Sunday, 5 February 2012

Starting Mobile Development for Web

In the past, mobile websites were a good thing to have to optimize user experience for mobile viewing. However, with the flooding of iPhones and Androids, not forgetting tablets, Mobile Apps are very hot right now. Giving users that app-like experience is a great way to gain a wider audience that comes back for more.

Objective C and Java might be huge obstacles for Web developers to overcome in order to push out native iPhone and Android Apps respectively. Well, fret not, because HTML5 and jQuery is here to make your life much easier. While creating Apps that have full functionality of those native apps might be a far stretch, getting something that works almost as well that runs across all mobile devices is something to be happy about.

Welcome jQuery Mobile + PhoneGap = HTML5 Mobile Web Apps!

With the power of this power packed configuration, you get to create Mobile Apps that runs across platforms and access some native hardware features. Let us review each part

jQuery Mobile
jQuery mobile is a framework which helps you build mobile web apps easily. Its inbuilt ajax and ui makes it very easy to code navigation and functionality for your web app. Check out their theme roller, where you can customize your web app's theme with almost any colour theme you fancy!

Google Maps V3 works well for mobile apps and you can check out the demos at jQuery. You can easily code "Get Directions", interactive maps, geo-location easily.

HTML5 is introduced here as PhoneGap runs on it. Furthermore, HTML5 has some cool nifty features that is gaining cross-browser compatibility. It is worth it to check out new stuff you can do with HTML5.

With PhoneGap, you get to access the native features of mobile devices through their API which is in good old Javascript. You can deploy your app to native platforms once your code is ready. Joining PhoneGap for free allows 1 private app and others which they state as 'public'. Paid plans give more private apps and collaborators. Although I haven't got the faintest idea what that meant, since its not really written clearly on their website plus my enquiries to them were left unanswered.

Personally, I have played around with mobile apps using jQuery mobile. My lowly lg android p500 runs jQuery Mobile websites noticeably slower than native apps. Transitions between pages weren't as smooth as they were supposed to be. On the iPhone and faster android phones, performance was quite good and passed off well as native app alternatives for simple applications.

However, I have not had a chance to try out PhoneGap's features yet. The access to the mobile device's camera, accelerometer should give rise to many fun possibilities for you to play around with. Performance-wise, I am unsure of how it'll fare.

Excited and ready to get started? Check out the links below to start coding away!

Stay tuned for more updates and tutorials for Mobile Web Development
Timzstudio - Singapore Web Design & Development

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