Building Mobile Phone Applications

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2011 University of Iowa Computing Conference

Building Mobile Phone Applications

Dr. Ron Vetter, PhD

Department of Computer Science

University of North Carolina Wilmington


History of Mobile Development at UNCW


Comparison of Mobile Application Development
Models and Costs


The Short Message Service (or SMS)


Mobile Education LLC


Mobile Phone App Development


Questions

Outline

Outline


1999: Wireless Network Rollout


2000: Project Numina


Focus on handheld computers and science/math


Applications: SRS and GraphData


2001
-
2003: Move to Pocket PCs


2004
-
2006: NSF funded “Virtual Learning Communities”
Project (Tablet PCs)


2006
-
present: Move to Mobile Phones: WAP, Java, SMS,
Apps, Mobile Web

Outline

History of Mobile Dev. at UNCW


WAP


Wireless Application Protocol


SMS


Short Message Service


SMSC


Short Message Service Center


CSC


Common Short Code


Let’s look at each of these items in turn.

Outline

Definitions and Terms


Many phones have browsers that are like small versions of
desktop web browsers.


Phone browsers are designed to display WAP which is
similar to HTML but much simpler.


WAP is the de
-
facto world standard for the presentation and
delivery of wireless information and telephony services on
mobile phones.


Standard web servers can serve WAP as well as HTML.

Outline

WAP

Outline

CORMP WAP Application

1. CORMP: live weather
and ocean data
from buoys



The screen at the
right shows links to
all of the buoys.

Outline

CORMP WAP Application


Selecting a link shows
the current conditions
at that buoy.

Outline

Other UNCW WAP Applications

2. UNCW Directory

3. RSS News Feeds


BOTTOM LINE:

If it is available online, then we can make it available
through WAP.


Outline

Summary of WAP

Advantages:


Inexpensive to provide


Development is
straightforward


Familiar web browser
based interface

Disadvantages:


Compatibility across devices
is problematic


Very few users are
comfortable with using the
browser on their phone


Data plans are expensive

Outline

UNCW Java Applications


Installing a Java application on a phone is easier than
installing an application on a PC.


Application can be installed by clicking a link in a WAP page.


Development Platform: SUN Java Wireless Toolkit

Outline

CORMP Java Application

Outline

CORMP Java Application

Outline

Summary of Java Applications

Advantages:


Rich, graphical
environment


Easy to install

Disadvantages:


Program must be tested
for different phones, and
even for different carriers
with the same phone


Development is
complicated and time
consuming


Defined in 1985


Purpose to allow simple communication between mobile
devices


First SMS message sent in 1989


Fastest form of communication when counterpart not able to
take a call


Few seconds slower than direct voice call


Faster by hours or days when compared to other forms of
communication


Outline

Short Message Service or Texting


In 2000


14.4 million text messages/month.


In 2006


18.7 billion text messages/month.


In 2008


30 billion text messages/month.


In 2009


135 billion text messages/month.


In 2010


150 billion text messages/month.


SMS Statistics


SMS is a service available on most digital mobile phones


Message size


160


7 bit characters


140


8 bit characters


70


16 bit characters


No formatting


just straight text


Can be used with automated systems, such as ordering
products and services, or participating in contests.

SMS


When a user sends a text message to another user, the
phone actually sends the message to the SMSC.


The SMSC stores the message and then delivers it to the
destination user when they are available. This is a store and
forward operation.


The SMSC usually has a configurable time limit for how long
it will store the message, and users can usually specify a
shorter time limit if they want.

Short Message Center


Common short codes are numbers to which text messages
can be sent from a mobile phone.


Wireless subscribers send text messages to short codes with
relevant keywords to access a wide variety of mobile
content.


CSCs are compatible across participating carriers and are
currently defined as 5 or 6 digit numbers.


Interactive SMS requires a CSC

Common Short Code


Maintains connections with carriers’ SMSCs using Short
Message Peer
-
to
-
Peer Protocol (SMPP)


Provide API for mobile content service providers to
connect to their servers


Provision CSC with cell phone carriers (provisioning takes
approximately 3 months)

Message Aggregators


Carriers provide a mechanism to turn an email into an
SMS message, called an Email
-
to
-
SMS Gateway


They are one
-
way → the recipient cannot reply to the
message


Carriers filter for spam and may block access to the
gateway


Carriers provide this service as a courtesy and may
discontinue the service at any time

Email
-
to
-
SMS Gateway

Mobile User

Service Providers

SMSC

SMSC

SMSC

SMS Broker

SS7

SS7

Content Provider

Aggregator

SMPP

SMS

SMS

SMS

API

Content

Server &

Software

Apps

SMS System Architecture

Summary of SMS Applications

Advantages:


Many students already
use text messages


Creating and sending SMS
is easier than opening
browser or starting a Java
application

Disadvantages:


Cost to send and receive
messages


Stateful behavior is
difficult to emulate

Cost Models: WAP
vs

SMS

Interactive WAP:


Fixed, Recurring, and Marginal costs are the same as those
of providing HTML services, such as the existing HTML
directory service.

