There was a time when the idea of running the same code on different computers wasn’t even imagined. Programming languages were written specifically for a particular computer. And computers were purchased for very specific purposes so why would you even want to run a particular program on another type of computer?
It was the desktop computer revolution that changed that. By the mid-to-late 1980’s, there were more and more desktop computers and developers wanted to target all of them. Soon, however, Windows became so dominant that many developers chose to focus on that one OS. Some Mac developers, not wanting to miss out on the potentially enormous Windows market, either went to the trouble of writing two versions of their applications or used a tool/language that would allow them to target both Mac and Windows from a single code base. This was the beginning of cross-platform development.
Recently, I was asked by tech blogger Chris Pirillo if cross-platform was really important anymore. Cross-Platform is actually more important than ever. Why? First of all, while the Windows PC market is seeing flat or declining sales, Apple’s Mac marketshare is growing. We are seeing this at Xojo. More and more Windows developers are coming to us because they can no longer ignore the Mac market. Linux is the predominant server OS. If you want to write server software that can run on some combination of Linux, Windows and OS X, you’ll want to be writing cross-platform code.