We’ve discussed in other posts how ArcGIS Online makes accessing and working with geo-data easier. Companies such as ours, focused on ArcGIS Online, are now building applications for a range of different devices.
Non-Mobile Web ArcGIS Online
Mobile Web ArcGIS Online
Styling and performance will be areas which need particular attention. Using responsive Web design, it is possible to build a single application which will return web pages styled for a specific device. So when accessing an app from your tablet, smartphone or PC; in each case the application will look good and work well with the given screen size.
Now performance needs careful consideration. ArcGIS Online layers are much centred on Feature Layers. So publish your shapefile or CSV, for example, and these will be converted to Feature Layers. These types of layers are very powerful. They are interactive, can be queried (without calling ArcGIS) and can be edited. But they demand more work to render than other layers. What does that mean? Well your mobile has to draw the features in this layer (no pre-rendered tiles here). That can slow things down. So pan and zoom may be delayed. Let’s show an extreme example:
Mobile ArcGIS Online
In the video above we compare a mobile Web application with an installed native application. The latter are mobile apps you download from the Apple or Android stores. They are written in the native language of the device; Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android. Esri provide tools (API’s) for each. A key advantage of native installed is performance, as we have seen, but to have any cross platform app ie. an app which runs on both iOS and Android, two separate applications would need to be built. That effectively doubles the cost. Add Windows and other mobile platforms into the mix….
Mobile Flex and PhoneGap
Final Thoughts on ArcGIS Online Development
Our approach to mobile ArcGIS Online development we can summarise:
2) For installed mobile ArcGIS Online apps where performance and deeper access to the mobile device is required, we are building native apps.
3) For installed cross platform mobile ArcGIS Online apps, we are building hybrid apps in Mobile Flex.