Enterprise Mobile Apps Using the .NET Framework
March 11, 2012 :: 2807 Views :: Download PDF:
Is Mobile Taking the Lead?
The race for Enterprise mobility is fast catching up on the race for enterprise availability on desktop browsers. Even before information system vendors and corporate IT departments have got to grips with the security, performance and compatibility issues of the browser architecture, their sights have already shifted to conquering the world through mobile devices.
This mobile mania has nothing to do with gaming apps or social networks, but rather a change in corporate and B2B trends. An example of this is BYOD - bring your own device - a recent paradigm shift rooted in a clearly defined infrastructure to improve business workflows and save big money in the process.
In 2011 5% of enterprise custom applications were available on mobile devices. Industry analysts predict this will rise by almost threefold, bringing the market share to 13% by 2015. Non-mobile SaaS apps are expected to increase their share by a far more moderate one and a half times over the same period.
Enterprise Needs and Challenges
Large corporations' demands of mobile information systems are primarily focused on data security, speed of development, ease of deployment across the organization and costs. The latter is split into software maintenance and development on the one hand and infrastructure running costs on the other, which can vary enormously between different technological solutions.
Most enterprise software for mobiles until now has been distributed in the form of a downloadable application. Perceived by some as being higher performance and better integrated with local device resources than a browser architecture, this approach is restrictive from a cross platform point of view due to different proprietary operating systems - a problem familiar to developers in the desktop environment. Mobile runtime apps additionally suffer from clumsiness and complication of deployment requiring downloading and installation.
HTML5 to the Rescue
HTML5 and the .NET Toolkit
The world of enterprise information systems is still dominated by Microsoft-based software, estimated at 70% of the market share and incorporating millions of developers worldwide. A number of challenges stand before.NET development managers and programming personnel; already under pressure to deploy their existing systems over the internet, maintain them and write new systems, their task load has now been increase with the call to make their systems available on mobile devices and tablets too.
IT managers expecting to find development tools in the Microsoft environment, that will give them an easy path to the mobile world, will find that those dev tools cannot be found in their standard MS toolkit. To build a mobile enterprise application to work on tablets or mobile phones, they face the prospect of engineering their own security methodology and learning the intricacies of browser programming with a very different client-server data binding techniques to those they are familiar with in Visual Studio.
Visual WebGui EnterpriseMobile
In 2012 Gizmox, the creator of Visual WebGui, a .NET-based form-driven development environment, released a mobile version of their flagship product. It takes the approach of post-PC, drag and drop enterprise development for the web and deploys it as a web application for mobile devices, maximizing their benefits and usability as a business tool.
It is, to date, the most mature and complete HTML5 development tool for .NET mobile applications. It's a visual drag-and-drop form designer with a cross-platform HTML5 rendering engine, it is form-factor and device-aware and has a single code base for cloud, web and mobile implementations. Mobile-specific events and actions handled include finger swipe, animated transitions (flyins) and gestures.
That makes EnterpriseMobile a powerful means for handling and even promoting the change in the organization towards a BYOD culture.
Further enhancements expected over the coming months include migration capabilities from VB6 and .NET desktop enterprise systems, PhoneGap and Citrix Receiver support for linking up with device resources, offline working capability and built-in skins and themes.
Such a solution would allow them to leverage the existing workforce and its skillset and get down to the business of writing mobile enterprise software.
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