Transofrmation from Web to Mobile apps

Hello everyone,

I built this social network website in 2004 and it has been relatively successful. We had up to 3 million users (sometimes 1 million monthly active and 10,000 concurrent). However in the recent 1-2 years the website traffic is decreasing. Since 70% of he audience are 15-30 years old I guess one reason is that they are gradually getting used to their mobile phones and tablets.

Last year we started a halfhearted transformation, meaning that we prepared a small screen website and built apps that were in fact browsers (just like facebook did previously on Android). But as you may guess, the performance (speed, features etc.) were disappointing. Mobile users have get used to snappy applications and they dislike an app if it has the delay of web pages. Now, what approach do you suggest for a true transformation to mobile apps. We will still maintain our web based interface.

  • Produce a web service front that provides functions that are directly called by mobile applications?
  • What techniques are used by others like facebook? XML? JSON?
  • How about security? I have developed Ajax+JSON apps but in those apps the JSON providing pages and consuming scripts were on the same website (i.e. security checks were easy, functions could only be called locally). What security model or method should be used?

Thank you for your insights and advise.