Developing for Multiple Mobile Platforms using Web Technologies in RadPHP XE2

Posted by on in Blogs
Over the past decade, the mobile landscape has changed rapidly. Smartphones have been dominating the market and mobile phones and tablets have become the go-to devices for consumers and business customers alike.

Platforms like iOS and Android have been showing double digit growth year over year, and mobile application development has presented a viable business opportunity for individual developers and enterprise companies alike.

When the iPhone was first introduced to consumers in 2007, it changed the mobile landscape forever. It provided a totally new, interactive mobile experience unlike anything the industry had ever seen before.

With the introduction of the iOS SDK for mobile application development in early 2008, and the launch of the Apple App Store a few months later, a new tech craze was born. Developers around the world could now create mobile app versions of their popular desktop applications. Hundreds of thousands of new applications were developed, allowing users to be productive, creative, and to have fun on their mobile devices. However, back then developers were limited to Apple’s tools and only able to code their applications in Objective-C using Xcode.

In 2011, Apple loosened its restrictions and allowed developers to build iOS apps and sell them through Apple’s App Store without using Objective-C and Apple’s development tools. This spurred new technologies, including mobile web app development frameworks that allow users to create applications for multiple mobile platforms including iOS, Android and BlackBerry using standard web programming languages such as HTML, Javascript and CSS.

Mobile applications built on web technologies can access device sensors and services using platforms such as PhoneGap and can be packaged as native applications. Several Javascript libraries have moved to the forefront of web and mobile web application development. One of those Javascript libraries is jQuery. JQuery has long been a popular JavaScript library for creating rich, interactive websites and web applications. However, since it was designed primarily for desktop browsers, it does not have many features specifically designed for building mobile web applications. JQuery Mobile is a project that addresses this shortfall. It is a framework built on top of JQuery that provides a range of user interface elements and features for you to use in your mobile applications.

PhoneGap is an application platform based on HTML5 that enables developers to build native mobile applications with access to device sensors and services such as the camera, GPS and accelerometer using the aforementioned web technologies. PhoneGap leverages web technologies that developers already know such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS and allows them to build applications with a native look and feel or a common UI across all the target platforms. Applications built with PhoneGap using web technologies can be distributed on the most popular mobile marketplaces, like the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace.

With the release of RadPHP XE2, Embarcadero introduced visual mobile web application development using jQueryMobile and PhoneGap making it easy to work with those technologies. RadPHP XE2 wraps JQuery Mobile features into mobile components, and provides a wizard for PhoneGap. You can create mobile web applications directly from RadPHP, use JQuery Mobile components to create touch-friendly interfaces and PhoneGap components to interact with mobile device hardware, and deploy your applications to Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices.

RadPHP XE2 for Mobile App Development allows you to:

Build mobile-optimized touch-friendly web applications for most mobile devices in the market using new jQuery Mobile components

Visual Mobile Designer to see how apps will look on the real device

Convert PHP apps into standalone mobile apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry

Interact with the mobile device hardware, like GPS, accelerometer, camera, etc.

Expanded Zend Framework component set with email, barcode, Google, RSS and more

Give your mobile apps access to device features like cameras, accelerometers and GPS in an easy component-based way

RadPHP is unique for mobile app development since it's the only visual Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment for PHP.  Other development environments may include a visual HTML designer but only RadPHP provides a visual designer that incorporates HTML and HTML templates with visual PHP components that you can drag and drop to create user interfaces and database connectivity. It also has an integrated component class library that lets developers quickly and visually create PHP web applications and integrate PHP open source packages, source code and components.

The RadPHP Visual Component Library (RPCL) adds mobile components and wizards to leverage your PHP skills to create native mobile optimized Android, iOS and BlackBerry applications.

RadPHP XE2 includes dozens of jQuery Mobile components.  The RadPHP IDE lets you quickly create mobile web apps directly from the IDE and use the jQuery Mobile components to create touch friendly interfaces.

You can simulate iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch), Android and BlackBerry devices and you can add new devices, such as Android tablets.

And the code is 100% pure PHP, JavaScript and HTML code!

After we create our Mobile app in the RadPHP IDE, we’ll use the Wizard for PhoneGap to generate all the files we need to create our native iOS, Android and/or BlackBerry mobile app based on web technologies.

With RadPHP, you build your mobile app once, and the Wizard for PhoneGap creates the native mobile apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

Concluding Remarks

Embarcadero® RadPHP™ XE2 provides the fastest way to build Web, Facebook®, and mobile applications with the only visual PHP framework and IDE that supports Web and mobile deployment. RadPHP XE2 offers over 200 drag-and-drop components for building UIs, displaying and interacting with data and services such as Google maps and Facebook, along with integrated coding, debugging, performance profiling, and database connectivity. To learn more about RadPHP XE2, or to download a trial, visit


Check out more tips and tricks in this development video: