Multiplatform Development with Phonegap
It has been a while since I've been active in blogging. I have been engaged in a project developing mobile applications for a tourism project in Kosovo. The project entailed development of three mobile applications for the needs of the project in three major platforms, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile.
PhoneGap is an excellent tool to build non-native applications in an amazingly fast way. Our application was a basic brochure which did not require a native experience and HTML5 app was doing a great job.
Leverage existing knowledge
Leveraging existing knowledge was the main motivation behind going non-native development. My experience in designing and developing web applications was a great help in immediately starting to develop the applications.
Although I managed to port around 70% of the functionality in all three platforms, the idea of write once run anywhere is a fallacy. I faced the most problems when porting to Windows Phone. The browser was not rendering well the look and feel and had to do some custom tricks to adopt. Also there was a bug with back button event in jQuery mobile which was not reacting well to Windows Phone back button event. Apple, iOS, and Android platforms were working fine with minimal differences.
After putting some images to the application, the application soon passed the size of 35 megs. PhoneGap build does not support applications larger than 15 MB. As my app was larger I had to build them locally. This required separate installations of mobile development platforms and the PhoneGap build itself, and required to have a Windows PC and Mac computer.
Some performance issues
PhoneGap and jQuery mobile is a good combination, but, there are some performance implications though. It is not hard to notice some latencies on clicks. There are some performance improvement tips and tricks out there, but you have to do a little research and customizations to achieve a desired performance level.
In general, my experience developing these applications was OK. I managed to create three applications within a month and a half, which deadline, I’m sure I would not be able to meet if I would have chosen to develop in native platforms. Depending on the requirements, if there is no need for a very fast application, such as games or any real time communication application, I would recommend PhoneGap. When it comes to jQuery mobile, on my next project I will test another framework first and then post my recommendation