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Flutter vs PhoneGap: What are the differences?

Developers describe Flutter as "Cross-platform mobile framework from Google". Flutter is a mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android. On the other hand, PhoneGap is detailed as "Easilily create mobile apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript". PhoneGap is a web platform that exposes native mobile device apis and data to JavaScript. PhoneGap is a distribution of Apache Cordova. PhoneGap allows you to use standard web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for cross-platform development, avoiding each mobile platforms' native development language. Applications execute within wrappers targeted to each platform, and rely on standards-compliant API bindings to access each device's sensors, data, and network status.

Flutter and PhoneGap can be primarily classified as "Cross-Platform Mobile Development" tools.

Some of the features offered by Flutter are:

  • Fast development - Flutter's "hot reload" helps you quickly and easily experiment, build UIs, add features, and fix bug faster. Experience sub-second reload times, without losing state, on emulators, simulators, and hardware for iOS and Android.
  • Expressive UIs - Delight your users with Flutter's built-in beautiful Material Design and Cupertino (iOS-flavor) widgets, rich motion APIs, smooth natural scrolling, and platform awareness.
  • Access native features and SDKs - Make your app come to life with platform APIs, 3rd party SDKs, and native code. Flutter lets you reuse your existing Java, Swift, and ObjC code, and access native features and SDKs on iOS and Android.

On the other hand, PhoneGap provides the following key features:

  • Android
  • Blackberry
  • iOS

"Hot Reload" is the primary reason why developers consider Flutter over the competitors, whereas "Javascript" was stated as the key factor in picking PhoneGap.

Flutter and PhoneGap are both open source tools. It seems that Flutter with 69.4K GitHub stars and 8.09K forks on GitHub has more adoption than PhoneGap with 4.15K GitHub stars and 974 GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Flutter has a broader approval, being mentioned in 41 company stacks & 146 developers stacks; compared to PhoneGap, which is listed in 86 company stacks and 36 developer stacks.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a mobile app SDK to help developers and designers build modern mobile apps for iOS and Android.

What is PhoneGap?

PhoneGap is a web platform that exposes native mobile device apis and data to JavaScript. PhoneGap is a distribution of Apache Cordova. PhoneGap allows you to use standard web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for cross-platform development, avoiding each mobile platforms' native development language. Applications execute within wrappers targeted to each platform, and rely on standards-compliant API bindings to access each device's sensors, data, and network status.
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What are some alternatives to Flutter and PhoneGap?
React Native
React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.
Xamarin
Xamarin鈥檚 Mono-based products enable .NET developers to use their existing code, libraries and tools (including Visual Studio*), as well as skills in .NET and the C# programming language, to create mobile applications for the industry鈥檚 most widely-used mobile devices, including Android-based smartphones and tablets, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Android SDK
Android provides a rich application framework that allows you to build innovative apps and games for mobile devices in a Java language environment.
Java
Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. Java is fast, secure, and reliable. From laptops to datacenters, game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet, Java is everywhere!
Kotlin
Kotlin is a statically typed programming language for the JVM, Android and the browser, 100% interoperable with Java
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Decisions about Flutter and PhoneGap
Sezgi Ulucam
Sezgi Ulucam
Developer Advocate at Hasura | 6 upvotes 289.2K views
Apache Cordova
Apache Cordova
PhoneGap
PhoneGap
React Native
React Native
Flutter
Flutter
#JavaScript
#MobileFrameworks
#NativeApps

For a front end dev like me, using a mobile framework for side projects makes more sense than writing a native app. I had used Apache Cordova (formerly PhoneGap) before (because React Native didn't exist yet), and was happy with it. But once React Native came out, it made more sense to go that way instead. It's more efficient and smooth, since it doesn't have the simulation overhead, and has more access to hardware features. It feels cleaner since you don't need to deal with #WebView, using native UI widgets directly. I also considered Flutter . It looks promising, but is relatively new to the game, and React Native seems more stable for now.

