Monthly Archives: May 2013

3 Web Authoring Tools to Consider


Are you looking for build your own website using web authoring tools for your content and design? There are a lot of software applications out there. But with the choices available, choosing the best tools that fits your requirements can be confusing. In this article, we’ll help you find three highly recommended web authoring tools plus additional resources that will be useful for your website.

GoLive CyberStudio – this tool is more than just a simple WYSIWYG editor, there are also a lot of good features that allow users to build and publish a website from scratch. The pages can also be edited using HTML codes, within a layout, or using the unique editor mode in the software – all these comes with tool palettes to make the task easier. When it comes to site and graphical management, CyberStudio can also provide an easy solution. Other important features include the JavaScript Actions and Development Kit that are already built in as well as the QuickTime Editing and ColorSync technology for better coloring.

Adobe SiteMill – provides a hassle-free solution when it comes to managing HTML documents. Linking to new and existing websites is easy; it is also possible to check and correct links using the editor’s drag-and-drop features. This application is included with the PageMill software for Mac computers.

Macromedia Dreamweaver – then of course, no list will be complete without mentioning the Dreamweaver. It is currently the most popular HTML editor out there. Aside from being a WYSIWYG editor, the Dreamweaver also supports Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), CSS Positioning (CSS-P), and the frame and table creation with simple drag-and-drop technology. Users will also find that Dreamweaver is a great tool for JavaScript (for animation, rollover effects, etc) and Netscape Layers. Certain site management capabilities are included. Other noteworthy features include its link checking/editing capability.

Besides the three web authoring tools we mentioned above, there is more software out there that are also noteworthy. We’ll mention two more in this article:

Microsoft FrontPage – FrontPage supports a number of features that make it easy for web designers to create websites. It includes a WYSIWYG editor, the Microsoft GIF Animator, and the Microsoft Image Composer. There are also templates that help hasten the building process and wizards that make the task much easier.

HoTMetal Pro – there are three editing environments within this software including the direct HTML source code, HTML-Tag, and WYSIWYG graphical editing mode. Another helpful feature the Site Maker, which is a tutorial for creating websites without HTML, is also included in the software. HotMetal Pro also integrates the Information Manager (a visual way to manage links and documents), Power Tools (Java editor, animated GIF tool, VRML creator, and personal web server), and FX (a collection of Java scripts, image maps, and Dynamic HTML.

Hopefully, the list provided here would be of some help to you. Most of these applications offer a free trial so give it a try to see which software suits your style best.



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How Do I Center a YouTube Video in WordPress?


If you run a WordPress powered website you have probably wanted to embed a YouTube video at one time or another. Video can add interactivity and excitement to a blog post. Luckily, WordPress and YouTube make this a very easy process. Centering your YouTube video can be a bit tricky though, especially if you don’t know any coding. This article will teach you a very simple fix though. It will ensure you can center any YouTube video, or any object at all, for that matter.

First you have to get the video into your post. You go to YouTube, click embed (under video), choose your options and copy the HTML code. You then take that code and paste it into the WordPress visual editor. Remember you have to set to HTML, using the button in top right corner. Then you simply paste in your YouTube embed code. Now you have the video in your post or page.

Once you have that done you can switch back to the visual tab on the WordPress editor. You will see your video (or object) as a large yellow box. Ideally, you could simply click on that box and click the center button on the editor. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. I am not sure exactly why, but it is probably because the center command in WordPress inserts HTML code that the object doesn’t recognize. For example, even if you switched back over to the HTML editor and wrapped the object in tags, it won’t work.

The fix is pretty simple though. You just have to navigate back to the HTML part of your editor. You won’t see the yellow box now you will see the embed code for the video. Right before the embed code, enter:

div style = “text-align:center;” (in between html brackets of course, removing spaces around the enter symbol)

And then after the end of the embed code:

/div (also between html brackets)

When you switch back to your visual editor you will notice the yellow box is centered! Now that you have learned this code you can center any YouTube video or other object in each of your posts. Use it often enough and it won’t be long until you have the code memorized. If you aren’t comfortable with HTML, then write the above code down right now. If you are at your computer, add it to a text file so you can copy and paste easily. Try it on your next blog post and let me know how it works.



