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Posted on April 17th, 2014, by

4. Back-end solutions

As it was determined that mobile web apps and mobile websites are the best solutions for Chorley Autos, the environments for development and hosting should support recent versions of HTML, JavaScript and CSS, support different mobile OS and platforms (Android, iOS, mobile web, etc.) and should provide backend support for IDE tools commonly used by developers. Key 10 solutions for mobile app development nowadays include Sencha Touch, jQuery Mobile, Tiggzi, AppMakr, iBuildApp, Widgetbox, foneFrame, PhoneGap and appMobi (Hay, 2012). It is recommended to choose PhoneGap backend solution, because it can work as a bridge between individual SDKs of mobile operating systems and environments, supports multiple mobile operating systems (and therefore is optimal for cross-platform development), works with seven mobile platforms at the moment, and is open-source (, 2012). PhoneGap also builds the applications for mobile platforms; this feature is a significant competitive advantage of this platform. PhoneGap can be recommended as the backend solution and app development environment for Chorley Autos.  However, for the creation of prototype websites a simpler and more generic platform like basic PHP5+Apache can be used for pilot testing of the websites.

With regard to the selection of backend database solution, there are four key criteria: support of development features (XML, queries, primary and key indices, optimization, etc.), price/licensing, support of the solution by different hosting providers and execution speed. Two most often used systems are MS SQL and MySQL (Stephens, 2010). While MS SQL is an effective solution for high-load databases with intensive multithreading access to the server, it is a costly solution and is supported by limited number of hosters. MySQL is a more flexible system, and the costs of this solution are lower, because MySQL is an open-source database engine. Moreover, MySQL has a specific format of default table, MyISAM, which allows for greater performance at different platforms (Stephens, 2010). Therefore, MySQL backend database solution is recommended for Chorley Autos. For the development of the prototype version of the desktop and mobile websites HTML and CSS solution for client version was suggested, with PHP5 + MySQL + Apache backend solution available on the CET server. Using this solution, a content management system for Chorley Autos was developed, where with the help of the admin panel managers of Chorley Autos can edit website content, add, edit, remove and review autos offered for sale.

5. Back-end security

For maintaining the security of MySQL solution, the following measures were undertaken: MySQL secure installation options were turned on, secure long password for root user was set at the creation of the database, and the name of the root user was changed to other name (different from default). Two different types of users were created for Chorley Autos: read/write user with rights for editing and reading information, and read user with no rights for editing or removing information. SSL connections were set for users who have logged in for ensuring the security of the connection. Logging was added to the database for the purpose of tracking the transaction and identification of issues. In addition to that, it was checked that antivirus and firewall software were installed on the server. For maintaining the security of Chorley Autos websites after switching from prototype to fully functional version, it is also recommended to install and set up SecuRich, the package for maintaining advanced MySQL security.

6. Future technology

According to Ask (2012), future development of mobile devices will make them highly dependable on context and highly sensitive to data personalization. Mobile broadband is expected to grow significantly in the next years; due to this trend, the majority of mobile devices will rely on cloud services and cloud-based applications (Ask, 2012). Expected features of mobile devices in the 2012-2015 period are NFC communications, extensible sensors, motion control, use of augmented reality, conversational voice, chemical sensors and biometrics (Ask, 2012). The use of holographic screens and 3d holographic projections is also expected to become a recent trend for mobile devices (Al-Agamawi, 2011).

With regard to desktop and mobile app development, the recent trends are HTML5 expansion and the increase of the interactivity of the websites. It is expected that smartphones and mobile phones will become fully integrated in the society, and customer interaction will become more personified in the near future ”“ the trend towards responsive website design has been witnessed. The focus on mobile web applications and mobile websites is expected to be effective for Chorley Autos, and the opportunities for future development include 3d models of cars, context suggestions, responsive design of the desktop and mobile websites and suggestions based on geo-location.

7. Recommended priorities

Basing on the results of analysis of the market of mobile devices, operating systems and applications, it is recommended for Chorley Autos to focus on the following types of devices: smartphones/feature phones and tablet PCs, and to develop cross-platform mobile web application accompanied with a mobile website for less advanced devices (for running in a web browser). The functionality of the website is effective and context-based; grayish/dark color scheme is selected for mobile and white/light color scheme is selected for desktop website; band-like layout and flexible design are recommended to ensure website and app accessibility from different devices.

The design of the website was flexible and adjustable both for mobile and desktop, and therefore there are no limitations on CPU and RAM of the device. There are certain limitations on the screen size: minimal resolution of 800×600 is recommended for desktop devices. Currently virtually all desktop devices support this resolution, and therefore there are no preferences for desktop devices for the use of the website.

For mobile devices, 320×480 resolution is recommended for optimal use of the website, and the list of recommended devices includes all Apple OS devices, Blackberry devices, Android devices, Windows Mobile, Maemo and other devices. The only devices where the use of the website was slightly inconvenient were Curve 8530 and Pearl Flip Blackberry devices, low-end Android devices like Motorola Charm and Sony Ericsson XPeria mini, and low-end Symbian OS devices like Nokia 63.

PHP5 + MySQL is recommended as the optimal platform for cross-platform development of mobile web application for Chorley Autos. For future modifications of the website significant attention should be paid to user-specific recommendations, tracking of available activities, contextual advice and advertising, and data collection for the use of NFC technology.

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