Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category
There exist a lot of mobile app development frameworks. Cross-platform tools reduce barriers to entry and democratise app development, by allowing developers from any language (HTML, Java, C++), any background (hobbyist, pros, agencies, corporates) and any skill level (visual designer to hard-core developer) to build mobile apps. Just imagine that by using a cross-platform tool and covering just two platforms such as Android and iOS, you will cover 91% of the whole smartphone market. Sounds appealing:)
PhoneGap and Sencha are the most widespread: they are used by 32% and 30% of cross-platform developers, irrespective of their primary tools. I`m suggesting to have a closer look at PhoneGap which turns to be the most popular tool.
How it works
-The most obvious one is cross-platform capabilities. Currently PhoneGap supports the following platforms: iOS, Android, webOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian OS, Tizen.
-Adjustments can be performed via browser; remote adjustments can be performed on a mobile device via “weinre”.
A blot on the landscape:)
- Users feel uncomfortable when touching a button and it doesn`t work. This is one of the most widespread bugs in PhoneGap apps. This bug appears due to improperly created interface, and it raises the problem of touching. The fact is that we look at the touchscreen at an angle and the visual contact area between the finger and the screen differs from the real contact area. This can be corrected quite simply – proper layout of the app page. For example, the area of response can be made bigger than the button itself.
-Nevertheless this is a cross-platform tool, UI should be optimized for different platforms. But it’s much faster, than creating another native app from scratch;
As you can see, these drawbacks are not quite ‘drawbacks’ in their nature, but rather technical conditions of PhoneGap, which you should consider, like in a usual development process for any other platform.
Certainly, PhoneGap is not a “miracle cure” but can be a good way out if wisely used. And what are your thoughts on PhoneGap?
Despite the fact that Sweden has not always been a welfare state, now it is quite a stable and prosperous country with a good standard of living, a country, which is constantly developing. Let’s see how this development influences IT market, for example.
Sweden is making large annual investments in education and research and it is well-known for its good education level. Development has also come into information and communications technology, where Sweden is one of the leading countries in the world. However, the current problem in labor market is that there is not enough workforce in service companies, information technology, school system and health care sectors. Despite high technology level, Swedish people love their nature and concern for nature is playing a big role in future decisions. That is why Sweden is also putting a lot of effort to improve the environmental technology, which will be one of the most important industries in the future.
- Swedish IT sector
is strongly bound to the development of society. Sweden has many successful companies in IT and telecommunication sector and the companies have a great capacity of innovation. However from 34 000 of companies in Swedish ICT sector are micro enterprises with under 100 000€ turnover.
IT sector can be divided into four sub-sectors: Software and IT services, Tele-and data communications, manufacture of hardware and retail and services of computer . IT sector in Sweden is mostly dominated by the software market. Most of them have specialized in systems software for communications, business systems and applications software for telecommunications.
Software products and IT services earn 32% of the turnover in IT-sector. The growth in the software products and IT services has been very strong. The turnover has increased 32.5% between the year 2005 and 2009. The second in the IT-sector is Telecom and datacom services with 27.3%, manufacture of hardware comes next with 24.5% and the fourth largest is retail and servicing the hardware.
Swedish IT- sector employs about 3.9% of the total Swedish work force. Despite the economic recession, Swedish IT sector has stayed healthy. The main reason of IT sectors welfare is that the companies in Sweden believe that the IT-services and IT-products are essential for survival in the future. IT solutions are the key factor when it comes to make the business more effective and environmentally friendly. That is why the companies are putting effort to develop the IT solutions. Especially environmentally friendly solutions are the focus in the future in Sweden. Almost every company uses computers (97%) and 96% of them have an access to Internet. Internet has increased its significance in doing business.
- Mobile services
Are an increasing trend in business life. Already 60% of all companies are using mobile Internet connections in 2010. Swedish people are interested in a product which can increase their customers’ competitiveness and increase the company’s value for its owners, customers and another interest groups.
Swedish people are open-minded to test new services and products. The good thing is that they might accept the new product or service very easily, but the challenge is to keep the product or service updated. People in Sweden are well educated and they are looking all the time new innovative ways to run the business.
- The majority of companies cost are spent on software research and development. So they are willing to invest on software if they can see the product useful for the business. The most favorable applications are such as ERP, CRM, financial management and information software, on which the companies are spending about 60% of their founds.
