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  • New version of the CanooNet app for iPhone

    May 17th, 2013

    Great news for all fans of the CanooNet app – the new version makes your iPhone even more eloquent. The comprehensive reference for the German language contains around 5,000 new dictionary entries and returns supplementary information on over 10,000 search results. What’s more, the offline app is now compatible with iOS 6. You can acquire the latest version 3.2 of the CanooNet app quickly and easily in the app store. We trust you will enjoy trying out the enhanced features!

    And please note: the CanooNet app is available for 5.99 € until June 30, 2013. You save 60%!

    Mobile apps with GWT

    May 16th, 2012

    For the development of business web applications GWT is a tool of choice.
    Since most business applications are based on a Java Stack, GWT empowers Java-Developers to write business ready, robust cross-browser applications in their favorite language.
    Certainly there are powerful JavaScript frameworks around to achieve such, but you need a lot of experience to tackle all the quirks and oddities the ambient browser language comes with.

    Now these days more and more businesses are seeking for mobile channels of their applications.
    Flexibilizing their businesses, supporting new business cases and increasing efficiency are the main reasons driving that process.
    When it comes down to the technical realization of these channels most companies are facing significant difficulties.

    Developing and maintaining native applications is normally not a choice. Costs are simply too high to acquire and maintain expertise on all different mobile plattforms.
    Cross-plattform technologies are seeking to solve this problem for most business cases. But what framework to choose?
    Web technology based applications are a common sense, best supported among all devices and most future-proof. Sencha Touch, JQuery Mobile and others are leading this area and good results can be achieved deploying them.

    But how great would it be if you could – with moderate effort – turn your existing web GWT app into a mobile app?

    A mobile app written mostly in Java, simply testable, with all the power of the GWT framework and last but not least supreme performance on the mobile device.

    Well, look no further: m-gwt.com is coming to rescue!

    mgwt is a ligthweight extension to GWT basically providing mobile widgets and mobile plattform integration.
    mgwt has been developed over the last 3 years and went open source in 2011. According to creator Daniel Kurka many commercial products have been developed using the framework.

    Canoo was lucky to have Daniel Kurka himself in for a workshop recently.

    Whats mgwt all about?

    There have been a few attempts to mobilize GWT in the past. They were all focusing on different aspects, like HTML5 storage. Non of them really succeeded.

    Now, mgwt has a few very important design goals which makes it a promising candidate to become THE standard mobile GWT extension:

    • integrates well with GWT MVP
    • keeps the DOM lean
    • leverages the powerful optimizing JavaScript cross-compiler
    • does as much as it can in CSS3 (hardware supported)
    • native support for touchevent the GWT Way
    • animations built in with GWT MVP
    • integrates well with PhoneGap

    Compared with JS based cross-plattform frameworks mgwt advances in:

    • generation of isolated mobile plattform permutations makes client-side if/else statements obsolete
    • different plattform interaction patterns can be supported (i.e. Android back button)
    • integrates naturely with PhoneGap
    • integrates smartphone, tablet and web app development!

    Check out the kitchen sink app and give it a try.

    Btw. Daniel Kurka can be contacted for consulting, workshops and advice @dankurka

    MobileTech 2012 – Final thoughts

    April 2nd, 2012

    At the end of last week I received a comment concerning my MobileTech blog posts, which cast doubt on my objectivity: The tone of my posts was almost exclusively positive and contained too little critical analysis of the conference’s content.
    Well guys, if the tone was positive it’s simply because it was a great conference; both from my perspective and from the perspective of the many other participants that I spoke to.
    So what makes for a great conference? Most importantly, of course, is that you come away feeling that you’ve learned useful stuff. And I learned a lot. For example:

    • I got a great introduction to the Android platform from the chaps at Open Knowledge.
    • I got an extraordinary sense that we’ve only just begun to see the potential of mobile technology. Case in point: Mind-blowing demos from Reality Jockey and Wahwah.fm, Andy Abgottspon and others.
    • The fact that UI design is even more critical in mobile than in traditional apps was made crystal clear to me. The necessary clues as to how to create successful UI designs were provided by Werner Jainek (design process) and Stephan Gillmeier (iOS APIs Core Animation, Core Graphics, Quarz Core)
    • Finally, Heiko Behrens reminded me of the growing power (and relative simplicity) of web technology and that it’s possible to exploit this power in the context of native apps. This is certainly something I’m going to pay more attention to in my future mobile project.

    With all the new information and valuable reminders, there was naturally a lot of brainstorming and networking going on at MobileTech 2012. Facilitating this were the more general aspects of the conference – accommodation, catering etc. – which were as smooth as silk in their execution. Kudos to Sebastian Meyen of Sands Media and his team as well as Holiday Inn München.

    So to return to the comment above: I stand firmly by my statement that this was a conference of exceptional quality. If anyone has a different take on it, please feel free to comment.

    28.03 MobileTech2012 – Visual Gesture Recognition

    March 28th, 2012

    Visuelle Gestenerkennung by Andy Abgottspon – The Foundry

    Andy begins by classifying various types of visual gesture recognition. Cites Xbox Kinect and other tools are proving increasingly popular.

    He demos a simple app which tracks the user’s motion after he has configured it to track the position of his face and a couple of colourful gloves.

    His implementation ia based on OpenFrameworks, OpenCV. The latter has been ported to Objective-C for use on iPad 2.

    A simple algorithm is preferred because poerformance on the portable device is limited. The problem with 2-hand recognition is that the the recognised contours overlap. To deal with this, we need to consider the previous position of the contour. The size of the identifed contour can be used to recognise grab gestures.

    Head tracking is supported by OpenCV.

    Using colours to track hands is great except in situations where the colour can change. Even a grab action can cast a shadow which effectively changes the colour – potentially breaking the tracking.

    Andy (with an assistent) demos a 3D game. This seems to work reasonably well.

    He then goes on to describe possible applications. One interesting area is medicine, where touch screens cannot be used for hygene reasons.

    Given what I’ve seen, I’m not actually sure there are that many applications of this technology (given it’s current state) beyond gaming, which may in itself be a gimmick and not much more. On mobile devices in particular, the “touch” paragim seems to be sufficient – and in practice far more performant – for most situations.

    However, I’m not famous for my imagination, and I’ll probably be proven wrong sooner rather than later.

    Still – a great talk, because I feel it has given the audience an opportunity to sense what the future may hold.

    27.07 MobileTech2012 Day 2 – The next crash is guaranteed

    March 27th, 2012

    Thomas Dohmke @ashtom presents “Der nächste Crash kommt bestimmt” = “The next crash is guaranteed”

    This is a highly technical talk, the primary focus of which is how to capture crash data.

    I won’t go into the details here but, speaking as an iOS developer, I found Thomas’ hints and tips extremely useful.

    Anyone who’s developed apps for iOS knows that the typical stack trace is all but incomprehensible. Furthermore, now that stack traces are being generated on mobile devices, the potentially valuable information that the stack trace provides should not be kept secret.

    Thank’s to Thomas, I have now learned about a number if tools, services and techniques which can be used to tap into this treasure chest of information.

    To name some of these briefly:

    AirBrake, Bugsense, HockeyApp, JIRA Mobile Connect, TestFlight, PLCrashReporter, atos, symbolicatecrash, CodeRunner.