Rapid Prototyping With PhoneGap

Last week I gave a presentation to a local DC Meetup group on “Rapid Prototyping with PhoneGap“. The main takeaways are:

  1. PhoneGap is great for rapid prototyping.
  2. Don’t limit yourself to a prototype! PhoneGap is awesome for building real-world production applications targeting multiple platforms!

You can check out my presentation here:


Some reasons why you might want to use PhoneGap for rapid prototyping:

  • It’s easy
    • More people know HTML & JS, over native development
    • Lower barrier of entry in mobile development
    • Integrate seamlessly with HTTP services
  • It can cost less & can get done faster
    • Reduced developer hours + web designers can build the prototypes
    • Less development effort = faster turnaround

Here are the real-world PhoneGap apps that I demonstrated:

Wikipedia Mobile - The official mobile application for wikipedia.

Halo Waypoint – Companion application to the Halo game for Xbox & Xbox Live.

Untappd – Social networking with beer.

US Census Browser – Visualizing data from the 2010 US Census


I covered techniques for making your apps feel like “apps”, not “web pages”.   You can read more about these techniques and useful libraries in my recent post on Multi-Device Best Practices.  Note: That post contains references to both Flex and HTML/JS/CSS tools.  In this presentation I focused only on the HTML/JS/CSS tools.

I also covered techniques for data visualization.   You can read about techniques for visualizing data using web standards technologies, and see serveral HTML/JS data visualization libraries from my recent post on “Data Visualization with Web Standards“.

In this presentation, I covered PhoneGap Build, a cloud-based compilation tool for PhoneGap apps, and debug.phonegap.com for remote application debugging.   I also covered iWebinspector for debugging PhoneGap experiences inside of the iOS Simulator.

Let’s also not forget the real-world companies that have invested in PhoneGap/Apache Cordova, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Salesforce, IBM, and others.  You can read more about these companies from my recent post “Who Uses PhoneGap“.