Chapter 11

Getting Started with PhoneGap


  • History of PhoneGap
  • Differences between HTML5 and PhoneGap
  • Getting a development environment set up
  • Implementing the Derby App

PhoneGap is an open source set of tools created by Nitobi Solutions (now part of Adobe) that enables you to create mobile applications for multiple devices by utilizing the same code. PhoneGap is a hybrid mobile application framework that allows the use of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to write applications that are based on the open standards of the web. These applications also have access to the native functionality of the device. PhoneGap has been downloaded more than 600,000 times, and more than 1,000 apps built with PhoneGap are available in the respective app stores, which makes PhoneGap a viable solution for creating cross-platform mobile apps.


PhoneGap was started at the San Francisco iPhone Dev Camp in August 2008. iOS was shaping up to become a popular mobile platform, but the learning curve for Objective-C was more work than many developers wanted to take on. PhoneGap originally started as a headless browser implementation for the iPhone. Because of the popularity of HTML/CSS/JavaScript, it was a goal that this project use technologies with which many developers where already familiar.

Based on the growing popularity of the framework, in October 2008 Nitobi added support for Android and BlackBerry. PhoneGap was awarded the People’s Choice award at the Web2.0 Expo ...

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