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C++ can be leveraged for building native applications for Google Android, Apple iOS, Windows Phone and RT, and RIM BlackBerry 10, says John Thomas, director of product management at Embarcadero Technologies. Developers, he says, are "starting to realize that this approach of having to use the native tools for each of those environments is very expensive, and they're looking for a solution."
But can C++ grow beyond its game development niche? According to Thomas, business apps could also be a strong fit.
"C++ seems to be best suited for business applications that require sophisticated user interfaces and high performance client side calculations/algorithms," Thomas says. "A good example would be teleconferencing applications that need custom codes to run on the device."
Brought to life in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup as part of an experiment in distributed computing, C++ does indeed surface as a mobile development option for top platforms:
But can C++ be a multiplatform mobile player in the enterprise? IDC analyst Al Hilwa has his doubts.
The popularity of C++ in the mobile space is due to games development and the consumer space, Hilwa says. "Very few enterprises use C++ as most enterprise development has shifted toward the Java and Microsoft ecosystem of programming languages and more recently in the Web ecosystems."
That said, the language remains popular. The November Tiobe Programming Community Index, which ranks languages by popularity, has C++ in the fourth spot, trailing C, Java, and Objective-C.
C++ is not alone on the fringe of the big four mobile development languages. Scala, also initially positioned as a language for distributed systems, has been cited as a language suited for mobile apps.
Both Scala and C++ can serve to get developers aboard the mobile train with skills they already have. Still, it looks like Embarcadero will have its work cut out for it when it comes to pitching C++ as an enterprise apps solution. For mobile developers, the added choice could prove fruitful if proven.