is catching on with smartphone application developers who want to avoid the pitfalls of writing to different phone platforms.
In a video on the PhoneGap Web site, Andre Charland, CEO of Nitobi,
said, "PhoneGap is a development framework that lets HTML and
advantage of native capabilities of the phone. And it will run on
iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, and eventually it will run on other
In essence, Nitobi is building out a "write once, run anywhere"
platform for mobile application development, with the first three
devices supported being the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Rob Ellis,
one of the co-creators of PhoneGap said, "The idea is you write one
code base and it should work smoothly on all three devices."
At a recent meeting of the New York Linux User group, (NYLUG),
Nathan Freitas, a mobile phone application developer with the New York-based Oliver+Coady design and development firm
encouraged developers to try the open source PhoneGap framework for
building applications for the Android and iPhone. "PhoneGap is a
developer tool that allows Web developers to take advantage of the core
features in iPhone, Android and BlackBerry SDKs [Software Development
According to the PhoneGap Web site, "The purpose of PhoneGap is for
PhoneGap to cease to exist... Today, mobile development is a mess.
Building applications for each device--iPhone, Google Android, Windows
Mobile and so forth--requires a different development framework and
programming language. As such, phones and other mobile devices have
become second-class citizens. We aim to change that by enabling Web
technologies to work with native device features such as geo-location
and accelerometers. In PhoneGap, we're building a cross-platform
framework for device-neutral mobile development."
Ellis said the idea for the PhoneGap technology came out of an
iPhoneDevCamp event in San Francisco. Brock Whitten, PhoneGap's
co-creator, said by the end of the second day of iPhoneDevCamp, he and
Ellis had the concept for the software down and geo-location features
As for why the need for PhoneGap, Ellis said, "There are not a lot
of Objective-C developers..." Objective-C is a primary language used to
develop iPhone and Mac OS applications. "We're all Web developers
here," Ellis said of Nitobi. "And there are more Web developers than
Freitas said, "Apple had half of a good idea when they launched the
iPhone with only the mobile Web SDK, but it was missing access to all
the killer features that make the device so great. PhoneGap picks up
where Apple left off, with offline access, GPS and camera support, and
a model that allows mobile Web apps to be distributed inside the app
store just like their native brethren."
Moreover, added Freitas:
"Except for the most intensive gaming apps, most the functionality
an iPhone developer needs is available through HTML, CSS and
can build apps -- using open, cross-device standards and tools -- that
look and act just like the ones built with proprietary, closed tools,
why not be open? PhoneGap gives you that choice, allowing me to support
iPhone and Android nearly simultaneously."
Indeed, "PhoneGap has cut my iPhone development time in half, which
has been good news for my clients," Freitas said. He also said that
when he builds an iPhone application he typically builds an Android
Dion Almaer, co-founder of Ajaxian.com
"Ben and I have been promoting PhoneGap as a great solution for Web
developers to create applications with the technology they know and
love, without having to jump off of the cliff to other proprietary
worlds. PhoneGap is still new, but gets more impressive every day."
Charland said PhoneGap is open source and "will always remain free
and open source." The technology is licensed under an MIT license.
geo-location, accelerometer, vibration, access to photos, contacts,
offline storage and more features coming out," Charland said. "Most
build a Web site -- it's the same idea with PhoneGap."