What are the Best PhoneGap Alternatives after its Shutdown?

Published On: September 22, 2021
Last Updated: June 23, 2023
What are the Best PhoneGap Alternatives after its Shutdown?

PhoneGap was one of the most popular open-source frameworks used for web and mobile app development. Many developers were using PhoneGap for building high-performing applications. It was also known as the best tool for cross-platform app development.

Apart from this, the PhoneGap Build was released long back. It is mainly a service used for creating source code for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and other platforms on the cloud.

The primary purpose of the PhoneGap was to allow developers to build applications for multiple platforms. The framework got a great response from developers in the initial years. However, its craze decreased due to some reasons, which we will talk about in a few minutes.

PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build were discontinued on Oct 1, 2020. Moreover, Adobe also removed its investment from Apache Cordova back in 2020.

Don’t worry if you have a PhoneGap-based application and want to migrate it to the latest framework or technology, we will help you with the migration process. Guru TechnoLabs is a top mobile app development company that has migrated many Phonegap-based applications to Flutter, React Native and Native Scripts.

Now, let us quickly go through the entire journey of PhoneGap from start to finish.

Quick Look at Journey of PhoneGap

PhoneGap was released back in 2008 by Nitobi, a Canadian web development company. The primary purpose of PhoneGap is to enable web developers to utilize their current skills to build a mobile app. It became heavily successful with the support of various contributors.

In 2011, Adobe acquired Nitobi and began working on totally new technology. Nitobi further added PhoneGap code to Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and created Apache Cordova. Adobe also introduced a paid service known as PhoneGap Build.

Adobe’s primary purpose through the investment was to allow developers to build, extend, customize, and integrate their projects with Adobe products. The company was unable to fulfill the growing demand.

Hence, Adobe backed away from the development of PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build. PhoneGap Build is basically a translator which translates the web code into native code.

Now, you might have questions like, Why has Adobe suddenly backed away from PhoneGap? Why was PhoneGap discontinued? Let us quickly jump on to the main question.

PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build

The company also removed investment from Apache Cordova. Here’s the official announcement that says:

“We are announcing the end of development for PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build and the end of our investment in Apache Cordova. The PhoneGap Build service will be discontinued on October 1, 2020.”

Why did PhoneGap shut down?

PWA was the real reason behind the shutdown of PhoneGap. Another reason was the usage of PhoneGap got reduced.

PhoneGap was released to bridge the gap between web and mobile app development. Progressive Web apps were released with the same purpose. They offer various benefits such as push notifications, offline support, cross-platform compatibility, etc. Due to this, a vast number of companies opted for it and built their PWA apps.

But, PWA also got replaced with better alternatives of PhoneGap.

So, if you are wondering about PhoneGap alternatives, then you are at the right place. Here, we will walk you through the popular alternatives for PhoneGap.

6 Best PhoneGap Alternatives

Here are six of the best PhoneGap alternatives:

1. Flutter

Flutter is the best alternative to PhoneGap. Flutter is an open-source UI development kit developed by Google. However, it is renowned as a cross-platform framework that allows building attractive natively compiled apps for mobile, web, desktop, and embedded devices with a single codebase.

The framework is written using Dart, a well-known object-oriented programming language. Google has chosen this language to enhance developers’ productivity, object orientation, quick allocation, and better performance.

Google is constantly updating the framework to allow developers to create native-like apps for Android and iOS using Flutter efficiently.

Key Features of Flutter

  • The hot reloading feature allows developers to check code changes in real-time. It also helps to save time & money.
  • The framework offers a complete solution to develop, deploy and manage any changes in the project. In short, developers can build and deploy UI. If there are any changes down the road, then they can resolve using Flutter.
  • It offers platform-specific widgets such as scrolling, navigation, icon, and fonts. Developers can use them to provide enhanced performance.
  • It supports cross-platform app development. Hence, flutter developers can write code once and utilize it for building apps for multiple platforms.

Who’s using Flutter?

