Join host Ajit Jaokar
for an IBM mobile application hackathon at Mobile World Congress 2013
For those of you who haven't met Ajit, he brings a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to this hackathon due to his background in research, academia and technology. This hackathon
presents a unique opportunity to interact with IBM Worklight experts,
and experiment with advanced capabilities of the IBM Worklight mobile application development platform
About the IBM Mobile Hackthon at Mobile World Conference 2013
- What: IBM Mobile Hackathon at Mobile World Congress hosted by Ajit Jaokar
- When: Monday, February 25. 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. CET
- Where: Hall 8, Theater D
Just bring your laptop pre-loaded with Worklight
and your knowledge to build a show worthy app in 2 hours. We'll provide a brief tutorial of Worklight
, Subject matter experts will also be on hand to help you navigate the interface and even fix code errors. Snacks and caffeine will also be provided to hackathon participants to keep you going.
From 5:00 - 7:00 pm, stick around for IBM's technical conference to learn about our latest announcements and capabilities in the mobile space including testing, dev ops, analytics, management and security. The session will end with Ajit showing off your apps to the hundreds of attendees!
Don't wait as we only have a few spots left.Register for the hackathon
This blog post is contributed by John Reddin, Staff Software Engineer and part of the Mobile Center of Competency for Industry Solutions.
As most mobile developers (and indeed most developers) are aware, the
trend of developing mobile applications as a hybrid of web and native
code is becoming ubiquitous. The current landscape of hybrid development
tools is only beginning to leave its infancy—with open source projects
including Sencha Touch and jQuery Mobile leading the way. However, a
common complaint often reiterated in developer-focused communities is
that while hybrid tools are very capable at
delivering what they promise, things get more difficult when it comes to
packaging these tools together and deploying one or more
applications—complete with the necessary security and application management requirements—into many application stores (or possibly your own custom enterprise app store).
IBM Worklight is a mobile application platform for smartphones and
tablets that allows for the efficient development and management of web,
hybrid and native applications. Worklight makes use of existing
best-in-class hybrid tools such as PhoneGap, while extensively
supporting Sencha Touch, jQuery Mobile and Dojo Mobile out of the box.
While other documents and blogs clearly outline the advantages of Worklight
to the management of applications and interactivity with enterprise
application servers and databases, few highlight the advantages to the
mobile app developer. Let’s do that now.
Mobile development tools can be hard to install and configure. Not so with Worklight,
which in the Studio development edition can be installed as an Eclipse
plug-in that comes prepackaged with PhoneGap, Eclipse templates and
wizards to help you get started. It’s a great starting point.
When creating a new Worklight
project, I am offered the option to create a hybrid application and add
beginning. After my project is quickly created, I select support for
iPhone and Android in a few clicks, and Worklight immediately lays out
HTML from those specific to each platform, as well as creating the
native project files required to build my hybrid apps.
But it gets better. When I begin editing the template HTML to add a
UI to my app, I’m greeted with a WYSIWYG HTML editor and widget/HTML
palette, allowing me to click and drag my UI together using the
choice, in this case jQuery Mobile. After dragging out a list view, a
text input and a couple of buttons, the basics of my UI are complete.
With a few clicks I can sample my work in the Worklight web emulator or
build and run my hybrid app inside the native iPhone and Android
simulators. Building hybrid apps has never been this smooth, but
Worklight offers more.
On top of supporting the top tools for hybrid development, adding
wizard-level simplicity to the creation of multiplatform support for my
app and expediting the coding process with WYSIWYG editors and component
palettes, Worklight includes its own set of hybrid APIs that make life
even easier. A common busy status indicator, dialog box, tab bar and
network detection, encrypted cache and push notifications across
multiple platforms are rendered simple, and detailed reports and
analytics are provided within a few clicks. Couple all of this with an
excellent set of publicly available getting started guides
and it’s easy to see just how simple life can be for the hybrid mobile
developer, with the right tools. The infancy stage has ended, and
world-class tooling has arrived.
John Reddin is a Staff Software Engineer and part of the Mobile Center of Competency for Industry Solutions and an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader. Follow John Reddin on Twitter at @jreddin.
This blog post is contributed by David Judge, Technical Solutions Manager for Workplace and Mobile Enterprise Services.
Over the last 12 months the question of whether, or indeed when, to
begin the transition from Windows Mobile as a platform for task worker
mobility solutions is one that has been debated again and again. Windows
Mobile has been a reliable platform for the task worker for over 10
years, supported by a wealth of fit for purpose, ruggedized hardware.
However, organizations are assessing the latest mobile operating systems
against their task worker solution requirements and at the same time
unearthing the challenges that this change inevitably presents.