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How to Add Color to an HTML Web Page


Have you ever visited website where the colors don’t match? People are attracted to colors so if your web page colors are unattractive it may affect the retention rate of your visitors. Site owners may fall love with a particular color they like however it may turn off their visitors. When designing a website choose colors that suit your products or services then ask for opinions from other people before you begin building the actual site.

How to add color to an HTML web page in 4 different ways

1. Edit HTML

If you want to change the background color of an HTML page simply open it with your web editing software. A professional web designer would either use website editing software such as Dreamweaver or hand code the HTML in Notepad.

  • Place your cursor after the head tag and type body bg>
  • Choose your favorite color e.g. #003399 will give you a dark blue background.
  • Save the web page by clicking on file — save.
  • Open your web browser to view the new web page color
  • Upload your HTML page to the server

2. Use a cascading style sheet(CSS)

CSS is a popular way to change the design of your web page without affecting the HTML. This keeps the design separate from your content. To change the background color of your web page simply enter the color you wish to use in your style sheet

body {background-color: #00CC66;}

  • This will make the background color of your web page a light green.
  • Save the file as style.css
  • Code the CSS file into your web page between the head tags at the top of your page

link href=”style.css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”

This creates an external style sheet which allows you to change the color or any of your design elements by editing one file. There is no need to edit any HTML of your web pages.

3. Create background image

A background image allows a lot of design flexibility to create gradients or a mixture of colors within the image. The best way to achieve this without editing your HTML is to use CSS.

body {background-image: url(images/gradient.gif);

background-repeat: no-repeat;

background-position: 280px 440px;}

The above CSS code shows an image called gradient.gif that doesn’t repeat on the page. This means the image will serve as a background to the web page. The background position denotes where the image is positioned on the page.

4. In-line CSS

If you don’t wish to use a CSS style sheet to change the background colors you can code the CSS directly into the HTML code.

body url(images/gradient.jpg);background-repeat: no-repeat;background-position: 280px 440px;”

Sidebar: place at the end.

You can use CSS to change the color of your font, background of a single line, paragraph, images, navigation, links etc.

Whether you’re designing a new website, redesigning your current one or wish to change the color of some of your design elements use CSS to quickly and easily make design changes.



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Computer Applications – What Does the Future Hold?


As the internet improves with more applications and services, many of the desktop applications are starting be replaced by online versions of the same thing. These replacements include office suites, photo management, editing, email, and basic programs that are used everyday. What will happen to applications in the future? Will they all be on the cloud?

The cloud versus non-cloud debate most likely is one of poor foresight. The reality is that applications will probably have more of a hybrid model. This means that there will be ways of using the same applications and tools through a browser while connected to the internet with some sort of offline mode to still continue to manage, edit, and use the needed tools.

The concept of having to be 100% on the cloud isn’t one that is needed and probably will not happen. There are backup services today that sync entire folders which can be accessed from multiple devices. Your data from these applications will be on your computers as well as backed up online at the same time. It is important to keep your data on your local machine so that you always have access to it no matter what. At times services can go down and connections could be lost. If you have your data, you can work with it regardless of any of these issues.

Google did a first attempt at this type of hybrid model with Gears but the program never really shaped up the way it could have been. With the upcoming HTML5 it will be much easier for there to be online and offline versions of web applications because of the way these new standards are being programmed.

Another huge benefit of this type of online software is that phones will be accessing the same data. This will allow users to continually be in check with all their documents and programs even on their cell phones. The more devices that can use the same applications and data, the easier it will be to keep everything that you use up to date.



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First Time Discovery of HTML Design


Your First Introduction to HTML Design

For most of us who are not computer experts, the idea of creating a website seems like both a foreign concept and an intimidating project. However, not all website design needs to be done by professionals who have computer science degrees.

