Comparison AppDeck/PhoneGap

The first question people ask us when they discover AppDeck is: What is the difference with PhoneGap ?
Cordova/PhoneGAP is widely used in mobile app development and made the concept of using HTML5 in your app popular; And AppDeck’s team had some interesting experience with it.
We try in this (long) page to explain you how AppDeck is very different with PhoneGAP, Why for some project AppDeck is a very good alternative (eg when you work from a website) and why sometime no (e.g. all other case …).

  • PhoneGap framework that provides the development tool, which allows creating an application engine using HTML5.
  • Appdeck ready to use application engine that allows its users to directly reuse dynamic HTML5 code of websites for the process of app development.

  AppDeck Cordova/PhoneGap
Push Notifications By default require extra work
Native Look By default - app fully customised not available
Cache By default not available
Offline Mode By default requires extra work
Pull to refresh By default not available
Cloud Services By default requires extra work
Content synchronisation By default requires extra work
Time of realisation 1 week 2 week
Quality 4-5 stars in the AppStore 1-3 stars in the AppStore
Development process

PhoneGap’s developers start work with a blank page. Before they will be able to see the first version of an app they have export website`s HTML5 pages into the mobile app. This feels like a “real job” since in order to do it developer has to take some additional steps like:, refactoring of existing code and create API so that mobile app can fetch dynamic content from server.

When using AppDeck developer directs AppDeck to the website by putting its URL in app`s configuration. Then, AppDeck will just directly print website that he is using into the application. As the result there will appear some unnecessary features on the screen, eg.: header, footer, menu. Now developer needs to remove or hide them and when it is done his app is already working.

Native look and feeling

As no navigation system is available by default in HTML5 PhoneGap does not provide its users with it. PhoneGap`s apps use navigation systems of JS frameworks like Sencha, Jquery etc. Results achieved with them will never be as good as those that we get using native code and a real navigation system of native apps.

AppDeck has a real navigation system written in a native code, the one provided by default by the one of operating systems: iOS or Android(AppDeck uses a featured navigation system of the phone). There is no need for any other HTML framework while using AppDeck. All app’s pages have their own web view already optimized for them, which makes developer’s work less complicated. It means also that mixing website`s HTML parts with native code of a future app is done by default.

As the result AppDeck’s apps have the same experience as all others native apps. Users get a native experience even if an app that they use has been made in HTML5.
In fact, when you show AppDeck’s app nobody is able to tell that it’s done in HTML5 because it is so much not like HTML5 PhoneGap’s application.
PhoneGap’s applications are basically websites that are behaving like applications

Cache

a memory on the phone that stores all the content very close to the web view. It makes page rendering very fast, as app does not have to search content on the network. Most of the content that is used through the app is stored in local cache of the flash drive. This makes time of page rendering really faster. The more content is on the cache, the faster it will work.

Appdeck cache is a key feature that PhoneGap can’t have because it requires low-level native code.

Off-line mode

AppDeck`s apps are by default provided with off-line mode: no extra work is required from developer’s side. If a page has been print once it is off-line enabled.

Content Refreshing

AppDeck’s content refreshing feature is provided by default. It works exactly the same as on any other native app: after launching an app, first it immediately shows the previous content, then it upgrade itself and push new content with a seamless effect. User can also update any page by dragging down the screen.

PhoneGap does not offer this feature. Users of PhoneGap’s apps usually see white page/flash, when they refresh content, the same thing that we see on a desktop when we refresh a website.

Cloud Services

AppDeck Cloud Services offer AppDeck app engine, which is working nicely by default and optionally is connected to AppDeck Cloud Services.

Each time when a developer use AppDeck, he can also create an account in AppDeck Cloud Services. This way he will ease an access to many extra features eg: Push Notification, Content Synchronization, Advertisement...

PhoneGap does not provide its users with these features. They can have it only if they do some extra work.

Content synchronization

it downloads from the website all new content (article, news, product…), and synchronize it with AppDeck`s apps. This content is found using a website’s RSS feed.

So, developer configures its account on AppDeck Cloud Services, places a website`s RSS feed, then Cloud Services automatically monitor this feed. Each time that there will appear new content it will put it on the Cloud and will allow app to synchronise it. From time to time, even when app is not launch, phone will connect to Cloud Services in order to sync its content. Then Cloud will send new content using 7zip format, which allow compressing up to 50 articles into the size of 1.

It works like that: user gets up in the morning, he puts phone in the pocket and e g.: a walk to the subway, in the mean time the application automatically, on its own, downloads last news. Even if in the subway network is unavailable user will be able to see all the news he wants because AppDeck’s app he is using has an off-line mode. Everything is seamless and works perfectly.

Time of realisation

very short since developer that is using AppDeck always reuse code that is already written on website and just change it. We had a record with “94 citoyen” website – it took as only six days, from the moment that we decided to make this app to the moment that it was available on both, Apple and Android Store. With PhoneGap it’s longer than that. You can make an AppDeck’s app twice faster than PhoneGap’s app. We are able to prepare an app’s prototype (mockup) within half a day.

Difference between AppDeck and PhoneGap is that AppDeck’s apps have always 4 -5 stars in the store. PhoneGap’s apps have 1 -3 stars in the store.