The developer's guide to mobile frameworks

No matter how you measure it, mobile computing is growing astronomically. Daily usage, smartphone penetration, cellular subscriptions, search traffic, ad impressions, app sales: everything is up. It seems inevitable that mobile devices will overtake traditional desktop and laptop computers as our primary computing platform, perhaps in the relatively near future.

This massive growth presents software developers with amazing opportunities, but also significant challenges. The explosion of mobile platforms and devices has created an unprecedented level of fragmentation, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. Development, testing and distribution of an app for multiple platform/device combinations can be prohibitively expensive.

In this article, I'm going to share my process for determining the best development approach for an app and discuss some of the more popular tools that have emerged to address the fragmentation problem.

Spoiler alert: I'm not going to crown a winner at the end. The correct approach for your project will depend on your development resources, business model, target market and a half dozen other factors. My goal here is to provide information that will help you make an informed decision. For the sake of discussion, I'm going to assume that you are interested in developing apps for iOS, Android, and at least one more platform (eg Window Phone 7, BlackBerry, mobile web, etc...).

Web vs native

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