Easily create apps using web technologies

Made for

Classic web to mobile functionality

Not for

More advanced, critical-level performance or UI

 
Free version
 
Open source
Pricing details

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Client Interview
Jan 22 2016

PhoneGap, a Useful Tool if the Circumstances are Right

2.0

Features: 
3.0
Ease of use: 
3.0
Support: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
3.0
the reviewer
 
Information Technology
 
50-200 Employees
 
Belarus
Lead Mobile Developer, *instinstools
Igor Mikheiko
1
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The user is *instinctools, a software development firm based in Germany and Belarus. While *instinctools typically prefers to develop apps on a native framework, such as Apple's Xcode or Google's Android Studio, they do utilize cross-development tools like PhoneGap if there is a good fit. Apps where PhoneGap would make sense would be marketing or branding apps that do not require numerous data calculations or other complex functions. For these apps, *instinctools has found PhoneGap to reduce development cost and time significantly. However, the client did say that there were significant improvements that could be made to ensure PhoneGap apps compatibility with various versions of mobile phones. Assuming the circumstances are right, *instinctools would recommend PhoneGap to a client.

BACKGROUND

Can you provide a brief description of your company and the role that you play there?

*instinctools is a software design and development firm. We were founded in 2000, and provide a full cycle of custom software development and support for clients from small businesses to enterprises. Currently, *instinctools employs 100-plus highly skilled specialists in Belarus and Germany. Our key areas of expertise include Java-related technologies, front-end and web, mobile (both native and cross platform), Node.js and big data solutions as well as business analysis and consulting, QA [quality assurance], DevOps, and design services. I am a lead mobile developer at *instinctools.

EXPERT INSIGHTS

Are you familiar with any other cross-platform solutions? In your opinion, how does PhoneGap compare to these solutions?

We work with Ionic in concordance with PhoneGap. We also work extensively with Xamarin. All are reliable cross-platform tools.

What recommendations would you have for someone trying to decide whether to develop natively or on a cross platform?

It all depends on the requirements to the application. It makes most sense to develop on a cross platform if you are developing marketing or brand identity apps, or apps with simple benchmarking and animation needs. Apps that require complicated calculations and big data processing are better off developed natively on Xcode or Android Studio.

Who is the ideal developer for PhoneGap?

A developer who is not necessarily familiar with mobile development practices, but does have experience with web development. PhoneGap bridges this divide between web and mobile, and allows a greater number of people to develop mobile apps with web-based technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

What cost factors should customers be aware of working with PhoneGap both in the short term and the long term?

On the positive side, PhoneGap is a free, open source resource as are its related platforms Apache Cordova and Ionic. The shared code between these platforms allows you to distribute many apps based on a single codebase, which will save you time and money.

SOLUTION

Were there any software features or tools that impressed you?  

The PhoneGap and Ionic tool set is expansive and allows the user to reduce resource preparation and troubleshooting significantly.

Looking back, are there any areas of the software upon which you feel could be added or improved?

As with many open source, cross-platform tools you always struggle with compatibility issues on different versions of mobile operating systems.

Have you had a positive or negative experience utilizing the tool's support resources?

It's hard to give an absolute answer. It wasn't necessary for us to support the resources, so we don't have vast experience in this area. I think their support offerings are standard for the industry.

OVERVIEW

We have a few quick questions and, for each question, we ask you to rate the software on a scale of one to five, with five being the best. What would you give the software for functionality of the features available?

Three.

What would you give the software for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?

Three.

For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?

Four.

How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?

Three.

For overall satisfaction with the platform?

Two.

2.0
Overall Score
  • 3.0 Features
  • 3.0 Ease of Use
  • 4.0 Support
  • 3.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Aug 11 2015

Software Development Agency Use Case: PhoneGap

3.5

Features: 
3.5
Ease of use: 
3.5
Support: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
2.5
the reviewer
 
Information Technology and Services
 
501 -1000 Employees
 
Lviv, Ukraine
Product Manager, Eleks
Markiyan Matsekh
1
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The client is Eleks, a large software development company. This client largely focuses on native development, but their development team has extensive experience with PhoneGap and another cross-platform development tool, Xamarin. This client points to the fact that based on application requirements and budget sometimes a cross-platform tool is the most viable option. In the case of PhoneGap, this client only recommends it as tool for low budget, nonconsumer facing, and low user experience/user interface requirement applications. The client highlights that PhoneGap is an affordable solution and when combined with the Ionic Framework, an open-sourced front-end software development kit, can provide a satisfactory product.

