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Visual Studio Now Supports Hybrid Cross-platform Mobile Development via Cordova

by Abel Avram on May 13, 2014 |

Microsoft has added native support for hybrid cross-platform mobile applications in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2.

Microsoft has collaborated with PhoneGap as early as 2011 starting with support for Windows Phone Mango, and later it begun contributing to the Cordova project, but now they are integrating Cordova into their tooling. Microsoft has announced at TechEd North America Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 which includes among other new features deep support for Apache Cordova enabling developers to create iOS, Android, Windows Store and Windows Phone hybrid applications with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

Unlike previous support for native applications via Xamarin tools, this time Microsoft has created their own Multi Device Hybrid Apps (MDHA) extension for Visual Studio. MDHA offers a rich editor along with templates for JavaScript or TypeScript, and the ability to use the framework of choice, including Angular, Backbone, Bootstrap, Underscore or WinJS. A number of demo apps are provided as examples: Angular, Backbone, WinJS.

Developers can build and deploy applications on various devices, emulators or web-based simulators. Apache Ripple is the default simulator used for testing an app before deployment on a device. MDHA can be used for advanced debugging of Windows Store or Android 4.4 applications. Deployment and running in a iOS Simulator on Mac OS X can be done from Visual Studio through the vs-mda-remote package for Node.js.

MDHA is integrated with a number of Microsoft cloud services including Azure Mobile services, Azure AD, Application Insights and Office 365.

Another solution for creating hybrid mobile applications with Visual Studio is with Xamarin Portable Razor kit, which is a lightweight implementation of the ASP.NET MVC APIs for mobile devices. Xamarin has written a demo application exemplifying an application for iOS and Android combining C#, native APIs and web technologies.

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