Mobile app development is a huge pain point for most enterprises. The debate still rages about the best strategy. Should you develop native apps for the major smartphone and tablet platforms? That's expensive and time-consuming, and it means hiring hard-to-find specialists for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and any other platform you want to support. Should you develop mobile Web apps? That is faster and cheaper, but sacrifices both performance and features. Should you develop hybrid mobile apps, combining native app shells with Web views? That still sacrifices performance in some cases, but recovers the most important features.
The Mobile Chrome Apps development kit, recently released as a developer preview, takes the hybrid app strategy. It adds some value to the PhoneGap/Cordova technology on which it is built by combining that technology with many of the core Chrome APIs, giving developers access to a larger palette of capabilities and the ability to target Chrome apps, as well as iOS and Android hybrid mobile apps. On the flip side, this new tool chain is incompatible with some of the niceties available to PhoneGap developers, such as Adobe PhoneGap Build, and it targets only the top two mobile platforms, not the half-dozen or so supported by PhoneGap/Cordova.
[ Also on InfoWorld Test Center: Google Chrome wants to be your OS | Work smarter, not harder -- download the Developers' Survival Guide from InfoWorld for all the tips and trends programmers need to know. | Keep up with the latest developer news with InfoWorld's Developer World newsletter. ]
Google's Mobile Chrome Apps tool chain at a glance
|Platforms||Targets iOS 6 or later and Android 4.x or later. Requires Node.js for all targets. Requires Java JDK 7, Android SDK 4.4.2 or later, and Apache Ant for targeting Android. Requires Xcode 5, |
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