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Multiplatform Application Development

Publicado por Agustin Batuecas

Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish

Smartphones con diferentes plataformas

Contrary to what it happens with the websites, when developing a mobile app should be noted that this app depends on the operating system of each Smartphone and each existing platforms ( Android, iPhone, Blackberry ..), has its peculiarities . This fact causes developing a multiplatform application has to be customized to each type of mobile and consequently, the development is much more expensive.


We usually do not recommend, for reasons to be discussed later, to develop an application for all possible platforms from the start, but we do recommend to study the most popular platforms; and limit to them as much as posible; there will always be time to devote resources to the rest when necessary. Today there are two dominant platforms, Android and iOS two second level, Blackberry RIM and Windows Phone and others third level and almost  forgotten like Bada or Symbian.

Currently the two most active market places are  Google Play of Android and the App Store of Apple. Between them they have over a million applications and nearly 50 billion downloads, and it appears that this has only just begun because they continue to grow at breakneck speed.

Pretty much gone are the upcoming BlackBerry App World and the Windows Phone Marketplace with 100.000 applications available each.

Based on these data, when thinking about publishing an application, we consider logical to develop versions for iOS and Android initially ,that cover more than 80% market share of applications and if successful, expanding the development to other platforms.

At the time of contacting with a company that develops multiplatform applications, it is convenient to be informed about all the available options for our applications to reach the more number of possible platforms and clients , without imposing an excessive expend.

We explain the three types of development for a multiplatform application, in which quality, the time and type of development are closely linked:


The ideal scenario is to have an application developed in the native language for each platform. With a native app is gained considerably user experience and the final product has more quality.

Smartphone users are among the most demanding customers in the technological landscape today, so it can be balanced to pay more for a native platform development and have a seamless application.

It is true that not all companies can afford the expense of this alternative, but do not panic because there are other cheaper options , although a little sacrifice application performance , significantly meet committed: the hybrid applications.

HYBRID APPS : Based in a web app

There is one aspect of mobile development that uses cross-platform frameworks that allow you to write code in one language and then export to native code, are called hybrid apps.

Android app hybrid web-based application are to program as if it were a web application with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. The web code imbibe within a web view and will own the browser engine running the app code. Phonegap is the most popular framework in this technology.

Phonegap is a framework for multiplatform developing applications

Leave all application execution on Smartphone’s browser is its main strength and its main disadvantage. On one side is the framework that is broader, because you can export all the platforms discussed above. On the opposite side we find  less fluid applications and look&feel; quite distant from native applications.

HYBRID APPS: Interpreted;

There is a second option within the hybrid applications, Android interpreted. The best example of this aspect of the apps development platform  is Appcelerator. In this case the code is written in javascript which will then be processed and compiled before packaging in a native app. This javascript code will be executed when the application in a Smartphone own  javascript engine.

Appcelerator is a framework for multiplatform hybrid interpreted applications developing

Appcelerator provides some libraries that are used to access the mobile’s native controls, thereby achieving an appearance almost as a native app.

With this framework is not reached as many platforms as PhoneGap, but you get applications with a look & feel and quite close to the native apps . The learning curve is more expensive than it is in PhoneGap cause it is not web programming.

SO… Should I develop my application in a native languaje?

After studying the three options, a company that wants to publish an application for smartphones will discuss the particular requirements of their app, who the customers are, how they will use the app and the available budget before making a decision.

For simple applications and without much functionality as advertising campaigns or for those which are not expected future expansions, one hybrid  web based app will behave perfectly, and it will be hard to distinguish from a native one, not having an excessive computational cost is achieved acceptably smooth interface. As the complexity of the application increases and the number of data, functionalities raises its is convenient to develope native apps to ensure an optimun service to our customers and future users.

I hope this article has been helpful to know the options available today for developing a multiplatform application. Remember that in case of any questions or for more information, please contact the sales department of Startcapps that will be pleased to serve you.

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