Book Review : PhoneGap Beginner’s Guide

On November 21, 2011, in Mobile, Books, by Anuj Gakhar

I have recently started doing Mobile Apps development as well and one of the things I have been looking at is PhoneGap.

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.

Packt Publishing has been kind enough to send me a review copy of the book and I think I really like the book. The book starts off by covering how to install PhoneGap for multiple development environments including iOS, Android and Blackberry platforms. There is quite an emphasis on writing your code and testing in a webkit enabled browser before testing it in a emulator or a real device, which totally makes sense, as it speeds up the development effort.

PhoneGap: A Beginner’s Guide is an introduction to PhoneGap: an open source, cross- platform framework for developing mobile applications. PhoneGap allows developers to leverage web development skills—HTML, CSS, and JavaScript—to develop native applications for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and many other platforms with a single codebase. Many of the same benefits of developing websites—for example, deployment to a wide variety of clients—are at developers’ fingertips.

The book includes code examples for almost all the PhoneGap features and also talks about how to use templates in Javascript, which is something I found very interesting. The templating engine the author talks about is called Mustache – and apparently there is also a ColdFusion version of the same 🙂 The Contacts example using PhoneGap’s Contacts feature was my favorite one, from all the examples in the book. The book also shows how to deploy your apps to iOS using the Apple Developer Certificate, which is not a straight forward thing to deal with.

What this book covers

  • Chapter 1, Installing PhoneGap, helps readers through the often difficult process of setting up multiple development environments for the iOS, Android, and BlackBerry platforms. After this chapter, you will have an environment ready to build your PhoneGap applications.
  • Chapter 2, Building and Debugging on Multiple Platforms, shows how to use the environment set up in Chapter 1 to quickly and efficiently work on your code for multiple platforms at once. It also helps you get used to using desktop browsers to assist with mobile development.
  • Chapter 3, Mobile Web to Mobile Applications, describes the changes in application design and architecture that are at the forefront of developing on PhoneGap. In particular, we see how to write PhoneGap applications that do not rely on a web server for the majority of their interactions.
  • Chapter 4, Managing a Cross-Platform Codebase, shows readers how to use common web techniques, including feature detection and user-agent sniffing, to manage their code that gets deployed to multiple platforms.
  • Chapter 5, HTML5 APIs and Mobile JavaScript looks at some of the new JavaScript APIs available in HTML5 browsers, which are common on modern mobile devices. We also look at mobile JavaScript libraries that are useful for managing your code.
  • Chapter 6, CSS3: Transitions, Transforms and Animation, looks at the new techniques available in current CSS implementations for sprucing up the look and feel of your PhoneGap applications.
  • Chapter 7, Accessing Device Sensors with PhoneGap, demonstrates the use of PhoneGap’s device sensor capabilities for managing the location and accelerometer readings from your PhoneGap application.
  • Chapter 8, Accessing Camera Data and Files, shows how to use the PhoneGap APIs to manage access to the user’s photo library and camera, and use the results in your application.
  • Chapter 9, Reading and Writing to Contacts, uses the Contacts APIs from PhoneGap to work with the user’s native contacts list on their device, for use in your own application.
  • Chapter 10, PhoneGap Plugins, shows how the iOS, Android, and BlackBerry implementations of PhoneGap can be easily extended to access any native capabilities not exposed by the PhoneGap core APIs.
  • Chapter 11, Working Offline: Sync and Caching, shows how with a small amount of server- side code, you can use PhoneGap to capture data offline and manage it locally or remotely.

Overall, I think this book can be quite useful for someone starting to dive into App development and I would definitely recommend it.

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6 Responses to Book Review : PhoneGap Beginner’s Guide

  1. […] can read more about the book on my book review. So, all you have to do is leave your comments and  you could be sent this book for free. […]

  2. Walter says:

    Looking to build an app tap can help me achieve this task.


  3. Walter says:

    Looking to build an app to help me achieve mp3 streaming from my sites db.


  4. Arun says:

    Thanks for the review. App development has been my interest always and I was thinking which platform (iOS or Android) to choose, then I came to know about PhoneGap. I was looking at tutorials but a book would definitely give a deep dive.

    – Arun

  5. ahiskek says:

    Thanks for the review. I think there are many great books for Phonegap but this one is at least for me one of the bests.


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© 2011 Anuj Gakhar