Mobile First theme

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01-31-2018 04:00 PM
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by MVP Regular Contributor
MVP Regular Contributor

When I use WAB, I find its themes are very good for working on desktop or tablet screens, but they are not the best themes for the smartphone screens, although they can to some extent adapt to the small screens due the responsive design web design.

I just want to discuss, is it time that for WAB to have some themes particularly designed for mobile phones. light-weight, modern, very close to native apps looking and feel?

I am developing some hybrid apps for smart phones, sometimes I need to load web apps in the WebView control in the native apps only finding the web apps built with WAB are too heavy and clunky... obviously the templates (themes) in WAB don't have a "Mobile First" design. with smart phones are taking the world, mobile first is one step further than responsive design, I think.

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Not trying to discourage the use of WAB, but I wonder if AppStudio for ArcGIS  already fills that need?  That lets you write once and export to multiple native apps. 

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by MVP Regular Contributor
MVP Regular Contributor

Thanks for the comment.

Yes, If a native app is needed, AppStudio can be a very good option.

But I doubt that native apps will ever replace web apps, and I won't rule out the other way around since web apps seem to have overtaken most of the native apps on desktop computers.  Apple, Google and Microsoft like their app stores, because they can make money directly or indirectly by controlling the app distribution. 

Purely from a technical point of view, web app is internet's own child, and it's meant to be running cross-platform. 

So back to the topic, by saying MOBILE FIRST, I mean when a web app is designed, the designer should assume the users will first use it on their mobile device. Therefore, the mobile users' existing experience with native apps should be considered, such as card-style (rather than popups), gestures support, etc. How to adapt to big screens on the desktop computers should come second. This is what I believe at the moment, I am ready to be convinced by other ideas

Moxie Zhang

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New Contributor II

Mobile First design is usually used with the context of Mobile Friendly design. For example, I’d think the Responsive Design is type of Mobile Friendly design, even though people can argue with that. Mobile First design should be under the design approach called “separation of concerns”. I’d agree with Simo’s point on mobile first design for web app. That means it’s not necessary to be native app to be called mobile first design. Rather, it’s the focus of design matters.

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by MVP Regular Contributor
MVP Regular Contributor

If I dig a little bit deeper, I can see there is a javascript application framework between WAB and ArcGIS Javascript API. The document of this "framework" is very sparse, this will make it hard for non-expert developers to understand the apps generated from the WAB when needed to do any substantial customization. This is another matter anyway.

Talking about the mobile friendly framework, the one WAB uses seems heavy for a Mobile-first web app. the sheer zipped size of it is more than 8 Mb,  more than 20 Mb if it's expanded, while other popular frameworks,  such as React, Vue Js, their sizes are less than 1Mb. Many modern JS frameworks explicitly claim to be mobile-first.

I am not an expert JS developer, without any real experience with React and Vue mentioned above, it's a long shot for me to compare these frameworks with WAB framework...

I just feel there should be a template in WAB, which is a mobile-first template, and optimised for mobile phones. the difference between mobile phone and desktop computer are not only in the screen size which responsive web design is trying to adapt seamlessly. 

Google's Progressive Web Apps (PWA) sounds a step to the right direction. 

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New Contributor II

I can only tell you this though, that is your wish will come true.

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by MVP Regular Contributor
MVP Regular Contributor

Very happy to know it's coming

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Occasional Contributor

Can you explain this in more detail?

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Occasional Contributor

I agree.  WAB's responsive design is "mobile friendly" but just barely in my opinion. It is a poor experience on a mobile phone with a 5 inch screen.  I have to use my baby finger and make several attempts to accurately tap a button.

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Occasional Contributor III

Agreed with the general sentiment on this thread that WAB, although responsive, is not great on phones. That said, are there differences between the themes in terms of how they perform on mobile? I'm curious if anyone has found that a particular theme seems to work better than others?

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