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Developing for Mobile Devices: Websites, Apps and Hybrids with Sebastian Villa

Mobile development is no longer something entrepreneurs can ignore. Last year, cellphone sales surpassed desktop computer sales for the first time. There are now 3.4 billion mobile devices in use. Every minute, people share over 100,000 tweets, 700,000 Facebook posts and 40 hours of YouTube video; and most of this is now consumed on mobile devices, not computers. As Christina Warren put it in Mashable back in 2012: “Having a mobile strategy shifted from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ for all businesses.”

There are two main ways of delivering content to mobile devices: websites and apps. Websites are accessed through a web browser. The advantage of a website is that it is built in a universal language (HTML) that can be accessed on any platform, including both mobile devices and PCs.

Websites therefore are relatively easy to develop and open by default to a large base of users. Sebastian points out that the disadvantage is that the user must know where to go—to download the content each time they want to use it.

Native mobile applications are made for a specific proprietary platform and downloaded from an app such as Google Play or the Apple App Store. They have the advantages of being tailored to the chosen device, which tends to make them better for unusual or process ­intensive apps. They are also easy to find from the app store and are readily available at any time, once they are downloaded. Unfortunately, a native app can be a lot more difficult to develop, since things like the user interface may need to be developed from scratch, and is only useful in the platform for which it is developed. Porting an app to additional platforms involves even more time and money.

There is a third option, which offers the best of both worlds, to some extent: hybrid apps. Hybrid mobile apps use a third-­party platform to create a ‘wrapper’: a container for code like HTML or Javascript. Effectively, this acts like a translator: development uses only a single set of code, just like a website, but the app can be downloaded from an app store (both the App Store and Google Play allow hybrids) and will run on multiple devices as if it were native by translating the app into the native code and interface. This makes app development more like developing a website, which is less labour ­intensive, easier to update, and available for all kinds of platforms.

There are several ways to create hybrid apps. Phone gap is an open source programme that translates web code on the fly. Adobe is also developing a more advanced proprietary version. Titanium, on the other hand, is used to build apps out of HTML or Javascript. For games, which tend to place more demand on a device’s hardware, there are Unity and Corona. Unity is better suited for 3D or other hardware ­intensive games, and it allows developers to publish different versions for mobile devices; i.e., for the web (if the user has a Unity plugin) and for PCs. Corona is well suited to simple 2D games like Angry Birds. Corona allows developers to publish for multiple platforms with code that is easy to test and maintain.

The main disadvantage of hybrid apps is performance. The need to translate code means that hybrids tend to make less efficient use of a device’s hardware. If an app will be especially hardware ­intensive, it is better to make it native.

When developing for mobile devices, one size does not fit all. The decision to use a website, native app, or hybrid should not be based on what developers are most comfortable with, but on what is best for the project. For example: prototyping in HTML is a false economy if you know it will need to be made native later. Instead, developers and entrepreneurs should make decisions based on the project’s long ­term goals and needs.

Video: Why to use mobile apps

Video: What is programming language

Video: Hybrid Apps

Video: Platforms

 

Ontario Media Development Corporation   MEIC-square-logo    _logo-COLOR

Mobile Biz BootCamp 2013

Part of Mobile Innovations @ Discovery in Toronto May 25-28, 2013

logo The mobile landscape is exploding with new business opportunities for mobile developers and innovators. But it remains relatively unconquered, despite the well-known successes of the global mobile app economy.

There’s a whole world of opportunities for mobile developers. How can you profit from these opportunities?  What do you need to know to create a successful business in mobile or make mobile a profitable part of your large organization?

At MobileBiz BootCamp, you will learn from experienced mobile industry leaders, vendors and supporting organizations how to accelerate profitable growth in the global mobile landscape.

Mobile Biz BootCamp features:

  • An intensive one-day event focused on helping mobile developers go global
  • Targeted at innovators, entrepreneurs and corporate enterpreneurs in the mobile space
  • Global mobile industry experts sharing their insights into how to win in the mobile marketplace
  • Mobile developer technology workshops and speed mentoring
  • Priceless business, technology, industry, institution & academia networking

Register now as seating is limited.