What Type Site do You Need?

If you need a super slick and flashy website designed quickly, with all the bells and whistles, there is a chance you will want to hire a professional webmaster.

However, if you are putting up a personal, or even a small business site, not facing a looming deadline to get a website up and running, a beginner with little or no computer programming knowledge can absolutely learn HTML design to create their own good simple web page and build out from there.

HTML Design – How It’s Done

Website designing is created with coding languages. Just like people communicate in English or French or Swahili, computers speak various computer languages, and you the user can write a certain command in computer language codes that tells the computer what to create.

So, website language is just a matter of learning the right language your pc or mac understands and tells the computer what to do. One such language used in design is html. Html stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, but everyone just says “HTML”.

Why Use HTML Design?

If you create a website using most text editors, you are using HTML design. The great advantages of HTML is that it is fairly easy and free to learn, free to use (no licensing required), and you can work with it on both PC and Mac computers.

Finding Lessons

You will find hundreds of online web tutorials about using HTML. For a start, just go to your favorite search engine and type in “HTML design for beginners”. In fact, you will probably find the amount of resource results more overwhelming than HTML language itself.

Markup Tags?

HTML design is made up of codes called markup tags. Markup tags consist of the command enclosed in angle brackets. The tags look like this:

your command

The user places start and end tags before and after any text that he wants to display a certain way.

The tags are combined into a tag at the beginning and at the end of a piece of text, which tells the computer how to display it.

For example, to set off the title of an article on your web page, you will put these tags around it like this:

PUT YOUR TITLE HERE

Notice the back slash mark in front of the end tag. This tells the computer where the command ends.

HTML Color Codes and More

When using HTML design, you can display text in different colors, separate headings and titles from the rest of your paragraphs and insert graphics and sounds.

Once you learn a bit more about the language, you will also need to learn another coding language called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to complete your website.

Fortunately, CSS is also easy and free to learn on the web, with CSS tutorials everywhere. But, we’ll leave that to another lesson.

Don’t be Afraid and Learn the Basics

Most of all, don’t be afraid to experiment with HTML design code. Save your work often, play with it, have some fun, and create your first web page. The very worst that could happen is you may have to stop and start over a few times. Is that so bad?



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Internet Explorer – A Web Designer’s Worst Nightmare, and How to Deal With It


Maybe you’ve heard it before, or maybe you’ve been face-to-face with this enemy yourself. Internet Explorer (IE) is often a web designer’s worst nightmare, as it is always a little behind the curve, a little quirky, and way too popular to be ignored. The Windows operating systems all come with IE pre-installed, which means that a very large portion of the populace regularly use this browser instead of switching over to a better browser. Maybe it’s too much of a hassle, maybe they’re not computer-savvy enough to know how to switch or even why they should. Now it may seem ironic, but I am currently writing this post using IE, but actually, the very reason why I am doing so is because I am a web developer. I know that if I can get a site to work properly in Internet Explorer, it’s going to work even better in Firefox.

Some web designers choose to ignore IE completely, letting their visitors know that they had best download Firefox or Chrome if they would like to experience the site to its fullest. But with almost a fifth of internet users using IE, this solution may not be the wisest course to take. Others may choose to make their websites compliant to IE9 but not older versions (since IE9 is almost as good as as Firefox, Chrome, and other standards-compliant browsers); but again, we have almost 9% of users using IE8, which is more than the 6.4% using IE9.

So what’s to be done? As a web designer, all is not lost. There are several things that one can do to ensure that a design works well in all browsers, and degrades nicely if it uses elements not supported in IE, especially those older than IE9. I must admit that I refuse to try to make a site compatible for IE6 or older; to try to do that would be to complicate the code with all kinds of hacks, and it’s pretty safe to ignore IE6 at this point. In April of 2012, the percentage of users using IE6 was 0.7%, and considering that these users should probably be accustomed to broken sites by now, I choose to ignore that fringe population.

