So I built a quick demo. It required about 20 minutes of work and as you can see from the screen shots below runs exactly the same on a Blackberry as it does on Windows Mobile. I bet it even looks good on the iPhone browser.
However there are some subtle differences.
- The app is not really an app - it's a Mobile Web Service
- The app menus have been built into the Web page and are driven by the contextual data coming directly from the device (e.g. GPS, User Data etc.)
- It (the Web service) knows Who I am, Where I am, and What device I'm running - all in real time
- It looks, feels and runs exactly the same way on two different Mobile Platforms and will work exactly the same on other Mobile platforms
- To make the whole thing real all you need to do is hook each of the icons or the contextual menus directly to Hoovers current Web service API's. You could do that in less than 30 days
- This approach scales AND it adapts to changes in business logic dictated by changes in the Web service offerings
- And finally - you only need an ultra thin client on the device - all the heavy lifting is done on the web server.
Screen 2: Contextual Menus inside the browser menu
Screen 3: Opening screen on Windows Mobile
Screen 4: The same set of contextual menus
If you want to see how we do the contextual menus go to http://www.5o9mm.com/hoovers.htm and do a right click and view source in your desktop browser. Look for the meta tags which start with:
<META NAME="5o9data" CONTENT="Good old fashioned HTML which can be delivered dynamically via the Web Service.
Hoovers is now looking a little extra SaaS-y