After busy life as being a MCS consultant mulled into various projects involving various technologies and environment, it has never been easy to allocate time to post any meaningful posts to the blog.  Of course, that's very common excuse.  Besides, I never thought I would have anything meaningful for anyone to read about as well.  I am still in that side of court, yet since I had done this now more than once, I thought it would be good to start a thread going as I am about to embark another one of these.

I don't need to blah blah about how pervasive mobile devices have been and changes are happening in recent months and years.  I bet one of topics hit many of developers these days must be "how to build an cross-platform mobile application?"  This is a loaded question. 

When you want to build an application for mobile device, we may be looking at building client app that gets installed on the device.  Here's obvious headaches...

  • Siloed technology - Let's say, build one for iPhone, it runs on iPhones only, ignoring vast majority of "others".  Also you will be needing different skills for iPhone, Windows, and god-knows who BB developers seperately.  I have seen some consumer banks developed iPhone app for their customers.  It's great for iPhone users, but what a patched approach it is!  Ignoring this mighty Windows Phone user, not good, not cool.  :)  And so much for "cross-platform"!!!
  • Approval process - Simply put, heck with that...
  • Security - Speaking of Line of Business (LOB) application, it is never recommended to store any sensitive data on the device.  Remember the iPhone v4 found at a bar?  Imagine your company's sales data in competitor who were earsdropping brags from the table next to one of your sales guys/gals who drops it.

So the answer, as any reasonable person would have guessed, is Web, to be precise, MOBILE WEB.  Since I have done a few of these stuff, I would like to share some stuff I picked up while working on these kind of stuff.  And that's what this blog thread is about...

Here's I'd like to talk about some of options for you in building Mobile Web.

  • Sharepoint - There have been questions from businesses who are already verse with Sharepoint and owns siginificant SP infrastructure and web applications (via SPMobile View, Webparts, InfoPath, or plain old application pages) asking about options to take these existing apps (mostly LOB) to mobile.
    • SP Mobile View - Sharepoint has been shipped with mobile view of most of OOB contents, such as calendar, list, etc. already.  It's just matter of toggling the feature on sitecollection level.  Please refer links <here, here, here>. 
    • View Adapter model of Webpart - Webpart's OM provides properties and <blah>
    • InfoPath Mobile View - Form services has ability to render forms <blah>
    • Application pages - It is basically custom ASP.NET pages.  There's no right or wrong way to convert that to mobile page.  Need to rewrite anyway...

 

  • ASP.NET with Mobile Controls - Simple answer for this is, this is NOT a direction you'd want to take for any new development initiatives.

 

  • ASP.NET + MVC + WURFL- Uber way to approach it!