MobileFrameworks #JavaScript NativeApps

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Jonathan Pugh
Jonathan Pugh
Software Engineer / Project Manager / Technical Architect | 24 upvotes 864.3K views
Framework7
Framework7
JavaScript
JavaScript
TypeScript
TypeScript
Figma
Figma
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code
Webpack
Webpack
Babel
Babel
Ruby
Ruby
HTML5
HTML5
CouchDB
CouchDB
Pouchdb
Pouchdb
Font Awesome
Font Awesome
Apache Cordova
Apache Cordova
CSS 3
CSS 3
PhoneGap
PhoneGap
#Css
#CSS3
#SCSS
#Sass
#Less
#Electron
#HandleBars
#Template7
#Sketch
#GraphQL
#HTML5
#GraphCool

I needed to choose a full stack of tools for cross platform mobile application design & development. After much research and trying different tools, these are what I came up with that work for me today:

For the client coding I chose Framework7 because of its performance, easy learning curve, and very well designed, beautiful UI widgets. I think it's perfect for solo development or small teams. I didn't like React Native. It felt heavy to me and rigid. Framework7 allows the use of #CSS3, which I think is the best technology to come out of the #WWW movement. No other tech has been able to allow designers and developers to develop such flexible, high performance, customisable user interface elements that are highly responsive and hardware accelerated before. Now #CSS3 includes variables and flexboxes it is truly a powerful language and there is no longer a need for preprocessors such as #SCSS / #Sass / #less. React Native contains a very limited interpretation of #CSS3 which I found very frustrating after using #CSS3 for some years already and knowing its powerful features. The other very nice feature of Framework7 is that you can even build for the browser if you want your app to be available for desktop web browsers. The latest release also includes the ability to build for #Electron so you can have MacOS, Windows and Linux desktop apps. This is not possible with React Native yet.

Framework7 runs on top of Apache Cordova. Cordova and webviews have been slated as being slow in the past. Having a game developer background I found the tweeks to make it run as smooth as silk. One of those tweeks is to use WKWebView. Another important one was using srcset on images.

I use #Template7 for the for the templating system which is a no-nonsense mobile-centric #HandleBars style extensible templating system. It's easy to write custom helpers for, is fast and has a small footprint. I'm not forced into a new paradigm or learning some new syntax. It operates with standard JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS 3. It's written by the developer of Framework7 and so dovetails with it as expected.

I configured TypeScript to work with the latest version of Framework7. I consider TypeScript to be one of the best creations to come out of Microsoft in some time. They must have an amazing team working on it. It's very powerful and flexible. It helps you catch a lot of bugs and also provides code completion in supporting IDEs. So for my IDE I use Visual Studio Code which is a blazingly fast and silky smooth editor that integrates seamlessly with TypeScript for the ultimate type checking setup (both products are produced by Microsoft).

I use Webpack and Babel to compile the JavaScript. TypeScript can compile to JavaScript directly but Babel offers a few more options and polyfills so you can use the latest (and even prerelease) JavaScript features today and compile to be backwards compatible with virtually any browser. My favorite recent addition is "optional chaining" which greatly simplifies and increases readability of a number of sections of my code dealing with getting and setting data in nested objects.

I use some Ruby scripts to process images with ImageMagick and pngquant to optimise for size and even auto insert responsive image code into the HTML5. Ruby is the ultimate cross platform scripting language. Even as your scripts become large, Ruby allows you to refactor your code easily and make it Object Oriented if necessary. I find it the quickest and easiest way to maintain certain aspects of my build process.