Although Windows Mobile never overtly revolutionized the consumer mobile
world in the way iOS did, it played an extremely important part in the
ecology of mobile. Ultimately, Windows Mobile is the basis of thousands
of applications developed within a Microsoft platform that both
enterprises and independent software vendors (ISVs) eulogized, making
use of common skills in developing under the .NET framework. In
comparison to today’s apps, the user interfaces were often far from
appealing, lacked any kind of engaging experience and across the board
seemed to have a “this was absolutely developed in Visual Studio” feel.
Nevertheless, it provided a platform to develop task-oriented
applications that were easy to use, secure and integrated with existing
enterprise back-office systems.
Enterprises across the globe adopted Windows Mobile for many reasons.
One that supported (and continues to support) an entire industry of
ISVs, hardware vendors and systems integrators was the ability to
successfully mobilize a specific use case: the task worker. The task
worker in the enterprise can take many forms, but here I am focusing on
those that are primarily field-based and laborcentric, for example
utility engineers, delivery drivers, asset auditors. The deployment of
mobile enablement solutions across this specific use case has been rife
over the last 10 years, as enterprises discovered that the business case
and return on investment could be easily quantified and realized
through the deployment of mobile technology, facilitating automation of
manual administration processes.
Many of the clients I have met over the last 12 months are beginning
to look beyond their original Windows Mobile deployment and are
considering their options for the next iteration of mobile technology.
The majority have invested significantly in Windows Mobile as a platform
for task worker applications, and in most cases it has been very
successful in improving efficiency and productivity of its task worker
Thankfully, the mobile enablement climate has changed significantly since the early days of Windows Mobile.
Back then when you had an idea to “mobilize the enterprise workforce”
your choices were limited technically in terms of platform choice and
capability, and also in engaging partners who could bring the relevant
wealth and subject-matter expertise to your project. These days that
supposition no longer exists, as the choice of partners to help you with
the transition toward your next iteration of mobile for the task worker
is both wide and varied. Thankfully IBM Mobile Enterprise Services is
ideally placed to help develop every aspect of the solution. There are
of course a number of challenges to work through when assessing the next
phase of mobile technology for the task worker, and in my recent
experience in working with clients the following key areas have been
prominent in the initial assessment process:
Convergence of task worker and knowledge worker requirements
The line between the knowledge worker and task worker use case
generally remains distinct; however there is now a propensity for task
workers to be as integrated with the enterprise network as their
knowledge worker counterparts. This typically manifests in providing
task workers with access to email, calendar and contacts. I have worked
on countless projects in deploying applications for task workers where
the only real requirement lay with the applications being deployed to
the device. Rarely did an enterprise see any benefit in giving access to
laborcentric task workers over and above what the primary applications
provided, and in many cases the users did not even have a directory
In the connected era this requirement is
prevalent, and along with it will no doubt come the ever increasing
discussion of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and whether this can actually
work for the task worker. Either way, a focus on endpoint security and
device management will be a significant part of the planning process.
Mobile application development platforms
The discussion around native, web and hybrid mobile application
development rages on, with various opinions on which is actually best.
Needless to say if you developed your Windows Mobile application in
native .NET code you are going to need to do some reworking.
This of course is not necessarily a bad thing, since recreating the
mobile platform will give you the opportunity to fully assess the new
end-to-end requirements and allow you to take advantage of some of the
rich controls and integration that now exist within so many mobile
application development platforms. The platform choice will always be
difficult if you move away from Windows Mobile in terms of iOS versus
Android versus Windows Phone. In truth the best mitigation strategy for
this is to utilize a development platform that is committed to
supporting the latest mobile operating systems and allows you as much as
possible to adopt a “write once and deploy to many” strategy.
Mobile hardware platforms
Hardware for the task worker has always been a discipline in itself.
In most cases the working environment of the task worker is not
conducive to a standard iPhone or any other consumer-grade device. Task
worker requirements can range from intrinsically safe devices to a unit
with at least some form of IP (ingress protection) rating to ensure it
can stand up to the elements. Mobile device manufacturers such as
Motorola, Intermec and Honeywell have each released their own flavor of a
ruggedized device on Android, and in 2013 we will no doubt see a good
few more, along with a number running Windows Embedded 8. For consumer
hardware, companies such as OtterBox provide cases to increase the
durability and protection of the device. Whatever the chosen way
forward, and as you did with your initial Windows Mobile deployment, the
same amount of effort into user workshops and device trials will be
required to ascertain the most suitable platform.
