Category Archives: HTML5

Build Mobile Apps with HTML and Deploy to iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry

I had the pleasure to hearing PhoneGap talk at the Facebook Mobile Hack in New York City and Boston last week.  Both of the events started with workshops from Facebook team members around core concepts, and advanced topics of the Facebook platform.  After the Facebook team presented, they invited up a representative from the open-source mobile platform PhoneGap.

PhoneGap allows developers to build HTML5 mobile applications using an open-source framework, and deploy as mobile web app, as well as iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry platforms.  PhoneGap provides the best of both worlds while building using web-standards, and also opening up access to many native mobile APIs.

Some of the best things PhoneGap can provide to developers are:

  • Take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3
  • Use JavaScript to write your code
  • Access Native Features
  • Deploy your app to Multiple Platforms
  • Take advantage of PhoneGap Build
  • Add PhoneGap Plugins to your project
  • Use Tools from the community
  • Get help from the growing Community

PhoneGap is the best attempt out there I’ve seen that alleviates the problems developers face when building  applications for multiple device–iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, using different frameworks and languages. PhoneGap is using standards-based web technologies, to bridge web applications and mobile devices, eliminating the gaps between the big platform players.

You may notice that Adobe acquired the company, Nitobi, that produced PhoneGap, but Adobe states its commited to keeping PhoneGap open and driven by the community, which includes contributors like IBM, RIM and Microsoft.  To do this PhoneGap was contributed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under the name Apache Callback in October 2011. It is currently under incubation until it can become a full Apache project, allowing it to remain free and open source under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

I’ve heard about PhoneGap for some time now, but haven’t had enough time to dive in.  I will be adding it to the list of tools I showcase and dive deeper into here at CityGrid.  I hope to leverage the PhoneGap platform and build code samples and prototypes that developers scan use to be build local mobile applications using CityGrid Places, Reviews, Offers and Mobile Advertising APIs.

HTML5 Developers Dominate at the Facebook Hackathons

I just wrapped up two separate Facebook Hackathons, one in New York and the other in Boston.  Both events started with presentations from various Facebook team members, demonstrating different aspects of the Facebook platform.

After the Facebook workshops, there was a presentation by Jim Zimmerman of Thuzi, a preferred Facebook mobile development shop from Florida.  During both his talks, he asked audience  to raise their hand and show which platform they developed their mobile apps on.

The breakdown in New York, from my view was about:

  • 25% iOS
  • 25% Android
  • 50% HTML5

While the breakdown in Boston, from my view was about:

  •  10% iOS
  • 10% Android
  • 80% HTML5

In both cities HTML5 was the clear choice of developers.  Even though Facebook still heavily focused on native app development during their workshops you can tell they were leaning heavily towards HTML5, by inviting PhoneGap to present, and giving away HTML5 t-shirts.

I don’t think HTML5 has won the mobile battle by any stretch, but after seeing Adobes heavy focus on HTML5 at the Designing & Developing for Mobile Workshop in San Francisco, and now the dominance of it by developers at both Facebook Mobile Hacks, I think the tide is turning.


Which Browsers and Mobile Devices Will Run Your HTML5?

Right now we are riding the a new wave of web technology with HTML5. Everyone is in agreement that HTML5 is the future of web application development, and there is a lot of healthy debate about whether HTML5 or native apps are better for mobile app development.

Either way HTML5 is here to say. But HTML5 is a living, breathing specification and is constantly evolving and supported at different levels by web and mobile browser platforms.

So how do you stay up to speed on whether your customers browser or device will support the HTML5 code you are writing? You can start by visiting each web browsers support site:

Beyond each browser’s support site, there are a couple sites that provide specification for HTML5 support across all major browser platform and even provide you with tools for testing out your HTML5 code:

All major browser have started supporting HTML5 in some capacity or another. As a web or mobile developer you can’t ignore HTML5 and stay competitive. Because HTML5 is a living specification you will have to work hard to stay in tune with what browsers your customers are using and where each browser is at with its support of HTML5.

Let us know what your thoughts are on on HTML5 by tweeting us at @citygridapiteam.