Crossing platforms between iOS and Android. Extending PhoneGap project

One of the main reasons to use hybrid mobile application framework like PhoneGap for development is to maintain you project code base in one programming language, while deploying mobile applications across many mobile platforms. PhoneGap is the wrapper for HTML5 applications to make them run on multiple mobile operating systems as native apps. Applications are written in JavaScript and framework provides API’s to access native mobile device functionality. Developers can even write their own plugins to get any specific native OS functionality they want.

I have recently published 4 piece tutorial about developing PhoneGap based mobile application for Apple iOS platform. In the beginning of that tutorial I promised to use the same application JavaScript code for another mobile app which is created to run on Android powered mobile devices. This post is about doing exactly that. I will share my experience of taking PhoneGap application code from iOS based app and moving it over to the Android platform. Some native elements will have to be changed but we will talk about them once we get there. Now, lets do some work.

Read More
Developing PhoneGap mobile project. Final part

This is the final tutorial part for developing simple PhoneGap based mobile application from the ground up. Earlier in tutorial parts one, two and three we took a closer look at what role PhoneGap hybrid mobile development framework plays in mobile development and how it works. We have created a new project and added several elements of functionality, similar to what most mobile applications out there would have – user interface, HTTP communication, data storage, native controls etc. In this final part I’m going to show you Geolocation API implementation, how to prepare and delay application splash screen and finalize everything with application icon. We’ll be working with the code from the last tutorial part (you can find at the bottom of tutorial part 3). Source code for overall finished PhoneGap application example (including today’s changes) can be found at the bottom of this post. Lets get started!

Read More
Developing PhoneGap mobile project. Part 3

In the part one and part two of this tutorial we have discussed what PhoneGap mobile application framework is, its key components and elements. We have created a new PhoneGap mobile app project for iOS platform and started adding code for most used mobile application components. First such functionality was a communication with remote web services and 3rd party API’s through HTTP protocol by using jQuery library. Our mobile application has got a minimalistic and nice looking design created by using HTML5 markup and CSS styling.

In this part of the tutorial we will be adding data storage functionality and native application controls. Yes, native iOS controls so our PhoneGap based mobile app has a native look and feel native to its users. Such possibility to add native elements to PhoneGap hybrid mobile applications is one of the biggest strengths of this framework.

I’m going to be working with the code from the last tutorial part (you can find it on the bottom of the previous tutorial page). And the link to completed source code of today’s tutorial can be found at the end of tutorial. Lets get started.

First we are going to write a code to store last keyword that was used for search on the mobile device and retrieve it (for refilling search text box) once user launches application next time.

What storage for PhoneGap projects?

Implementing storage in PhoneGap mobile applications

Read More
Developing PhoneGap mobile project. Part 2

In the part one of these series we have checked what PhoneGap mobile application framework is, downloaded its latest version and have created our initial first project for iOS smartphone platform. I have also outlined frame for example mobile app we are going to build and the set of web APIs that we will be using to make this example application somewhat useful for its users.

In this part of the tutorial we will take a closer look to PhoneGap framework structure, its main files and will write code to consume data from the web based APIs. Lets call it slightly advanced “Hello World” example which instead of printing just simple text will display 5 yummy receipts retrieved from external web service.
We will continue working on the code of the initial project created in the part one of this tutorial. You can follow the steps we took last time, they are quite simple.
As we have much more code in this part, the all source code for today’s finished tutorial is located at the bottom of the post. Feel free to download and use it for testing. Now, lets get started.

PhoneGap structure for iOS mobile project

Let’s take a look at the structure and contents of the project created by PhoneGap script. Open the project with XCode (key tool for developing iOS based mobile applications). The structure will look the same as I have pictured below, with the key files for iOS project as well as PhoneGap specific www directory and few configuration files.
For iOS apps main.m objective-c implementation file represents the main loop application is constantly running. From the contents of this file we see that AppDelegate is being referenced as a main controller. Quick view to AppDelegate.m implementation file shows us that it sets some configuration parameters for the mobile project. Cache size, window size, splash screen, default start page for view controller (project default is always index.html) and other properties. The main directory where all application files have to be placed is www and they will be served via special custom view (web view).

AppDelegate.m implementation file for newly created PhoneGap iOS project.

