PhoneGap Build Adds Support for External Plugins, Larger App Sizes and More!

In their latest blog post the PhoneGap Build team have announced some massive upgrades just in time for Christmas. These include larger application size upload limits, support for plugins from plugins.cordova.io, a removed reviewing and approval process, plugins no longer need to be open source and you can now even upload your own private plugins for use just by you.

Let’s take a look at what these mean for developers in a little more detail…

1. New Application Size Limits

Developers making use of PhoneGap Builds 1 free private application offer will now be able to upload file sizes of up to 50MB, paid users will be able to upload a max of 100MB and Creative Cloud subscribers can upload up to a massive 1GB.

This is of course good news, but it’s probably the one I’m least excited about. Any application I’ve made has never exceed about 15MB (but hey, I’m not the only developer in the world!).

2. Support for External Plugin Registries

This is the feature that gave me goosebumps and made my stomach feel all tingly. Previously we had access to a huge amount of plugins (about 600) through PhoneGap Builds own plugins but now we can also include any plugins from the Official Cordova Plugin Registry.

To include a plugin from the registry you can simply include the following code in your config.xml:

<gap:plugin name="com.phonegap.plugins.example" version="0.3.3" source="plugins.cordova.io" />

Notice the addition of the source attribute. This can be omitted if you are including a plugin from PhoneGap Build.

This is pretty massive news, as commenter Liming Xie happily points out one advantage specifically is that we can now include the AdMob plugin to include advertisements in PhoneGap Build apps:

<gap:plugin name="com.google.cordova.admob" version="2.5.0" source="plugins.cordova.io"/>

As they mention in their blog post, this also means we will have access to Cordova core plugins as soon as they are released.

3. Removal of Reviewing & Approval Process

The reviewing and approval process, though understandable, has caused some issues in the past. Just recently I’ve been developing an application that made use of the PushWoosh plugin. There was an update to the plugin which I needed to get everything working on the latest PhoneGap version available, but it was sitting in PGB’s review queue.

Now we won’t run into issues like this anymore, as we can start using the plugin as soon as it is uploaded.

4. Compiled Binaries, Private Plugins and Open Source not Required

Previously PhoneGap Build would not accept any plugins that contained compiled binaries, and any code submitted needed to be open source. This is no longer the case, and you can now also upload your own plugins without making them publicly available to everybody else. I haven’t got into building my own plugins just yet so I don’t have much to say on the matter.

There’s so many plugins out there that the need would rarely ever arise where you needed to write your own plugin anyway, but I do like the direction PhoneGap Build is going in giving more control to the developer.

What’s your favourite addition to PhoneGap Build? How will these changes effect you? What do you want to see in the future?

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