MobiDev Webinar: ''Performance Optimization Of Mobile Web Applications''

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MobiDev, a software development company, has recently conducted a free educational webinar on the topic ''Performance Optimization Of Mobile Web Applications'', which took place on March 26 and gathered over 150 interested developers. The author and spokesperson, Yurii Luchaninov, is the Head of Multiplatform Development Department at MobiDev, and the leading specialist in the sphere of PhoneGap and Android development.

Expertise of the MobiDev team along with participation and reports contributed at major IT events around the world (such as CeBIT 2014, HTML5DevConf, Droidcon, iForum, MMDay, etc.) brought up the idea of making a free online webinar for developers. Its purpose was to freely share the experience gathered by work of the company's HTML/JS team on numerous projects.

This webinar targeted developers who work with JavaScript and HTML for mobile devices. More precisely, it concerned mobile websites, hybrid apps, PhoneGap, HTML5 and such mobile platforms as Ubuntu Touch, Tizen, and Firefox OS. Correct approaches, problems faced by developers, and possible solutions were discussed across 4 main issues:

  • Optimization of work with the network: file loading (JS, CSS), data API optimization;
  • Optimization of the visual part: render tree optimization (reflow, repaint);
  • Optimization of the invisible mechanisms of the browser: DOM optimization (excessive DOM, custom events, DOM manipulation);
  • Code optimization: JS Optimization (Garbage Collector, Object Pools).

Many experienced developers are skeptical about web and hybrid apps, mostly owing to limited functional capabilities and low performance. However, there is always a way to solve or avoid these problems.

The Internet can provide lots of advice on how to optimize the performance of JavaScript code and HTML5 apps on mobile devices. But most of these articles contain unstructured tips on optimization, which sometimes contradict each other. Therefore it can be hard to follow them and achieve the needed level of optimization. On a desktop browser everything can be covered by huge performance and numerous external libraries for any case possible. But in mobile development, wrong understanding of Garbage Collector or the influence of HTML element positioning on recalculation and rendering can lead to undesired consequences. In no small part it's due to lower performance of mobile devices.

Therefore this webinar systematized these tips, taking into account the processes that run in the browser; described the optimization of network exchange and its influence on battery drain; covered the issues of rendering optimization, influence of layouting on responsiveness of the app and fluidity of animations, and several issues about JavaScript code, which affect Garbage Collector and DOM.

There is a simple principle that predefines good result of mobile development: everything depends on in-depth knowledge of mobile platforms and correct choice of tools for handing tasks.

One of such tools is RAD-js - a solution invented by MobiDev. It is a toolkit for multiplatform development, which helps solve the most widespread problems that developers commonly face, e.g. lower-than-native responsiveness and poor performance of their hybrid apps. Its sphere of application is rather wide, since it works with nearly any existing software framework, mobile platform, and all the major browsers.

The 1-hour webinar was followed by half an hour of questions, answers, and compelling examples. It was met with high appraisal of guest developers. The success of the first webinar, the relevance of the issue, and further interest of attendees - everything hints at planning and making more webinars in the future.

The issues of performance optimization will be reflected in a report that MobiDev will contribute at HMTL5DevConf - the biggest HTML5/JavaScript developer conference in the world. It will take place in San Francisco on May 22. Any interested person may follow the MobiDev blog for the up-to-date information.

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Oleg Lola
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