I have been successfully creating Android apps using PhoneGap Build for some time now, using HTML package uploaded along with config.xml and icon files. These are all offline-only apps (work with no internet connection) that are completely self-contained, for gov't use on proprietary Android devices. The content is mostly public non-secure information, but we are venturing into more sensitive content now, which will make uploading to Adobe servers problematic from a security standpoint.
I'm not a programmer (graphic design and some HTML/CSS skills), so PhoneGap Build has served me well. I pick up what I need to in terms of tweaking the code to accomplish some simple things (like platform preferences in config.xml), but advanced stuff is beyond me. I've downloaded PhoneGap desktop and monkeyed around with it, but so far it looks like a development platform that is not at all like PhoneGap Build, so I am quite lost so far, although I haven't spent a ton of time on tutorials or other learning.
Is it possible to use PhoneGap Desktop to do the same thing as PhoneGap Build? That is, merely offer up a zip file (HTML content and supporting files, icons, and config.xml) to PhoneGap Desktop and have it pop an APK out for me like Build does somehow?
My understanding is that PhoneGap (Cordova) is the engine for PhoneGap Build, so theoretically, it should be possible to do this, no?
Your patience with my inexperience is greatly appreciated.
The PhoneGap Desktop will not compile your apps like PhoneGap Build does. You are going to have to transition to building your applications locally. This means installing the Android SDK, and becoming a little familiar with the command line to build the actual apps. Some of the best guides for this are on the Ionic Framework site: https://ionicframework.com/docs/developer-resources/#/guides