Cross-Platform Mobile apps: Adobe Air, HTML5, …others?

When it comes to « Bringing the best for your money », sooner or later, the « cross-platform’ aspect of mobile apps pops in the discussion.
And it’s funny to see how beliefs are strongly anchored in minds.

« HTML 5 is the way », « Flash is ubiquitous », « Titanium‘s Javascript to Native approach bring the best result », etc..

We, at TastyAppz, have made our own experimentations and reach this conclusion.

No need to say that native apps are the bests. It’s true, but out of debate.

So which cross platform solution is the best? We did our own tests and reached those conclusions:

  • HTML5 is promising, but not yet there. Support on SmartPhones is enough for simple apps, but far from complete for more complex apps.
    Indeed, the main problem is the performances issue. Apps take a 5 to dozens slowdown factor in the face when running on Mobile devices (comparing to desktop). Another worrying point is the compatibility with mobile browsers, which is still not there (Webkit, Safari, etc..).
  • Titanium Studio‘s approach, developping with javascript, then compile to native code, is a good idea on paper, but have too much cross-platform issues. Moreover, regressions are part of the bad surprises we encountered when giving a try to this technology.
  • Adobe Air has an excellent portability, probably the best. Yes, it needs a lot of horse power, but performs much better than HTML5 when it comes to complex app and/or gaming. Talking about Gaming, Starling really brings decent performances for commercial quality games. The Flash ecosystem is huge, so you can find really a lot of existing libraries that will fill the few gaps in the runtime. Moreover you can develop native plug-ins to access some device specific features.

Taking all parameters into account, performances, cross-platform compatibility and end user experiences, we still have to have a look at one important point: development environment!
Adobe, with its Flash Builder Eclipse Based IDE, its mature mxml/action script 3 language, and powerful debugging and deployment tooling, really really comes first.
Of course, Adobe is heading to HTML5 as well, but for now, neither the language support, nor the tooling are catching up with Air and Flash Builder maturity.

So we choose Adobe Air to develop BringMeBeatz our cross-platform music discovery app.

And, oh yes, about the money: we did develop it once and delivered it for both IPhone and Android with ZERO compatibly issues (Air on BlackBerry is available and Windows Phone could get it as well if Microsoft’s market share lift off)
Cheaper than building 2 native apps or tricky debugging HTML5 apps on IOS 4, 5 safari, and Android 2, 3 and 4 Webkit + Chrome 🙂

About Pascal Dal Farra

TastyAppz founder, I am a Computer Science Engineer and Software Architect. I create smart, robust and flexible mobile applications for different business sectors as Telecoms, Health and Multimedia. Business requirements and ergonomic are the corner stones around which apps are created.

2 Responses to “Cross-Platform Mobile apps: Adobe Air, HTML5, …others?”

  1. Shardul Singh Bartwal 2012/05/30 at 10:43 #

    Nice explanation !! Totally agree,currently Adobe AIR is best tool for cross platform mobile development.

  2. Pascal Dal Farra 2012/06/28 at 14:03 #

    As stated in the article, « No need to say that native apps are the bests »

    Just see what Facebook is about to do: switching from HTML5 to native IOS http://mashable.com/2012/06/27/facebook-faster-ios-app/

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