SOA an ideal enabler for Mobile Web Applications

Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, way for application integration. Indeed many enterprise applications use SOA as their core underpinning by exposing the services provided by their applications and then consuming, or enabling third-party applications to consume these services in a secure and meaningful way. The key to SOA is that the services can be granular, and can be consumed by other applications using Internet standards such as SOAP and XML. SOA enables companies to build compound applications that can invoke specialized services from multiple providers, instead of having to create everything from scratch.
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Web Applications need a new smartphone-friendly User Interface

To understand why Web and SaaS applications need a new smartphone-friendly user interface one has to only look at the remarkable success of the Apple iPhone as compared to the Microsoft’s  Windows Mobile OS in its various reincarnations. Microsoft has been in the mobile OS business for over a decade and has invested heavily in the technology. Over this period it has released successive venison of Windows CE and Windows Mobile OS. It has also partnered with numerous third-party vendors and presumably garnered much insight about the consumer and their needs. Indeed for many years the Microsoft OS platform was one of the leading contenders in the space for high-end smartphones along with RIM BlackBerry and Palm, as the Symbian OS took over the low-end mobile devices. With so much resources, history and partner ecosystem, one would expect that Microsoft would become the dominant OS platform for smartphones, especially the high-end devices that approach the functionality of Personal Computers. Read more

Developing Web Apps that enable Device Change

Smartphone users do not use smartphones only. They use other computing devices such as full-screen laptops/desktops, or half-screen devices such as the Apple iPad and other tablets. Consequently, when working with SaaS or Web applications, smartphone users need a choice of the type of devices they can use. When they are out and about, they prefer to use their smartphones for the convenience of their portability and other advantages. When at home or in their offices, smartphone users do not want to be restricted to the small screen size and keyboard of smartphones. Instead they prefer to use their laptops for its full screen, keyboard and other conveniences. Also as, we noted in a previous blog Dealing with the Discontinuous Work Patterns of Mobile Users, smartphone users work in smaller, discontinuous chunks of time. They might start to do something when out of their office, get interrupted by a phone call or some other event, and get back to the unfinished task later in the day when they would prefer to use their laptop to complete what they started. The bottom line is that for an ideal experience, users need not only the ability to work in discontinuously but also the ability to choose the device that is most suitable for the moment. Read more

Coping with Small Display Size of Smartphones

As I discussed in my previous post Challenges facing Smartphone as a SaaS Client , the small display size of smartphones is the second obstacle that has to be addressed before smartphones can become viable SaaS clients.. There is a vast amount of information out there that is generated by applications and web sites of all types. Presenting this information on a small screen is challenging to say the least, especially when users are becoming accustomed to increasingly large displays and having a lot of information at their fingertips. It is ironic that the very mobility of smartphones which has made them ubiquitous and desirable is what prevents their display size to be increased. Read more

Handling the Diversity of Smartphones

In my last post Challenges facing Smartphones as SaaS Clients I listed five issues that smartphone applications must address before smartphones can become powerful SaaS clients. In this post I dig deeper in to the first of these issues, which is the sheer diversity of smartphones, and discuss the scope of this problem and how software applications might go about addressing it. Read more