Recently I attended the Dreamforce conference in San-Francisco, a fantastic conference with over 40,000 people in attendance (it felt like I was back on the London Underground at times). The conference’s main theme was bringing social to the Enterprise, while this has the potential to revolutionise the way we do business. My main inspiration came from a great keynote between Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Google’s Eric Schmidt. In the keynote Schmidt outlined that his vision for the future was Mobile, Local and Social.
It is fantastic that location is now in the mainstream and with tablet/smartphone predicted to be at 16 billion by 2013, if you aren’t thinking about building your next web app to run on mobile devices you should be. Mobile apps are certainly exploding in the consumer space and location plays a large part in many hugely popular apps such as foursquare, but I think as an industry we are currently under-utilizing mobile technology. Tablets will help change this. Interacting with a map on a tablet is just such an effortless and beautiful thing.
Why a Mobile Development Framework?
Framework: Sencha Touch
Info: A HTML5 based framework which allows you to rapidly build apps that run like native apps on the iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry. They have worked hard to optimize the touch events so it really feels like you are using native apps.
End result: An app which runs inside the web browser on the handheld devices and delivers an experience similar to that of a native app. It does not allow you to generate apps for the app store out of the box and you cannot access the native API’s on the device such as location.
End result: Apps that run in the app store on iPhone/iPads, Androids and Blackberrys.
End Result: Apps that look, feel and perform like equivalent applications on each of the respected platforms it supports.
Have you written a spatial app for mobile? If so, please share what it is and how you developed it. I’m interested in learning about other tools which people can use to take their awesome spatial web apps to mobile devices.
Stewart HarperStewart is the Technical Director of Cloud Applications and Infrastructure at Safe. When he isn’t building location-based tools for the web, he’s probably skiing or mountain biking.