Earlier this year, my physiotherapist wife was selected for an audit by the professional body that regulates Health Professions in the UK.  The process is quite daunting. She is required to undertake and document regular training and educational development.  Documenting this can become quite a burden – she needs to list every ‘learning outcome’, demonstrate that the outcome has then been implemented in her work, document articles she has read – how these then apply to her daily work, etc. etc.  It’s quite a large undertaking.

Rather than do all of that at the time of being audited (the process of retrospectively going over all your training and articles read, and how these have applied specifically to your work practices is not easy …) wouldn’t it be great if there were a smartphone app that could be used to document it all for you and export it in an HPC friendly way?  Of course it would.

So, I’m undertaking the rather long process of learning how to write smartphone apps – and I’ve collected a few resources along the way that might help someone else:

  • The best, free, resource I’ve found so far (although it’s iPhone specific) is from Stanford University.  It’s their lecture series in iPhone Application development … all the lectures and associated materials are available online: Stanford University iPhone Development Course.  How cool is that?  You can download everything on iTunes.
  • Then, in the ‘very cheap and useful’ category comes Tinkerlearn who have some very cheap (you can buy the whole course for $14.99) courses that cover the basics of programming and implementing iPhone apps.  Good stuff.

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Of course, the approach you take to app development depends on your starting point … if, like me, you’re coming at it from an HTML5 / CSS / Javascript standpoint then working with a ‘wrapper app’ like PhoneGap or Titanium Appcelerator is probably a good bet – so resources for these have also been helpful:

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Realistically though, Sencha Touch is probably the most friendly way for a web designer to work on iOS / Android apps … it is certainly packaged that way and I’ve found some really useful information on it:

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I’m at the point right now where I haven’t fully determined how I’m going to do this.  The geek in me wants to learn Objective-C and code proper iPhone apps.  The pragmatist in me wants to just go with Sencha Touch as an all in one solution that leverages my existing skill set.  The ‘hoping to please everyone’ part of me thinks that Phone Gap or Titanium will allow me to have a foot in both camps.  The pragmatist will probably win out and I hope to write more soon about how I’m getting on with my first app.