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[Q] Which platform and what implementation method to choose

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By jokeaccount, Junior Member on 19th March 2014, 05:55 PM
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Hi,

New here and generally new to the mobile application development scene. I just begun my thesis for my last year and one of its components is to develop a mobile version of the "program" that we're working on. Since I have no idea where to start and what platform/tools/method to use I'm asking here for advice. The teacher gave me some papers to study on and I must say I'm quite confused.

First let me give you a fast explanation of what I'm trying to achieve. What I'm making is an application for online voting on the decisions the student council takes. What this means is that instead of having to meet up every other week the members of the council will be able to post their ideas and proposals online, people will be able to ask questions and then they will be able to vote for whomever they want. This will be accessible from both a PC and a mobile device. One of the most important factors here is the security of the application/program since it is paramount that no votes are lost, counterfeited, deleted, changed or w/e. After that we're also gonna need database support since everyone will have their personal account and other than that it's gonna be somewhat like a small forum.

So the idea at first was to develop this in applet form (not sure if my terminology is correct on some stuff please correct me if i'm wrong) and embed it into a web site, accessible by everyone. However the professor that's overviewing the project also asked to make it so that people can use this from their mobile devices, so here we are. I've read on the different implementation methods (like native and web based) etc. and I also read up on cross platform development tools like phonegap and titanium and that's where the confusion starts.

First of all we want this to be accessible by almost everyone regardless if they're using iOS, Android, Symbian etc. If that's impossible at least iOS and Android is mandatory. Starting from there, native development tools are probably a no go since they require different versions of the program for each OS and possible device type. On the other hand the cross platform approach apparently doesn't offer good security (not exactly sure where that weakness comes from) and that is something we're trying to avoid. However I'm not sure if I've understood this correctly and I might be misinterpreting. Anyway, concluding it seemed to me that developing this as a web-application seems to be the best decision. If I go that route what exactly am I looking to do? Where do I start? Do i just make stuff in java and make a webpage via HTML 5 and add stuff in? I'll look online for tutorials on this but I'm not exactly sure where to start so I'm asking here.

Thanks in advance!
 
 
19th March 2014, 06:49 PM |#2  
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Unless there's a specific reason for wanting mobile apps then I'd recommend doing this as a website, making it responsive so that it's mobile friendly. That way it will play with all the mobile platforms, and all PC based OSs, with just 1 code base. Then the only choice you have to make is the server side code, which is what would handle all the database access and security etc.. The most obvious choices for that are PHP or C#/VB.Net. Both the platform and your own preference are what should make that decision.

Either way, whether you make a mobile app or a responsive website, you'll still need a server to do the data access and security for you. There's tons of good resources and I couldn't recommend Stack Overflow any higher than I do. Just make sure, if you ask any questions on there, that you know how to ask a good question, or you'll get downvoted and the question closed!

I hope this helps - good luck
19th March 2014, 10:35 PM |#3  
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If you want security in your mobile app as the most prominent feature, you'd have to rely on Native codes(Java/Objective-C). Cross-platform tools are no good when security does matters. Also it normally takes much less time to create some app in Native code than to create it in cross-platform tools, since most of the UI are at your disposal. Acc. to my personal experience cross-platform thing is good if you already have a previous source code available and are trying to port it on mobile.(Such as having a HTML website and trying to port it on phonegap will make sense)
That's just my opinion, other people may disagree with this.

Making a mobile friendly website is another choice as explained in previous post.
19th March 2014, 11:22 PM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archer

Unless there's a specific .... or C#/VB.Net. Both the platform and your own preference are what should make that decision.

Might elaborating a bit on why use C#? Is it better when it comes to coding server side stuff? We were discussing what language to use with my professor and since he teaches OOP via Java he favors it a lot. However if it has drawbacks compared to the .NET stuff I'd like to know so that I can discuss it with him.

Also this project is part of a thesis and I'm pretty sure the professor wants to add the mobile application part just for the research and development process. It seemed to me that it was redundant too but I'm gonna guess he won't take no as an answer... Gonna have to discuss it more

Thanks for the replies so far!
19th March 2014, 11:55 PM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jokeaccount

Might elaborating a bit on why use C#? Is it better when it comes to coding server side stuff? We were discussing what language to use with my professor and since he teaches OOP via Java he favors it a lot. However if it has drawbacks compared to the .NET stuff I'd like to know so that I can discuss it with him.

Also this project is part of a thesis and I'm pretty sure the professor wants to add the mobile application part just for the research and development process. It seemed to me that it was redundant too but I'm gonna guess he won't take no as an answer... Gonna have to discuss it more

Thanks for the replies so far!

I did think it may be a case of him wanting you to do some mobile work, as well as web work. It does make sense if it's meant to be for the purpose of learning and experience.

I mentioned C# purely as an example of a server-side language, like PHP. You should really look at using whatever you're most comfortable and/or familiar with. I do use C# on a daily basis as a server-side language and it's very simple to write methods that take post data and return whatever is required (usually a JSON response), whether it be a web service with exposed public functions, or a generic handler. There's tons and tons of ways of doing it so you need to really decide what suits you and the environment you'll be working in.

I'm not familiar with using Java as a server language so I can't comment on that.
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