Monday, April 16, 2012

Developing Enterprise Mobility Apps and a Flashback to 2006

Mobility Blogging in 2006
Developing a mobile solution is still a major challenge for most companies.  In 2006, I was just starting to blog and I was the CEO of a mobile applications company (similar to Syclo) and a close partner of Sybase.  Back then I used different terms and device names, but much of the advice I wrote then is still valid.  Here is an excerpt from a blog article in 2006.

Year 2006 - If you have never created mobile applications, there is a steep learning curve.  A lot of mobile [apps and middleware] development is just plain tedious, expensive and risky.
  1. Are you going to develop for just one kind of handheld computer or many? There are many different screen sizes, buttons, accessories, etc. If you want to support many different kinds of handhelds and their unique add-on components yourself - expect a couple of years of development.
  2. How do you develop a solution that will work equally well on all devices such as Tablet PCs, PDAs, Smart Phones, Pocket PCs and/or laptops? What if your business user wants you to support them all with the same mobile application?
  3. How do you develop and manage a synchronization server? Have you ever contemplated how difficult this might be?
  4. How do you add database integration to your synchronization? How do you do this without messing up the production servers?
  5. How do you add data validation to your mobile solutions?
  6. How are you going to manage secure communications between your mobile application and your central database?
  7. How do you build in mobile printing support?
  8. How do you manage the deployment of mobile devices and track all the users and mobile applications?
  9. Who is going to write all the help menus, user documentation, etc., if you develop in-house?
  10. How do you add support for new hardware add-ons such as bar code scanners, RFID readers, GPS, digital cameras, printers to your application?
  11. When Microsoft [or iOS, Android, Blackberry] releases the next version, are you going to re-write your application to support the new smartphones and other hardware? You will be required to since all new handheld devices are sold with the latest OS.
Six years later much has changed, there is HTML5, better mobile devices, and better mobile solutions today, but also much has stayed the same.  There is still a lot you must know about mobile app development.  If you are wanting to learn more, then you might find this upcoming webinar by Verivo of value:

Best Practices - The Mobile App Software Development Lifecycle

Developing mobile apps brings a new set of challenges and software development processes that IT teams must be prepared to address.  Whether you’re building your first app or you’re part of an organization building multiple apps with multiple technologies, attend this webinar to learn about best practices in building mobile apps across the complete software development lifecycle.  Get practical insights and answers to your questions to help deliver the right app, on time, and on budget.

This is the first in a series of webinars that will focus on best practices in the software development processes for building mobile apps.  Attend this webinar to:
  • Understand the key differences between mobile development and traditional IT development across the complete software development lifecycle.
  • Discover hidden risks and best practices in defining requirements, building components, setting up your infrastructure, testing, and deployment.
  • Learn about two team-member roles that are critical to the success of every enterprise mobility project.
Date:  April 18
Time: 1PM EDT
Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
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.