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Old 15-06-2010, 05:16 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Why data caps should not affect application developers

Marguerite Reardon at Cnet is worried that the upcoming data caps are going to “force developers to be efficient”. Which I raised an eyebrow at, because I’d hope that any decent developer out there is already coding as efficiently as possible. If they can’t make sensible use of data, what else are they not bothering about in application design? Should we be worried that smaller batteries will force developers to stop using tight coding loops next? Read on for more.

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 15-06-2010, 06:16 PM
argh argh is offline
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I'm on Orange so have never had a half reasonable data plan anyway

I'm currently using Android (still keeping tabs on the other mobile OSs to keep an eye out for the next handset), and have data disabled in settings unless I need it, as I'm well aware that some of the applications can kick in and transfer fairly large amounts of data without warning.

And I'm not sure why your bank manager would be happy that you'd be keeping less money with him. I imagine that your network provider would be overjoyed, though!

Last edited by argh; 15-06-2010 at 06:19 PM.
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  #3  
Old 15-06-2010, 06:18 PM
meggman
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I agree that apps should be coded as efficiently as possible, but my worry is that dada caps will hold back innovation on applications that inherently use large amounts of data regardless of how well they are coded. Here in the states obe only has to think of Hulu (assuming it ever makes it's way to a mobile) as an inherently data heavy app. Perhaps less obvious would be something like augmented reality which make one day require overlaying media (photos, videos, sounds, text tags etc.) over a geolocated panoramic image (google streetwiew, earthmine data, bing maps). If we are severely limited in our data, nobody will pursue making these types of things a reality if they're only usable while tethered to wifi. Symbian has done a great job at helping the user manage data and battery life historically, but I feel that data caps only hold back the true potential of mobile technology.

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Old 16-06-2010, 12:08 AM
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Depends on which developer...

Developers have a limited amount of things they can concentrate on when writing a software - Feature completeness and correct operation (i.e. without bugs), go at the top. Optimisation and performance are second. When a developer has to worry about data consumption of his application, this will be at the expense of other things - additional features in the application, for example. It would matter less for large development organisations, with more resources. For the single developer working on a hobby application, this is a bigger problem. So even though efficient compression algorithms exist, for example, implementing them is non trivial and time consuming (and doing it using C++ on Symbian is a real bitch).

  #5  
Old 16-06-2010, 12:22 AM
Patrick E
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Love to get Jan from Gravity's opinion on this. Awesome app with lots of features, great UI, and minimal data usage.

  #6  
Old 16-06-2010, 08:02 AM
MarkB139
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Data usage

As an app developer (on symbian and other platforms) it can be frustrating (for me at least) to try to use as little data as possible when you are trying to access some API that is implemented over http. You end up making very iniefficient requests then dealing with lots of bloated and chatty xml. It wastes bandwith, money and processing time.
Protocols like IMAP are much more efficient. e.g No need to set special headers to stop the network caching or even transcoding the data.

  #7  
Old 16-06-2010, 10:32 AM
Andrew Weekes
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Agree strongly

"I agree that apps should be coded as efficiently as possible, but my worry is that data caps will hold back innovation on applications that inherently use large amounts of data regardless of how well they are coded. "

Couldn't agree more - we're at the start of the World Cup, and it could be watched on a mobile device, using sites like TvCatchup or similar for those of us on the move.

Data caps of only 500Mb make this pretty much impractical for many users, and the biggest risk is that of the scary bill you weren't prepared for.

We often assume that just because we know about data usage and it's consequences, that everyone using a smartphone is similarly well-informed, but that's not the case, and the networks are quick to control data, but slow to allow users the tools to monitor their usage.

O2 do allow you to log in and check, but other sites (like 3) only show whe you go over your limit, and at present I'm unclear whether the end user will be warned.

O2 have said they will text users with warnings, I hope other networks follow suit.

I found a great comment aimed to O2 on Twitter, in repsonse to their comment that 97% of users don't use more than 500Mb of data per month: -

"That's because 97% of users haven't realised the cool things you can do with a phone - you're trying to put the genie back in the bottle!"

 

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