-The environmental study concentrated more on macro indicators which means background forces behind the company’s activities such as social, technological, economical and political environment.
-Sweden’s lifestyle and culture form an ideal market place, because they are open-minded to test new services and products. The people are well educated and they are all the time searching for new innovation solutions to run their business. The positive point is that the customers are willing to accept new innovation, but they can also replace it when they can find a better solution. So the major challenge is to keep the product development up.
- Sweden is one of the leading countries in the development of information and communications technology. Almost every company has computer and Internet access and already 60% of all companies had a mobile Internet connection in 2010. So, mobile phones are becoming more and more important on daily business.
- Swedish people are putting a lot of effort to improve the environmental technology, so this “eco” thinking has a strong position in Swedish culture.
- Sweden is making a lot effort to software research and development and they want to be the top leaders in the software markets by 2020.
-The global software leaders Microsoft, International Business Machines (IBM), Oracle and SAP are also leading the Swedish software markets, but they are controlling particular areas of software branch which is why the local companies have also acquired a good position on the market.
-Swedish software and IT services have a larger number of companies than the other sub-sectors, but most of them are small companies.
- IT outsourcing has been a steadily growing part of the Swedish IT market, which is considered to be the largest market within the Nordic region and the 3rd largest in Europe. Every year more Swedish companies decide to outsource. The majority of Swedish companies decide to outsource due to conditions such as a shortage of IT domestic skills and high costs of performing in-house solutions, or a need to re-focus on core competencies. In order to avoid multiplied risks associated to outsourcing.
And what tendencies in Swedish IT market would you like to point out? It is interesting to know your opinion!
Blacklisted apps and password protection issues remain a top security concern for organizations with a mobile workforce.
Password protection and application security are high on the list of security concerns as more organizations move to mobile first and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies.
Creating app blacklists and whitelists
File sharing apps are the most common blacklisted apps in the enterprise. The top five blacklisted apps include Dropbox, SugarSync, Box, Facebook, and Google Drive. Figure A shows the top 10 list of blacklisted iOS and Android apps amongst Fiberlink customers:
The top concern for most corporations is knowing that their data is safe and always in the right hands. Blacklisting can play a role, but we find that there are both right and wrong times to restrict apps. For instance, restricting an app for no reason is a quick way to get your BYOD deployment to backfire. Even corporate-owned devices with blacklisting apps can make employees unhappy.
Right now, blacklisting occurs on 10% of the devices, prohibiting a specific app or apps from running. This means that IT is trying to ensure the intended use of the device and prevent the loss of corporate data, which is considered a major security risk. It’s recommended blacklisting and even whitelisting where appropriate.
Figure B shows the top 10 list of whitelisted iOS and Android apps:
First, define the purpose for creating the blacklist. Many assume that blacklisting is a practice predominantly utilized for security purposes, but businesses also blacklist time-wasting applications — such as Angry Birds — to manage employee productivity. Blacklisting can also help with those apps that dramatically increase data-transfer demands on the network, such as Netflix.
Second, create a rubric for scoring apps or criteria for deciding which apps should be blacklisted. Once it has been decided whether the focus is to compliment security or to decrease distraction among employees, define success criteria and establish the rubric. For example, if the concern is employee productivity, one may want to allow (not blacklist) file-transfer apps similar to Dropbox. But if security is the key driver, Dropbox would typically be blacklisted.
Third, consider whitelisting instead of blacklisting. If security is the main concern, whitelisting is the better option, as it allows businesses to have absolute control over which apps employees are approved to use. With blacklisting, all apps are allowed, except a few that are specifically forbidden — thus, there is more room for employees to work around restrictions and simply utilize apps that aren’t on the blacklist. In that sense, blacklisting is the Maginot line of app security. With whitelisting, on the other hand, only approved apps are allowed to be used and all others are forbidden, which makes for a more secure position, but can be politically difficult to manage in the enterprise.
It is also recommended that the policies must be communicated to the enterprise. In particular, employees need to know why the restrictions have been put in place and how they will benefit the company. Clearly communicating these policies is key to making employees feel comfortable with the restrictions.
