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Migrating from PhoneGap Build to Cordova CLI or Ionic Appflow

Advice on what to do when Adobe PhoneGap Build shuts down.Need advice on what to use when Adobe PhoneGap Build shuts down this fall? Alpha Software has a solution for building mobile apps.

The Adobe PhoneGap Build Service is shutting down on October 1, 2020. If you have been using PhoneGap Build to compile and build your iOS and Android apps, you must switch to a different method. Fortunately, Alpha Anywhere provides additional integrated options for building mobile applications. Developers can choose to build apps using Cordova CLI or Ionic AppFlow.

Going Mobile with Cordova CLI

Cordova CLI provides a command-line interface for creating iOS and Android applications. It is supported on Mac and Windows and requires installing Cordova CLI and the native app development tools for your target platform(s).

Alpha Anywhere works with Cordova CLI to create an Xcode or Android Studio project used to build a native mobile application for iOS or Android, respectively. Alpha Anywhere packages your application files and a script that describes the required plugins and resources needed to build the mobile app. The script is run with Cordova CLI to create the Xcode or Android Studio project. The generated project can then be opened in Xcode or Android Studio to build, test, and deploy your application to the iOS or Android app stores.

Cordova CLI offers the most flexibility for building cross-platform mobile iOS and Android applications. While PhoneGap Build and Ionic AppFlow are built on Apache Cordova, these services only allow you to test your app on a phone or tablet. When created with Cordova CLI, you gain access to device emulators and a wide range of tools for testing your iOS and Android applications before deploying them to physical devices. It takes a little time to become familiar with the Cordova CLI process, but it's worth the effort.

Build and Deploy with Ionic Appflow

With the release of Alpha Anywhere, Alpha Anywhere developers can use Ionic Appflow to build mobile applications. Ionic Appflow is a cloud-based service that allows you to build Cordova apps for iOS or Android. It has the same ease of use as PhoneGap Build and does not require any extra hardware (i.e., a Mac.)

To build iOS or Android apps, developers publish application updates to a GitHub project connected to Ionic Appflow. Ionic Appflow automatically creates a new version of your application when a change is detected. When your app is ready to ship, you can publish directly to the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Alpha Anywhere works with Ionic Appflow by generating the application build files to publish GitHub. You will need a GitHub account and, at a minimum, a paid Ionic Appflow Launch account.

Preparing your Application for Cordova CLI or Ionic Appflow

Alpha Anywhere's PhoneGap Builder isn't exclusively for building PhoneGap Apps. When configuring your application for building iOS or Android applications, you can change the App Build Target to "CLI" or "Ionic Appflow." The PhoneGap Builder will update the reflect the selected build target. Specifying the rest of the settings is similar to how you would configure a PhoneGap Build. Complete your application configuration and click the "Save & Launch PhoneGap CLI Builder" or "Save & Build For Ionic Appflow" button at the bottom of the builder. Alpha Anywhere will then generate the build files needed by the respective service.

cliBuild  ionicAppflowBuild

For more detailed information on how to build applications with Cordova CLI and Ionic Appflow, check out the documentation:

  • PhoneGap / Cordova CLI Builder - Learn how to build applications using Cordova CLI. If you're building apps for iOS, we've put together this handy checklist.
  • PhoneGap / Ionic Appflow - Learn how to setup and build applications with Ionic Appflow

What will happen to the PhoneGap Plugins used by my application?

Third-party developers develop many PhoneGap plugins. These plugins are hosted on either NPM or GitHub. Even though PhoneGap Build is going away, these hosting platforms are not. As long as the plugin works with Apache Cordova, which is what PhoneGap is built on, you do not need to worry.

What is going to happen to the PhoneGap Builder in Alpha Anywhere?

PhoneGap Build is shutting down on October 1, 2020. Because the build service will no longer be available, we will be removing PhoneGap Build integration from Alpha Anywhere and renaming the PhoneGap Builder to the Cordova Builder.

Learn more about Alpha Anywhere and take a 30-day free trial.

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About Author

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell

Technical Writer and Documentation Expert at Alpha Software

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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.