Viewport Meta Tag

Default Meta Tag

This is the default meta tag required to display the HTML5 app as it is without scaling, i.e. a scale of 1.0.

<meta name="viewport" content=" user-scalable = no, target-densitydpi = device-dpi, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1, width=320"/>

Note that we have used ‘device-dpi’ for ‘target-densitydpi’ as the default. Other values are ‘low-dpi’ (120dpi), ‘medium-dpi’ (160dpi), ‘high-dpi’ (240dpi).



An app built for the iPhone usually follows the ‘medium-dpi’ setting and if the device-DPI of a phone/tablet is lower than the ‘medium-dpi’, the HTML5 UI will appear larger (scaled up) which is generally acceptable. However, if the device-DPI is higher than the ‘medium-dpi’ that the app is developed based on. The HTML5 app will shrink and look too small compared to the physical screen dimensions, and this is not acceptable. To correct this, we need to set the ‘target-densitydpi’ value from ‘device-dpi’ to ‘medium-dpi’ for devices with higher resolutions.

In Javascript, we can use window.devicePixelRatio for Webkit browsers. A value of 1 is a 1:1 ratio of a virtual pixel to a physical pixel, a value >1 represents a high-density display.

If we do not want our HTML5 app to appear smaller than the DPI that the HTML5 app was designed for, the meta for ‘viewport’ will need to be altered dynamically as below:

if (window.devicePixelRatio>1) { // DPI higher than medium-dpi
var metatags = document.getElementsByTagName('meta');
for(cnt = 0; cnt < metatags.length; cnt++) {
var element = metatags[cnt];
if (element.getAttribute('name') == 'viewport') {
element.setAttribute('content','user-scalable = no,target-densitydpi = medium-dpi,initial-scale=1,maximum-scale=1, width=320');


Tagged ,

Apple Push Notification Service (APNS)

iOS Developer Portal

The main purpose here is to set up the Apple Push Notification service SSL Certificates for both sandbox (development) and production environments.

In summary, the steps are:
1) Generate a Certificate Request. Normally, this CSR (Cert Signing Request) should have already been generated as the first step to configure a development certificate. Reuse the CSR if it is available, if not run “Keychain” -> Access Certificate Assistant -> Request a Certificate From a Certificate Authority and save the CSR to a file

2) Create an App ID with a specific Bundle Seed ID. Note that bundle IDs with wildcards will not be eligible to configure for push notifications. Goto your provisioning profile and use this App ID.

3) Once this App ID has been created, goto the Configure link to enable the Apple Push Notification service for this App ID. Reuse the CSR file in step 1 to generate the Development and Production Push certificates.

4) Download both certificates and save as .cer files

5) Double click both .cer files to install in Keychain Access and export the APN Certificates. For the development cert, select both the cert and the private key entries in Keychain Access and export to a .p12 file and enter a keystore password for the file. Do the same for the production cert and there will be two .p12 files which will be used as keystores for the Provider


Apple Push Notification Service Provider for Java (Java PNS)

This is the provider/server which will be sending the push notifications to the iOS devices. It does this by sending messages to the APNS which will then send the message to the target devices.

Java PNS is suitable for backend systems running Java. There are some commandline tools to get started here:

The development .p12 file will be used to do the SSL authentication to the APNS. But the other important parameter required is the “device token”.


iOS App and Device Token

The iOS app has to be set up to register push notifications and get back a device token. This token will be used by the APNS as the destination ID to set messages to. The Java PNS provider will use this device token to send a message.

In XCode, the Code Signing certificate would be the development certificate that has been configured to use the specific App ID configured with push notifications.

