This Site & Me
I'm a technologist, mobile specialist, experienced software developer, author, public speaker & an SAP employee. My thoughts, ideas, rants, comments & most of the code you'll find here are my own. Feel free to use any of this, but be sure to identify the source.
Topics You'll Find Here
This site contains content on a bunch of different topics including Mobile, Mobile Development, IBM Lotus Domino and other topics that strike my fancy. I've written a couple of mobile development books, so mobile and mobile development tend to dominate.
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Published on Thursday, 24 October 2013 07:54
I posted here last year that my PhoneGap Essentials was licensed for translation into Chinese and Korean. Over time, some copies of the Korean translation showed up at my door. It was so amazing to see my work in another language.
What surprised me the most about looking at the translation was that they’d translated the comments in the source code as well. That was the right thing to do, I’d just not expected it.
Anyway, my new book, Apache Cordova 3 Programming is supposed to go up on Amazon for pre-order this week, so I’ve been periodically checking to see if it’s up there. As I searched Amazon yesterday, I noticed that there was a copy of the Chinese edition of PhoneGap Essentials available for sale (at more than $100 none the less – the book sells for about $5US in China).
Here’s an image of the cover.
My boss is going to China in a few weeks for SAP TechEd, so I’m hoping I can get one of my colleagues to order it and give it to him to bring back for me. My cousin and his wife are in Hong Kong, so perhaps they can get me a copy. We’ll see what happens.
- Category: Mobile
- Published on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:50
A while back, I complained here about how email marketers weren’t taking mobile devices into account when formatting blast emails. They were sending HTML-formatted messages and using CSS to style the emails like they wanted to, but those emails simply didn’t render correctly on devices with smaller screens (like the keyboarded BlackBerry devices).
I know that the people creating these emails were taking mobile devices into account, they’d have to as many people nowadays don’t even have PCs anymore, but where I think they fail is in accommodating all types of mobile devices.
I received a couple of emails today which made me think about this topic. The one shown in Figure 1 below is what started me thinking about this. Notice how the content goes off the right side of the screen.
In my previous post, I was complaining mostly because the emails I received were centered rather than flush left in the email, so no matter what the device, anything with a screen more narrow than the width of the email would see a lot of blank left border for the email. With the example above, at least they flushed the content left so I wasn’t looking at a bunch of blank space on the left with content beginning more toward the center of the screen. It’s still not readable, but at least no screen real estate is wasted.
That was my point of my previous post – don’t waste screen space by unnecessarily centering things. Several people misunderstood my point.
REI on the other hand, paid special attention to what they did and sent me the email shown in Figure 2 below. Notice how the email renders beautifully? They centered the content, but at least at the same time made sure that they didn’t go past the right margin either.
That’s the way to do HTML emails to mobile devices. Deliver an exceptional experience no matter what client is viewing the email.
- Category: Mobile
- Published on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 21:55
I’ve been carrying a BlackBerry Z30 for some time now and I really love it. The keyboard is awesome and the form factor is perfect – much better than the super-silly iPhone.
Anyway, I do miss the keyboard though. One of the things that has always made the BlackBerry perfect for heavy mail and PIM usage is how the keyboard simplifies so many tasks. Filing a message is as easy as hitting the i key and starting to type the first letters of the folder name and you can file the message in no time. When filing subsequent emails, the last folder used for messages from that thread appears as soon as you press the i key. Android and iOS make this as hard as possible by not allowing you to bring up a keyboard while filing a message. Ugh.
Anyway, as I’ve been using the Z30, I’ve noticed how they don’t make it easy to delete messages after you’ve read them. There’s no delete key (because there’s no physical keyboard) and they don’t expose the delete button in the default UI shown at the bottom-right of the following figure.
If you want to delete a message, you have to tap that three-button more thingie (whatever that is) and select delete from the menu that appears. Inconveniencing, but I’m OK with it. Although I would argue that delete would be used a lot more than the Search button, so they could switch the position of the two and make a LOT of users happier.
As I looked at the screen, it occurred to me that perhaps if I turn the device sideways, the delete button I need so much would appear (since there’s much more room in landscape mode). So, I rotated the device then took the screen shot shown below.
Notice that with all of that additional available real estate, all they did was expand the distance between the buttons. What a waste. With all of that extra room, what I expect is that the most used items from the menu will drop down into that lower menu and be available to me in one click instead of two. Nope, they didn’t do that.
This is another example of what happens when developers don’t think about how users will actually use their software. It’s easier to keep the same buttons rather than make use of the additional space. Too bad.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 07:53
In case any of you were wondering, in my day job I am a product manager for the SAP Mobile platform. I'm curently working on products that use or plugin to Apache Cordova. Earlier this week I recorded an SAP Code Talk with my colleague Ian Thain where I talk about Cordova and what SAP is doing with Cordova.
Right now I'm working on a product called Kapsel which is a set of SAP plugins for Apache Cordova and is part of the SAP Mobile platform. Kapsel essentially allows a developer to more easily build a Cordova application which consumes enterprise application services exposed by the SMP server. I'll be writing more and more about Kapsel on my SCN blog (see the sightings area of the site) over the next few months.
Here's the video:
- Category: Mobile
- Published on Friday, 04 October 2013 08:32
Last week, colleague Ian Thain and I got together for a Google Hangout to talk about open standards and mobile; you can watch the video below. We're meeting this morning to do a hangout to talk about Kapsel, the set of SAP Plugins I'm working on. Stay tuned for a link to that recording.
- Category: Mobile Development
- Published on Friday, 27 September 2013 08:08
I was trying to test a Kapsel application yesterday on my Nexus 7 and was having some problems (Kapsel is a set of SAP plugins for Cordova that I wrote about on my SCN Blog here http://scn.sap.com/blogs/johnwargo/2013/09/22/sap-mobile-platform-and-apache-cordova). Essentially, I was trying to install the application on the device via a USB cable, but my Windows system wasn’t recognizing the device. The device saw that it was connected to the Windows system and prompted me to enable USB debugging, but Windows was ‘seeing’ the device, but couldn’t really talk to it.
I’d encountered this problem while working on Apache Cordova 3 Programming and figured it out, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember how I’d done it. I of course grabbed the manuscript and looked to see if I’d documented the solution to the problem and of course I hadn’t. So, I thought I’d write about it here then I’ll put a link in the book that points to this article.
OK, so when I plugged the device in, Windows twirled and whirled for a while trying to install the appropriate device driver. After much work, it finally decided that it couldn’t do so and displayed an error message. When I looked at the Windows Device Manager, I noticed what is shown in the following figure, that it recognized the device, but simply didn’t know what to do with it. Notice under ‘Other devices’ that the Nexus 7 is listed.
So, I knew that Google provides special USB device driver as part of their SDK, so I fired up the SDK tools and made sure to select the Google USB Driver as shown in the following figure.
With that in place, I was ready to fix this problem. In Windows Device Manager, back in Figure 1, I right-clicked on the Nexus 7 entry and from the menu that appeared I selected Update Driver Software. In the dialog that appears, I selected Browse my computer for driver software as shown in the Figure 3.
Next I was prompted to identify where Windows should search for the driver. I could have let it search the whole drive, but I knew that the driver I wanted was likely in the folder where I’d installed the Android development tools (ADT), so I simply pointed it to that folder then clicked next to begin the search.
After a while, it found the driver, installed it then displayed the results screen shown in Figure 5.
Closing the dialog and looking again at the Windows Device Manager as shown in Figure 6, you’ll see that the Nexus 7 is now recognized by Windows as an Android Composite ADB Interface device.
With this completed, I was able to install the application onto the device using the Android command line tools.