Choosing the Best Toolchain for each Platform

Four or five years ago, the software world was simple: if you were a commercial software developer, you were developing for Windows. But this has changed drastically with the advent of mobile platforms such as iOS and Android, the steadily increasing market share of Macs, and the establishment of new development paradigms such as rich web applications hosted in browsers.

Here at RemObjects, I field the majority of so called “sales related” emails (that is, emails that aren’t technical support requests handled by our excellent support team and the product developers) myself — and as this century gets older, I see more and more requests asking what tools and toolchains to pick for different platforms. “Can I develop for both Windows Phone 7 and Android with Oxygene and share code?” — “Which version of Data Abstract is best for targeting iOS?” — “Should I use Oxygene for .NET with MonoDroid or Oxygene for Java for my Android app?”.

There are a lot of great development tool chains for the different platforms out there — be they Xcode/Cocoa, Visual Studio/.NET, Delphi, JavaScript — and sometimes the decision does not seem easy, because here at RemObjects we provide editions of most of our products for various development platforms, and often more than one choice can be applied to a specific platform need.

To help make heads and tails of this, we created a small graphical overview chart on our website that gives insight into which language/framework/product combinations we support on any given platform and — more importantly IMHO — which combination we recommend.*

[And that recommendation might not always be what you think — for example, I often get looked at weirdly when I recommend Xcode over our own Oxygene (plus Mono) for Mac development. But development tools, even versatile ones such as Oxygene, or Delphi, or Visual Studio, are not and should not be Jacks of all Trades, and thus no single tool, no matter how great (and we happen to think Oxygene is pretty great ;) can be the best choice for *all scenarios. We acknowledge and honor that.]

You can find this overview matrix — which will be ever-expanding as time goes by and the development world around us changes — at; i’m also including a static screenshot of it, below.

May it help you to choose the best set of tools for your needs!

marc hoffman

Chief Architect and CEO here at RemObjects Software. Project Manager for Elements and lead developer of Fire, our awesome new development environment for the Mac.