AJAX on mobile phones


J

Jeff

Hey

I'm looking for info about using AJAX for building mobile app, so please
post your link.... :)

Also what is your experience using AJAX on mobiles, is it a good or bad
experiece, and why is it so?

Jeff
 
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C

Chris Smith

Jeff said:
I'm looking for info about using AJAX for building mobile app, so please
post your link.... :)

Also what is your experience using AJAX on mobiles, is it a good or bad
experiece, and why is it so?

If this is even possible, I'll be very shocked. I don't know for sure
one way oe the other, but it would be extremely interesting if mobile
phone web browsers implement the technologies needed for AJAX.

--
www.designacourse.com
The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
MindIQ Corporation
 
I

Igor Planinc

Chris said:
If this is even possible, I'll be very shocked. I don't know for sure
one way oe the other, but it would be extremely interesting if mobile
phone web browsers implement the technologies needed for AJAX.

And what might those "technologies needed for AJAX" be?
 
C

Chris Smith

Igor Planinc said:
And what might those "technologies needed for AJAX" be?

JavaScript, and some kind of means of communicating between JavaScript
and the server. For the latter, the non-standard XmlHttpRequest is
normal, but in a pinch, a zero-size frame and decent DOM support will do
(assuming you want to ignore the 'X' in the rather poorly named "AJAX"
acronym, as most people do... otherwise, an XML parser will be needed
and XmlHttpRequest is the only reasonable game in town).

--
www.designacourse.com
The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
MindIQ Corporation
 
I

Igor Planinc

Chris said:
JavaScript, and some kind of means of communicating between JavaScript
and the server.

Oh, is that all? Every decent browser (Opera for example) already has that. For
quite some time now, in fact. And - surprise, surprise! - it runs on your
average mobile device like magic. ;-)
 
C

Chris Smith

Igor Planinc said:
Oh, is that all? Every decent browser (Opera for example) already has that. For
quite some time now, in fact. And - surprise, surprise! - it runs on your
average mobile device like magic. ;-)

I was unaware that Opera had a browser for mobile phones. Nevertheless,

http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/operamini/faq/index.dml

See the next to last question. That makes me rather skeptical about the
ability to use JavaScript for AJAX tasks. It's too vague to reach any
specific conclusions.

--
www.designacourse.com
The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
MindIQ Corporation
 
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I

Igor Planinc

Chris said:
I was unaware that Opera had a browser for mobile phones.

Now you are. In fact, they're so sure their browser will rule the world of
mobile devices, they gave away their (ordinary) web version for free.
Nevertheless,

http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/operamini/faq/index.dml
See the next to last question. That makes me rather skeptical about the
ability to use JavaScript for AJAX tasks. It's too vague to reach any
specific conclusions.

Try it out (incl. the Opera Mobile TM). That should be enough for those conclusions.
 
C

Chris Smith

Igor Planinc said:
Try it out (incl. the Opera Mobile TM). That should be enough for those conclusions.

That is perhaps good advice for someone who really needs to accomplish
this. I'm not that person.

--
www.designacourse.com
The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
MindIQ Corporation
 
C

Chris Smith

Daniel Dyer said:
Opera is *the* browser for mobile phones.

Really, 'cause my mobile phone comes with its own browser that's not
Opera. As far as I'm aware, Opera is not *the* browser for anything,
unless you work in Opera's marketing department.
OperaMini is not their full mobile browser, that's for more limited
devices. OperaMobile is what you should be looking at.

No, OperaMobile is what I hypothetically should have looked at if Jeff
had said that he wanted to develop AJAX applications that only run on a
few specific devices for which Opera Mobile is available. I have two
different J2ME-capable phones, for example... one implementing MIDP 1.0,
and another implementing MIDP 2.0... and yet neither could run that
application. AJAX applications that require Opera Mobile may as well be
written in J2ME client apps; unless they deal with HTML in the problem
domain as well, it will be much easier and probably more widely
compatible.
Here's the supported standards for Symbian Series 60 devices:

http://www.opera.com/docs/specs/opera8/?platform=symbian

Nothing there about XmlHttpRequest. I know it's available on Opera's
desktop browser (though the implementation is rather quirky). Of
course, since it's not a standard, it wouldn't make sense for it to be
on that page. Still, I don't know how to find out whether it's
available or not. I'm sure not gonna buy a US $300 to $400 phone to
find out.

