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Mobile Development Platform: PhoneGap Add in library

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Describe about PhoneGap. its structure, main purpose, main features, usability, configuration and main technical aspects?


Purpose and structure:

There are many different mobile development platforms used in the world currently such as iOS, Android, WindowsPhone, BlackberryOS, Tizen among others. One would need to master all of them in order to develop applications for all of these platforms. On top of this, some of these platforms have multitude of devices such as Android has more than 30 different companies that make use of their own version of Android platform. Developing applications for all of these platforms is a complicated and timeconsuming purpose. It may be possible for large corporations but for startups and small-to-medium scale enterprises having limited knowledge, background and fundin, this becomes a gargantuan task. Since all the mobile development platform have some elements in common such as the use of javascript and HTML, it becomes possible for a common solution to fill this gap. This is where PhoneGap comes into the picture. PhoneGap thus is a framework comprised of javacript libraries that one can use for all the major mobile platforms which use the same set of APIs for developers access to writing in Javacript for a web view.


In order to create an application using PhoneGap, a developer mus download the Cordova Sample code for he operating system on which he will be working. It has all the elements which one would need to develop a basic app including a full-screen web view. They can then edit the downloaded code in order to create native apps for the desired platform. One can also replace the sample HTML. The sample code has basic plugins to access camera, accelerometer among other things. If the developer needs to add additional functionality, handle conditions and have multiple screens then they can simply edit the native code. Entire application can be coded using simple HTML, CSS and Javascript language. Once the development has been done, the developer can package a home screen icon and PhoneGap will output an app which is ready to install on the desired platform.


Features, Configuration and other technical aspects:

They have two advanced level objectives they want to accomplish with PhoneGap –

  • They want to use the web as a top level platform for development

  • The final objective that PhoneGap has to accomplish is to stop being in existence.

At present applications developed on the PhoneGap can work with the following different hardwares–

  • Accelerometer

  • Compass

  • File

  • Geolocation

  • Network

  • Notification Sounds, Alerts and Vibrations

  • Camera

  • Contacts

  • Media

Some of these may be unavailable in some platforms due to restrictions of either hardware or software.

The elements of configuration which are given below are there in the advanced level config.xml file and these are sustained in all supported platforms of Cordova –

  • The application’s identifier of the reverse-domain is given by the id element of the . The id number of the complete version of the software is given in the notifications that show major/minor patches

  • The tag called widget may also contain features which specify the substitute versions like for Android OS, it is the version Code and for iOS, it is the CFBundleVersion. For more details, the section named Additional Versioning given below can be looked up

  • The official name of the application is by the element and it will make an appearance in the home screen of the device and also in the interface of the application

  • The metadata and the information for contacting a developer of the program can be found under the and elements. These two elements are present in the listings of the app-store

  • In the advanced level directory of web assets, the free element of outlines the welcome page of the app. Index.html is the default description and it normally appears in the advanced level directory of the World Wide Web (www)

  • The bunch of outside domains which are allowed by the app for communication purposes is shown under the elements of . The by-default value that is given above permits the app to access any server. For additional information, check the Domain Whitelist Guide.

The tag labelled shows the different options a paired attribute of name/value. The name of each preference is case-sensitive. As given at the beginning of this page, various preferences are distinctive to some particular platforms. The section given below describes the preferences that are applicable to more than one specific platform. 


Validation and Deployment

There are two types of deployment options, first one is native and second one is as a web app. In order to deploy as a web app which is supported by a web server is the easiest of all. One would need to open the correct URL in a browser. For native apps, that are installed on the system PhoneGap allows packaging the apps with the desired app packages. It needs to be signed using cryptographic methods to make it secure. Once this is done, a final application is ready to deployed on the chosen platform. They can even be submitted on the application stores such as Google playstore. While on Android one can install applications by simply transferring it via USB or wirelessly to the phone, on App store one can only install application via the default app store. This requires one to have an apple developer account separately and once the application is submitted to the appstore it may take upto a week to finally appear on the app store.     

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