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I just got back from speaking/attending the Norwegian Developers Conference in Oslo, Norway.  It was a great time and a well run conference.  Like many other conferences I found myself looking for two things I wanted on my mobile: the schedule and a map/guide for the city (I’ve never been to Oslo).  You see every time I take a trip, here’s what I do:

  1. Search for an app that contains the schedule (or offline version).  Ideally allows me to build my schedule and gets updates for changes
  2. Find the metro/map/guide for the city because I know I’ll be lost.

Rinse, repeat.  I do this every conference, trip.  And then I end up with a multitude of apps installed that are single purpose throw-away.  Seesmic Desktop platform has spoiled me in thinking of this eutopia of a single-purpose shell which can have pluggable content.  For Seesmic, this is my ‘social media’ shell.  But I want more now.

You see, at MIX10 there was a great mobile app that was created by Chris Hardy.  It was written in MonoTouch, nonetheless!  It pretty much did everything I would want in a conference app.  But after MIX it is kind of dead.  Uninstall. (Yes I know it looks like someone repurposed the app for a REMIX event, but same purpose…delete.).  Same thing after my trip to Berlin last year.  After that trip I didn’t need the metro rail map anymore.  Delete.

But then I head to Norway.  I want the Oslo guide/metro schedule.  I want a conference app.  There is both, but again they are separate apps.  Is my vision that far off?

I have been bugging Chris to modify his app to be more of a shell.  I like everything about the structure and think he should make it a basic “Mobile Conference Guide” app – enabling conference providers to publish a feed of their data and personalization (i.e., for background, icons, etc).  As an end user I would have one app installed.  I could then launch the app and (perhaps) browse a catalog of known events (organizers can publish to a specific feed location) or enter a URL to a conference feed that conforms to the data specification.  I don’t care if that data specification is OData, RSS, whatever – just have the app define a standard.  What conference provider wouldn’t love to just worry about providing data and not worry about providing the app?!  Am I way off here?

Same goes for travel guides (I’m guessing this one is out there and I’m just not finding it).  I have an app called “Metro” that allows me to subscribe to metro/public transportation for various cities in a singular app.  That’s great, but what about city guide information?  Restaurants?  Museums, etc.  I want more.  You know I want the Rick Steves travel app (does it exist and I’m just an idiot) with in-app purchases for more guides for other cities…all offline.

Anyhow, just a rant as I uninstall, yet again, two very useful apps after a trip.  Please bombard Chris with requests :-).

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6/21/2010 4:02 PM | # re: I want more shell applications, especially for mobile
@ChristNTR - for me, I think I'd go native. I say this for a few reasons. Mobile is a niche. The device/platform define the experience. Relying on the browser puts you in the perils of the browser again. Because of the nature of device OS updates, you (the developer) can't be guaranteed to know what the browser will support and when and if someone has that update. Having a native app -- you will...someone has to install it.

iPhone has a distinct experience that is diff from Android that is diff from Windows Phone 7. Unify on the data and allow people to consume and target those areas.

So for me, native plus re-usable bits where possible.
7/24/2011 7:58 AM | # re: I want more shell applications, especially for mobile
I’ve been looking around for articles similar to this but never found one that actually was valuable such as this. I think I will do the same thing.. Glad I found this place.. best sites for graphic designers newsletter templatest
8/23/2011 10:24 PM | # re: I want more shell applications, especially for mobile
I realize any good developer keeps pretty busy, but hopefully this won't take too much time. I started looking at the process and Google seems to make the Auth 2.0 setup pretty straight forward. However, I lack the familiarity needed to modify the plugins. Hope to hear from you soon. test king | testking ccna voice | testking 640-816 | testking 642-447 | testking 642-427 | testking 650-177 | testking 640-721 | testking 642-262 |
10/9/2011 3:07 PM | # re: I want more shell applications, especially for mobile
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