That was fast: Chrome Apps ready to go mobile
There’s still a lot of work to be done, but Chrome’s HTML5 Apps can now work on both Android and iOS (with a little help from a friend) just months after they were first announced for desktops.
The cold, hard walls between mobile native apps and HTML5 wobbled a bit on Tuesday morning, as Google announced that Chrome Apps will now work on the two most popular mobile platforms.
Chrome Apps are HTML5-based single-serving applications, more than just a mere Web site, that will work on Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS without having to open your browser first. However, because they’re based in Chrome and can’t function without it, they’ve been criticized for “breaking” the Web.
Google opened up a developer preview of the Apache Cordova “toolchain” for wrapping Chrome Apps in code native to Android and iOS. It’s not perfect, but it lets developers more easily attain the Holy Grail of writing code once and publishing everywhere. After using Cordova, app makers will be able to publish their apps to Google Play and the Apple App Store. Google first revealed that mobile support for Chrome Apps was coming at the end of last year.
Google software engineer Andrew Grieve said that the Cordova toolchain “provides a simple workflow for extending the reach of Chrome Apps to users on mobile platforms.”