So here’s a short list of things to think about when designing a site to be truly cross-browser compatible:

  1. Write valid, W3C standards-compliant code, and validate it with the W3C validator. You can write in HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0, and as long as it validates and uses good coding practices (such as using (X)HTML for structure and CSS for design), it should appear pretty consistently in all browsers, including IE7/8. I make no comment on using HTML5 as I do not currently work with it, but from sites I have seen and a little research I have done, HTML5 is not exactly compatible with older browsers, and particularly IE. You can also validate your CSS and scripts, so be sure to go ahead and do that.
  2. Test in multiple browsers, including older versions of IE. Here is where I must mention the Internet Explorer developer tools for those who have not discovered this handy little system that IE, as well as other browsers like Firefox, have. In IE9 you can find these in the Tools Button in the toolbar, and then click F12 Developer Tools, or just simply hit F12 on your keyboard. There are a lot of handy tools here, from disabling scripts or CSS (try disabling CSS and Javascript sometime to see how your site would look without them; this gives an idea of how screenreaders will read your site), to validating your code. There is also a browser mode that allows you to select IE9 compatibility mode, IE8, or IE7 (unless you have IE8 installed on your machine, in which case it will allow you to select IE7 and IE6). So with this tool you can test your site on the older versions of Internet Explorer without dragging out your old computer with the old browser still installed.
  3. If you are on a Mac or for some other reason can’t get Internet Explorer, you could use a renderer like netrenderer. It only gives a screenshot of your site, and does not allow you to test interaction (even something as simple as scrolling down the page), but it will give a rough idea of how well you’re doing. For more realistic ways of testing, you might try a Google search of “Internet Explorer emulator.” There are other options, but as I don’t own a Mac, I have not bothered to test any of them out.
  4. Consider alternate ways of coding your site. Maybe instead of using CSS to make rounded corners and shadows and gradients, you can go old-school and use images. Often images can be made small enough that it doesn’t take that much longer to load, and the result is a beautiful site that looks exactly the same in all browsers.

It’s a really nice feeling, after having coded the thing, to open it up in IE7 and see that, amazingly, it looks just the same as it does in Firefox. Now that’s an accomplishment. And even more importantly, your site can impress all of your users, and not just those with better browsers. Unless that’s your target audience of course.



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JavaFX on IOS and Android: Great News for Cross-Platform Application Development


Oracle’s JavaFX, the rich Java client platform for UI, has gained points with Java application developers since Oracle announced its plans to open source its iOS and Android implementations in the next few months. For the first time, application developers will be able to build cross-platform applications for iOS, Android, Windows RT, and desktop apps using JavaFX code.

Though this could be a great start for JavaFX on iOS devices, it could also be too little too late. The long-time lack of Java support on iOS has compelled developers to look for alternatives that are fairly mature and popular. For example, HTML5 for cross-platform web applications, mobile frameworks like PhoneGap for mobile apps, and Unity and ShiVa3D for serious game applications. The competition for JavaFX is extensive and strong.

However, developers who have worked with JavaFX 2.0 are huge supporters of the technology. For one thing, Java FX 2.0 allows you to create applications completely in Java using standard Java development tools. Java developers can get started with JavaFX without losing any time on the learning curve. Using Java for the backend and web client saves a lot of time, effort and of course, resources.

Secondly, JavaFX integrates well with popular languages like Groovy and Scala, and you can incorporate JavaFX scenes into Swing apps. It also has a proper browser component that’s based on Webkit. And you can also use XML format FXXML for UI coding, apart from Java.

Thirdly, the animation and drawing capabilities of JavaFX are undoubtedly impressive. It’s fairly easy to build complex graphics, include effects and make it jazzy – allowing for rich UI design and depth.

Open sourcing of JavaFX

Oracle started talking about open sourcing JavaFX code at JavaOne 2012. Since then, 543,055 lines of code, from 35 different sub-projects, have been released for public use in re-licensed form. This has happened after a long-standing demand from application developers.