The following codes in AppDelegate.m will register the device for push notifications and receive a unique device token such as “a11ee50de6531b8a6f36a7aa30035df7c9e26b555a883d741c5e3d9bcd7961fb”:
- (void)applicationDidFinishLaunching:(UIApplication *)application {
[window addSubview:viewController.view];
[window makeKeyAndVisible];

NSLog(@"Registering for push notifications...");
[[UIApplication sharedApplication]
(UIRemoteNotificationTypeAlert |
UIRemoteNotificationTypeBadge |


- (void)application:(UIApplication *)app didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken:(NSData *)deviceToken {

NSString *str = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"ios_device_token=%@",deviceToken];self.invokeString = str; self.invokeString = str; NSLog(@"didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken: %@", str);


- (void)application:(UIApplication *)app didFailToRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithError:(NSError *)err {

NSString *str = [NSString stringWithFormat: @"Error: %@", err];


- (void)application:(UIApplication *)application didReceiveRemoteNotification:(NSDictionary *)userInfo {

for (id key in userInfo) {
NSLog(@"key: %@, value: %@", key, [userInfo objectForKey:key]);


This device token will need to be passed to the HTML5 app and this is done by setting the device token to the invokeString variable which will be available in the HTML5 as a JS variable. This is because for each user account, we need to store the device token, so that messages related to this account can be sent to the correct device. Therefore, the HTML5 app will need to know the device token and then call a webservice on the server to store the device token with the logged in user ID.


Tagged , ,

Google Cloud Messaging (GCM)

GCM Intro
To begin using GCM, we must have a Google ID. Please refer to the following Getting Started guide link below.


Android App and Registration ID

The Android app will need to initiate a registration intent to the C2DM server with the email address of our Google ID and the app ID to enable C2DM for the device. If successful, the C2DM server will return the app a Registration ID which should be passed to our application server to store to the database and use it for notifications later

We need to configure the following in AndroidManifest.xml to enable the Intents for registration and receiving registrations.

<!-- Only this application can receive the messages and registration result -->
<permission android:name="com.yourapp.permission.C2D_MESSAGE" android:protectionLevel="signature" />
<uses-permission android:name="com.yourapp.permission.C2D_MESSAGE" />
<!-- This app has permission to register and receive message -->
<uses-permission android:name="" />

<application android:icon=”@drawable/icon” android:label=”@string/app_name” android:debuggable=”true”>
<!– Only C2DM servers can send messages for the app. If permission is not set – any other app can generate it –>
<receiver android:name=”.App$MyGcmReceiver” android:permission=””>
<!– Receive the actual message –>
<action android:name=”” />
<category android:name=”com.yourapp” />
<!– Receive the registration id –>
<action android:name=”” />
<category android:name=”com.yourapp” />


The following codes in will register the device for push notifications and receive a unique Registration ID such as:

public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

mc = new MyClass(this, super.appView);
super.appView.addJavascriptInterface(mc, “MyClass”);
Intent registrationIntent = new Intent(“”);
registrationIntent.putExtra(“app”, PendingIntent.getBroadcast(this, 0, new Intent(), 0)); // boilerplate
registrationIntent.putExtra(“sender”, [value of Project ID]);
String deviceId = Settings.System.getString(getContentResolver(),Settings.System.ANDROID_ID);

public static class MyGcmReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {
private Context context;
public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
this.context = context;
if (intent.getAction().equals(“”)) {
handleRegistration(context, intent);
} else if (intent.getAction().equals(“”)) {
handleMessage(context, intent);

private void handleRegistration(Context context, Intent intent) {
String registration = intent.getStringExtra(“registration_id”);
if (intent.getStringExtra(“error”) != null) {
// Registration failed, should try again later.
Log.d(“gcm”, “registration failed”);
String error = intent.getStringExtra(“error”);
}else if(error == “ACCOUNT_MISSING”){
Log.d(“gcm”, “ACCOUNT_MISSING”);
}else if(error == “AUTHENTICATION_FAILED”){
}else if(error == “TOO_MANY_REGISTRATIONS”){
}else if(error == “INVALID_SENDER”){
Log.d(“gcm”, “INVALID_SENDER”);
}else if(error == “PHONE_REGISTRATION_ERROR”){
} else if (intent.getStringExtra(“unregistered”) != null) {
// unregistration done, new messages from the authorized sender will be rejected
Log.d(“gcm”, “unregistered”);
} else if (registration != null) {
//Log.d(“gcm”, “registration: “+registration);

private void handleMessage(Context context, Intent intent)
//Do whatever you want with the message
NotificationManager notificationManager = (NotificationManager) mContext.getSystemService(Context.NOTIFICATION_SERVICE);
int icon = R.drawable.notificationicon; // icon from resources
CharSequence tickerText = “Alert from Your App”; // ticker-text
long when = System.currentTimeMillis(); // notification time
Context context = mContext.getApplicationContext(); // application Context
CharSequence contentTitle = “Your App Name”; // text
CharSequence contentText = intent.getStringExtra(“payload”); // expanded message

