DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of my employer (Adobe Systems, Inc.).
The PhoneGap announcement at MAX 2011 really got a lot of people excited (including me!), and it raised a few questions about how it changes our jobs as evangelists. PhoneGap gives us the means to build cross-platform apps with HTML5 with hooks into the device’s native APIs (see my previous post). Having new things to show off to developers and customers is always a good thing, especially when this new thing lets us stretch our new HTML5 muscles on mobile devices. I’m already playing around with using Adobe Edge to animate some interactions in a mobile app (stay tuned!).
As a technical evangelist talking to developers, having PhoneGap in my arsenal removes the ”HTML vs Flash/Flex” religion from the discussion and allows us to have a real conversation about which technology is the best solution for the requirements at hand.
Here’s an analogy: If I worked for a company that sells tile flooring, it would be tough for me to convince someone that tile is the best choice for a particular room because they will expect me to say that tile is best for everything. Conversely, if I worked for a company that sells wood flooring, they expect me to say wood is best. However, if I work for a company that sells both types of flooring, I can have a real discussion about which is best on a room by room basis because I will have credibility in both types of flooring.
Now the conversation starts at a higher level and allows me to be more effective at demonstrating the value that Adobe offers to anyone building mobile apps.
There are clearly use-cases where PhoneGap will indeed be the better choice because of the lightweight nature, broader device support and the availability of the required skillset to build these types of apps. However, there will continue to be use-cases that go beyond the capabilities of HTML5 and will demand the more capable Flash/Flex platform. Features such as collaboration, complex UIs, handling of large data sets, real-time data processing, and rich data visualization are just a few examples where HTML5 simply won’t cut it today. However, as the capabilities of the platforms evolve, Adobe is in a good position to provide solutions across the spectrum.
Our team is in rapid learning mode now, but that’s why we do this job. New products, new technologies and new ways of approaching problems is what fuels us. We’re basically professional learners. During the next few months, you’ll see more content related to PhoneGap as well as the new features coming in Flex 4.6, and much more. Fun, fun!