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Challenges of AJAX Development for Smartphone Platforms
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Challenges of AJAX Development for Smartphone Platforms

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  • 1. Challenges Of AJAX Development For Smartphone Platforms
    • Max Motovilov
    • VP Engineering
    • kannuu, Inc.
  • 2. Scope Of The Presentation
    • Smartphone platforms: iPhone, Symbian S60, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry
    • Core challenges specific to AJAX applications on smartphones
    • Case study: search UI with assisted input by kannuu Inc. Demonstrated on Nokia E71 and Apple iPod Touch.
    • Platform-specific issues uncovered
  • 3. Core Challenges on Smartphones
    • Presentation: screen size
    • Input methods
      • Keypads (unusual layouts, navigation keys, software keyboards)
      • Touch screens (w & w/o stylus)
    • Feature support (language and DOM)
      • Javascript limitations
      • CSS & DOM API limitations
      • Hardwired input controls
    • Network performance: high latency
    • Browser performance and stability
  • 4. kannuu Search Client
    • Purpose:
      • Assisted input technology for mobile devices
      • Embeddable front end for navigating long lists of items or search term dictionaries
      • Context-sensitive ad delivery
    • Backend:
      • Stateless REST server, JSONP or JSON over XHR
      • Conversion paths for relational sources or Web spider
      • Bridged to external ad server(s)
  • 5. kannuu Search Client
    • Front-end software design
      • Styled combo-box widget with extended functionality
      • By-fragment completion + priority-based autosuggest
      • Support for option selection and direct keyboard input
      • Separate UIs for keypads and touch screens
      • Asynchronous transport layer with cache and heavy pre-fetch
    • Implementation status/compatibility
      • Desktop: Mozilla/FF, WebKit/Safari/Chrome, Opera, IE*
      • Successes: Symbian S60 3.1+ (WebKit), iPhone (Safari)
      • Failures: Android (mini-Chrome), Windows Mobile (PIE*)
      • Prospects: BlackBerry 4.6+ (Bold/Storm), Windows Mobile (Opera Mobile), Android (Chrome)
  • 6. Platform Specific Issues
    • Symbian S60
      • Requires WebKit based browser, first available in S60 release 3 feature pack 1.
      • Hardwired controls
      • Keyboard events and focus
      • Tabbed mode vs. mouse simulation mode and arrow keys
      • CSS issues (no overflow:auto or scrollbars, others?)
      • JSONP stability issues
    • iPhone
      • Touch event processing
      • Software keyboard and text box widget
      • Screen size and zoom factor
      • Dynamic/animated CSS layout very hard on CPU
  • 7. Failures and Prospects
    • Android (based on released SDK/simulator)
      • Mouse/touch event processing is shot; admitted by Google in a forum message. New Chrome may or may not provide an iPhone-like API.
    • Windows Mobile
      • IE stability issues and quirks. An alternative ActiveX supported implementation works well on desktop Windows.
      • PIE incompatible with IE down to DOM level. Potential for [different] ActiveX implementation.
      • Opera Mobile claimed to be compatible with desktop Opera 9.x (not tested)
    • BlackBerry
      • First browser with reasonable level of AJAX support available with BlackBerry OS 4.6. Only [very recent] Bold and Storm run this system. Not yet tested.
      • No navigation keys available on Bold; trackball can only be used for mouse simulation.