Best practices for web apps

Developing web pages and applications for mobile devices presents different challenges compared to developing a web page for desktop web browsers. The following practices can help you provide the most effective web application for Android and other mobile devices.

  1. Redirect mobile devices to a dedicated mobile version of your website. There are several ways to do this using server-side redirects. One common method is to "sniff" the User Agent string provided by the web browser. To determine whether to serve a mobile version of your site, look for the "mobile" string in the User Agent.
  2. Use HTML5 for mobile devices. HTML5 is the most common markup language used for mobile websites. This standard encourages mobile-first development to help ensure that websites work on a variety of devices. Unlike previous web languages, HTML5 uses simpler <DOCTYPE> and charset declarations:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
  3. Use viewport metadata to properly resize your web page. In your document <head>, provide metadata that specifies how you want the browser's viewport to render your web page. For example, your viewport metadata can specify the height and width for the browser's viewport, the initial page scale, and the target screen density.

    The following example shows how to set viewport metadata:

    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no">

    For more information about how to use viewport metadata for Android-powered devices, read Support different screens in web apps.

  4. Use a vertical linear layout. Avoid the need for the user to scroll left and right while navigating your page. Scrolling up and down is easier for the user and makes your page simpler.
  5. Set the layout height and width to match_parent. Setting your WebView object's height and width to match_parent makes sure your app's views are sized correctly. We discourage setting the height to wrap_content because it results in incorrect sizing. Similarly, setting the layout width to wrap_content isn't supported and causes your WebView to use the width of its parent instead. Because of this behavior, it's also important to make sure none of your WebView object's parent layout objects have their height and width set to wrap_content.
  6. Avoid multiple file requests. Because mobile devices typically have a connection speed slower than desktop computers, make your page load as fast as possible. One way to speed it up is to avoid loading extra files such as stylesheets and script files in the <head>. Also, consider performing mobile analysis with Google's PageSpeed Insights for detailed optimization suggestions specific to your app.

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