Publishing an App - Phone Gap : Part 1

This first article is based on my recent collaborative success on getting an app featured on both the Google Play Store an Apple's App Store. The app was developed for both platforms using Adobe's Phone Gap. This article intends to address all the issues I encountered and provide anybody else considering a similar venture as much useful information as possible. Following these articles does not guarantee publication, that is down to the quality of your own endeavour, however they will provide enough information to point you safely towards the review stages of publication.

Always Reverse Engineer

Phone Gap is a great tool for developing and previewing your apps. However the simplicity of its usability has recently being complicated by the removal of the mobile companion from the App Store. This inhibits the accessibility of this component for development on mobile iOS. However this is not a problem as you can familiarise yourself with Phone Gap build as you setup the mobile part of software from a Git Hub repository. There is more information in Phone Gap's blog.

Apple and the Apple Developers Program

Before staring any development you will require one thing, an Apple Mac computer with El Capitan iOS or higher. The platform specification for the Mac is important as towards the end of your project you will need to install Xcode to publish the App to App Store Connect. App Store Connects current minimum version requirement for Xcode, for publishing is version 8. This I know works on El Capitan iOS with 4GB of RAM and plenty of storage space. To download Xcode you will need an Apple ID however to publish apps and to install Phone Gao for development you will need to sign up as an Apple Developer. This costs 99 USD per year.

AndroidTM SDK and Google Play

When I developed with Phone Gap I built with a laptop featuring Windows 10 and a new iPad. You might find yourself in a similar situation or might be considering building with Phone Gap on your Mac whilst testing mobile suitability on an android device. Anyway one useful piece of software is the Android SDK. Even if you are not going to build with the SDK it has a powerful emulator that can be used to test the operability of the Phone Gap builds you have created. The new version of the SDK will allow you to test your with version 28 of the SDK. All apps published via Google Play after the 3rd of November this year will have to target this version of the SDk. At the moment version 26 is the minimum requirement. To publish to the Google Play Store you will require to sign up as a developer this requires a one off registration fee of $25.

A Brief Note About Device Responsiveness

It was possible to test what the app would look like on different types of mobile device by using Google Chrome's developer tools and its device emulator. At a later stage this emulator was also required for creating screen shots for previews required for the final publication of the app. Apple require screen shots for 3 device types, Google for two. In many ways it makes sense to emulate these devices periodically during development to ensure that the app you are building looks good under different screen resolutions. I found that the screenshots taken of emulations of the following devices were accepted by both Google Play and the App Store

  • Google 7 inch Phone Nexus 7 1200px x 1920px
  • Google 10 inch Tablet Nexus 10 1600px x 2560px
  • Apple 5.5 inch iPhone 6,7,8 Plus 1242px x 2208px
  • Apple 5.8 inch iPhone X 1125px x 2436px
  • iPad Pro 2048px x 2732px
The images featured below are examples of screenshots captured with an emulator for the app published on Friday the 14th of September 2018 for Magna Clava Limited.

Screen Shot of Login Page of App Developed With Phone Gap Screen Shot of Feed Display of App Developed With Phone Gap

Next Steps

Part 2 in this series of articles will feature information on how to define notification settings for iOS apps and how set the right SDK version for publishing to Google's play store. Again these considerations are important before the development of the app begins. To view the Magna Clava app please use the links below.

View the Magna Clava app in the Play Store