Apache Cordova. A new alternative for developing native apps in Win Phone 7

Apache Cordova is one of those projects that recently caught my attention for developing applications in mobile. This project previously known as PhoneGap was donated by Adobe to the Apache Foundation to be part of a new and attractive open source alternative for developing mobile applications.  If you haven’t heard of it before, it basically provides the required infrastructure to run native applications in different mobile platforms such as IOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 using an hybrid approach with an embedded browser. There is a thin native layer that provides access to different native features in phone through an standard object model in JavaScript, so the developers can write their applications using HTML 5 and have access to different features through that model. Therefore, the two most important components in this project are the native layer and the JavaScript component model, which are supported across the different platforms.

The Microsoft Interoperability team collaborated as part of the project to support Win7 phone as another available platform, which was announced by Abu Obeida in December last year. Another major announcement these days was the support for a Metro theme in JQuery Mobile, which gives the ability to give applications written in HTML 5 for this platform the same look and feel as a native applications.

If you want to know more about the platform, there is an excellent introductory article written by Colin Eberhardt for the MSDN Magazine, “Develop HTML Windows Phone Apps with Apache Cordova”

One the things I noticed in the project, is that there is available a project template in Visual Studio for creating the initial application. However, you need to manually deploy that template in the right folder to make it available in Visual Studio, which might be an error prone task. I decided to make a little contribution to the project and write an Visual Studio extension (a vsix package) to automatically deploy the template, which I am not sure yet if it is going to be approved or not, but I think it is a nice thing to have for easing adoption. This is part of the fork associated to my user in case you want to use it.


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