Cross-Platform Mobile Visual Development – a Tool Comparison

Mobile development tools are changing rapidly.

I had started work on comparing cross-platform mobile tools about a month back. I had initially started with a list of 26 tools. Few got added on the way.

However, what is most interesting is that in this short period of time one of the tools (Open Plug) was discontinued. It was a Flash based tool. Since Adobe decided to discontinue Flash for mobile in favor of HTML5 – they really had no choice. Another tool (Pyxis Mobile) has been renamed as (Verivo Software).

Coming back to mobile tool comparison – I had categorized the tools into five categories (here is an overview). They are:

(1)    Mobile Web (JavaScript-CSS library),

(2)    Visual Tool (No access to Code), (this post)

(3)    App Generator (Native application for multiple platforms),

(4)    Hybrid App (Leverages embedded browser control),

(5)    Game Builder

In this post I give an outline of the Visual Tools where you use a visual editor to build the application. Some of these tools do not give you any access to underlying source code.

Here are 5 tools – the ordering is alphabetic.

1. Application Craft

2. Codiqa

  • Home page: Link
  • Genesis: Drag & drop interface-building tool for mobile websites and prototypes
  • Version: 1.0
  • Licensing: Free 30 day trial
  • Download: –
  • Documentation: Video overview
  • Sample application: ?
  • Implementation: ? 
  • Wikipedia: No
  • Article on how to use: Article on ZDNet

3. Dragon RAD

  • Home page: Link
  • Genesis: Offshoot of Seregon Solutions Inc., a provider of mobile enterprise application platform software
  • Version: 4.0
  • Licensing: Paid with 30 day free evaluation – see this
  • Download: Link
  • Documentation: Video tutorial & Webinar
  • Sample application: Link
  • Implementation: Only one
  • Wikipedia: Yes
  • Article on how to use: From Zombo

4. July Systems

  • Home page: Link
  • Genesis: Cloud based solution – tight coupling between development tool and hosting
  • Version: 3.5 released on March 2011
  • Licensing: Details not available on the site
  • Download: Not freely available
  • Documentation: Video overview
  • Sample application: Link
  • Implementation: List of customers
  • Wikipedia: Yes
  • Article on how to use: No third party article

5. Net Biscuit

6. Verivo

Have you seen this Wiki?

Here is an interesting wiki – which lists mobile offering from different suppliers. Any supplier can register and add a page for their offering. More than 200 suppliers are listed.

Do let me know if there are any errors and omissions in the details I have provided.

[Update: There are 5 platforms which I have not covered but has been pointed out by readers – (1) iBuildApp, (2) Kony, (3) Tiggzi, (4) JaeMobi & (5) Formotus]

[Update: Here is one more SaaSMob]

Home page: Link

Home page: Link

Home page: Link
More detail: Link
Home page: Link
Home page: Link
Home page: Link
19 Responses to “Cross-Platform Mobile Visual Development – a Tool Comparison”
  1. Anton says:

    In any situation, it is possible to usually head to the customer assistance to air your problems when you have any.

  2. D Brody says:

    check out a Canadian tool padXtec by They built great products quickly with this tool and can deploy native iOS, Android and Windows Mobile with the push of a button. Build it once deploy many times.

  3. rob says:

    I’m on my smartphone viewing your blog and these sites. Only a couple made the effort to redirect me to a mobile version. Kony took to long to load and Verivo looked the worst. Seems hypocritical to offer tools that can make liquid and flexible displays but fail to do so on their own homepages. They should be dog fooding. Besides, what’s going to sell me better on a multiplatform development tool than a homepage that IS multiplatform” Which I’m using to mean “screen size agnostic” at the moment.

  4. mahadevan says:

    great post

  5. Max says:

    I posted a comment twice.. and it doesn’t appear

  6. nsbasic says:

    A product that probably should have made this list is NS Basic/App Studio. Now on Version 2.0, it has users in over 80 countries.

    It consists of a complete IDE with Design Screen and Code Window. You can choose from over 50 controls to drag and drop onto the Design Screen to lay out your app, then tie in the events and other code to the Code Window. Programming is in JavaScript or a subset of VB.

    It works with jQuery Mobile and PhoneGap to create apps which run on iOS, Android, BB and WebOS phones and tablets.

    The creator of this app, NS BASIC Corporation, has been making development tools for mobile devices since 1993.

    • Udayan Banerjee says:

      I think NS-Basic will be a better fit in the hybrid app category – that comparison is in the pipeline.

  7. Max says:

    Application Craft is not just for building enterprise apps – it can be used by developers of all skill levels to build a whole range of apps (from quick and dirty apps to very complex apps). Likewise web designers moving into the mobile space can use AC to prototype, design and build. In this sense it is a tool which has relevance for a broad category of developers (and designers). Nevertheless, as you identify, it is highly relevant for corporate / business / enterprise developers who need to get applications built under time pressue and to a high standard.

  8. Alex Gaber says:

    Hi Udayan,

    Just to clarify, OpenPlug is not a Flash-based tool. It did use Actionscript as the scripting language, but it was in no way reliant on Flash nor did it provide Flash-based mobile apps. It compiled to native apps, leveraging the native device OS UI libraries.

  9. Max says:

    Application Craft has an integrated code editor and code checking…you don’t need to code but can if you want, therefore categorizing it as a visual tool with no access to code is incorrect (it is a cross platform tool – web apps, Phonegap wrapped)

    See here for coding information – Integrated directly into the Application Craft IDE is a superb Code Editor. It has a wealth of features including

    Client Side Scripts
    Server Side Scripts
    Code Explorer
    Create Virtual Folders and Files
    Private and Public Scripts

    Code Highlighting
    Syntax Checking
    Code Completion (coming soon)
    Drag and Drop organization of scripts and script groups
    Event tie-in with your UI screens

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