by Ralph Winzinger on Mar 18, 2014
Apple Xcode (iOS): Apples full featured development environment lets you
create mobile apps as well as desktop applications. Xcode comes with
integrated support for Git source-code repositories, graphical editor to
build user interfaces, instrumentation and debugging tooling and integrated
documentation. You need Mac OS X to run XCode and it is free of charge.
IntelliJ AppCode (iOS): Jetbrains, creator of IntelliJ IDEA, also offers an
Objective-C development environment. Just like their Java IDE, AppCode comes
with elaborate refactoring capabilities, on-the-fly code analysis,
debugging and more. You can download a trial version or buy licenses from $
Android Sudio (Android): Also based on IntelliJ IDEA, there is Android
Studio. Android Studio contains Gradle build support, Lint tools, Pro-Guard
app-signing tools and template-based wizards for common application
components. Currently, Android Studio can be downloaded free as an early
Android Developer Tools for Eclipse (Android): With the help of the Android
Developer Tools (ADT) plugin, Eclipse gains full support for Android app
development. Besides offering Android-specific coding support, ADT lets
developers use various on-device debugging tools, a graphical UI builder,
emulators or fully scriptable test automation support. The ADT plugin is
Microsoft Visual Studio Express (Windows Phone): Microsoft offers a variant
of Visual Studio for developing Windows Phone applications with .NET. Visual
Studio Express offers approved Visual Studio functionality together with
Windows Phone specific tooling like a graphical UI builder or phone emulator
. There is a 90-day trial version of Visual Studio which can be run on
Microsoft Windows 8 (x64).
Windows Phone App Studio (Windows Phone): Windows Phone App Studio is an
online service designed to create Windows Phone applications without the
need to write actual code. It is based on a selection of pre-designed
application templates, widgets and data-sources. Apps can easily be
downloaded onto a local device or published on the app store. After creating
an app online on the website, App Studio generates code which can be
further edited by developers. App Studio is free to use.
Hybrid frameworks & runtimes
Adobe PhoneGap / Apache Cordova (cross-platform, hybrid): Apache Cordova is
special native container on the mobile device. Native device functionality
device specific functionality like sensors or camera. PhoneGap uses Cordova
as its core and lets developers even build their applications in the cloud
without the need of installing a native SDK. Basic PhoneGap functionality
and Apache Cordova are free of charge.
Adobe Flex (cross-platform, app engine): Besides PhoneGap, Adobe also offers
Flex for creating mobile applications. Apps can be developed using Adobe
Flash Builder and can access native device capabilities. Flash Builder
assists the development process with code templates and generation,
signature tooling and debugging support. Flash Builder Premium is available
for Mac OS and Windows for $699.
Unity (cross-platform, app engine): Focused on gaming, Unity also lets
developers create applications for numerous platforms with a single code-
base. Besides enhanced built-in support for audio, animation or physics,
Unity hosts an asset shop to buy application fragments. Unity can be
purchased for $1500 or used on a monthly base for $75/month.
AppGuyver Steroids.js (cross platform, hybrid): Steroids.js can be used to
create cross-platform HTML5 based application like PhoneGap and also uses
Apache Cordova as its core. To extend Cordovas functionality and increase
performance it offers access to native UI components, navigation and
animation. Steroids.js is free, additional cloud based services for
automatic app store updates or ad-hoc sharing of apps can be purchased.
enabled HTML5 websites. The sites are automatically responsive and can be
used on broad range of phones and tablets. jQuery Mobile is open source and
free to use.
Sencha Touch: Similar to jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch offers a wide range of
ready-to-use HTML widgets to create complete HTML5 applications. Sencha is
focused on high-performance and strives to deliver native user-experience.
The pure Sencha Touch framework is free whereas license fees for the Sencha
Touch bundle including standard support start from $695.
Dojo Mobile: The Dojo toolkit is a MVC framework including data binding to
create mobile apps. It comes with various pre-defined widgets like sliders
or switches and includes theming for popular mobile platforms to provide
native look and feel. It can be used with PhoneGap to package an application
and publish it in the app stores. Using Dojo is free.
Cross-compilation & generating
Xtend (Android): Xtend is a Java dialect which compiles to Java source-code.
Include generation features let developers create applications for the
Android platform without the need for boiler-plate code.
Apportable Developers can write their applications in Objective-C for iOS
and cross-compile them to Android with Apportable. Apportable does not use
any virtual machines or emulator but generates native machine code for
Android devices. A limited set of functionality can be used for free, full
feature sets must be purchased on a yearly basis.
Xamarin: Like Apportable, Xamarin lets developers create applications for
multiple platforms with one code base. Apps can be written in C# and are
cross-compiled to native Android or iOS binaries. It is even possible to use
device specific APIs and functionality from within C# code. Besides a free
starter plan, Xamarin must be licensed on yearly basis.
Complete solution stacks
Appcelerator: Appcelerator Titanium not only offers a feature reach
includes an integrated development environment and a mobile backend-as-a-
service (MBaaS) platform. Developers can use Titanium to build and
distribute mobile apps and connect them to various services like SAP or
PayPal by using the secure and scalable MBaaS. Appcelerator can be used for
free by individual developers, enterprise plans vary depending on SLAs and
IBM Worklight: Applications in the IBM Worklight eco-system are hybrid HTML5
Worklight also includes feature rich development and management tools and
access to cloud-based backend services. Prices depend on installation
platforms and number of mobile clients.
SAP Mobile Platform: SAP Mobile Platform offers support for development and
administration of mobile applications that have access to SAP enterprise
systems. It is possible to create B2B, B2E and B2C apps on various
Salesforce1: Just like SAP, Salesforce offers an integrated app system to
connect to Salesforce services. Apps can be built as native, hybrid and
HTML5 applications or by leveraging existing mobile apps.