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Stand Alone App using Web Technology

Posted on 2016-07-15
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Last Modified: 2016-07-22
I have danced around this question before, I am not clear if I have the answers. Now I am faced with the need to respond to an RFP by August 15 & to ask any questions of the RFP issuer by July 22. In one week.

The basic requirement is a stand alone app that will function identically on any of four platforms; Android Tablet, iPad, Mac & Windows PC. Not it is NOT required to run on smart phones. It is not (yet) clear what OS versions will need support. For example, Windows 7 & Windows 10 or ??? Or even XP.

The app requires a database (or at least some local file structure) on the device & the ability to upload data from the local database or files upon connecting to the internet to a web server that would be housing a LAMP environment with a MySQL or Maria database. Also download data from a web database to the local database / file structure

I would strive to use browser based technology to do this; for example I have stumbled across Jquery Mobile, Phonegap  and Cordoba (maybe it's Cordova). I am not clear if some combo of those things can be used to build such an app or not.

The question is, is it possible to do that, not as bleeding edge, but using things proven to provide that capability? Or, as some have suggested, do I need 4 separate apps, each geared to the technology base of the specific device? For example, objective C for the iPad, some form of C for the Mac, etc.

Thanks
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Question by:Richard Korts
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 41713651
While you might be able to get the 'identical functions', you will not be able to use a single set of code to do it.  It is the 'local' part that is going to do you in.  Android and iPad use non-intel CPUs which means that the local database server program must be different than the Mac and Windows versions.  And to use a 'web-based' system, you must have a web server.  Once again, you must use different web servers because of the CPUs.  In addition, you might find that you can only load code on an iPad thru the Apple store which would mean that you have to get Apple approval to even post it there.  If you were able to use a hosted web server and database, then you could just write web pages.
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Miguel Oz earned 500 total points
ID: 41713693
Your key challenge is how to store your data in a local database as the storage is OS dependent,  which depending on how big your data is will rule out any web based solution and you will be forced to create . If your data is less than 5 MB you could use web local storage.
My possible solutions:
S1. Web applications
Advantages:
- Run in all platforms.
Disadvantages:
- Complexity depends on which browsers are supported. Stay away from IE9 or below or if supported make sure to add special cost for it.
- Web technologies do not support  big local databases, there are two technologies (but browser support is patchy): Web SQL and IndexedDB.

S2: Xamarin:
Advantages:
- Run in all required platforms.
- Support cross-platform data access.
- All code can be written in C#/VS.
Disadvantages:
- You still need to create multiple apps for every platform. The UI is different.
- Need to register your platform app with Apple, Google, etc.
- Need to restrict which versions are supported. For example Xamarin only supports Windows 8.1 and 10.
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