Category Archives: mobile

Android apps with PhoneGap – the missing basic steps

The getting started guide for Android apps on Phonegap misses out a few key pieces of information.

  1. Don’t install your Android SDK in Program Files, or any other folder with a space in it. Eclipse will fail on the build, and uninstalling and reinstalling the SDK somewhere else is just a pain.
  2. If you want to deploy to your device in developer mode and you’re on windows, you’ll need the USB driver. This is buried in the Android SDK installation guide
  3. Another way to deploy to your device is plain old file transfer. Unlike iOS, you don’t need a specific developer or enterprise license to do this. This involves exporting a signed app, which is a bit more involved.

Mobile web developments – a bit like the number 73 bus.

A number of interesting things related to mobile web have come up recently:

First, Phil Archer from the W3C presented Mobile Best Practice at London Web Standards Group

It’s an excellent presentation and worth a full read, but the gist of it is:

  • think about mobile users not mobile devices.  if nothing else, mobile devices are developing and improving their user experience as a fast rate which will probably get faster
  • you don’t have to give mobile users the exact same page only tiny, if you stick to the theme of your content you’ll be helping them (compare http://news.bbc.co.uk/ on PC and mobile, or try http://news.bbc.co.uk/mobile which BBC news redirects to) BUT don’t make them remember a special mobile URL.  Detect and redirect your user.
  • w3c have a very cool validator called mobileOK that estimates how well your page will perform on mobiles
  • secondary windows including popups, frames, tables and image maps will cause mobile users inconvenience
  • Progressive enhancement will pay off hugely
  • That said, various mobile browser vendors don’t play well with @media=”handheld”.  See http://www.bushidodesigns.net/blog/?p=72 for the best way to serve up CSS for all devices

Then Firefox announced accelerometer detection (the thing in your iphone/nokia/laptop/wii that detects motion and direction) for 3.6.  Firefox has yet to crack the mobile devices platform, so this is a signal of intent.

Serendipity then took me to PPK’s Great Webkit Comparison table whose family now includes the browsers for android, iphone, bolt, palm pre and possibly blackberry in the near future.