BACKGROUND

Can you provide a brief description of your company?

Our company, Eleks, provides software development in the spaces of mobile, data-driven, and digital products. We do custom software development, but mostly full-cycle development with UX [user experience], QA [quality assurance], business analysis, and support. We've been doing this for about 20 years, and we have about 1,000 employees at the moment.

What role do you play at Eleks?

I am the product manager of mobile and wearable technology.

OPPORTUNITY/CHALLENGE

What was the business challenge your company was facing that incited the need for this platform?

We do most of our projects native, so it's either an iOS or Android environment. We've done research on both Xamarin and PhoneGap. We've tried their commercial products, so we can share our insights. But, to be honest, after using both of these platforms, we still prefer the native environment.

We are always looking for the best way to develop the app based on its requirements. From our research, there are cases when cross-platform tools are more efficient either in terms of budget or efforts for a specific application. With PhoneGap, we did some research to form an opinion on what the platform can do and what it can't.

About a year ago, we had a customer who came to us with a specific need – they decided that they wanted PhoneGap as a platform for developing their system. We evaluated their decision, and we agreed with them because the application had to support two platforms, on both mobile and tablet, and they were shorter on budget. PhoneGap was sufficient in their case, but still we faced some hurdles.

SOLUTION

How does your company implement this platform or software?

Before starting the project, there is always the question of which platform should we use for building this app. In most cases, native is simply the easiest and most straightforward choice for long-term projects. In some cases, Xamarin and PhoneGap may be a better option. I can elaborate on our thought process we use when we choose between platforms.

Was your company considering other platforms? Why this platform?

We also took a look at Appcelerator Titanium. We performed our research, we tried to build a test application and see if it was more productive than with native or other approaches. We were quite disappointed. The research was performed in mid-2014, and our conclusion was that, at that time, Appcelerator was immature for our needs. The amount of effort it took to build custom applications with custom needs, for multiple platforms, was just too much of a struggle for the result.

We sometimes look at different platforms but, as we see it, regarding the techniques and how the mobile platforms work, it's usually a similar approach either to PhoneGap or to Xamarin, whether it's a web-view inside an app or it's cross compiling. We tend to focus on the platforms that are the most popular.

In our case, when we build apps for our customers, we want to make sure the platform is reliable. Reliability is the minimum requirement. Platforms must also have a strong community, we want to know that other reliable companies or partners have used this technology successfully. Once we build products they will usually be live for a couple of years, and it's a very painful to change platforms midway through a project.

On an annual or monthly basis, how much does your company spend to utilize the platform?

With PhoneGap, pricing is easy, it was free, and we used the Ionic Framework [an open source front-end software development kit] on top of PhoneGap. I don't know if it's still free or if there is a license for it, but it was not an issue for us.

RESULTS

Can you share any success, metrics, or overall results of your implementation of this platform?

In the instances we've used PhoneGap, I think it always turned out to be an OK choice, although we always had some issues with the platform and with its peculiarities. We faced some challenges, which forced us to spend more than we had planned to, but the result for our customers fit their expectations.

FEATURES

Were there any software features or tools that really impressed you?  

With PhoneGap, I can't think of anything specific. It works. I think Ionic is a good framework to use in tandem with PhoneGap. It's quite fast.

Looking back, are there any areas of the software upon which you feel could be added or improved?

For PhoneGap, I think it will help others to share an experience we had, to give an impression of what type of issues we had and what could be improved.

For an app, we needed to create a login screen with a four-button lock screen. Once the users input the pin code, the app would unlock. We ran into lag time and response time issues when users were to put their code in very fast, say "1111," the time it took to switch from one input to another was way too long, making for an overall really negative user experience.

That's one type of issue that we have had with PhoneGap, that's a type of risk we expect with PhoneGap, and that's why we never use PhoneGap as a platform for nontrivial work, only for prototypes or products with low requirements for the UI [user interface]/UX and response time. We don't recommend PhoneGap for important projects. There are risks with PhoneGap.

Have you had to interact with the platform's support team or reference their support resources?

I've personally used PhoneGap and their website and documentation was poor.

OVERVIEW

We have a few quick questions and, for each question, we ask you to rate the software on a scale of one to five, with five being the best. What would you give the software for functionality of the features available?

Three and a half.

What would you give the software for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?

Three and a half.

For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?

Three and a half.

For overall satisfaction with the platform?

Three and a half.

How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?

