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Brendt and Tom

Mobile Devenomics

This month’s Mobile Monday Brisbane guest panel featured Brendt Sheen, Technical Director at Code Heroes and Tom Adams, Co-Founder and CTO of Oomph. The panel discussed everything from development tools to project timelines and exciting new mobile app developments. Here are the highlights:

Both Sheen and Adams are currently using XCode and also recommend using Jet Brains developer tools, especially if you are just starting out. It’s better to get your head around Jet Brains first as the environments they offer are more user friendly. Jet Brains’ development tools use the same project files as XCode so you can edit and overwrite easily.

They also cited that VIM is a great code editor that is incredibly customisable.

The next release of Google apps developer tools are based on IntelliJ. You can get the tools you need if you download the EAP (Early Access Preview) from Jet Brains. Interestingly, when Oomph builds Android apps, they are a hybrid of HTML and the Scala tool chain.

The panel were less enthusiastic about PhoneGap. The consensus is that PhoneGap’s limits are reached fairly quickly, which can make it a frustrating development experience.

On the subject of wireframing, the panel recommended the wireframe component of XCode, as it’s (apparently) faster than the average graphic designer.

The perennial ‘web app vs native app’ argument was inevitably raised. The panel suggested that developers look for a reason to justify the investment in creating a native app. For certain applications, such as augmented reality, there are excellent reasons to choose the native path. For simpler applications, such as displaying locations on a map, a web app may be the smarter way to go.

The panel contended that iOS is currently the best platform to target in Australia due to the reluctance of Australian Android users to spend money on apps. It was pointed out by the audience that this may not be the case in other countries due to carriers having agreements where they supply content to users.

It was also suggested to build the app in HTML and wrap it in a thin native layer, thereby simplifying the task of developing for multiple platforms while taking advantage of the distribution channels offered by Apple and Google. This is essentially the approach taken by Liquid State.

When it comes to developing the server-side components of a typical mobile app, a particular love of Parse, the cloud app platform, was noted. Parse greatly simplifies and expedites backend development, including the implementation of push notifications, data storage and social network integration.

Mobile Monday was once again “sold out”, and continues to be one of the highlights of the Brisbane startup scene. The last few editions of the event show that there is a wealth of mobile development talent in Brisbane right now, so there’s never been a better time to take the plunge and create that little app you were thinking of building. Help won’t be far way.

The audience at Mobile Devenomics night.

The audience at Mobile Devenomics night. Chris Kettle in the foreground.

Also, right now, the App Store is approving apps in 48 hours… so what are you waiting for?

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