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Cross-Platform Development with PhoneGap: the Good and the Bad

The notion that HTML5 will make native apps obsolete still stands criticism; moreover, businesses and developers across industries find it to be even more true every day. Discussions on blogs and other sources never stop since the new version of HTML saw light.

There is no denying that mobile-friendly web makes a great deal of sense when it comes to development cost and time, as opposed to native apps; however, most of the customers are much more familiar with traditional apps, found in major app markets/stores. What if you could “wrap” your web app in a platform of your choice, and deploy it as if developed natively? A number of technologies allow doing that, minimizing mobile development costs and shortening products’ time to market. PhoneGap, an open source mobile framework, is one of the most popular tools for mobile app development projects. Here are some things to consider when it comes to making your mobile development more efficient with a cross-platform tool like PhoneGap.

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What’s great about PhoneGap is that you need no complex languages like Objective-C, Apple’s Swift, Java. Standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript is all you need to quickly develop your application. Once developed, the app can be deployed in multiple platforms 9iOS, Android, BlackBerry, webOS, Symbian, Samsung Bada and Windows Phone), saving you time and money. Every feature of native app, like push notifications and location services, is still available in PhoneGap applications, the branded icons are still there, too. No browser frames, streamlined cleaner interfaces, availability in app stores – that’s what makes cross-platform development with PhoneGap so attractive for businesses. The dynamic market situation leaves no time for hesitation in development – any stoppage between having an idea for a mobile app and bringing it to the market may make result in biting the dust of the competition. In times when development cycles have shrunk to months and even weeks, traditional long development tools and methodologies no longer work.

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However, not just praise for PhoneGap. There are, of course, some drawbacks to consider: since the technology covers all platforms, it’s basically one step behind the new features implemented to each and every one of them. PhoneGap gives apps a bit more generic look, and may at times fail to support some of the phones’ built-in features.

Given the fast pace of IT market, cross-platform development and PhoneGap in particular are quickly taking over. As web technologies see rapid growth and evolution, we foresee an increasing popularity for mobile web apps across all major platforms.

Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to Business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other IT portals.