Archive for Lee Davies

Testing

I’ve been fortunate enough to find more than enough willing participants for my testing stage of my project.  The demand and anticipation for my web app is much hugher than I had previously recognised!  I am currently in the stages of creating the layout of the mobile web pages for the web app, and am also waiting to hear back from Nick over at Dead Format regarding his PHP code and how he uses it.  Once he gets back to me I will be able to get to work on how I can impliment the data in a moble web environment.

Myself and Scott have had a brief consultation today and we are faily confident that I am on time considering that I hear from Nick soon enough and I can see how the PHP coding he uses works.  In the mean time I will continue to layout my pages and to fill in my log book, as well as begin on my critical evaluation.

Merry Christmas!

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So…

So I missed last weeks lecture and I will be missing this weeks too, I downloaded what resources were available on Moodle and have to say that plagirism within a web design course not only surprised me but scared me too.  I have been refering to a .pdf file made available from the Apple website for coding my web app/web page, and as I read this weeks lecture slides I THINK it is safe to say I am not plagirising but I will need to double check with Scott next week.  I’m off to bed after a solid couple of hours reading through numerous /pdf files from the Apple Web App Dev Center.  I finally begun to code my web app this week, and if you click here you can check out a screen grab of my work in progress.  I have got further than this but I want to keep everything else under wraps at the moment!  In the picture you can see an iPhone simulator running my web page, which I think will prove to be very valuable to me when it comes to testing and debugging my coding in the coming weeks.  Goodnight all!

So much analysing

Today Scott introduced and reintroduced use to a few methods of being able to analyis our projects and from these analyses determine wether our projects are on the right track, and what we can do to improve them and to create them to the best of our abilities.  Below you will find two quick analyses that I did in todays lecture, they are SWOT & PEST analyses:

SWOT Analysis

Strengths – Good knowledge of both web site & HTML, CSS, access to lots of useful documentation from apple web app dev center & also dashcode application

Weaknesses – Site uses PHP, very limited knowledge of this, first time coding a web page specifically for iPhone

Opportunities – If successful could prove to be very popular with users of the website

Threats – time constraints, limited knowledge of PHP could hinder creation of app

PEST Analysis

Political – Record collecting for the most part will not affect anyone too much in a political sense, and the web app that I am creating will not be political in the least sense.

Economical – There is an audience that would enjoy using this app, and I feel that they would benefit from being able to use it on the move on their iPhone.

Social – Omitting forum from main site, but aim of app is to offer aspects of site that would be most useful to be accessed from a mobile

Technological – Obviously only iPhone users will be able to use, and given that, iPhone users who collect metal/hardcore/punk vinyl.  This enables me to create a very specific user profile, which is an advantage.

I will also be creating a blogging about a Gantt Chart later on in the week, this is another thing Scott introduced to us today, and this will come in handy when it comes to keeping the creation of our prototypes on schedule.

Done & Dusted

I just finished my detailed proposal for assignment one, I won’t be posting it on here but of course I will be submitting it with my blog posts.

It feels good to have an assignment finished almost a week early for once.

3 is the magic number

Well, 3 is the number of students that actually turned up for todays class.  We all gave our draft pitches and listened to feedback given from the other 2 students and also from Scott.  Scott raised some good points for me that I had not considered before, and I now know that I will need to look into how to use PHP as the aspects of the website that I am going to recode for my web app use PHP.  This will hopefully not prove to be too much of a problem and Scott also mentioned that he has a book that would prove useful to me.

In the next week I will be writting my detailed proposal for my web app which I will be creating during weeks 6 to 12 for the second assignment of this module.  I have started on a couple of mock ups for my web app that will be added into the proposal.  I think that I have decided to focus entirely on creating my app in the portrait orientation as opposed to one for both portrait and landscape, although i will make the app available for use in landscape too, but I will not be coding for both orientations.

So now I’m going to head off to see Doomriders play in London tonight, before coming back tomorrow and finishing off assignment one.

Happy Halloween.

Draft Proposal

For the second part of this assignment I proposal to create a web application for iPhone.  This application will be based on the website Dead Format.  DF is a website that caters for fans of alternative music who primarily collect their favourite genres of music on the vinyl record as opposed to CD or digital downloads.  It covers aspects of record collecting such as pressing information, where collectors can find out how many copies of a certain record were pressed and on what colour vinyl, what record label etc.  The biggest part of the site is its Trade List facility.  This allows people to register on the site, and then they can upload lists of the records they own and the records they want, and other members can browse peoples lists with the view to trading and buying or selling records with users.  As well as these two features the site also features news, features, contests, a forum and a web store.

I will be focusing on 3 main aspects of the site for the creation of my web app.  These 3 aspects will be Trade Lists, Pressing Information and News.  It would prove too big a task to complete in 12 weeks if I were to design a web app for every aspect of the website.  For the web app I will not be redesigning the site completely, I will be taking the information that is already available on the full version of the website and adapting it and making it available for iPhone in a more user-friendly manner.  Although the iPhone does have a built-in browser capable of displaying full websites it can often take a while to display these sites and load them fully if the user doesn’t have a fairly strong mobile signal and 3G coverage.  Therefore I am going to make good use of RSS feeds to deliver the 3 aspects that are named about and make them available in a truncated form of an iPhone specific web app.  The layout will be designed specifically for the iPhone, although other mobile web browsers will be able to access the site, the layout and dimensions will be specific to the display of the iPhone.

