Smartface App Studio vs. PhoneGap/Sencha/Cordova (Cross-Platform Native vs. Hybrid Environments)


In today’s all-accessible world, your customers are not comparing your app with just another random app. In terms of user experience and design, you are competing with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tinder.

We think that end-users and some of the developers are confused about platform based native (Smartface App Studio) vs. hybrid (PhoneGap/Sencha/Cordova) mobile development frameworks. We would like to explain you the differences between various types of development environments.

Hybrid and cross-platform native environments may sound similar at a first glance, but there are many critical differences in terms of the output. Smartface and PhoneGap provide completely different approaches to mobile development.

Platform Based Native PhoneGap / Cordova Smartface App Studio
Output Native Hybrid Native
Development Environment Xcode, Eclipse Jetbrain Webstorm, Sublime Text, Intel XDK, Eclipse Smartface IDE
Mac Required for iOS Testing and Debugging Yes Yes No
Single Code Base No Yes Yes
Supported Platform iOS or Android Cross-platform Cross-platform
Development Language Objective-C, Java HTML5/JavaScript/CSS JavaScript
Adaptation Mobile know-how Web know-how Web know-how
Look and Feel, Sense, UX Native Native-like Native
UI Responsiveness Smooth Not smooth Smooth
Performance Fastest Fast Enough Faster
Device Sensors Yes Needs plug-in Yes
Offline Storage Device storage Limited device storage and shared web storage Device Storage
Connectivity Online and offline usage Online and offline usage Online and offline usage
Security Most secure Depends on tech Most secure
Device Specific Features Yes Depends on tech Yes
Risk Learning Cost, Operational Cost Handling Browser Compatibility issues Dependency

Hybrid platforms like PhoneGap/Cordoba are mostly web-based, only their containers are native, so the development approach and the end products are very similar to web pages/web apps. Therefore, hybrid apps usually struggle to establish the smooth and slick usability of native apps. You can develop and deploy your hybrid app to multiple platforms easily but the app would not carry the feeling of being “at home” in any platform.

The only advantage of using a hybrid app over a web app is to get access to most commonly used device features such as camera or contacts. However, access to advanced device features or interaction with other apps requires native development, which completely eliminates the advantage of hybrid platforms.

On the other hand, cross-platform native environments such as Smartface provide real native output and native access to device functions by utilizing the same level of JavaScript knowledge required to develop apps on PhoneGap. The only disadvantage of such development environments is the number of supported platforms. Smartface supports iOS and Android and they cover more than 90% of the mobile OS market.

Moreover, Smartface App Studio already contains webviews. Therefore, if you want to develop HTML 5 based apps, you can still use Smartface and have a better development experience in terms of native function access and user support. Hybrid environments like PhoneGap are not exactly comparable with native environments like Smartface. PhoneGap contains only a subset of functionalities available in Smartface.

Hybrid (PhoneGap/Cordova) environments may seem appealing for starters but eventually, the limitations start to annoy developers and there are many cases of costly shifts from hybrid to native or cross-platform native (Smartface App Studio).

The chosen approach could vary according to project needs and company strategies. We suggest that for the companies that the productivity matter most, Smartface is the better choice over PhoneGap.

You can check Smartface App Studio benefits and download it free

@smartface_io team