New W3C course: Introduction to Mobile Web and Application Best Practices

28 04 2011

2nd early bird rate at only 145€! Please register here

W3C is pleased to announce its latest online training course: Introduction to Mobile Web and Application Best Practices.  The course will start on 6 June 2011.

This represents a substantial revision of the popular course that ran several times between 2008 and 2010 and includes a lot of new material concerning Web applications. Delivered online over 8 weeks, the course will help Web designers and content producers who are already familiar with the desktop world to become familiar with the Web as delivered on mobile devices. It is based entirely on W3C standards, particularly the Mobile Web Best Practices and Mobile Web Application Best Practices.

Participants will:

  • learn about and use the recommended versions of HTML and CSS to use for mobile today;
  • understand the constraints of working on mobile and how to overcome them to deliver the best possible experience to the widest range of users;
  • practice client side and server side content adaptation techniques;
  • learn about and use the exciting new APIs available on modern mobile platforms.

The course will be taught by Phil Archer who was a member of the Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group from the outset. Phil is an acknowledged contributor to many W3C Recommendations related to mobile and gained praise from participants in the earlier course for his enthusiasm and subject knowledge.

The full price for the Introduction to Mobile Web and Application Best Practices is €195 but there are two early bird periods:

  • From now until Friday 6th of May you can enrol for just €95
  • The second early bird period runs until Friday 20 May at €145.

Please find full details of the course and register now!

Future Platforms on mobile Web applications

7 04 2011

I have been conducting a series of interviews of SMEs that use Web technologies to build mobile applications, as part of our work in the MobiWebApp project to build a standardization roadmap for mobile Web applications.

For this fourth interview, I have contacted Tom Hume, Managing Director of Future Platforms, a UK based software agency specialized in mobile.

Hello Tom, how would you describe the business of your company?

We launch software products for mobile phones. Over the years we’ve worked with most mobile platforms, including the web.

How have you been using Web technologies as part of your deployment of mobile applications?

Some of our first work, in 2000, was WAP sites and AvantGo (an offline web browser) services. Since then we’ve built mobile sites, hybrid native/web apps using PhoneGap, and have frequently used HTTP as a transport even in otherwise un-webbish applications.

What are the advantages you’ve found to using Web technologies?

The main one is speed of iteration of user interface; and finding skilled individuals who can work with them.

What are the missing pieces that prevent you from using Web technologies in more products, or in a more advanced fashion?

Browser fragmentation on mobile devices is a problem (even WebKit isn’t consistent). Performance of the web stack doesn’t match performance of native apps, and is unsuitable for producing apps which look native.

In your experience, what are the type of situations where Web technologies are a better fit, and in what situations are they still lagging behind?

They’re a great fit for adapting content to mobile devices and getting reach across a wide range of mobile OS and device platforms. They’re pretty good for producing apps which don’t necessarily look like native applications: we’ve done work for ad agencies which is a good fit, because they tend to be keen on producing highly branded, and therefore customised, apps.

They lag behind on delivering an experience which matches expectations of quality driven by native apps.

Any practical advice you would like to share with other companies that would like to take a similar approach?

Test across different platforms from the very beginning; evaluate the “kitchen sink” apps of toolkit and framework providers carefully; produce differing versions of your product for different OS platforms which fit with the UI metaphors of that platform. For instance, Android users expect to use the hardware back button, whilst iPhone users expect there to be a “back” button at the top left of their screen.