Altabel Group's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘mobile

iOS7 has been the greatest change to Apple`s iOS almost since its introduction. And iOS 7 differs quite a lot from its previous version. It`s easier, brighter, bolder and flows better than its predecessors. It has not only the updated user interface but also it`s packed with a great deal of new features.Let`s take a look at iOS7 and compare its major changes to iOS6.

Lock screen: One of the nicest features of iOS 7 is parallax effect: when you move the phone, wallpaper appears to move as well. iOS 7 gets rid of the black bars and becomes lighter. At first this may seem unusual but you get used to it quickly and won`t move back to the old look and feel. Also iOS 7 has four swipeable bits: unlocking, Camera, swiping down from the top of the screen to see notifications, and swiping up from the bottom to bring up Control Center.

Control Center: iOS users have been waiting for it for agesJ now there is no need to jump through endless Settings screen. Control Center is the answer: it provides quick access to the most important key features: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Rotation Lock and Do Not Disturb. It also provides media playback controls, Airdrop file sharing, and quick access to the phone’s LED light and the Clock, Calculator and Camera apps.

Notification Center:  Last year iOS 6 introduced the Notification Centre – offering little gobbets of information from your email, or stocks, or Twitter, or games. It was pretty basic. Now it’s split into three elements – Today (a calendar and weather update), All (the things you used to find in the old Notifications) and Missed (appointments, calls). The calendar element is like Windows Phone, though more useful (you get a day view). You can decide what is visible in the lock screen – it won’t show all your notifications if you don’t want.

AirDrop: Thanks to AirDrop it became easier to share files from iOS devices. Now a “sharing” icon in an app lets you send your data to those willing to receive it. You choose AirDrop and you get a list of people in the vicinity. Press their icon, and it’s done. Nice, isn`t it?

If you don’t plan to use this feature in iOS 7 then turn it off to safe battery life.

Camera and Photos : Have also experienced great changes. Camera app now four kinds of shooting: video, photo, square (for Instagram-style shots) and Pano (for panoramas) and a number of pleasant new features.. As for Photos app, it`s became easier to search for photos as they are organized into collections. Your photos can be sorted by date or by location (when using GPS)

Safari/Search: It has also been updated: interface became simpler : it disappears completely when scrolling through pages, and the interface for switching tabs became more visual.

Mail: Mail application got some great new features: mail management became easier. There appeared gesture control for messages and smart mailboxes

Multitasking:  Now you can double-click the home button in iOS to get you to a number of recently used apps. What is more iOS 7  learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 every morning, your feed will be ready and waiting for you.

That was an overview of the main updates  that experienced iOS7. Many things have changed and many users that updated to iOS 7 say that they will never return to iOS 6 :)

And what about you: have you already updated to iOS 7 and can share your experience?

Interesting to know your thoughts.

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

WHY DO YOU NEED A MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
There is no secret to anyone that people are browsing the web more from their smartphones and tablets rather than from traditional computers. So having a mobile-friendly site for business nowadays is more important than ever. This is both a big problem and a big opportunity for businesses seeking to engage with new customers.

In the end of 2012, Google conducted an independent survey to learn what users want most from mobile sites today. And the numbers are striking! In fact mobile-friendly site can turn users into customers, according to a survey about 67 percent indicated they would be more likely to purchase a product or service from a business that built a mobile-friendly website. On the contrary not having a mobile-friendly site helps your competitors , for example, 61 percent of users indicated that they’d leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. Actually non-mobile friendly sites can hurt a company’s reputation: about 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company and 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business

HOW TO MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE
Just shrinking your text into the device’s screen won’t give good impression about your business to the customer. The development of your mobile site should be determined by the kinds of products and services your business provides.
There are several options how to optimize your website for mobile, free and paid, having their own pros and cons. Here are a few strategies how to make your site mobile friendly:

- Mobile Website Conversion Service

There is a number of services on the web, that will convert your existing website and provide a script that will direct mobile users to your newly created mobile site from the main website. Among these services are Duda Mobile, bMobilized, and Mobify

- Separate Native Mobile Site

Some businesses want to keep their desktop and mobile websites separate. By creating a mobile website, you maintain control: its design, maintenance, hosting, and security. A script will be added to the main website that will determine if the visitor is using a mobile device and if so, it will automatically direct the visitor to the mobile version.

