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Yes, you can access the mobile web site from a range different mobile devices, but the platform, I suppose, is still the web server and the client browser (the latter ideally being the "same" on any device).

When talking mobile and cross platform I am thinking frameworks such as PhoneGap and Appcelerator Titanium, but still with a reluctance to call it cross platform as the deployed products are not the same. I guess I am hung up on the idea that it has to be directly equivalent to the Java virtual machine to call anything cross platform, but maybe I am the one who is misguided.

What is the general opinion?

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The deployed products must be different, for obvious reasons, but for most practical matters, the possibility to use one code base for all supported target platforms is all that counts. –  user281377 Dec 5 '11 at 8:59
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3 Answers 3

There is no such thing as true or lesser cross platform. Any application that is essentially the same in more than one platform (or devices or browsers) can be considered cross platform. It doesn't really matter if the platforms are two or n, or if the applications are exactly the same, cross platform is a technical attribute, not a measurement of quality.

But if there's an actual need to evaluate a technical attribute, such as when comparing solutions, you should limit the evaluation to the target domain. PhoneGap and Titanium are currently the most cross platform solutions for native mobile applications, as the JVM is for other domains.

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Can you clarify "cross platform is a technical attribute, not a measure of quality"? This is interesting. I would like some clarification. –  P.Brian.Mackey Dec 5 '11 at 15:36
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@P.Brian.Mackey If the only thing you know about a solution is that's cross platform, then the only thing you actually know is that it supports more than one platform. The question is on the cross platform label, and with a tone that I perceived as "cross-platform is good". So what I'm saying is that by itself it's a technical attribute. While it may be an important attribute, you can't really say if the solution fits or not (for any given requirement) unless you evaluate a few more things. There's a lot of room for improvement in that paragraph, though. –  Yannis Rizos Dec 5 '11 at 18:32
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The only time that cross-platform is relevant to a web application is in dealing with the different idiosyncrasies of each browser and tuning the user experience to work just as well on each. The host platform of the browser is somewhat less relevant, but may be a factor, especially with differing plugin (flash, etc) support.

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I do not think it is useful to say that a web application is cross-platform. In the phrase "our web application is cross-platform" you haven't actually provided any more information than if you said "we have a web application". In both statements we still do not know if the web application adheres to standards and can work with many different browsers, which is really what is important with a web application.

Generally cross-platform refers to an application that actually executes on the client.

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