AJAX iPhone Mobile mobile 2.0 mobileweb

Mobile device client software vs. mobile websites

According to the Netbiscuits blog

The main advantages of client based mobile Web applications are that they provide very good possibilities for graphic design of user interfaces and keep content available even offline. Furthermore, they often show faster reaction times and are sometimes easier to link to other telephone functions such as directories, camera, etc. The main disadvantage of every client-based solution is that they initially need to be downloaded by the user and installed on the mobile – a practice that will need to be repeated for every new release. Many users are prevented from taking this step due to technical problems, security issues and a lack of clarity concerning costs involved. Furthermore clients are always dependent on the mobile phone operating system and must often undergo costly adjustments for each individual terminal.

Mobile sites, on the other hand, do not require any installation. They are immediately available over the browser and the sites’ content and software are continuously updated unobtrusively to the mobile user. Mobile sites also provide a greater scope of outreach than clients do, as nowadays practically all mobile phones have a browser. Adjusting mobile sites and rich media content to various mobile terminals can be made 100 percent automatic. This means a massive reduction in development and testing expenses. User interface design is also no longer an obstacle. Modern mobile phone browsers enable use of AJAX and Flash, thus creating a user experience similar to that of PC Web. If a company is looking for a larger audience reach with as little hassle as possible, the mobile site is the clear winner.

I totally agree. The one thing that I advocate is to have some kind of markup language that allows the browser to have access to native device functions such as the PIM, camera, etc.

Apple iPhone Mobile mobileweb user interface Web Design

iCopy uPaste – User Interaction Prototype

Head on over to CityBlogz Labs section of the website, to check out the latest code iteration of a user interaction model demo that I’m prototyping.  It is a little bit rough around the edges, but it showcases a little bit of how I envision the Copy and Paste to work on the iPhone Safari client.  I will be describing some of the code in detail over the next couple weeks, so stay tuned.

iPhone Mobile mobileweb user interface Web Design

iCopy uPaste

Still no copy and paste for iPhone 2.0. Apple has admittedly said that copy and paste is in the works, but it is not a big priority.  Time to take matters into my own hands by creating a “iCopy uPaste” web service for the iPhone.  I figure it would be a nice side project for me to learn more about iPhone web development and get some exposure in creating a REST-based web service.

The premise is simple.  I want a way for anyone using an iPhone to open a bookmarklet on any Safari web page that activates a hidden dialog menu.  They can select any text from the web page and copy the text to a “Copy and Paste” web service up in the “cloud”.  The user can paste the text on another page’s form input field or somewhere else on the same page.  I can already think of several hurdles such as cross-domain JavaScript, server-related security issues, and iPhone limitations on JavaScript events.  I plan on sharing every morsel of information that I find on my journey and I invite anyone to help.  I will start putting up the code in some form of source control (more on that later).  By the time I’m done, perhaps Apple will already have implemented a nice solution to this problem.

The wonderful part of this idea is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be confined to iPhones.  Creating it as a web service and opening up an API allows any platform that can consume web services to have access to a “cloud-based” Copy and Paste.  Therefore, I can envision native iPhone apps to simply create the following options: “Copy to iCopyuPaste” and “Paste from iCopyuPaste“.  They can hook those events to consume the “iCopyuPaste” web service.  Of course, the down side is that it won’t work if you aren’t immediately connected to the 3G or Edge or Wi-Fi network, but that’s the trade off for copy and paste.  Another use case scenario could be for someone who needs to copy some text from one computer’s browser over to another computer’s browser.  If they needed that text to be pasted into a native app via the system’s clipboard, someone could conceivable use Adobe AIR to create a widget that consumes the “iCopyuPaste” web service and store that text onto the system clipboard, ready to be pasted on any application on the desktop. Thoughts?