App developers for multiple platforms need to plan ahead
Jon Evans wrote an open letter to Apple and Google on behalf of iOS and Android developers. It’s an elegant letter with many strong insights into some of the limitations on each platform that are really hindering app developers. We wanted to point you in its direction in order to highlight a few key points that we think are important to all app developers:
- Developing an app on a platform binds you to the platform’s strengths and weaknesses.
As Jon highlights at the beginning of his post, many of the reasons for an app being deficient can be traced back to the design of the platform it has been built on. No garbage collection on iOS means the developers have to commit to being very diligent about memory management.
- Developing for multiple platforms means that you have to be more thoughtful in order to provide a similar experience across platforms.
If you’re releasing apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 at the same time and want your apps to be very similar, it’s important that you plan ahead and take into account the differences in the platforms that might impact your design decisions. We’ve seen many an app that was designed for iOS and then “ported” to Android suffer from an expectation that they would be able to accomplish the same UI tricks and polish. It’s much easier to plan ahead and understand how the limitations will translate in your design than to be working on a hackish fix at the nth hour.
- For now, at least, the most flexible development machine is a MacBook.
As Jon points out, it’s impossible to develop iOS apps on anything other than a Mac, which is a real shame. This means, however, that if you’re a developer, looking around at new hardware, you should probably be looking at the MacBook Pros if you plan on releasing any iOS developers. It’s hard to keep track of the number of developers we’ve talked with who haven’t realized this until a bit too late.
Are you an app developer for multiple platforms? Let us know in the comments what else you’d recommend to your peers in terms of planning and resources. Developing great apps is tough enough without having to worry about all of the ins and outs of each platform .