Google announced today in a blog post that its Chrome apps are ready to be ported to both iOS and Android. Chrome apps are HTML5-based apps that run offline like a standalone application. They were introduced to the desktop platform and soon they will work on mobile devices. The company made available a developer preview of a toolchain based on Apache Cordova. This toolchain will wrap the HTML5 code in a native application shell giving developers the ability to distribute their apps via the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Cordova provides aprogramming environment that allows a developer to write-once and distribute to many platforms.
Many of the core APIs available to desktop Chrome apps are also available to mobile versions including:
- identity – sign-in users using OAuth2 without prompting for passwords
- payments (currently Android only) – sell virtual goods within your mobile app
- pushMessaging – push messages to your app from your server
- sockets – send and receive data over the network using TCP and UDP
- notifications (currently Android only) – send rich notifications from your mobile app
- storage – store and retrieve key-value data locally
- syncFileSystem – store and retrieve files backed by Google Drive
- alarms – run tasks periodically
The toolchain is a developer preview only, with improvements expected as developers begin to use the tool.