PhoneGap Support in MyEclipse 2016

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    Brian Fernandes

    Existing PhoneGap tooling in MyEclipse 2015

    When we introduced PhoneGap tooling in MyEclipse 2015 our aim was to provide comprehensive support for Hybrid Mobile App development using the Cordova and PhoneGap technologies. We supported a range of capabilities, taking you from project creation, to building production versions of your application, with the ability to test your application in our Mobile Web Simulator.

    For some users, our PhoneGap tools performed well, but at the same time, there were also many users who experienced a variety of issues. We wanted to empower users with the ability to build apps locally, without needing to rely on the PhoneGap Build service. This meant having tools in MyEclipse interface with an external SDK environment which we had no control over, an environment which could be drastically different from one machine to the next. Even with detailed documentation, it was hard to get users to replicate the exact environment the tool required. As a result, the local application build support was not as robust as we would have liked.

    The PhoneGap SDK and project architecture on which MyEclipse depends has undergone major changes as the project matured. While these were positive changes, this meant our tooling had to change as well, adapting to the newer project structures, configuration file formats and CLI behaviors, while maintaining backward compatibility for users who were already developing with older versions of PG which MyEclipse supported – a difficult task. In some cases, bugs in the PhoneGap SDK made this task harder, with behavior that was different, and buggy, for local and remote builds.

    PhoneGap in MyEclipse 2016

    At Genuitec, we have to continually balance the cost to implement a feature with the benefit it provides to our user base, and continuing to chase PhoneGap versions, project models, or atypical build environments wasn’t nearly as impactful as investing in other areas. We realize that developing a hybrid mobile app is so much more than project creation, configuration and building – the primary processes we supported in MyEclipse 2015. Most of your time will be spent designing your app’s user interface, and actually writing code in JavaScript. As a result, we will be be focusing our efforts on capabilities like improved JavaScript for a far better coding experience, or CodeLive, which makes it so much easier to work iteratively on your app’s user interface design. Upcoming Angular 2 support will help with next-gen hybrid apps and usability features like Emmet and the Minimap make everyday coding easier.

    As far as ongoing integrated PhoneGap tool support is concerned, we would recommend that our users switch to using the PhoneGap command line for a more reliable and transparent experience. In the last few years, command line tools have become far more powerful and flexible, and in the case of PhoneGap, the CLI is easy to use. MyEclipse 2016 includes a Terminal View which can be used to execute PhoneGap commands in a local shell directly within the IDE. We will be adding features like project context awareness, environment set-up, content assist, etc., which will make terminal use more convenient.

    Migrating to MyEclipse 2016
    The following guide will help you migrate your PhoneGap project from MyEclipse 2015 into MyEclipse 2016 and continue development using the PhoneGap CLI. If you would still like some integrated tool assistance, you can try the Eclipse Thym plugin, though almost all actions can be performed using the CLI – the guide talks through both options. For the easiest application build experience, we recommend building your app remotely using the PhoneGap Build service. However, if you are comfortable with local SDK setup, you can choose to build your applications locally and switch to using the Cordova CLI directly instead of the PhoneGap CLI – our guide takes you through the remote build approach.

    PhoneGap Migration Guide

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