Recap: May PhoneGap Meeting

For our May meeting, Erik Daniel presented PhoneGap and his experience writing mobile websites how to transition them to native applications.

What is PhoneGap?

PhoneGap is an HTML5 app platform that allows you to author native applications with web technologies and get access to APIs and app stores. PhoneGap leverages web technologies developers already know best… HTML and JavaScript.

Why was it created?

  • Safari html5 offline data has a 5 meg limit. This doesn’t make it viable for a true offline experience.
  • The current mobile market worldwide:
    • 36% Android
    • 27% Symbian
    • 17% Apple
    • 13% Blackberry
    • 4% Windows
    • 3% Palm
  • Not very many people know every single mobile platform
  • Almost anyone knows the web
  • You don’t need anything to write a website except a text editor.
  • PhoneGap is not
    • An IDE
    • A Build Tool
    • A substitute for good code
    • Going to magic your app into a billion sales
  • What is it?
    • HTML5 + CSS3 + JS

Pollyfill

  • Taking a feature set that is not yet developed but taking those features that have not been developed yet and backfill that functionality
  • Examples:
    • Geolocation
    • PhoneGap wrote an iOS extension to expose the GPS location of the phone to JS
  • Cross domain Ajax doesn’t apply on mobile apps
    • They assume if the app is signed it is quality code
  • Works just like an html5 app
  • Some example API calls:
    • network.isReachable
    • notifications.alert
    • console.log(“stuff”)

Why should you use PhoneGap?

  • You don’t know iOS
  • You don’t know Java
  • Offline HTML
  • One app to rule them all
  • You’re on a tight Schedule
  • Looking for Webish Features

Some limitations

  • Building to an iOS device you need Xcode
  • 99% of your app development can be done in Safari or Chrome
  • To publish your app to App Store, you need a $100 license
  • Don’t use PhoneGap for
    • Apps with intense graphics
    • Weak target phone with an intense Google Map app

The future of PhoneGap

  • build.phonegap.com
    • Remote PhoneGap builds, just upload your application and it does all the work
    • Erik still suggests to build your own apps, you don’t want any third parties potentially touching your code
  • Dreamweaver CS5 builds PhoneGap
  • PhoneGap will eventually be unneeded as phones expose more features to the browser