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 :
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 :
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 ? :
Download OpenPlug studio and Adobe Flash Builder(Optional) and then try out the samples from :
Hope u like them..
Sajid Ali Anjum