There are a few tricks you can do to make some interactions feel more responsive. Using the CSS3 transform property, you can animate HTML elements with hardware acceleration, which makes movement much smoother. Instead of relying on a “click” event to trigger button actions, you can listen for a “touchstart” event, which fires instantly when the user taps an element. Even with these improvements, though, the app isn’t quite as responsive as you would expect. I feel like the performance is almost there, though.
Mobile Safari’s audio support is also quite crap. Even if a sound is preloaded, there’s a noticeable delay when the sound is first played. Another annoying problem is that sound effects played through Mobile Safari ignore the hardware mute button, and the volume can’t easily be changed by using the hardware buttons (you have to hit the +/- buttons at the exact same time the sound is being played, otherwise iOS thinks you’re trying to adjust the ringer volume).
Although I chose a DOM-based UI instead of using the canvas element (so that I could use CSS to style my interface), I learned that it’s not quite as easy as I thought to have a totally dynamic application size. In fact, the version of Shikaku Madness that I submitted to the App Store uses fixed element width/height and font sizes. I’m still working on making my CSS dynamic enough to handle arbitrary viewport sizes, which will be a necessity if I try to publish an Android version. The key problem is that it’s not possible to dynamically scale font size using CSS alone. The other problem is that I need to maintain a 2:3 aspect ratio in order to keep the layout consistent. I think I’m going to solve this by querying the viewport size, then modifying the app’s container element and font sizes at runtime.
I’ve just scratched the surface in regards to getting Shikaku Madness on multiple platforms. My next step is going to be publishing on the Mac App Store, then trying for a Google Play release. After that I might try submitting to the Mozilla Marketplace and whatever the Windows app store is called… as long as I can get enough motivation to keep working.
Regardless, you should definitely check out the Shikaku Madness demo page I set up. The app should run with recent versions of Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. It might or might not work with IE9/10. Sadly, I don’t have a recent enough copy of Windows to try out the modern versions of IE. Let me know in the comments if it borks on IE. Other comments and suggestions are welcome too!
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