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HTML/CSS/JavaScript or Objective-C/Cocoa for iPhone app development?

bjepson's Photo
Posted Nov 10 2009 08:02 AM

While I was editing Jonathan Stark's Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and Javascript (check out an early access version here), I learned a lot more about the capabilities of HTML5, including the offline application cache and SQL database API, both of which open up opportunities for creating useful and interesting apps. Coupled with PhoneGap, it's pretty easy to build apps for the iPhone using standard web technologies.

If you were building an app today, and its specs were such that you could go either way (HTML/CSS/Javascript or Cocoa/Objective-C), which would you choose?

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6 Replies

  mikebaas's Photo
Posted Nov 10 2009 08:35 AM

Cocoa/Objective-C, since the HTML/CSS/Javascript/PhoneGap method precludes your app from being able to be sold on the iTunes Store, correct?
 : Nov 10 2009 10:22 AM
@mikebaas, thanks. Apple recently blessed PhoneGap 0.8.0, which means you can go either way for the app store. Check it out: PhoneGap 0.8.0 is Apple Approved.
 : Nov 12 2009 10:33 AM
I think it's relative to what you are building. If it is a fairly simple web app that is similar to a mobile web page, I would use PhoneGap. If it is resource intensive like a game might be, I would go with Objective-C. I hear the native language is considerably faster.

Worth noting I have not developed any iPhone apps yet, just researched the process.
+ 2
  bmclaugh's Photo
Posted Nov 16 2009 05:50 PM

At this early stage of PhoneGap and the like, I think it depends on how serious you are. If you're looking to become a high-end app-store-selling, hardcore iPhone developer, you've got to suck it up and learn Objective-C. There's just no getting around it; no matter how much we'd like to say otherwise, PhoneGap is still the ugly stepchild in Apple's eyes.

But if you're looking to get your feet wet, or want to play without a huge investment of time, then I think the HTML/CSS/Javascript solution is an excellent one. Besides, with a free early-access look at Jonathan's book and upcoming video (see this post), you can get cranking fast, and see your app in all its glory before you commit hours of learning and cursing at Objective C.

My $0.02.

Brett McLaughlin
O'Reilly Media, Inc.
"I teach"

email: brett@oreilly.com
phone: 214.771.8758
twitter: @oreillybrett
 : Mar 19 2010 03:51 PM
Does PhoneGap offer cross-platform access to the camera?
  maherpathan's Photo
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