Are you willing to design Mobile Applications with XPages? Don't bother. You can't :)

What? But they say you can?


Because I'm not comfortable with this phrase :)))

We are able to design Mobile Interfaces with XPages or Mobile Browser Applications (if you are using HTML5)...

There is a concept of (Native) Mobile Application which is a piece of code working on the phone and developed with the native SDK of those devices. Non-technical people don't see the 'Native' word here so it is confusing in my humble opinion.

I see this misunderstanding a lot, even from IBMers.

Image:Using XPages for Mobile Applications? Wrong!

OK, this can be argued. Because we don't use the term 'Web Interface' instead of 'Web Application'. However, there is no other possibility if you are designing web something. In addition, it was actually 'Web-based Application' :)

In mobile case, it confuses people (especially demanding executives from LOB). In a sales meeting, if you say 'We can design Mobile Applications with XPages', they will have a different expectation.

There are also pragmatic approaches which make more sense. Since we can't correct this widely misused phrase, Web-based Mobile Application may be more acceptable, at least.

So we can't develop 'native' mobile applications with XPages? Actually you can make it with ready templates. But they will not have all advantages of native applications. So you need to have a good mixture of native SDK, REST, Web Services and Feed techniques.

BTW, after the iPad revolution, they would be called as 'Portable (Web/Native) Applications' as Patrick Kwinten suggested in his comment to Niklas Heidloff's blog post.

Serdar Basegmez   |   May 5 2011 02:54:15 AM   |    Development  Mobile  XPages    |  
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Comments (13)

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Serdar Basegmez    05/06/2011 6:30:00 AM


It seems better than to learn Objective C :)

As a business partner though, I would cooperate with an iPhone programmer for large projects...

It depends. I wish I could be in Vegas right now :)

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Richard Moy    05/05/2011 6:09:54 PM

How about using PhoneGap or Titanium to convert it to a native app.

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Bill McNaughton    05/05/2011 2:57:46 PM

I'm interested in the details of an XPages-based native application too. You can wrap a browser application in a native iOS application using an UIWebView component but are you using a different technique ? We use a native BlackBerry application when extending Notes applications to allow offline caching, take advantage of push etc.. We have looked at XPages Mobile Controls and see the HTML5 capabilities, is that how the offline capability is implemented ?

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Serdar Basegmez    05/05/2011 10:52:54 AM

Las Vegas is a bit far for me :)

I'll give a shot waiting :)

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Bruce    05/05/2011 10:49:47 AM


You need to attend my session at The View conference in Las Vegas :-). I am up against some tight deadlines but will come back to your question in a few days. OK? (plus I am bit under the weather today).

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Serdar Basegmez    05/05/2011 10:04:01 AM


I had a question but you were sleeping when I were posting this entry :)

You developed a native application as well as XPages, right? What do you suggest for this?

Because for some applications, one may need features (push notification, offline storage, etc.) that cannot be provided by web app...

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Bruce    05/05/2011 9:59:32 AM


The native iPhone app that we developed is called TSAzr and can be found at { Link }

The entire backend is built totally with XPages.

It's available free in the app store. Ask any questions you have!

Warm regards from rainy Washington.


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Niklas Heidloff       05/05/2011 7:58:13 AM

Christian and Wayne, don't get me wrong. Of course technical people need to understand the differences. I'd be surprised if any developer weren't aware of the two models.

As I said in my blog entry linked above I see the need for both. I just don't see why non technical people have to differentiate between native and web apps. There are pros and cons for both and you need to determine which model fits best. Offline and access to native services don't necessarily mean that you couldn't implement your app via web app dev.

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Wayne Sobers       05/05/2011 7:35:03 AM

@2 - it does make a difference if your location doesn't have complete or inexpensive GPRS/EDGE or WiFi coverage. It's even worse when non technical people don't understand why their IPad can't run web apps which only run on IE.

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Christian Herø    05/05/2011 4:55:53 AM

The terminology seems to confuse users and buyers. Marketing a web application created with Xpages (or any other framework for that matter), as a mobile application raises questions.

Users have problems understanding the strict barrier that exists between a web application (i.e a web site) and a native mobile application. Accessing contacts, calendar information etc from phone os' buildt in applications, will not work from a mobile web application.

To have such features working you mobile web application must access some api's provided by the phone os, and then you have a hybrid web application/native application.

Such a strategy will defeat the purpose of a "write one - use on all mobile platforms" strategy, given that is what your'e aiming for.

So in short. You can use Xpages for creating web application that work well on mobile devices. In marketing (and in design!!) be clear about the browsers missing abilities when it comes to integration with the phone os.

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Serdar Basegmez    05/05/2011 4:00:43 AM

Bruce's application is a good example, Niklas. Thanks.

In general, "You can use XPages to build applications with good user experiences for mobile devices." is a more accurate definition officially.

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Niklas Heidloff       05/05/2011 3:57:34 AM

I think you can argue either way. For most non technical people it doesn't even matter whether an app has been implemented natively or via web app dev. I think it's fine to call web based mobile apps also mobile apps. You don't call native mobile apps 'native' mobile apps either.

Some people use the word 'apps' only for native apps and call web based apps mobile web sites. Also some people don't like the word 'mobile' since it doesn't really include tablets.

You can use XPages to build applications with good user experiences for mobile devices. Whether these are installed via native wrapper like PhoneGap or whether you can browse to them is then a deployment choice.

You can also build native apps and connect to Domino via REST services as done by Elguji's czar app.

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Sean Cull    05/05/2011 3:55:47 AM

you make a fair point