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Adobe releases PhoneGap Developer for Windows Phone

PhoneGap Developer

We wish Adobe had more apps out there for Windows Phone. They’ve had Adobe Reader out for a long time and today just released a new app. Sorry, it’s not Photoshop or Lightroom for your phone. Instead it’s an app called PhoneGap Developer. Surprise. It’s aimed squarely at any Windows Phone developer using PhoneGap to make apps.

PhoneGap is a mobile development framework that Adobe purchased in 2011. It allows developers to build apps for various platforms using languages like JavaScript HTML5 and CSS3. Apps built using PhoneGap have their pros and cons on Windows Phone. Developers wanting to get their apps from Android and iOS onto Windows Phone quickly really seem to like using PhoneGap. It helps developers with limited resources to bring apps to a new platform. The only downside is that you get these hybrid apps that don’t get to take full advantage of some of the native capabilities of the platform.

PhoneGap Developer Screenshots

Apps like Spiegel Online and Untappd have made their way to Windows Phone thanks to PhoneGap.

PhoneGap Developer is a new app from Adobe that allows devs to test their work. After you install the app on your phone you’ll be able to connect to the PhoneGap desktop app to instantly view and test your project. There’s no need to re-sign, re-compile or reinstall your app to test any code changes you make. Plus you get access to device APIs that aren’t available in web browsers.

Get more info on the PhoneGap Developer app over at app.phonegap.com.

So anyone developing for Windows Phone using PhoneGap is encouraged to give this app a download.

You can download PhoneGap developer from the Windows Phone Store.

Thanks for the tip faalil!

QR: PhoneGap Developer

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Reader comments

Adobe releases PhoneGap Developer for Windows Phone

22 Comments

As cool as it would be to have ANOTHER photo editing app, this is a way more practical and productive offer from Adobe.

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Nice to see Phonegap giving some WP love but they need to do more. Lots of plugins aren't available for WP yet (push notifications for example) and others are not having the same amount of features. Also the standard webview isn't acting like it should. There is no way to make an app fixed without messing up the rest (you can make it fixed but chances are you will lose scrolling or have to implement your own scrolling method which is pretty irritating). Also it doesn't really get the correct height/width of the webview without inserting a few hacks to make it behave normally.

And lastly: inspecting a webview in a Cordova-app for WP is just too damn hard. Weinre (which this tool uses) breaks too fast (a simple AngularJS app will break CSS inspection), if it loads at all (getting lots of timeout problems cause it cant load all the javascript).

Going to WP8.1 with IE11 helps a bit for making it behave like you would expect for HTML5 and CSS3 but there's still a long way to go. You still need lots of hacks to get some stuff going (like FastClick for removing click-delay and some Touch-library to implement some simple gestures which is difficult as it uses pointer-events, not touch-events), which takes time to learn and to find out what the hell is going wrong.

So if Adobe and Microsoft improve the means for developing, debugging and implementing plugins for WP8 hybrid development, this will be very nice but untill then you will have major differences and problems if you want a cross-platform app with lots of shared code/logic/styling.

Ah adobe, I tried your solution but it just doesn't cut it if you really want to compete with apps which went native all the way.

I hate the state of things. Native apps were all the rage in the early years, then came web apps which lowered the bar (and expectations) for everybody under the promise of ease of deployment and maintenance (and multi-platform even if windows basically was all that mattered). Google hailed victory about how web apps outpaced native development (in windows) and was the way away from platform dependency, only to have apple bring native apps back into the game and making them as platform dependent as they could. Google inevitably saw the value of platform locking and control and did the same thing apple did (and MSFT before them) to the detrement of developers (and users) who now have to choose native development for more than one OS, or use one of these lowest denominator frameworks...what a mess. You'd think google would have come up with the winJS approach MSFT took and kept HTML 5 and Javascript as the future upon which to build apps. The temptation of dominance and platform lock-in was too much for google however.

So while I would love to see a common framework that was actually common, reliable, performant, and open, it would take google being open (lol yeah right) as android is by far the big ecosystem you cannot ignore, and MSFT and apple to just fall in line and support that as the primary means of development (another yeah right).

In the end, I send my developers along the native app approach and platform specific at twice the cost (thanks apple, google). Ironically, windows is so dominant on desktops yet its messy MSI and bloat and non mobility makes the web more attractive even if OSX and Linux are basically irrelevant marketshare wise. WinJS looks amazing specially if it gets around supporting typescript but unless google embraces it, I suspect few will have a reason to pick it over native android java apps.

