Posts

Chatty Apps plus SOA: reaching the holy grail of business applications

All enterprise and business applications face the challenge of “last mile personalization”.  These applications are designed on the “80% Rule” which means that they do 80% of what the typical customer wants and leave the remaining 20% to customization, or have the customer do without it.  Trying to deliver software that does 100% of what every customer wants is impractical, not only from a software development and maintenance cost perspective but also because customer requirements constantly change. Achieving 100% of a moving target is impractical. It is the pot of gold at the end the rainbow which no one has been able to reach. Read more

Web Apps are Becoming the New Legacy Apps

A decade ago at the turn of the century the dotcom bubble was at its peak. Web applications of the day provided by “application service providers” were in vogue, and relegating well-established client/server applications to the category of legacy applications. These hosted Web applications became the modern applications and architecture, and billions of dollars were invested creating the bubble in which counting eyeballs became far more important than counting revenue. The dotcom crash of 2001 brought much-needed sanity to the industry. The name gradually changed from ASP or dotcom to the much more prosaic software-as-a-service, and business models that valued revenue and paying customers rather than fleeting eyeballs became the vogue again. Web applications matured and SaaS became the fastest growing business model starting sometimes in the middle of the current decade. With this maturity, the Web application architecture became the leading architecture even though the client/server model continued to play an important role. Read more

2dWhy Smartphone Apps need HTML5

In my previous post “The Rise of App Stores: Software Industry in Regression?” I discussed the reasons why the very successful app stores of major smartphone vendors are taking the software industry back to a model which does not bode well for innovation in the industry or for the consumer. There are three problems with the app store model. First, app stores sell proprietary software that only works on the app store owner’s platform. Proprietary applications are more expensive for the developer as well as the consumer. Second, app stores give a lot of control to the app store owner to decide which apps will be offered and which will not. This control is likely to be abused and some, like Adobe, claim that it is already being abused. Lastly, proprietary applications create a major support and maintenance problem for companies who wish to deploy their solutions across platforms. Not only does the app have to be developed for each platform, but it also has to be registered on each. Indeed, whenever there is a simple bug fix or a complex upgrade the app has to be modified for all the platforms, re-registered with the app stores of each platform, and downloaded by the smartphone user. All this adds to increased cost and delays Read more

Chunking Increases the Responsiveness of Smartphone Web Apps

More than other software applications, speed is the key to great user experience of mobile apps. Faster and more responsive applications result in better user experience as compared to those with a sluggish response. In the age of the Internet, speed and responsiveness have become even more important because of the short attention span and the need for instant gratification of the millions of users. If a Web site or application does not respond quickly the typical user is likely to go to the next choice unless there is a compelling reason for the user to stay on the site. Read more

Making Mobile Web Apps Suitable for Discontinuous Working Patterns

Mobile users, by definition, are on the move. That is why they need a mobile device instead of being content with their desktops and telephones which can do far more than a smartphone. Mobile users are often interrupted. They can lose connections, get a phone call, or need to focus on some other pressing issue. Unlike users at home and or in the office, mobile users generally do not have a lot of time to focus on completing a task. Even the time that they have for any given task is unpredictable because they often cannot foresee when they will be interrupted. To cope with this, mobile users must be able to work in small, discontinuous chunks of time. The typical work pattern is that they start a task, change focus to something else when interrupted, and then come back to the task at some later time. So the task gets done in small chunks spread over of time. This is one reason why Chat/Instant Messaging, which is ideally suited for working in small, discontinuous chunks of time, is by far the most popular smartphone application. Read more