The PhoneGap Story with Brian LeRoux

On Wednesday, June 1st, we had Brian LeRoux from Nitobi come by Bootup to talk about the PhoneGap story and the future of mobile app development.

PhoneGap is the only open-source mobile framework that supports 6 platforms – Apple iOS, Android, Palm, Symbian, Blackberry, and even more platforms will be available soon. Nitobi built this framework for developers to decrease the difficulty of trying to build apps that will function across all mobile devices.

Brian gave some background on how Nitobi shifted from being mainly a product-based company to a service-based one, and how PhoneGap came together in the process. PhoneGap’s source code has been downloaded more than half a million times, and the open source community has jumped on board with fervor.

The entire presentation was based on the internet meme that Tanner Glass, of the Vancouver Canucks, can fight bears. Check out his slides from the presentation and you’ll see what I mean. It sounds like it makes no sense at all, but it was rather fitting, seeing as how Wednesday was Game 1 of Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Brian had some great advice & suggestions for other startups in regards to web & mobile development:

  • Bill hourly. Nitobi tracks their time to the minute, and never gives fixed bids on projects. Makes sense.
  • NO overtime. Longer hours are detrimental to success.
  • Speaking at conferences is one of their best marketing tools. Not a lot of devs like to do presentations, but it is great for word of mouth and getting your name and your product or service out there.
  • Ship early. If a client wants a project completed in a month, see if you can ship it in two weeks.
  • Find a really tough problem and attempt to solve it. It’s more than anyone else is doing.

Some of the main takeaways from the talk were:

  • Tech deprecates. You do not have to. Stay on top of new tech by talking to devs.
  • Facilitate learning within your team.
  • Use devs wisely. Ask them about their passion projects. What are they hacking on over the weekend?

 

Brian then went into the actual PhoneGap code structure and ran some quick demos to show devs how fast you could deploy a mobile app on the platform. This is where the developers got all excited. If you’re technical, we highly suggest you walk through the slides below to take a look at the freedom the platform provides your mobile ambitions. With HTML, CSS, and Javascript you’re up and one multiple devices in minutes.

It’s really remarkable.

You can view the rest of the presentation slides here:

A huge thanks to Brian and Nitobi for such an enjoyable and technically exciting event. We hope to continue these PhoneGap events to follow the technology as it matures.
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