MobileNews

Adobe buys PhoneGap creator

App solution for HTML5 developers to remain open source

Adobe has bought PhoneGap creators Nitobi
Adobe has bought PhoneGap creators Nitobi

It's been a busy time for Adobe's wallet. Not content with buying Typekit, Adobe's also gobbled up Nitobi, developers of HTML5 app platform PhoneGap. According to a press release, Adobe considers PhoneGap an "industry-defining app solution for HTML5 developers" and a "perfect complement to Adobe's broad family of developer solutions". Nitobi CEO Andre Charland says Nitobi shares Adobe's philosophy of being a big supporter of open source and being "at the forefront of enabling rich, web-based applications across screens". The acquisition, says the press release, will enable Nitobi to focus solely on PhoneGap.

Brian Fling, founder of pinch/zoom, told .net the acquisition appears to be good news: "Adobe putting a focus on mobile publishing is great for the industry and the folks at Nitobi are top-notch." However, he questions whether the Nitobi team will thrive within Adobe: "Will they fare similarly to many other acquired teams, or do yesterday's acquisitions represent a larger sea-change within Adobe to finally adapt to today's mobile marketplace?"

Ste Brennan, mobile and emerging platforms specialist at Code Computerlove, is also concerned about Adobe's long-term plans for PhoneGap: "How will it sit with Adobe's existing cross-platform development tools, such as Flash, AIR and Edge? How long will PhoneGap remain a separate product, distinct from the rest of the Adobe family? Longer term, what is the future for PhoneGap as web technologies become key to cross-platform app development and vendors open up native capabilities to web technologies?"

But Brennan doesn't think the purchase is a bad thing. He reckons it shows Adobe is "far from resting and, indeed, is actively pursuing alternative cross-platform solutions beyond Flash", suggesting the company wants to be centre-stage in the market for providing "truly portable and reliable cross-platform mobile app development tools". 

Creative coder Seb Lee-Delisle agrees, and told us: "It's great that Adobe is acquiring really good people that properly understand the web. So far, I have seen evidence that Adobe doesn't quite get the web design community, and this acquisition, along with TypeKit [see our report, yesterday], can only improve things."

Brennan's also happy that PhoneGap will remain open source (the PhoneGap code has been donated to the Apache Software Foundation): "Hopefully, with the full backing of Adobe, it will continue to grow and flourish as a true alternative to the expensive native application development model." 

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