Category: Mobile Apps

Hybrid Apps – Android System WebView Updates

From Android Lollipop 5.0, Google started pushing an app called “Android System Web View”, which they periodically update the device web view. Since Apache Cordova / Adobe PhoneGap is well adopted for building cross platform Mobile apps, this will have significant impact on the apps we’ve already built!

If you’re a Hybrid app developer and supporting Android 5.0 Lollipop & above versions, it’s worth to keep an eye on these updates and test your apps often.

It’s highly recommended to subscribe Chrome Canary beta channel – Android System WebView beta to get the updates early and act accordingly.

You can join Google+ WebView beta community to get latest updates. Android System WebView is supported on Android Lollipop 5.0 & above versions.

How to uninstall the Web View update

  • Tap on the Settings icon.

  • Scroll down and tap on Apps or Application Manager.

  • Look for Android System WebView under Downloaded page.

  • Tap to open the info page.

  • Now click on UNINSTALL UPDATES button. This will reset the web view.

NOTE: It’s a temporary solution till you work out a fix for it. If any of your existing app is breaking in the production, you can quickly ask them to uninstall the Android System WebView update.

Hope it helps!

Build Hybrid Apps Online with Adobe PhoneGap Build

The Pain area while creating Hybrid Mobile Apps is building to multiple Platforms. I’m NOT saying it’s too difficult, also, it’s not simple process. How it will be if you have a tool which does this BUILD process automated for different platforms? Super Cool… Isn’t it!

It’s Adobe PhoneGap Build tool! Adobe offers this as a CLOUD service, where you don’t need to install any Software on your PC/MAC. Great, Thanks to Adobe for making this. Personally, i love this 🙂

How to use this Adobe PhoneGap Build?

Before going to know about this tool, be ready with your source code for HYBRID Mobile App which includes – HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Now, visit the PhoneGap Build URL – https://build.phonegap.com/. Register yourself. You have FREE and also PAID plans and it totally depends on your needs. If you are OSS developer, then FREE plan should be fine.

Once you logged in, you may have to click on + new app

newapp

It allows you to pull the code from GIT repo. It can be a Public or Private repo. To build Private repo’s you may have to pay for it and maximum number of Apps you can create is 25(with single login)!

newapp

I have pushed a demo app to Git to test this PhoneGap Build and if you wish to try out, you can use it. It’s https://github.com/roopeshreddy/PhoneGapAppDemo/

Once you have entered your .git URL, you can click on pull from .git repository. This will fetch the source files from Git and make it ready for BUILD.

NOTE: You can also upload zipped folder instead of .git repo!

Now, it will be ready to create BUILD. You can edit the name of the application, enable debugging etc.,

newapp

Once all the options are set, click on Ready to Build which will create respective installer files for different platforms!

Untitled

Aaah, we are ready with installer files for different Platforms. Just click on the platform icons to download the respective installer file.

As of now, Adobe PhoneGap Build supports following platforms –

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • BlackBerry
  • HP WebOS
  • Symbian

NOTE: As per the Official blog of Adobe PhoneGap, they are depreciating BlackBerry, HP Web OS and Symbian Platforms. you can ready more about it here – Phone Gap Platform depreciations

Happy Mobile App Development!

Hybrid Mobile Apps

I came across a question – “Questions on Hybrid Apps”  in one of the Forums, and i thought it’s worth writing a blog post, so that it will help others (at least for my blog post visitors 😉 ) May be many of us have doubts about Hybrid Mobile Apps. Let me provide my thoughts –

Hybrid, the word itself states that, it’s mixture of multiple things. Now, Hybrid Mobile Apps – it’s mixture of multiple technologies.

1. How it is different from Regular / Native Mobile Apps?

Let me tell you the basic difference of Native Apps and Hybrid Apps –

Native Apps – Developed using Platform specific SDK (Software Development Kit). Native Mobile Apps built on platform SDK’s. For example, if you wish to develop an iOS App, then you may have to download the Apple iOS SDK and start building app. Now, you thought of powering Android users with your app, then you may have to download Android SDK and start building the app from scratch.

Hybrid Apps –  You can leverage your web skills to develop an Mobile App.

HTML 5 + CSS 3 + JavaScript + (APACHE CORDOVA / IONIC FRAMEWORK / TRIGGER.IO etc., )

We can achieve PORTABILITY – write once and deploy on multiple platforms.

2. How to access the device features like Contacts, Camera, GPS etc.,?

You can definitely access to all the device features through  – APACHE CORDOVA / IONIC FRAMEWORKTRIGGER.IOThese plugins will help us in accessing OS features through their API’s. Same is well documented in their respective sites.

3. Can i deploy the Apps to Stores for different platforms?

Yeah. You can deploy your app to multiple platforms App Stores. Consumers can download you app just like the Native Apps.

4. How do you control the layout of an Hybrid app considering it’s one app which will be run on many different devices with many different layouts?

Responsive Web Design. Using CSS 3 media queries you can achieve responsive web design. It allows to design layouts for different resolutions of the devices.

5. Which development framework is better Apache Cordova or Ionic Framework or  Trigger.io or any other?

Hard to answer. Most of the Hybrid Apps are developed on Apache Cordova. It’s Open Source. Even Ionic Framework internally uses Apache Cordova. Trigger.io is licensed and you may have to pay for it.

Each of the framework will have their own Pros and Cons. It’s better to do through analysis on choosing the right one for you!

Happy Mobile App programming!!!

Scalability in Hybrid Mobile Apps

Hybrid Mobile Apps = HTML 5 + CSS 3 + JavaScript. Hybrid Mobile Apps possible through Adobe PhoneGapIonic etc., Many articles available if you google about this!

Scalability is a big factor to consider while designing an Monile App, especially Hybrid Mobile Application. Many people suggests to go with Native app instead of Hybrid app, if SCALABILITY is a primary factor for your app. One point of time, i even agreed it and suggested my team to go with Native app development. Considering the facts, yeah for highly scalable apps, Native app is preferable solution!

In recent R&D i found that, we can achieve Scalability in Hybrid Mobile Apps too. We should pay more attention on the DOM size and this will lead to a highly scalable mobile app.

Let me explain my scenario –

As per requirement, we have to display list of items(Each item has more information). These items will be fetched dynamically from Server. If the number of items greater than 100, our app crashes since the DOM size for the 100 items is huge. Also, we are displaying all items at once which is causing the ***CRASH***.

Now we have started our R&D by examining the code. We tried  removing unnecessary HTML, CSS and JavaScript but in vain. Tried Document Fragments and Object Pools solutions still in vain. Object Pools has provided us better results, but not the scalable results 😦

We know the root cause for the crash is the heavy DOM. So we started building ItemStack. ItemStack holds the chunked item size which we predefine(We define it as 20 items). In our scenario, the logic is total number of items / 20. Ex: If we have 100 list items, then the ItemStack size is 5.

Now we applied Lazy Loading approach. Based on scroll position we append or prepend ItemStack row, thus minimising the  footprint of DOM. I know appending and prepending again lead to more DOM access, but still we achieved it with DOM fragments!

Finally, we have fixed the crash issue with the above approach!

Happy Hybrid Mobile App programming 🙂