HTML5 Mobile Development Tips

By James Payne

Your mobile dev tool of choice? HTML5. And with good reason. The latest iteration of the markup language's specification is setting the mobile world on fire. To help you on your quest to greatness, inside today's programming article, we are going to showcase some tips for HTML5 mobile development best practices.

Developing Mobile Apps with HTML5

If you are a web developer that is well-versed with HTML5, you may be surprised to find that the leap to mobile development is actually relatively easy, thanks in part to some of the new features included in the latest "version" of the markup language. In fact, with a little help from our friend JavaScript and sound programming fundamentals, you can easily find yourself on the path to becoming a great app developer in less time than it took you to learn how to create websites. With mobile applications experiencing a growth "explosion" in recent years (a trend that does not look as though it will slow anytime soon) and the fact that the major search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) are making a big push for user-friendly mobile websites as part of their ranking factors, now, more than ever, is a great time to marry web development and app programming skills as a pivotal part of your developer toolbox. Your resume, future employer, and bank account will thank you!

Develop with K.I.S.S. in Mind

No, we aren't recommending you call up Gene Simmons or Paul Stanleyfor some programming tips (though I'm sure the long-tongued demon bass player wouldn't shy away from offering some savvy business advice). Instead, follow the tried and true acronym: Keep it simple, stupid. This goes for everything from your actual code to the user interface, and everything in-between. Even though mobile devices have ramped up processor speed and memory, size is still an important factor for mobile apps and games. Nothing is more frustrating than loading up your favorite program only to have it hang or crash in mid-use due to a memory allocation error. In addition, poorly optimized code is a nightmare to troubleshoot - whether by you or a member of your dev team. Don't over-think things and avoid using a thousand lines of code to accomplish what you could do with 100. No need to reinvent the wheel - stick to what works and keep things simple.

Document Your Code

This should really go without saying, but you would be surprised how many developers and programmers do not document their code. This is a lazy approach and while you may hate to write documentation or be crunched for time, trust me - if it is 4 a.m. and you (or some poor coder tasked with looking at your sloppy code) has to try and find bugs and programming errors, and you failed to document properly, those precious moments you "saved" by skipping documentation will soon turn into a nightmare of wasted time and frustration. You do not need to make notes about every line of code you write, but at the very least, denote what each section of code was meant to accomplish. Your future self will thank you. <2>Keep the User In MindNo matter what you are programming - be it a website, a mobile application, or desktop software - your first priority should be the user and his or her experience. No matter how great your app is, how ground-breaking your code, or how good your marketing plan is, if you do not have a good user interface (UI), your project won't be successful. Don't believe it? Take a good look at the world's most popular search engine, Google. You don't get a much simpler user experience than the one offered by the Goog! If it had taken a rocket scientist to figure out how to search on Google, you can bet your bottom dollar AskJeeves would have his own butler right about now...

Planning Is Everything

Planning your application before you develop it is crucial to your success. Just as you would not take a random road trip without knowing your destination and mapping out your route (including alternate routes), you should never write a program without a solid plan that includes every part of your app that will need to be coded. Try to think of your application not only from a developer perspective, but from a user standpoint as well (remember our advice above about user interfaces). Consider how your app should behave, and take into consideration the different ways a user may attempt to use the program that you did not intend. Once you have a plan in place and a mark-up of the user interface, coding will be much easier.



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