Master’s thesis: done

With the most clutch project finish of all so far, I handed in my thesis on August 30th, 10:30pm – not two hours before the final deadline. It was quite a journey, with its ups and downs, but it’s finally finished. My original plan was to take time until February to write the thesis, but due to COVID, I decided to skip the summer holidays, and just work on it non-stop until I’m done (in every meaning of the word).

The topic of my thesis is “Hybrid development for mobile augmented reality”. That old chestnut, amirite? If you really want to know, hybrid development is a form of cross-platform software development, where you create only a web application and then wrap it into Android and iOS containers, effectively creating apps for three target platforms.

This method of developing software has proven effective for regular apps, but I haven’t found any project using AR in such a way. That’s why I set out to prove that it is possible. I kinda failed.

Kinda as in, I got it to work on Android and web browsers, but not on iOS. The main problem is that the AR frameworks I tested (AR.js, jsartoolkit, A-Frame, to name a few) use specific browser APIs, which are not available (or don’t work properly) in the iOS WebView used for hybrid apps.

Along the way, I also created a framework for displaying mathematical objects in 3D (which might come in handy for my startup), a web-based visual editor for AR and hybrid, and a tutorial guide for developers wishing to try this workflow. All that and more can be found on my thesis website.

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