23 May 2016

Develop Custom ArcGIS Apps for the iPad

The mobile market is made up of laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Historically dominated by the iPhone and iPad, new launches by other manufacturers have started to challenge Apple's preeminence. The most popular platforms (mobile operating systems) are Apple's iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows, and BlackBerry. Mobile device screen size is an important application development and design consideration. Screen sizes range from the 2.6-inch HP Veer through the 3.5-inch iPhone and 9.7-inch iPad 2 to the 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab. Any ArcGIS map viewer needs to be designed with the screen size in mind. Larger screen sizes lend themselves to more complex applications.

Accessing Mobile Applications
There are two ways to access applications on a mobile device. The first is to simply fire up the mobile web browser and access an existing web application. From a user's perspective, there are disadvantages to this approach. Arguably the biggest is the inability to access applications built using Adobe Flash/Flex or Microsoft Silverlight from any Apple iOS device. This relates to Apple's restrictions on installing plug-ins such as the Flash player. Thus the Esri 2.3.1 Flex viewer can be accessed from most mobile devices, but not the iPhone or the iPad 2. Apple is by no means alone in imposing these types of restrictions.
ArcGIS for Mobile: Development Process
The next part of the discussion focuses on the development process: from rough design to application framework to actual coding. From a programmer's perspective, this is where the fun begins. For clients and users, it is (hopefully) the evolution of a new and useful tool. This article was written in conjunction with the actual development of the application. It includes thoughts about this process as well as idle thoughts about developing mobile apps...

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