[tog] Tog Mobile App

Oisin Hurley oisin.hurley at gmail.com
Fri Mar 2 11:01:13 GMT 2012

> 3. A cross platform tool such as Unity or MonoTouch.
> I am currently leaning towards option #3 as it provides a single language
> for all platforms, making updates and maintenance much more likely. Unity is
> not a platform built for apps per se, but it can be done. MonoTouch costs
> about 800eur and I haven't invested in that toolchain yet (unlike Unity).

Unity as in the game engine? It may be harder to squeeze that into a
'normal' app usecase than go another route. Spending money on the
toolchain should be out of the picture, since others should be able to
fork and build this, IMHO.

> I haven't got any experience with Phone Gap, but I'll look into it. I'm
> somewhat suspicious about the whole HTML5 -> Native App development trend
> that's kicked off recently.

Don't forget that the best way to banish suspicion is to invoke facts!
These apps are HTML5/Javascript things that live in a webview (or
mini-browser), inside a native 'shell'. You just program the browsery
bit. The main reason that these cross-platform kits were created
(originally, before there was a chance for money to be made) was to
allow web developers harness their existing skills to produce mobile
apps, rather than them having to learn Objective-C or Java, or
whatever native languages and frameworks were required.

> There's a lot of copycats. Looking at the
> pricing model - I'm already pretty much against it. A subscription model for
> a toolchain? I'm not sold. It takes a lot of control out of your hands -
> what if the build service or your internet is down? you're screwed.

That's not how PhoneGap works - that's how the *PhoneGap build
service* works. You can download PhoneGap and use the application
shell and local device APIs for free, and put them on app stores.
PhoneGap is in fact an open source thing.

Of course, world+dog is trying to make a buck by setting up services
that add value to the process.

> tl;dr tech will probably end up being C#, using Mono(Touch/Android) and a
> separate WP7 project which reuses code/classes etc.

GIven the caveat that there is no particular hurry, I can kick off an
OSS project for an iOS version once there is an outline of whats to go
into the app.

> I think a Calendar, Contact form and a "Find my local hackerspace" features
> are great, I'll add them to the list.


> I think some of these features will require a little change to Tog.ie -
> namely RSS feeds, which as far as I can tell are entirely missing from the
> site. If there was an RSS feed for blog posts, TOG status etc. I think that
> would help a lot.


One thing which hasn't been mentioned here is design chops - no-one
wants an app that looks like a U+1F4A9 - are there any TOGgers that
have graphic design skills that they could contribute?


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