Over the years I have personally witnessed deployments of Windows
Mobile applications transform business operations and deliver a myriad
of quantitative and qualitative benefits. However, we are now at a stage
where the traditional consumer platforms cannot be ignored for the task
For those who are considering the transition away from Windows
Mobile, the challenges of replacing the technology that users have grown
to know and love are indeed many, but thankfully organizations like IBM
have developed mobile offerings that can help. IBM Mobile Enterprise Services
includes mobile deployment planning, mobile security, device
management, application development and analytics that can be brought
together to deliver a truly holistic mobile solution for task workers
and across the enterprise.
David Judge is a Technical Solutions Manager for Workplace and Mobile Enterprise Services and an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader. Follow David Judge on Twitter at @themobilejudge.
This blog post is contributed by Mohamed El-Refai, Executive Architect with GBS and the Chief Architect for China GDC.
With mobile enablement in the enterprise being a mandate and no
longer optional, the existing enterprise architecture practices we
developed for our complex enterprise solutions are being challenged.
In a typical enterprise architecture practice, the initial focus is
on the business strategy, and that usually drives the business process
transformation needs, which in sequence drive the IT strategy and the
required projects to support these business transformation needs.
But in the new mobile enablement paradigm, this changes. We now focus
mainly on how to make it easy for the user to access data instead of
focusing on business strategy. That is a major shift in the enterprise
architecture practices we have followed and enforced over the years.
It is very important for enterprises to notice this change early on
in their mobile enablement journey, as the current governance process
would dictate that every project maps to a business strategy and would
block any mobile enablement initiatives from progressing or would give
them a hard time.
The governance model you use needs to be adapted to mobile enablement
by validating the impact of productivity and measuring that against
specific business strategy initiatives, rather than trying to map the
proposed solution to the business strategy.
To phrase it in another way, the impact of mobile enablement initiatives needs to map back to the business strategy somehow.
But what if it doesn’t? Could it be that the enterprise doesn’t have a
complete business strategy, and some of these impacts resulting from
our new mobile enablement initiatives shed light on areas that the
enterprise should have considered in their business strategy?
We recommend that enterprises evaluate their mobile enablement
projects before they send them to the enterprise architecture governance
board, which might shut them down when they do not find a direct
mapping to the enterprise business strategy.
Mohamed El-Refai is an Executive Architect with GBS and the Chief Architect for China GDC and an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader. Follow Mohamed El-Refai on Twitter at @mohelrefai.
This blog post is contributed by John Reddin, Staff Software Engineer and part of the Mobile Center of Competency for Industry Solutions.
it comes to mobile development for the enterprise, a number of factors
differentiate the development cycle from that of the traditional mobile
app. When most of us think of mobile app development, we imagine small
startups signing contract work or the lone developer working on his or
her next big app idea. What does not spring to mind is the enterprise
that wishes to deploy an entire suite of mobile offerings to match their
existing web/desktop portfolio—and they want to do this fast, before
their competitors do.
hybrid model is the emerging trend for the mobile enterprise case,
where development teams reuse existing web skills and investments,
porting these to a streamlined mobile-optimized codebase that runs on a
multitude of platforms. They then extend each platform with native
capabilities only when needed.
However, building mobile web and hybrid applications comes with its own set of hurdles. Similar
to desktop web applications, mobile hybrid apps face issues of browser
compatibility, scalability, maintainability, accessibility and
globalization. This is where Dojo Mobile comes in.
toolkit, Dojo provides DOM manipulation, query APIs, pre-built UI
elements and animation libraries while removing the burden of individual
browser quirks from the developer. It also builds on this feature set
with enterprise-grade features not seen elsewhere.
development, they are often extended by community-driven plugins and
extensions, which tend to come with varying usage and distribution
licenses, unclear or nonexistent maintenance plans and little or no
accessibility and globalization support. This is bad news for the
has committed to enabling the creation of fully accessible and
globalized web applications, and not just at its core but also in its
large set of out-of-the-box UI elements and widgets, which are all
housed under the same license and maintenance roadmap. This extends to Dojo Mobile
too, which builds on Dojo’s excellent foundation and includes
mobile-optimized features and widgets that mimic their native
comes bundled with scrolling panes, headers, tab bars, toolbars,
date/value pickers, dialogs, activity indicators, grid layouts,
accordions, carousels, media players, progress bars and much more.
Styles for iOS, Android and BlackBerry are included, as well as support
for custom themes and branding. On top of this, Dojo Mobile enables
developers to easily create their own powerful widgets utilizing their
unique templating and Dijit system, while supporting future-proof
standards such as Asynchronous Module Definition (AMD). This keeps code
modular and maintainable, as well as accessible and ready for global
has already seen popularity inside the enterprise, and has been used by
IBM, VMware and Cisco Systems, to name a few. With Dojo’s excellent set
of developer-focused tutorials and guides, any enterprise can quickly
form skilled mobile teams from their existing development resources.
