InfaCloud Mobile App

Informatica Cloud Mobile 2.0 is now live at iTunes Store. Informatica Cloud Mobile enables you to remotely monitor your Informatica Cloud jobs and take action on them from any place, at any time using your iPhone or iPad. Informatica Cloud Mobile works with all Informatica Cloud editions: Informatica Cloud Basic, Standard, Enterprise and Express.

HIGHLIGHTS OF VERSION 2.0

  • Revamped user interface for iOS 7
  • Support for all Informatica Cloud PODs
  • New native sidebar navigation
  • Added ability to view audit logs for admins
  • Added ability to create Support Requests

BACKGROUND

This is a complete revamp of the mobile app and mirrors the new design direction for Informatica Products. The design is also in-sync with iOS 7 updates and looks like the whole world is going flat and gray. Hey, at least the dots in the logo use primary colors and we do have red/yellow/green status icons. It's been a couple of years since we last heard about native versus HTML5 for mobile apps. Note, in this case when I say HTML5 it implies the rendering is done using UIWebView, but the actual CSS and JavaScript is packaged within the app and most of the HTML is dynamically generated in JavaScript or Objective C. So it's not a website that can be viewed from within an app.

If you look at the landscape of current breed of iOS apps, the writing is on the wall... Native has won hands down. I came to the same conclusion after building a couple of apps using UIWebView. The rendering and response in UIWebView can't keep up with the native controls and HTML5 animations just don't cut it on iOS. That said, native is almost singularly (if you exclude game apps) looking like UITableView. Its deja vu 1999 where HTML table was the pyramid of all things web. UITableView is a table after all and you can't fit all designs into it, but for now developers keep finding workarounds to keep things going.

DESIGN CHOICES

Goodbye Storyboards: The app has been re-written from scratch and ended up going with programmatic declaration of entire UI instead of using storyboards or xib files. The XCode storyboard seemed handy for my first iOS app, but custom instantiation of controllers can be a real pain and you have to do some geometric calculations anyway for perfect pixel placement. The programmatic instantiation helps to move all 'view logic' out of the controller (not all, but may be 80%) and forces to have a separate view class (otherwise the view goes in the .xib and anything programmatic ends up in controller). The storyboard state is hard to maintain especially if multiple programmers are working on it simultaneously and its hard to share UI code across projects with storyboards. All pointing to signs that we can graduate from storyboards to programmatic instantiation of controllers and views. The jury is still out there on this topic.

Welcome VFL: Given autolayout is the law of the land going forward (as decreed by the supreme lords), its a lot easier to use VFL (visual flow language) in your view class than having to deal with Interface Builder to achieve autolayout. There is a slight learning curve to VFL but once you get it, layout can be achieved quite succinctly. This makes the apps render quite well on both iPhone and iPad.

Welcome Sidebar: Most apps will have more than one action and Facebook has ushered the sidebar navigation for all of us. There are quite a few implementations available for iOS sidebar, I ended up going with MMDrawerController. With some minor customization and given that we use programmatic instantiation for controllers, integrating with MMDrawerController was a breeze.

Baldeep Hira

bay area programmer working on mobile/tablet/web apps and enterprise cloud apps; ui/ux, html5 and everything else for a prettier web and world

  • San Francisco Bay Area
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