What cross platform development tools support Windows 8 and Windows Phone?

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What cross platform development tools support Windows 8 and Windows Phone?

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Want your app on multiple platforms without rewriting all the code? Here’s a summary of some of the tools, libraries and SDKs out there to support building multi-platform apps.

Every mobile developer struggles with the decision of which platforms to support, and most end up building for more than one platform. I am frequently asked what tools are out there to make it easier to build for multiple platforms. Well, there are lots of options out there for you, everything from professional paid tools to open source libraries. I decided to sit down and put together a list for you. Information is all based on what I could find on their websites at the time this blog was posted. For the most up-to-date information I recommend you visit the product sites themselves. Each product title is linked back to their website. There are some gaming and graphic specific tools listed as well.

Don't forget good design of your app also makes it easier to implement on multiple platforms. Using a Model View ViewModel architecture makes it easier to re-use your code. Check out this MVVM Light Toolkit or Okra (formerly Cocoon) to help you get started with the MVVM model pattern in XAML. This is great when combined with portable class libraries which allows you to share code between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 apps.

appDesigner

  • Platform support: Windows 8, iOS
  • Price: Revenue from published apps is split 50/50
  • Coding language: HTML5
  • Development Environment: appDesigner
  • Description: Use AppDesigner to create an interactive app with drag and drop images, video, and audio files to prototype. Once you’ve finished upload to AppDesigner.com. The business development team reviews your app concept and provides and upload code to build the finished app. When you receive your upload code, you upload your app concept and the technicians build a native app for the store.

Xamarin.Mobile 

  • Platform support: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 support, iOS, and Android
  • Price: around $999
  • Coding language: C#
  • Development Environment: Visual Studio, or MonoDevelop IDE on PC or Mac
  • Description: A library that exposes a single set of APIs for accessing common mobile device functionality across iOS, Android and Windows platforms. This increases the amount of code you can share across mobile platforms making app development easier and faster. They currently abstract contacts, camera, and geo-location. Future plans include notifications and accelerometer services.

Trigger.io

  • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android
  • Price: starts at $19/month pricing varies based on Number of developers and number of apps
  • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
  • Development Environment: Trigger.io Toolkit or use your own IDE
  • Description: Build apps using the best of HTML5 and native. Forge is a development framework which enables you to create native apps for multiple platforms from a single HTML% codebase. It consists of a JavaScript API that exposes device functionality and UI components such as the Camera, SMS, Contacts, Topbar and Tabbar navigation and a cloud build service to compile your app for each platform that you want to support.

Appcelerator

  • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 (coming early 2013), iOS, Android, mobile web
  • Price: packages listed on website but not prices
  • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
  • Development Environment: Titanium Studio
  • Description: Appcelerator is the first application development mobile platform to combine the flexibility of open source development technologies with the power of cloud services. Develop using a JavaScript based development platform. Leverage experiences like push notifications with the cloud services.

Marmalade

  • Platform support: Windows Phone 8 (end of 2012), Windows 8 (early 2013), iOS, Android, BlackBerry
  • Price: There is a free license for students and educational institutions. Community license is $149, Indie license is $499
  • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
  • Development Environment: Visual Studio
  • Description: Tool that allows you to develop cross-platform native games and apps in C/C++ and deploy to both mobile and desktop with a unified toolset. You can submit your games and apps to stores like Steam and you can now mix HTML5 with native platform code.

Apache Cordova (formerly known as PhoneGap)

  • Platform support: Windows Phone support, Android, iOS, Blackberry, QT, WebOS
  • Price: Open source
  • Coding language – HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Description: Set of device APIs that allow a movile app developer to access native device function such as camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo, this allows a smartphone app to be developed with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Because these JavaScript APIs are consisted across multiple device platforms and built on web standards, the app should be portable to other device platforms with minimal to no changes. Apps using Cordova can be made available from the device’s app store

Sencha Touch

  • Platform support: Windows Phone 8 (coming soon), iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire
  • Price: There are free options, but it depends on licensing model
  • Coding language – HTML, CSS
  • Development Environment: Sencha Cmd
  • Description: A high performance HTML5 mobile application framework. With over 50 built-in components, state management, and a built in MVC system, Sencha Touch provides everything you need to create universal mobile web apps.