Once the app is ready, Dojo makes it easy to expand and continue the
application life cycle by fully supporting tools such as Apache Cordova
and IBM Worklight. The advantages are clear: Dojo enables the speedy
creation of enterprise-grade mobile apps that are ready for integration
with enterprise-grade server systems, services and Mobile Device
Management (MDM) environments.
John Reddin is a Staff Software Engineer and part of the Mobile Center of Competency for Industry Solutions and an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader. Follow John Reddin on Twitter at @jreddin.
I recently published a paper on the topic of how to open the mainframe up to mobile applications. You can think of this as connecting systems-of-engagement (mobile apps) with systems-of-record (transactional mainframe services and data sources). Please have a look and post your comments: http://ibm.co/X8BRGn
This blog post is contributed by Chris Pepin, Mobile Offering Manager and Evangelist.
According to the 2012 IBM Tech Trends study,
the top barrier to enterprise adoption of mobile devices (for example,
smartphones and tablets) is security. Specific concerns include device
loss and theft, data leakage and malware. While technology is important,
it’s only a piece of the puzzle. In this post, we’ll discuss the role
of strategy, policy, technology and education in addressing mobile security.
It starts with a strategy. What’s the business problem I’m trying to
solve with mobile? Who’s my audience? What types of devices will they be
using, and what device features will be used? How will users access my
application? What are my success criteria? Having clear and concise
answers to these questions will make it easier to apply corporate policy
in the next step.
Every enterprise needs a written mobile policy with the terms and
conditions clearly spelled out. This is particularly important for use
of mobile devices inside the company. If the company already has a
personal computer policy, this is a great starting point. Key questions
to be addressed in the policy include: What devices, operating systems
and apps are supported? Do I need a device passcode? Is there a
requirement for remote wipe of enterprise data in the event the device
is lost, stolen or the employee leaves the company? What applications
are allowed to be used? What are the data privacy requirements? What’s
the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy? What’s the policy for employee
reimbursement for mobile expenses? You’ll want to include IT, human
resources, legal, procurement and reimbursement in the discussion.
Technology implements, monitors and enforces corporate policy.
Specific technologies includes endpoint management, encryption,
containerization, network access (for example, WiFi, VPN), anti-malware
and authentication—just to name a few. In addition, the mobile
application architecture (native, web, hybrid, virtual) and how it will
be developed, deployed and updated on users’ mobile devices is critical.
Security starts with the user and with building a culture of
security. Regularly educating employees on how to identify cybersecurity
threats, protect corporate and client data, safeguard devices and data,
and practice security incident reporting is critical.
In conclusion, I’ve provided a high-level overview of four aspects to
consider when approaching mobile security. In many ways, security
solutions on smartphones and tablets are immature but are continuing to
improve. While you may be tempted to hold off on embracing mobile until
the market matures, the risk of getting left behind or of facing a
security exposure is very real.
Chris Pepin is a Mobile Offering Manager and Evangelist and an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader. Follow Chris Pepin on Twitter at @chrispepin.
This blog post is contributed by Megan Irvine, WebSphere Education Course Developer/Instructor.
The future of mobile application development points to the hybrid
app—an approach that combines native code (such as Java, Objective-C or
languages into applications that create a great user experience. Right
now, companies are grappling with this challenge. One tool that can make
short work of this task is IBM Worklight
I was introduced to IBM Worklight several
months ago, and at the time I did not have much experience developing
mobile apps. I knew a little Java and HTML, and I was an avid Android
user, but that was the extent of my skill set when I started using
Worklight. Much to my amazement, I learned very quickly how to use it to
develop rich mobile apps, leverage third-party tools and support
multiple device platforms. I was surprised by how easy it was to get
started and get up to speed on more advanced features. I would even say
that if I can teach myself Worklight, you can too, even if you've never done mobile app development before.
this article, I will give you my recommendations and advice on how to
quickly get started with building portable, cross-platform mobile apps
by using Worklight and common web technologies.
There is no shortage of Java developers these days, nor of programmers
put it all together? What if Java isn't going to cut it and you need to
develop apps to run on other platforms? First, I suggest brushing up on
those basic web technologies in order to make the most of what they have
to offer. The key is in knowing how much you can leverage HTML5 and
face it, HTML5 is the future. Mobile browsers are totally on board with
it, it comes with a lot of great features for building a better user
experience, and it supports audio and video, so it's not going away
anytime soon. More and more companies are adopting it. If you have not
yet embraced it, you should do so right now, after you finish reading
this article, or you will be left in the dust.
Check out these videos for a quick “crash course”:
I also found the book Hello! HTML5 and CSS3 by Rob Crowther
to be very useful; it's a user-friendly guide with lots of good examples.
of the work for you. They provide tools, libraries and controls that you
can use to create a rich web experience and consistent user interface
across multiple browsers. They also solve the issue of cross-browser
compatibility by having done all the testing and validation of their
application programming interfaces (APIs) against popular browsers and
platforms. It pays to learn one or more of these frameworks, because
you'll get more done with less coding. Here are some of the most popular
These frameworks are all supported in Worklight.
These IBM course offerings will get you up to speed on all the prerequisite
web technologies very quickly, and they are all self-paced, virtual
courses. No travel required! Once you sign up for the course, you have
60 days to complete it online at your own pace. You also get access to a
remote lab environment to do the hands-on labs.Bridging the gap: Apache Cordova (PhoneGap)
So you've got the web technologies covered, no problem. There is still a
question of how to access native device features such as:
accelerometer, camera, contacts and so on. The answer is Apache Cordova,
aka PhoneGap. PhoneGap
allows you to access native device APIs for the most common features
language. When you use PhoneGap to create an app, you are essentially
creating a hybrid app because the app is packaged for distribution and
has access to the native device APIs, but all the layout is rendered as
web views. IBM Worklight supports Cordova, and you can use it to extend
your mobile app to control native device features.
is a complete mobile application development platform that you can use
to create all kinds of native, web-based or hybrid mobile applications,
and it makes it really easy to do so. It includes the IBM Worklight
Studio―an Eclipse-based IDE (integrated development environment) where
you perform all the coding and integration tasks to develop a
fully-functional mobile app. It has user-friendly features like
auto-complete, which gives you a list of possible values when you start
typing the name of an attribute, and it gives you tools for validating
couldn't live without these features.
Megan Irvine is a WebSphere Education Course Developer/Instructor and an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader. Follow Megan Irvine on Twitter at @mirv_pgh.
This blog post is contributed by Nabeel Ahmad, Mobile Learning Thought Leader, IBM Learning Developer
You may know about eLearning, where
knowledge transfer happens over digital channels. You’ve probably
consumed some form of eLearning, whether watching a YouTube video on
how to replace a bicycle chain or taking an online course in history.
eLearning began with teachers creating digital copies of readings
with no enhancement over the paper version. Educators have learned
much since then, mainly that there are more effective methods than
porting courseware from one medium to another. Yet, the same thing
happened with mobile. It is not imperative to develop learning
material specifically for mobile. However, when the context of using
that material changes as a result of being in a new environment, the
way to deliver that information must also change. Mobile mobile mobile
Mobile devices, to which more than 75 percent of the world now have access (World Bank, 2012
), are quickly becoming the device of choice for both personal and business use. This presents an opportunity for enterprises to deliver learning to their mobile employees. Mobile learning (mLearning) met the same initial fate as eLearning, where digital courseware was ported to mobile devices. Why is this an issue? Three reasons are prominent:
- Time. You often have less time to access information while you are mobile than when you are in the office. While mobile, your free time is not continuous, so you may have 10 minutes, three times in a day, but not 30 minutes at once. eLearning is often designed for longer periods, resulting in a mismatch for the time-sensitive needs of a mobile employee.
- Form factor. Your mobile device is much smaller than your laptop. Delivering information designed to be consumed on larger screens results in a poor mobile user experience. Mobile devices tend to be used more for consuming content, such as watching a video or reading an article, rather than producing it, with the notable exception of sending short messages.
- Context. You are mobile for a reason, and the environment you are in often influences how you use your mobile device. This differs from a stationary office setting where your location often has little bearing on the tasks you perform. When mobile, getting access to just-in-time information that will aid in a decision is valuable.
Why is it important for enterprises to
be aware of mLearning? A growing number of workforces are mobile,
with sellers, consultants, managers and executives being the most
mobile. It is in an enterprise’s best interest to enable mobile
employees to develop personally and have access to resources that let
them do their job better from wherever they are.
IBM conducted a study with Columbia University to better understand
how employees use mobile devices in the workplace. The main finding
indicates a higher interest in access to performance support and
just-in-time information than in traditional courseware whose
teachings may not be applied immediately. While some factors have
changed since the study, including the presence of tablets and
greater user knowledge of mobile devices, others remain constant,
including time, context and, to a lesser extent, form factor.