Here are some of the companies using Flutter:

  • BMW
  • Tencent
  • Nubank
  • eBay
  • Reflectly
  • Google Ads
  • Insight Timer
  • Square

The list does not end here. Apart from these, many companies have created apps using Flutter. The reason being, companies are impressed with the features & functionalities of Flutter. Also, they have understood the potential of the framework. There are numerous benefits of Flutter that enable fast & efficient cross-platform development, making it a popular choice for companies looking to develop high-quality mobile apps across multiple platforms.

Also Read: How much does it cost to develop a Flutter app?

2. React Native

React Native is basically an open-source UI software framework introduced back in 2015 by Facebook. But, it is well-known as a cross-platform framework used to develop native-like apps for Android and iOS using React Native.

Over the years, React Native has gained a lot of popularity worldwide. The open-source framework allows developers to create user-friendly & intuitive mobile apps by using React and JavaScript Library.

Key Features of React Native

  • It works on the principle of write once, use anywhere. Hence, React Native developers can use the same code for multiple platforms (Android & iOS).
  • The framework supports a vast number of third-party libraries and tools.
  • The live reloading feature offers two screens to developers: one to update the code and the other to see the results.
  • It is highly responsive and comes with crucial rendering capabilities.
  • The architecture of React Native is flexible.
  • It utilizes the power of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to offer top-notch performance.
  • React Native is compatible with a variety of databases.

Also Read: Advantage of React Native for Mobile App Project

Who’s using React Native?

Here is the list of companies using React Native framework:

  • Facebook
  • Nerdwallet
  • Discord
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Tesla
  • Walmart
  • Uber Eats

Apart from these, many companies have created apps using React Native as they have understood the potential of the framework.

Want to Learn More About The Flutter Vs. React Native?

Check out our blog post comparing the two popular mobile app development

3. Ionic

Ionic is mainly an open-source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. It was released way back in 2013 by Max Lynch, Ben Sperry, and Adam Bradley.

The framework is licensed under MIT. Therefore, developers can use it for commercial as well as personal projects.

The framework is used for developing cross-platform applications for Android, iOS, desktop, and web using a single codebase. It was initially written on the top of AngularJS and Apache Cordova.

But now, developers can use Ionic with any UI framework, such as Angular, React, or Vue.js.

Developers can utilize various languages, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Angular, and TypeScript, to integrate different features & functionalities into the apps.

Key Features of Ionic

  • It offers various components, typography, themes, and paradigms that developers can use for developing a simple yet effective application.
  • It is a platform-independent framework that works well with mobile-optimized web components.
  • The framework offers various CSS and JS parts that developers can use to build mobile apps.
  • It comprises a massive community of developers worldwide.
  • Developers can utilize the Cordova plugin to integrate native app-like features. Besides this, Ionic developers can also leverage various other plugins to enhance mobile app development.

Who’s using Ionic?

Some of the well-known companies that have used Ionic are as follows:

  • Sworkit
  • JustWatch
  • McLaren Automotive
  • Honeyfi
  • MarketWatch
  • Pacifica

Besides these, many companies have made mobile apps using Ionic. It is constantly updated. Therefore, you can choose Ionic for building mobile apps.

4. Kotlin

Kotlin is an open-source, statically typed programming language with a type interface. It supports functional as well as an object-oriented programming language. It is specially built to target some platforms along with JVM and works well with Java.

Jetbrains released Kotlin back in 2012. Later, Google announced the support of the Kotlin for Android at Google I/O in 2017. Since then, Kotlin has also become one of the preferred programming languages of Android app developers.

The language is suitable to build modern-day, safe, and highly-complex applications. Moreover, Kotlin is better than Java in terms of speed, coding structure, and execution.

Companies provide Kotlin app development services to elevate business scalability. Most developers utilize Kotlin programming language with the Android Studio to create modern and scalable mobile apps.

Key Features of the Kotlin

  • It is compatible with the running libraries of Java, Android, and Web.
  • It offers a lazy loading feature. Developers can use this feature to quickly load only things that the user accesses while launching the app.
  • Kotlin has neat and compact syntax as compared to Java.
  • The extension functions enable developers to integrate the additional feature into the existing components.
  • Smart cast function allows Kotlin developers to enhance the performance of the application.
  • Developers can utilize any of the Java IDE to initiate the development.

Also Read: Kotlin Vs Flutter: Who is Better?

