Today enterprises are slowly moving towards cross platform app development for their software needs. The wide variety of tools and their diverse functionality allow developers to create an app across platforms while maintaining a native feel. Corona is one such development tool used to build iOS and Android applications. Promising to outperform platforms like Phonegap and Xamarin, this development tool has found extensive use among iOS app developers, particularly in gaming. In this column I will take you through what you can expect from the Corona SDK.
The biggest and most obvious advantage of Corona is the code reusability. Most of your code can be used across platforms like Android, iOS and Kindle Fire while the code for UI can be changed according to your target platform.
Corona SDK is perfect for developing games. It has fast FPS( Frames Per Second) which prevents lags. This is something no other platform guarantees game developers. It also adjusts well across screen resolutions. There is also a plugin to replace HTML Canvas with GPL.
The Android emulator is slow to start and takes forever to run and compile your code. In comparison, Corona SDK’s emulator refreshes your project whenever you save a file enabling brisk compiling and making the development flow quicker. The Corona SDK allows you to focus on the design of your application by allowing easy integration of media into your project.
The main disadvantage of Corona is that it uses Lua for programming. Though it is relatively easy to learn, it takes time to master. Being a relatively obscure language, this can prove to be quite a disadvantage.
The SDK is pretty expensive priced at around $600 a year. Considering both Android and Objective C are free this seems a bit steep. However being an annual charge, you are free to develop as many apps are you please in this period, unlike most cross platform development tools which charge you royalty for each application.
The emulator does not run all kinds of applications. Plugins like game network integration and ad integration need to be tested on an actual device. Without the deploy to device option, this means you will have to compile it and install it on your device manually slowing you down.
If you are unsure about whether this tool would suit your development needs you can download it for free. This version won’t allow you to develop apps for iOS and Android, but you can navigate and play around in the development environment giving you a feel of what to expect.
Personally I believe Corona is a great gaming platform but falls short for building application based apps.