In the February Open source Update, Richard Blair outlines all the JavaFX projects whose code has been open sourced such as decora implementation, Modena app, animation APIs and implementation, beans, properties, collections, prism scene graph peers/interfaces, 2D software rasterizer, testing stubs and tools.

In the next two weeks, 7 more projects (138,034 lines of code) including Glass, Image I/O and Prism will be shared, followed by the rest of prism, web, and media sources in the next 1-2 months. The team is also working on the OpenJFX list to replace javafx-font with direct calls to the native operating system in the open source version.

JavaFX for iOS and Android – Prognosis

The biggest news in the February update was of course the open sourcing of JavaFX for iOS and Android. However, both the ports are based on a yet to be released version of JavaSE Embedded for iOS/Android so we don’t know a lot yet. Though part of the code and a test/build system will be released in the next week, more will come only with the rest of prism, owing to time dependencies.

Another important factor on the iOS platform is licensing. OpenJFX and OpenJDK are both licensed with the same GPLv2 with Classpath Extension. This could get tricky but it’s workable. As Blair himself explains, if you take OpenJFX and OpenJDK (leaving out any binary stubs released under a different license), you should be able to safely combine this with your application and release your application under your own license as a single application co-bundle.

Personally, I think this will work out well for Java developers. Maybe this is just the shot JavaFX needs too!



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Website Building and 5 Free Tips For Beginners


A beginner who knew nothing about building a web site shares how he and other beginners are now building multiple websites with no limits quickly and easily by using simple tools available online that anyone can apply.

Here are Five Simple and Easy steps to Take When Building Your First Website

  1. Utilise the easy to use tools provided by a trusted and well-known company.
  2. Always try before you buy…there should be a trial period available. Even if you have to pay a small fee it’s always better to make use of a trial period.
  3. Be sure they include tools like an auto responder system, email builder, html builder, data base, form builder and an affiliate linking system.
  4. Work with and actually use the tools you’ve just been given…don’t leave it till the end of your trial period. Start the same time your trial starts and build more than just one website. You should have fun doing this too.
  5. Be sure they have easy to follow instructions…not a whole bunch of reading either. Just small snippets that are simple and easy to follow is much easier. The best ones will also have even easier to follow video tutorials like the one I learnt on. This can be a real bonus for those of you who are like me and really struggle getting your head around instructions.

Here’s How I Found This Stuff Works

When I was a beginner who knew nothing about building a web site I struggled. I struggled for over a year trying to get a simple website up and running. Because I didn’t know how to do it myself I had the following problems.

  1. It took time to get any changes done by my web site designer. Sometimes a day and sometimes a week.
  2. The web site designer had total control of everything I wanted.
  3. The web site cost me an absolute fortune…over $4,000
  4. The website produced less then $100 after being online for one year.

I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this article you’re having similar troubles right. Let’s make things very easy for you.

There are more levels of education for you to learn but for now lets start with step one…getting your first website up and running.

You can start by shopping around and asking good questions of companies like,

– What is included in my web site building tools? Make sure they include the same items I mentioned in point number 3 at the very top of this article.

– Make sure you ask about a trial period. After all if you can’t work with their software you will need an exit strategy…not a long term monthly contract.

– Lastly you will need some marketing tools so once you build your website people will know where to find you. Be sure they have (included in the price) back office marketing material. This is THE MOST important part.

Because starting out is and was the toughest part for me I now share how I effectively achieved my first web sites and how anyone can build as many web sites as they want by simply making use of simple and easy to use website building tools online.

For someone who had no idea it was challenging and confusing but it’s now a cinch…even for a complete beginner. Since I started (February 2007) using easy to use website building tools I’ve built over 24 websites. Once you have the use of tools you can easily follow it makes building a website a breeze.

In my struggle over the past two years and not submitting to the feeling of quitting I’ve learnt much. I hope with the little I’ve shared here it will be enough to help you get off and running to save a fortune on building your first website and successfully choose a website company that is right for you.



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PHP Programming – Why Is It So Important In Internet Applications?