(I also didn't realize how limited and bizarre Opera Mini really is.
I'm now confident in asserting that AJAX definitely doesn't work there,
since JavaScript doesn't even make it to the client.)

--
www.designacourse.com
The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
MindIQ Corporation
 
D

Daniel Dyer

Really, 'cause my mobile phone comes with its own browser that's not
Opera. As far as I'm aware, Opera is not *the* browser for anything,
unless you work in Opera's marketing department.

Quite a few phone companies bundle Opera with their devices. Nokia used
to before switching to its own rather poor (in comparison) browser. I
think you'll find that Opera is the major player in the mobile market,
certainly much more influential than it is on the desktop market and well
ahead in terms of functionality.

I don't work for their marketing department, but I do like their browsers
(both desktop and mobile).

Dan.
 
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S

Steve Sobol

Chris said:
Really, 'cause my mobile phone comes with its own browser that's not
Opera.

Indeed. Most cell phones that I know of ship with Openwave or Blazer --
browsers specifically designed for mobile devices. I've known for some time
that Opera's mobile product exists. I just don't know how much actual market
share they have.
 
I

Igor Planinc

Chris said:
Really, 'cause my mobile phone comes with its own browser that's not
Opera. As far as I'm aware, Opera is not *the* browser for anything,
unless you work in Opera's marketing department.

I wish. Right now they're doing pretty well (M$ and Google are eyeing) so I
guess their options are pretty high.

Seriously now, Chris, _try_ it out. Start with a (_free_) PC version. That
should give you a pretty good idea of what it's all about. And guess what, with
a few minor differencies that's what you get on your mobile device, too. It
sounds (almost) too good o be true, I know. If you're familiar with MSIE and
Mozilla and get bombarded with news on how they're top-notch browsers, it's hard
to believe there can be something else.

I just hope they don't succumb to MS' (or Google's for that matter) sweet-talk.
 
C

Chris Smith

Igor Planinc said:
Seriously now, Chris, _try_ it out. Start with a (_free_) PC version.

What are you talking about? I'm talking about whether mobile browsers
support things like XmlHttpRequest, so that they can implement AJAX. I
know that Opera in a desktop environment implements the API, and does it
in a way that involves quite a few quirks. I know this because I test
with Opera rather frequently.

There are several problems, though.

First, it's still quite a risk to assume the same non-standard class
exists on Opera Mobile implementations of JavaScript. I've had Opera's
desktop product installed for about five years now. You are greatly
overstating your case. To assume that a feature will be in Opera Mobile
just because it's in a desktop product that's many times more memory
intensive is just silly. By necessity, Opera cut out the majority of
lines of code when creating their mobile browser. There's no reason to
assume that some non-standard API that no one uses on mobile phones
would have made the cut.

Of course, since you seem so hot on Opera, I'm sure you have it on your
mobile phone, right? So let us know whether Google Suggest works
properly, how about it? Google Suggest is about the simplest possible
AJAX application, so it should create worthwhile results. I notice that
gmail, the more famous Google-AJAX product, has a non-AJAX version
specifically for mobile phones, by the way.

Second, Opera Mobile is COMPLETELY INCAPABLE of running on the great
majority of mobile phones. JBenchmark, for example, has comp0iled
benchmark results for over 400 Java-capable phones, and I'd assume there
are at least twice as many web-enabled phones out there. According to
their web site, Opera Mobile runs on about a couple dozen phones. Those
couple dozen do not happen to include a single one of the seven phones
that I've ever owned, and I make pretty normal mobile phone choices...
so I have a hard time believing they picked the most popular. Instead,
they seem to have picked the phones that they had business reasons for
pursuing.

Finally, Opera Mobile is a commercial application, and getting it pre-
installed is even more unlikely than its being compatible. I don't know
too many mobile phone users who care enough to BUY a different web
browser than the one they get for free.

Opera may be doing well financially, but the number of Opera Mobile
users out there is small indeed compared to the total users of all other
browsers, which are lesser known and probably considerably less
advanced. Very rarely does a software developer have the luxury of
telling all their users to go buy a new $300 phone, then potentially
download a commercial browser if the phone didn't come bundled with it,
just to use this one application.

You're acting like I've never heard of the Opera browser before. It's
starting to get a bit insulting. If you don't start paying attention to
the conversation, rather than assuming I'm just talking trash about your
pet browser, then don't bother answering.

