PhoneGap follow-through — the URL vs. mobile app download debate

A few months back (shoot, it was actually last year!) I talked about PhoneGap and how it is stepping in as a good solution for cross-platform HTML5 frustration. Since then, I get asked a couple of times a week about PhoneGap, its industry perception, and effectiveness.

I have to report that PhoneGap is still very much the 900-pound gorilla of enterprise mobile app dev, providing a smart option for developers contemplating whether to go native, hybrid or HTML5.

Interestingly enough, that’s kicked off another conversation based on a trend I’m starting to notice: a few enterprise decision makers are expressing their preference for sending people to URLs, rather than having them download apps.

In fact, it's sometimes users themselves who would rather just hit a site than add another icon to their tablet or smartphone.

Right now, I think most folks still prefer having the app, but perhaps just having that URL is an important alternative to consider.

That’s why, if you have to make the most inclusive dev decision, going hybrid is not a bad option (as made possible by platforms like PhoneGap).

However you build it, you get the app. It’s also a fast path to using your existing dev resources and making them mobile. An organisation can draw on easy-to-find web dev skills rather than hunting for native iOS/Android experts. And for what it’s worth, it’s also a good way to be ready for Windows Mobile.

Regardless of whether it’s the bomb or a bust, if you build your app in PhoneGap you’re Windows Mobile ready.

That said, I still find the emerging URL trend compelling. So, fellow denizens of the enterprise mobile appdev community, what are your thoughts? Build that mobile app, or put your efforts into the URL?

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