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Category Archives: Enterprise Mobility

Moving Foward with Microsoft MEAP

Some time ago I blogged about Rabi Satter and Rob Tiffany’s work in promoting a Microsoft MEAP. Well it looks like Rob is resurrecting the topic in a series he began last week with Building Microsoft MEAP: Introduction — well worth the read.

Rob makes a very persuasive argument for Microsoft as a MEAP foundation, citing each of the Gartner MEAP checklist items in turn. We’ve been using the tools and products he mentions for years now as a foundation of our client solutions, and I can attest his assertions are well founded. I’m looking forward to Rob’s future postings on the subject, and am curious to see if MonoTouch or Mono for Android make an appearance in some fashion to extend the Microsoft MEAP to additional platforms.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Enterprise Mobility

 

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iFactr is featured as a part of Visual Studio 2012 Launch

It’s a pretty exciting day around here! Along with the announcement of the new iPhone 5, I’ve been hanging around the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 launch event.

Our iFactr framework has been featured as a part of the launch, and ITR Mobility has been chosen as a launch partner. It’s been crazy the last few weeks, and people in the Visual Studio community have really been great!

Thanks, everyone!

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Enterprise Mobility, iFactr

 

Cross-platform apps are getting more press…

Just stumbled upon an interesting article thanks to @kennygoers.  The author argues that Write Once Run Anywhere nirvana will never be achieved by HTML 5, (a view I increasingly agree with…), and businesses and developers should shift their approach to “Mixed Model Mobile Apps”, (i.e. native UI + cross-platform core).  He even cites Mono as the enabling technology — worth a read. 

 

Data Services as a Platform for Innovation

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working with clients to define RESTful services architectures for their mobile applications.  Most of them have a large SOA implementation using SOAP, and are just beginning to dip their toes into the world of REST.  More often than not these existing SOA’s are designed for enterprise applications that live behind the firewall, and are called by machines that are not lacking for any bandwidth or processing power.  When we begin discussion how to utilize these services for mobile applications, we quickly discover that the existing services just won’t do.

These enterprise services generally come in two flavors.  Either they are too coarse-grained, and provide too much unnecessary information, or they are too fragmented, and require multiple requests to piece together a view that can be used in the mobile application.  My recommendation is usually to spend some time putting up a simple RESTful services facade that handles the mismatch on the server, where the heavy lifting is less costly than the device.

One of the key benefits of taking this approach is that it gets the services architects and designers to begin thinking of their data in a different way.  Most enterprise services start from the database, or the system of record, and expose the information contained there in a representation that is often not very far from the way the data is stored in these system.  This “inside-out” perspective is very common in most SOA implementations I see.  But to effectively create and consume a mobile services API requires a little different perspective.

User experience has become the only metric that matters in mobile apps.  And in order to deliver exceptional user experiences, you must have service that cleanly support the delivery of that experience, while managing the bandwith and resource constraints of a mobile device.  So I generally recommend they flip the traditional “inside-out” perspective on it’s head, and start thinking of their services from an “outside-in” perspective.  When the do this, whole new worlds of possiblilities begin to open up.

What I’m referring to is what we’ve begun to call a “Platform for Innovation”.  RESTful services are intuitive, and with frameworks like WCF making them easier and easier to create, organizations can begin to build whole new services API’s with varying consumption patterns that are specifically tailored to the needs of a broader audience, both inside and outside of the organization.

Best Buy has an excellent example of what I’m talking about in their BBY Open API.  It’s an extremely flexible implementation of a RESTful platform that exposes products, stores, categories reviews and much more information and make it available to anyone who wants to register.  This platform is used not only by external developers, but by Best Buy employees to develop enterprise and mobile applications — in fact one of the questions when you register is “are you a Best Buy employee?”.

The mobile revolution is forcing many oranizations into re-thinking their SOA’s.   The smart ones will jump on the opportunity to expand their reach to not only mobile developers, but a new class of enterprise developers who are empowered to solve business problems by exploring and stretching the services to their limits.  This paradigm leads to an accellerated rate of innovation in the technology they use to put critical business information into the hands of the people who need it.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Enterprise Mobility

 

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View the Monospace Keynote @ InfoQ

For those who were unable to attend the Monospace conference in July, InfoQ posted the video of my keynote this week.  Thanks again to the guys at Monospace for the opportunity, and to the crew at InfoQ for the coverage.  I’m already looking forward to the conference next year!

 

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iPad in the Enterprise

In just a few weeks my good friend Nathan Clevenger’s book iPad in the Enterprise will hit the shelves, (pre-orders are now being taken at both Amazon and B&N from the preceding link). In it Nathan imparts copious amounts of the wisdom he’s earned over the past twelve years in the trenches, and the executive suite of mobile enterprise software development. I highly recommend it for anyone developing, or making decisions about developing mobile software for their company. I intend to quote heavily from it in my talk at Monospace ;-).

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Enterprise Mobility

 

Keynote @ Monospace

I’m excited to be delivering the keynote at the Monospace conference this July! Thanks to Louis and Dale, the conference organizers, for the opportunity to share our story with the Mono community. There are some exciting things happening with Mono in the enterprise, and I can’t wait to get to Boston next month!

 

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