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Peter Bell of HackNY talks about building a Mobile App

I find that more and more developers are being tasked with developing a mobile strategy for their organizations, departments or clients. Sometimes a mobile website - perhaps taking a responsive/mobile first approach - is enough. But if you have to deliver a fully-fledged mobile app, where should you start? We’re all Java developers, so building an android app shouldn’t be too hard, but often you need a strategy for iOS as well, and learning objective-c is a non-trivial undertaking.
PhoneGap/Cordova is a tempting option. It allows you to package up HTML, CSS and Javascript and provides you with access to almost all of the features you’d have with a native app. It also allows you to quickly deliver code for a wide range of platforms, but it’s not always the right way to go. It just displays a web view, so your application will never look native, performance isn’t close to what you’d get from a native app, and PhoneGap has a non-trivial learning curve, so while it can be a quick prototyping tool, sometimes you just end up getting slowed down by the complexities of the platform. It tried to abstract the complexity of the underlying mobile platforms, but it’s a leaky abstraction.
Titanium Appcelerator allows you to create native looking iOS and android apps in javascript and has been used for building a range of really interesting applications. But again, it doesn’t provide the same raw performance as a native app and there are gotchas that you need to be aware of before you commit to building an app in Appcelerator. Calatrava is a fascinating project from ThoughtWorks, but it doesn’t have much adoption, and going native brings it’s own set of issues.
Peter is presenting How to build a Mobile App and The Lean Startup for Enterprise Java Developers at this years FREE TO ATTEND JAXConf in Santa Clara on June 4-5. REGISTER HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE!

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