PhoneGap Changing Mobile App Development

PhoneGap is an open-source mobile app development framework which aid app developers to develop mobile apps using the more popular technologies (HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3) and thereby create hybrid applications which are supported by all the major mobile platforms including Apple, Blackberry (5.x onwards), Android, Bada, Symbian, Windows OS among others.PhoneGap was developed by: Nitobi Software and initially developed at iPhoneDevCamp. Later, in Oct 2011, Adobe acquired Nitobi software. PhoneGap framework used by mobile application platforms such as Worklight and appMobi.

The apps made through PhoneGap have their entire layout rendering done through the web view instead of Objective-C or Corona apps though many of the functions are supported by HTML5. Hence they are known as hybrid applications.


PhoneGap's USP:

The PhoneGap framework allows the developer to embed known software locally within a native rich application in order to give the end user the impression they are using a native application rather than HTML being rendered in a mobile browser.

By allowing web developers who don’t know Java or Objective-C (in the case of Android and iOS) an opportunity to create rich apps using their familiar technologies, PhoneGap has simplified the process of app making which enables the developers to focus more on the apps and less on the programming standards.

  1. For Android: Making an app in Android using PhoneGap needs creation of a new project and making changes in a couple of values. The framework then configures the rest for app development.
  2. For iOS: New PhoneGap projects can be made through XCode, which again configures the majority of the background for the developers. 
  3. Plug-in Creation: More often than not, the developers create an app which has already been made partially in one or the other context. Using plug-ins one can re-use code someone else developed. 

How PhoneGap fits in Mobile App development

Mobile App have a few basic requirements which needs to be fulfilled by PhoneGap. Some of them are:

  1. All data must be protected during transit and also on the mobile device itself.PhoneGap logo
  2. Authentication of users before allowing them to access data
  3. Control over apps even after they have been distributed to users through app stores for bug correction and u-gradation.

The way PhoneGap fits into Mobile App development given lot of advantages for developers. For targeting multiple mobile operating systems and form factors in a cost-effective manner which is a major consideration for most end users, cross-platform development technology attains its importance. PhoneGap has the following advantages for the same:

  1. Standards-based approach to multi-platform mobile development. The supported HTML5 balances cross-platform reach with rich and engaging user experience.
  2. Generally, app developers have competencies in languages like HTML/JavaScript and being able to use this skill set is an added advantage for the organizations.
  3. It is more cost-effective to develop an app in HTML than in the native language of the device.
  4. The PhoneGap APIs for accessing device features simplify development of powerful apps that access many mobile device capabilities.
  5. Seamless transformation between HTML and native platforms. 

One of the key disadvantage of using hybrid applications is that they do not have full access to all device application programming interface (API).

Thus, PhoneGap surely promises to become of the reasons for the making of fast, easy and cost-effective mobile apps with a rich user experience for multi-platforms, but with the compromise on performance and speed, there is still a doubt on how widely will it be used commercially. After the takeover by Adobe, it will be interesting to see how the scenario changes for the developers.