App Stores are requiring updates

Within the last month, both Apple and Google have announced they will be removing apps which have not been kept up to date.

Many, if not all, PhoneGap projects are old enough that they will be affected. Fixing them is usually not a huge problem - VoltBuilder is designed to help PhoneGap users update their projects.

We have the following resources to help:

Apple

You may have gotten this from Apple:

App Store Improvement Notice

This app has not been updated in a significant amount of time and is scheduled to be removed from sale in 30 days. No action in required for the app to remain available to users who have already download the app.

You can keep this app available for new users to discover and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review within 30 days. If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.

There is more information on their web site. Apple is not specific as to what they are looking for, but refer you to the App Store Review Guidelines.

Some of the things we know can cause problems are insecure web references, using UIWebView, and using out of date Xcode libraries (PhoneGap ended at 8.0, VoltBuilder is up to date at 13.3). These issues are easily resolved by building with VoltBuilder.

Update: On April 29, 2022, Apple issued this clarification:

As part of the App Store Improvements process, developers of apps that have not been updated within the last three years and fail to meet a minimal download threshold — meaning the app has not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12 month period — receive an email notifying them that their app has been identified for possible removal from the App Store.

Apple always wants to help developers get and keep quality software on the App Store. That’s why developers can appeal app removals. And developers, including those who recently received a notice, will now be given more time to update their apps if needed — up to 90 days. Apps that are removed will continue to function as normal for users who have already downloaded the app on their device.

Google

From November 1st, 2022, all existing apps in the store must target an API level within two years of the latest major Android OS release. Google will place limits on which users are able to discover or install them if they are not up to date.

Here is the blog post from Google’s developer support group explaining the new policies.

Specifically, your app needs to be built using Android API Level 30. The highest API level available to PhoneGap was 28. VoltBuilder supports API Level 30 now.

What VoltBuilder Does

VoltBuilder is an easy to use wrapper for Apache Cordova. It builds native executables (.apk, .aab and .ipa) for Android and iOS from web apps. These executables can be augmented with native code plugins which extend capabilities far beyond what is possible in Web Apps and PWAs.

It works as a web service. Zip your project, upload to VoltBuilder, and download executables for Android or iOS.

In designing VoltBuilder, we had the advantage of starting with a clean slate. We were able to simplify and speed up the workflow. We also kept it framework neutral: VoltBuilder does not use any other AppStudio products, nor does it restrict the use of other frameworks. There is nothing to install.

About Us

We started in 1993 at the introduction of the Newton to fill the need for easier to use development tools. Our first product, NS Basic/Newton, was a success. When the Newton was cancelled, we introduced NS Basic/Palm. It also did well, so we added NS Basic/CE.

In 2010, we realized that JavaScript on mobile devices was getting seriously fast. Web pages in those days used a bit of JavaScript to augment the page: Could we flip things around and make JavaScript the core of web pages, driving the HTML and CSS? That resulted in AppStudio, targeting iOS and Android. It now has thousands of users in over 80 countries. More than 2 million students have learned how to program using it.

The same core group of developers has been at work on AppStudio for many years. We enjoy what we’re doing - we’ve built a loyal base of customers by treating them fairly and providing great support.

How to Get Started

Visit https://volt.build for more information, to sign up and get started. You can use the Free plan for limited testing, or sign up for a trial of the Indy or Pro plans. The first 15 days are free: you can cancel at any time.

If you’re coming from PhoneGap, there is a PhoneGap Migration Guide. You can also use the tutorial.

There is also a one minute video, showing you how to submit your app and download the result.