Microsoft really is backing all the horses. An announcement at TechEd reveals a preview release of Visual Studio support for Cordova. How many ways do you need to create a cross platform mobile app?
The Microsoft environment has never been known as being welcoming of cross platform development. It has been promised at various points in the past - the most notable recently was of course Silverlight and we all know where that ended. Also this is the company that refers to an app that can run on Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1 as "universal".
However there is already a way, if not a 100% Microsoft way, of doing cross platform mobile development within Visual Studio. With the help of Xamarin you can write C# applications that run on Windows Phone, iOS and Android. The only problem is that as native applications you have to do some work to craft the UI on each of the platforms. You can share core functionality but you still have to write custom UIs.
If you are willing to give up the idea of a 100% native app then you can already create platform independent apps that will run on a wide range of phones.
You can think of the wrapper as a web browser with the security sandbox thrown away.
The TechEd announcement enhances Cordova's position as the standard is reinforced.
Why use Visual Studio with Cordova?
Microsoft lists the following advantages:
The ability to streamline multi-platform device development and improve efficiency through the use of existing tools
A great code editor
Advanced debugging tools
Testing capabilities for all platforms
Various open source front-end frameworks such as Angular, Bootstrap, Backbone, Underscore and WinJS
Integration with Microsoft services such as Azure Mobile services, Azure AD, Application Insights and Office 365
Multi-Device Hybrid Apps for Visual Studio CTP1 is ready to download now.