Doing something you know nothing about

I should have started this thread a long time ago. Periodically my boss will ask me to do something that I have no experience with. I the past I would start various threads, so now Ill have just one thread to capture all the times this happens.

Anyway, THIS time they asked me to do a web application. We have this tool which is a MFC based application and now they want it “Done as a web page”. I have never done a web application or anything like it. After asking around some people pointed me to Google Web toolkit. Is this a good framework?

Now a further request came in, that this web app work just as well on a standard desktop web browser as well as on mobile platforms, such as tablets and cell phones. I spent some time googling this and it seems to me that if you want something to look good on a mobile platform, especially cell phones that you need to write a separate “mobile” version of your web site. In other words, there isn’t any magic framework that will make it look good on a desktop and cell phone with a single web app. Is this true or am I missing something? I think at best that I can make a good looking a desktop web app, and it might be “ok” on a tablet, but certainly not any good on a cell phone. I just want to double check before I tell my boss that if he wants cell phone support he will need two separate web apps / web sites.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know GWT but looks good.
Most people use JQuery with plugins, and the real programming is in the serverside in $Your_favorite_language.

I don’t know of a library that exist to make app work well in both the phone and the desktop. is optimized for the phone, and the buttons will look big on the desktop. I think you need to compromise what you want to do, but is hard to say where you have to cut, or what is the best way to invest time and effort. If you try to port the whole app, with zero experience in webapps, you will create something worth of

When shopping for WP themes, I came across a mention of “responsive programming” which can trigger the movement and resizing of page elements based on detected criteria (resolution, reported browser, reported OS, etc.); I’m guessing it can make use of XML/CSS-esque tagging to identify page elements and then call down style sheets or serverside code to appropriately display functional page elements.

Realistically, I don’t think it’s so much a toolset or preexisting framework as it is a design principle, but Googling the term might lead you to some languages, frameworks, or tutorials that would set you on the right path.

I am going though the very limited tutorials with the google stuff. Ill have some other people helping me, but I just wanted to find out about this whole “Will work on an iPhone as well as Chrome Desktop PC” framework question. Ill have to let my boss know that we will need at least 2 of not 3 versions of this web app, one for each type of platform, Desktop, Tablet and Phone; It is not realistic to make a single version that works well on all platforms.

Also this GWT (the Google Web Toolkit) stuff seems to be about a single page application, not anything that spans multiple web pages. That will have to be taken into consideration.

I downloaded GWT once and spent about a week on tutorials. I didn’t really care for it.

If you have the option, do it in Visual Studio. It would save a lot of headaches.

It’s perfectly possible to have a single web app that works fine on desktops, tablets and phones (Quarter to three does nicely).

I would only worry about customizing for various screen sizes if this were a public-facing application with a large number of potential users. An internal app? You can do it generically.

If it’s an existing MFC app, lowest risk way to get it on the web is probably with ASP Web Forms.

What you need to do is to look for a “responsive theme,” if you go WordPress. Also, look for Bootstrap themes. Twitter Bootstrap is an open source responsive CSS framework.

Zurb Foundation is another good one. There probably are WP themes based on it:

If you have to build a custom app, you probably could get a Ruby on Rails app up without too much trouble, if you know how to program. There are bootstrap and foundation gems that will automagically make a Rails app responsive.

What does the existing application do? Does it have a back end? If so, do you want to keep it?

I am not sure how to describe it other a configuration tool to configure a very complex system. As far as configuration panels (UIs), within the app, there are about 40. Anyway, my original question was really about is there a “one size fits all” framework / approach to web apps that scale from Desktop to smart phone. I have pretty much concluded the answer is no. You might be able to get away with a Desktop / Tablet web site, but if you go to the phone level, you will need a separate site.

That is the correct answer to how you have constructed the query.

If you make different querys, you can get different answer (at least from me).

HTML is designed to be device independant, and if you want to use a circle rendering device, or a device that has not screen (like a reader), it sould work.

What breaks this native HTML feature is forcing size in pixels for stuff, and having a layout that is not flexible.

A really good liquid layout would break stuff in columns, and one of these columns may fit in a phone screen.

But is different to write a html page (content) than creating program interfaces. Program interfaces need widgets that don’t exist in HTML, so must be created with javascript. Some widgets are compatible only with the desktop, because tactile screens don’t have mouse events. Knowing what widgets are compatible with both platforms, and building a program interface with only these widgets would work.

Breaking your app in 2 different ones (one for desktop, other for phone) is probably a good idea so you don’t have to comprimise. There are very good webpage debug tools for the desktop, so at least development can be very fast there. Maybe the phone webpage version can be made based on the desktop webpage version removing widgets/replacing widgets, and making big changes on the layout.

That is absolutely not true with a well-designed responsive layout. It’s done all the time with Bootstrap and Foundation, as well as at least a half dozen other CSS frameworks.

Interesting coincidence, I’m in the same spot. Settled on Gridless because it gracefully degrades on IE7. As for the app itself, my strategy is to set up web services for all the content and handle reading/writing using AJAX and jquery.