Mobile has taken the world by storm. Mobile apps are the way to connect with consumers and customers. Every developer worth his / her salt has by now played their hand at or is seriously into mobile app development. If you have not played along yet, get started NOW. There is a wonderful choice of tools for mobile app development.

Arguably, one can create very slick and powerful mobile apps using native environments like Xcode, Android devkit etc, but the learning curve might be steep. Also, these will take you only so far in terms of reach to costumers, unless you choose to rewrite all over again for the other OS.

Well, there are better (or should I say smarter) ways to develop apps and also have fun seeing your apps come alive so quickly! Here are some multi-platform app development tools that one must check out:

  • LiveCode: Offers an unusual development model allowing developers create apps using a programming language that is pretty much like English! Produces native apps for iOS and Android.
  • AppGyver: Build iOS and Android hybrid apps that can leverage native features using HTML5 and JS – using Steroids. Prototyper can bring your image live; Composer can help you create UI in a drag-n-drop manner.
  • Tabris: Develop apps completely in Java. Well apps really reside on server while the native client work as player for the apps UI.
  • Xamarin: Create native iOS, Android apps in C# using Visual Studio extended by Xamarin Studio.
  • Intel XDK: Build hybrid HTML5 apps for multiple platforms, comes with full emulator.
  • Appery.io: Cloud based HTML5, jQuery Mobile and hybrid apps for iOS, Android and Windows phone.
  • Appcelerator Titanium: Early player and popular hybrid application development platform. It provides the code that allows your app to run in iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, and HTML5.
  • Sencha Architect: For those Ext platform lovers, this is a powerful visual app builder complete with rich app templates, customizable themes, and more.
  • AppBuilder: Web client to build, test and deploy HTML5 apps for iOS and Android.

If you have come across more interesting multi-platform app development tools, do share.

 

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As software professionals, it is important for us to constantly upgrade our skills and remain relevant.  

Technology is also evolving at a fast pace - whether it is programmable APIs, frameworks, target operating environments, target devices, data volumes, or visualization aspects.

Often we come across bright professionals who claim themselves to be C/C++ developers, core Java programmers, HTML programmers, etc. It is sad that they are not graduating beyond the core skills they picked and continue to be relevant.

In this world where, arguably, automation is making a lot of repetitive work and resources redundant, it is important that each one of us pick up broad-skills - be able to navigate across technology stacks, across layers of solution, across layers of infra stacks. 

We find the following framework very useful for individuals looking to pick up broader technology skills.

The key elements of the framework require certain organization support in realizing the learning plan for individuals.

 

 

  

Create a plan that encompasses all the 4 phases and preferably stay with one specific idea or solution all the way. 

Play   : Pick up the area to work upon. Give yourself enough time to play with latest technology stacks or frameworks available. During this phase, play your hand at some throw away sample code, touch upon various aspects to see how easy it is pick up the technology, support available at hand, etc. Going through the documentation and establishing parallels with technology we already know helps a lot.

Learn  : Having played your hand at multiple frameworks or technology stacks, narrow down to the ones you want to get deeper. Try wiring more complex aspects of the technology. This is the phase to pick up a specific idea for implementation. Start putting together a solution wireframe while learning deeper into the technology, framework how-tos, best practices, tools available, etc. 

Create : Work out the full solution to the problem or idea. Work on enough aspects to prove out end-to-end first. Seek feedback, and improve upon in an agile way. Fail early and fail fast should be the mantra. Hence early and frequent feedback is very important to ensure you stay on course. This requires that you are production or at least beta ready all the time. 

Scale  : Scale the solution and actively participate in the deploy process.  

Typically, you should complete the first full cycle iteration in 4-5 months, give and take some time depending on what you are looking to do.

 

Good luck and happy learning. Don't forget to have fun J 

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