PHP programming is one of the most popular programming languages available today. It is user friendly and very simple to learn and use, even if you are not a computer programmer. Getting started with PHP programming is pretty easy!!

Getting started with PHP programming

As we all know, PHP is one of the widely used programming tool for internet based applications. Though powerful, it is simple and easy to use. People who are already familiar with programming will find it much easier and the syntax, less complicated. Working on PHP can be a pleasure. On the other hand, if you have no programming experience before, PHP is the best way to start your programming career. It’s easy to learn and the logics as they are much simpler compared to the conventional programming. Once you get a hold of the subject, you can place your projects immediately on the internet for others to have a look at your skills and you can start getting projects on your own.

Why is learning PHP so easy?

If you are having programming knowledge you can easily understand how easy it is compared to the traditional programming. But, if you are a newcomer, I will explain why it is so simple. PHP’s syntax is very simple compared to other programming languages such as C and C++. Most people will understand it very easily and will be able to start programming very soon. In fact, PHP can give you a better edge if you are newcomer as there is no confusion and as a fresher you may be able to adapt to it syntax pretty soon compared to a programmer who already has other programming syntax in mind. Though this is my personal belief, one thing is for sure, “PHP is easily one of the best and easy to learn programming tool that we have at present.”

PHP as a beginner

Also known as Personal Home Page, PHP was developed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995. Since its discovery, it has been very popular and it’s continuously developing. This programming tool has now enabled online programmers to create their own web applications and even start their own web pages with less effort. This has now emerged as one of the most powerful web application tools.

PHP simply put

It may be very confusing to understand the different programming languages that are available and their uses. There are many languages that are available such as PHP to Ada, but when observed carefully, one can understand the difference. There are two main types of programming, computer applications and web applications. PHP programming falls into the second category and is the simplest to use and also, can be pretty useful to find a job or even to start your own business.

Conclusion

Today, PHP is the most used and most important tool as far as web development is concerned. It has become so common to use PHP as a web developing tool that you will find it almost anywhere in this busy internet world. If aspiring to take up internet programming as a career, I suggest that getting started with PHP programming is the best. Once you start it, you will be surprised to see how soon you are able to start programming and will also be happy with the countless job opportunities!! Have a great PHP programming career. Cheers!!



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Mobile Application Development – Current Technologies


Smartphones are a huge success story of the past two decades – and the devices get more powerful each year. Many businesses achieve significant benefits by using mobile technology – including those in both industrial and commercial markets. Deploying applications to mobile users involves a unique set of challenges and choices.

This article provides a background on the current mobile technologies available.

Types of Application for Mobile

The fundamental consideration with delivering business applications over mobile phones is the huge number of devices, and the wide variety of features on these.

Successful mobile application development often involves a combination of technologies and techniques. This is where a diverse skill set, together with an understanding of the mobile landscape, is essential to provide businesses not only with development services but also effective guidance in this time of accelerating change. The challenges at this stage in mobile technology are mirrored by an ever-increasing range of opportunities for businesses to implement new and improved processes.

In general, there are two main approaches to delivering business solutions over mobiles:

(1) Web

The mobile Web has undergone enormous advances over the past few years. According to recent research, around a third of adults in the UK are now using a smartphone – it seems fairly safe to assume that this will only continue to increase. Many more mobile users have some kind of internet access. Although the functionality of mobile Web browsers is now at a good level, there are still considerable restrictions in terms of network connectivity and speed – this is expected to improve over the next couple of years as 4G kicks in, but for the moment remains a serious constraint.

Many organisations create mobile versions of their sites and Web services, with minimised content designed to cope with mobile hardware and data connectivity limitations. One potentially valuable prospect in the mobile Web will be the advance of HTML5. This technology is still very much under development, but with major sites such as the Financial Times opting to use it rather than targeting specific mobile platforms it does look very promising. HTML5 offers a range of benefits including facilities for offline support, multi-media, interactivity and location awareness.

