Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mobile Application Development: Starting from Scratch

That's where I was only a few months ago - starting from scratch. Now that I've been through the "crucible" so to speak, I have some wisdom to share about my experience, and a few tips to pass on. Here is my guide to getting up to speed quickly.

HTML5

HTML5 is a blanket term used to describe the latest web technologies from W3C, including HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. The web revolves around this now, but it still has yet to prove itself on the mobile front. It might not be as fast or efficient as using native code. However, it's the logical choice when developing for multiple platforms, and better to brush up on these skills before diving into any enterprise web project. Here's a "crash" course:
There's also a new IBM self-paced course offering:
ZU370 Introduction to HTML5 and JavaScript Programming - no travel required. Once you sign up for the course, you have 60 days to complete it online at your own pace. You also get access to a remote lab environment to do the hands-on labs.

UI Frameworks

Another technology you will run across in the world of mobile app development is the use of UI frameworks. These are collections of tools, libraries, and controls that can simplify the development process, provide a rich web experience, and a consistent user interface. Among the more popular UI frameworks (this is not an exhaustive list) are:
IBM course offerings include:
ZU371 Developing Mobile Web Applications with Dojo - available now as a self-paced virtual course.
ZU372 Developing Mobile Web Applications with jQuery - coming soon!

These tools, conveniently, also happen to integrate well with IBM Worklight.

IBM Worklight

IBM Worklight is a complete mobile application development platform that you can use to create all kinds of native, web-based, or hybrid mobile applications. Here's a white paper that explains in detail what the difference is and why you should care. Each approach has it's benefits and limitations. An hybrid application combines both native and web code, and therefore can take advantage of each of those approaches. IBM Worklight makes it easy to develop hybrid applications - and believe me when I say, if I think it's easy, it's super-easy. If you have the aforementioned basics covered, you can get up to speed on Worklight very quickly. There's also a new course offering (see below). You can download the IBM Worklight V5 Developer Edition from here for free.

Meet new course - WU503 Mobile Application Development with IBM Worklight V5 – Early Education. This is a 5-day instructor-led deep dive into using Worklight to develop, deploy, and manage mobile applications. Look for open enrollment classes to be scheduled in the near future, or request onsite training at your facility.