Cross platform mobile development
There are other mobile operating systems other than Android and even though most of the world is on Google’s OS, it is definitely beneficial to explore your options when it comes to mobile development. The good news is that it is not as hard as you might think to develop for multiple platforms. Most development tools support multiple platforms out of the box and are easily adaptable for most use cases. Here are some tips and tricks, as well as some great ways to get started on your journey to cross platform mobile development. Let’s get started.
It’s not as hard as you might think
A lot of people may think developing for multiple platforms is more difficult, but this isn’t the case with many programs able to export to any platform imaginable. A few weeks ago I wrote about the best Android development tools, and while they are some of the best on Android, they also work for a variety of other platforms with very little modification (except for Android Studio of course). For example, in Unity, to export your creation to iOS, you just have to go to the build properties and choose “iOS”, it’s that simple. If you are using an engine or a third party alternative to Android Studio, it may be a good idea to check and see if it supports other platforms other than Android, because more than likely it will. If your tool does not support cross platform development, it may be a good idea to switch tools and find something that does.
Know what you want to do
Unlike single platform development, which is more flexible, cross platform development requires a little more planning, since you will likely have to pick one development platform and stick with it. Planning out what you want to accomplish first will make the decision of choosing a development tool much easier. This is a critical step that needs to be planed out as much as possible to ensure that everything goes smoothly. The last thing you want to do is get halfway through development to find out that the development tool you chose will not meet your needs. The best thing to do is know exactly what you want going in and plan (and research) accordingly.
Experiment with different programs
Not every program is the same, and some are better than others. There are a bunch of LUA and C++ based development tools out there and they all behave a little differently to achieve the desired result. A good example of this is Corona SDK and Cocos2d-x, both use the same languages but have completely different user interfaces and function very differently. The program you use will also vary greatly on what type of app you want to make. For example, if you are more into 3D game development then Unity3D may be the right choice. But if you want 2D then maybe GameMaker: Studio, Cocos2d-x or Corona SDK might be the right choice. If you know C# then maybe Xamarin is what you need.
The best method is to try out as many options as possible and make the decision based on your personal needs and use cases. Don’t be shy when it comes to trying different programs, eventually, you will find the perfect one. It is also worth noting that there are websites that are able to make apps for you, the best sites can be found here.
Do not give up!
This seems obvious, but a lot of people quit before they really get started. Making apps is not easy, but given time and effort it gets significantly easier and there is no reason to not work at it until you at least learn the basics. There are many tools online and classes you can take to get a better understanding. If you are using a popular development kit there will more than likely be a large community with active people waiting to help others. Just stick with it and reach out to the community (or us) if you ever need help. It does not take too much time and as mentioned before, it’s not as difficult as everyone thinks it is.
Try these tools
Here is a list of the most popular cross platform mobile development tools:
- Corona SDK
- Citrus Engine
- GamePlay 2D/3D
- App Game Kit
- LOVE 2D
Cross platform development does not have to be hard, in fact, if you do it right it isn’t any harder than single platform development and can be very beneficial in the long run. It is always a good idea to know what type of app you want to develop and pick a tool accordingly. The beauty of this is that most of these programs are free so there is no real risk in trying any and all options. Also, do not give up, there is no good that comes of it. If you really want to develop, it is in your best interest to stick with it and learn as much as possible. Let us know how you develop in the comments!