(2) Mobile Apps

Native mobile applications are software solutions deployed directly onto devices such as phones. Many mobile applications link to internet services, with the application, or “app”, handling user interaction natively. Mobile apps have the advantage that they provide a deep level of interactivity that is suited to device hardware – for example, using gestures or sensors like GPS. The difficulty with using mobile applications to deliver business services is the range of platforms in operation. As of early 2011, Google, Apple and RIM together occupy around 90% of the smartphone market. However, the mobile landscape is still in a state of change and there are other players including Windows and Palm – it would be unwise to make any predictions about how market share will look even in a matter of months as things stand.

Microsoft have replaced the Windows Mobile system with Windows Phone 7, with an increased focus on consumer use. Although Microsoft currently has a reduced position in terms of smartphone market share, the upcoming Mango release is looking very promising, and is being received quite well in early testing.

In terms of technologies for mobile apps, the list is long, and depends on which platform (or platforms) you choose to target. Among the most commonly used programming languages for mobile applications are Java, Objective C and C++. Each of the major platforms has a specific Software Development kit, with its own tools to help with the design, testing, debugging and deployment.

The complexity of mobile application development is such that targeting even a single platform involves extensive testing. Some businesses maximise on development resources by balancing native user interaction with cross-platform resources at the back-end, in which case a mobile app can effectively function as an interface for a Web application.

SMS

Aside from targeting specific mobile platforms through software and Web development, there are additional ways to exploit mobile contexts for some business processes – SMS is one such case. In this model, services are delivered as SMS text messages. This has the benefit of generally working across all phones, and payment can be handled via users bills – but it’s a very limited form of interaction. SMS also has a problem that message delivery is not guaranteed. Integrating SMS message handling into Web applications is quite simple – and support for processing SMS messages from users is widely available.

About Android

Google’s Android operating system is going from strength to strength at the moment. Having initially been seen as a platform of interest mainly to geeks, Android now occupies around a third of smartphone market share. Android’s growth is partly down to the openness of the platform, which is available on phones across the market range and from various hardware manufacturers, making it accessible to a more diverse range of users than iPhone.

Apps available through the Android Market are also subject to very little control, which produces a great deal of variety and flexibility but naturally results in a higher proportion of poor quality applications in circulation.

Google’s approach is the opposite of Apple – which retains significant control over its mobile phone operating system. Google’s initial idea was to make a new phone operating system which would be open and free. Their hope was that this would encourage innovative development of both phones and applications. Google has invested in Android because it expected that Web searches would increasingly happen on mobiles, and it wanted to be able to advertise to mobile users.

Although Google’s position within the mobile world seems very strong right now, it is still difficult to say how things are going to progress. In terms of users and applications, Android has, in the past, been seen by many as more focused on consumer services than enterprise use when compared with Apple and RIM, but there is some evidence that this is changing. The Android system is offering a good level of integration with business services such as Microsoft Exchange, and the open nature of the platform makes integrating with existing enterprise applications potentially less troublesome than for certain competitors.

About iPhone

The iPhone was of course in a dominant position as the advance of the smartphone took shape, and the platform is still in a very powerful place. Although business users naturally tended toward Blackberry in the past, both iPhone and Android have continued to make considerable headway for enterprise as well as consumer use, while Blackberry has started catering more to the consumer user as well. The result is that all three of the major smartphone platforms are now occupying some of the same space.

The iPhone offers support for external business utilities such as Microsoft Exchange and, unlike Android, iPhone apps are subject to serious vetting before users can deploy them. The natural downside to this increased level of control over the platform as a whole is a lack of flexibility, but for business applications the plus side is a very high guarantee of quality and reliability for the end user – and ultimately for any business processes being implemented through the technology.

With the hugely popular visual designs and interaction models the brand is famous for, the iPhone is certainly an attractive platform for commercial applications. Apple have been responsible for developing innovative features whose success has prompted other platforms to emulate them, such as multi-touch interaction.

There are some serious considerations with iPhone development:

  • Apple does not permit users to directly install applications onto the iPhone – all applications must be bought from the Apple Store, and Apple takes a 30% cut. There may be some way around this in the future, but at present we are not aware of it.
  • For certain applications the fragility, financial value and battery life of the iPhone may pose problems.

