Towards the definitive evaluation framework for cross-platform app development approaches

Rieger C, Majchrzak TA


Abstract
Mobile app development is hindered by device fragmentation and vendor-specific modifications. Boundaries between devices blur with PC-tablet hybrids on the one side and wearables on the other. Future apps need to support a host of app-enabled devices with differing capabilities, along with their software ecosystems. Prior work on cross-platform app development concerned concepts and prototypes, and compared approaches that target smartphones. To aid choosing an appropriate framework and to support the scientific assessment of approaches, an up-to-date comparison framework is needed. Extending work on a holistic, weighted set of assessment criteria, we propose what could become the definitive framework for evaluating cross-platform approaches. We have based it on sound abstract concepts that allow extensions. The weighting capabilities offer customisation to avoid the proverbial comparison of apples and oranges lurking in the variety of available frameworks. Moreover, it advises on multiple development situations based on a single assessment. In this article, we motivate and describe our evaluation criteria. We then present a study that assesses several frameworks and compares them to Web Apps and native development. Our findings suggest that cross-platform development has seen much progress but the challenges are ever growing. Therefore, additional support for app developers is warranted.

Keywords
Mobile app, Mobile computing, Cross-platform, Multi-platform, Development framework



Publication type
Article in Journal

Peer reviewed
Yes

Publication status
Published

Year
2019

Journal
Journal of Systems and Software

Volume
153

Pages range
175 - 199

ISSN
0164-1212

DOI

Full text