So therefore I will be using my knowledge of developing webpages for iPhone, and will be bringing in aspects of HTML, CSS, RSS Feeds & also my knowledge of using Photoshop, Fireworks and Dreamweaver, as well as an Apple iPhone specific program called Dashcode, which can be used to create web apps for iPhone.  This comes with a handy iPhone Simulator program, which will allow me to use and debug my application on my computer whilst using this program, which acts like an iPhone.  I will also be uploading my web app and asking friends that I have who also own iPhones, which will allow me to find out any serious problems that need addressing before allowing the application to not only be submitted for my assignment, but also going live and making it available for all users of Dead Format who own mobile phones capable of accessing the site.

Ideas beginning to take shape

I may have upset Scott by not doing this weeks’ DS task but things are now starting to take shape.  I have been reading the documentation about how to code a create web pages for iPhone, and hopefully will be able to start coding soon.  I will have my mocks up down by next week at the very least though.  I now have the dilemma of deciding on whether I should code the pages in landscape or portrait view, thanks to iPhones ability to display webpages in either orientation.  Kaspers’ workshop/demonstration on CSS has given me some useful tips that I will quite probably end up using when coding my web app.  Thank you sir!

Right now I’m just putting a quick mock up together that I will be able to post on here soon, and this will be followed by a much better mock up some time next week.  I’m also emailing the guy who runs Dead Format, Nick, to see if he can answer some questions for me that I can then post on the blog.

A tutorial on…Creating a Compatible Web Page for iPhone (Configuring the Viewport & CSS for iPhone)

Configuring The Viewport

The viewport is essentially the visible area of the screen of any given browser.  The viewport for safari will be different on a desktop computer and iPhone, but then it will be different depending on wether the iPhone is viewing the screen in either Portrait or Landscape orientation, thanks to iPhones built-in accelerometer.

For example, the iPhone has a screen with a resolution of 320 pixels in width by 480 pixels in height, and these two values alternate according to wether it is in portrait or landscape viewing mode.  However, not all the screen is available for viewing web content.  This brief tutorial shows you how to configure the viewport for your iPhone compatible webpage.

Safari adds controls both above and below the web content, which shrinks the viewable area down to 320 x 356 pixels if in portrait mode, and to 480 x 208 if in landscape mode.

The status bar, which is ever present no matter what iPhone is doing (unless displaying video playback), takes up a height of 20 pixels across the top of the screen.

The URL text field, which appears at the top of a web page, accounts for another 60 pixels.  Although the URL field disappears when the webpage is scrolled down, it can be displayed at any time, so it is not recommended to use these extra pixels when creating webpages for iPhone.

Finally, the bottom of the screen is home to the button bar, which displays buttons for various commands within safari (forward & back buttons for browsing webpages, a ‘+’ button which brings up options such as ‘bookmark this page’ and ‘add to home screen’, and finally the ‘multiple page button, which allows users to open multiple webpages within safari.

Remember safari on iPhone doesn’t have scroll bars so scrolling is done by use of touching anywhere on the webpage and ‘flicking’ up or down.  Also note that pressing the status bar will return to the top of the current webpage, this is also true for some other applications as well.

Taking all this into account, this leaves us with our visible area of 320 x 356 pixels in which to lovingly create our iPhone compatible content.  This information is very useful and well worth knowing should anyone be considering creating a webpage specifically for iPhone in the future.  Look at the picture to the right to see how the iPhone viewport displays Safari in portrait mode.

CSS

Configuring the Viewport may be the main way to optimizing content for iPhone, but style sheets can offer further scope for optimizing content and layout.

By now myself and the others in my class all know the basics of CSS, but for those who don’t know, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a great way of separating presentation details from the main HTML, and by using external CSS files you can apply standard presentation details and layouts by the use of one file and a small piece of HTML text linking to the desired file.

Using CSS to arrange information and text on a web page into columns makes reading them on iPhone even easier, and so I will be taking this into consideration when coding my web app.

So much paperwork!

I almost don’t know where to start with all the documentation I have on how to develop web apps!  I am beginning to make sense of the basics though, and I hope to at least have some CSS style sheets coded by Friday, although don’t hold me to that!

Bands I am currently listening to a lot:

Owls

Crime In Stereo

Nightmare of You

The Streets

Boys Night Out

So, what now?

Now that I know exactly what it is I WANT to do, I need to figure out what I NEED to do in order to be able to create it.  I am fairly competent in HTML and CSS coding from my previous work in the web design-based modules I have completed in the two years of University previous to this, and now I need to research into the differences of coding for mobile web and see if there are any massive differences.  I have registered as an iPhone Developer on the Apple website, and with this has come a wealth of reference material being made available to be in the Web Apps Dev Center.  Here I should be able to find almost everything I need to know about coding for iPhone.  However, Scott has asked wether I should look into coding the Web App for other platforms, such as other mobiles with built-in browsers such as Opera, or Pocket PCs running Windows Mobile.

 

I heard back from the guy who runs Dead Format, Nick.  He said he has been considering getting someone to develop a web app or mobile web page for his site that incorporate some of the basic features that I want to incorporate (these being news pages, pressing info, trade lists).  hopefully I will be able to devlop an app that he can make available for use or even just a link or CSS class that will enable iPhones, mobile browsers and Pocket PCs to browse his website with a little more ease than before.

 

I’m gonna spend the next week reading up on all the reference material that is available at the Dev Center, it’s all downloadable in .pdf format, so I think I will print off some of the more relevant files and give them a read.  I may even prepare a couple of mock ups based on the ideas I have in my head as well.

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