Category Archives: mobile

Configuring the IBM Domino Server to Show the Mobile Login Form to Android Users

Just like many programmers have today, I’ve been starting to do a little bit of mobile development on the side with the Domino server, and I’ve been discovering the little tweaks IBM has been doing here and there to make Domino more mobile-friendly.  For instance, upon navigating your web browser to a Domino app with your iPhone or iPad, you’re greeted with a touch-friend version of the standard login screen:

Unfortunately, this special login view was apparently not extended to users of Android devices, as I found when I tried to login with my phone.  I was provided with the standard login screen, which is not very mobile-friendly at all.

Now, when you do finally login with your non-iOS mobile device, the actual database, such as your mailfile, will detect your non-iOS mobile device, and load an appropriate mobile interface.  Interesting.

So, I figured that a lot of the default Domino coding could detect non-iOS devices, but for some reason the login window portal (a database named DominoWebAccessRedirect.nsf) doesn’t.  I delved into the code for a bit, finding some interesting bits of code, and a reference to @GetProfileField that apparently grabbed a list of user-agent data (from a profile document) that was checked against the user trying to login. 

Figuring that there must be some way to edit that document, I did a little bit of Google searching, and found that it’s actually rather easy:

First, open up DominoWebAccessRedirect.nsf in your Notes Client:

Click on “Setup”, and then click on “Ultra-lite/Mobile Settings”:

Then, under “Mobile Device User Agent Keywords”, enter whatever you like.  Something tells me that “android” will probably be entered here already for you by default on the next release.

[ Resources: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/lotus/library/inotes-ultra ]

Year of the Android

Oh, I firmly agree.

MWC 2010: The Year of the Android | Gadget Lab | Wired.com:

“But the general consumer doesn’t care. They just buy the phone and get apps from either the handset maker or their carrier (if they add apps at all). They probably don’t even know they have an “Android phone”.

The real customer for Android? It’s the handset manufacturers. They have been given a customizable, powerful and actively developed OS, and they get it free. Better, they can put in on any device they like. And this is what Microsoft is up against with its fussy new Windows Mobile 7, which has the cheek to specify minimum hardware requirements. Forget about the iPhone. Microsoft is in a death-match with Google and its free OS.”

Apple is not Android’s “competitor.” Apple’s iPhone is a closed hardware-software package — you can’t take the iPhone OS and run it on anything other than an iPhone. Thus, as far as the OS is concerned, no one is “competing” with the iPhone.

Where Apple competes is on the total mobile phone market front, and there they are competing against companies like Motorola, HTC, LG, etc. Not “Android” — no company “owns” Android, thus it isn’t competing against anyone, unless you’re talking about a philosophical open-source/closed-source “war” with Microsoft and their Windows Mobile OS.

I have no problem with Android phones becoming the vast majority of cell phones — this won’t stifle innovation like a Microsoft monopoly did in the PC market.  Like I said, no one company owns Android, and no one is stopped from taking it, changing it, and then releasing it in any personalized form they want to.

Facebook iPhone Dev Quits Project Over Apple Tyranny

Facebook iPhone Dev Quits Project Over Apple Tyranny

My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.
The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.

Wow — just wow. I know Joe Hewitt — he’s also the guy that made Firebug; the tool that pretty much revolutionized web development as we knows it. I didn’t know he was also responsible for the excellent and very, very popular Facebook app for the iPhone. (How about bringing some of that love over to Android, Joe? Our facebook apps leave much to be desired. Even the “official” one.)

Makes sense, though — Joe Hewitt is also the fellow who made the open IUI JavaScript framework, which enables you to effectively create web applications that run in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser that mimic a native application. Who needs the app store? :P

Even though I’ve been creating a bit of mobile web apps here and there, I’ve never once considered creating a native “app” or dealing with Apple’s App Store — why bother creating a native Apple App, when I can create a great looking web app that looks the same AND works in Blackberry’s mobile browser, Android’s mobile browser, Windows Mobile, etc…

Oh, but it’s still not as good as a native app, you say? Joe Hewitt addresses that very point in a blog post he made about this subject a few months ago:

Oh, but you say that iPhone apps are different, because they run native code and can do scary things that web pages can’t? Again, you’re wrong, because iPhone apps are sandboxed and have scarcely any more privileges than a web app. About the only scary thing they can do outside the sandbox is access your address book, but Apple can easily fix that by requiring they ask permission first, just like they must do to track your location.

And, to the argument (one that even I’ve gave Apple from time to time) that Apple restricting apps in its horrible approval process somehow makes the platform “safer”:

The fact is this: Apple does not have the means to perform thorough quality assurance on any app. This is up to the developer. We have our own product managers and quality assurance testers, and we are liable to our users and the courts if we do anything evil or stupid. Apple may catch a few shallow bugs in the review process, but let’s face it, the real things they are looking for are not bugs, but violations of the terms of service. This is all about lawyers, not quality, and it shows that the model of Apple’s justice system is guilty until proven innocent. They don’t trust us, and I resent that, because the vast majority of us are trustworthy.