Nitobi's PhoneGap is catching on with smartphone application developers who want to avoid the pitfalls of writing to different phone platforms.
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."
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 exposed.
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 Objective-C developers."
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:
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 version, too.
""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.