Apache Cordova Tutorial
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  • Apache Cordova

    Apache Cordova formerly PhoneGap is a mobile application development framework originally created by Nitobi. Adobe Systems purchased Nitobi in 2011, rebranded it as PhoneGap, and later released an open source version of the software called Apache Cordova. Apache Cordova enables software programmers to build applications for mobile devices using CSS3, HTML5, and JavaScript instead of relying on platform-specific APIs like those in Android, iOS, or Windows Phone. It enables wrapping up of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript code depending upon the platform of the device. It extends the features of HTML and JavaScript to work with the device. The resulting applications are hybrid, meaning that they are neither truly native mobile application because all layout rendering is done via Web views instead of the platform's native UI framework nor purely Web-based because they are not just Web apps, but are packaged as apps for distribution and have access to native device APIs. Mixing native and hybrid code snippets has been possible since version 1.9.

    The software was previously called just "PhoneGap", then "Apache Callback".Appery.io or Intel XDK.

    PhoneGap is Adobe's commercial version of Cordova along with its associated ecosystem. Many other tools and frameworks are also built on top of Cordova, including Ionic, Monaca, TACO, Onsen UI, Visual Studio, GapDebug, App Builder, Cocoon, Framework7, Quasar Framework, Evothings Studio, NSB/AppStudio, Mobiscroll, the Intel XDK, and the Telerik Platform. These tools use Cordova, and not PhoneGap for their core tools.

    Contributors to the Apache Cordova project include Adobe, BlackBerry, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and others.


    First developed at an iPhoneDevCamp event in San Francisco,appMobi,Convertigo, ViziApps, and Worklight as the backbone of their mobile client development engine.

    Adobe officially announced the acquisition of Nitobi Software the original developer on October 4, 2011. Coinciding with that, the PhoneGap code was contributed to the Apache Software Foundation to start a new project called Apache Cordova. The project's original name, Apache Callback, was viewed as too generic. Then, it also appears in Adobe Systems as Adobe PhoneGap and also as Adobe PhoneGap Build. The Phonegap Blog shows more details, why finally the name "Cordova" was chosen. It says: "While genesis stories of PhoneGap often vary with the teller, most committers can agree the project was born at Nitobi, when the office was on Cordova Street in Vancouver."

    Early versions of PhoneGap required an Apple computer to create iOS apps and a Windows computer to create Windows Mobile apps. After September 2012, Adobe's PhoneGap Build service allows programmers to upload CSS, HTML, and JavaScript source code to a "cloud compiler" that generates apps for every supported platform.

    Design and rationale

    The core of an Apache Cordova application uses WebView on the device, using a foreign function interface to access the native resources of it.

    Apache Cordova can be extended with native plug-ins, allowing developers to add more functionalities that can be called from JavaScript, making it communicate directly between the native layer and the HTML5 page. These plugins allow access to the device's accelerometer, camera, compass, file system, microphone, and more.

    However, the use of Web-based technologies leads some Apache Cordova applications to run slower than native applications with similar functionality. Adobe Systems warns that applications built with Apache Cordova may be rejected by Apple for being too slow or not feeling "native" enough having appearance and functionality consistent with what users have come to expect on the platform.

    Supported platforms

    As of version 9, Apache Cordova currently supports development for the operating systems Apple iOS,Google Android, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 , Windows 10 and Electron software framework which in turn runs on Windows, Linux and macOS. Earlier version of Apache Cordova used to support Bada, BlackBerry, Firefox OS, LG webOS, Microsoft Windows Phone 7 and 8, Nokia Symbian OS, Tizen SDK 2.x, and Ubuntu Touch. The table below is a list of supported features for each operating system for Adobe PhoneGap/ Apache Cordova 3.