This week NASA is holding its annual IT Summit and I was asked if I would assist in creating a mobile conference application for them. Being a space geek, how could I say no? This web application was developed with a suite of Adobe-based solutions. The majority of the development was actually done with a custom AIR application I have been developing to assist in the creation of my conference app solutions. Built using Flex, this application allows me to manage the sessions, speakers and sponsors for a conference. Originally built to create the data updates for the iOS based applications, the tool has been evolving to allow me more functionality.
One new area of functionality, is the ability to export the conference data as a mobile web version. Once, I had an application not be approved in time for the conference. Earlier versions of the export module published the content using the iUi framework, later versions used jQTouch. Starting with the Designer/Developer Workflow conference, I converted the module to use jQuery Mobile as the framework of choice.
Now since JQM is still in beta, some care and testing was required to work out a few of the kinks. With a few pointers from my friends, I had a the export module up and running. Most notable was the change in beta 2 of JQM of how the on-screen back button functions. In beta 2, you now had to tell the framework that you want an on-screen back button. Ah, such is the life of a mobile app developer.
Since I had not finished my Map module (I am still not done with it) in my conference builder application, I had to hand code the section to include the session room maps. Not ideal, but it got the job done.
Once I exported the html, I opened the file in Dreamweaver CS5.5, and performed some minor clean-up. With the new mobile features in CS5.5, I could easily preview it for a variety of mobile devices. Normally I don’t spend a lot of time with Dreamweaver ( I am usually switching between Flash Professional, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst), so it was nice to put it’s new mobile features through their paces. I had hoped that we would be able take the web app and use PhoneGap to create native applications. Unfortunately, the NASA team did not have the time.
Iin the end I think I was able to create something useful for the conference attendees.
I want to thank Kevin Schmidt from Adobe who helped sync up this effort with the folks over at NASA.