Tag Archives: mobile

October 14, 2015

What’s the Fuss with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

It’s easy for sites with rich content to run into performance issues on mobile devices. If you’ve ever browsed a content site that has a heavy footprint on desktop, chances are, the site wasn’t the fastest you’ve ever visited when you viewed it on your phone or tablet.

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project aims to solve these issues and make the user’s browsing experience “instant”, especially on resource-constrained mobile devices. The AMP project relies on existing standards and current technologies, so how exactly does it accomplish better performance? Largely by restricting what developers are able to incorporate into their sites.

This is a really good initiative.

July 9, 2015

What makes an on-screen keyboard fun?

The default iOS on-screen keyboard needs a lot of screen real estate for things we don’t care about: language settings, microphone input, a space bar and word suggestions. Most modern on-screen keyboards are predictive in that they try to figure out what it is you want to write. This works okay-ish for writing a quick SMS, but quickly becomes obstructive for a typing game. It was clear that if we wanted to bring ZType to mobile devices and make it fun to play, we’d have to come up with a custom keyboard solution.

April 17, 2015

The first Tizen smartphone isn’t an “Android killer”—it’s a bad Android clone

Tizen is the Highlander of the mobile world. The Linux-based OS is an amalgamation of every other failed or aborted Linux smartphone platform. If it’s Linux-based and not made by Google, there’s a good chance it’s been rolled into Tizen at some point. Tizen’s family tree includes Moblin, Meego, LiMo, and Bada, with large chunks of code written by the Linux Foundation, Intel, Samsung, and even the pre-Microsoft Nokia.

I laughed.

November 19, 2014

Brent Simmons on native apps and web apps

… Which is just to say that the distinction between native and web apps isn’t a true distinction. Since native apps are also web apps, and since native apps may also use HTML, the true distinction is between native apps and browser-based apps.

See my earlier post on the subject for my two cents.

November 5, 2014

Web Apps

Meanwhile, more and more native apps are actually using web views, either for parts of their UI (like a timeline in a social network), or for all of their UI. If people aren’t told, they don’t notice it. If people do know, their opinions mostly seem to come down to confirmation bias. Today, we’re at a point where web apps, if done right, are virtually indistinguishable from native apps. Chris Tan points out:

Take a look at the this blog post attempting to expose the advantages of Hybrid vs Native which not only uses Instagram as an example of a Native app but it is specifically used as a example of a GREAT native app and why you might want the performance and smoothness of Native. This is somewhat hilarious, because it is in fact a hybrid application that uses a web view to render all of its content.

A great write up on the native mobile vs. web app debate.

October 6, 2014

Rusty Rants

If you are looking for a well-written blog that focuses on mobile and isn’t simply singing the praises of Apple or Google, I highly recommend this one. Having a healthy dose of curmudgeon doesn’t hurt, either.

April 10, 2014

About the decline of the mobile web

I linked to an article discussing the decline of the mobile web yesterday, and for the most part, I agree with it. Mobile is overtaking the web.

John Gruber doesn’t agree:

I think Dixon has it all wrong. We shouldn’t think of the “web” as only what renders inside a web browser. The web is HTTP, and the open Internet. What exactly are people doing with these mobile apps? Largely, using the same services, which, on the desktop, they use in a web browser. Plus, on mobile, the difference between “apps” and “the web” is easily conflated.

In essence, he claims that Internet-connected native apps and websites alike are all part of the web.

I don’t know if I agree. Being able to navigate from document to document is what made the World Wide Web popular; hyperlinks are such fundamental part of the web that for me, they are what define it. You can’t link to elements of a mobile app. You can’t link from one app to another. Well, you can in some cases, but it isn’t something that is there by design. So no, apps and websites aren’t both part of the web. Apps are connected, but there is a distinction to be made here.

We should celebrate, not bemoan, that the web has diversified beyond the confines of browser tabs and the limits of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Let websites, rendered in browsers, be good at what they’re good at. (And websites are perfect for so many things.) But let native apps be good at what they’re good at, too. Like water flowing downhill, users gravitate to the best experiences. Saying that we’re worse off for the popularity of native mobile apps is like saying water should run uphill.

No argument here—native apps offer mobile users a better experience. But instead of taking this as something set in stone is idiocy. Why not concentrate on making the performance of browsers better? Instead of thinking “nothing is faster than a native app”, why don’t we think outside of the box? What if websites were served as native, compiled software that runs locally? What if JavaScript wasn’t the only client-side language? What if HTML, CSS and JavaScript were treated as first-class citizens at the hardware level? These may be crazy ideas, but breakthroughs often originate from crazy ideas.

April 8, 2014

The decline of the mobile web

This is a worrisome trend for the web. Mobile is the future. What wins mobile, wins the Internet. Right now, apps are winning and the web is losing.

I wouldn’t say it’s all doom and gloom, but this article does bring up some good points.