PhoneGap

PhoneGap 1.0

Free
Develop mobile apps using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.

PhoneGap is intended to develop mobile apps using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. Moreover, since it supports using JavaScript classes, it is possible to give your application access to such hardware components as cameras and microphones as well as API features, including contact lists and filesystem. Likewise, PhoneGap lets you test apps directly on the intended device.

Although PhoneGap can be accessed from the command line, it is excellent that there is this desktop application, which makes it friendlier by providing a graphic user interface. Although the tool is not difficult to use, the availability of several tutorials, plenty of help documentation and even a community forum is always good news.

The application’s interface is quite compact. There is a menu bar, which you use to add and remove projects. Luckily, you do not always need to start from scratch, as there are also some templates available, including Hello World, Framework 7, Push Notifications and React HotLoader. Similarly, you can load an existing project. As to settings, you can configure the desired server port and say if you want to send anonymous diagnostic and usage data to the developer.

In order to try the app you are developing, you must download and install a counterpart application, PhoneGap Developer, which is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Then, it is necessary to pair your computer and the portable device. Unfortunately, the mobile applications developed with PhoneGap are actually wrapped within a standalone web app. As a result, performance is not so good as that of native applications. In this respect, some experts claim that the technology used is already rendering obsolete.

All in all, PhoneGap has the main advantage of supporting a rapid development of mobile apps. In this respect, it gives web developers an opportunity to contribute to developing apps. The product is opensource and uses Apache Cordova as its powering engine.

Pedro Castro
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Provides a GUI for a command-line tool
  • Boosts productivity in mobile app development
  • Comes with various templates
  • Allows trying the app on the intended device

Cons

  • The performance of the apps developed is not as good as that of native apps
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