Telerik Launches Plug-in Marketplace for Hybrid Developers

Developer tools and solutions provider Telerik has launched a new plug-in marketplace for hybrid mobile developers called the Verified Plugins Marketplace. The company describes it as a curated list of Cordova/PhoneGap plug-ins that have been "thoroughly tested, documented and extended to empower cross-platform hybrid mobile developers."

"Critical to the success of any mobile development platform is the plug-in ecosystem," said Todd Anglin, executive vice president of the Telerik Cross-Platform Tools group. "Plug-ins, particularly for hybrid, allow developers to access native capabilities of the devices where their apps are running. For hybrid apps, we think one of the key weaknesses has been a wild west of plug-ins. No curation, no guaranteed quality -- which adds a lot of risk for hybrid developers. To solve that problem, we've created a plug-in marketplace."

Apache Cordova defines a set of device APIs that allows developers to access native device functions from JavaScript. When combined with a framework like the open source PhoneGap, it lets developers build mobile apps using JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3, without any native code. The Web tech is hosted in the application, rather than on a remote HTTP server.

As the project Web site explains it: "Cordova provides a set of uniform JavaScript libraries that can be invoked, with device-specific native backing code for those JavaScript libraries." Cordova is available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Palm WebOS, Bada and Symbian.

Plug-ins are critical here, Anglin insisted, because of their ability to extend the functionality of mobile apps to native device functionality beyond what Cordova/PhoneGap supports. Custom Cordova plug-ins already support everything from push notifications and social sharing to Bluetooth functionality, he said.

A plug-ins marketplace provides a "definitive source of where to go for functional, verified, and documented plug-ins for hybrid development," Anglin said.

Anglin said Telerik expects the new marketplace to become "the iTunes of plug-ins." At launch, the marketplace included more than two dozen plug-ins for apps running on Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8. The current list of plug-ins includes, among others: the Amazon Web Services plug-in, which provides app access to some popular Amazon cloud services; the Couchbase Lite plug-in, which provides app access to a native NoSQL JSON database; the Leanplum plug-in, which provides app access to the Leanplum SDK; and the Toast plug-in, which supports native text popups on Android via the native Toast view, and on iOS and Window Phone 8 via a custom UI designed to mimic the Android implementation. There are also several Telerik plug-ins, such as the Native Page Transitions plug-in, which uses native hardware acceleration to animate transitions between views.

The plug-ins on the Verified Plugins Marketplace are available with no access fees.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].