Building web apps with Phonegap.

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Building web apps with Phonegap.

Because the mobile platforms expanded a lot in the last years, people started switching programming languages in order to be hired. This is a problem that can be partially solved with the next thing I will present to you, and you will see why I use the word “partially”.

The problem

We need to build mobile phone applications, but we don’t have the necessary knowledge about the involved languages (C++, C# , Objective C, Java, etc).

What is Phonegap ?

PhoneGap is a mobile development framework that helps you build mobile apps for android, windows phone, iOS, blackberry, webOS and symbian, using the languages that you know and love (html, javascript, css). You can also use other frameworks in combination with it (jQuery, jQuery Mobile, etc). It allows you to have direct access to some phone features like accelerometter, camera, compass, contacts, geolocation, with the help of this js framework ( cordova.js ).


Basically, you write code normally as you do for an web app, put it into an archive an upload it for compilation on adobe website.

If you want a pure installation of the entire framework you can follow the official installation steps presented by Adobe here.

Compile your app.

You make a zip file (important to be zip not rar) with all your files involved in the project, and upload it on the

In order to compile your application on iOS you must provide a signing key. (Thank you Apple ~ sarcasm!)

If you want your app to access the Internet and load web pages in a WebView, you must add the INTERNET permissions to your Android Manifest file like this:

Test your app.

There are several ways to test you app. One is directly in the browser, but I don’t recomend it because I remember to you that your app must be compiled and it could appear some differences.

Second one is with an emulator. For android, I recommend you NOT to use the android developer toolkit because it seems that is very slow, but instead you could install Windows android simulator or BlueStacks. (Open source software that let you test your apps on your computer)

Heads up! For windows android simulator, you take you .apk file and put it into DRIVE\SocketeQ\windowsandroid_root\data\app , and it will become available in your simulator’s menu. 

For BlueStacks, you just right click select “Open with BlueStacks”.


The pros of using a cross-platform framework are:

  • Code Is Reusable: Rather than having to write the specific action or sequence for each platform, a developer can just write the code once and then reuse those bits in later projects or on other platforms.
  • Plugins: Major frameworks, including Appcelerometer and PhoneGap offer easy access to plugins and modules that can easily plug into other services or tools.
  • Easy for Web Developers: Because most frameworks are dynamic or scripting languages, they are easy for web developers to jump in and use. Moreover, most frameworks also support HTML5 and CSS3 alongside the calls to more native functions.
  • Reduced Development Costs: This is perhaps the biggest advantage because it allows companies or brands to get an app onto other platforms without having to invest in a team or developer specific to that ecosystem.

The cons are:

  • Code Might Not Run as Fast: The cross-compilation process can sometimes be slower than using native tools and calls for an app.

  • High-End Graphics and 3D Support is Often Limited: Fortunately, game-centric development platforms, like Unity are here to help fill in those gaps.

Further reading.

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