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blackberry_askme_demo It has been said by many that 2010 will truly be the year of the mobile app. BlackBerries have given remote access to email for years, and the iPhone has been one of the hottest selling phones since its launch. Many other devices now also come with built-in web browsers, fast internet access and large enough screens that accessing websites on a handheld device is almost as easy as on a desktop computer. Almost, but not quite. Full-size websites can be displayed on smaller devices, but viewing them typically requires a lot of scrolling around and zooming in and out. Websites optimized for mobile devices are still a great way to give the best user experience on handheld devices.

Fortunately, it's quite easy to make your Inmagic database accessible to mobile browsers, using WebPublisher Pro and a bit of elbow grease. We’ve just finished making a version of our Andornot Starter Kit (ASK) mobile-friendly. The ASK Mobile Edition is a set of search and results forms specifically designed for mobile devices. The layout is aimed at devices with a screen resolution of at least 240 pixels width, but doesn't require any more than that. Users may search by clicking pre-created links for popular searches, such as recent acquisitions, popular subjects or the latest journals received, as well as use a search screen to enter terms and select options using radio buttons and tickboxes. In all cases, the interface is designed not only for readability on smaller screens, but for selection of options with fingers, stylus and keyboards, depending on the device used to access it.

iphone_askme You can view the ASK Mobile Edition demo site here. If you'd like to see it as it appears on a mobile device, you can use the Opera Mini Java demo here. Just type ask.andornot.com/Mobile.html into the demo browser’s address bar to connect to the ASK Mobile Edition demo site.

This same approach can be taken with any Inmagic database and WebPublisher Pro, making search and results pages fit a smaller form factor. The effort to do so is not great – from half a day up to a couple of days for Andornot to help you.

The mobile web is all about making access even more convenient for users – allowing them to look something up the moment they think of it, wherever they are. The question is no longer "Why would someone want to search my database from their palm"; it's "Why wouldn’t they?" Don't get left behind as more users seek out mobile-friendly information. Contact us today to see how we can help put your databases in users' hands.

Anyone using WAP (Web Application Projects) for ASP.NET 2.0 development will know what I'm talking about here: you love it for some things (otherwise, why would you bother using it?), and will just shake your head at the time wasted trying to figure out its various little quirks. Peter (as usual) had an eloquent/insightful/as-usual-make-me-roll-on-the-ground-laughing way to describe WAP implementation the other day, but I can't remember it (perhaps he'll come up with one in the comments?). But here is quirk #87 (or whatever quirk we're up to now): I am attempting to change a Profile property in a WAP project following successful login. This works no problem in a typical Website Project, but in a WAP I get this: "This property cannot be set for anonymous users". Ummm, nooooo...the user is not anonymous as the only way to get here is if the user has successfully logged in. Googling brought up others with the problem, but no solution. So here I am to save your day (or at least brighten it up a little bit): private WebProfile profile; private WebProfile Profile { get { if (profile == null) profile = new WebProfile(Context.Profile); return profile; } } protected void LoginControl_LoggedIn(object sender, EventArgs e) { Profile.Initialize(LoginControl.UserName, true); Profile.PropertyYouWantToChange = "New Value"; Profile.Save(); // Note that you've got to save here if you turn Profile AutoSave off in the Web.config (recommended) } In retrospect, you can figure out why this rigamole is required (well, maybe), but it still shouldn't be that way. Oh well...I await some Tyrrellian Quote that will help us deal with the emotional pain.

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