NYC January Mobile Monday

Update: I got the wrong impression from the talk (see, told you that this was all new) and Chaals has updated more in the comments and gives me a far clearer picture of what I was trying to understand.

On Monday I went along to Mobile Monday, this month a 5 hour celebration of SVG or Scalable Vector Graphics. This was held at the Samsung Experience in the Time Warner centre, which remained open during the event so I’m sure the people wandering around looking at the electronics were suitably bemused.

Whilst developing in SVG goes way over my head, it was interesting in hearing from people and companies that develop in the space, giving me an idea of where applications are going. Whilst not ubiquitous, SVG is on enough phones on models to make an impact across the board, being particularly prevalent in high end corporate models where the main applications appear to be in business intelligence and other professional services. But with the release of it far more phones with Java, applications are going to expand.

One point pushed by Charles McCathieNevile, Chief Standards Officer at Opera, is that SVG is perfect for building platform agnostic web applications, or would be if IE and firefox adopted it. He particular emphasised it’s use in building accessible websites, a passion of his. A lot of the same challenges that come with building computer-based accessible applications are there for all apps on the browser, tiny type, limited access to keyboard, lack of colours etc, so solving those issues for the small screen means that your apps should be better on a larger screen. His desire, and that of others speaking, was for one web – the same code being used across all platforms. Charles was someone I’d love to have had a longer conversation with.

Another speaker was Daniel Appelquist, from Vodafone and one of the founders of Mobile Monday London. I must admist when he started to explain what Vodafone was I thought he was being ironic, not realising that the brand is not known very well in the US at all (being 40% of Verizon Wireless only). One of his key focuses in his job is Open standards and vodafone’s participation in setting and evangelising such standards so that it is easy to build mobile platforms across manufacturers and carriers. They’ve been using SVG to develop soem great applications, one such being a Bubdesliga Player that launched in Germany 2 weeks ago, which brings you live scores from football games, news and live video clips. The demo he showed looked pretty cool. One last thing he announced was that within the next 2 weeks, Vodafone would be launching a developer community network, called betaVine. Targeted at individual or small company developers, the idea is to support them and give a showcase for their applications so that early adopters can find and test them them out. This will launch sometime in the next 2 weeks.

I didn’t stay til the end, moving out to go to the Google speaker event, but some thought starters about what could be possible in the US.

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9 thoughts on “NYC January Mobile Monday

  1. > SVG is perfect for building platform agnostic web applications, or would be if IE and firefox adopted it.

    Opera is in the lead in implementing SVG, but Firefox sure does quite a bit too. IE doesn’t do it out of the box, but needs help from other software.

    developing SVG is actually no rocket-science, see many examples via http://svg.startpagina.nl

  2. The fact that Firefox does not support it was what I picked up from the talk – I’ve double checked notes and that was what was said. But I’ll take that with a large pinch of salt then

  3. Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was really tired, and forgot that people might not know everything there is to know about SVG support :)

    Actually, Firefox has native support for huge chunks of SVG, but there are also big gaps that they haven’t done yet.

    IE is effectively ahead of them, since they rely on the Adobe SVG plugin (or any other plugin, but the Adobe one is the best known and probably best of the bunch for desktop today). On the other hand Adobe has no plans to keep developing their plugin. They said they would actually withdraw it in a couple of years, but following an outcry from developers who were relying on it, including some vey large-scale deployments, they changed their minds…

    Safari are the kids playing catch-up at the moment, without SVG native support in a release (it is in the nightly WebKit builds and apparently reasonable).

    What I had meant to say about Firefox is that while they have an implementation it is lagging behind the others so it is currently the lowest common denominator (like IE has been in some ways over the years in some HTML/CSS stuff). Which means you can’t reliably use some of the really valuable things about SVG, like declarative animation, which makes authoring and tool development simple but gives you heaps of power and interactivity. Unless you’re only interested in “most of the web” as an audience.

    Doug Schepers from 6th sense (who was at the event) has developed some javascript extensions to patch some of this. It is a hack solution, not really ready for prime-time applications, but it shows how the power could work.

  4. Thanks, I knew I should have stayed and had a longer chat. Sometimes I go to things that are over my head just to get a feel for them. I loved this stuff and it gave me a good insight into what can be done, from a generalists viewpoint. Thanks to both of you for correcting me and keeping me learning.

  5. Daniel, I would have liked to have gone – must have missed it on upcoming and I’m still trying to work out the best ways to find out what is happening in this town being pretty new. However, this time I would have not been able to go as was on a plane back from Chicago..I’ll look out for the next one.

  6. Hi Rachel — glad you enjoyed the event. Sorry I had to bore you with an overview of Vodafone but most people in the U.S. just don’t know who we are. :) Just to follow up, Vodafone Betavine launched last week (at http://www.vodafonebetavine.net) and we are actively seeking participation by individual and small company developers. Hope you can drop by. Thanks, Dan.

  7. I wasn’t bored with the Vodafone explanation – it gave me some good informative, just surprised. I’m used to Vodafone being the big player and it takes a mental adjustment to see it otherwise in a different market.

  8. Pingback: Vodafone Betavine - Licence to Roam