Adobe PhoneGap

Adobe PhoneGap – Pros and Cons

Adobe PhoneGap is an open-source cloud-based framework for developing mobile apps. It works using JavaScript, CSS, and HTML to make web apps usable on mobile devices. In other words, PhoneGap is a cross-platform development solution for bridging the gap between web apps and smartphones and tablets.

Adobe PhoneGap is a distribution of Apache Cordova, a longstanding framework for building hybrid web applications. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of Adobe PhoneGap and whether this framework is still relevant.

Adobe PhoneGap Pros

adobe-phonegap-app-interfaceAdobe PhoneGap emerged from the Apache Cordova framework as a fast and convenient solution to building simple cross-platform mobile apps. Strong backing from a community of developers made it a solid choice for many teams already familiar with Apache Cordova but looking for a smoother development process.

  • Shorter Time to Market – With Adobe PhoneGap, can build an app using a familiar programming language and then export it to all mobile platforms. They can create cross-platform apps faster than if they build them natively while also significantly reducing development costs.
  • Uniform Design – Apps built with this framework look and behave the same across all platforms. This helps to keep both the user experience and branding consistent.
  • Useful Plugins – The framework simplifies mobile app development and enables developers to add additional functions and UI features to apps through accessible plugins. PhoneGap doesn’t limit developers to its native functionality.
  • Good Native Features Integration – Apps built with PhoneGap can use a device’s features like the accelerometer or camera. PhoneGap-developed apps look and feel a lot like native apps, even if they are hybrid, browser-based apps.

Adobe PhoneGap Cons

adobe-phonegap-critical-errorIn October 2020, Adobe PhoneGap Build, the cloud-based code compiling service, has been discontinued, meaning that the platform will no longer receive updates. What’s more, Adobe will no longer invest in PhoneGap or Apache Cordova, either.

As mobile platforms like iOS and Android launch new features, Adobe PhoneGap will probably lag behind before long, though developers can go back to Apache Cordova, the framework out of which PhoneGap emerged. This is by far the major con of Adobe PhoneGap. Here are some others that you need to know.

  • Not Great for Hardware Demanding Apps – Cross-platform hybrid apps don’t make the best use of native hardware resources. Adobe PhoneGap is no exception—it’s never been a smart choice for building games or other hardware intensive apps.
  • Outdated Plugins – As support for the platform wanes, more and more plugins are becoming outdated, creating both functionality and security issues for developers using this platform.
  • Lack of Documentation – Documentation and support for Adobe PhoneGap has never been ideal. Developers new to the platform have usually had a steep learning curve ahead of them and needed to search for answers to questions and find workarounds online.
  • Possible Performance Issues – Complex apps built with this platform may not run as smoothly as native apps or as apps built with other mobile development frameworks. This is because hybrid apps are by their nature susceptible to these issues and also because of the outdated plugins we mentioned earlier.

The Bottom Line

Adobe PhoneGap has helped many developers over the years, especially through its ability to compile code in the cloud and shortening development times. In recent times, however, the platform hasn’t been getting as many updates and subsequently lost ground to other mobile and web cross-development frameworks like React, Flutter, and Xamarin.

In the end, developers looking to build cross-platform apps that look like native ones and run smoothly will likely have to turn their attention to other platforms. Outdated plugins and lack of updates make Adobe PhoneGap a problematic choice for app development projects across all platforms.

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Edward Kuhn

Edward Kuhn is a software architect who leads technical teams across a diverse range of projects using various platforms for Insurance, Medical and Manufacturing Industries.