Choosing the right mobile development technology isn’t a quick or easy process. With such a broad offering of development platforms, it’s easy to get lost. It all depends on your business goals, on your budget, and even on your resources. That’s why, to make it easier for you, we did some in-depth research on the best mobile app development platforms on the market based on three categories.

Explore what you can build with a low-code application development platform

Choosing the Top Mobile App Development Platforms (MADP)

Here are the platforms we took for a test drive.

Free Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools Small Budget Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools Enterprise Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools
Apache Cordova Monaca Xamarin
Adobe PhoneGap Cocoon Appcelerator
Ionic Framework Telerik Platform
Framework 7 RubyMotion Salesforce App Cloud
Apache Weex Codename One Alpha Software
React Native AppGyver Mendix
NativeScript Sencha Kony
Flutter Zoho AppCreator OutSystems
Jasonette DIY Solutions  

Now, if you’re comparing technical requirements of the best mobile app development platforms on the market, these articles are an excellent starting point to find your dream platform.

To see one in action, check out the video below.


Why Should You Develop for Mobile With A Platform?

When you’re launching a digital or mobile strategy, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself after defining your business goals is which is the best app development platform for you.

When you decide to adopt a mobile strategy and transform your business, a few things are about to happen: the demand for new apps will increase, as well as the need for speed and agility. Why? Because in a world that’s moving at hyper speed, being the fastest to respond to digital innovation opportunities determines who’s the leader and who’s the laggard. And no one wants to be the laggard.

Having the right technology by your side is a crucial step to make sure your IT team is able to deliver with the right time-to-market and with a great user experience without sinking into an ocean of backlog.

And, as we talk about digital strategies, there’s one more factor to consider. Mobility is moving beyond just pretty web and mobile apps in iOS and Android. In a multi-experience, adding engagement in new touchpoints like chat, voice, augmented reality, and wearable experiences have to be part of the plan.

In fact, according to Gartner’s strategic predictions:

"By 2021, at least one-third of enterprises will have deployed a multi-experience development platform to support mobile, web, conversational, and augmented-reality development." 

So, with all these challenges in mind, how do you choose the best mobile platform and vendor for your business needs? There is no lack of options. Recently, Gartner evaluated 80+ vendors but only scored 18  vendors in its latest Magic Quadrant, including Microsoft, OutSystems, Salesforce, Kony, SAP, IBM, and PegaSystems (ANtenna Software). But which one best fits your business and your IT technology landscape?

Download Gartner's report for Mobile Application Development Platforms

Looking at the Critical Features in MADPs

So by now you get the idea of the main purpose for these platforms. But you still want to know what their most valuable built-in features are to help your teams be productive. You want to know their key attributes for mobile app development and how they compare. To help you figure that out, here are the most critical features to evaluate:

  • Low-code/no-code tools: how does it increase the productivity of developers?
  • Professional tools: how powerful are its tools for professional developers?
  • UI and native API: how much pixel-perfect control does it have?
  • Unified customer experience: how well does it support a unified journey for multiple touch-points?
  • Core mobile services: how powerful are its built-in mobile back-end services ?
  • Behavioral/operational analytics: how helpful is the platform in providing business insights?
  • Process and data modeling: how good is the platform with managing human processes?
  • DevOps support: how much automation of DevOps does it provide?
  • AI capabilities: how easy is the inclusion of AI in these apps or even in the dev process?

However, as I said before, the technical requirements are just a part of what makes a mobile development platform great. Put it this way: you may have the best Ferrari in the world but if you don’t know how to drive, it doesn’t really matter how good your car is. This can happen with software too.

MADP Vendors: Which Ones Are Best Rated by Customers?

When you’re evaluating software, you need to assess the whole service that the provider has to offer. Because a development platform impacts many teams for the speed of business, there are a lot more attributes to evaluate a vendor than just platform features. These include the vendor contracting experience,  customer onboarding, user training, and the responsiveness of their support (including  SLAs). In other words, the entire relationship lifecycle.

In the old days, most enterprise tech buyers consulted leading analysts to pick the best software vendors, including reading analyst reports, such as the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant or the Forrester Wave for Low-Code Development Platforms, which offer  great insights to evaluate vendors and products in a market like this one for MADP.

But in the past 18 months, a new evaluation trend gained so much momentum that it already surpassed analysts reports in reading volume: enterprise IT review sites, such as Gartner Peer Insights, G2 Crowd, and Capterra, provide software users’ opinions about a product or service from a vendor, in volumes we never had before.

Why this shift? Because customer reviews give you hundreds of trusted opinions about the provider and the software capabilities from the perspective of those who actually use the platform (in raw and aggregate scores). For example, Gartner Peer Insights does a thorough check of each reviewer to make sure those leaving the reviews work where they say they do and are who they say they are. Therefore, the reviews are more in depth than analyst reports; it’s the real voice of users leaving their opinions as customers of the tech vendor and their experience with the product.

How Are Customer Choice Distinctions Awarded?

With so many aspects for customers to rate vendors on, it is not easy for any vendor in a market to be number one. But for those that make it, there is now a new recognition in Peer Insights: the Customers’ Choice Distinction—which is only awarded to one or a few leaders in a market that have the top scores (above 4.2 out of a max of 5) and the most customers proving it (making them the most reliable scores).

That is why we feel honoured to achieve these unique recognitions by our customers:

  • We’re the only software vendor awarded “Customers’ Choice 2018” in two app dev markets.
  • We have the most reliable top satisfaction score (4.5 out of 5) by far (420+ reviews as of Nov. 23).

You can find more about this recognition here

So, getting back to the beginning, finding the best mobile app development platform is all about finding that balance between a great product and great service. And that’s why part of our evaluation journey must include the review sites now that they provide you this valuable service.

Mobile Application Development Platform Reviews

It makes us proud to know that we’re helping customers succeed: 

For more powerful examples of what customers are saying about OutSystems, check out some of their own words:

Fast Development of Multi-Platform Mobile Apps With Great UX

"Development of our mobile app has been very fast. The platform provided several UX templates that were easily modified to meet our brand and UX standards. The platform integrated our mobile app with several existing APIs and data sources within our internal systems. The platform made it easy to plug-in additional features like Google Maps and integrate with native mobile features like touch/face ID. We have a single base application that works on both iOS and Android devices."CIO

Mobile Development Taken to the Next Level

"Everything, from the setup/installation, to the configuration of the whole environment, going through the early stages of adding modules/components/solutions, and ending with the development process itself, works like a charm. The company itself has all the necessary resources to help us move forward, always keeps a close proximity to our requests, and works alongside us to achieve the best possible solutions."Project Manager

Perfect Platform for Innovative and Robust Solutions With Low Time to Market

"We use OutSystems to speed up the delivery of digital (web and mobile) rich applications. It started first with support for our sales people all over the 40 countries where my company is operating and now with solutions tailor-made for our customers. The OutSystems platform has been a great help to deliver robust solutions, considered as very innovative in a very short period of time. Offline mode for mobile applications is also a differentiating feature compared to competitors."Head of large IT projects

Big Challenge With a Tight Deadline and Mediatic Exposure

"During the development of two mobile apps with a tight schedule and mediatic exposure, we had many challenges that had to be overcome at a fast pace. The OutSystems platform and support was impressive in many ways to allow us to overcome many obstacles."DIT/BSS/RDF