A few weeks ago, I wrote a post referencing how you as a developer don’t have to be torn between building mobile experiences in HTML5 or native phone apps.  In fact, with the upcoming Mango release for Windows Phone, the “better together” story is a strong one that allows you to take advantage of great HTML5 goodness while harnessing that advantages that the native platform provides (like push notifications and live tiles) to create a full, rich experience for users and a manageable one for developers.

To that end, I was very excited to learn that Nitobi, a great Vancouver-based company with a strong history in building mobile development platforms, has announced the release a beta of its popular PhoneGap framework supporting Mango.  This is a really big deal, not only for Microsoft, but for you as a mobile developer.  PhoneGap is a framework that is already available on platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry that allows you to build apps using HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript and native phone resources to create amazing mobile experiences catered to the targeted phone platform.

In a very high-level nutshell, PhoneGap allows developers to create application experiences by building code in HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript and wrapping it in a native phone platform app.  PhoneGap generally takes care of the “plumbing” for the web code to communicate with the actual app it is wrapped around.  This allows you as a developer to leverage your web skills in creating the app’s content and then take advantage of the great, native features that the phone platform itself provides.  It is, as I like to call it, a win-win.

There are literally thousands of apps built leveraging PhoneGap across all of the phone platforms available today.  This presents a great opportunity for developers with existing PhoneGap apps to port their solutions to Windows Phone Mango.  With IE9 as the browser on Mango, the ability to leverage HTML5 and CSS3 capabilities on the phone while merging it with the great native features of Mango brings a new and fresh look for your apps that can reach net new users.

If you’re new to PhoneGap but know HTML5 or web development in general, then chances are it’s a great place to start if you’re interested in building apps for Mango as you can leverage those web skills and then learn how to code in some of the great app offerings that Mango provides.

Oh, and if you know nothing about building Mango apps but you want to know how to start (or know how to code for Windows Phone 7 but want a primer on Mango), the Mango Jumpstart training course is now available on demand!  I blogged about the Mango Jumpstart training course a couple of weeks ago.  It was a two-day, deep-dive, online training course that was delivered live for free.  We have recorded each of the 14 sessions in this two-day course and they are now available for you to watch whenever you want.

The sessions available in this course are as follows:

  1. Mango Jump Start (01): Building Windows Phone Apps with Visual Studio 2010
  2. Mango Jump Start (02): Silverlight on Windows Phone—Introduction
  3. Mango Jump Start (03): Silverlight on Windows Phone—Advanced
  4. Mango Jump Start (04): Using Expression to Build Windows Phone Interfaces
  5. Mango Jump Start (05): Windows Phone Fast Application Switching
  6. Mango Jump Start (06): Windows Phone Multi-tasking & Background Tasks
  7. Mango Jump Start (07): Using Windows Phone Resources (Bing Maps, Camera, etc.)
  8. Mango Jump Start (08a): Application Data Storage on Windows Phone | Part 1
  9. Mango Jump Start (08b): Application Data Storage on Windows Phone | Part 2
  10. Mango Jump Start (09): Using Networks with Windows Phone
  11. Mango Jump Start (10): Tiles & Notifications on Windows Phone
  12. Mango Jump Start (11a): XNA for Windows Phone | Part 1
  13. Mango Jump Start (11b): XNA for Windows Phone | Part 2
  14. Mango Jump Start (12): Selling a Windows Phone Application

So, what do you need to do now?  Here’s a little list that is worth checking out:

  • Download the Windows Phone Mango RC tools.  It’s the first thing you’ll need to start developing apps for Mango.
  • If you’re new to Windows Phone development or looking for training, check out the Mango Jumpstart Training course links above.
  • Interested in PhoneGap for MangoDownload it here. 
  • Bookmark our Windows Phone Development resources page.  It contains a great list of resources on Mango that you’ll want to have handy.  We’ll be keeping the content fresh so check back on occasion to see what’s new.
  • Start coding apps and games for Mango!