C++ – Cross-Platform Objective-C / C++ Development


I work in a team of developers, one of us works specifically under Windows, and I work primarily in Mac OS X. We're wanting to develop C-based applications either in C++ or Objective-C however I'm not really knowledgeable in how to go about a cross-platform development project.

Is it viable to work in C++ using Mac OS X? Obviously they're geared towards Objective-C but is there just as much support for C++. What about cross-platform development in these languages? I'd use something like boost and some kind of UI library.

Has anyone got any experience in developing for multiple platforms yet allow applications to run natively without the need for a VM?

EDIT: There's a lot of answers I want to mark as correct now. It seems like Qt is the way to go and develop it in C++. Chances are this will be for *nix, OS X and Windows so that would be the best option for us personally. If I can avoid writing Objective-C so the team sticks to C++ then all the better. If I have to write the GUI in Objective-C and mix and match then that's not too much bother either.

Best Solution

I work for a software company that produces software for Mac OS X and Windows using C++, MFC, and Objective-C.

Yes, it is definitely possible.

You probably will be best served if you develop the "core" of the application in C++. In a MVC application, the C++ part would be the model, and possibly the controllers. For the code that interfaces to the GUI and other OS-specific interfaces, you should use the native APIs: Objective-C on Mac OS X and C# on Windows XP.

The good thing about the Mac is that you can compile C++ and Objective-C together. You can even have Objective-C++ where C++ and Objective-C are compiled in the same compilation unit. Unfortunately you cannot do this with C# (there is something called Managed C++ which is a different beast).

I would avoid cross-platform frameworks such as Qt and wxWidgets. They both allow you to develop cross-platform applications, but the look and feel of such applications is sub-par. I have more familiarity with wxWidgets though, its design is heavily geared towards the Windows MFC paradigm of application design.

Edit May 14, 2009, 9:44 AM EST: If Qt now allows true look and feel of the native platform, it could be a good option. I haven't looked at the latest offering so you may want to look at that framework before designing your own. That decision should be made after examining the results of the applications and how comfortable you are with the design paradigms that Qt requires.