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PhoneGap Build: A powerful tool for building client Mobile Apps

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Filed under JavaScript

As read in Marc-Julien’s previous post on his analysis of the PhoneGap framework, PhoneGap provides an excellent framework for building mobile apps using existing programming languages most developers are familiar with (HTML and Javascript). PhoneGap (now owned by Adobe and officially renamed Cordova) has created an excellent new build tool that is very useful for developers, and even more useful for those developers building for clients.

The tool, simply called PhoneGap build, allows you to either link your build via the GitHub or uploading your project through a zip file. From there, it builds for all the mobile frameworks supported (at the time of this writing, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Simbian, and Bada) and gives you a nice QR code that you can simple snap from your mobile phone and have the sample app installed there. For non-tech savvy clients, this is a HUGE save to give them a great demo of the app you’re building for them.

The signup time for this service is fast and it’s free to try for one app, so if you’ve developing a PhoneGap app, I definitely recommend giving it a try. For more information on PhoneGap build or the framework, check out http://phonegap.com.

A Real Live Hybrid Mobile App

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Filed under JavaScript

Developers love to discuss hybrid vs. native apps. I’ll cover the basic argument briefly, but the point of this post is to go over some specific real-life problems that I had to solve.

Native vs. Hybrid

"Native app" refers to code compiled into binaries native to the platform. A "hybrid app," by contrast, consists of an app written using JavaScript / CSS / and HTML running in a browser component (WebView on Android, UIWebView on iOS) supplied by a wrapper native app.

The theoretical advantage of a mobile app is that you only have to write it once and it will run on all platforms, at the cost of the performance hit incurred by doing everything in JavaScript. In practice, things are not that simple.

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