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Bemoko blog > November 2012

21

Nov

The Camera API – More than just your name in lights!

Posted By Emily Nicholls Wednesday, November 21, 2012. No Comments

New mobile technologies are nothing new! Javascript geolocation functionality has become common place in mobile websites over the past 3 years, allowing a mobile site to pinpoint user location.

Other breakthroughs include sensory device capabilities.

“Accelerometers in mobile phones are used to detect the orientation of the phone. The gyroscope, or gyro for short, adds an additional dimension to the information supplied by the accelerometer by tracking rotation or twist.” – GSM Arena glossary (sensors)

Such sensors, inter alia, permit the user to control the device in new ‘never before imagined’ ways.

Probably the newest kid on the block, however, is the Camera API. This API gives the user the ability to take an image from their device’s camera and upload it to a mobile site. The possibilities are endless. For example, the uploaded picture could be used as the user’s avatar. A mobile site could facilitate the sharing of the image on social networks. But, being at mobile’s bleeding edge, we refuse to halt our imaginations there.

The most exciting innovations in mobile have always come through the collaboration of new mobile technologies with pre-existing services. For example, geolocation when coupled with readily available public APIs permitted not just location detection but location information. The user is now advised that Acme Plc’s nearest store is situated 5 miles away and is presented with a map detailing user and store location information plus driving directions.

And so it shall be with the Camera API. It’s most exciting uses shall emerge through innovation. What would happen if we coupled the camera API with the HTML5 canvas’ 3D rendering capabilities? One could imagine a spinning 3D bauble with the user’s face painted on it and light reflecting therefrom.

A festive treat for any web user. Or let’s twin the camera API with Google Maps, geolocation and a social network. We can now plot the user’s friends on a Google Map, detailing not just their current locations but using their latest uploaded photos as map pins.

The possibilities are endless.

Of course, the bemoko platform not only supports such functionality but seeks to enhance it. The bemoko platform, for instance, is readily used to dynamically transcode images received from the camera, making the photo web-ready for the accessing device both in terms of file size and image size.

Other issues remain. For example, the orientation of the image has proved a challenge, the device having no knowledge of which way up is the right way up.

bemoko, however, being experienced market leaders have everything needed to respond to such emerging concerns. The first ingredient is awareness – know your enemy – and the second item for the pot being the expertise to confidently tackle such issues. Yet more reasons why the bemoko choice is the right choice.

By Dan Lewis- Senior Developer

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Posted in: iphone, java, mcommerce, mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web

13

Nov

Responsive is not the only route to mobile, dispelling the Myth!!

Posted By Emily Nicholls Tuesday, November 13, 2012. No Comments

Ok…enough already!  If I hear the words responsive or adaptive one more time this week, I’m off to silicon roundabout with a 20ft poster and a loud hailer!

Simple fact is I don’t get it!  I really don’t get it!  The tech and agency world, not to mention the internal tech teams and digital teams in all those corporates out there are (I hope) pretty bright individuals, but for some unknown reason when it comes to mobile they seem to have lost all sense!

Ok so mobile is new, I’ll give them that, and I guess to a degree there is a learning curve to go through, but with so much innovation and expertise out there you’d have thought that at least some individuals would have realised that using techniques designed for desktop web development just can’t cut it in mobile.

Is it laziness?  Or perhaps corporate politics or is it just fashionable  and trendy to be jumping on the responsive bandwagon (aagghhh I said it! Now, where is that loud hailer!)  Maybe it is just pure and simple lack of understanding and perhaps like unruly teenagers we just have to let them make their own mistakes until they feel enough pain to come to their senses.

So who’s feeling brave?  Who’s a real innovator?  Who can break the mould and drive change?  Who can challenge convention?(probably words that appear in any one of the agency’s or corporates mission statements)
Firstly let’s bust the jargon – Responsive (aagghhh… OK just knocking up the poster) is a technical term for writing a website that delivers the same content to all devices but changes the layout according to the size of the screen, nothing more special than that, it’s certainly not an innovation for mobile web build, and here is where the problem starts.

Firstly getting a page to display on a small screen is not mobile, it’s just a miniature website, secondly using simply style-sheets to tell any one of an almost infinite number of different device combinations what to show or hide, results in a spaghetti mess that becomes impossible to fix, update and is costly to maintain.  Thirdly it means you are taking a short cut and ignoring your mobile audience and the context they are using your site in – should they have the same navigation as your PC site?  Finally it means rewriting your whole website, managing endless templates, images and content too.

The alternative is not however an m.site – this too is not the future, generally because the stand-alone site will be built using old techniques, but just using small style sheets for small screens.

Here’s the rub… you want to deliver your site from one code -base and from one URL, but you need to understand the different user contexts for different devices and that mobile is very different, multi device is different again.   The only way to truly tackle it is to use technology and methodology founded in the mobile operators, honed and refined on leading edge multi-device projects and packaged for use by anyone open-minded enough to see that web design and build has moved on light-years from the old days PC only websites.

Enter the world of web platforms – there are many to choose from, they are designed specifically to tackle the challenges of a multi-device world, they will save time and money and they will deliver astonishing results.  Finding one is the easy bit, breaking the blinkered and entrenched mindset that seems to be gripping the developer community will be the challenge!

3wise Responsive is not the only route to mobile, dispelling the Myth!!

By Phillip Clement

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Posted in: mobile, mobile design, mobile search, mobile technology, mobile UX, mobile web, multichannel, responsive design, web optimisation