Mobile app development with PhoneGap

PhoneGap by Adobe lets you use HTML5 + CSS3 + JS to build apps once and distribute them over multiple platforms (Apple/iOS, Android, Blackberry, WebOS, Windows, Symbian, Bada). Phonegap supports following features in all major platforms:

  • accelerometer
  • camera
  • geolocation
  • network
  • contacts
  • notification
  • storage
  • media
  • file
  • compass (only on recent ones)

(take a look on their page for a full supported features table)

There are also a bunch of tools and plugins that may come in handy.

Integration with third party (facebook, twitter, outlook, calendars, paypal and so on) can be tricky but necessary to interface services that you need to integrate into your app.

Actual version is 3.3.0: its reference documentation is here while support sections helps you in basic operations.

With PhoneGap you’ll be developing html + css + js webapp using libraries like jQuery and jQuery Mobile or Intel’s AppFramework.

As backend you can use any language/framework to feed your application with fresh data. An example is Yii with a plugin (jAPI) that “convert APIs to JSON”.

PhoneGap seems to be ok for simple and line-straight applications. For more complex application it kinda gets in the way. You can overcome problems writing native code: to use it in your app you must write a PhoneGap plugin. Check out this article too. Couple of hints for iOS and Android.

PhoneGap gives you an handy web service to compile your app for all platforms. This service will ask for you digital certificates and passwords to sign apps… this is not very cool.

PhoneGap give you the “Hydration” option for your app: the binary wrapper will look for new versions of the software on startup letting you to push new builds to your users without going through the standard update mechanism! This is convenient!

You can try out PhoneGap for 1 private app for free: basic plan will cost you 10$/month or 50$/month if you subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloude service.

Useful links


In this post I merged things found in other articles: if you want to read all the original posts check these links: