If you’re anything like me, you can’t imagine going anywhere without your mobile phone; today’s devices are more than telephones, they are our cameras, our wallets, our libraries and even our fitness partners. There’s no shortage of types of devices and global mobile device growth rates are estimated around 6.9% this year. Today’s leading enterprises are taking note: employees want mobile to work for them. As a mobile software engineer I can tell you making sure applications run on the right device at the right time for the right user can be challenging.
I can tell you that for newcomers, that first step joining open source can be nerve-racking but the Apache Cordova community welcomed me with open arms. I started where most new contributors would start, on documentation and test cases. Eventually the community voted to make me a project management committee (PMC) member, commonly known as a “committer” in the open source world. Being involved in open source has the added benefit of allowing you to network with bright technical leaders from other companies.
If you are leading your enterprise mobile efforts, you need open technologies to integrate your applications and speed your app delivery. If you are a developer looking to grow your role and get involved in open source, Apache Cordova is a fun project to be involved in. We are driving innovation in mobile while aligning with industry standards such as those outlined in W3C specifications. It’s very much an extensible framework and the future of mobile. Need to add bluetooth or near field communication to your application? Easy, just add the plugin. Want developers to tinker with your product or hook into your device? Make a plugin. This is an exciting time for developers!
Does this mean you should just use open source technologies like Apache Cordova? You could, but let’s face it, if you’re an enterprise developer who wants to solve multiple problems and scale quickly you’re going to need the cloud. Rather than reinvent the wheel, companies like IBM have plugins for developers to quickly access their cloud environment. One such IBM offering is IBM Bluemix, a platform based on CloudFoundry that allows for instant services, runtimes, and infrastructures to rapidly build powerful applications. Sign up for a free trial of IBM Bluemix here: https://ace.ng.bluemix.net/. The IBM Bluemix team has even created a set of Apache Cordova plugins that can be added to new or existing hybrid mobile applications. These plugins can be found at http://plugins.cordova.io/#/search?search=ibm. Mobile apps are 5x more likely to be implemented in the cloud which means developers benefit from Open Plus vendor specific offerings that take advantage of open source while offering enterprise grade value built on top of open technologies.
Now is a great time to get involved. Come join me and fork some git repositories. Submit a pull request. If not this one, then check out some of the other great communities out there like Cloud Foundry, jQuery Foundation and OpenStack. I think you’ll find that these communities are where you’ll meet some of the most creative developers today.