DevSummit 2014: Going Mobile

March 6, 2014 Amr Eldib

Continuing with our preview of the upcoming DevSummit, today we’ll talk about mobile applications - a definite hot topic at the summit. The developer community is using mobile technology to do truly amazing things, such as using smartphones for field data collection or sending promotional offers based on user location. This post covers JavaScript mobile apps, Android and iOS native apps.

People, individuals and organizations, are adopting smartphones at an incredible rate and penetration has reached 70% in some countries. It’s 56% in Canada. Instead of using laptops or handheld devices for GIS applications in the field, organizations are switching to smartphones and tables. These two scenarios puts the mobile technology sessions at the DevSummit this year high on the must-attend list.

You can start with some crash courses on mobile technologies, like Runtime for iOS and OSX (Monday 11 a.m.) and Runtime for Android (Monday 1 p.m.). These sessions won’t be just about building mapping applications - they'll also get into best practices for each platform.

For iOS, you can learn about migrating to the iOS platform on Tuesday 5:30 p.m. This session will cover building apps with ArcGIS Runtime for iOS to be deployed within your organization or via the App Store. If you’re a .NET or Java developer, this session is for you. More about building iOS apps with ArcGIS Runtime SDK is on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and Thursday at 1 p.m., which will take you through an example app that uses ArcGIS Online subscription to include Basemaps, Web maps, Geocoding, Routing, directions and common analysis functions. Now that you have an app, you can learn about deploying iOS apps on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., including techniques, options and best practices.

Moving on to Android - which just surpassed iOS in US sales in January - you’ll find just as many sessions. Building Android apps with ArcGIS Runtime SDK is on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Same as for iOS apps, you’ll learn about using ArcGIS Online to access Basemaps, Webmaps, Geocoding, Routing, directions and common analysis functions. You can dive into Android and understand all about Android GPS accuracy on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. Discussion in the demo theater will cover ArcGIS location service, Android’s location manager, and Google Play APIs. Deploying Android apps is on Tuesday at 1 p.m. for Google Play and in your organization.

A lot of people believe native apps are the only viable way to target mobile platforms, but Web apps should also be considered. This year’s DevSummit focuses on building Web apps for smartphones. On Tuesday at 1 p.m. there’s building mobile Web apps with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. This session will cover design techniques, best practices and tips and tricks for building mobile sites that are optimized for usability and performance.

Aside from mobile sites, you can actually build native apps with ArcGIS API for JavaScript using PhoneGap and jQuery on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 4 p.m. You’ll learn how to configure, build and style hybrid, cross-platform mobile apps that access GPS, cameras, SD cards and more.

Whether you’re using iOS or Android, you can learn all about designing mobile apps on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., which will discuss general design principles for developing mobile apps to optimize the user experience. The new Geotrigger service for iOS and Android is up on Tuesday 5:30 p.m. and Thursday at 2:30 p.m., which will talk about tips and tricks, user experience, development and platform differences. The Geotrigger service offers geofencing functionality to create immersive experience for mobile users by notifying users and systems when they enter or leave geofenced areas.

All this and more is will be explored at this year’s DevSummit. Use the summit’s schedule to select the session’s you’re looking to attend. You can also read about the other tracks in my previous DevSummit 2014 posts: Getting Ready, Crash Courses, JavaScript and Python.

About the Author

Amr Eldib

Amr Eldib is a Developer Support Consultant for Esri Canada. As a Certified Web Application Developer Associate, he has 10 years of experience in both geographic information system (GIS) and software development. Amr has worked with a number of organizations in both Egypt and Canada on building and supporting GIS systems using Esri products. He’s been a blogger and active member in many developer communities throughout much of his career.

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