PhoneGap – Your answer to a multi-platform targeting mobile framework.

I recently attended a SpringOne and Cloud Foundry conference and Adrian Coyler, CTO of SpringSource was there giving a rather interesting keynote speech. What struck me as very interesting in his talk was how Ardian was sharing his experience about the growing trend that businesses are adopting these days. This trend he was talking about, had to do with how companies are beginning to favour mobile applications in order to get their idea/product out there in the wild. Obviously this isn’t new right? But what struck me is that in majority of these cases, companies would either start with a mobile app, or they would only build a mobile app.

Discussion carried on about the inevitable customer base, and the handful of different handset manufacturers you’d need to consider as your target audience. Obviously Android and iPhone handsets are way up there on the consideration list, but there are quite a few other often forgotten stragglers which you might not want to discount – namely Windows Phone, Blackberry, and maybe, just maybe Symbian.. OK, maybe Symbian is a bit of a stretch, I confess, I don’t think I even think my Gran owns a Symbian phone!

Anyway, my point is, that this topic reminded me of a mobile framework which I had stumbled across but never bothered to explore. And this ladies and gentlemen I present to you the blessed beauty that is PhoneGap.:) Firstly, if you think this is the one to rule them all, then you might be getting slightly ahead of yourself, but it does a pretty fine job of taking the platform specific backache out of the equation.

PhoneGap’s strength lies in its use of HTML 5. Think of PhoneGap as a native container, which executes/loads locally placed HTML 5 pages, that are driven by Javascript frameworks and styled with CSS goodness. Did I mention that you can choose which Javascript framework you want, so if you like JQuery, use it, like Sencha Touch? Use it. Awesome! You can get an application up and running in no time – I did my first ever sample app using PhoneGap which was capable of taking pictures in less that 2 hours! Not too shabby eh?

So for those of you who have only been deep underground working hard on specific native mobile applications, I urge you to come up for air and give this a go. Or even if you just have a new idea and you want to develop it for the mobile market, then I implore you to take a look at this framework. And just to be clear, I haven’t switched jobs to become a PhoneGap marketing pimp, I just think it’s a promising framework which is set to change how mobile apps will be built in the future.

Once you’ve given it a go, let me know what you think!