Adobe's PhoneGap 3.0 smooths the way for plug-ins

Upgrade lets developers discover and install plug-ins, as well as shift between native platforms, all from command line

PhoneGap, Adobe's open source mobile application development framework, has been upgraded with a streamlined plug-in architecture and tools for shifting between native platforms.

Downloaded an estimated 2.3 million times since debuting in 2008, the framework enables developers to build cross-platform applications using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Version 3.0 was released on Friday. "The big thing for PhoneGap 3.0 is really the new plug-in architecture," for discovering and installing plug-ins from the command-line interface, said Andre Charland, PhoneGap director of product management at Adobe.

Plug-ins provide capabilities such as geolocation, contact, and camera. Previously, developers had to find plug-ins in GitHub or on the Internet, download the package, then compile them into applications. Adobe also has broken out core APIs and made those into plug-ins. Developers install only what they need. "It's more configurable, so the end app experience is going to be lighter-weight and more optimized. You're going to get a better-performing app, Charland said.

Native platform CLI tooling has been aligned in version 3.0. "We've made it easier to quickly shift between native platforms without learning new vocabularies by aligning the native platform CLI tooling," said Colene Chow, Adobe product marketing manager, in a blog post. "Don't have a native platform SDK installed? No problem. Our tools now integrate with PhoneGap/Build."

APIs have been added for InAppBrowser, which supports logging into third-party services, and globalization. Adobe also is planning PhoneGap support for Firefox OS and Ubuntu. Adobe has contributed PhoneGap code to the Apache Software Foundation, where the project is known as Cordova. PhoneGap serves as Adobe's version of Cordova. The project was given to Apache to enable other parties to contribute to the technology, Charland said. PhoneGap had been developed by Nitobi, which was acquired by Adobe in 2011.

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