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We are often asked about responsive design for Web Sites and where our Mobile Application Framework fits in, so we thought we should share the answer in a blog post.

The best way to answer the question is to first look at the two technologies and see what they are trying to achieve .. what problem they are solving.


Responsive Design

The wikipedia definition for responsive design is as follows: “Responsive web design (often abbreviated to RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)”

What that means is that a site can be designed to change its layout and content based on the attributes of the device it is being rendered on. For example, a web site might be designed with a three column layout for a normal desktop browser, but when viewed on a phone might change its layout to be single column and even remove some of its unnecessary content. This design is responding to the width of the device providing a viewing expenrience on a phone that doesn’t require the user to zoom-in on page content areas or scroll across the page. A great eample of a site designed with responsive design is Smashing Magazine. If you view this site in a wide desktop browser window you will see a four column layout. Shrink your browser width and watch the site change its layout down to a single column when the width is similar to a phone browser window.


Commerce Vision’s Mobile Application Framework

The Mobile Application Framework is a framework that allows us to build Native Look and Feel HTML5 applications for mobile devices. It enables Commerce Vision to build standard applications that can be customised and configured and quickly deployed to our customers. Using the framework we have already built a Mobile Sales Application for Sales Reps, as well as Mobile Customer Self Service for B2B and B2C. These applications look and feel like native mobile applications, with the buttons, list views, controls and animations that we are familiar with from using iPhone and Andriod apps.

With applications built using configurable widgets, the framework supports customisation and configuration of applications, as well as the ability to upgrade apps to consume new features as they are developed by Commerce Vision. The Mobile Application Framework provides the platform required to build, deploy and manage HTML5 applications for mobile devices.


Can Responsive Design and the Mobile Application Framework be used together?

Yes they can. Many of the widgets that we have built in the Mobile Application Framework use responsive design themselves, changing their layout and appearance based on whether they are rendered on a Phone or Tablet device.

So we can see that Responsive Design and the Mobile Application Framework solve two different problems, and can in fact be used together to provide a high standard in mobile applications for your customers

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