Intent notificationIntent = new Intent(context, App.class); // call App class, ie. launch this App
PendingIntent contentIntent = PendingIntent.getActivity(context, 0, notificationIntent, 0);

// the next two lines initialize the Notification, using the
// configurations above
Notification notification = new Notification(icon, tickerText, when);
notification.defaults |= Notification.DEFAULT_LIGHTS;
notification.ledARGB = 0xff00ff00;
notification.ledOnMS = 300;
notification.ledOffMS = 1000;
notification.flags |= Notification.FLAG_SHOW_LIGHTS;
notification.setLatestEventInfo(context, contentTitle, contentText, contentIntent);
notificationManager.notify(10001, notification);

The handleMessage() method will do the necessary to display a notification message on the device and when the notification is clicked, it will launch your app.

The MyClass class holds the Device ID and Registration ID and it is exposed to the HTML5 app using this line of code “super.appView.addJavascriptInterface(mc, “MyClass”)”. In the HTML5 app, we simply call “window.MyClass.getDeviceid()” and “window.MyClass.getRegistrationid()” to get the Device ID and Registration ID. So the HTML5 app will be able to call another web service to our app server with the account username, Device ID and Registration ID to be stored into our system. As the Registration ID might be changed periodically by the GCM server, we need to keep updating the Registration ID tied to each Device ID.


Sending a Message from the App Server

Follow this GCM Demo guide from Google – and integrate the codes into your Java app server.


Tagged , ,

Android WebView Threads

Threads in the Android WebView continue running even though the app is switched out to another app. My test PhoneGap app will take 4% to 5% of the CPU when active and it will drain battery power if this 4%-5% CPU is running in the background all the time. Therefore it is vital to pause the threads if the app is put in the background which will result in the CPU % to be 0% in the Android Task Manager.

In your class, add the following codes:
public class App extends DroidGap {


protected void onPause() {

protected void onResume() {


This will allow the webview (named as appView) to pause and resume its threads correctly.


Tagged , ,

File Upload in WebView (Android)

The Android WebView by default doesn’t open file chooser for a HTML form input of type ‘file’. However, it is possible to make this work by overriding the hidden method openFileChooser, which needs to be overridden to pop up a file chooser and then return the result to WebView.

In com.phonegap.DroidGap class, add the openFileChooser method to GapClient:

public class GapClient extends WebChromeClient {

// For Android < 3.0
public void openFileChooser(ValueCallback uploadMsg) {
mUploadMessage = uploadMsg;
Intent i = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_GET_CONTENT);
Intent.createChooser(i, "File Browser"),

// For Android 3.0+
public void openFileChooser( ValueCallback uploadMsg, String acceptType ) {
mUploadMessage = uploadMsg;
Intent i = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_GET_CONTENT);
Intent.createChooser(i, "File Browser"),


Add the following code to onActivityResult():
protected void onActivityResult(int requestCode, int resultCode, Intent intent) {
if (requestCode == FILECHOOSER_RESULTCODE) {
if (null == mUploadMessage)
Uri result = intent == null || resultCode != RESULT_OK ? null
: intent.getData();
mUploadMessage = null;
} else {
super.onActivityResult(requestCode, resultCode, intent);
IPlugin callback = this.activityResultCallback;
if (callback != null) {
callback.onActivityResult(requestCode, resultCode, intent);

The webview will be able to pop up a file chooser and then return the chosen file.


Tagged , , ,

URL Redirection within the same WebView (Android)

The default behaviour of a PhoneGap when a user taps on a web link is to open the default browser app and run the web link. However, it might make better sense for the web link to open in the same PhoneGap webview instance if the web link was intended to load a remote HTML5 app that should run in the PhoneGap enviroment on the device.

