So, you just got word that your product’s online user manual has to go fully mobile. Now what?
You could use responsive design to make the manual run on mobile devices. But what if you need more features than responsive design offers, such as the manual’s automatically revising itself based on where it’s being used? Or offering to sell tools and support services to users as part of the instructions? Help authoring tools can’t easily create such features; app development tools can.
But doesn’t creating an app require programming skills? It used to. Today, RMAD (Rapid Mobile App Development) tools lets non-programmers create apps quickly, without programming. That’s the topic of this presentation, how business users like technical communicators can create apps. The apps won’t look like Angry Birds but they will be functional business apps. (And RMAD tools can help programmers create apps more quickly and efficiently and less expensively.)
This presentation first reviews the state of app development, looking at the wealth of choices in the app stores but problems creating custom versions of those apps. We’ll then look at how app development is changing from hand-coding to GUI authoring, the same trajectory followed by online help development. Finally, we’ll build a simple app during the presentation using an RMAD tool called ViziApps. This app will let users send an email and access an external web page. It will be functional in all respects except for being in the app stores. When we finish, you’ll understand one more path that’s opened for technical communicators.
About the Speaker
Neil Perlin is an internationally-known online content consultant for companies from F100 to startups. He was a long-time columnist for STC Intercom, creator of the Bleeding Edge sessions at the summits from 1999 to 2014, a 2010 STC Fellow, a member of the W3C, a DITA sub-committee member for OASIS, and is a member of the Information 4.0 Consortium. Neil is a popular speaker at STC, Lavacon, TCUK, MadWorld, and other conferences, and a keynote speaker at TCUK ’15 in Glasgow, Scotland. He is also the author of three Lynda.com courses on MadCap Flare and Adobe RoboHelp.
Neil is MadCap-certified in Flare and Mimic, Adobe-certified in RoboHelp, and Viziapps-certified for the Viziapps app development platform. He provides training, consulting, troubleshooting, and development for online help, mobile, apps, and related areas through Hyper/Word Services of Tewksbury, MA. In what passes for spare time, he builds telescopes, uses simulators to recreate a lost career as a Navy pilot, and cooks a lot of BBQ (Texan and otherwise). You can contact him at www.hyperword.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.