Adobe Launches Hosted PhoneGap Build Service For Creating Cross-Platform Mobile Apps

Today Adobe announced that its Adobe PhoneGap Build service is out of beta. The service is based on the open source Apache Cordova and enables developers to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build cross-platform applications that work on iOS, Android and other mobile platforms.

PhoneGap was created by Nitobi, a company that Adobe acquired almost a year ago. Following the acquisition Adobe released the PhoneGap technology as open source under the name Apache Cordova.

Using PhoneGap Build developers can upload their HTML/CSS/JavaScript source code through a web interface or via Git and the service takes care of translating everything into HTML5-native hybrid apps. Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry OS, webOS and Symbian are supported.

According to PhoneGap Build FAQ, webOS and Symbian apps created with the service will be app market ready immediately, but “For Android, iOS, and BlackBerry, you’ll need to provide the correct certificates and/or signing keys to allow distribution.”

So why use PhoneGap Build instead of just downloading Cordova and doing it from your desktop? Ben Forta, director of developer relations for PhoneGap, says the configuration and management of doing it yourself can be onerous. “You need multiple SDKs installed and configured, you need to keep them all updated, and you are not able to build for all mobile platforms from all desktop OSs,” he says. “With PhoneGap developers can save time and money while increasing their productivity by pointing to a GitHub repository or just uploading their code, and then letting the cloud based service build their apps.”

PhoneGap Build is available via the Adobe Creative Cloud, a monthly membership service that allows you to download and install Adobe’s Creative Suite 6 desktop apps, including Photoshop, Premiere, InDesign and Dreamwaver. The applications work offline, but they’ll need to check in with Adobe once a month to check to make sure you’ve paid your bill. CreativeCloud costs $74.00 for a month-to-month subscription or $49.99 if you sign-up for a whole year. There’s also an introductory price of $29.99 a month for PhoneGap users.