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Why is Android better for mobile apps?

Mike Firkser
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 247

How does Android differ from J2EE, .NET, PHP or other platforms for mobile apps. Maybe I misunderstand the discussion but when developing a mobile web app, isn't most of the "work" done on the server, and then it creates HTML to send to the client (phone, tablet, etc). As the end user, it doesn't matter what platform the developer used, because I'm receiving HTML.

With that said, what advantages does Android have over platforms?


Mike Firkser
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Rob Spoor
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 27, 2005
Posts: 19651
    
  18

You can't compare Android to JEE, .NET or PHP. It's an operating system for mobile phone, like Windows, Mac OS and Linux are operating systems for desktops (and more). If you want to compare it you should compare it with iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad) Windows Mobile / Windows Phone, and whatever BlackBerries, Nokias and other phones use.

Android has its own web browsers (including Opera mini, not sure about Firefox), and this is where the limitation is. Browsers for mobile devices are often more limited; not only in the screen size but also in capabilities. For instance, Safari on iOS does not support Flash, as far as I know. Other plugins may also not work, and even JavaScript can be limited (but probably won't be).

So you're right, the phone doesn't do most of the work. But whatever the server sends back should still be handled and displayed properly. Watching a full and busy (in regards to what's on the screen) website like MSN.com on my little mobile screen - I definitely wouldn't want to.


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Mike Firkser
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 247

So developing for Android is basically the same thing (philosophically) if you programmed and Application just for IE or Firefox (yes, it's a bad idea, but using that for illustration). If you program to the least common denominator, keeping everything basic, it doesn't matter the end user is viewing it on.

So is it safe to say Android programming is more of a framework/approach to use the capabilities of the operating system, as opposed to language specific approach?
Rob Spoor
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 27, 2005
Posts: 19651
    
  18

If you're talking about programming web apps for Android, then I think yes.
Mike Firkser
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 247

Thanks.
Michael Rivera
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 31, 2007
Posts: 118

1. Simply because it is fully open source
2. Cost Effective!
3. Backed by OHA
4. Many Devices to choose from and jobs to offer
5. Architecture is way better than others
6. Easy publishing of applications
...


So many things to do so little time !!!
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Claudio Lande
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 24, 2005
Posts: 45
Mike,

you are mixing web app with native application development.

In the former most part of the work is done server-side and you can customize the view (normally HTML) to suit the terminal/OS characteristics.
In the latter (normally) most/all of the work is performed locally by the terminal.

Which one is better, depends (as usual) on application requirements.

Regards,
Claudio


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Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15952
    
  19

One of the things I liked about the original Palm OS was that the "find" button could find things no matter where they were. When I migrated to Windows Mobile, that was the feature I missed most.

Android is an architecture where you don't so much design an app as you define functionalities and bind them together like TinkerToys. This lends itself to all sorts of flexibility. And, yes, that includes global "find" functions.


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Michael Rivera
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 31, 2007
Posts: 118

Claudio Lande wrote:Mike,

you are mixing web app with native application development.

In the former most part of the work is done server-side and you can customize the view (normally HTML) to suit the terminal/OS characteristics.
In the latter (normally) most/all of the work is performed locally by the terminal.

Which one is better, depends (as usual) on application requirements.

Regards,
Claudio


actually im only speaking about Android!
robi sen
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Posts: 33
Mike,

One a side note I have done extensive Web Application development targeting Mobile phones for a long time (since the 90's). While the other contributors have made a great point in pointing out the differences between server side languages it is important to point out that you can leverage your skills as a web developer to make sophisticated Android applications. You can use HTML 5, CSS, Scripting, DB design, Flash, and the like with something like Adobe Air to build a native application that looks, feels, and functions just like a native application. You can then even run that app no other phones, the desktop, or in a browser. Or you can build HTML 5 and CSS applications using various frameworks that work on many different phones that work when your connected to the internet or not. Android's real strength though here is that you have more choice, than lets say iOS, because you can use platforms like Flash/Flex/Air seamlessly in your web development knowing that it will working on a Android phone.
 
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