- Responsive Design

Responsive design is becoming more and more popular. It allows having one website that will display correctly on all devices — desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It takes advantage of CSS “media queries” to style pages based on the width of the device being used. To determine if your website is responsive, just resize the browser window. If it adjusts — so that the images and text are readable with a narrower browser window — it’s responsive.

-Mobile Version from the Main Site

Some e-commerce providers are heading for mobile. For example, Magento has taken its way to mobile commerce! Magento Mobile introduces exciting Free of cost Magento Mobile extension which allows store owners to manage multiple native applications across various mobile devices from a single Magento interface and provides support for iPhone, iPad and Android base mobile devices. The beauty of Magento Mobile is that it integrates just seamlessly with your account management, product catalog and checkout functions and facilitates your users to experience the same functionality of web store on their mobile devices.

In this article I wanted to draw your attention to the importance of optimizing your website to mobile. Is having a mobile friendly website important for you?

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Nowadays, more and more people use their mobile devices for the majority of their computer needs. That’s why mobile web application frameworks are in high demand for developers. There are several great mobile web frameworks that allow you to create an application with a native “look and feel” interface. Among them are jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, iWebKit, DHTMLX Touch, etc. If you have decided to develop a web application for mobile devices and you want to use a client-side framework to achieve this, Sencha Touch (ST) and JQueryMobile (JQM) seem to be the most serious options. What are their strong and weak points? Let’s see.

Sencha Touch

ST is a mobile web app development framework, which is compatible with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. It is really a sensational framework widely used by mobile web developers. With it building web apps for mobile platforms which feel more like native apps is not a problem for a developer.

ST comes with a MVC framework which leads to a well structured code base. It is really a big plus, especially for large projects. Using ST you will likely not have to write a lot of HTML as the DOM (Document Object Model )is generated out of the objects models / widgets that you use. Besides, a wide range of UI widgets to choose from, as well as robust data, layout and component models are at your disposal.

Speaking of device support, ST website actually supports iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. It works really good on iOS. As for Android, it can be slow on large lists. Some problems may occur with Blackberry, so it may be better to choose another framework for this device.

ST also has enhanced support for touch events such as double tap, swipe, hold, pinch and rotate.

Developing on your desktop you should keep in mind that ST does not support all browser engines. You are required to use a browser based on Webkit (like Google Chrome or Safari). You are not able to view Sencha Touch apps in Firefox, Internet Explorer, or any other browser not using the Webkit engine.

ST provides great API documentation and sample demos. But the ST API uses a fairly large (120kb) JavaScript library that is much larger than the jQuery Mobile library.

ST is not easy to get running on the fly. It is almost a purely programmatic model, as you don’t design pages in HTML, but programmatically add elements to a page. So sometimes it’s difficult to make web design separately in HTML.

As for converting sites to work with the framework, it may involve a full front-end rewrite and it is very hard to debug and fix errors in ST.

Pros: MVC codebase; good support of iOS; enhanced support for touch events; great API documentation and sample demos

Cons: is not easy to get running on the fly; a large JavaScript library; problems with converting sites to work with the framework; very hard to debug and fix errors; may be slow on Android; not working properly on Blackberry

jQuery Mobile

JQM is Touch-Optimized Web Framework for Smartphones & Tablets. It is a unified user interface system across all popular mobile device platforms, built on the rock-solid jQuery and jQuery UI foundation.

JQM is really quick to develop with. You can just start with clean HTML markup and then apply “progressive enhancement techniques” or extra HTML element attributes to integrate mobile features into an existing semantic structure.

