Day Job

Looking for advice on XPages mobile apps

I’ve been doing a lot of work creating XPages web applications specifically targeted for iPads but desktop users will be needing it as well. So far I’ve been using mobile controls in 8.5.3 which is based on Dojo 1.6. While there are some interesting things that crop up in developing with mobile controls the users do really like the native look and feel.

What I’m finding is even some desktop users use the app from a browser like chrome or safari. Ok not the end of the world. Whatever floats their boat. There is a need to deliver this to the desktop as well.

So I’m in the process of basically starting over from scratch and rebuilding my application so it’s more based on java beans and is just all over cleaner – since I now know things that I never knew before.

I’m just wondering the best way to build it? At least for the iPad. Our corporate stranded is oneUI based so ill probably need a pure desktop version and a mobile version. If I get most of the logic in java beans that shouldn’t be a really big deal I don’t think.

But what about the mobile app? Do I stick with mobile controls? We’ll be upgrading to domino 9.0 pretty much day 1 and under the covers that brings dojo 1.8 with many new mobile features. These features aren’t exposed via mobile controls yet. Should I use a mix of mobile controls and manually grab anything from dojo 1.8 that I need? Or do I avoid mobile controls all together and try to use dojo mobile manually? I’m not sure what the pros and cons there might be to that.

Or do I avoid mobile controls all together and try something like twitter bootstrap or something else? The users do like the native look and feel but honestly, it’s going to be a big app with lots going on. So a more “normal” website might make somethings easier on me. I guess I’d certainly lose page transitions and need to make sure buttons and targets are big enough for the tablet screen. Deal with viewport and all that…..

I’m not really sold or interested in responsive design for this. This isn’t a blog it’s an inventory application. I’ve not seen an example or a real app using responsive design. There will be lots of fields, tables, buttons etc. When the time comes to put this on a phone I imagine there will be yet a third site needed with scaled back functionality that fits the phone screen.

I don’t think jQuery mobile is a good option but I’m not sure. Certainly I won’t be disabling normal XPages dojo stuff and buildings all that manually. I don’t know if I’ve seen an XPages jQuery mobile demo that didn’t first turn all that good dojo stuff off.

This is going to be a web app right now and not a local app. I’m kinda interested in it as a local app but I don’t want any local data. I want all the data to live on the server so I know it’s always accurate and up to date.

Anyway, that’s my story. I do kinda like mobile controls and have had some good and bad luck with them. But I somewhat feel that maybe using bootstrap or something else can help me make it work nice in iPad while getting away from the whole virtual page thing on what is going to be a big app. Just make building it easier and more flexible. But I really don’t know.

What does anyone think about mobile WEB apps? I’d really be interested to hear any advice or experiences. What have you done? What are your trying? What considerations do you have? Etc…

Thanks for your time and any advice.

P.S. this post was written in my new iPad mini and it rocks!!!!!!