The 5 Most Popular Mobile App Development Tools


New mobile app development toolsappear all the time. At the same time, devices continually evolve, accommodating a greater and wider variety of capabilities. Now, more than ever, having cross platform compatible apps is imperative.

Creating one codebase for apps used in many different operating systems across different devices makes sense, both economically, and creatively. Doing away with the need for fine-tuning and repeated code revisions greatly benefits developers. The availability of cross platform mobile app development tools streamlines the app creation process.

Nonetheless, not all development tools work well, and some may just gum up the works. Use caution when choosing development tools, and consider what makes five of the more popular mobile app development tools used for multiple platform use successful.


Generally viewed as one of the more efficient, intuitive, and (relatively) easy-to-learn mobile app development tools, Appcelerator offers JavaScript-based coding capabilities along with cloud-based back-end service. One possible reason for Appcelerator’s popularity may be that the majority of programmers have extensive experience with JavaScript. Appcelerator transforms JavaScript through APIs that create apps capable of running in iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry devices, all retaining uniform app performance across all platforms.

Appcelerator’s back-end cloud services handle storage, email, and social media needs, and are equipped to handle and protect sensitive information. Beyond that, Appcelerator also offers analytics and monitoring, among other services.

PhoneGap (a/k/a Apache Cordova)

Another name widely used in cross platform mobile app developmentis PhoneGap. PhoneGap also happens to be a free and open-source development resource. PhoneGap offers many things to streamline app development, perhaps because of their years of experience translating into anticipation of and understanding the best ways of responding to the needs of their users.

PhoneGap has a strong following of people who lack solid server-side language knowledge, and it offers a huge selection of developer plugins and standardized web APIs. For those desiring enhanced tools, PhoneGap offers its Build service, which takes in coding language, compiles for the customer, and creates completed apps. For developers creating larger apps, PhoneGap offers a paid plan.


For more seasoned developers, RhoMobile is a popular choice, one that offers an array of options such as RhoHub (cloud-based code hosting) and RhoSync (an independent dedicated server). RhoMobile uses coding languages such as JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 to enable creation of multi-platform apps for Windows, Android, and iOS, among others. RhoMobile distinguishes itself from other mobile app development tools with “styling libraries” offering widgets and effects that enhance both the appearance and functionality of apps. RhoMobile’s tool also provides data sync back-end integration. Finally, by monitoring the open source community, RhoMobile works to anticipate future app development needs.


Sencha Architect provides developers with the framework needed to create web apps. Sencha creates code that runs in a webkit browser, which can then be completed using PhoneGap. Evolving from its development of the EXT web app platform and the Touch tablet and phone platform, the Sencha visual designer contains themes and starter apps to keep the development process moving.

Sencha also features “drag and drop” widget insertion for iPhone, Kindle, BlackBerry, and Microsoft screens, and deals with layout issues. Sencha offers other tools for cross platform mobile app development, including Sencha Animator, which allows developers to visualize an app with drag/drop ease.


For those seeking a C#-based development platform, Xamarin supports cross platform mobile app development for both Android and iOS devices. The company has experienced significant growth in recent years, and continually augments its platform. Using Xamarin, developers have the ability to write in C# and create apps using the same language, data framework, and APIs on different platforms.

Xamarin emphasizes native user interface and performance tools as essential to creating the best apps. All Xamarin apps come with native user interface controls so that during development, apps appear as users will see them and behave as users will experience them.

What’s Next for Cross Platform Mobile App Development?

A plethora of development tools exist already. However, greater ease of use and broader coding language options should make app development progress even further. Often, programs that try to serve too many functions excel in one area and lack in others. With the continuing growth of mobile app development, cross platform apps will gain in efficiency and dependability, making investing in them worth the time and money.



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