As for MVC, JQM doesn’t have it. So lot of care has to be taken while organizing the code.

The framework claims to offer a broad level of support across a wide range of platforms, and progressive enhancement for older devices and operating systems. Instead of writing unique apps for each mobile device or OS, the jQuery mobile framework will allow you to design a single highly branded and customized web application that will work on all popular smartphone and tablet platforms.

JQM includes a great AJAX-powered navigation system which enables animated page transitions while maintaining back button, bookmarking and clean URLs.

The framework comes with a CSS theme styling system that enables a simple project to get off the ground very quickly. Then this can be easily extended with your own custom styles. But the CSS theme styling system has limited options so sites built can look similar.

The bad thing is that page transitions and animations don’t feel ‘native’ enough and can be sluggish sometimes.

Pros: JQM is quick to develop with; supports all major browsers and platforms; has a great AJAX-powered navigation system; CSS theme styling system enables a simple project start very quickly

Cons: no given code structure (MVC); CSS theme styling system has limited options (sites may look similar); page transitions and animations don’t feel ‘native’ enough

So after comparing these two frameworks on some points, we see that ST has a given code structure and feels more like coding in Java/C# while jQuery Mobile is more like web with the HTML you write. So it’s better to use ST if you are used to Java/C# and only want to support such devices as iPhone and Android. And if you are a webdeveloper, used to jQuery and HTML and want to support the majority of devices and browsers, using jQuery Mobile seems to be more sound.

And what are your thoughts? I’m eager to know which mobile web application framework will you define as the best solution for developing a web app for a mobile device? Will it be Sencha Touch or jQuery mobile or some other great framework? Thanks and looking forward to your comments!

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Skype ID: yuliya_tolkach
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

With the growing popularity of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices the living has become more comfortable. The different types of apps help us to wake up in time, to entertain reading books, booking tickets, listening to favorite music and just chat with friends without extra expenses. Among the challenges in mobile app market stands also the developing of effective web browsing solutions.

In this article I would like to take a look at DHTMLX Touch framework that helps to create nice-looking and easy-to-use mobile web apps oriented to touchscreen devices.

DHTMLX Touch is a free open source Javascript framework/library for building HTML5-based mobile web apps.
DHTMLX was originally designed to work in traditional mouse-driven web browsers, however since the web moved to mobile devices, it was important to have all parts of the web interface touch-ready and looking good on small screens. After some tests made were approved that DHTMLX library will definitely work in mobile environments with Javascript support too. So the planned mouse was replaced with touch events to provide touch-based user interactions.

Let’s see what the characteristics of DHTMLX Touch are:

-compatible with the main web browsers for mobile platforms that support HTML5;

-free under both GNU GPL and commercial Licenses;

-lots of technical samples with the source code that simplify studying how the UI elements work;

- expanded builder tools:
Skin Builder – an online tool that allows you to build mobile web apps through a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface. Since v.1.2, you can save your design or share it by sending an URL.
Visual Designer - a simple online tool that provides an easy way to choose the skin for you app and customize the skin colors. A set of predefined skins is included.
Touch UI Inspector – a free extension for Google Chrome that provides a handy visual tool for monitoring the inner state of DHTMLX Touch JavaScript components on a web page.

-server side is based on the on dhtmlxConnectors (the same that used for DHTMLX Ajax library) that simplifies client –server communication;

- simplified scheme of CSS editing.

The current version of DHTMLX Touch framework took a long way from the release of its first components dhtmlxTree and dhtmlxGrid in 2005-2006 to become a complete tool that covers the most required aspects of modern application interface. Three months ago in September, 2012 was presented the updated version 1.2. And now we will see what are the new features and improvements were added:

* Bug fixing – more stable and faster performance, better compatibility with the latest iOS and Android platforms;
* Updated visual designer tool: new Unitlist component, new charts, and the ability to share and save your design;
* Auto-complete for IDEs: Microsoft Visual Studio, PHPStorm, WebStorm, NetBeans, Aptana Studio, Eclipse, and others
* Multiple fixes in form validation logic
* Better memory management: automatic destructors clean up the memory, which helps to prevent memory leaks if the app has a complicated inheritance structure
* Better support of full-screen mode

Many companies around the world make the preference towards DHTMLX saying that it’s very simple, flexible and easy-to-use with a live support forum.

