Phonegap Days Europe 2016 RECAP #pgday

Phonegap Days EU 2016

On Thursday the 18th and Friday 19th of May 2016 I attended the Adobe Phonegap Days Europe 2016 (#pgday) event in Amsterdam. This was my first time around and for those that wanted to go but couldn’t , hesitated or just missed it: be there next time. Thanks to Valid for giving me the oppertunity to attend!

The event was loaded with interesting talks on the first day from people in the #mobiledev and #hybrid app development community including  @phonegap, @apachecordova, Holly Schinsky (@devgirlFL), @Ionicframework, Microsoft (in the @ryanjsalva) and more.

On day 2 it was time to hack along with a big variety of workshops. These were ranging from creating Phonegap/Cordova plugins to hybrid app security to setting up a productive cordova developer machine to augmented reality, and them some…

In this post I’ll be listing my favorite talks that were either packed with useful info and/or inspiring in any way and some of the cool facts/projects that I’ve gotten wind of.
Views are my own.

More after the break.

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My favourite talks (interesting and/or most inspiring) on #pgday eu 2016



  • Plain, clear and practical information that will improve your Cordova / Phonegap app
    That’s what I’d use to describe the presentation that first guest speaker of the day Kerri Shotts gave. Good overviews that you can use to make decisions and some head-on pointers that will improve your #hybrid app solution. Check out her presentation over here.
  • Solid information on kicking your hybrid app’s tyres and make it even faster
    Bruce Lefebvre made clear how the ~16.6 ms timeframe needs to be honored in order to make your app feel as smooth as butter. Introducing cool tools like browser-perf and best practices made this one packed with goodies. A cool presentation that he has shared over here and his GitHub repo showcasing browser-perf for a phonegap app is over here.
  • A comparison on the “gap” between webtech nowadays and Hybrid app tech
    Remy Sharp gave  the hybrid / webtech mobile app developer community  a refresher on how web tech is enabling all the things that once were native only in his talk. He discussed how Phonegap is filling a need that might be obsolete nowadays, how web tech is catching up and technology advances like Progressive Web Apps. A nice eye opener was about how you lose your target group with each click needed to get them running your app. Nice one, check it out on Speakerdeck over here. Make sure you check out @ionicframework’s post on Progressive Web Apps, while you’re at it 😉
  • If you think Android fragmentation is hell, you’d want to check out developing big screen apps!
    That was my conclusion on Niels Leenheer’s (@rakaz) talk about developing web-technology based apps for smart televisions. He had an interesting talk on the fragmentation – not only hardware, but also the OS platforms used and screen dimensions, hardware based upscaling and good old fashioned screen side clipping. No unified front over there yet… His slides can be found here will be up soon.
  • How you can use Ripple’s successor to keep developing even after adding hardware dependant Cordova plugins
    One of the most interesting things Ryan J Salva demonstrated in his presentation was how Ripple’s successor, cordova-simulate, can be configured to simulate hardware feedback to any Cordova plugin. Besides the core plugins – that are already supported – you can even setup your own plugin and add configurable properties that will show up in the cordova simulator’s interface and can be set by hand to make any plugin play nice with simulated feedback (instead of needing physical feedback from the device). Very powerful stuff! A nice addition to the Phonegap community by Microsoft.
  • Eye-opening presentation on the Nigerian mobile market & how upcoming mobile markets in developing countries have it’s own quirks to take into account
    And when I say quirks I mean quirks. This energetic and inspiring talk by Sani Usuf had some very interesting facts, like

    • In Nigeria there are like 100M mobile users (!)
    • Nigerians have multiple smartphones (about 3-4 per person) utilising multiple providers
    • Blackberry and Windows still have existence rights, but iOS and Android are very ruling Nigeria!
    • Mobile internet is the most common access to internet at all
    • Web apps still #1. Native mobile app dev is too expensive and hybrid apps fill a gap here (cost-wise and knowledge wise)
    • Mobile data limits (50Gb bandwidth) and slow(er) speed like LTE are very common
    • Offline mode is necessary because people shut down data connection to save bandwidth.
    • APK size DOES matter. Make your app small (Crosswalk? use Lite!)
    • Cache stuff on the phone (people will give you space)
    • Be transparent about download size and interaction size
    • App purchases are no go (nobody will use apps using this)
    • And the list goes on….

    Check out Sani’s slides over here and get all the details that will make your next app more developing world friendly.



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Other cool stuff mentioned during the talks and/or workshops:

  • A nice demo on Onsen 2 by Masahiro Tanaka, proving it to be a great mobile UI library
  • Evan Shultz demonstrated a nice CodePush setup and an interesting idea that let’s testers choose the pull-request to install as their current app version
  • Wikitude has a (pricey for independent devs, but cool) library along with Cordova plugin to develop AR empowered apps
  • Don’t want to choose between Native or Hybrid? Embedding hybrid views in your native apps is a valid solution too (mind shift!). Check this Microsoft library for example.
  • No more excuses to use HTTP for your app communication! Get your free Certificates from Let’s Encrypt over here!
  • Want more control over your #hybrid app’s keyboard? Check out this plugin that overlays your html inputs with native ones! Found out about this one via the talk that @ionicframework‘s Tim Lancina gave about Keyboard input in hybrid apps.
  • Check out these cool and clean Bash Shell scripts from @ryanjsalva that will speed up and clear out your shell usage for #mobiledev.
  • Whitelisting and CSP makes for a better, more secure hybrid app. Check out this cool CSP definition tool that will really help you out on defining a solid CSP.


That’s all for now. As soon as the videos are up, the link will be provided here too.