Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Wireless, Java, Microservices Journal

Wireless: Blog Feed Post

Is Write Once Run Anywhere Ever Going to Be a Reality?

Development Challenge Remains the Same

The interest in mobile applications started towards the end of last millennium! Since then, as the saying goes, lot of water has flown under the bridge. The technology scenario has changed beyond recognition. None of the platforms which are popular today was in existence when we started our mobile journey. In fact, if you look back, you will find that every three years there is a churn in among the popular platforms. One of the top 3 popular mobile platforms will lose out to an upstart and a new leader also emerges.

Three Year Technology Churn Cycle
Three years back we were still talking about 5 platforms (iPhone, RIM, Symbian, Windows and JME) apart from mobile web. Though iPhones had started becoming popular, features phones accounted for majority of the market. In the enterprise Blackberry (RIM) still ruled. Outside the US, Symbian based Nokia devices were by far the most popular devices. Android was still in the realm of emerging technologies with interesting possibilities but no market share. HTML5 was something that was expected to happen somewhere in the distant future. iPad simply did not exist!

Fast forward three year to now. Android has emerged from nowhere to become the top selling handset in the US. Nokia has thrown in the towel and decided to exit from the OS game (abandoning both Symbian & MeeGo) and has tied up with Microsoft for all future devices. RIM is tottering and fast losing its market share. Windows Mobile is almost dead; long live Windows Phone. HTML5 is being adopted by everybody for mobile devices much ahead of the release of the formal standard which will take many more years to be formally released. Even Adobe has decided to abandon Flash for mobile and adopt HTML5. All platform providers like handset manufacturer, operating system providers and mobile service provider have created their own app store. Some of them are hugely successful while others barely managing to survive.

The Development Challenge Remains the Same
Though, in the last 10 years, technology has changed beyond recognition the main challenge has remained the same. It has been, currently is and expected to be in the foreseeable future remains to be platform fragmentation. That means, every enterprise which plans to develop mobile application has to figure out a way of building application for multiple platforms and minimize the overhead of doing so. Maintaining multiple code based, that to in different programming language, has always been complicated and expensive proposition.

There have been many attempts to create a WORA platform but none has really succeeded. WORA stands for Write Once Run Anywhere. Some progress was made in the pre iPhone era where platforms were getting developed which could support majority of the feature phones. It tackled the challenge of different screen size and varying user interaction standard reasonably well.

However the popularity of smart phones like iPhone and Android ensured that such tools are no longer usable. First reason is that Apple refused to allow any application which uses a runtime engine like Flash. Second the reason is the sea difference between the style of user interface between a feature phone and a touch based smart phone. It was simply impossible to create an interface which will look good on a smart phone and run in a feature phone.

Other option has always been to stick only to a mobile website and not build any native application. Though, a mobile website also has to take care of the variation of browser and screen size, the challenge is still manageable. However, three major drawback of a mobile website is:

  1. They could not access or take advantage of the native mobile capability like camera,
  2. An internet connectivity is a must for the applications to run, and
  3. They did not have the look and feel of the native application, especially on the iPhone

Therefore, every enterprise faced a dilemma and depending on the business requirement some tradeoff had to be made.

The Rise of the Hybrid Application
This challenge has led to a new class of application which is called the hybrid application. The core idea is to create a native application which has screen with an embedded browser instance. Now, standard mobile web pages could be rendered in that browser instance.

There are techniques available for the web page instantiated in the browser control to interact with the parent application. There are techniques available to package the web page along with the application. With this, the challenge of accessing the native mobile features and the challenge of offline working is resolved. The challenge of making the application look like a native application can be handled through suitable HTML, CSS and JavaScript programming.

Several platforms have evolved to make the task of creating hybrid application simpler. However, this technology is still evolving and need s to stabilize. There are issues around performance and the robustness of the browser control.

Is the Tablet Same as Smartphone?
The development environment for the smartphone and the tablet is similar. iPhone and iPad share the same development platform and language. Same is true for the Android based devices. However, the usage pattern clearly demarcates them as two different classes of device.

An application written for a smartphone with minor modification will work on a tablet but it would not be optimized for the tablet. Larger screen size implies that the more content can be presented to the user and the user interaction can be much richer. Consequently, many applications which could be inconvenient to use on a smartphone becomes very usable on a tablet. There are many candidate applications for a tablet but for an enterprise BI applications and enterprise dashboard tops the list.

Where Will the Next Disruption Come From?
History has taught us that it is always very difficult to predict when and where the next technology disruption will come from. However, it is also the favorite pastime of all technology analysts to make such predictions. Before iPhone was launched, did anybody make a prediction that within a short period of 4 years smartphones based of touch screens will become the de-facto standard? Before iPad was launched did anybody predict that within two years tablets will emerge as a separate class of computing device?

Here are three possibilities:

  1. Tablet usage expands to significantly eat into the desktop and laptop usage
  2. Voice technology becomes robust and usable enough to offer a new dimension to user interface design
  3. The Metro UI from Microsoft effectively manages to create a uniform container for application to run in smartphone, tablet and desktop

If any one of the three possibilities becomes a reality there will be huge demand for new and revamped applications.

Only point that we need to keep in mind is that all those applications will be UI centric – are you working on your UI skills?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
Google

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Collecting data in the field and configuring multitudes of unique devices is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that can stretch IT resources. Horan & Bird [H&B], Australia’s fifth-largest Solar Panel Installer, wanted to automate sensor data collection and monitoring from its solar panels and integrate the data with its business and marketing systems. After data was collected and structured, two major areas needed to be addressed: improving developer workflows and extending access to a business application to multiple users (multi-tenancy). Docker, a container technology, was used to ...