For the user interface design and prototyping I use Figma. Figma has an almost identical user interface to #Sketch but has the added advantage of being cross platform (MacOS and Windows). Its real-time collaboration features are outstanding and I use them a often as I work mostly on remote projects. Clients can collaborate in real-time and see changes I make as I make them. The clickable prototyping features in Figma are also very well designed and mean I can send clickable prototypes to clients to try user interface updates as they are made and get immediate feedback. I'm currently also evaluating the latest version of #AdobeXD as an alternative to Figma as it has the very cool auto-animate feature. It doesn't have real-time collaboration yet, but I heard it is proposed for 2019.

For the UI icons I use Font Awesome Pro. They have the largest selection and best looking icons you can find on the internet with several variations in styles so you can find most of the icons you want for standard projects.

For the backend I was using the #GraphCool Framework. As I later found out, #GraphQL still has some way to go in order to provide the full power of a mature graph query language so later in my project I ripped out #GraphCool and replaced it with CouchDB and Pouchdb. Primarily so I could provide good offline app support. CouchDB with Pouchdb is very flexible and efficient combination and overcomes some of the restrictions I found in #GraphQL and hence #GraphCool also. The most impressive and important feature of CouchDB is its replication. You can configure it in various ways for backups, fault tolerance, caching or conditional merging of databases. CouchDB and Pouchdb even supports storing, retrieving and serving binary or image data or other mime types. This removes a level of complexity usually present in database implementations where binary or image data is usually referenced through an #HTML5 link. With CouchDB and Pouchdb apps can operate offline and sync later, very efficiently, when the network connection is good.

I use PhoneGap when testing the app. It auto-reloads your app when its code is changed and you can also install it on Android phones to preview your app instantly. iOS is a bit more tricky cause of Apple's policies so it's not available on the App Store, but you can build it and install it yourself to your device.

So that's my latest mobile stack. What tools do you use? Have you tried these ones?

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Gustavo Mu帽oz
Gustavo Mu帽oz
Web UI Developer at Globant | 8 upvotes 254.6K views
Flutter
Flutter
React
React
React Native
React Native
Dart
Dart
Android Studio
Android Studio
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code
JavaScript
JavaScript
#Flare

In my modest opinion, Flutter is the future of mobile development. The framework is as important to mobile as React is to the web. And seeing that React Native does not finish taking off, I am focusing all my efforts on learning Flutter and Dart. The ecosystem is amazing. The community is crazy about Flutter. There are enough resources to learn and enjoy the framework, and the tools developed to work with it are amazing. Android Studio or Visual Studio Code has incredible plugins and Dart is a pretty straight forward and easy-to-learn language, even more, if you came from JavaScript. I admit it. I'm in love with Flutter. When you are not a designer, having a framework focused on design an pretty things is a must. And counting with tools like #flare for animations makes everything easier. It is so amazing that I wish I had a big mobile project right now at work just to use Flutter.

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Vaibhav Taunk
Vaibhav Taunk
Team Lead at Technovert | 29 upvotes 571.4K views
.NET Core
.NET Core
Angular CLI
Angular CLI
React
React
MongoDB
MongoDB
Flutter
Flutter
React Native
React Native
Postman
Postman
Markdown
Markdown
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code

I am starting to become a full-stack developer, by choosing and learning .NET Core for API Development, Angular CLI / React for UI Development, MongoDB for database, as it a NoSQL DB and Flutter / React Native for Mobile App Development. Using Postman, Markdown and Visual Studio Code for development.

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Reviews of Flutter and PhoneGap
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How developers use Flutter and PhoneGap
Avatar of Trading Log
Trading Log uses PhoneGapPhoneGap

We used phonegap best practices to compile and deploy our hybrid to android and ios markets.

Avatar of William Baker
William Baker uses PhoneGapPhoneGap

To release the JavaScript game Whack-A-Mol http://www.ethertear.com/apps.html

Avatar of Smileupps
Smileupps uses PhoneGapPhoneGap

to let web apps benefit of native device features

Avatar of Eyal El.
Eyal El. uses PhoneGapPhoneGap

Our Apps are wrapped with PhoneGap 7 & 8

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