For this post, we invited a guest expert to contribute their opinion on the debate of native vs. hybrid. And if you’re working on a Cordova/Phonegap app, be sure to check out Apteligent’s plugin.
Using Cordova, it is possible to easily deploy the same web application on multiple mobile platforms including iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Amazon Fire OS.
There are many reasons why you could try building your next project using Cordova. I will present the Top 5 in this article.
Large (and growing) community
Trying something new often requires support. Can you ask questions and get them answered? The Cordova developer community is constantly growing and consists of a large number of friendly and helpful people. This means that it is easy to get assistance when you run into trouble. For example, there are more than 30,000 questions tagged with the “cordova” tag on Stack Overflow. There is also tons of example code to look at and get inspired by.
The large community as well as the extensive documentation makes it very easy to get started with Cordova development.
Thriving plugin ecosystem
There are also a huge number of community developed plugins available for things that aren’t covered by the core plugins. Please have a look at the Cordova Plugin Registry for a list of the available plugins.
Cordova is open source, so if there is a feature that you would like to use where there is currently no plugin available, there is nothing stopping you from developing your own and giving back to the community!
Essentially Cordova is a great “on-ramp” to mobile development. If you have done web development, you now have access to mobile devices.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, benefits of Cordova is that the same code can be deployed on different platforms. Porting is not a problem since little or no changes have to be made. This is perfect for small teams since there is only one code base to be maintained.
Also, since the amount of code is reduced, development time can be reduced in comparison to the time it would take writing two or more native apps. Not to mention that if the application is to be deployed on both Android and iOS, the team will not have to know both Objective-C and Java.
You also get the added benefit of being able to share some of the code with the application’s web site.
Viewing a website that is not designed for small screens on a mobile device is never a nice experience. Everyone who has had to zoom in to click a link or press a button knows this. Having to scroll around the page to find what we are looking for can be a real chore. This problem can be solved by using libraries that supply UI components designed for mobile applications.
There is a number of libraries that try to emulate the functionality as well as the visual design of native apps. Some examples are jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch and Ionic. I’m personally involved in developing Onsen UI which is a library of custom mobile UI components built using AngularJS.
So how do I get started?
It’s very easy to get started building Cordova apps. To develop and build apps on a local machine, start by looking at the Cordova documentation. In addition to setting up the Cordova development environment, a build environment for the respective platforms must also be configured. The Cordova documentation has great guides on how to get started with every platform.
If you have ever thought about being a mobile developer, why not try Cordova?