Two and a half. I would recommend it in very rare cases like prototyping or for an application that doesn't have UX requirements and which is not consumer facing. For consumer-facing apps, PhoneGap is prohibitive. For employee-based applications, it could be OK. But, in general, I would say there are better options. For the type of businesses I work with, it would be two and a half out of five.

3.5
Overall Score
  • 3.5 Features
  • 3.5 Ease of Use
  • 3.5 Support
  • 2.5 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Jun 30 2016

PhoneGap was Great for Our News App

3.5

Features: 
3.0
Ease of use: 
4.0
Support: 
3.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
the reviewer
 
Information Technology
 
11-49 Employees
 
Washington, DC
COO, Live Typing
Vladislav Korobov
1
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

PhoneGap is great for simple projects that do not require complex graphics or usability, such as newsfeed applications. Otherwise, the reviewer recommends the clients use a native technology, such as Objective-C and Swift for iOS and Java for Android to build high-quality apps.

BACKGROUND

Can you provide a brief description of your company and the role that you play there?

Live Typing is a web and mobile solutions company, with offices in Washington D.C., Moscow, and Omsk.

OPPORTUNITY/CHALLENGE

What is the technical challenge that PhoneGap helps you solve?

PhoneGap helps us build reliable cross-platform apps that run on both iOS and Android. In particular, PhoneGap helps us reduce the time it takes to build an app, which reduces costs for our clients.

SOLUTION

Was your company considering other tools? Why PhoneGap?

We always recommend native technologies to our clients: Objective-C and Swift for iOS and Java for Android. However, if we need to use a cross-platform solution, PhoneGap is the best fit. For more thoughts on how to make the native vs. cross-development decision, feel free to check out our blog post on the topic.

What is the ideal project to use PhoneGap for? Not ideal?

A small project that does not require a sophisticated UI [user interface] is ideal for PhoneGap. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any success, metrics, or overall results of your implementation of PhoneGap?

We recently had a successful implementation of PhoneGap building a newsfeed app. The app did not require complex graphics or use very many native features. This made it the perfect project for PhoneGap.

However, even for this application, you cannot expect to write just one set of code. It still takes extra work to make sure the app is optimized for all devices.

FEATURES

Were there any software features or tools that impressed you?   

PhoneGap itself works well for what it is. The features that allow you to combine code for iOS and Android are great, unfortunately, the final product still does not compare

Looking back, are there any areas of the software that you feel could be added or improved upon?

I think they will always be able to improve the functionality of the apps to make them closer to native functionality.

Have you had a positive or negative experience utilizing PhoneGap's support resources?

We haven't used their support resources extensively, but I think they are adequate.

3.5
Overall Score
  • 3.0 Features
  • 4.0 Ease of Use
  • 3.0 Support
  • 4.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Jul 22 2016

PhoneGap: Great for MVPs and Small Projects

3.5

Features: 
3.5
Ease of use: 
3.0
Support: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
2.0
the reviewer
 
IT Services
 
11-49 Employees
 
Vietnam
CEO, Information Technology Company
1
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The user finds PhoneGap to be a useful product when building a proof-of-concept application, or if the client has an extremely tight timeline and limited budget. In all other circumstances, however, the client highly recommends Xcode, Android Studio, or some other platform that allows for native compatibility with iPhone and Android.

Background

Can you provide a brief description of your company and the role that you play there?

We are a mobile and web development studio in Vietnam. We offer our primarily Western clients proactive communication and a strong attention to detail. Our goal is to build long-term partnerships with clients that last for years to come. I am the founder of the company.

Solution

What is the challenge that PhoneGap helps you solve?

Startups with minimal budget and have simplistic app requirements that need to develop an MVP [minimum viable product] on both iOS and Android platform.

Was your company considering other tools? Why PhoneGap?

We find that native solutions, such as Xcode or Android Studios, are always better to use since they allow full usage of device capabilities. We will always recommend those tools first to clients. However, for a simple app that needs to be built quickly and cheaply, PhoneGap will get the job done.

Features

Were there any software features or tools that impressed you?

The best feature of PhoneGap is that the same code can be applied to both iOS and Android.

Looking back, are there any areas of the software that you feel could be added or improved upon?

[We had issues with the] limited functionality of native resources, slow performance, and poor UI/UX [user interface/user experience], and it's difficult to find developers that are proficient with it.

Have you had a positive or negative experience utilizing Xcode's support resources?

PhoneGap's support resources are fairly limited. 

3.5
Overall Score
  • 3.5 Features
  • 3.0 Ease of Use
  • 3.5 Support
  • 2.0 Willing to Refer