Genuitec Ships GapDebug Tool for PhoneGap Mobile Apps

Genuitec's free GapDebug tool provides a simple debugging solution for developers building PhoneGap applications.

Mobile app dev

Development toolmaker Genuitec has taken its GapDebug tool for debugging PhoneGap and Apache Cordova apps out of beta and announced general availability of the product.

Genuitec's GapDebug is free for mobile app developers. The GA release is a culmination of user-requested features to create the ultimate debugging platform for PhoneGap, the company said.

High demand for mobile apps is forcing developers to build these applications for more devices and at faster paces. GapDebug makes this process easier by cutting down on time lost in the testing and debugging phases. Now, developers can quickly test for failures with end-to-end rapid debugging for PhoneGap apps, regardless of the underlying operating system.

GapDebug offers live, interactive debugging of control flow, integration testing, log files, monitoring, storage exploration, profiling, statistical process control and JavaScript breakpoints. The tool also provides per-app tracking of breakpoints and files. It remembers apps, so debugging is "app-aware," saving time when moving between apps. In addition, the tool enables developers to debug while running an app as it is intended to run—on the device. No special instrumentation required; there is no need to build debug support into an app.

"It's an understatement, but the PhoneGap community has played a key part in the evolution of GapDebug," said Wayne Parrott, vice president of product development at Genuitec. "From testing to feature requests, we've heard directly from top app developers about what they need. They've helped us to tailor-make a debugger that fills the gap in PhoneGap development. The mobile development world can embrace GapDebug as a stand-alone, free solution."

Genuitec said GapDebug has five "killer" features: auto-reconnect, instant debugging, drag to install, experimental snippets and auto-update. Auto-reconnect helps developers by automatically reconnecting debugging sessions for apps that close down, recognizing an app's zombie inspector—an old inspector instance brought back to life. With instant debugging, GapDebug recognizes open apps on the device that have previously been debugged, and begins a debugging session automatically.

Drag to install helps developers avoid lost time waiting for Apple iTunes. It helps developers bypass the lengthy sync processes associated with installing apps from iTunes and Google Android application package (APK). Experimental snippets lets developers test APIs alongside apps. And auto update uses Genuitec's Secure Delivery Center technology to provide "evergreen" updates to stay constantly updated.

Mobile developers are no longer restricted to a Mac for iOS app testing, or weighed down by the tedious set-up process associated with Android debugging. Developers need only connect an iOS or Android device to a computer to start debugging right away.

GapDebug is built on top of the Eclipse RCP plug-in platform and uses Genuitec's Secure Delivery Center technology for quick, easy installation and evergreen updates. Being built on Java enables the tool to run on Windows and Mac hardware, Parrott said.

Using GapDebug, a developer can simultaneously debug multiple iOS and Android applications from either Windows or Mac hardware with equal capability, Parrott said. "Prior to GapDebug, iOS developers were locked into Apple's Mac-only platform tools or had to resort to lesser capable ad hoc methods when debugging Cordova apps," he said. "This capability is important to users that use cloud-based mobile app build services such as PhoneGap Build or Genuitec's MyEclipse App Center Builder as an alternative to expensive Apple hardware when building apps for the iOS platform."

GapDebug enables mobile developers using the open-source Cordova and PhoneGap SDKs to debug their cross-platform mobile apps from a single convenient environment. Genuitec refers to this as "Plug and Debug."

"Because of the advanced debugging capabilities, I expect GapDebug will become the primary cross-platform debugging tool of the Cordova and PhoneGap developer communities in a very short time," Parrott told eWEEK. "My favorite features include the DOM inspector with live editing and testing of changes, JavaScript conditional breakpoints and profiling of network interactions such as use of cloud services and local JavaScript execution on the device."

Parrott is attending Adobe PhoneGap Day in San Francisco to present on "PhoneGap Debugging." In this talk, Parrott will reveal how GapDebug's latest features help mobile developers cut through the time loss associated with the test and debug phases of development to present a full, end-to-end mobile solution.