Montreal: Observe how everyone is on their smartphones these days? We’re now at the point where mobile Internet usage is poised to essentially overtake desktop Internet usage. This tectonic shift is predictable to occur within the next year as per many forecasters. Sales of mobile devices by now exceeded desktop and notebook PC sales in 2012 and we can all see, anecdotally, how people can’t dream living without their smart phones. This presents a unique challenge to businesses that have formerly relied on desktop websites to attain their target market.
To stay abreast of this rapid shift many of the top open source platforms, which allow hundreds of thousands, if not millions of businesses, have been working toward becoming actually mobile-friendly. You could formerly use any of these platforms to offer mobile solutions for your customers, but it is required hunting down various plug-ins and/or themes. Now many platforms are including the newest mobile-related tools and technologies – such as HTML5, CSS3 and responsive design – into their core features and functionality. This allows you to create websites and apps that transfer flawlessly from desktops to smartphones and tablets. All with a steady look and feel and overall user experience.
Here are the top 3 open source platforms who are leading the way:
Joomla: Joomla led the mobile CMS charge with the release of version 3.0 in September 2012. The favored content management system experienced a total overhaul of both its frontend design and administrator interface to make it mobile ready out of the box. Joomla 3 leverages Bootstrap, the open source toolkit developed by Twitter that allows easier and faster development of joomla web application, in order to make responsive design a native feature of the CMS.
With Joomla 3 you can simply develop and design websites that are optimized for mobile devices, which means the website will basically adjust to take benefit of the size of the mobile browser window. Besides, the platform’s administration control panel is also fully responsive so it can be accessed from any mobile device, providing developers and admins with the facility to configure and manage their websites and apps on the go.
Drupal: The release of Drupal 8, which will most likely happen by 2013’s end, will make this powerful CMS one of the best platforms for developing native mobile applications and great mobile experiences. All through Drupal 8’s development process one of the major aims has been to create the leading mobile-friendly Druapl CMS platform.
In a “State of Drupal” keynote at DrupalCon Chicago in 2011 Dries Buytaert, the original creator and project lead for Drupal, said, “If I were to start Drupal from scratch today, I’d build it for mobile experiences first, and desktop experience second.” And with these words came the launch of the Mobile Initiative, one of seven core groups built for the Drupal 8 development process to center on features of Drupal that are regarded as critical for the continuing advancement and growth of the platform.
From the group’s launch up to the code freeze on July 1 of 2013, the Mobile Initiative has done a great deal of work with an eye on achieving three main goals:
- Allowing users to create content and perform administrative tasks on mobile devices
- Making sure all Drupal 8 themes are responsive so they can be viewed across all devices
- upgrading front-end performance to optimize page load times and improve image handling
Along with this, another of Drupal 8’s core ideas has been working on to change Drupal to HTML5, the versatile, powerful markup language that makes it simpler to build more dynamic websites and apps that work across a range of browsers, platforms and devices.
Magento: Magento, the principal open source ecommerce platform, also now features HTML5 abilities out of the box. Last year a new HTML5-based mobile interface was put in to eCommerce Magento Enterprise and Community Editions to allow users to easily create storefronts that are optimized for mobile devices. The new interface supports iPhone, Android and mobile Opera browsers.
With Magento’s integrated HTML5 capabilities users can insert advanced features to their mobile storefronts such as:
- device-specific media capabilities for audio and video
- user-friendly search and results display
- clean display of product detail pages
- pinch, multi-touch, and scaling images
- zoom capabilities
- cross-sell and up-sell capabilities
- drag-and-drop of products to the shopping cart
The time is now to “mobilize” your business. In fact, all businesses must be mobile friendly if they’re to be significant to consumers. Providing a mobile site is no longer just a nice perk. More and more users are shopping, browsing and searching for information on their tablets and smartphones. And when they come upon a poor mobile experience they don’t stick around.