--
www.designacourse.com
The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
MindIQ Corporation
 
I

Igor Planinc

Chris said:
Of course, since you seem so hot on Opera, I'm sure you have it on your
mobile phone, right?

Wrong. My mobile phone is exactly what a mobile _phone_ should be. A _phone_.
Not a stripped down PC combined with a coffee machine.
So let us know whether Google Suggest works
properly, how about it? Google Suggest is about the simplest possible
AJAX application, so it should create worthwhile results. I notice that
gmail, the more famous Google-AJAX product, has a non-AJAX version
specifically for mobile phones, by the way.

Google also has its search page "specifically for mobile phones". Only the word
should be: _pages_. Namely, there have been quite a few standards (sic!) for
mobile devices so far. Remember WAP ($MQ: which one?)? All the versions of WML?
Newer devices support XHTML, thank god. With different DOCTYPES, I might add. So
in fact, one should tailor one's web app to hundreds (literaly!) of different
devices and their (so called) capabilities. This is, needless to say, a mammoth
task. Not everybody is up to it, or, more preciselly, has the resources for it.
Not even Google. There are a lot of mobile phones like mine still in use today.
But I don't think Google will make a Gmail interface compliant with WML 1.0. And
I don't blame them. I wouldn't either. What I mean to say is: I know one can't
install the most capable version of Opera onto every possible device. Onto newer
(newest?) ones one can, though. Someday, hopefully, there will only be one
version, for PCs and <khm/> devices alike. When, instead of trying to
incorporate coffee machines into them, someone will fill them with propper
processors and an additional G of RAM.
Second, Opera Mobile is COMPLETELY INCAPABLE of running on the great
majority of mobile phones.

Welcome to the real world.
JBenchmark, for example, has comp0iled
benchmark results for over 400 Java-capable phones, and I'd assume there
are at least twice as many web-enabled phones out there. According to
their web site, Opera Mobile runs on about a couple dozen phones. Those
couple dozen do not happen to include a single one of the seven phones
that I've ever owned, and I make pretty normal mobile phone choices...

Oh? What's normal in your book? Seriously.
so I have a hard time believing they picked the most popular. Instead,
they seem to have picked the phones that they had business reasons for
pursuing.

Finally, Opera Mobile is a commercial application, and getting it pre-
installed is even more unlikely than its being compatible. I don't know
too many mobile phone users who care enough to BUY a different web
browser than the one they get for free.

Opera may be doing well financially,

Reasonably well. If they were gready, they could do much better. M$ is more than
eager to pay, I'm sure. That would, of course, mean the end of Opera as we know it.
but the number of Opera Mobile
users out there is small indeed compared to the total users of all other
browsers, which are lesser known and probably considerably less
advanced. Very rarely does a software developer have the luxury of
telling all their users to go buy a new $300 phone, then potentially
download a commercial browser if the phone didn't come bundled with it,
just to use this one application.

Right. But that's preciselly what we should tell them. And more (see below).

Anyway, Opera have that covered, too. They're making deals with hardware
manufacturers to preinstall their browser onto those said:
You're acting like I've never heard of the Opera browser before. It's
starting to get a bit insulting. If you don't start paying attention to
the conversation, rather than assuming I'm just talking trash about your
pet browser,

I don't have a pet browser. In my line of work I can't afford one. Having to
test my web app(s) for different platforms (including devices ;-) ) / browsers,
I should have approx 743299 of them. :-|
then don't bother answering.

Sorry if I sounded like that. I'm fed up with having to tailor every little ...
page for those 743299 combinations just because nowadays everybody thinks that
their particular "invention" of a wheel is better than the next one. But I don't
think that JavaScript support, XML parser and a XmlHttpRequest are such an
impossibility like you seem to think. There are a lot more mem- and performance-
hogs beside those three.

Moreover, I totally agree with
http://groups.google.com/group/comp...o+dump+the+browsers."&rnum=1#b3587c669e196cce

More preciselly: we should ditch the underlying protocol(s) and replace them
with something more manageable, and not trying to revive the existing one(s)
with an AJAX makeover.
 
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R

Roedy Green

I just hope they don't succumb to MS' (or Google's for that matter) sweet-talk.

What a sick thing that would be. MS would buy it just to destroy it.
That should not be permitted.
 
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