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Time is money: Phone Gap - By Krishna C Pullakandam

Increasing usage of portable devices (smartphones/tablets) has created a different opportunity to create apps. However it came with a complexity of different closed/open operating systems on these portable devices. It is quite a task to build apps which would work on all these operating systems.

From a business perspective if we were to build an app to work on all devices, it can be quite a daunting task to take the product to market and have it work on most popular portable devices. The "time to market" for such solutions might be more and what it means is loss of business and potential risk of the idea becoming obsolete.

Phonegap as the name suggests bridges the gap with difference in operating systems and the application development environment. It explores the webkit features available on most of these portable devices and lets developer build applications using familiar HTML, JS and CSS. The same web development fundamentals are sufficient to build apps to run on portable devices. Phonegap exposes native features of portable devices in form of simple Javascript functions. What this means is, in an enterprise business scenario using Phonegap we can actually reduce the "time to market" and have a working solution with better returns.

Phonegap till this article supports six different operating systems (iOS, Android, Blackberry, palm, windows, Symbian)* for detailed features supported please refer the following link http://www.phonegap.com/features, Phonegap is an open source project with an active community and a strong roadmap.

"When do we use Phonegap"? Ask the following questions

  1. Do we need a native application to run on multiple platforms?
  2. Is time to market critical?
  3. What are the native features required by the app, this is important because Phonegap does not expose all the native features otherwise available with native OS development stack

Developing apps for portable devices using Phonegap falls in between a pure web based solution and a native app solution. If an enterprise business app which requires fewer native features of the portable operating systems, should consider Phonegap to build apps and get the feel of a native app.