Chris J Powell

Apps Friday – Developing Your Own

For the past several weeks I have been focusing on the next chapter of my life and it has been quite an eye opener to know that there are so many options out there for me.  It is Friday though and instead of a App Review I figured I would take a closer look at 3 Mobile App Development tools that are not only completely FREE but also cross platform.

As much as I love my Android and the openness that it provides to me, I realize that it is not the only game in town with iOS, Windows Phone and yes there are still a few Blackberry’s left kicking around out there so I went out looking for a few Frameworks that could handle the task of helping me develop an App to support a side project that I have been working on and low and behold I found a few.


The first development tool that I stumbled across is done completely from the Browser (well at least if you are using Chrome it very quickly installed a Browser Extension) and dove into the sample projects that it provides to get your feet wet.

It is based on HTML5 and throws in some JavaScript into the mix which actually was pretty easy to get a handle on pretty quickly.  There is the option to extend the capabilities beyond just the browser though with an extensive list of plugins and Dev Tools from their Downloads section.

My one major concern is that their Forum is not very active with the last activity that I could see being back in August of 2012…which is not a good sign.


The next option that I discovered was PhoneGap which is an extension of Eclipse.  This makes the setup a snap and well supported overall.  It supports a plethora of OS options which for this project is going to be key.

Not having had Eclipse installed for a while it took me a bit to navigate through the options there but once I was in and updated with the plugin I was off to the races!

Built on the Apache Cordova API, PhoneGap does a solid job but at the same time…may be a little bit of overkill for this project…but then again…over engineering something…is never a bad thing!!!


An interesting take on App Development it too leverages HTML5 and JavaScript but there are several downloads (including a full SDK and SDK Tools) as well as a very well documented support network that includes some great videos.

There is even a fairly extensive network of Training Sessions and if you choose to go beyond just the SenchaTouch there are more advanced development tools.

To really make use of the power of SenchaTouch you will need to familiarize yourself with the setup of a Local Web Server…if you are not sure how to do this…well there are a couple of ways to do this…one would be to run everything from a USB Stick the other is just build a local server on your machine.  I recommend strongly using XAMPP from the Apache Friends Organization as it will install easily on almost any host OS, is complete and easy to use (well relatively speaking).

Once that was installed it is just a matter of running through the extensive (and I mean EXTENSIVE) sessions that are already built to get you started!

I was quite impressed with SenchaTouch and will continue to leverage this tool set for my “Special Project”.



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