PhoneGap: Mobile development made easy

Adobe PhoneGap taps basic Web development skills for mobile apps on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone

Mobile development is as much about UI artistry and screen flow as technical programming. This premium on presentation means that the most important skills for building mobile apps are more likely to be found in your Web developers than your Objective-C coders.

PhoneGap -- now officially an Apache Software Foundation Incubator project named Cordova -- lets you leverage Web development skills in the mobile domain by combining HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with an API for tapping native device hardware and functionality. PhoneGap gives Web programmers the means to tap contacts and files, manipulate local storage, work with sensors (camera, GPS, and such), and facilitate data exchange directly from their HTML-derived mobile UIs.

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Best of all, a single PhoneGap app can be deployed across the widest range of devices you can imagine: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian, WebOS, and Bada. Naturally, there's a cost to PhoneGap's ease and cross-platform compatibility -- PhoneGap creates Web apps that seem native, but don't really qualify.

When you build an Android app, for example, PhoneGap wraps your HTML, JavaScript, and CSS in a WebView container, relying on the underlying WebKit rendering engine for execution and thereby inheriting the browser's processing limitations. As a result, PhoneGap will not be the best choice for processor- or graphics-intensive applications.

But if you're looking to extend data-driven Web applications to a broad range of mobile devices, PhoneGap strikes an excellent balance between developer effort and application functionality. It lets you create capable apps that can be extended with plug-ins to mimic native UI look and feel, or to add functionality such as push notification or PayPal integration, but without the skills and effort associated with native coding. And it's free.

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Test Center Scorecard
 
 25%25%15%15%10%10% 
Adobe PhoneGap 1.4796999

8.1

Very Good

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