“Taking Inventory”

Posted: January 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hello World,

CES 2013

Well CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas was a blast! As expected, we simply couldn’t do it all in a day … not even in three days but we certainly did our best. I spent the first third of my time exploring the CES floor, satisfying my “tech geek” hunger to see the newest technology. I then shifted into Application Developer mode for the remaining 2 thirds of my time at CES – viewing all the technology I encountered though the lens of an application developer. I was inspired by most, prompted to explore by many, and working to use and integrate a select few. I hope to provide more details in a future posting.

The MoDev Hackathon at CES was the biggest eye openers for me. My business partner and I entered the contest with a dynamite idea in hand. Although we didn’t expect to win the grand prize we had high hopes that we would win at least one prize. Sadly we didn’t win at all. It was a huge disappointment for us. We knew we had a winning app idea (still do). We knew we had a winning presentation. However after reviewing the video footage of our demo I objectively came to the only conclusion about why we lost: the app’s overall interface SUCKED! Truthfully speaking, I was ashamed of what I saw and that motivated me to analyze, evaluate, and take action. So what happened?

Simply put: I used the wrong tools, with my current skill set, for the right job. First let’s talk about my current skill set. I have been developing software applications for over 30 years. It started with Assembler on a Commodore 64 and now rests in various Web Technologies. Along the way I’ve spent years using languages and tools such as PowerBuilder, Coldfusion, Flash, Flex, HTML, CSS, and Javascript (and many Javascript-based libraries). Last year I discovered a mobile app development, testing, and deployment platform that makes creating HTML, CSS, and Javascript mobile apps very easy. My team and I were able to win prizes in 3 out of the 5 Hackathons using this platform. I got to the point where I believed appMobi was the perfect tool for all occasions. How WRONG I was! I forgot my own rule in application development (and in many areas of life): “Use the right tool for the right job”. If we had planned to build a standard mobile app using standard mobile interface widgets then appMobi (with jQuery, jQuery Mobile, etc) may have been the perfect tool to use. However what we planned to build was not a standard mobile app, it was more game-like in nature and that meant using tools that were more suitable to the task.

So to that end I am spending the next few months evaluating and learning the  languages, IDEs, platforms, and paradigms (my tools) I currently use to develop apps. In addition I will be evaluating other tools used in the development community. I find that the best way to do that is to create one or more small projects that tests the capabilities of each of the tools. In most cases I may need to combine two or more tools in order to complete my learning objective. At the end of each evaluation I will try to post a short tutorial that will explain what tools I used and how. First up …

Sencha Animator

Sencha Animator

I admit that my knowledge of advanced CSS3 topics (animation, fluid layouts, etc) is below average. Right after the Hackathon in Vegas I began looking at Visual IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) that will enable me to create highly visual, HTML/CSS/Javascript based apps by dragging and dropping elements. Sencha Animator is one such tool. So, for the next 7 days I will evaluate Sencha Animator by reading their documentation, watching their tutorials, and creating a working app. At the end of the 7 day period I will post my findings along with the resources I used, the source code, and maybe a screencast demonstrating my efforts.

I will be evaluating a different combination of tools each week and posting my finding. So keep an eye on this site. You never know when you might discover something that could help in your application development efforts. And if you do please share your comments and views. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

// CIAO –>

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