Adobe Systems Incorporated

Packaged Web Apps with PhoneGap

Adobe acquired PhoneGap a little over a year ago because it was and continues to be the leading solution for Mobile Application developers who want to use their HTML5 skills to create native applications.

Essentially, PhoneGap lets a developer write HTML, JavaScript and CSS content, use mobile APIs providing much needed functionality (such as device orientation, access to the address book or location) which is not always yet available in browsers and package these applications as native ones so they can be distributed in application stores such as Google Play or the Apple AppStore.

PhoneGap is the solution that is based on the open source Apache Cordova project, similar to the way the Chrome browser, for example, is based on the WebKit open source project.

Since PhoneGap is using an open source platform targeted at developers and created by a community, the following gives recent updates about the different aspects.

Platforms

Despite the holidays, there was a flurry of activity in the mobile web world. The Cordova team released 2.3 with full support for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (Window 8 support was added in 2.2). The popular iOS and Android projects saw more performance and bug fixes. Long anticipated BlackBerry 10 is shipping this month with complete support. Working closely with Mozilla, the team also has Firefox OS on the horizon early this year. 

Tools

New common Command Line Interface (CLI) tooling is progressing to beta quality for building projects. The plugin tooling is now quite mature for iOS and Android. Work is now starting to migrate the core API to plugins, and add support for BlackBerry and Windows Phone. The Ripple emulator received much love in December bringing in beta quality support for remote device proxy and the ability to host Ripple. Also good news, the long awaited PhoneGap/Build CLI is ready for beta, integration to the PhoneGap release can be expected in the coming releases.

Community

An open source community health is directly proportional to the activity on the code. Operationally speaking, Cordova offers monthly stable source-only releases and a bleeding edge development channel. However, things are progressing and we will likely see stable, beta, and dev channels available in Cordova 2.4. The project has matured in adoption enough to justify this third release channel for developers that want to be on the bleeding edge. The team will continue to ship PhoneGap on the same cadence. 

We added one committer from IBM in December, and have seen two new contributors become active in the project from the Google Chrome team.

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