Tuesday 9th October, 2012
4:00pm to 5:30pm
The College of Letters and Science Information Technology Office (LSITO) at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee is providing services for mobile devices by developing HTML5 applications. This poster presentation will focus on some of the technological and design aspects of this project. Mobile devices have a significant and growing presence on college campuses. The mobile computing environment at our campus is typical of most institutions. Students are bringing their own devices to campus and there is diversity in terms of mobile operating systems that need to be accommodated. Many mobile application development solutions are device specific, and require learning a different programming language for each operating system. In order to implement these solutions, many person-hours are needed to focus on each mobile operating system, or solutions need to be outsourced to third-party vendors. For campuses with limited resources, these are not viable solutions. It is possible to provide mobile computing solutions that leverage existing web development expertise with relatively simple modifications to adapt to mobile devices. The performance gap between web and native apps is narrowing, and HTML5 apps provide a development path that is primarily device independent. The initial mobile service we are developing is a web app for the College of Letters and Science. For our starting point, we are using the standard iPhone user interface elements of navigation lists and detail pages with additional style elements introduced with CSS. We are able to use our existing experience with PHP and MySQL to dynamically generate these pages and tap into existing data sources as well as utilize API’s from providers such as Google Maps and Twitter. On iOS (Apple) devices, HTML5 apps stay self-contained, that is, it does not launch an external web browser window. HTML5 apps have an icon and a “splash page” that provide the look and feel of launching an app from the home screen of a device. On Android devices, HTML5 apps launch in a browser. The app icon can be loaded onto the device home screen, but it behaves like a browser bookmark. In order to achieve native app behavior on Android devices, we have developed a relatively simple Android app that uses a Web View to encapsulate an HTML5 app. These Android Hybrid apps can then be published in Google Play, which provides an additional avenue for deployment.
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