Adobe's app-making tool hits version 3

Once upon a time, to build an app (opens in new tab) you needed to build separate native apps for each platform - iOS (opens in new tab), Android (opens in new tab), Windows, Blackberry and so on - which meant learning a whole different development language for each one. In recent years, however, software has emerged that enables you to build once (in HTML5, CSS and JavaScript) and then automatically deploy to the different environments. Leading the charge has been PhoneGap (opens in new tab), which was recently purchased by Adobe (opens in new tab), and now the free, open source tool has now reached version 3.0.

  • Read all our app design articles here (opens in new tab)

The main features of the update, as revealed by Colene Chow in this blog post (opens in new tab), are:

  • New plugin architecture - you only include the APIs you need and plugins can be automatically installed and removed.
  • Better tools - it's now easier to quickly shift between native platforms without learning new vocabularies.
  • New APIs - InAppBrowser (opens in new tab) (formerly known as the ChildBrowser plugin) and Globalization (opens in new tab).

Earlier this year PhoneGap added support for iOS 6. Work on iOS 7 (opens in new tab) is "happening now", while support for Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry 10, Firefox OS and Ubuntu are "coming soon".

Adobe has also launched a new service, PhoneGap Build, as part of its Creative Cloud subscription. A cloud-based service built on top of the PhoneGap 3.0 framework, PhoneGap Build lets you easily build those same mobile apps - up to 25 private apps and an unlimited number of public apps - in the cloud.

Quick and easy

"It's hard to beat seeing someone light up when they build their first app," Brian LeRoux, creator of PhoneGap, told our sister title .net magazine in this interview (opens in new tab). "I love that. It takes three short commands in PhoneGap 3."

"The API surface is completely optional and strives to be standards-based, so your code is maximally portable back to regular web browsers. If you want to reuse web code, or web skills, then PhoneGap could be a good solution for you."

PhoneGap Build joins other web design tools in the Creative Cloud including Edge (opens in new tab) and Muse (opens in new tab). Fireworks, the much-loved image editor among web designers, is no longer being developed but Adobe is seeking help from the community in deciding how to replace it - find out how to get involved here (opens in new tab).

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Do you use PhoneGap, or another app-building tool? What do you think of it? Share your views in the comments below!

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The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of six full-time members of staff: Editor Kerrie Hughes, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, and Staff Writer Amelia Bamsey, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.