5. Swift

Swift is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, open-source programming language designed by Apple. It was released in 2014 and is used in developing applications for iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

The language is created in a way to be fast, expressive, and safe. Besides this, it is released as a replacement for C, C++, and Objective-C. The Swift language offers the same performance as these languages.

Over the years, developers create beautiful and user-centric iOS applications by utilizing Swift app development services that guarantee a seamless user experience.

Key Features of Swift

  • Robust generics enable developers to write adaptable, reusable functions and types.
  • Error-handling is quick & effective with Swift.
  • Developers can leverage the Swift package manager to develop, run, test, and group Swift libraries and executables.
  • The programming language relies on the LLDB debugger. Using the same, Swift developers can carry out built-in debugging, seamless formatting, failure recovery, and expression evaluation.
  • Swift manages the memory in the application using Automatic Reference Counting (ARC).

6. Progressive Web Apps

A progressive web app is a website that looks and performs similar to a native application. It offers the same experience as a native app through push notifications and offline capability. It is developed using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and WebAssembly.

PWAs can be accessed from any browser, regardless of the screen size & device. Due to this, various leading companies worldwide have created PWA to reach a wider audience and increase conversions.

Key Features of Progressive Web Apps

  • PWAs are responsive on multiple devices like smartphones, desktops, and tablets.
  • Possible to share using a link and doesn’t require any installation.
  • Uses HTTPS to prevent any cyber-attacks.
  • Users don’t need to update progressive web apps. Every time, the browser loads the latest version.
  • PWAs work well offline and in poor-network conditions.
  • Offer a native-app-like experience.

Who’s using PWA?
Some of the well-known companies that have developed PWA are as follows.

  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Flipkart
  • 9GAG

Apart from these, check out more PWA examples that help businesses to grow in this digital world.

Also Read: PWA vs Native app: Which one to choose?

Our Thoughts on PhoneGap Alternatives

Technology is changing at a lightning speed. Various new things are replacing the old ones. Therefore, if you want to remain in the market, then it is crucial to utilize the trending technologies.

Guru TechnoLabs has been offering mobile app development services for more than ten years and we have expertise in various technologies and frameworks. Hence, we strongly recommend you migrate the PhoneGap-based app to Flutter or React Native and Kotlin & Swift for Native Apps. If you need further help to decide the exact framework, feel free to Contact Us, our experts will walk you through the pros and cons as per your requirements, making your decision process much easier. And don’t worry; it’s free of cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even though Apache Cordova and Adobe PhoneGap look like similar technologies, they are not the same. Apache Cordova is mainly an open-source fork of PhoneGap. It simply means anyone can utilize Cordova or make their contribution. PhoneGap is a commercial version of Adobe. Apache Cordova is backed up by an open-source community. However, Adobe was supporting PhoneGap.

Your files got deleted from PhoneGap because it is discontinued.

Yes, you can continue using PhoneGap even after Adobe has discontinued its support. However, PhoneGap will not provide any upgrades. Due to this, you might face various issues in building apps.

To convert a PhoneGap app to Flutter, you will need to rewrite the app's codebase entirely since PhoneGap uses HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while Flutter uses the Dart programming language. You can use the existing app's design and functionality as a reference, but you will need to develop a new codebase from scratch using Flutter's widget-based approach.

No automated tools are available to convert a PhoneGap app to Flutter directly. So it's best to consult with a Flutter app development company with expertise in PhoneGap and Flutter to guide you through the process.

PhoneGap uses HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while React Native uses JavaScript and JSX. To convert a PhoneGap app to React Native, you must rewrite the app's codebase completely using React Native's component-based approach.

It's recommended to consult with a React Native app development company that has experience in PhoneGap and React Native to guide you through the process. They can help you with the technical aspects of the conversion and ensure that the resulting app works smoothly on both iOS and Android platforms.

PhoneGap and Ionic are two different frameworks for building mobile applications, and there is no direct conversion process between them. If you want to migrate your PhoneGap application to Ionic, you will need to rebuild it using the Ionic framework.

However, hiring Ionic developers or an Ionic app development team with experience in PhoneGap and Ionic is best to help you with the migration process.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.