PhoneGap is one of the ideal frameworks that can be used to develop cross-platform mobile apps. As a framework, it can help you create applications for diverse operating systems and screen sizes. Relying on web technologies like CSS3 and HTML5, PhoneGap helps mobile app developers to leverage their web development skills like HTML and CSS to build hybrid applications. It also offers support for the top smartphone operating systems like Android, iOS, and Windows.
PhoneGap app development process can vary depending on developer/enterprise choices. In this article, we discuss one of the many ways developers can develop mobile apps with PhoneGap. Going through these steps will definitely simplify your enterprise's mobile app development process.
- Editing tool: There are a number of editing tools out there. One of the tools is Sublime Text 2. It is a clear, easy to use editor that has a number of useful keyboard shortcuts like global code searching and highlighting. Sublime can also be extended with other advanced extensions provided by its community. A lifelong license can be bought or you can also use its free trial for as long as required. Alternatively, you can use a designer-friendly editor such as Dreamweaver. It has a WYSIWYG editor for HTML, a great programming environment, and built-in PhoneGap integration. If you have used it for the web, you'll have no trouble working with it for mobile apps.
- Debugging Environment: PhoneGap uses native web views + it is cross platform in nature so debugging apps can be a little complicated. There are a couple of options that can simplify this. One alternative is to use Sencha Touch. It has a simple development workflow so almost all of the debugging can be carried out via the browser. You can also use the standard Chrome DevTools or add the Sencha App Inspector plugin to your toolbox. Another highly productive developer environment is the PhoneGap emulator. Since it is browser-based, it uses both Google Chrome and the Ripple Environment. The emulator runs inside Chrome so it can leverage the DevTools. Apart from that, it also emulates PhoneGap's own APIs.
- Remote Build: Remote building or even debugging can make the app development process more complex. As an enterprise, at this juncture, you may decide to opt for professional PhoneGap app development services.
If you are a developer with a Windows PC, you can use PhoneGap Build. This will let you create apps for both Android and iOS. So, when you need to test the PhoneGap functionality, you will need to send your app to the PhoneGap Build servers. Thereafter, the app can be built, downloaded again and installed on a device for testing purposes. Sounds time-consuming right? This takes us to the last step in our process.
- Hydration or Gap Debug: This is useful when you don't want to manually download your app from the PhoneGap Build and install it on a device. If the Hydration setting is activated in PhoneGap Build, when installed, your app will automatically check for updates from PhoneGap Build every time it is loaded. If a new version is available, the app can be updated directly from the phone. Alternatively, use GapDebug. It bypasses iTunes and lets you easily drag and drop you app to the device listed in GapDebug for quick installation.
The process described above can make your PhoneGap application development a lot smoother and more efficient. What do you think? Is there any particular workflow you prefer? Tell us about it.