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|
|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|
|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|
|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.
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.