Developers face a number of challenges when building mobile apps for multiple operating systems. Creating an app for iOS is much different from creating an app for Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone. Developing for multiple OSes can mean learning new tools and programming languages.
Native vs. Hybrid
The native approach to building mobile apps usually delivers better performance and user experience, but requires more developer skills. These apps can also be difficult to maintain over the long haul. Even so, developers with the right skills will find that the native type MADF can help simplify many of their projects.
One MADF that takes the native approach is Xamarin. The product supports a .NET development environment, which allows C# developers to use their existing skills to deliver Android, iOS and Windows mobile apps.
Developers who plan to take the hybrid approach to cross-platform development have a wide range of options to choose from. Although the performance and user experience of hybrid apps are not on par with native apps, this development approach tends to be simpler and faster because it allows developers to use their existing client-side scripting knowledge.
Building mobile apps with MADPs
Developers that need a more complete package than what’s available with mobile app development frameworks should consider MADPs. Comprehensive MADPs not only streamline building, testing, deploying and managing apps, but also include APIs for integrating with other systems and mechanisms for customizing the apps beyond the out-of-the-box capabilities. Some platforms even provide back-end systems and services.
When assessing MADPs, one consideration to keep in mind is how well the platform supports codeless or near-codeless development, also called rapid mobile application development. Under this model, people without much technical development expertise can use point-and-click operations to quickly and easily build mobile apps they can deploy across multiple operating systems. Some of these platforms also allow customizations — which require coding skills — but the primary development model is geared toward power users, rather than developers.
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