The Prototype

Or the one where we make the mobile web first, for realz this time, and the game is changed. At least for us.

At the day job , we are furiously working, in our very, very spare free time on a new app that firmly sits at the crossroads of mobile, food and the human desire to critique things. We are having a blast building everything out, and when it came time to build the prototype, I started on the normal scenario.

I fired up Xcode, created a new iOS project and started slinging ObjC around the place. After about 30 minutes into my first coding session, building, running loading in the simulator, crashing, debugging... you get the idea, I began lamenting once again the lack of "instant gratification" that non web-development has.

So I thought, could I build this prototype as a web app? The list of features are pretty limited:

  • Find a nearby food establishment
  • Checkin
  • Do stuff I can't really get into right now, okay?

The goal here isn't to make some ugly afterthought like Foursquare's  mobile web app, but a gorgeous, fully realized app. 

So for the sake of argument I started hammering on a prototype that targeted the webkit rendering engine, and within an hour I had a usable framework to build on that looked sexy on my iPhone.

I am about 10 hours away from having a prototype app that I can get into the hands of testers, anywhere in the world, that will function so closely to the native apps we will be building, as to be indistinguishable.

The amazing fringe benefit to this approach, is that when all is said and done, we will have a first class web version of our app, that functions and resembles its native counterparts. I want everyone, everywhere to get on this app and get hooked. 

With the approach we are taking, the initial cost of development and prototyping becomes almost nothing, while our pool of testers becomes global.

Updates for critical bugs found are instantaneous, new features to be tested and vetted are available with a single CLI push command. Once all the testing is done, and we have our feature set, UI and behaviors, creating the native apps becomes simple and more cost effective.

Angels sing, unicorns frolic on rainbows of awesomeness... ponies for everyone!

Thoughts in the comments, and as always, be respectful!