Meta Refresh 2015

The web in your pocket

Netscape for Mobile

Submitted by Param Aggarwal (@paramaggarwal) on Tuesday, 20 January 2015

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Technical level

Intermediate

Section

Content Design – full talk

Status

Submitted

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Total votes:  +21

Objective

Designing and serving content for multiple mobile and web platforms is hard. Come hear about some of the problems we faced, as Myntra migrated from serving fashion content on one platform to five platforms. How step by step, layouts and templates were pulled out from the app and into the server, to be freely changed without an app update.

Description

Long ago, a website had to be tweaked to work correctly in individual browsers and operating systems. Buttons, sliders and drop-down menus appeared differently on different operating systems. The web was the glue that defined their configuration, and the browser rendered these individual interface components for you. Soon CSS followed and you were able to specify styling attributes for these components.

With the mobile age, we are back to square one. Everyone uses the ‘web’, not via the browser but via apps in the form of ‘HTTP’. Unfortunately, compiled apps have to be updated everytime something changes. iOS, Android, Windows Phone SDKs bring their own implementations of these interface elements and it is time for us to bring the remote configurability of the browser to these native elements.

Here are the things we already know:
1. Mobile usage is shadowing desktop usage.
2. We now need to develop for 5 platforms: Desktop web, Mobile web, Android app, iOS app, Windows Phone app.
3. Mobile apps cannot be easily updated like websites.
4. Doing hybrid apps is like mixing tea and coffee into one drink, so you don’t have to ask anyone what they would like to have.

Here are the things we want:
1. Build apps whose content can be magically reconfigured from the server.
2. Define the content and layout for the apps once and have it work on all the different platforms.
3. An easy interface to be able to define such content and layout.
4. The ability to travel faster than light.

We have attempted solutions to the first three things, and would like to share them with you. (Meanwhile feel free to attempt the fourth.) It’s like Photoshop for building app content in the age of mobile platforms. Upvote the proposal and come hear the full story.

Requirements

Understanding of the web and native apps in general.

Speaker bio

Working as a frontend engineer at Myntra since 2013, till unsolved problems in frontend layout tools for iOS and Android forced us to dabble in engineering some backend systems.

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