With so many apps in the marketplace, app developers must be more agile than ever. The ability to deliver apps to multiple mobile platforms is important for reaching a wider audience, but each have their own native language, UI/UX, developer tools and environments. Developers often rely on cross-platform frameworks to develop an app that will run on multiple platforms and can be maintained easily.
However, there is an ever-increasing number of cross-platform mobile application development frameworks and many developers are unsure which is the best choice for their app. Here, we will look at some of the top choices and assess the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
Unfortunately, since Cordova is open source, there’s no guarantee it will be complete and keep up-to-date with new code and improvements. Cordova is known to have performance issues with graphically intense apps that would not occur with native development. It’s difficult to find the plugins you need and some developers end up having to write their own. Finally, there is a lack of information regarding the usage and interface of Cordova.
On the down side, Appcelerator is thought to be overly complex and becoming more so each day. It lacks flexibility and often developers who initially loved the API of Appcelertor lose their fondness of it after too many bugs and errors show up. Finally, since the targeted platform SDKs are locally managed by the developers, a team has to establish a controlled build environment. This is especially true if you are targeting multiple platforms.
jQuery Mobile is also counted among the most popular mobile frameworks. jQuery Mobile runs on almost all popular smartphones and tablets. jQuery Mobile uses HTML5 & CSS3 in designing user interface. You can do a lot with lesser need of scripting.
jQuery Mobile is perfect when the design is simple. You can create your own theme or achieve the requirements through basic themes. But when the design is more custom jQuery mobile falls short. At times, you might face issues with AJAX and postbacks if your code is designed in .NET. Otherwise, jQuery mobile is a powerful platform for mobile application development.
When considering a cross-platform mobile development architecture, consider performance requirements, UI design, and native features needed before deciding. What cross-platform development tools have you used? What were some obstacles you encountered with them? Let us know in the comments below.