PhoneGap Build leverages the PhoneGap framework (a distribution of the Apache Cordova open source project) to enable the development of cloud-based mobile apps with standard Web technologies. Adobe says developers can use a single codebase for all major mobile operating systems including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Bada, webOS and Symbian -- eliminating the need to maintain native software development kits.
Among the PhoneGap Build features Adobe is touting is Hydration, which is designed to speed up debug and build cycles and automatically notify testers when new versions are available. PhoneGap will also feature a share function that allows group reviews of app prototypes via QR code.
Simplifying App Development with the Cloud
According to Computerworld, PhoneGap build aims to change the complex configuration and management process of mobile app development by moving it to the cloud. “Instead of having to configure separate developing environments, and keep them up to date, developers can now upload their code to PhoneGap Build, which returns ready-to-run applications for the targeted operating systems,” says a Computerworld article. The article also quotes an Adobe spokesperson, who said, "We have dramatically simplified the development process.”
Extending PhoneGap Value
Adobe clearly seems interested in expanding PhoneGap’s value proposition. In addition to introducing the new PhoneGap Build service, in July 2012 Adobe released version 2.0 of the main PhoneGap framework. Updates included a new command line interface for building iOS apps, support for Windows Phone 7 and documentation on getting started and the PhoneGap Plugin API.
PhoneGap Build has undergone extensive beta testing, with 90,000 developers compiling more than 200,000 apps. Mobile apps built with PhoneGap include Wikipedia, the BBC London Olympics app, Microsoft Halo Waypoint, Zynga’s Mafia Wars Shakedown, Salesforce Hybrid Mobile SDK and Amanita Designs’ Kooky game app.
PhoneGap Build is now publicly available via the Adobe Creative Cloud membership service. Pricing for Creative Cloud membership for individuals is US$ 49.99 per month based on an annual membership and US$ 74.00 per month (without an annual membership). An introductory offer of US$ 29.99 per month is available to qualified customers for a limited time. A standalone subscription to the PhoneGap Build service is also available for US$ 9.99 per month.