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: Mobile Development
- Published on Friday, 25 October 2013 08:42
I had a chance to attend PhoneGap Day in Portland this summer. Now that my day job involves Apache Cordova http://scn.sap.com/blogs/johnwargo/2013/10/21/an-introduction-to-smp-kapsel, I was able to make arrangements to attend. The event was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of interesting stuff about PhoneGap and what people were doing with it.
Here’s a picture of the goodie bag they gave all attendees. My favorite gift was the PhoneGap branded cell phone charger thingie. I love that and I was able to score a second bag and therefore get two of them.
There were some very interesting sessions. My favorite session was by Lyza Danger Gardner where she covered PhoneGap Self Defense for Web Devs. It was a fast-paced and very interesting session about the things that a PhoneGap (and Cordova or course) developer must keep in mind while developing web applications for the PhoneGap container. It all made perfect sense as I listened to her speak, but it happened so fast that I know I’m going to have to watch it again to make it sink in. This is an absolute must see for anyone building hybrid applications. You can find the video recording of her session at http://phonegap.com/blog/2013/10/18/phonegap-self-defense/.
There was another session that is worth noting; not because it was good, but for other reasons I shall try to explain.
Apparently the PhoneGap and Cordova development teams are beer drinkers. So, with much fanfare, they started serving beer beginning at lunch (and throughout the remainder of PhoneGap day). I like beer and I even like drinking beer (on special occasions of course) for breakfast and sometimes even lunch. In this case, I was in a room where a whole bunch of young people had started drinking beer at about 12:30.
Anyway, I made the mistake of saying something to someone standing next to me after lunch and he manhandled me into a conversation that I wasn’t very interested in but consumed a lot of time. Apparently this particular person had had a few beers and that only exacerbated his outgoing personality. Well, it turns out that he was a presenter and he soon went up on stage and delivered what was, in my opinion, the most inappropriate and unprofessional conference presentation I’ve ever seen (and I even saw John Cleese [of Monty Python fame] say ‘asshole’ during a keynote at an IBM conference). You can watch the video of his session here http://phonegap.com/blog/2013/10/17/making-real/. Please be forewarned that there’s a lot of obscenities in this session and the audio quality is not very good.
The slides for all of the sessions (except for Lyza’s, rats) are at http://phonegap.com/blog/2013/08/02/a-look-back-at-pgday-us/.
- 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.