Are you interested in implementing mobile learning but don’t know where to start? Consider these tips:
- Ask. Feedback is a gift, so ask your mobile users what they would like to have access to. Getting input from the user may increase participation in mLearning.
- Process. Focus on the process you are trying to improve instead of the technology. Beware of the person who says, “We want an app!” Mobile is not the solution to every problem.
- Pilot. Find an interested party and conduct a pilot with them. Outline what success looks like and identify key metrics. Reassess after the pilot to see what worked well.
Mobile learning in the workplace is an opportunity to develop employees and improve productivity. The ones at greatest risk are those who do nothing. Be bold and you will be great.
Nabeel Ahmad helps lead IBM's internal mobile learning strategy, focusing on access to educational and performance support opportunities for on-the-go IBMers. Nabeel is an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he teaches graduate-level courses on Mobile Phone Learning and Social Media for Learning. Follow Nabeel on Twitter at @nabeeloo.
Nabeel is an IBM Redbooks thought leader
This post is contributed by Bas Pluim, Architect, IBM Smarter Mobile Development
Using a mobile device is like going camping with a tent and backpack: The freedom to go anywhere is nice, but it's somewhat lacking in facilities and comfort. One thing I learned from camping is that you can make perfectly good coffee by boiling water in a kettle. You don't need one of those fancy machines. This came in pretty handy at home when there was a power outage last year. Likewise, mobile application development can teach us several things that also apply to web- and desktop applications.
1. Security is more than passwords
Entering long, complicated passwords like Qre56Z!ko8a22 with a full size keyboard is bad enough, but on a mobile device, it's twice as hard. Plus, there is no good place to stick that little yellow memo with all your passwords to the screen. Instead, mobile applications make increasingly use of other information for authentication, such as the network ID and geographic location. For example, a nurse working in the Emergency Room (ER) can access a patient's record on a tablet without a password, because the tablet is connected to the hospital's Wifi and is physically located within the ER. But when that same nurse takes the tablet to the coffee shop across the street, he has to enter a password before gaining access to any patient information.
Desktops and laptops typically do not provide a geolocation for an application to use. But there are other options, such as verifying the user's IP address, and checking the time of day. Not every application is used 24x7 world wide. For example, a web application to schedule court appearances would typically only be used within one country, during regular business hours. That doesn't mean the application should be unavailable at midnight, and a lawyer on vacation abroad should still be able to schedule a case. For those users, an elegant solution is to use a second method of authentication. After entering an ID and password, the user must also answer a security question ("What was the make and model of your first car?"). Some web sites already do this when a user authenticates for the first time from a different computer, which can be detected through the absence of a permanent cookie.
2. Laptops get stolen too
According to a study by McAfee and the Ponemon Institute
, close to 5% of smartphones are lost or stolen every year. With a typical life span of just over two years, the cumulative chance a phone going missing is almost 9%. More than half of these phones have no protection at all, and only one in five has local storage encryption. It's no wonder security is a major concern for businesses trying to adopt mobile devices.
But the numbers are almost as bad for laptops. A study by Intel in 2010
showed that the chance of a laptop being stolen during its three year life is around 7%, with 70% of them lacking basic precautions such as encryption, back-up and anti-theft technologies. A laptop has a lot more storage than a smartphone, which means a single incident could be disastrous. Mobile devices deserve some leeway, given that they're relatively new and the challenges associated with using a personal device for company business. But these excuses don't apply to laptops. It's mind-boggling that security hasn't improved in this area.
3. You don't need to see that
One advantage of a small screen is that developers are motivated to limit the amount of information to display. If a data attribute is not essential to the task at hand, it is simply left out. And while accidental, this approach has also improved data privacy. It wouldn't hurt to apply this principle to other applications as well. Some of the administrative applications I've seen appear to be a cross between a spreadsheet and a teenager's bedroom. Fields are stacked haphazardly on massive data entry forms, using a one-size-fits-all approach. Sensitive data regarding finances and family members is placed right below the question on whether you'd like to receive the company newsletter. Just because we can cram everything onto the screen doesn't mean we should.
4. You don't need to see all of them
A good friend
of mine has owned an iPhone since they first came out. He probably has accumulated several thousand pictures over the years. Whenever he wants to show you a really funny photo from a couple of years ago, the conversation stagnates as he furiously scrolls through screen after screen of thumbnails. If screen swiping was an Olympic sport, he'd win a gold medal every time. To his credit, he does always find it, and the photo is usually funny enough it was worth the wait. Regardless, mobile devices are not good at handling large volumes of data. Even the most humble laptop will eat a spreadsheet with 28,000 rows for breakfast, but give most smartphones a bad case of indigestion. Better search features such as type-ahead have helped developers limit the amount of data to return, which is also beneficial when the device has a slow data connection.
