Evaluating Adobe PhoneGap

In evaluating multi-platform development tools for mobile, I came across PhoneGap, Adobe’s entry into the marketplace.  What makes PhoneGap unique is that apps can be developed using standard web development technologies, such as HTML, CSS and javascript.  What surprised me was the access PhoneGap provides to device-level features, such as the accelerometer, camera and GPS.  I thought that level of access required Xcode, or at least a multi-platform tool like Xamarin, with its reliance on C# and Mono .NET.  PhoneGap apps will even handle push notifications.

PhoneGap is open source and powered by Apache Cordova.  Installation comes in two flavors, a desktop GUI (PhoneGap Desktop) and a command line interface (PhoneGap CLI).  In order to view your app on a phone, installing the PhoneGap Developer App on your device is recommended.  However, for rapid prototyping, there is an online emulator – Ripple – available in the form of a Chrome extension.  While rendering of the app in Ripple is limited, it certainly speeds development time by allowing full script debugging via Chrome’s developer tools.

Once your app is ready, upload it to PhoneGap Build for compilation, packaging and signing.  The returned package can then be submitted to the app stores.

Since PhoneGap is being supported by Adobe, it is not surprising that Adobe Dreamweaver CC supports PhoneGap integration, including uploading to PhoneGap Build directly from the Dreamweaver IDE.

In future posts, I will go over installing PhoneGap, developing a prototype using Dreamweaver CC, debugging the app using Ripple and finally uploading the app to PhoneGap Build.

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