PhoneGap is a free open source cross-platform mobile app development framework. Originally created by Nitobi Software, PhoneGap was acquired by Adobe in October 2011. PhoneGap enables app developers to create mobile apps for seven popular mobile platforms ? iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Palm WebOS, Symbian, and Bada ? using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

Although HTML, JavaScript, and CSS are used to create a PhoneGap app, the final product is a binary app archive (containing IPA file for iOS, APK for Android, XAP for Windows Phone, etc.) which could then be distributed through their “native” app store ecosystems ? just like “native” apps. PhoneGap offers PhoneGap-Build as a cloud service which enables developers to build and compile mobile apps fast without the need for additional SDKs, compilers, or hardware.

Since PhoneGap app development are created using open web standards (and not device-specific languages such as Objective-C), it enables you to not get locked into a proprietary vendor platform. The PhoneGap development framework enables web developers using a single code base of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to natively target seven popular smartphone platforms. PhoneGap does this by enabling a foreign function interface to an embedded WebView / Webkit on the smartphone.

PhoneGap apps are more like hybrid apps. PhoneGap apps are not truly native: They use web views (not native UI frameworks) for layout rendering. PhoneGap apps are not purely web-based either: Unlike just web apps, they have access to native device APIs and are packaged as apps for distribution. PhoneGap is not the only cross-platform mobile development framework for creating hybrid apps like above, but it is arguably one of the most popular and most used cross-platform mobile dev frameworks in the world today.

PhoneGap APIs enable developers to access native operating system features using JavaScript.

With PhoneGap, you can get access to powerful native features such as accelerometer, camera, compass, contacts, file, geolocation, media, network, notifications (alert, sound, vibration), and storage. developers can also take advantage of PhoneGap‘s JavaScript-to-native communication mechanism to create custom “native plugins” for use within PhoneGap apps. The release of PhoneGap 2.0 brings a number of new features like support for Windows Phone 8, an overhauled JavaScript library stack, Cordova WebView, etc.

The cross-platform mobile app development landscape has a number of players: PhoneGap, Titanium, RhoMobile, Sencha, etc. Though all of these share the same goal (cross-platform mobile development), there are differences in the manner in which each goes about achieving this goal. Depending on the context, you may have a narrower consideration set of cross-platform mobile dev frameworks and one of these may be the clear winner.

Companies like Mindfire Solutions provide expert cross-platform app development services using PhoneGap, Titanium, RhoMobile, etc. The dedicated PhoneGap, Titanium, and RhoMobile teams at Mindfire have a strong track record of developing powerful and engaging cross-platform mobile apps for global clients across diverse industry domains.

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