Building mobile apps with the Dojo framework
daryl_pereira 270002AW8D Comment (1) Visits (14642)
If Unconferences are any kind of indication of market trends, then moving from web app development to mobile app development is a hot topic right now.
This session at the end of the WebSphere Unconference at #IBMImpact received the most votes and was packed out, with plenty of lively discussion. Surprising to me was the level of interest from enterprise developers and older sales guys - not the hip young things you saw at mobile development talks in years gone by.
Whilst the main use cases are still for desktop applications, the mobile library is growing in importance as the need for rich interfaces on mobile devices is going through the roof. The team here displayed dials and graphs that can be manipulated in the same was as any native mobile app: swiping, zooming, pinching and all the kinds of interactions we are becoming accustomed to on our mobile applications.
A lot of the discussion centered around what makes more sense: mobile web app development or native app development?
In support of native app development, there are still some things you just can't do with a mobile web app: like take pictures with the camera. There will always be some apps that can only be developed natively. Those damn marketing folks also still are infatuated by native apps. As someone in the crowd pointed out, in the minds of the CMO, they just want an 'iPhone app' - nothing less will do.
However, as Chris Mitchell from the IBM team pointed out, you can develop mobile web apps that will work on any mobile web browser and package these using a tool like PhoneGap that will appease the CMO by creating a native app wrapper so you can get your mobile web app into the iTunes app store or Android Market.
A distinct advantage of the mobile web app over the native app is that you can develop once and access everywhere: no need to get caught up in the Appl
Chris also pointed out that web apps are that much more discoverable. They have a better chance of showing up in Google and on other sites. And as the App stores continue to explode in size, it's getting increasingly difficult for your app to be found.
So, the subject of this Unconference breakout session was 'Repurposing web apps to mobile devices' so inevitably the question came up. Advice from the presenting team was to develop applications with REST using a Service Oriented Architecture. This way, the mobile app can just access the backend via REST.
So, if you want to get started and learn more about the Dojo mobile framework, see this site.