A positive side effect of limiting the number of records that can be accessed is security. Even if the device falls in the wrong hands, records can only be accessed one at a time. By contrast, some web applications allow users to dump the entire database and download it as a spreadsheet. Application designers should not only consider which data elements a user should have access to, but also think about volume. A call taker answering questions from clients only needs to access one record at a time. On the other hand, the financial analyst computing the average profit per policyholder does need all the records, but probably doesn't need sensitive items such as birth dates or social security numbers. The step-up authentication described under point (1) can also be used here. Whenever you want more records than is normal, answer a security question first.
5. The more, the merrier
The best mobile applications are the ones that are dedicated to a single task. Do one thing, and do it well. Unfortunately, there is a lot of desktop software that does a lot of things poorly. These so called "productivity suites" are usually bloatware by consensus: A bunch of features crammed together because nobody told the customer they couldn't have everything. Mobile apps on the other hand are entirely task based. If I want to look up someone's phone number, I get a phone number. I don't get someone's social media page with their latest Tweets and Pinterest photos carelessly strewn around their contact information. This doesn't mean there shouldn't be consolidation. Deep inside the corporate Cloud, you still want a single (federated) database and centralized business logic. But it is perfectly acceptable to have multiple applications that access the same data and services if it helps people be more productive.
Mobile applications are changing the way traditional software works. Overall, I think this is a good thing. When you're going camping in the woods, you quickly discover that items such as an electric razor just aren't worth the weight. And you can actually survive for a week without an espresso machine, panini grill or electric can opener. Less is more.
Bas Pluim is an architect for the Development Support Team, which provides cloud computing services to development and test teams. His focus is on mobile solutions using IBM Worklight. Bas is also a member of the IT Specialist certification board, and helps maintain the ITS Wiki. Follow Bas on Twitter at @baspluim.
Bas is an IBM Redbooks thought leader
This post is contributed by Mick Landers, IT Architect, IBM Global Technology Services Mobile Enterprise Services
The IBM GTS Mobile Enterprise Services team has provided
mobility services for its customers for over ten years. The initial
focus was on providing a managed BlackBerry Enterprise Service but in
recent times emphasis has switched to a managed service for mobile
platforms like Apple iOS and Google Android.
The GTS team
supports many of the popular Mobile Device Management (MDM) products
in the marketplace – installing, configuring and managing these
products on an on-going basis for customers. So of course while
individuals in the GTS Mobile Enterprise Services team may have
particular favorites in the MDM product space, the global team,
through its Mobility Center of Excellence, has the capability and
experience to deliver a managed mobility service regardless of the
MDM product in question.
With the release
of IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices earlier last year,
the GTS Mobile Enterprise Services team has been in the unique
position of being able to compare the IBM product with the other
products in the marketplace, based on years of practical experience
deploying and running those MDM systems. Through participation in the
early IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices beta programs, GTS has
helped prioritize recent updates to the product – focusing on
managed service delivery.
However there are some unique features
of the broader IBM Endpoint Manager “platform” that the MDM
product uses to its advantage – and these features give the GTS
team an additional edge in service delivery. A couple of examples include MDM
Platform Updates and Custom Fixlets.
MDM Platform Updates
A typical MDM scenario occurs when a
new version of a mobile platform appears in the market, such as Apple
releasing a new version of iOS. Sometimes this means an update to an
MDM tool to support that new version. For the GTS Mobile Enterprise
Services team this means liaising with the MDM vendors, receiving
notification of the required product update and then coordinating and
scheduling that update across all of the customers affected by the
change. For some MDM systems the updates have included SQL scripting
patches and manual updates to files – all error prone and time
IBM Endpoint Manager has a
unique approach with its ability to subscribe to sites that deliver
content automatically from IBM content-delivery cloud-based services.
This effectively means automatic updates to the product with little
or no administrative actions. The administrator will see a
notification in their console telling them that the Mobile Device
Management site has been updated. It includes a link to a web page
detailing the new content. The update might include a new mobility
dashboard, updates to an existing mobile action or support for a new
The popular MDM systems supported by
GTS provide a fixed set of features – typical things like security
policy definition, application management, reporting and compliance
management. If the product does not support a particular use case
that is important for the client, then this usually means an
enhancement request to the MDM vendor which may get implemented in
some future release.
The IBM Endpoint Manager platform in
comparison allows the development of custom capabilities quickly and
easily. An administrator can copy an existing component and edit it
to suit their needs or simply write a completely new component from
scratch. As GTS moves forward with deploying IBM Endpoint Manager for
Mobile Devices this will be a key capability used to deliver the
right features to customers in a timely manner.