Of course, these obstacles apply mostly to commercial / industrial applications. They are not particularly a problem in terms of creating end-user applications. Blueberry has the Objective C skills necessary to develop iPhone programs, and we would be very interested in discussing this with customers.

Although iPhone has lost considerable smartphone ground to both Blackberry and Android, it is generally still seen as the platform to beat, and continues to be a market leader in many ways.

About RIM Blackberry

RIM’s Blackberry platform was long regarded as the mobile system of choice for business and professional users, a perception that still persists to a certain degree. Over the past few years Blackberry has also made significant advances in the consumer market, introducing handsets that have proven especially popular among young smartphone users.

Like Android, Blackberry hardware is very varied, so users can access mobile sites and applications via differing screen sizes and controls – increasing the complexity in any development project. The Blackberry platform delivers a wealth of enterprise services as standard, with Blackberry Enterprise Server seen as a major asset for corporate users. Email on Blackberry is particularly strong, so users who are dependent on a high level of security and reliability in messaging (and communications in general) naturally tend towards this platform.

While iPhones are focused on touchscreen interaction, as are Android devices to a slightly lesser degree, Blackberry handsets are most likely to provide hardware keyboards for text input. This can be a key aspect in the potential of the platform for certain application categories.

A possible issue for mobile Web applications targeted at Blackberry is that the Web browsers on the system have, in the past, been significantly less advanced than those on both iPhone and Android. However, more recent models have addressed this issue by including the latest WebKit browser

Native apps can be deployed through the Blackberry App World marketplace, which has, to date, not occupied as central a role for users as the app stores on iPhone and Android, although the brand is clearly focusing extensive efforts on developing this aspect of usage.

About Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 represent Microsoft’s foray into the mobile world, which has enjoyed varying degrees of success in the consumer and industrial markets.

From the consumer point of view, at the moment some of the high end smartphone brands such as HTC and LG are producing handsets with the Windows Phone operating system deployed on them, with networks including O2 and Orange providing mobile services. Nokia and Windows have reached a major deal in which the manufacturer is dropping its Symbian platform entirely to focus on Windows as its operating system of choice.

In 2011, Microsoft is due to release a major new version of the mobile Windows platform named Mango. This much anticipated release could alter the position of Microsoft drastically within the mobile world, partly on account of the Nokia partnership and partly since the system is set to include a number of new features such as increased support for HTML5.

At the same time, Windows Mobile has also been adopted strongly by manufacturers of industrial PDAs and mobiles – portable computing device products designed for commercial rather than consumer use. This has seen Microsoft exploring various industrial contexts for mobile processing, with Windows Mobile 6.5 particularly successful in such environments, and hardware produced by various manufacturers including Motorola. Windows Mobile is therefore a natural choice for many mobile workplace needs, including warehouse and delivery services.

From a development perspective, Windows Mobile has very strong advantages. Microsoft has provided a rich platform of development tools – including the C# language, which is much easier to use than C used on other mobiles. Microsoft also includes tools for communication between software on the phone and central servers, and they even include a small database engine.

The strong development tools and wide availability of different devices make Windows Mobile a particularly valuable platform for delivering business applications. At Blueberry we have a uniquely high level of expertise on Windows Mobile systems, so are well positioned to deliver solutions on this platform.

Mobile Solutions

Blueberry Consultants ( http://www.bbconsult.co.uk ) has the development skills to build and deploy applications targeted at any of the mobile platforms and hardware manufacturers in use today, having developed a diverse range of mobile projects, including many on Windows. The team is also well placed to provide tailored approaches involving multiple technologies and programming languages where necessary.

With our skills in Web and client-server development, we can design a complete system that integrates field staff and office workers. Whatever your business process or context, Blueberry has the expertise to provide bespoke, comprehensive solutions to mobile integration, enhancing not only communication but also efficiency and productivity.



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