Pimp your Phonegap Android dev stack [1/3]

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CordovaAndroid debuggingDebugging Phonegap apps has its own catch; you start out working in webtechnology but the need to check if things look great on your phone a.s.a.p. is always present. And then there is the difference per platform on what tools are available for debugging.
iOS, for one, has built-in remote debugging capabilities that will let you check your browser console and mutate the page DOM and set breakpoints on your JS code. These are important tools that will help you tackle nasty bugs and speed up your development proces

In a series of posts called “Pimp your Phonegap Android dev stack” I share some ins and outs on some tools that make a fast development stack setup for building Phonegap Android apps.


First of all: I am in no way affiliated with the product- and service providers mentioned herein. They didn’t approach me and the tooling mentioned is used by me because I investigated options and they came across as (my personal) winners.


 

From turtle to haze: Genymotion emulator tooling

One of the first issues is the slowness of the standard emulator. There are many solutions like creating your own fast Virtuabox virtual android device or, less work, using Intel based VM acceleration like the Android manual states (search for HAXM).

The solution that i recommend: Genymotion

GenymotionWhy? It is based on Oracle Virtuabox‘s VM technology which makes it blazingly fast. It basically is a tool that lets you configure and download customized VMs and provides extra tools around the Android VM as well. Some are just useful like quick screen capturing, others are very fine additions like the sensor emulation that will come soon.

Starting up your emulator will now take under 10 seconds (Macbook pro with SSD) and it pretty damn fast. You can quickly setup multiple configurations (by creation or cloning) and run them. This is a real time saver and it even provides a free tier for personal use.

When using Cordova/Phonegap just run a device instance and use the following (the Genymotion device is not seen as emulator:

Why? This puppy will save you quite some time since it is much faster and more complete then the normal emulator. It has nice resizing, works on both Windows and Macs and lets you clone and setup the most vital Android emulators in a snap!

Pros

  • Fast
  • Complete
  • Easy setup of devices
  • Free tier available

Cons

  • Free version doesn’t have all the extra’s enabled
  • It relies on Virtuabox technology so you’ll need to install that first
  • it has a plugin for IDE’s like Eclipse but in my experience it is slower then manually starting a device and running the app

So, what are you waiting for? Go get this one and start saving a LOT of time waiting for your emulator – unless you like that time to fetch your cup of coffee 😉