Embarcadero RAD Studio XE3

  • Platform support: Windows 8, Mac OS,
  • Price: There are special programs for academic usage, editions but not prices are listed on the site
  • Coding language: HTML5, C++
  • Development Environment: RAD Studio XE3
  • Description: A way to build data rich visually engaging applications for Windows 8, Mac, Web and mobile.

appMobi

  • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Open Web
  • Price: For hobby developers free but no cloud services, for money making apps charges based on monthly active users
  • Coding language: HTML5
  • Development Environment: appMobi or your own IDE
  • Description: A complete ecosystem to support cross platform mobile app development and deployment using HTML5. appMobi augments HTML5 by providing functions that HTML5 lacks: device and OS interface, user authentication, in app purchasing, rich media push messaging, gamification, social networking, live app updates. From a single HTML5 code base, store ready apps can be built for a variety of platforms.

RhoMobile

  • Platform support: Windows Phone 7, Windows Embedded, Windows desktop, iOS, Blackberry
  • Price: Couldn't find any pricing information on the site
  • Coding language: HTML5
  • Development Environment: RhoMobile Suite
  • Description: Let's you create flexible OS independent applications that look, feel and act the same on every supported device. device type, operating system and screen size doesn't matter. You control how applications behave on different devices.

jQuery mobile

  • Platform support: Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian
  • Price: Open Source
  • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
  • Development Environment: Visual Studio
  • Description: A unified, HTML5 based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms, built on the jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Lightweight code with a flexible easily themable design

3D Graphics and Gaming

Yo Yo Games GameMaker

  • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, Windows 8,
  • Price: Studio (Free), Standard ($49.99 can export to Windows 8), Professional ($99.99 can export to Windows Phone with $199.99 add-on), Master ($499.99 can export to all supported platforms)
  • Coding language: Drag & Drop and GameMaker Language (GML)
  • Development Environment: GameMaker Studio
  • Description: Caters to entry level novices and seasoned game development professionals equally allowing them to create casual and social games for mobile, desktop and the web. Developers can create fully functional prototypes in just a few hours, and a full game in just a matter of weeks. When you’re done GameMaker will produce an app store ready app for different stores from the same source code.

Unity

  • Platform support: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (coming soon), iOS, Android
  • Price: Unity Pro is $1500 + add-on for different marketplaces
  • Coding language – C#, JavaScript, Boo
  • Development Environment: Unity Pro
  • Description: Unity allows you to create and market high quality games with less time, cost and effort. They have an entire mobile game development ecosystem: powerful rendering engine, continuously updated development toolset that includes real-time shadows and dynamic fonts; in-depth documentation; thousands of ready-made assets.

Construct2 by Scirra

  • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 (added Nov 30, 2012), iOS, Android, Facebook, Web, Desktop
  • Price: Free edition to make games supports windows 8 app but has limited events, layers and effects, If you plan to make money you need personal version is 70 British pounds, if you plan to make serious money (over $5000 USD) the business edition is 259 British pounds
  • Coding language – drag, drop, click
  • Development Environment: Construct 2
  • Description: A code free 2D game engine that allows you to add physics effects to your games, special effects, and is extendible with a JavaScript SDK

monogame

  • Platform support: Windows 8, Android, iOS, Mac
  • Price: open source
  • Development Environment: Visual Studio or MonoDevelop
  • Description: If you are comfortable developing with XNA, this is an interesting option. MonoGame is an open source implementation of the Microsoft XNA Framework. Their goal is to allow XNA developers on Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone to port their games to iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows 8.

 Cocos2d 

  • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 7 (with XNA) iOS, Android, BlackBerry
  • Price: Open Source
  • Coding language: C++, C# (for Windows Phone 7)
  • Development Environment: Visual Studio, Eclipse, xcode
  • Description: An open source mobile 2D Game framework. Mobile games can be written in C++, Lua, or JavaScript. The goal of this open-source project is to allow users to create cross-platform code.

SharpDX

  • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, .NET Framework, Windows
  • Price: Open Source
  • Coding language: .NET
  • Development Environment: Visual Studio
  • Description: SharpDX is a free and active open source project that delivers a full featured Managed DirectX API under the .NET Platform. It is used to make games, advanced rendering or multimedia applications. Develop multimedia applications for desktop, WinRT and Windows Phone with the same API

 

Ogre3D

  • Platform support: Windows 8 (community created), Windows Phone 8, more…
  • Price: Open Source
  • Coding language: C++
  • Development Environment: A C++ Compiler (e.g. Visual Studio)
  • Description: An open sources graphics rendering engine. An open source easy to use OO interface designed to minimize the effort required to render 3D scenes and to be independent of 3D implementation (i.e. Direct3D/OpenGL). It is not a gaming engine, just a graphics engine. You need to know how to program, Ogre is not a game shell or scripting language. It requires more knowledge to use properly, but it is also more powerful tha a scripting kit will be. There are wrappers that offer the possibility to use other programming languages that C++ but they are not officially supported by the Ogre Core Team. (MOGRE is the .NET version)

Axiom 3D

  • Platform support: XNA & DirectX (so Windows Phone & Windows 8)
  • Price: Open Source
  • Coding language: .NET
  • Development Environment: Visual Studio
  • Description: The Axiom 3D rendering engine is a Object oriented 3D graphics engine using C# and the .NET platform. It is an easy to use, flexible, extendable, and powerful engine that allows for rapid development of games and other graphical applications. The core of Axiom is a port of the OGRE Graphics engine.