 

You might have heard it from Build 2014 but MS has open-sourced WinJS and will add Android and iOS support in the future, next to Windows Phone and Xbox (which will be coming soon). So yeah, WinJS will become more important, but Adobe will continue with Phonegap to do it their way.

I agree that the current situation for app development isn't ideal but it isn't impossible. You just need some time to build your own set of tools and frameworks in order to do some decent HTML developing. But its possible (with some investment of both time and resources). There is bound to be some company who will make a decent framework. I'm guessing NodeJS and AngularJS might become big players for Web but its still uncertain on how this will play out. Doing nothing however will make you fall back in a couple of years so thats something you should definately not do.

The main issue with WinJS on android, which indeed I'm exited about even when I couldn't possibly use it for our project is basically going to market in the summer is that unless google gets on board with it, it will be yet another painful development experience around limitations. As long as google keeps pushing their SDK in a platform specific direction (and I don't see why they wouldn't to further platform lockin) these frameworks will remain behind the curve. If google embraces HTML as a first class development experience, as MSFT has, maybe there is hope. But as I said, google has every intention of repeating the windows-lock model where in making their code as hard to migrate or match with HTML as possible ensures their success.

 

Phonegap for WP isn't that interesting to me since you can go full native with HTML5 and JS on WP. There might be a little work to take Phonegap app from iOS or Android and move to WinJS but it seems like it would be with it.

all I can say is lower the price. xamarin remains very expensive. my company can afford it easily but I don't feel they deliver the value and you're making a very dangerous bet in locking yourself to them. you can imagine that at any point they can raise the price, go out of business, or hold you hostage. This does not happen with native SDKs unless you think apple, MSFT or google will go under...which is possible, but less likely than xamarin.

You're speculating a lot here. Xamarin is not at risk of going out of business at all. if you want to develop everything four or five times, go ahead. Better to build the app business logic once and then use device native front ends. Separating the interface from the business logic is best practice for software development.

The folks at Xamarin have even got the folks at Msft to open source more and more of .Net. They're making a difference to the Monster MSFT. Imagine that.

I would be more concerned with the quality of the tools phonegap offer.

what you call speculation I call my job :). When you're responsible for millions of dollars in development investment per year, picking a company like xamarin is very very risky for you have to factor the long term costs, and the risks they may not be able keep you competitive not this year, but 10 years down the road. It is a safe bet to stay with the apple tools, it is a safe bet to stay with the android SDK. Google and Apple will ensure you can keep up with their OS developments. Xamarin? Not saying they are going under but you need to realize there is a risk which isn't there with the native SDKs.

And the issue you skirted around is that separating the buisiness logic from the UI is not the core of the problem. The core of the problem is that objective C isn't java. And while you can, and I have indeed, put some parts in c++ which demand performance and share it on both iOS and Android, the cost of doing so was probably about the same of two code bases. Looking at our objective c and java, I see a lot of similarities but utlimately we're dealing with two teams, to backlogs, two bug tracking and slowly but surely incurring costs of modifications twice. Our developers don't always follow what the other team did (they are developers after all). So you see, business UI separation is a college topic we're far beyond. We're dealing with much more complex business realities and so far, no good answer.

I seem to have touched a nerve. I didn't mean to. My reference to "speculation" was in referenece to your fears about price changes, going out of business and holding you hostage.  We might agree to disgree on this.

Xamarin's .NET / C# / Visual Studio orientation may not be the solution for your situation.  For others, perhaps those with existing .NET / C# / Visual Studio expertese, skills, libraries and toolsets, Xamarin's mobile development software has more to offer/benefit.  

What's also (potentially) interesting is they are already supporting Google Glass, Nokia X Android phones, Android wear devices, and Amazon Fire TV. Nokia Mix Radio on Nokia X Android uses Xamarin, for example.

Different technologies all have their pros and cons. My original comment was to highlight Xamarin as a possible option to consider if one is also looking at Phonegap.

No nerve hit. I'm just saying, I would be more inclined to pick xamarin if I was a smaller developer with an application which has a small code base and an expected life-time of just a few years with the possibility of a full re-write not being cost prohibited.

I would kill for a C# specification to be implemented on android and for MSFT to port the framework libraries there. But off course google would never go that way.

However maybe in 10 years, apple's declining marketshare will mean development for iOS is the same as developing for OSX which will mean many of us will just stop doing it or support it via a web-app. I'm still optimistic about MSFT's chances. Maybe they can still be relevant on the client. But they need a flawless executiong from this point on. MSFT cannot miss another boat.

phoneGap documentation is completely messed especially for Windows Phone development. If you are a developer and don't want to waste your time setting up the SDK on your development machine, then find something else.