Nitobi PhoneGap v1.0 released, allows use of JavaScript to create cross-platform mobile apps

By Yousif Abdullah on 1 Aug 2011 05:09 pm EDT
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Developers, ahoy! Nitobi has come up with version 1.0 of its PhoneGap product, which essentially allows software developers to use their existing JavaScript knowledge to create cross-platform mobile apps. PhoneGap currently supports iOS, Android, HP webOS, BlackBerry and Symbian, with support for Windows Phone 7, MeeGo and Samsung bada coming soon. So, how does this all work? Instead of building apps for each platform, a software developer can use PhoneGap's API to create an app, then submit the app to PhoneGap Build, which in turn gives back compiled binaries that are ready to submit to the various app stores out there.

A dream come true? The concept is much like BlackBerry WebWorks in that a software developer can create apps without learning Objective-C, Java or the like. In fact, PhoneGap works hand in hand with BlackBerry WebWorks to extend the functionality of the underlying framework. From there, once an app is built and ready, it is simply a matter of submitting the app to BlackBerry App World and done! PhoneGap also supports all the open frameworks you're used to working with, such as jQuery and Sencha, so there is no looking back. I personally am excited about this product and will eventually try it out -- it seems like a natural step forward when it comes to the development of mobile apps.

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Nitobi PhoneGap v1.0 released, allows use of JavaScript to create cross-platform mobile apps

11 Comments

doesn't the BB web sdk already do most of what they are describing? Mind you, the last time i used the BB web sdk i was unimpressed... but still worth mentioning.

Yes, however BlackBerry WebWorks is only for BlackBerry smartphone and tablet development. PhoneGap is unique because it's one API that functions across all mobile platforms. In simple terms, 'write once, run anywhere'.

~Yousif

My question is, if this is out there why aren't devs using this to get there apps to all platforms now? Why not use this as a one stop shop? This leads me to believe that most devs just don't give a shit about certain platforms at all.

Let's not jump the gun -- PhoneGap's API as well as BlackBerry WebWorks only offer a standard set of functions to work with. For anything low-level (read: advanced) it may be necessary to look into the native SDKs for each platform.

Most applications and games are fine with the basic subset of API functions that PhoneGap / BlackBerry WebWorks delivers, but then there also is the performance question. A JavaScript / HTML application requires the Web layout rendering engine to work in between the application interface and the underlying hardware, thus accounting for a performance hit.

The performance issue makes it difficult to create games with swift action unless they are ridiculously optimized -- or, if the developer so wishes, target only platforms where sophisticated hardware is readily available (read: quick processors and discrete graphics processing units). BlackBerry smartphones aren't necessarily the fastest smartphones out there, but with the BlackBerry Bold 9900 around the corner, that will hopefully change.

Hope this helps.
~Yousif

I don't know much about dev stuff, but could this program be used to reverse engineer some apps that are already in existence? (Words with Friends for BB maybe??)