In November 2012, Mike delivered a presentation about developing and using native iOS apps with Visual DataFlex web services. A summary of the slides is given below.
Visual DataFlex on Mobile Devices
Mike Peat – Unicorn InterGlobal Ltd, UK
Visual DataFlex and mobile apps – the landscape
Mobile touch-screen devices are increasingly pervasive:
- iPhone & iPad
- Android phones and tablets
- Windows phones
- The new Microsoft “Surface”
People use these to browse the web…
Web sites vs. web applications
- Web sites
- Web Applications
VDF Web applications – the user experience
- Mobile device web browsing is OK (mostly)
- But how do web applications fare?
- Let’s take a look…
- We’ll use the new VDF 17.1 AjaxWeb app:
VDF web applications on mobile devices – some of the problems
- The lack of screen real-estate is the most obvious (although that was an iPhone – iPads are a little more generous)
- The on-screen keyboard is an issue – the browser has a strategy for dealing with this, but its behaviour is hardly satisfying
- Changes in device orientation can also make a mess of our layout
VDF web applications on mobile devices – addressing the issues
- One answer is native apps for the target platform
- Greater control of the device
- Let’s take a look at a simple (or maybe a “dumb”) one…
Using native apps for the target platform – Is it better?
- Well… maybe…
- …or maybe worse!
- Even with native apps we are going to have to do better if we are going to produce something useful
- Let’s see what that might look like…
So, is the more controlled approach to using native apps better?
- I think so
- We deliberately gave up our screen space to the keyboard
- We controlled what screen orientations we were going to support
- We were able to live (just!) in the available space
So how do we build a native iOS (iPhone or iPad) app?
- If I still have time…
- Let’s see what is involved in building a native iOS (iPhone or iPad) app that uses VDF web services
- Watch this space…
Is using native iOS apps with VDF web services good enough?
- Here I am less sure…
- The utility of these devices as general purpose data entry platforms is itself moot
- We were restricting ourselves to an iPhone layout – an iPad layout would have given us more space to work with
- We may have to adopt different design approaches for mobile platforms
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