For Mobile Innovations @ Discovery sponsoship details, please contact Murray McKercher at murray@mobileinstitute.ca

www.mobileinstitute.ca

Don’t Miss the Final Session of MAP!

Workshop 6: Maintenance
Thursday, March 28, 2013
205 Richmond Street West, Room 7311
11:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

11:30 – How to Refine Current Products while Sustaining New Innovation – Wayne Pau, SAP

We will be covering two approaches you can use during different parts of the product lifecycle to ensure your team is always optimized to build Desirable, Feasible and Viable products. This workshop will be “hands-on” and interactive, where all participants are encouraged to collectively walk-thru the process.

#1: Design Thinking’s User Interviews
– Preparing for User Interviews
– Tools for mining User Empathy
– Techniques for Creating Composite Character Profiles
– Empathy Tools for generating Point-of-View (POV) statements

#2: Effective Usability Testing
– When you should do Usability Testing
– Doing Usability Testing on a Budget
– How to interpret and prioritize Usability Feedback
– Goals and Limits of Usabillity Testing

wayne_bioWayne Pau is a well rounded, multi-disciplined member of the newly formed Emerging Technologies group with SAP. Educated as a Systems Design Engineer from the University of Waterloo, he has become a relative “veteran” of mobile devices since the first set of handhelds over 15 years ago.

Wayne has a strong commitment to building the next generation of quality systems and applications. Over the years he’s been involved with various parts of the development process, including application development, design, UX and testing. On top of mobile apps, Wayne has had the opportunity to work with other technologies, including RFID, Embedded Devices, IoT and Bio-Med.

Wayne also has great passion for lifelong learning. When not actively involved in building apps, he loves to engage with others to help promote adaptive innovation and building user-centric solutions using such approaches as Design Thinking and Agile/SCRUM.

3:00 – Networking

Mobile Accelerator Program (MAP) Session 4 – February 28

Workshop 4: Testing
Thursday, February 28, 2013
OCAD University
205 Richmond St. W., Room 7311
11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Testing is vital for both the creative and technical aspects of a mobile project. This is how you make sure your product is hitting audiences in the right way.

– Recommendations for testing
– Possible outcomes
– How to make the most of user testing

AGENDA

11:30 a.m.     Networking Lunch

12:00 p.m.     Welcome & Introductions with Wavefront

                           Anthony Thomas, Business Development, Wavefront

12:30               Testing Your Way to Success!
Wayne Pau, SAP

– The Art & Science of Testing
– Common Misconceptions of Testing
– CI (Continuous Integration) & Automated Testing
– Testing Tours & Exploratory Testing
– Tips & Tricks

wayne_bioWayne Pau is a well rounded, multi-disciplined member of the newly formed Emerging Technologies group with SAP. Educated as a Systems Design Engineer from the University of Waterloo, he has become a relative “veteran” of mobile devices since the first set of handhelds over 15 years ago.

Wayne has a strong commitment to building the next generation of quality systems and applications. Over the years he’s been involved with various parts of the development process, including application development, design, UX and testing. On top of mobile apps, Wayne has had the opportunity to work with other technologies, including RFID, Embedded Devices, IoT and Bio-Med.

Wayne also has great passion for lifelong learning. When not actively involved in building apps, he loves to engage with others to help promote adaptive innovation and building user-centric solutions using such approaches as Design Thinking and Agile/SCRUM.

3:30 p.m.       Networking

For more details and to register, click here.

Celebrate innovation at the MintChip Developer Challenge Awards Ceremony!

MintChip Developer Challenge – Awards Ceremony
The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., Toronto
Thursday, October 25, 2012

Six months ago, the Royal Canadian Mint challenged software developers to create apps for MintChip, the evolution of currency. Now, they’re ready to announce the lucky winners!

You are invited to the MintChip Developer Challenge awards ceremony, hosted by the Royal Canadian Mint in partnership with leading companies from the financial, technological and mobile space.  More than $50,000 in gold will be awarded as prizes to the winners!

This is your chance to meet the MintChip Developer Challenge¹s distinguished panel of judges, guest speakers and market influencers…and see the Mint’s famous one million dollar gold coin!

Register for your free ticket at: http://mintchipchallenge.eventbrite.ca/

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