Addressing the Challenges of Web Applications on Mobile Handheld Devices

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Access to Web applications using hand-held devices is becoming a necessity for gathering information, conducting transactions, and interacting with people and other information systems. However, developing and deploying Web applications on mobile devices is not straightforward as it might sound. Web pages and applications for mobile environments pose certain unique requirements and challenges, compared to their desktop versions, which primarily arise from small size of the devices, limited input and interaction capabilities, slower communication, and need for tailored content depending on the dynamic context of use. Successful development and deployment of mobile Web applications calls for a better understanding of these requirements and challenges.

The following are the few challenges  I faced while developing

Bandwidth: The bandwidth of mobile devices is very low compared to the desktops. In the initial stage I was pushing huge amount of information to the mobile devices as output based on user request to a particular webpage, at this stage the page loading time is very high and some times I faces the browser crashes.

Browser Memory: The mobile devices browser memory is very low compared to the desktop browsers. As the  latest devices like iphone, android have a  good amount of browser memory(cache) I didn’t face any problem with these mobile devices related to memory, coming to the legacy devices which don’t have sufficient amount of memory like old windows mobiles and My own  Sony Ericsson I faced browser crashing.

Rendering Output: Rendering output to the mobile devices is bit different than rendering output to the desktops. You need more patience when rendering output to the mobile devices.
After lot of struggle and research I found solutions to the above problems.
To reduce the usage of high bandwidth and Browser Memory I rendered very minimum amount of data as output, for this I avoided including external JavaScript files, css files and compressed the images which were sent to the user devices as a output.
Coming to the rendering the out put the mobile screens vary from one to another. So we should render different css for different mobile devices by identifying the browser Operating System and the browser which user is using.

Note: The above are the challenges which I faced at the time of developing. You may face different challenges, let me know your learnings.

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