PhoneGap on Windows Phone Tips


A few months ago, Microsoft announced support for PhoneGap on Windows Phone Mango. This announcement seems to have flown under the radar, because it hits a (currently) small intersection, developers who know HTML5 and developers who want to target Windows Phone 7. However, the former subset is huge, and the latter is growing rapidly, so it makes sense to take a look at PhoneGap on WP7.

From the PhoneGap website, here’s a summary of what it is:

PhoneGap is an HTML5 app platform that allows you to author native applications with web technologies and get access to APIs and app stores. PhoneGap leverages web technologies developers already know best... HTML and JavaScript.

WP7 support for PhoneGap is in fact pretty significant because it opens up the Windows Phone Marketplace to tons of developers who have HTML/JS skills. Turns out you can create some pretty nifty apps with only those technologies running inside a Windows Phone app. But what if you want to take it up a level and really incorporate some cool features of the phone? Well, allow me to fill that… gap. <grin>

Over the next few months, I will be sharing tips about how to make PhoneGap applications on Windows Phone feel like first class citizens there. I’m not going to cover how to write HTML/JS applications within it, because there are tons of examples on the web as to how to do that. Also, PhoneGap provides its own API for using specific capabilities of the the underlying platform that is common across all devices, so we won’t be covering that here either.

Instead, this series will be tips on how to use Windows Phone specific features in your PhoneGap apps. Having your PhoneGap application support some of Windows Phone’s most compelling features like Live Tiles, background agents, push notifications and the application bar means users will get the engaging experience they expect from WP7 apps along with the functionality you deliver via HTML/JS from the main UI of your app. And most if not all of these features can be implemented with zero impact to your common code base, so a lot of your cross platform code can be preserved.

Recently, PhoneGap has been accepted into the Apache Software Foundation for incubation as Apache Callback. You can read about the requirements, how to get started, and download the latest bits from here. The most significant aspect of the bits you need right now is the template file.

PhoneGap on Windows Phone 7 Article Index