These are just some of the platform
capabilities that give the GTS services team great confidence in
deploying IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices - a mature and
extensible technology platform that has automated update processes,
removing a maintenance headache that is seen with many other systems,
allowing the team to focus on delivering a comprehensive mobility
service to customers.
Mick Landers is a mobility offering architect for IBM Global Technology Services Workplace Services. He develops reusable managed service offerings for the Mobile Enterprise, focusing on Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Platform Management. He also engages in mobility bids and proposal responses and solution design for IBM customers. Follow Mick Landers on Twitter at @landersm.
Mick is an IBM Redbooks thought leader.
By Scott Nordstrom, WebSphere Application Infrastructure Marketing Team Lead
Who doesn’t love to play games? What about a game that helps technical professionals learn new skills and technology? Code Rally
, IBM’s latest social programming game, does just that. It helps developers explore game design, Java programming, web technologies, mobile, Agile, and more -- all in a fun and challenging way. Plus, it uses IBM’s latest collaborative web and mobile development technologies – WAS Liberty Profile and WorkLight.
Based on design concepts involving artificial intelligence and game theory, Code Rally
challenges your abilities to think ahead and manipulate controls on your vehicle as you compete with your fellow racers. You can race on one of our cloud-hosted tracks, on your own system, or bring the game into your own environment and host it on a server, racing against others.
However you choose to get in the game, I know you will enjoy the experience.
Scott Nordstrom is currently involved in shaping the Developer marketing strategy for IBM Mobile. Previously within IBM,, Scott worked within the marketing organizations for WebSphere and Rational shaping the Cloud, Application Server and Connectivity and Integration marketing strategies as well as a Product Line Manager launching Rational Software Analyzer. Previous to joining the IBM, he held business development and corporate strategy roles at BMC Software and various senior management roles for software Start-up Company’s in Austin, Texas.Follow Scott Nordstrom on Twitter
Please access the new mobile trail on developerWorks today!
This trial is on the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise and features our recently announced IBM Mobile Development Lifecycle Solution (IMDLS).
IMDLS combines the capabilities of the IBM Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution, with the IBM Worklight mobile application platform.
You can access the IMDLS Cloud Trial by filling out the Request an invite form
for the IBM developerWorks Cloud Trial. On the form, type in "IMDLS" for the promo code.
Coming soon! A scripted walk through using the sample mobile application for trial users
If you are interested in learning more:
· Blog and highlight video
· Watch IMDLS trial video
· October 30th announcement: IMDLS V4.0
· IBM.com: IBM Mobile Development Lifecycle Solution
· White paper: Mobile Application Development Primer
· Solution brief: Develop enterprise mobile applications with IBM Rational software
A Dr. Dobb's Journal Live Webcast:
Mobile Apps: Testing For Success
Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM PT/ 2:00 PM ET
Duration: 60 minutes
applications are quickly emerging as the face of many companies at the
same time they help increase employee efficiency and drive down
With stakes this high, quality of applications is critical. Yet
testing professionals and tools steeped in traditional desktop/web
testing environments are playing catch-up with app developers who are
racing ahead with new functions leveraging the power of the most modern
Attend this webcast to learn the strategies and tools you need to maximize mobile app quality:
Key take-aways from this session include:
- Metrics that must be tested and validated before app release
- Benefits and drawbacks of various approaches and tools
- How mobile device clouds can enhance testing results
- The importance of collaboration to quality testing procedures
If you're responsible for overall development and testing
strategy, or are developing mobile apps specifically, this webcast will
deliver the business and technology insights you need to maximize
quality and results in your mobile application strategy.
Software CTO Team,
Software CTO Team
In this two-part podcast we discuss the best practices and comprehensive set of capabilities for enterprise mobile application development and lifecycle management using an agile methodology. This tightly integrated solution—which leverages our open standards-based mobile application platform and ALM capabilities—delivers capabilities targeted at key mobile development lifecycle stages. Teams can use the solution to more easily support multi-tier mobile application development and to develop and deliver high-quality apps more rapidly, successfully and cost-efficiently. In the first part we discuss the challenges faced by application developers and IBM capabilities and in the second part we discuss the best practices for developing mobile applications . Leigh Williamson and Paridhi Verma, speakers.
Also watch the video "Lifecycle Management in Mobile Application Development" to see how Application lifecycle management (ALM) solutions, with collaborative capabilities, help align the development and delivery of mobile applications with business objectives, within budget and time constraints, while meeting customer needs.