Update 3: Platform Specific Themes

Fabricio C Zuardi edited this page Sep 9, 2013 · 8 revisions

(to read updates 0, 1 and 2 and an intro about me go to the wiki's homepage to check out the actual progress of the code go to the showdown_counter git repository)

So… I have a goal: to build a great counter app

I am building it in HTML5, and for the Ubuntu App Showdown contest… I find it great that I can build it in HTML + CSS + Javascript, since that's the language of the web! Arguably the ecosystem with the biggest number of developers on the planet :)

But there lies a contradiction, if you can build a mobile web app with only web technologies, why build it for a specific target? Why build it for a specific device and/or operating system? Using a specific platform design theme? Using a platform specific SDK?

The contest

This "developed for platform X" mentality is also on the contest rules, one of the judging criteria is:

Design – your app should harness the Ubuntu Design Guidelines so it looks, feels, and operates like an Ubuntu app.

Why not build it to the whole web instead?

If Web 2.0 proved us something, it was that for a great number of types of applications the open web wins, the open web is better than desktop apps distributed on cd-roms, and with HTML5 the types of apps that could benefit from the web advantages can only increase.

But the open web doesn't have a "native look and feel". There are some trendy frameworks and widely adopted "look and feels" such as jQuery UI, Twitter Bootstrap, Zurb Foundation, Enyo, etc… but not a coherent set of guidelines imposed by the standard. And that is a great thing!

My goal for this app is to make it cross-platform, to make it work like the web, on machines with Ubuntu but also on other mobile platforms (iOS, Android) and on the web, that's the whole purpose of developing something in HTML5 isn't it?

People develop native apps on mobile platforms such as iOS and Android not because they want their apps to have the look and feel of those mobile OSs, but simple because they want their apps to perform better, and to use APIs that are currently not accessible / available for html pages to use. So much that it is true that the best iPad and iPhone apps are the games and other inovative apps that don't use the widgets and metaphors of iOS…

A counter app that looks, feels, and operates like an Ubuntu app

Anyways, all that intro just to say that I have tried to make my app look like an "Ubuntu app" (wathever that means). I forked the ubuntu-html5-theme. I downloaded and embedded the Ubuntu Regular and Light font sets on it. And I created a scaffolding app and build system for mobile apps that supports the Ubuntu theme. And here is how an "Ubuntu app" looks like:

an Ubuntu app

It is definitely not ugly, it is ok. Here is how a first version of my Counters app looks like with the Ubuntu theme:

counters with an ubuntu theme

It is ok as well, much better than with no styling…

counters with no styling

But it is not a winner app. And I want a winner app :)

(if you read it until the end and like it, please upvote my post on reddit, or simply leave comments there, thanks!)

Next: Partnership with a Professional Designer