I am a web developer and I want to move my web products to iPhone. One of the products is like Google Maps: show map on the phone screen, you can drag or resize the map and view some information that we add to the map.
Are there other, similar products? What are the differences between them? Which should I choose?
I registered with stackoverflow just for the purpose of commenting on the mostly voted answer on top. The bad thing is stackoverflow does not allow new members to post comments. So I have to make this comment more look like an answer.
So, if your concern for your app is to make it more "native" looking, Titanium is a better choice. If you want to be able to "port" your app to another platform more easily, PhoneGap will be better.
Updated 8/13/2010: Link to a Titanium employee's answer to Mickey's question.
Updated 12/04/2010: I decided to give this post an annual review to keep its information current. Many things have changes in a year that made some of the information in the initial post outdated.
The biggest change came from Titanium. Earlier this year, Appcelerator released Titanium 1.0, which departed drastically from its previous versions from the architectural standpoint. In 1.0, the UIWebView control is no longer in use. Instead, you call Titanium APIs for any UI functions. This change means a couple things:
Your app UI becomes completely native. There is no more web UI in your app since the native Titanium APIs take over control of all your UI needs. Titanium deserves a lot of credit by pioneering on the "Cross-Platform Native UI" frontier. It gives programmers who prefer the look and feel of native UI but dislike the official programming language an alternative.
You won't be able to use HTML or CSS in your app, as the web view is gone. (Note: you can still create web view in Titanium. But there are few Titanium features that you can take advantage of in the web view.)Titanium Q&A: What happened to HTML & CSS?
Move on to PhoneGap. There are not many new things to say about PhoneGap. My perception is that PhoneGap development was not very active until IBM jumped on board later this year. Some people even argued that IBM is contributing more code to PhoneGap than Nitobi is. That being true or not, it is good to know that PhoneGap is being active developed.
Web page rendering moving from relying on CPU to using GPU acceleration. Graphic intensive tasks such as page transition and 3D animation become a lot smoother with the help of hardware acceleration. GPU Accelerated Compositing in Chrome
Such improvements that are originated from desktop browsers are being delivered to mobile browsers quickly. In fact, since iOS 3.2 and Android 2.0, the mobile web view control has become much more performing and HTML5 friendly. The future of mobile web is so promising that it has attracted a big kid to town: JQuery has recently announced its mobile web framework. With JQuery Mobile providing UI gadgets, and PhoneGap providing phone features, they two combined creates a perfect mobile web platform in my opinion.
I should also mention Sencha Touch as another mobile web UI gadget framework. Sencha Touch version 1.0 was recently released under a dual licensing model that includes GPLv3. Sencha Touch works well with PhoneGap just as JQuery Mobile does.
If you are a GWT programmer(like me), you may want to check out GWT Mobile, an open source project for creating mobile web apps with GWT. It includes a PhoneGap GWT wrapper that enables the use of PhoneGap in GWT.
From what I've gathered, here are some differences between the two:
Titanium source gets compiled down to native bits. That is, your html/js/etc. aren't simply attached to a project and then hosted inside a web browser control - they're turned into native apps. That means, for example, that your app's interface will be composed of native UI components. There are ways of getting native look-and-feel without having a native app, but... well... what a nightmare that usually turns out to be.
Titanium apps become native apps - they're just developed using web dev tech.
What does this actually mean?
A Titanium app will look like a "real" app because, ultimately, it is a "real" app.
A PhoneGap app will look like a web app being hosted in a browser control because, ultimately, it is a web app being hosted in a browser control.
Which is right for you?
If you want to write native apps using web dev skills, Titanium is your best bet.
You might be asking: Why would I want to write a PhoneGapp (I've decided to use the name) rather than a web app that's hosted on the web? Can't I still access some native device features that way, but also have the convenience of true web deployment rather than forcing the user to download my "native" app and install it?
The answer is: Because you can submit your PhoneGapp to the App Store and charge for it. You also get that launcher icon, which makes it harder for the user to forget about your app (I'm far more likely to forget about a bookmark than an app icon).
You could certainly charge for access to your web-hosted web app, but how many people are really going to go through the process to do that? With the App Store, I pick an app, tap the "Buy" button, enter a password, and I'm done. It installs. Seconds later, I'm using it. If I had to use someone else's one-off mobile web transaction interface, which likely means having to tap out my name, address, phone number, CC number, and other things I don't want to tap out, I almost certainly wouldn't go through with it. Also, I trust Apple - I'm confident Steve Jobs isn't going to log my info and then charge a bunch of naughty magazine subscriptions to my CC for kicks.
Anyway, except for the fact that web dev tech is involved, PhoneGap and Titanium are very different - to the point of being only superficially comparable.
I hate web apps, by the by, and if you read iTunes App Store reviews, users are pretty good at spotting them. I won't name any names, but I have a couple "apps" on my phone that look and run like garbage, and it's because they're web apps that are hosted inside UIWebView instances. If I wanted to use a web app, I'd open Safari and, you know, navigate to one. I bought an iPhone because I want things that are iPhone-y. I have no problem using, say, a snazzy Google web app inside Safari, but I'd feel cheated if Google just snuck a bookmark onto Springboard by presenting a web app as a native one.
Have to go now. My girlfriend has that could-you-please-stop-using-that-computer-for-three-seconds look on her face.