In com.phonegap.DroidGap class, add in the following lines of code to process URLs starting with “androidurl://”. The problem was that “http://&#8221; URLs somehow do not trigger the “shouldOverrideUrlLoading()” event, so the workaround was to use “androidurl://” within the HTML5 app to trigger the event on the native app and then revert the URL to “http://&#8221; and process it accordingly.

public boolean shouldOverrideUrlLoading(WebView view, String url) {


// All else
else {
// IMPT! Fix for shouldOverrideUrlLoading() to be triggered from window.location javascript
if (url.startsWith("androidurl://")) {
url = url.replaceAll("androidurl://", "http://");


Tagged , ,

HTML5 Offline Solution

Although PhoneGap is an offline solution where the HTML, CSS and JS files etc are held in the assets/www folder within the app, there are some cases where you might want the app to point to a remote server where the HTML5 file and its CSS/JS are located. They can be downloaded onto your device and ran as offline files when the device has no Internet connection.

The requirements to trigger the HTML5 offline cache are detailed below and each requirement must be implemented with care, otherwise it will not work:

1) The MIME Type for a Manifest file.
This is very important. Previously I have followed a solution to add a mime type by using a .htaccess file and place it together with index.html of my HTML5 app, but it didn’t work.

In my case, I was using the Tomcat server and the surefire way that the .manifest file will be correctly used by the server, is to modify “/conf/web.xml” and add in the mime mapping as below:

2) Specify the Manifest File
This is a standard configuration. For every HTML file that wants to use the cache manifest, they have to update their tag to

3) Configure the Manifest File
The manifest file is a text file that you have configure to tell the HTML5 app what is to be cached for offline use. A sample file is below:

# Version 0.1

# Explicitly cached entries

# All other resources (e.g. sites) require the user to be online.

* note that the manifest file only caches static resources such as .html, .js and images, so files like JSP pages will not be applicable here.

***VERY IMPT: Each entry to be cached must be correctly named and if the entry is there, the physical file must be there, otherwise the whole caching will fail!

4) For iOS, steps 1-3 are sufficient for HTML5 offline caching to work. However, in the case of Android, we need to fix the Android Shell Native App to enable HTML5 caching:

In your class, there are these lines of codes to be added as part of the solution to enable HTML5 caching:
public class App extends DroidGap {
public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {





Tagged , ,

HTML5 App Within a Native Shell App

The 2 previous postings were about getting the native apps up and running for their respective Android and iOS environments. The official guide takes you to a Hello World index.html which merely displays a static message. In reality, the app that your user will interact with is the UI of the index.html or the HTML5 app. The underlying native app that runs the index.html is what I call a Shell Native App.

So, the actual primary app is a HTML5 file with various supporting web libraries to fulfill the functions of a full-fledged mobile app. Generally, it should have the following supporting technologies to give it the native look and feel and experience:

1) jQuery (
2) AJAX (With AJAX, our mobile application can send data to and retrieve data from a server asynchronously (in the background) without interfering with the UI experience of the existing page.)
3a) jQTouch (
3b) jQuerymobile (

As for the Shell Native Apps, they host the app icon, the splash screen, PhoneGap libraries and other native information. If you require certain native functions, it is inevitable that you will need to modify the natives codes for your Shell Native Apps. A good example would be the implementation of Push Notifications for both iOS and Android, you are unable to do this in the HTML5 app, which means you have to put in codes in your Shell Native App.

In summary, PhoneGap is a bridge that allows the HTML5 app to call PhoneGap Javascript (JS) methods which will call PhoneGap native methods in your Shell Native Apps, of course there are native events that can call JS events which you can use in your HTML5 apps. Not all native methods can be called from JS, so some native programming would be expected depending on your app requirements.

Tagged , ,

Getting Started with PhoneGap (iOS)

The main steps are already detailed on the official PhoneGap site –

Below are my tried and tested steps for your reference to get the iOS environment up and a test App running on a Mac OSX (Lion) machine. It is not intended to be comprehensive and there are more details available on the web. Once you got the environment up and deploy the test app to your device successfully, you can add in the steps to create a PhoneGap app from the official guide above.

Getting Started with Running an iOS App in XCode4

1) Ensure that your Mac machine is running on Lion OSX 10.7 Mac OS X 10.7 because XCode 4.2.1 with SDK 5 only runs on Lion.

2) Go to the App Store app on your Mac machine and search for XCode4 and install it.

