution for rapid cross-platform mobile development. While their tool is powerful, it’s also priced out of reach for the average independent developer—e.g. me. I needed to know more about what was out there.
Because I couldn’t find a definitive resource to help me decide which tool to use, I researched them all myself. I scoured the web and internet, reading reviews, comments and even (gasp) some marketing web pages. I’m not kidding. I was determined that this new project would not end up like Quotograph. And because my other super power is writing, it wasn’t long before I had compiled a guide to popular cross-platform mobile app development tools.
I’ve organized it into three categories: completely free, small budget, and enterprise. Consult the appropriate list to find a cross-platform tool that’s right for you or your organization.
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And, if I missed anything you expected to find, let me know in the comments and I will find a place for it in the list.