Two Of My Favourite Cross-Platform Development Tools For Mobile Phones

A few months back, I started searching on this topic i.e the tools available for cross-platform development that can provide performance and compatibility at the same time. Because like most of the developers , i would like to write once and deploy it to as much platforms as i can without loosing  the performance of my application.

According to my findings,  the longest list of cross-platform development tools available for mobile is here :

http://www.readwriteweb.com/mobile/2010/12/30-plus-tools-for-building-your-own-mobile-app.php

Obviously, if u search more on internet then u may find more tools but these tools are somewhat famous and well-known.

Now, let me describe the tools that i like and i think they can help other developers as well :

Note:  Being a Nokia Phone’s software developer, my choice is biased to the tools that support Symbian OS (and may be JavaME as well) but i find out that the tools supporting Symbian OS are very much active and supporting all other major platforms as well i.e Android,iPhone,JavaME*,Blackberry*,Windows Mobile* and few others.

1. MoSync .. Free* , Fast and Great Compatibility

MoSync uses C++ and a set of powerful APIs to support a large variety of  platforms.  We are also working with this tool to develop an application for a company and one of my personal application. I must say its a great tool indeed and the thing that makes it worth using is its compatibly across large number of platforms.

*It is free under GPL License. If you want to release closed source projects,then have to buy it. But its quite inexpensive.

Compatible Platforms :

1. iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) 3.x+

2. Android Cupcake 1.5, 1.6, 2.1

3. Java ME MIDP 2 (J2ME)

4.  Moblin 2.x

5. Pocket PC 2003

6. Smartphone 2003

7. Symbian S60 2nd, 3rd, and 5th ed

8. Windows Mobile 5.0-6.5

9. Blackberry (Beta)

10. Meego (in their roadmap for this year)

11. Windows Phone (in their roadmap for this year) http://www.mosync.com/content/mosync-roadmap

Good Points Of MoSync :

1- C++ is very much known to many beginners and it is really easy to develop great applications using powerful APIs of MoSync. Especially the MAUI class makes it extremely easy to develop MoSync apps.

2- MoSync support GPS,Google Maps, Bluetooth,SMS and a large number of other platform features for all supported platforms.

3- MoSync do supports Native UI Components for iPhone and Android only.

4- The biggest feature of MoSync is its great compatibly.

5- Take seconds to build a native installation package for targetted platform from a code. The installation packages created by MoSync are completely standalone and doenst need any plugins/runtimes/libraries to be installed. It makes distribution process a cream.

Wana Try It :

Goto :

http://mosync.com

and have fun. You just need to install a single setup and no need to install any SDKs.

2. OpenPlug Studio .. Free, Fast and Good Compatibility

Update: OpenPlug Studio project shut down by the company on Dec, 2011 

If you are a Flash Developer then this tool is very much  designed for you. However, OpenPlug needs you to be a Flex Developer but its not a big deal for a Flash Developer to learn Flex and YES! its totally FREE.

Compatible Platforms :

1- iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (iOS 3.0 to iOS 4.3)

2-  Android   (Android 1.6   to  3.0 )

3- Symbian  (S60 3rd, S60 5th ed, Symbian^1 & Symbian^3)

4- Windows Mobile 6.x .  I read in their forum that they are researching on Windows Phone as well.

Good Points of OpenPlug  Studio:

1- I personally experienced that it is quite good in performance as compared to Flash Lite 2.x to 4 on Symbian Phones and i think the same is true for other platforms.

2- You can see that the compatibility of  OpenPlug Studio is great and it supports almost all versions of the supported OSs.

3- Distribution is quite easy as it simply generates a single native package e.g. SIS in case of  Symbian OS and that doesnt have any dependency and can be distributed without adding any runtime/libraries (like we have to do it in Qt or Python for Symbian).

4- Developing contents with OP is rapid as it not only uses the MXML and AS3 to write down the application but provide a number of  libraries to make your appliation rich in features like SQLite DB support, Twitter and Facebook support etc.

5- It let u use Native UI Components for iPhone and Android.

