There is so much misinformation out there it is ridiculous. I hear so many rumors from non-developers about mobile development and the funny thing is, most of them have never developed an app. So why has Adobe won? Two software packages – Adobe Air and PhoneGap.
Each of these software packages allows you to create mobile apps on multiple devices. So I can develop one app and it will run on the iPhone, iPad, and Android based devices. Thus I no longer need to waste valuable time developing apps for both iOS and Android when I can develop one that deploys on both.
With Adobe Air, you develop your app in Flash and package it for each device. Wait, isnt there a rumor that Flash doesnt work on iPhone? Yes there is that rumor and it is only partially true. Flash does not run in the iOS browser BUT it will run as a stand alone app. So YES you can develop apps in Flash for Apple and they work very well.
With PhoneGap, also owned by Adobe, you can develop apps via HTML5 and then publish to Android and iOS devices. Again these work very well.
Additionally, with both of these software packages I can actually use hardware features of the phone and use them when not connected to the internet. Something you can do with all mobile apps but not the mobile web. The disadvantage to developing an app over a website is that Apple has to approve it (not a problem with Android). Otherwise Apps are much better than a mobile website.
Why would I use one over the other? Flash apps are designed for more sophisticated apps that require large amounts of data (database), high intensity graphics, lots of screens, animations, etc. PhoneGap apps are better for small simple apps. Both are great for development though. Additionally, Adobe is really starting to integrate phonegap into dreamweaver so I would not be surprised if we see these two software packages merged at some point (maybe CS7?).
I will be using both of these software packages in my courses next year, so if you are interested in learning more about them, please contact me.
Adobe Air – http://www.adobe.com/products/air.html
PhoneGap – http://phonegap.com/