Mobile Devices and Websites in the year 2009
With the constant increase in mobile devices being used for more and more you cannot call yourself a web developer and not know what are the benefits of supporting mobile devices. There are around 40 million iPhones seated snuggly in the pockets of users scattered all over the world. Today i wanted to cover a [...]
With the constant increase in mobile devices being used for more and more you cannot call yourself a web developer and not know what are the benefits of supporting mobile devices. There are around 40 million iPhones seated snuggly in the pockets of users scattered all over the world. Today i wanted to cover a few important topics that come to mind when you think of what mobile devices are used for and what that means for us web developers.
Not sure if you are like me and you have used the iphone version of Gmail in Safari just to check out all the amazing features google used thanks to HTML5. When i was at the Google Conference a couple of months ago I left with the impression google is doing everything they can in their power to push HTML5 to all major browsers. Most of the lectures were solely on what HTML5 can do and why that’s useful to you. Well instead of coming out with an iphone app for Gmail they simply made a VERY good online app for the iphone. What does this mean for you, if you are not interested in creating applications for the iPhone that doesn’t mean you can take a chunk of that sweet hot pie that comes along with the popularity of all iPhone related things. I have personally not seen enough people using this advantage in the right ways, for example a know of quite a few websites that have decided to come out with an iphone app rather than just modify their website to work with the iphone like gmail. The reason behind that is Native Apps are just much faster than web apps are. This should not discourage you from considering making iPhone applications that run from a website, think about the bright side, you don’t have to spend a bunch of money on a developer account and a Mac to develop with. Even if you own a mac, it’s still pricey and harder to develop iPhone apps that using HTML5 and JS to make a cool new app. Not even to mention the ridiculous process of app approval.
Simplify Large Websites or just Websites in general
This one involves the last paragraph a little bit. If you have a huge website that is hard to use on the iPhone then you might want to consider making an iPhone app or just making a cleaner simpler version for the iphone. I had an interesting talk with a large ecommerce website a few days ago, they wanted to create a simple buying experience for people who visit their store. They wanted it so simple that all it had in their vision was a search box. Seriously just a search box and the logo, after that you find the item you want and you click buy… so no extra fluff. I really liked that, i wish websites nowadays were that simple. Even a website as small as this one may benefit from an iPhone edition that just displays a few popular articles, and a search. I will document well once i decide to build that for the iPhone.
The Future (Flash / Java / Silverlight)
There are a lot of rumors for Flash support on the iphone but since apple loves to keep everyone in the dark about everything they do i have no idea when we will see Flash on the iphone. When the day comes that the iPhone supports flash fully we will have a very interesting battle of the apps VS the flash variations which can be created much easier than the current system of app creation. At any case let’s hope flash is a priority for Apple because with flash the iphone will be a much more intriguing device, from what i hear the next windows mobile 6.5 has Flash support, which may give it a very nice little competition boost. I did mention Java in the title, but i highly doubt the day would EVER come that the iphone supports Java, it would be nice, but who are we fooling it just won’t happen. Apple is just way too stuck up to do that.
I know that in this article i have seemed to talk mostly about the iphone but i have good reasons for that. The iphone is the one phone that people actually know to use for more things than just txting and calling their friends and family. But in this paragraph i wanted to talk about rendering of different devices. I believe you should support all devices, and if you are a newer developer and read that thinking “That’s crazy there are so many this is impossible” think again. In reality what the worst of worst Mobile Devices do to render pages is just display with no CSS, hence if you coded in a clear way where content and styling are two separate things you will have no trouble.
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