Cross-Platform Tools: The hidden champions of the app economy

Cross-platform tools can generate significant efficiency gains for mobile app development, but their acceptance and usage among app developers is still low.

Two thirds of developers, using cross-platform tools for their app projects, realize time and cost savings of more than 30%. More than 70% of app developers say that cross-platform tools are a cost-efficient way for their app development.

These are some of the results of the global benchmarking study conducted by research2guidance over the course of the last months. The study is based on a survey of more than 1,000 app developers and publishers, with the collaboration of the leading tool vendors. The “Cross Platform Tool Benchmark 2013” report evaluates the service offering of 45 cross-platform tools and compares both sides; vendors and tool users. Download the free 59 page report here.

Over the course of the last five years, multi-app and multi-platform app publishing has become common for traditional enterprises and pure app developers. Consequently, complexity of mobile app development as well as development costs and maintenance costs have increased. At the same time a multitude of solutions, which support multi-app and multi-platform publishing for simple and complex apps, has sprung up.

These solutions fall into 4 main categories: App factories, web app toolkits, cross-platform integrated development environments (CP IDE) and CP IDE for enterprises. These four tool classes differ significantly in their complexity, targeted platforms, required development skills, support service quality and performance. Developers using cross-platform tools report significant time and cost savings compared to native app development. Mobile app developers are also happy with costs and performance of cross-platform developed apps: 70% of them are happy with the cost-performance ratio when working with a cross-platform development tool.

PPT chart Blog 1 for P Tools Today less than 5% of all apps in the major app stores have been developed with a cross-platform tool. There is of course the argument that apps created with the help of cross-platform tools lack quality.  The results of the benchmarking study support this argument: 25% of developers rate the app quality lower or much lower compared to native apps. On the other hand, 75% of the developers say that they can build apps of a similar quality to native apps.

The research results raise the question, why aren’t there more apps developed with cross-platform tools? Given the time and cost saving potential that these tools offer, the app economy could benefit significantly and bring app development to the next efficiency level. The spotlight is on for the cross platform tool vendors. Their communication strategies have failed in educating and convincing developers about the benefits of developing once and publishing multiple times.

For app developers, IT managers, but also app services buying companies, the research results suggest checking if one of the existing CP Tools fits with the project requirement before starting the next app project. With the overall positive user feedback cross-platform tools have received and the low awareness they have in the app market, they are really the hidden champions of the app economy.

For more information please download your free copy of the Cross-Platform Tool Benchmarking 2013report.

We are interested in getting your feedback on cross-platform tools. Do you also think cross platform tools might be the hidden champions of the app economy?