October 6, 2011

Adobe acquiring PhoneGap - for better or worse...

I just wanted to write a really short note on the news two days ago that Adobe is acquiring Nitobi, the makers of PhoneGap.

I have been using and talking PhoneGap for about a year and a half now, building a rather powerful authoring tool that uses PhoneGap with some native extensions to build apps for iOS and Android.

Anyway, I am thrilled with the prospect of one of the industry giants, with excellent track record on the tool side, supporting PhoneGap. I also feel this gives a certain approval of PhoneGap as a serious tool. On a related note, I have had clients that I held presentations for about cross platform mobile development in 2010 come back the last months and say "we were wrong, there is actually a use for PhoneGap". Since it is hard to plot a graph safely from a random subjective data point or two, having Adobe "stamp the whole chart right there" - saying there is room for this technology for sure, was really a energy boost for me.

On the other hand, I am slightly skeptical based on Adobe's (lacking) track record on mobile devices. As I have noted before, I feel that the really great mobile platform from Adobe has been only months away since I tested an early Flash Lite edition in 2002. I am also not sure if I view the split with the ASF taking care of the OSS version as a good one. Does this mean there will be a split of versions and functionality also in the core product and APIs? For me, that would be a huge disappointment (while I find it perfectly fine that the PhoneGap Build service will be developed as a closed proprietary Adobe product and of course that tools like Dreamweaver and Photoshop gets export wizards and whatnot!). And damn, PhoneGap is a better name than Callback. :-)

In any case it is exciting times for mobile apps development in the space, literally, between HTML5 and native apps.

And on a day like this I cannot end without (even though I am not generally a fan of throwing around either "R.I.P." or "awesome" all the time): R.I.P. Steve Jobs, AWESOME innovation legacy you leave behind - and you changed a generation's view of product development and importance of design in innovation.