Filling the phone gap
I think these apps can deliver on the promise of simplicity if you're going to build a three- or four-page tabbed app that does little more than display information. You can toss this info into one page of HTML filled with nested DIVs, and the libraries will do the rest.
But once you start creating more complicated apps, you run into the limits of the libraries. One of my applications created a relatively long list of items, and the code slowed to a crawl. After I added another layer of nesting to the lists, it went much faster. You'll discover hundreds of little limitations like this. The HTML stacks and the PhoneGap/Cordova frameworks are growing more polished, but they still require plenty of thinking like a programmer.
This technical promise, however, is far from perfect. While I've been able to quickly move apps from iOS to Android and beyond in a relatively short amount of time, the frameworks are far from being as simple as snapping your fingers when you start using all of the features, especially the more extreme features (like access to the camera) supplied by plug-ins. Sure, it's nice to be working in HTML and CSS to lay out the application, especially if you're familiar with them, but that's only the beginning. Many tiny details still need to be right. When I moved my project from iOS to Android, it took me about a day. That's not much, but it's not as short as measuring it in minutes.
Despite these qualms, I found it incredibly pleasant to be working with tools like AppGyver and Icenium. Not only did they both speed up the debugging cycle (as long as I used well-honed debuggers like Firebug), but the real win came when distributing my app through the internal cloud instead of the standard stores. That speed is invaluable.
This article, "Review: 3 PhoneGap toolkits tame mobile app development," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in application development and mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
Having trouble installing and setting up Win10? You aren’t alone. Here are many of the most common...
It's all about knowing how to build an open source community -- plus experience running applications in...
Win7 Update scans got you fuming? Here’s how to make the most of Microsoft’s 'magic' speed-up patch
The proliferation of insecure devices in every facet of our lives will have consequences far beyond the...
From a simple platform for beginners to an expert-level development workbench, there's an IDE for most...
You don't need to buy a new phone to add hours to your battery. All you need is to flip a few switches...
Look to these clever open source tools to keep secrets out of source code, identify malicious files,...