Category: mobile


Simply Weather Progressive Web App

April 18th, 2017 — 3:51pm

I put together a relatively simple “Progressive Web App” called SimplyWeather.  It uses a weather feed to create a simple forecast for your current location.  A Progressive Web App is supposed to act like a natively installed app, but written using web technologies.  If you load the above link on your phone, it should ask you to install to your home screen, at which point you can run it from there (it’ll look like a local app).

Overall, building a PWA is a bit of a PITA, with some very finicky and temperamental requirements.  I found the “service worker” and “manifest” particularly feisty.  Also, I’m not sure how to send updates consistently – the app seems to cache most everything, and not refresh styles or html even when you try to force that.

So, I think PWA’s still have a way to go, in terms of online documentation and examples.  Then it still remains to be seen if people prefer to just stay inside the app stores as they have been.

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Progressive Web Apps

November 29th, 2016 — 3:35pm

I recently spent some time researching “Progessive Web Apps”, or PWAs.  They are a relatively new way to make mobile apps which utilize the web browser, rather than requiring full installation via an app store.  Google seems to be driving this particulare movement.  Here are some links I used in my research:

Your First Progressive Web App – how to build a simple, functional app, with a demo included.

Debugging Service Workers – after you get into things, this link comes in handy

Web App Install Banners – this is how you get someone to install your “app” once it’s coded and ready.

Sampling of PWA tools

I’ll update this post as I find more resources, and publish a few PWA’s myself.  I think this is the future for many apps – easier to update and distribute and lower storage requirements on the device.

I was able to get a fairly simple web app set up here: Listomizer.  You can enter in a list of items, then have the app make a random choice, alphabetize them, or randomly sort them.  When you load this, your phone should ask you if you want to add a button to your home screen.  Then it looks like an app when you open it.

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Presentation on Mobile Web strategies

December 11th, 2012 — 12:21pm

Mobile web traffic is exploding – if you are not aware of it, your website is probably already getting 5-10% of its traffic from mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.). How should you respond to this sea-change in the way your customers access your site?

I’ll be co-presenting on this topic with Tom Allebach (sitecats.com) at the Penn Suburban Chamber’s annual “Small Business University” event, February 1, 2013.

View SBU Flyer

Learn about the major web strategies for accomodating mobile visitors – including apps, “responsive design” and others. While preparing for this presentation, I was inspired to convert my website to a responsive design. It now renders reasonably well on all types of devices, without requiring multiple templates.

If you cannot attend this event, contact me and I’ll gladly discuss mobile strategies with you in relation to your business.

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New Responsive Design website!

December 5th, 2012 — 3:42pm

I just launched a revamped website, using a responsive-design template. What is that, you ask? Well, it means that the site should display well on any device – from a 20″ desktop monitor, to a smartphone screen. I believe many sites will go to this type of design going forward.

To see it in action, you can just take your browser and shrink it – squeeze it vertically, and see how the content shifts. Or load it in your tablet or smartphone. There are still some glitches to work out with the content / styling, but overall, I like the responsive capabilities.

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Is responsive design right for your website?

September 4th, 2012 — 4:57pm

One of the new buzzwords in the web design community is “responsive design“. This refers to website design that responds gracefully to the device it is being displayed on. While on the surface this sounds like a great idea, there are some drawbacks.

  1. It’s hard to design a site that works well on a big screen, AND a small smartphone screen. Elements get re-arranged, content gets squeezed, and the user experience can suffer.
  2. It’s disorienting – users that are used to the “desktop” version of your website, can be disoriented when the site looks different on their tablet or smartphone. If they are used to panning and zooming, they may prefer the site to stay the same, and the way they are used to viewing it.
  3. Less is not more. Users on smartphones can feel like they are “missing something” if the site looks stripped down from the desktop version.

The long term solution for building websites may indeed be responsive design, but I don’t think that’s clear yet. New devices and technologies may change the landscape yet again. While you can’t ignore mobile users, going after a full re-design at this stage may be premature.

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