Appcelerator: A Time and a Place - WebINTENSIVE Software
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Sep 15, 2014 Appcelerator: A Time and a Place

A few days ago Gartner named mobile application development platform Appcelerator as a leader in its “Magic Quadrant” index of thriving firms. The honor is earned: Appcelerator reports that apps built with its platform operate on 250 million devices.

As a mobile application development platform, Appcelerator enables relatively quick development of apps to run on iOS and Android devices, while baking in some analytics features. But, as with any framework, there are tradeoffs and selecting the right development approach for your app will hinge on a number of details.

Here are some topline questions to ask yourself.

Diagnostic Questions

Quick implementation and low functionality? If your business needs are met by a relatively inexpensive but low functionality and low-designed cross-platform app, leveraging a framework like Appcelerator (or PhoneGap) could be an ideal choice.

Another approach is to consider if you really need an app, or if a responsive website better meets your needs. A bonus of reaching customers on the Web is the decreased friction for all parties: they don’t have to download and install the app separately for each site, and you reduce maintenance and deployment operations.

Cross-platform but richer functionality? A middle path that enables more powerful mobile features is to program responsive webpages, then configure app “wrap-arounds” that enable these webpages to perform native functions on Apple or Android devices—or both. This is the sweet spot where the flexibility and power of more advanced frameworks like PhoneGap and Sencha Touch can reduce the overhead for supporting multiple platforms while delivering a true app experience.

Full functionality with a rich, sophisticated look and feel? If your users require a sophisticated experience or rich functionality, programming native iOS and Android versions is your optimal choice.

Choosing Your Best Approach

Will your idea for an app benefit from leveraging Appcelerator? Or will one of the other frameworks or approaches meet your business and technical needs?

For a little help in sorting it all out, contact my colleague Ned Boyajian at ned@webintensive.com.