Adobe's app-making tool hits version 3

Once upon a time, to build an app you needed to build separate native apps for each platform - iOS, Android, 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, which was recently purchased by Adobe, and now the free, open source tool has now reached version 3.0.

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The main features of the update, as revealed by Colene Chow in this blog post, 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 (formerly known as the ChildBrowser plugin) and Globalization.

Earlier this year PhoneGap added support for iOS 6. Work on iOS 7 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. "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 and Muse. 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.

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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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