Game Salad

  • Platform support: Windows 8, iOS, Android, Mac
  • Price: To publish to the Windows 8 store or Android store you need the Pro edition which is $299/year, they advertise student pricing available
  • Coding language: drag & drop
  • Development Environment: GameSalad Creator
  • Description: GameSalad Creator provides a visual drag and drop interface and complex behavior library to provide almost limitless freedom to game designers. Create games fast with no coding. Their web publishing system allows for cross platform game publishing.

I’m sure there are some I missed, feel free to add comments to point out any good tools and tips for cross platform development that you have discovered. Don’t forget in Canada when you publish your app you could earn rewards through Developer Movement!

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  • There is also MonoGame (www.monogame.net) which is a cross platform XNA 4.0 API which supports Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, Windows, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

    Price : Its Free* and Open Source.

    Coding Language : .Net

    *you need MonoTouch/Mono for Android to target iOS/Android  .

  • On the gaming side you missed MonoGame ( www.monogame.net ).

    ARMED! and Draw a Stickman:Tip are just 2 examples of games that used MonoGame to get onto the Windows 8 store. XNA developers have a close to native option with MonoGame.

    Windows Phone 8 support is available in the recent beta and on top of that they can then take their XNA games to iOS, Android, MacOS, Linux and eventually PlayStation Mobile and Raspbery Pi.

    Please consider updating your list.

  • Good catches, I also had someone catch me on twitter to point out Construct2 by scierra, these are now added to the post! Thanks! If I missed any others let me know!

  • Very helpful Post.. thanks Susan :)

    So, MVVM Light Toolkit is not compatible with html and javascript? I'll have to use Trigger.io since I'm using html and js

  • Hi Ankita, MVVM Light Toolkit and Okra are for XAML and .NET if you are looking for open source HTML/JavaScript check out Apache Cordova & jQuery mobile (both listed above), if you are willing to pay for a license there are several options listed above as well including trigger.io which you mentioned

  • Following my last comment here is a list of supported devices and API

    docs.rhomobile.com/.../apicompatibility

  • Marc Andre - thank you, just added RhoMobile to the list.

  • thanks very useful links for multiplatform development in one page, i added this topic to my bookmarks.

  • Thanks Susan..

  • For 3d-games: There's also Multimedia Factory 2 (and like ones) from www.clickteam.com - develop in it's IDE where drag/drop + edit events allows you to produce numerous outputs including SWF, XBOX, ios, android, wp, etc.

  • 1) Use C# - Write your apps in C#. Existing code written in C# can be ported to iOS and Android using Xamarin very easily, and obviously used on Windows Phone.

    2) Utilize the MVC design pattern - Develop your application’s User Interface using the Model/View/Controller pattern. Architect your application using a Model/View/Controller approach or a Model/View/ViewModel approach where there is a clear separation between the “Model” and the rest. Determine which parts of your application will be using native user interface elements of each platform (iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT) and use this as a guideline to split your application into two components: “Core” and “User-Interface”.

    3) Build native UIs - Each OS-specific application provides a different user-interface layer (implemented in C# with the assistance of native UI design tools): On iOS use the MonoTouch.UIKit APIs to create native-looking applications, optionally utilizing Apple’s Interface Builder.

    On Android, use Android.Views to create native-looking applications, taking advantage of Xamarin’s UI designer On Windows Phone you will be using the XAML/Silverlight presentation layer, using Visual Studio or Blend’s UI designer On Windows 8, use the Metro APIs to create a native user experience. The amount of code re-use will depend largely on how much code is kept in the shared core and how much code is user-interface specific. The core code is anything that does not interact directly with the user, but instead provides services for parts of the application that will collect and display this information.

    To increase the amount of code re-use, you can adopt cross-platform components that provide common services across all these systems such as:

    Reference:

    www.agileinfoways.com/.../windows-mobile

    SQLite-NET for local SQL storage, Xamarin.Mobile for accessing device-specific capabilities including the camera, contacts and geolocation,

    Using framework features for networking, web services, IO and more.

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