Multi-channel app development

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Multi-channel app development (sometimes known as cross-platform development) refers to the method of being able to support multiple operating systems and multiple deployment methods (Native, HTML5/mobile web, mixed mode) from a single development platform. Until recently, app developers were writing device and OS specific code. But with the explosion of new devices, especially in the year 2012 (including iOS 6, iPhone 5, Windows 8 and BlackBerry 10), developing one app at a time or one OS at a time is not a scalable solution for organizations.[1]

Multi-channel for enterprises[edit]

Multi-channel can be a solution to an enterprises' need to support smartphones, tablets, PCs, and kiosks.[2] Due to the recent phenomenon known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), enterprises are grappling with an influx of employees wanting to access enterprise apps on their phones and tablets.[3]

A multi-channel strategy can help determine how to push apps, media and other content to each user based on who they are, what devices they’re using, job function, geo-location, security clearances, and other factors. As user expectations grow, mobile and app development teams need ways to simplify and streamline app design, development, and deployment to maximize multi-channel delivery.[citation needed]


Some of the pros[4] of using a multi-channel development framework for developing mobile apps are as mentioned below:

  1. Ease of use: Most of these frameworks are dynamic or based on scripting languages that developers are familiar with (e.g. Javascript, LUA). Furthermore, most frameworks also allow HTML5 and CSS3 for designing purposes.
  2. Re-usability of Code: Multi-channel development frameworks allow developers to write the code once and re-use any part of the code in future projects. This is largely due to Javascript support provided by these frameworks.
  3. Easy availability of plug-ins: There are many plugins and connectors available for multi-channel development frameworks that allow developers to easily integrate into enterprise system services and tools (e.g. CRM, ERP, databases and third party services).
  4. Support for cloud services: Most multi-channel development frameworks have the option of directly connecting with the cloud services and other enterprise offered services. Most services are moving to the cloud since it reduces cost, increases efficiency, allows flexibility in accessing information anywhere and reduces the carbon footprint.[5]
  5. Fastest to Market: A single code base allows for building apps for all OSs to help get to market faster through .
  6. Lower total cost of ownership (TCO): Developing an application that can be executed on all the major mobile platforms is cheaper than developing specific applications for every platform.


Some of the cons[6] of using a multi-channel development framework for developing mobile apps are as mentioned below:

  1. Unsupported features: The framework may not support some features of an operating system. Moreover, if the OS vendor adds a new feature, your framework will also require an update to support these changes.
  2. Restricted use of personal tools: Frameworks have their own development tools that they want the developers to use. Therefore, in such development scenarios developers might have to forgo their own tools and work with something that they are not familiar or comfortable with.
  3. Possibility of slow performance: Often the cross-platform frameworks do not offer support for high quality graphics and 3D graphics. However, there are some game specific development platforms such as Unity that allow developers to overcome such obstacles.
  4. Vendor restrictions: Frameworks are usually built through their own personal set of JavaScript. This restricts the developers from switching from one platform to another without making a lot of changes in the code.