SXSW 2012

Experts Exchange @ SXSW

Posted by · March 10, 2012 9:41 am

This week, Experts Exchange Managing Director Mark Barbir and Creative/Front-End Lead Peter Uzzi are attending South by Southwest in Austin, TX. From now until Tuesday they’ll be sharing their observations of the conference as well as some of the things they are learning while there with EE Tech News readers. In his inaugural SXSW blog post, Peter talks about the impact of mobile at SXSW Interactive.

SXSW 2012

Experts Exchange is at SXSW Interactive!

First impression of SXSW Interactive? Big. This is pretty overwhelming. Thank goodness for the SXSW GO Mobile app. Without it I’d be left trying to navigate this maze with only the telephone book-thick schedule they handed us at the end of the 2 hour cattle herding maze they called registration.

It is evident by looking at the mobile tracks that mobile is a huge focus this year. With the ever expanding landscape of third party frameworks and SDKs, there’s a lot to cover. And if you’re not looking at HTML5 or JS Frameworks for your mobile products, you should.

Clearly there are a lot benefits to going native, namely, direct access to OS resources translates to faster processing, UI, and access to hardware like cameras, GPS, accelerometers, magnetometers, etc. But not everyone has the time and resources to develop cross-platform and support those stacks going forward. For this reason, mobile HTML5 frameworks and native SDK alternatives are growing in popularity with the proposition of tying your mobile site and/or web app into device resources and hardware via a framework like Phonegap. Phonegap tends to be the darling due to it’s ability to easily port an existing DOM-based web app to mobile on nearly any device (and its recent acquisition by Adobe and integration with CS5.5 along with jQuery Mobile), but there are other SDKs worth checking out, too, like Titanium and Corona.

Experts Exchange has been looking into HTML5 frameworks and prototyping with them for a while. If you’ve been following Experts Exchange Version 10 (a.k.a.- EE v.10), then let me just tell you that we’re not neglecting mobile, but we had to lay the proper foundation by modernizing our existing platform and creating a proper API to leverage emerging HTML5 capabilities.

I can tell you that the first thing you’ll see from us is an all new mobile site very soon. Update: EE Mobile is Live!

We’ve played here at EE with the two major players in HTML5 mobile frameworks, jQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch—the former leverages jQuery and existing/semantic markup very well (at a noticeable performance sacrifice, and a far less native feel), while the latter has drastic performance benefits due to a 100% Javascript MVC application framework. Front-end to back-end integration via existing frameworks are currently limited by the immaturity of HTML5 device APIs (e.g., vibration for webkit, finally!). So we’re still playing (definitely loving the potential of Web Sockets), but looking forward to what other frameworks may emerge at SXSW. I’ll go ahead and leave you with a brief plug for one framework I’ve seen so far this morning: Netbiscuits Tactile.