CoronaCards lets you take advantage of the power and ease-of-use of Solar2D, in any native app. You include it in your project like any other SDK and can display CoronaCards in any configuration (i.e., full screen, partial screen or transparent overlay).
In other words, with Solar2D / Solar2D Native, the full app is built with Solar2D. With CoronaCards, you have an app built natively or in another framework and then bring Solar2D into the mix.
Since you are using the same underlying platform, you can take advantage of almost all of Solar2D's 1000+ APIs. These include displaying OpenGL-accelerated graphics, audio, physics, animations and much, much more.
There are many reasons why developers, including publishers and ad networks, use CoronaCards. When developers are required to use a specific platform or companies already have large investments in other platforms and don't want to adopt another platform at the moment, can use CoronaCards to easily add richness/interactivity to their existing apps, across all platforms, in a very fast way and without having to adopt the full Solar2D stack.
There are also platforms, like Appcelerator and PhoneGap, that are not as well suited to rich interactive content, but that have other strengths. With CoronaCards inside those frameworks, developers can have the best of both worlds.
It depends entirely on your goals and what platforms you are using today. If you are starting fresh, we would recommend to take a look at Solar2D or Solar2D Native. Using Solar2D for your full app makes the entire process much easier. Solar2D Native includes everything in Solar2D and adds the ability to call any native library or API from your app.
However, if you are already using an alternative platform or need to work on an existing non-Solar2D app, then CoronaCards is probably the way to go. It will let you easily add Solar2D richness into those apps/platforms.
Probably not. CoronaCards is primarily relevant for developers actively using other platforms or that have apps built with other platforms.
You will achieve same functionality but you would be accomplishing them in a different way.
With Solar2D Native you are using Solar2D for the core of your app and you are then calling native libraries from within Solar2D. With CoronaCards, your app is built in another platform (or natively) and you are using Solar2D inside that app.
Either way, you would be combining Solar2D with native libraries. What method you prefer is really up to you and your project's requirements.
Take a look at the documentation and guides. We have information on how to get started with native iOS and Android, as well as several other frameworks.
Today we support iOS, Android and HTML5 is in beta. Although it is obsolete, you can also use CoronaCards on Windows Phone 8 and 10 Mobile. Essentially, any platform supported by Solar2D will probably be supported by CoronaCards since they are built on the same underlying core.
You can also use CoronaCards within frameworks like Appcelerator, PhoneGap, Unity and Xamarin (and any other framework that allows you to call native libraries).
We recommend that you use the Solar2D Simulator and a text editor/IDE, just as a regular Solar2D developer would. The simulator gives you the quick development and iteration speed and lets you use all Solar2D APIs to build things out. You can then put your lua files and assets into your project and run it within CoronaCards.
Just download Solar2D and you'll be building in no time.