Interactive SMS:


Startup ~$2000


Monthly ~$1500


SMS Send/Receive ~6¢


A faculty start
-
up company providing mobile message content
services


Working with an SMS aggregator to provision a common short
code (90947)


Will share the common short code across multiple institutions
in order to reduce costs


Initial focus on the higher education market



Web site


http://myMobEd.com

Mobile Education LLC


Subscribe to receive daily campus events


Text EVENTS to 90947



Interactive shuttle bus info (Wave Transit)


Text BUS <route> to 90947



Grade information (SunGard Banner)


Text GRADE <course> <number> to 90947



Interactive movie schedule (EMS Calendar)


Text MOVIE to 90947

UNCW Applications (2007
-
08)

www.uncw.edu/mobile

UNCW Applications (2008
-
09)

www.uncw.edu/mobile


Outlook Mobile Services (FINAID, LIBRARY, LINK)


http://oms.uncw.edu


Mobile Coupons


http://CouponsToYourPhone.com


Text Voting


http://myMobEd.com/vote



Dub Hunt


http://DubHunt.com


UNCW placed 2
nd

in the 2008 AT&T Mobile Campus Challenge

UNCW Applications (2008
-
09)

www.uncw.edu/mobile

UNCW Applications (2009
-
10)

www.uncw.edu/mobile


Text for surf information


WAVES


Text for dining menu


WAG & DUBCAFE


Receive alerts for course wait lists (from Banner)


SMS Locker


http://www.smslocker.com



iPhone Apps


UNCW Mobile and iTour

UNCW Applications (2009
-
10)

www.uncw.edu/mobile

UNCW Applications (2010
-
11)

www.uncw.edu/mobile


Text Surveys & Polls


http://TakeTextPoll.com



Keywords for Student Groups and Classes


Athletics


Vote for player of game


TeamTeal


SeaHawkClub


UNCWSports


UNCWTickets


UNCW wins 2010 Digital Education Achievement Award


UNCW Applications (2010
-
11)

www.uncw.edu/mobile

SMS Monthly Traffic Growth


In 1995, roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population had cell
phones. By 2009, it was 89 percent.


In 1995 there were 19,844 cell sites in service. In 2010,
251,618 cell sites were reported.


Today, there are approximately 293 million cellular subscribers
in the U.S.


Wireless services generate more than $155 billion in revenues
annually.






Source: http://www.ctia.org

Mobile Phone Statistics


Formed Spring 2009:


Resources Acquired (books, iPhones)


iPhone Developer University Program


Faculty, staff, and students involved


Three Areas of Focus:


Programming Team (iPhone Course


Spring ‘10)


Mobile Web Design Team (uncw.mobi)


Application Brainstorming and Design Team

Mobile Phone R&D Group


UNCW iTour App


Camilo Alvarez


UNCW Mobile App


Ricardo Valea & Phillip Whisenhunt

UNCW Mobile Phone Apps

BoomCoLLC.com


iPhone SDK 3 Programming by Maher Ali


Comprehensive iPhone programming book that does not use Interface
Builder


http://itunes.stanford.edu



Stanford has made a lot of material on iPhone programming available
for free on iTunes University



Apple iOS Dev Center


http://developer.apple.com/devcenter


iPhone

Programming Resources







Inventor for Android is a programming tool that lets people
easily create mobile applications.


http://androidblocks.googlelabs.com


Android Programming

Android Course


Fall 2010/Spring 2011


The BlackBerry Development Zone’s “Platform Overview” video
provides a good introduction to BB App Development:
http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/




See also, BlackBerry Academic Program Resources:
http://na.blackberry.com/eng/ataglance/academic/content.jsp


BlackBerry Programming

MIT Mobile Framework


Middleware stack between content and presentation


Mobile web templates and modules


Requirements: Apache 2.x, PHP 5.2+, mySQL 5


Code available under the MIT License (open source)
-

https://github.com/MIT
-
Mobile



Mobile web service detects the type of device and classifies it
into smart phone category


Allows for rapid deployment of a mobile site (RSS & LDAP)


Future efforts, see
http://iMobileU.org



Questions

Questions