IBM Mobile First- MBaaS, Big Data and Then Some for Enterprise

| by Martin Monroe Follow 0 Followers on Apr 09, 2013. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

IBM has assembled a comprehensive system, suite, or as they describe it, a portfolio of applications whereby enterprises can catch up to today’s current mobile computing trends. Mobile First is designed to enable enterprise to get their share of the billions of dollars that the firm maintains is being left on the table by the organizations that are not gearing up for this trend.

Mobile First’s primary development platform, based on HTML5, CSS3 and Apache Cordova, is called Worklight Studio. Worklight Studio is an IDE that works with Eclipse to create all of the needed code for a complete mobile web app or for an OS specific app such as Android, iOS and Blackberry. It features numerous adapters for enabling back end connectivity like access to AT&T’s cloud based API’s. Some are preconfigured while others can be made by developers themselves using SQL or HTTP.

Worklight Studio sports integration of Java Script libraries JQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch and Dojo Toolkit. Mobile devs can thus save a lot of time by incorporating their existing code assets. Its app creation wizard allows for the easy selection of these types of libraries.

It also includes a flexible authentication framework that can be based either on; forms, cookies, HTTP headers or adapters. For do it your self-ers, the Authentication Configuration Editor also allows for the creation of a custom framework.

Many additional tools are offered that run the gamut of mobile development solutions. IBM’s mantra for Mobile First might best be described as, ‘if you can’t beat them, acquire them.’ Nearly a dozen of the cogs that make up this diverse collection of mobile tools and services are the fruits of such takeovers.

By definition, enterprise is generally fixed, relatively immovable and slow to embrace large-scale changes, exactly the changes that IBM says are not an option but a necessity. There is probably no more stalwart bastion of enterprise than IBM. So when they preach to the choir that mobile is first, it carries some authority. With Mobile First IBM is telling enterprise to wake up and smell the coffee.

So it’s somewhat ironic that the indispensable nature of mobile is based on big data. Such is the dichotomy of the new mobile computing mindset. In IBM’s vision of putting mobile first, the companies that have not yet retooled their enterprises to accommodate mobile device users will be the losers.

For midsized and small developers, going mobile IBM’s way will not be cheap.  For others the benefit of IBM’s expertise and deep feature set may prove a wise investment. Every large enterprise will have its detractors. Such as gigaom commenter Darth Vader’s Mentor:

IBM Consulting…..where a $500K problem caused by $300 devices turns into a $15 million consulting bill with vendor lock-in through proprietary APIs and the offshore help can’t get anything done. 

Just like in the Graduate, all of tech-dom, in case they have been residing under that proverbial rock of late, is hereby put on notice that the future is in one word, mobile. Unlike its PC DOS oversight, this is one bandwagon that IBM isn’t going to miss out on.

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The problem is JavaScript by Faisal Waris

While Worklight has some nice features, it essentally requires JavaScript to run on both ends.

I don't think JavaScript is the way to go for enterprise development.

True you can integrate existing Java code but still much of the work needs to happen in JavaScript.

Server side integration by PAwel Krol

What about server-side&backend integration ? Recently tried Antenna Chroma - looks promising especially in s-s integration, store&forward

Re: Server side integration by martin monroe

Hello PAwel Krol,

Thanks for your comment. Here's some info about IBM's Mobile First's solutions to server-side & backend integration

IBM Worklight Server - The Java-based Server is a scalable gateway between applications, external services, and the enterprise backend infrastructure. The Server contains security features to enable connectivity, multi-source data extraction and manipulation, authentication, direct update of web and hybrid apps, analytics and operational management functions.

Best regards,
Martin Monroe
InfoQ Mobile Editor

Re: The problem is JavaScript by martin monroe

Hi Faisal Waris,

Thank you for commenting.

While "IBM Worklight includes an optimization framework to enable the delivery of a rich user experience that adheres to the unique capabilities and styling requirements of multiple mobile target environments and helps maximize the sharing of the codebase among environments." perhaps that is the dues devs must pay for a write once, deploy to all system.

What alternatives would you recommend?

Martin Monroe
InfoQ Mobile Editor

what is this mean? by yurong liao

Just like in the Graduate, all of tech-dom, in case they have been residing under that proverbial rock of late

what is this mean?i don't understand

Re: what is this mean? by martin monroe

Hello yurong liao,

Thank you for commenting.

The statement about one residing under 'that proverbial rock' refers to someone that is very out of touch with the latest news...

If you view the short youtube clip that is linked, you see the young dustin hoffman being advised in the movie 'The Graduate' at his graduation party that the future on the career front, (at that time, in the 1960's), is, in one word, in 'plastics'.

Fast forward that to today. The future in today's job market, is in one word, in 'mobile', app development.

As evidenced by the following link that shows that IBM is hiring for multiple positions...

"IBM Research-Austin has multiple positions (permanent and postdoc, fresh PhDs or experienced professionals) for world class researchers in the following research areas:

Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)and in Mobile applications"

Please consider it to be some friendly career advice! :)

Best regards,
Martin Monroe
InfoQ Mobile Editor

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