6- It allow you to write native extensions for iPhone and Android to access different Platform features.

Things need to improve:

1- The only thing that needs to be really improve in OpenPlug is the compilation time i.e the time required to compile your code to target platform installation package. Currently, it is more then all cross platform tools, i tested so far.

Wana Test It Yourself ? :

Goto :

http://openplug.com

Download OpenPlug studio and Adobe Flash Builder(Optional) and then try out the samples from :

http://developer.openplug.com/learn/samples/192-uicatalog

Hope u like them..

Best Regards,

Sajid Ali Anjum

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8 Responses to “Two Of My Favourite Cross-Platform Development Tools For Mobile Phones”

  1. mani Says:

    really good post dude.. esp review of openplug.. have u created any app in OP thats available in marketplace ?

    • sajisoft Says:

      Hi Mani,
      No! i didnt make an app for marketplace yet but i do experiment different things with OpenPlug and found out that it really works. 🙂 Already started a small game init but obviously, need more free time to complete it.

      Thanks for commenting….:)

      Best Regards,
      Sajid Ali Anjum

  2. Ranco Says:

    Hi Sajid,
    Thanks for this great post. I think it comes at a good time, where (I believe) most Symbian programmers are looking at good alternatives.
    I also started my own research recently, and found AirPlay to be a good crossplatform sdk, working inside visual studio: https://www.airplaysdk.com/. Saw some great iPhone apps (like this one: http://www.amonki.com/mooniz/) created with that sdk. It’s free for iOS, and if you want the other OS (Symbian, Android, Windows phone 7, etc) you’ll have to pay a bit.
    Good luck for us all 🙂

    Ranco

    • sajisoft Says:

      Hi Ranco,
      Yeah! i already did experiments with AirPlay SDKs month before. AirPlay is good as it is very cheap for individuals like 99 dollar per year and it do support all major platforms.It do has a UI Builder but personally, i find it a little harder to code as it is design for professional game developers and many big game developers are using it right now. But recently, Shiva3D start supporting AirPlay SDK (http://www.stonetrip.com/developer/1392-stonetrip-airplay-sdk) which makes it a cream for beginners to create 3d Games by using Shiva3D development tool which is comparatively easy. I recently experiment few samples of Shiva3D by compiling them via AirPlay SDK in VC 2008 and it really runs smooth in Nokia N8.
      But MoSync,on other end, is really easy to understand and program with and do supports OpenGL for iPhone and Android developers at the moment.

      Thanks for commenting…. 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Sajid Ali Anjum

  3. Max Says:

    Hey Sajiid – check out Application Craft http://applicationcraft.com

    In summary, it’s a cloud-based dev platform that does mobile (all important platforms) and desktop on an equal footing. It’s got an IDE that does drag-and-drop / wysiwyg UI building as well as code editing. I guess you could describe it as Visual Basic in the Cloud, but Javascript not Basic. Widget based like VB was, extensible. Open Source with free platform offering.

    jQuerymobile has announced AC as a JQM dev platform and here’s a case study that Phonegap did on them : http://phonegap.com/case_study/phonegap-application-craft-pain-free-mobile-app-development/

    • sajisoft Says:

      Hi Max, I actually played with Application Craft , few days back and find it very innovative and rapid development solution.

      Best Regards,
      Sajid Ali Anjum

  4. Henrik Says:

    Hi Sajid

    Thanks for your nice words about MoSync. MoSync is a huge project and now also supports Web developers with HTML5 support. Our Wormhole library connects JavaScript to native features and also Native UI! In our upcoming 3.0 release you can work 100% in HTML5 or C/C+ or a combination of both for better performance. This is very flexible and future proof. We want to make the last mile to a top quality app fun and simple

    Henrik
    MoSync

    • sajisoft Says:

      Thanks for your comment Henrik. MoSync is at number one in my cross-platform development tool’s list. I am already playing with nightly builds of MoSync and for me the top feature in MoSync 3.0 is Windows Phone support. 🙂 I’ll surely write an article on MoSync with my experiments soon.

      Best Regards,
      Sajid Ali Anjum


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