Mobile Application Development

03.01.2013

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I recently had a chance to read through a survey on mobile application development and unlike many I have read, this covered an area of the market that is really interesting to me.

The reason I liked this survey,  Mobile Application Development Survey conducted by King Research, was its focus. As opposed to drilling into mobile security and management concerns, a common and popular topic in the enterprise, it looked at how enterprise architects and developers plan to make mobile devices useful. It was geared towards capturing how corporations are investing in making the mobile user a productive mobile worker.

A few things that were not surprising in the data:

  • Apple products were the most supported devices for application development in the enterprise — both iPhone and iPad respectively.
  • Development for mobile devices is getting funding.
  • The use of mobile devices is expected to impact the enterprise with internal employees, partners, and customers.

But, if you read through the data presented, you can pull out some interesting trends that aren’t obvious to all. Buried in the data was a question that pointed out that more than half of the respondents say their mobile applications will be dependent on existing applications.

This is interesting as it hints that mobile applications in the enterprise are more about allowing users to do what they already do, but just doing it with mobile devices. Take-away:workers will work more if you let them. Now, combine this with the results on preferred development styles and you will see a strong integrated development trend.

On the topic of preferred mobile development styles, three areas stood strongly apart from the rest: Java, HTML5, and Web apps / services. Now this is something worthy of exploration.

Think about it. When the most popular answer for mobile development is Java (over 50%), and it doesn’t even run on the most popular mobiledevices cited in this survey, you must either think the respondents don’t know what they are talking about, or there is more to it than running the applications on the devices themselves. Of course, the answer is that integrated multi-platform applications are the target.

This is easier to see when you also look at the other two popular areas of development focus: HTML5 Web apps / services. That can only mean Java is the application on the server and HTML5, and Web services are being used to allow their access by the mobile device. With the popularity of app stores and the huge selection of mobile specific applications, this is easy to lose sight of. But to the enterprise, the key is simply building applications that leverage the work already being done, in a way that is less device-dependent and more flexible. This makes sense to me. Of course I must admit that we take a very similar approach with our Verastream and MobileNow offerings.

What are you doing to make applications mobile-capable?

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