AppGyver aims to make PhoneGap developers more effective using Steroids

Steroids ToolBelt promises to simplify the development process of cross-platform Android and iOS apps

Developer tool company AppGyver loves the PhoneGap platform, but is convinced there is room for productivity and performance improvements and is working on products to achieve both.

AppGyver has released a public beta of Steroids ToolBelt, which allows Web developers to create mobile apps for iOS and Android using PhoneGap more quickly than what is currently possible, according to co-founder and CEO Marko Lehtimaki.

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PhoneGap is an open-source framework for building cross-platform mobile apps using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. It was originally developed by Nitobi, which was acquired by Adobe Systems. Development is now led by the Apache Cordova project. In general, PhoneGap is heading in a good direction, but third-party additions are needed to complete it, according to Lehtimaki.

Steroids promises easier debugging and easier ad-hoc distribution of projects. The latter means developers don't have to bother with mobile provisioning profiles, instead they can just send the client a QR code that when scanned installs the app.

To improve the work flow, developers can with Steroids see changes made to the code directly without having to recompile. All devices and simulators used are updated in under a second, according to Lehtimaki. To ease the administrative burden PhoneGap puts on developers, Steroids takes care of the back end leaving them to focus on the HTML5 project, he said.

To get apps ready for sale in app stores, AppGyver also has a free alternative to Adobe's hosted PhoneGap Build service that comes with more plugins. Plugins bridge a bit of functionality between the WebView powering an application and the native platform the application is running on.

"Adobe's PhoneGap Build only supports a few hand-picked plugins that it has decided to support. But we can actually support all custom plugins. Currently we ask developers to send them to us, but in the near future they will be able to upload them and utilize them in the cloud," Lehtimaki said.

In total the company has 70 productivity-related issues it wants to fix. In addition to that, it also wants to improve performance.

"A lot of industry folks think that HTML5 hybrid apps are a compromise compared to fully native application. To change that, we have been working on a new JavaScript library that we will be announcing," Lehtimaki said.

The goal is to make Steroids generally available at the end of August, according to Lehtimaki.

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