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.

PhoneGap Hack Night

Our friends from Nitobi have offered to hang out and provide support / feedback to people as we all hack on creating a mobile app with PhoneGap. What is PhoneGap?

It also happens to have been downloaded 250K times and lets anyone that can do HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can build a cross platform mobile app. Here’s a list of some of the apps built with PhoneGap.

Bring your laptops, bring some BEvERages of your choice, bring $5 for pizza, and we’ll see how many apps we can build in one evening. Tuesday, March 23rd, 6pm until late.

Let us know you’re coming on Upcoming.

DemoIgniteCamp Wrap Up

It’s more than a week after DemoIgniteCamp that we had at the Vancouver Convention Center thanks to Microsoft Canada and Joey deVilla. You can find his wrap up post on the Microsoft Canadian Developer Connection blog. My excuse is that I was involved in 6 events in 5 days and am just surfacing again 😛

I really enjoyed the opportunity to get really really techie. As Avi said, “Surprised that the demos (including mine) are all of tools vs. products”. We purposefully kept the list very developer / programming / cool tools focused, and I’m pleased with the result.

We had 7 presentations, none of them really in Ignite style aside from Joey’s. I think it would be fun to do “real” Ignite style presentations at some point, but in Vancouver, the original Pecha Kucha does a good job of that.

The 6 presentations aside from Joye’s were as follows:

  1. Clamato — Hot Smalltalk on JavaScript action by Avi Bryant
  2. TransitDB – Carson Lam’s online guide for Vancouver Transit users that won the PHP FTW contest earlier this year
  3. RestfulX Framework – Dima Berastau’s framework for bringing Rails-esque goodness and RESTfulness to Adobe Flex and AIR development
  4. PhoneGap and Ayogo’s use of it for iPhone Game Development
  5. Joyent’s Smart – Joyent’s server-side Javascript cloud platform
  6. Walruz — Ruby framework for managing complex authorization policies

My sincere apologies to Mobify for not having time to fit their presentation in at the end. It just goes to show that I really do need a gong for timed presentations (/me looks at DaveO).

Thanks again to Joey and the rest of the Microsoft Canada / TechDays crew for making the space available AND for buying a round of truly “Free beer” at the Lion’s Pub afterwards, and to everyone for attending and presenting.

So, this wasn’t really a DemoCamp event, and it wasn’t really an Ignite event. It was a lot of fun, and I’d like to do more like this. As I said at the event, I need help in programming and organizing these events – get in touch or leave a comment if you have some ideas.

We’re also announcing another DemoCamp Vancouver event on October 22nd. If all goes as planned, we’ll be announced some startup funding related news at the event. If you want to present, please follow the link and sign up for a “Pitch Presenter” ticket.