Thursday, July 07, 2011

Discussions About Sybase's Embedded Mobile Database Business, Part 1

SQL Anywhere
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Slee at Sybase.  Tom works out of the Sybase office in Waterloo, Ontario.  We have known of each other professionally for many years, as I was the CEO of a mobile application company that partnered with Sybase.  Yesterday we discussed many different subjects including, HTML5, SQL Anywhere, SQL Lite, SUP, mobile application development strategies, data synchronization and the most interesting developments in the embedded mobile database areas at Sybase. 

Tom had commented on an article I wrote several weeks back questioning the role of embedded mobile databases in a future with HTML5 and SQL Lite.  He had corrected me by saying SQL Lite is very often used with HTML5, but that it was not an "official" part of the HTML5 standard.  I stand corrected.  However, yesterday he added that SQL Lite is an unofficial part of HTML5 for many developers.

My questions several weeks ago were directed at learning if developers would continue to need and to purchase Sybase's SQL Anywhere embedded mobile databases (RDBMS) if there was a free option that works with HTML5 called SQL Lite.  Tom provided me with a much greater understanding of this issue which I will share to the best of my abilities.

SQL Lite working with HTML5 enables developers to store data on mobile devices.  This is very useful when developers want to save data entered into a mobile application, record the state of a mobile application, or record where the user is in an application.  Developers can also store product catalogs and all kinds of other data in this database.  It is a very good solution when there is no need, or limited need to synchronize the mobile application data back to an enteprise database.

The challenge with using HTML5 and SQL Lite is that there is no included synchronization technology to sync the mobile application with your back office systems.  Developers must develop their own synchronization scripts, rules, business logic, synchronization conflict resolutions and data integration code.  In other words, developers that want to use HTML5 and SQL Lite must develop their own enterprise class synchronization engine middleware.  The alternative is to use SQL Anywhere, the synchronization and middleware technology that Sybase has developed over the last decade.

I partnered with Sybase back in 2005 and used their SQL Anywhere mobile databases, synchronization and integration technology embedded in my mobile solutions.  Why?  I wanted my developers to focus on developing the best mobile applications, not on mobile middleware, databases, synchronization and integration technologies.  I paid Sybase an OEM fee for each mobile enterprise application that I sold.  To me, at that time, it was worth it.  I could easily have spent my entire R&D budget trying to replicate what I could get from Sybase already developed and proven.

The ISV/OEM model that I used with Sybase would not work if you were selling mobile consumer applications for .99 cents, but it worked for us in the field services industry where we wanted heavy duty enterprise class mobile applications that world run equally well offline as online.

Read Part 2 of this article here.

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Whitepapers of Note

The Business Benefits of Mobile Adoption with SAP Systems
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Recorded Webinars of Note

3 Critical Considerations for Embracing Mobile CRM
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The Real-Time Mobile Enterprise:  The Benefits of Rapid, Easy Access
Syclo and SAP Deliver Mobile Apps on Sybase Unwired Platform

You can follow me on Twitter @krbenedict and read my blog, Enterprise Mobility Strategies.

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.