3) Download and extract (a sample iOS app) by double-clicking it and it can be downloaded from:

4) Open the SimpleDrillDown folder and double-click on SimpleDrillDown.xcodeproj to load this project in XCode4.

5) From the dropdown box above, select the iPhone Simulator (any version 4.3 or 5.0). Click on Run to build and run the project.

6) iPhone Simulator will load and run the SimpleDrillDown app.

Configure to Deploy on An Actual Device (Done Once Only)

1) Login to iOS Dev Center ( using your Apple ID. You must have a paid subscription (at USD$99 per year) to the iOS Developer Program in order to log into this portal.

2) Go to the iOS Provisioning Portal

The license is tied to ONE main Mac machine only. So if you are changing to a different Mac machine, be sure to revoke the Current Development Certificate in the Provisioning Portal first. Then follow the steps to generate the CSR to disk and submit and download and use the new Development Certificate.
However, a better way is to export the Development certificate with the private key and import into the 2nd Mac machine.

3) Scroll to the bottom to “Get your application on an iOS with the Development Provisioning Assistant” and click on “Launch Assistant” and click “Continue” and follow the steps.

4) Assuming all the necessary are set up, connect your iOS device to your Mac machine, e.g. an iPhone.

5) Open the SimpleDrillDown folder and double-click on SimpleDrillDown.xcodeproj to load this project in XCode4.

6) From the dropdown box above, select the first option which should be the name of your iOS device. Click on Run to build and run the project.

Adding Another Device

1) Connect the new device to the Mac machine.

2) Open XCode4 and go to Window -> Organizer.

3) Select the new device from the list and click on the “Add to Portal” button.

4) Enter your Apple ID and password when prompted.

5) If there are no errors, you should be able to run the iOS app on the new device.

Tagged , , ,

Getting Started with PhoneGap (Android)

The main steps are already detailed on the official PhoneGap site –

Below are my tried and tested steps for your reference to get the Android environment up and a test App running on a Windows 7 machine, then you can add in the steps to create a PhoneGap app from the official guide above.

Getting Started with Running an Android App in Eclipse

1) Download and extract Eclipse Classic 3.7.1, 174 MB from

2) Download the Android SDK installer (installer_r16-windows.exe) at Make sure that you change the installation directory to “c:\android-sdk” for example, it must be a PATH with NO spaces! When the installation is done, run SDK Manager and it will download and install some files which will take some time, make sure that Android SDK Tools/Platforms are installed.

3) In SDK Manager window, go to Virtual Devices and add a new device called Android2.3.3 and select Target to be “Android 2.3.3 – API Level 10”, click on “Create AVD”. (You can add more devices with different versions as you please)

4) Run Eclipse and start to install the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin for use with Eclipse, the repository url is “;. Follow the steps here to configure the ADT:

5) Start a new Android Project by clicking File > New > Android Project.

  • In the New Android Project dialog, select Create project from existing source.
  • Click Browse and navigate to where the SDK is installed and select Spinner, e.g. C:\android-sdk\samples\android-13\Spinner
  • Android 1.5 will be selected as the Build Target and click on Finish.
  • Go to Project -> Clean to build the project.

6) Right-click on SpinnerActivity project and Run As -> Android Application. It will run with the Android 2.3.3 AVD created before.
7) The Android emulator will run and note that it takes a while to load.

Deploy and Run on An Actual Device

1) Depending on the model of your phone, e.g. Samsung or HTC etc, you will need to download the driver for the phone here: In my case, I use the Samsung Galaxy S and I have to install the Samsung Kies software.

2) Follow the instructions to configure your Android phone for Development at:

3) Then connect your phone to test if it can be detected by the Android SDK using a command prompt and go to “C:\android-sdk\platform-tools” and run “adb devices” to see a list of devices connected.

The output from the command will be something like this:
List of devices attached
35311BC91FD700EC device

4) In Eclipse, right-click on SpinnerActivity project and Run As -> Run Configurations.

5) Click on the Target tab and change the Deployment Target Selection Mode from Auto to Manual and click on Run. This will allow you to choose the device instead of the AVD.

6) Select the device and click OK.

7) The app will be running on your Android phone.

Adding Another Device

1) Follow the same steps as above and depending on your model of your phone, download the correct USB drivers.

Tagged , , ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.