HTML5 frameworks for mobile web applications

We are starting the series of tutorials and short reviews about popular HTML5 mobile frameworks. In this post, we are discussing why would developers use existing mobile web framework instead of building one from the ground up.  And we are creating simple, mobile web application with Framework7. In the second tutorial part we use Parse.com cloud service to integrate user login. The third part is about wrapping Framework7 application into PgoneGap.

Mobile web applications allow us to quickly design and develop prototypes, reuse already written code across multiple mobile platforms and in many cases match look & feel for customers using wide range of devices with different operating systems.

What BaaS to choose for HTML5 application

The term backend as a service or BaaS is currently mentioned a lot among mobile application developers.

Multiple storage options exists for HTML5 applications, like the local storage or filesystem. But these will only allow application to store data locally, on the mobile device.

If your mobile app has to store data outside the device, in order to sync across different platforms for example, application creators have to make a decision on how this will be achieved.

One option is to build a simple backend service which could handle requests from mobile application running on multiple mobile clients and provide data storage functionality.

This usually sounds easier then it is to implement, because while building such backend service you have to take many factors into account. Authorisation and authentication, performance and operations support among many others.

Web Development for the iPhone

I am now attending a session on developing Web applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The presenter is Steve VanBrackle. Unfortunately, I have already discovered that this session is going to be completely dependent upon a Mac program called DashCode, for which there appears to be no Windows alternative. The interface for DashCode appears insanely easy to use, though.

To begin, VanBrackle simply created a new project. A working shell app was immediately created for him to edit and customize. All of the buttons, bars, etc. are automatically generated as part of the app.

He is now demonstrating how simple it is to click and drag information from a data store into the app. For the most part, it’s creating a JSON file to generate the data that’s being displayed in the application. Because of this format, it is easy to create the app a single time and then replace the data without having to redo everything.

At this point, he’s showing us how to add new buttons to the application, once again using click and drag interfaces. Once he places the button, a dialog appears presenting him with the choice of various event handlers that are available on the iPhone with buttons. By clicking one of the event handlers and typing the name of a function, a new, empty function is automatically created in the code window, allowing him to insert his custom code into the function.