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Am I Way Out Of My League Here?

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#1 Rup


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Posted 14 May 2012 - 10:40 AM

Hello folks!

There's a similar thread already here but I have some more specific questions so I hope you don't mind this thread.

Here's my story. I'm mostly a graphics guy who got asked by a good friend to design a logo for his company. From there I got talked into designing his website and then into building his site. I can throw sites together but I'm no a web programmer and I advised him to hire some real web developers but aside from the fact that I would cost him less, he has trust issues and only wants to work closely with a friend ( me) and trusts my judgement and sense of design. So now I'm trying to mastermind his web presence from the front end to the back end, learning as I go. It's actually TONS of fun!
Then he came around one day asking to make him a mobile app in almost the same manner that you would ask a kid to draw a you a house. After the laughter subsided I explained to him the work and money that goes into that which really shocked him. However I told him I would look into what I could do for him, but that I was pretty sure this was out of my league.
I found some great services that will let you build basic mobile apps but now I've become VERY interested in the challenge of developing mobile apps from scratch and have decided to learn some programming languages to enable me to develop web apps. It seems that mobile platforms are poised to become the norm within the next decade and I would love to be part of its beginnings.

I have three questions:

1.Am I WAY out of my league here?
I ask this because a) I have NO programming experience. b ) I ONLY want to use online sources and books, and c) Ideally I would like to be able to build my first app within a couple of months to a year at most.

2.What languages should I learn?
I'm feeling ambitious and want to be very thorough. I figured I should try learning c++ and Java. From there I could come around objective-C

3. the Jquery Mobile, HTML5 alternative?
I've noticed a small community of developers hailing HTML5 as the app-building tool of the future, together with Jquery Mobile...That sounds VERY appealing to me as someone who is more used to looking at web development code, and if something is 'the wave of the future' I definitely don't want to waste time learning languages that might become obsolete or unecessary in a few years... But can you really build a powerful app with just these two tools?

If you've read through my entire post, I am grateful for your patience, and I hope to find some valuable insights on these forums.

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#2 lespauled


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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:38 AM

You may be out of your league currently, but depending on your dedication and time spent, you can get "up to speed" enough to do some web programming. Know ahead of time that you will probably hit most pitfalls that we have all learned from, which will cause incredible frustration. But, if you are the type of person that can overcome and even thrive on that frustration, you'll be fine.

As far as JQuery/HTML5 are basically client side, and have the abilitiy to call the server side. Server side is usually done in the languages you were concerned as becoming obsolete. So, you see they will be around for a while.

Unfortunately, I can't answer your question for you. Only you can answer it.
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#3 BlackRabbit


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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:17 AM

well, less take it step by step

. html5 : you sure can do many things with that, still you are an outsider to the phone, which means you can't be 100% all your programming will work in all devices, still, most of it could probably do it, and it will be easier to learn to native mobile langs and of course, i think you cant install html5 apps in a phone, i repeat, not sure,
with installing i mean : get the app into the phone waiting for an event to occur, event being the income of a phone call or a sms, the camera being shooted, etc.

. yes, i think you are out of your league if not waaay out, still ... that state shifts when you start learning, i don't think you will truly learn as quick as you expect to, and some langs are very boring and intrincated (yes i am talking about objetive-c :P ), java is more friendly

. Said that i would take my chances on learning java since it is device oriented so it should keep running for a long time independently of hardware innovations.
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#4 Vaielab


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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:52 AM

I don't think you are out of your league.
If you already know how to build a website, creating a version for the mobile isn't that more complexe (but still a little bit more complexe).
Only in html5, css and javascript, you can recreate the website to be mobile friendly. Take a look at responsive design. It's a technic to load different css depending on the size of the screen. So you only write a other css and the website will look great on mobile too.

Jquery mobile is a other possibility too. It's more javascript, depending on how you feel about javascript.
So if you are better with css, you should use responsive design, but if you prefer javascript, use jquery mobile.

An other point that is good to know, jquery mobile is one of the most popular mobile framework, but it isn't the only one. So you may want to take a look around google.

And either you decide to take css or jquery mobile, your friend has to understand what you are doing is a website for mobile, and not an application.
The website can have a link to the dashboard of the mobile, but don't think you will have some 3d effects and some big stuff (well technically you could, but that start to be very complexe).
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#5 Upstream


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Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:12 PM

A while ago I have done some reading and experimenting regarding mobile for the purpose of keeping up with new developments. I actually created two dummy apps and got them installed on my phone with android. A made one with HTML5 and one in Android Java. This is what I learned.

Need to know 1: HTML5 VS Native
HTML5 let's you develop fast, lean and for many devices at once. It is cheap and offers a sort of app look/feel and functions. Some mobile functions are accessible like physical location but it will not offer the native look/feel and is limited in its interactions with the OS. Example: It can not use the hooks that Android provides for integration with phone functions etc. So if you need an app that uses these functions then you need to go native.

Need to know: more devices then one would wish for!
Most mobile devices have their own OS and this makes that when you choose for native apps that you will have to create a version for at least 4 OS's (Android, IOS, Symbian abd Windows Mobile). What makes it even harder is that mobile phones differ in their basic controls. One or more button etc and it differs even within the phones of the same manufacturer. Also screen sizes differ and must be handled actively across devices. I found a great tool for cross platform developments from one source with a visual GUI designer and its free!

CodeNameOne is great!
When I tried it it was a trial release but even then it was already working great. It has a cloud to deploy to from where you can distribute it to your mobile devices.

Need to know about Android (ADT, SDK, Eclipse)
As Android is most programmer friendly as it is offers an OS indendent platforn it still takes about a day to get everything you need installed on your computer. I am no stranger to large SDK's / IDE's but installing eclips with ADT (the android plug for eclipse) is not straight forward. Then you need to set op a runtime enviroment for testing etc and like I said, it takes time. It's not rocket science but it is different then most and requires enough reading. Ohh you also need netbeans to work with codenameone. This I used for the gui design and then I imported it into eclipse to add code.

I do not want to discourage you but if you are going down this road be prepared. The devices maybe small and simple but developing for them is certainly not!
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