What is Phonegap

What is PhoneGap?

PhoneGap is an application framework that enables you to build natively installed applications using HTML and JavaScript.  The easiest way to think of PhoneGap is a web view container that is 100% width and 100% height, with a JavaScript programming interface that allows you to access underlying operating system features.  You build your user interface using traditional web development skills (HTML, CSS, & JavaScript), and use the PhoneGap container to deploy to different application ecosystems and devices.  When packaged for deployment, the PhoneGap application is a binary distributable file that can be distributed by the “normal” application marketplaces (iTunes, Google App Market, Amazon Market, etc…).

PhoneGap is 100% open source, and also goes by the Apache name “Cordova”.  You can read more about Apache Cordova project status at: http://incubator.apache.org/projects/callback.html

PhoneGap can be used to build applications that target multiple platforms, including Apple iOS, Google Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, HP WebOS, Symbian, and Bada.

You can read more about the supported platforms and their supported features at http://phonegap.com/about/features

How does a PhoneGap application typically look?

Since the UI rendering engine is the mobile device’s web browser, PhoneGap applications can literally look like anything.   You can use standard HTML & CSS to make it look like a normal web page, you can use a UI framework like jQuery UI, Kendo UI, SenchaTwitter Bootstrap, orSkeleton (or any other HTML/CSS/JS user interface framework). You can also use CSS styles/themes to make your web content look like native apps, such as iUI to mimic iOS or Android, or bbUI  to mimic BlackBerry.

PhoneGap applications can have static UIs based on normal HTML, or can have dynamic & interactive experiences developed using JavaScript.   It depends upon the specific application, user experience design, target audience, and use cases to dictate how a PhoneGap application will appear.

PhoneGap applications can use pinch/zoom gestures to zoom in & out, or you can lock the viewport scale using the viewport metadata tag.   You can have the page scroll using normal browser behaviors, or you can use a library like iScroll to enable touch-based scrolling of specific container elements.

There really are lots of ways to create a user interface with HTML, CSS & JavaScript, so there really isn’t any “typical” look.   If you do not apply any CSS styles at all, then all user interface elements will use the operating system/browser default for that specific platform.   This includes buttons, links, and color/highlight states.   This behaves in the exact same manner as the operating system’s default web browser.

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