Alpha Software Blog

Building Native Mobile Applications with Alpha Anywhere and PhoneGap



Alpha Anywhere's mission is  to be be the most comprehensive system for building and deploying Mobile and Web  business applications extremely rapidly and cost effectively.

In pursuit of this mission, we are very excited to announce that in the our latest pre-release build of Alpha Anywhere   (which contains a huge array of powerful and new exciting capabilities in Alpha Anywhere,) you will find a very important new advancement in Alpha Anywhere - PhoneGap integration.

This integration is designed to make it very easy and fast to build Native Mobile Application with Anywhere!

Documentation for the PhoneGap integration in Alpha Anywhere can be found here.

The introduction from the documentation is reproduced below.

Alpha Anywhere is a comprehensive HTML5 development system that on it’s own can build powerful, secure, scaleable and responsive mobile HTML5 web applications for business that look and feel like native applications.

Once created, a web application on a mobile device is launched within the web browser that is supplied with the device.  iOS devices typically use Mobile Safari, while Android devices can use a variety of browsers with Chrome or some derivative of Chrome typically being the native browser. Since the app is running within the browser, it is limited to the capabilities that the browser exposes.

But suppose you want to access some of the native features of the phone or tablet?

For example, let’s say you want to allow your users to access a bar code scanner, which incorporates the devices camera and some special image processing software, that sits locally on the device, that can decipher a QR Code or a barcode and send that encoded information back to your web application for a possible database lookup or submission to a web service to lookup specifics on a book or an inventory part. You can do that with PhoneGap and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  For more on PhoneGap go to

PhoneGap allows you to access ALL of the functionality of the mobile device.  You are really only limited by your imagination and skills.

PhoneGap includes a large set of core and third party plugins that expose all sorts of native functionality. A variety of the plugins support iOS, Android and Windows Phone so that you can target a wide range of mobile phones and tablets. And best of all, PhoneGap allows you to build true native apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 devices, apps that you can easily distribute through the numerous app stores.

An Overview Of The Development Process with PhoneGap and Alpha Anywhere

You will use the Alpha Anywhere IDE to develop a base UX component that may contain all of the code and data that is required for your PhoneGap application, or you may choose to create a base UX component that loads data and additional components from a remote server (assuming the phone or tablet has Internet access).

When you are ready to convert your base UX component into a PhoneGap app, the integrated PhoneGap App Builder is used from within the Alpha Anywhere IDE to:

• Generate the PhoneGap app scaffolding/shell code
• Generate all required PhoneGap configuration options, including the addition of required PhoneGap plugins
• Convert the UX Component into a set of files that contain all of the standalone HTML, CSS, JavaScript and additional assets (images, etc.) required to build a single page PhoneGap app that is installed and loaded locally from the device. This ensures that the initial page can provide a fast, workable and pleasant user experience, even when the device is offline.
• Upload the content to PhoneGap Build, which can create native apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 devices.
Once the app is built with PhoneGap Build, you can:
• Install the native app for testing on iOS and Android devices
• Debug your code wirelessly through the use of a local or remotely hosted debug server
• Push updates to all of your test devices without the need to reinstall the app from a file or from PhoneGap Build

Application testing can be done directly on a phone or tablet by scanning a QRCode that PhoneGap Build displays after the platform builds are completed by the service.  You can also share the PhoneGap Build QRCode with a customer or other app testers for feedback, etc.

PhoneGap Build eliminates the need for you to install all of the individual SDK’s for each platform that you are targeting on your development machine. It also eliminates the need to compile and build for each targeted platform. PhoneGap Build does all of this for you as a web service.
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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.