9th June MoMoEdi: Minimum Viable apP frameworks

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Geoff Ballinger

May 21, 2014, 3:11:58 AM5/21/14
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Mobile is a necessity for most digital startups and in many cases it is at the core of their proposition. Unfortunately mobile usually means an app, and potentially multiple apps on different platforms, and apps are an expensive luxury on a startup budget.

For the typical “lean” startup (whether formally “lean” or just accepting the truism that the final product is in most cases not precisely the one they first thought of) sinking £20k into building a mobile app which is likely to need to be repeatedly reworked if not scrapped and replaced is a huge barrier.

Fortunately over the years a number of cross platform and/or rapid development mobile frameworks have come onto the market, e.g. Titanium, PhoneGap, Unity3D, Xamarin, MoSync and Livecode amongst many many others. They allow apps to be rapidly prototyped and delivered for far less investment than previously. This is due to a combination of the use of more mainstream development technologies, and the abstraction away of the often rather perverse and challenging details of the specific mobile platforms.

Of course this isn’t a panacea. The same abstraction involves compromise and makes some use-cases much harder or even impossible to achieve. It is critical for the team to understand where the limits are relative to the intended scope of their app when deciding to use one of these frameworks.

To help understand these issues we will hear from a number of startups who are successfully using this approach to build their apps, as well our local cross platform development framework provider.

The speakers will be:

* Geoff Ballinger of deltaDNA will briefly introduce the topic and give an overview of the major frameworks.

* Billy Jones of Appointedd will tell us how they have used Appcelerator Titanium to create a mobile interface to their small business services platform.

* Jamie Sutherland of Mallzee will tell us how they have used Phonegap to produce their personal shopper mobile app.

* Neil Polwart of Novarum DX will tell us how they have used Xamarin to develop their mobile reader solution which includes sophisticated and challenging image processing on device.

* Kevin Miller (RunRev) will tell us about Edinburgh’s very own cross platform framework LiveCode, and how it can be used to rapidly create mobile apps on iOS and Android using a very accessible natural language syntax.

As usual we will finish with an open discussion session followed by a networking reception with wine. We are delighted to be hosted by the Entrepreneurship Club  (http://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/eclub) again, and will kick off in LT2 at the Business School, 29 Buccleuch Place, at 6.30pm sharp. 

This is a free event but places are limited so pre-registration is required via:

Twitter hashtag #MoMoEdi

Speaker details:

Geoff Ballinger (https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffballinger) is System Architect at the player relationship management specialist deltaDNA (previously Games Analytics - http://www.deltadna.com), and is also Founder and Organiser of Mobile Monday Edinburgh. He is been working in mobile in one form or another for rather more years than he cares to admit.

Billy Jones is a full-stack developer at Appointedd (http://appointedd.com/), a company developing SaaS products for small service businesses. He's currently working on their desktop and mobile applications using a range of technologies incl. Appcelerator Titanium for cross-platform mobile development.

Jamie Sutherland is the CTO at Mallzee (http://mallzee.com/), the personal shopper in your pocket. The team at Mallzee is utilising Phonegap, AngularJS, and NodeJS to produce the Mallzee mobile app on iPhone, iPad, and soon to more platforms. He’s worked on many web applications over the years and has experience with multiple frameworks and technologies for quickly building out prototypes and production ready systems on mobile, web, both front and backend.

Novarum DX (http://www.novarumreader.com/) is pioneering a revolution in the medical diagnostic and testing industries by utilising the image processing power of modern smartphones to reduce human error in reading test results. Conceived in Scotland, Novarum brings together expertise in mobile development with world leading diagnostics companies. Utilising nothing more than the phone in your pocket and existing diagnostic tests, Novarum not only correctly reads the test result but enables the user to share results with clinicians globally, adding significant value to the diagnosis, bringing speed and convenience to the patient and unlocking the potential to bring a traditionally conservative sector into the mHealth revolution. Inevitably, building specialist Apps for consumers and clinicians to use on their own phones has introduced a number of development challenges, including maximising the reuse of code across platforms.

Dr Neil Polwart, is a Chemist who has been working in the biosensor and diagnostics arena for around 15 years.  He identified the opportunity to read simple diagnostic tests with mobile devices before the smartphone revolution but it took the accessible API's offered by Google and Apple to make his vision it truely feasible. Neil has been the driving force behind the creation of Novarum from the development of early prototypes through to complete systems in global clinical trials. A self confessed geek-with-a-personality, Neil has always had an interest in and dabbled with coding since writing simple games on a ZX spectrum in the 1980s. With no professional software background, Neil has built an international team of software experts around himself and focusses on growing the business internationally; acting as a conduit and "translator" between diagnostic customers with no software experience and developers in a new market.

Kevin Miller is the founder and CEO of RunRev (http://runrev.com/).  Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, he oversees a global team that develops the LiveCode app creation platform. Kevin founded RunRev with the vision that “everyone can code”.  He led the acquisition of a multi-platform development engine from a US based software company in his early 20s with financial backing from Mike Markkula, the legendary venture capitalist and early Apple investor. Today, LiveCode (http://livecode.com/) commercial customers have generated over US $100 million in revenues from their apps. Kevin originally began programming at the age of 12 and founded RunRev as a hobby in high school, going full time at the age of 17.

This event is kindly supported by the Entrepreneurship Club and deltaDNA.

Geoff Ballinger

Jun 17, 2014, 3:17:32 AM6/17/14
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Thanks to everybody who came along last week and contributed to an excellent discussion on the realities of cost-effective delivery of mobile products in cash strapped startups!

Some people asked about the presentations being made available so here are the first three:

I will circulate links to the final two in due course once I have them.

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