If you have already an experience working with DHTMLX Touch framework or heard something about using it, feel free to share your thoughts/experience by leaving a comment.

You can also have a look at new features of DHTMLX Touch framework and the samples of apps already implemented following the link to the official website http://dhtmlx.com.

Thank you for your attention.

Katerina Bulavskaya

Katerina Bulavskaya
Katerina.Bulavskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: katy.bulavskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Nowadays, it goes without saying that mobile devices and apps are changing not only the way of users’ interaction with each other but also how enterprises interact with their processes, customers and employees. The important factor here is the platform that hosts the mobile apps. So enterprise faces the necessity to select the platform which will best suit goals that enterprise pursues, mobile strategy it is following and of course budget it has.

One of such solutions is Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP). As Wiki gives it: “MEAP is a comprehensive suite of products and services that enable development of mobile applications.” MEAP manages the diversity of devices, platforms, networks and users. It allows an enterprise to develop an application once and then deploy it to a variety of mobile devices. According to Gartner, using a common mobility platform, like a MEAP, brings considerable savings and strategic advantages in this situation.

But before choosing MEAP as a platform, organization should decide if it really needs it. So let’s see when MEAP is a right solution, what it gives to an enterprise and what are the benefits it has.

When is MEAP a right solution?
Gartner proposed The Rule of Three, according to which enterprises are encouraged to consider MEAP as a solution when they need:
• To support three or more mobile applications
• To support three or more mobile operating systems (OS)
• To integrate three or more back-end data sources

What does MEAP give?

• Complete integrated development environment.
• Support for design, develop, test, deploy and manage mobile apps.
• Run-time middleware server to handle back-end systems of the enterprises.
• Robust security capabilities.
• Local and remote data handling capability.
• Ability to integrate external devices like credit card readers, scanners, printers etc.

What are the benefits of MEAP?

• Faster app development and deployment –MEAPs enable companies to spend less time on adapting applications for specific devices.
• Multiple feature integration- MEAPs allow easier integration of mobile apps with the unique features and capabilities of mobile devices and peripherals like credit card readers, printers and barcode scanners.
• Management-MEAP interfaces with client middleware server and back-end infrastructure to provide high visibility and control via web-based console over the environment. This makes it easy for the businesses to centrally manage devices and apps, and install and update mobile software over the air.
• Security- MEAP enforces guards against unauthorized access and helps in data security, in the event of loss or theft of device. It also enables constant monitoring in the mobile environment by generating detailed reports on user usage, devices and apps. The reports can not only be used for surveillance but also to manage various issues in the environment.
• Off-line Connection- Mobile apps, as smart clients in a MEAP environment, can work independently of a central server connection, allowing users to continue to work off-line.
• Robust back-end connectivity- MEAP provides strong connectivity between back-end infrastructure and mobile devices through mobile middleware thereby ensuring smooth flow of data to specified device.
• Support for scalability and new technologies – MEAP provides a highly scalable infrastructure to support dynamic increase in devices, apps and users. Being an open, flexible architecture, the platform also enables easy integration with emerging technologies.

So definitely, MEAP is bringing considerable benefits to enterprise. It can be a good solution that can help an enterprise to adopt mobility in a secure and efficient way. If an enterprise wishes to develop custom applications or deploy multiple applications on many device platforms, a MEAP solution rally makes sense. And have you ever dealt with MEAP? What do you think of its advantages? I’m eager to know your opinion! Thanks for your attention :)

Kind regards,
Yuliya Tolkach – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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