Zef Hemel, Eelco Visser. Programming the Mobile Web with Mobl. Technical Report TUD-SERG-2011-01, Delft University of Technology, January 2011.
A new generation of mobile touch devices, such as the iPhone, Android and iPad, are equipped with powerful, modern browsers. However, regular websites are not optimized for the specific features and constraints of these devices, such as limited screen estate, unreliable Internet access, touch-based interaction patterns, and features such as GPS. While recent advances in web technology enable web developers to build web applications that take advantage of the unique properties of mobile devices, developing such applications is not a clean, well-integrated experience. Developers are required to use many loosely coupled languages with limited tool support and application code is often verbose and imperative. We introduce mobl, a new language designed to declaratively construct mobile web applications. Mobl integrates languages for user interface design, data modeling and querying, scripting and web services into a single, unified language that is flexible, expressive, enables early detection of errors, and has good IDE support. We illustrate the design of the language with the implementation of ConfPlan, an application for keeping track of the schedule of conference events.