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.

And, if we missed anything you expected to find, let us know on Twitter and we will find a place for it in the list.

Building better apps starts with the right platform. Check out this analyst report for more details on the rapidly changing landscape of mobile application development platforms and how leading companies are evaluating their options.