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Paper: Feedback about Astronomical Application Developments for Mobile Devices
Volume: 475, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXII
Page: 117
Authors: Schaaff, A.; Boch, T.; Fernique, P.; Houpin, R.; Kaestlé, V.; Royer, M.; Scheffmann, J.; Weiler, A.
Abstract: Within a few years, Smartphones have become the standard for mobile telephony, and we are now witnessing a rapid development of Internet tablets. These mobile devices have enough powerful hardware features to run more and more complex applications. In the field of astronomy it is not only possible to use these tools to access data via a simple browser, but also to develop native applications reusing libraries (Java for Android, Objective-C for iOS) developed for desktops. We have been working for two years on mobile application development and we now have the skills in native iOS and Android development, Web development (especially HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3) and conversion tools (PhoneGap) from Web development to native applications. The biggest change comes from human/computer interaction that is radically changed by the use of multitouch. This interaction requires a redesign of interfaces to take advantage of new features (simultaneous selections in different parts of the screen, etc.). In the case of native applications, the distribution is usually done through online stores (App Store, Google Play, etc.) which gives visibility to a wider audience. Our approach is not only to perform testing of materials and developing of prototypes, but also operational applications. The native application development is costly in development time, but the possibilities are broader because it is possible to use native hardware such as the gyroscope and the accelerometer, to point out an object in the sky. Development depends on the Web browser and the rendering and performance are often very different between different browsers. It is also possible to convert Web developments to native applications, but currently it is better to restrict this possibility to light applications in terms of functionality. Developments in HTML5 are promising but are far behind those available on desktops. HTML5 has the advantage of allowing development independent from the evolution of the mobile platforms (“write once, run everywhere”). The upcoming Windows 8 support on desktops and Internet tablets as well as a mobile version for smartphones will further expand the native systems family. This will enhance the interest of Web development.
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