Ten of the Best Cross-Platform Mobile Development Tools for Enterprises

best cross app development platforms

Over the last year or so the market for enterprise-ready mobile cross platform development has begun to take-off. Large and medium sized companies are increasingly adapting to the mobile world and realising the need to offer tablet and smartphone access to their line-of-business apps, as well as the benefit of rolling out their own enterprise-to-customer apps. The need for the ability to rapidly develop and deploy apps at scale means cross platform development tools will only become more and more important over the coming years. IDC forecasts the market for such development platforms will see a compound annual growth rate of over 38% reaching $4.8 billion by 2017 and Gartner expects over 20 million enterprise apps to be developed by 2018. This value is evident in the growing number of investments and acquisitions in the enterprise mobile development space. In just the last few weeks we’ve seen Xamarin break records for mobile cross app platform investment and Red Hat acquire MBaaS and dev platform FeedHenry.

So who are the key players in the mobile enterprise cross-platform development market? We’ve rounded-up ten of the best platforms for enterprises looking to expand their app development efforts (in no particular order). If you think we’ve missed out on an important tool below let us know in the comments below.

Ten of the best mobile cross-platform development tools

Xamarin

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Xamarin has been going from strength-to-strength recently, attracting a record-setting $54m investment and methodically building out its platform and expanding its reach. Over the last year or so since the release of Xamarin 2, the company has certainly emerged as one of the leading solutions for cross-platform development. Xamarin is also very keen to emphasise its business credentials with the recent announcements of enterprise partnerships with IBM, Xoriant and – last year – with Microsoft. Business subscriptions start at $83 per month. A free trial is available

A tutorial on using Xamarin’s platform

PhoneGap

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PhoneGap is probably the most well-known cross platform development brand within the development community. The now Adobe-owned tool is based on the open source Apache Cordova project and is completely free to use, which goes some way to explain its popularity. Adobe is also working on an enterprise version of PhoneGap, which is currently undergoing a beta trial – and you can sign-up for it here. The enterprise version boasts marketing features via Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, so when it launches it will probably be monetised.

Appcelerator

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Appcelerator is an enterprise-focused development platform that lets developers write JavaScript with its Alloy MVC framework. The use of JavaScript is helpful, as many developers will already be familiar with the language, reducing the need to spend time getting to grips with unfamiliar code. Appcelerator also offers a virtual private cloud option for enterprise customers, which is great news if you work with sensitive company data. The enterprise product also comes with analytics, performance management and monitoring and dedicated infrastructure. But you’ll have to contact them directly for pricing

iFactr

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iFactr is designed mainly for enterprises looking to quickly build out apps for their mobile workers. The company says its platform offers a very low learning curve, allowing developers to get to grips with the basics within two to three days of training. iFactr also promotes its robust prototyping features, allowing companies to rapidly create prototypes for their employees to test out. The iFactr platform uses Xamarin to compile its native apps on iOS and Android, while PhoneGap is also built into the tool. You can request an evaluation version of iFactr right here.

An introduction to iFactr

Kony

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Kony offers a range of tools as part of its enterprise Mobility Platform to help business create apps from a single codebase. The Studio platform uses JavaScript and features simple drag and drop reusable widgets and the ability to import existing or third party libraries. Furthermore, Kony recently launched its Mobile Fabric platform, which it claims is the first enterprise app development solution to bring together multiple cloud service and middleware tools. Pricing for Mobile Fabric starts at $15 per user, per month. A free trial is available.

SAP

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SAP has long been a player in the mobile app development space, but it’s also been somewhat guilty of offering a confusing array of solutions. But last year the company released version 3.0 of its SAP Mobile Platform to try and address this and simplify things. The tool lets developers build cross-platform enterprise apps from a single with HTML5 codebase.

An overview of SAP’s mobile solutions

Alpha Anywhere

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Alpha Anywhere’s enterprise-focused solution lets you build apps for the major mobile platforms, as well as for PCs and Macs. The tool uses JavaScript and HTML5 and helps companies manage the complete end-to-end app development process. The company recently launched built-in support for offline apps, which allows mobile workers to use enterprise apps without an internet connection, ensuring that they properly synchronize when back online and resolve any conflicts in an intuitive manner. Alpha Anywhere starts at $1,999 for a one year contract. Businesses can also purchase a one month trial version for $199.

A guide on building Android apps on Alpha Anywhere

5App

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5App is a fairly new player in the sector, having launched its development platform earlier this year. The London-based company offers two main services. First there’s an app building tool that uses HTML5 and JavaScript to create native iOS and Android apps. Then there’s the enterprise app store service, which is a BYOD management tool that lets IT departments create an internally curated app store for employees. 5App’s premium service is priced at £2.50 (roughly $3.75) per user. A free trial version is also available.

FeedHenry

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FeedHenry made headlines recently after it was acquired by software company RedHat last month for around 63.5 million euros. The company offers a mobile backend-as-a-service platform and cross app development platform, letting enterprise users build and deploy iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps via public clouds and on-premises. FeedHenry uses Node.js and a MongoDB-backed database for fast scalable network apps. The company also works with some big clients, such as airline Aer Lingus, and partners with tech innovators such as AWS and Rackspace.

How to build an app with FeedHenry

Sencha

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Sencha offers a variety of tools for cross platform app development such as Sencha Architect, Sencha Animator, and more. It’s main product for enterprise users is Ext JS 5, which lets developers create HTML5 apps, which can then be converted into native apps with PhoneGap. Sencha’s HTML5-focused approach allow its apps to run across browsers as well as the latest touch-based devices and has attracted clients such as Google, CNN and Samsung. The platform is priced at $3,225 per year for up to five developers and then $12,495 per year for up to 20 developers.

For more information on cross platform development companies take a look at our app development tool directory. Do you disagree with our list? Have any other recommendations for enterprise app development platforms? Let us know in the comments below.