- Technical Note
- Open Access
Designing web-apps for smartphones can be easy as making slideshow presentations
© Subhi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
Received: 23 October 2013
Accepted: 18 February 2014
Published: 20 February 2014
Limited clinician involvement in smartphone application development poses problems considering the extensive use of smartphones among medical professionals and patients.
We present a simple method for the clinician to develop simple web-apps using only an Internet browser and a text editor.
This method may help clinicians develop simple web-apps and increase clinician involvement in smartphone content.
The impressive distribution and use of smartphones among health professionals and patients promise interesting advances within fields such as medical education, patient education, patient aid, and telemedicine [1–3]. However, anyone can publish software applications for smartphones (apps) without clinician involvement. Existing apps should be carefully reviewed before any recommendation as the only restriction before publication is $99/year [4, 5]. Many existing apps are of low quality and some are even unsafe [5, 6]. There is a need for increased clinician involvement in the development of smartphone apps [7, 8].
Clinicians diligently develop digital and printed material, but may be reluctant from developing apps as required technical skills or resources may be insufficient. While some smartphone apps may require advanced algorithms or technology, many popular apps are actually quite simple and consist only of text and images. In fact, simple web-apps — smartphone applications that function using the build-in web browser — can be developed as easy as preparing slideshows. Here, we describe one easy method to develop a simple web-app by only using an Internet browser and a text editor.
Additional file 3:Instructional video. Description: Instructional video on how to develop a simple web-app. (MP4 13 MB)
Two limitations of this method should be noted. Firstly, programming assistance may be needed for enabling more advanced functionalities. Secondly, web-apps are not indexed in iTunes App Store or Google Play, and therefore users will need a link to access the web-app, unless it is converted to native smartphone apps using conversion tools, such as PhoneGap  or Codiqa . The web-app is then converted to a format compatible with iTunes App Store and Google Play, and distributed to the common user. The herein described method may help clinicians develop simple web-apps and thereby open the door for a mean of communication, which only seems to increase in importance . However, even with the involvement from clinicians, anything read on the Internet should be critically read, and can contain errors or be potentially dangerous even with relevantly involved clinicians.
Availability and requirements
Project name: Designing web-apps for smartphones can be easy as making slideshow presentations
Project home page: None.
Operating system(s): Platform independent
Programming language: HTML, CSS, and JS
Other requirements: A simple text-editing program, e.g. Notepad
Any restrictions to use by non-academics: None (MIT License)
Availability of supporting data
The data sets supporting the results of this article are included within the article and its additional files.
YS is medical graduate student and TT is medical doctor at the University of Copenhagen and work at the Centre for Clinical Education at the University of Copenhagen and the Capital Region of Denmark investigating how smartphones are used in medical education. YS is also a research assistant at the Department of Ophthalmology at the Copenhagen University Hospital Roskilde. CR is director and scientist of the Wilson Centre and professor in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Toronto. LK is clinical associate professor and senior consultant at the Centre for Clinical Education at the University of Copenhagen and the Capital Region of Denmark.
This study was supported by an educational research grant from the University of Copenhagen. The funding body had no role in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
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