Top mobile app development platforms

Jonathan KempelJonathan Kempel, New York, NY

Product Marketing Manager for IBM Mobile in IBM Software Group

Has your organization identified mobile applications as a key piece of your strategy? Are you in charge of choosing the right tool for the job? If so, you are probably overwhelmed by the variety of mobile offerings in the market. This article intends to help by pointing out the top 10 considerations you must be aware of when choosing the right mobile application platform that will address the unique needs of your organization.

Don't compromise on user experience

True cross-platform applications have been the holy grail of mobile development for quite some time now. Unfortunately, achieving a seamless transition of code across mobile platforms, while maintaining an optimized user experience on each device, is easier said than done. To overcome this challenge, many vendors resort to only highly automated form-based, drag-n-drop and WYSIWYG integrated development environments (IDEs), automatic code translators, or other proprietary components. Although very simple to use (some do not even require coding), without the ability to customize the code, these approaches can prove limiting in terms of application functionality and richness of the user interface.

Mobile apps are like any other product; if you want people to use them, they need to be good. Good apps are engaging, designed for performance, and are customized to deliver the functionality your users need, on-the-go and in a simple-to-use manner. Developing such apps with a form-based IDE or machine-generated code, is for all intents and purposes impossible.

When choosing a mobile application platform, be sure it can enable the development of apps that will address the unique requirements of your organization and your customers, both current and future.

Support different development approaches

Mobile apps are no longer an experiment. Companies are quickly realizing their value to different lines of business, both as productivity tools for employees and as engagement channels facing customers.

Choosing a development approach for these apps, namely native, web or hybrid, entails many parameters such as budget, project timeframe, target audience and application functionality, to name a few. Each approach carries inherent benefits and limitations, and with no single panacea, finding the one that best addresses the unique needs of each project could be a challenging task.

The answer lies not in one approach, but rather in a flexible solution; one that can harness the benefits that each provides, and support not only the development of one mobile app and one line of business, but of the entire mobile strategy of the organization.

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