PhoneGap project files for iOS

Read More
Developing PhoneGap mobile project. From start to finish

This is the first part of the tutorial. Second, Third and the last tutorial parts can be found by following the links.

After receiving good reader feedback for HTML5 widgets tutorial for iOS digital books today I’m starting with new tutorial for developing hybrid mobile applications with the help of PhoneGap framework (or Apache Cordova wrapper as some people like to call it).

The goal is to create a fully working and somewhat useful mobile application from the ground up. To make things more interesting and useful for our readers I’m planning to implement (and go into technical specs) today’s most used mobile application functions. Web services (the way for client devices to communicate with servers and each other over the World Wide Web network), Authentication (after which mobile applications can consume online resources on behalf of third parties), Geolocation, Maps and on device Storage.

I’m estimating that it will take little bit of time to get to the end of the project and to write everything in blog post format. Therefore I will split this tutorial into several parts and will publish them separately here on htmlcenter. It will make it easier to follow for everyone who is reading as well.
You are much welcome to join the discussion any time by posting comments or asking questions. There is much work ahead so lets get started!

Read More
Creating HTML5 widgets for Apple iBook applications

Recently I had a chance to take a closer look at relatively new tool for creating interactive iPad tablet reading experiences called iBooks Author. It was released by Apple in January 2012 and is aimed at book authors and publishers to allow for an easy publishing of their books on Apple iBook platform. Application supports its own format .ibooks as well as .pdf and .ePub formats for exporting.

But what really caught my attention was the possibility to embed interactive elements inside actual ebooks. It can be done in the form of HTML5 widgets, with CSS styling and JavaScript support for building interactivity.  As it was a good fit for one of interactive digital mobile content projects we will be crafting at PopularOwl and I went through the process of creating and adding HTML5 widget to iBook project to understand how it all comes together.

In this tutorial I’m going to walk you through the steps for building fully working HTML5 widget to be used in iBooks Author projects. This sample widget will help eBook authors to easily add social follow option to their digital books so their readers can interact from within the eBook.

Source code for finished widget project is located at the bottom of this tutorial, feel free to download and test it. The final result:

html5 widget in ibook author

Read More
We have got new looks

Late last month I have posted about HTMLCenter redesign project we started few weeks ago. Well, as you might have already noticed we went live with new looks. There is still ongoing work happening and I’m continuing to add various bits and pieces (we are big fans of agile approach to things) but the main site design changes are already in place.

It is mobile first design. We wanted HTML Center to look great on multiple mobile devices as we have noticed constantly increasing number of our readers accessing site through mobile Internet browsers. Most likely these are just going to become main tools for reading content on the web as mobile first is becoming the norm these days. And responsive design so far is the best answer to multiple mobile screens and growing variety of mobile devices out there.

Read More
Roundup for many things

It’s totally not boring to watch client side programing language space these days. New libraries, frameworks and applications are being created almost daily. Not to mention constantly growing and evolving old ones. Lots of time all this information is getting buried because other, more important things float on top in overall information flow. For some time now I’m using tools like Instapaper and Toodledo to capture and organize all read worthy bits of information about interesting releases, updates and projects. So I thought it might be a good idea to share some of them in monthly roundups here on htmlcenter and accompany them with some short comments.
Lets just start and see how it goes.

Read More
We have been quiet for couple of months

We have been quiet for few months here at htmlcenter.
There are couple of reasons for this radio silence and I’m sure both of these reasons mean some positive things for this blog.

First reason is that Allen who was original founder and started htmlcenter back in 1998 (its true, this site was started even before dot.com meltdown happened!) decided to do something different and gave the keys from this blog to new owners. It gives us a chance to give this site well deserved push forward with some new and fresh ideas.

Read More
Facebook Launches Full WordPress Plugin

Earlier today Facebook announced that they have launched a full WordPress plugin. The Facebook developer blog has a full overview of the plugin which is available now from within the WordPress admin plugins page.

The plugin allows you to post directly from WordPress to your Facebook profile. The plugin also allows for Facebook comments, Facebook like button, Facebook share button along with an activity option.

To use this plugin, you need to setup your blog as an application inside of WordPress and then link  up your Facebook account with the plugin if you want the full functionality of the plugin.

One important note – when I added the Facebook plugin to one of my blogs – the like button completely removed ShareThis and the Facebook commenting option completely removed the regular WordPress commenting option.

 

Read More