Improving password protection over mobile devices
Bellow your may find the following best practices for employee passwords:
- Require employees to create passwords that are at least 10 characters in length and to use the widest character set possible, including alphabetic (upper and lower case), numeric, and special characters (punctuation)
- Mandate that employee passwords not include words or names, because anything that can be found in a dictionary can be cracked in minutes (even when the word is part of the password — like “James123” — it’s easily discovered with modern computing power)
Manage and protect passwords by employing salted password hashing. Hash algorithms are one-way functions that turn passwords into irreversible, randomized letter combinations. The passwords are stored in a form, which is impossible to reverse. When employees create an account and a password, the password is hashed, the hashed result is stored, and the original plain text version of the password is never stored in the system.
When the employee tries to login, the hash of the password they entered is compared to the hash of their password in the database. To further protect the password, the hash is salted. Salt is additional complexity added to the hashing process, so that if two people have created the same password, the two hashed versions stored in the database will be different. With salting, if a hacker figures out one employees’ password, they can’t determine other passwords by looking for matches in the database. Salting also makes the process of reversing a hash much more complicated and time consuming for hackers.
Here are some of best practices for passwords on employee mobile devices:
- Limit the amount of time an employees’ password can exist
- Require users to have different passwords on different devices, accounts, or systems
- Create and enforce a corporate policy that sanctions employees for sharing their passwords with others
Here are best practices for governing passwords:
- Encourage employees to have device-level passcodes. Even if this is for personal benefit and not mandated by IT, employees should have some protection for the personal information on their devices. On some operating systems, creating a passcode also enables encryption.
- Require a passcode to access corporate information, such as corporate e-mail and documents. These passcodes can be more complex than the basic four-digit pin at the device level.
- Enforce advanced passwords when accessing very important information. If an employee is accessing a network resource, like SharePoint or their network folder to access a Word document, you should prompt them for their Active Directory credentials. This goes beyond the security level of a four-digit pin.
- The combined approach of these passcodes and passwords will help ensure the device, data, and apps are protected without being overbearing to the employees.
Hope here you’ve found some good, actionable advice for enterprises of all sizes about implementing application blacklists and whitelists, plus improving password protection over corporate and BYOD mobile devices.
Does your organization have a passcode requirement, or has it implemented mobile app blacklists and whitelists? Describe your experience in the discussion thread below.
There is no doubt that mobile industry is one of the most intensely growing nowadays. Any product that earlier used to be desktop or web is moving towards going mobile. Everyone is taking designing experiences for smaller screens seriously. As for the web, we’re seeing swarms of recently updated sites that are employing responsive design or more mobile-friendly layouts. This is quite critical, especially when you consider that accessing the web from mobile devices is on track to surpass desktop usage in a just a year or two.
With so many mobile apps/sites out there you have to do all it takes to deliver a good mobile product that will be competitive on the market. The key input for success here often is conditioned by the convenience of mobile services. You have to start predicting what the customer wants to see when they try a mobile application or website. The use of mobile context in delivering mobile experience is just one of the big challenges that application developers face. Here’s a number of the most important challenges we see.
1. Mobile Context
There has always been emphasis on context – the idea of being sensitive to where users might be and what they might be doing at the same time that they’re using your app/site. Is a user in line at the grocery store or on the living-room couch? Is a user connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi access, with fast page loads, or an infuriatingly weak Internet connection? Are both of the user’s hands holding the device in landscape orientation, or is the user using only the right thumb to navigate the interface in portrait mode? We have to think about all of this. Basically the customer’s mobile context consists of:
Preferences: the history and personal decisions the customer has shared with you or with social networks.
Situation: the current location, of course, but other relevant factors could include the altitude, environmental conditions and even speed the customer is experiencing.
Attitude: the feelings or emotions implied by the customer’s actions and logistics.
Getting a good contextual awareness will require collecting information from many sources. For instance it could be mobile device itself, the local context of devices and sensors around them an extended network of things they care about and the historical context of their preferences. Gathering this data is a major challenge because it will be stored on multiple systems of record to which your app will need to connect.
2. Device Proliferation
Another challenge facing mobile developers is device proliferation. It looked like mobile app development process was pretty well defined: build your app, make sure it looks pretty on a 4-inch smartphone and a 10-inch tablet, then submit it to an app store. Most app developers prioritized a few popular devices, such as the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S III and the iPad.
It’s not quite that easy now, and it’ll be much tougher in the near future. Picking the most popular devices will become more of a challenge as device types and platforms proliferate. Google and Apple already support tablets of different sizes and, with Windows 8 now shipping, developers can expect to find a whole range of larger touch-sensitive devices, such as Hewlett-Packard’s Envy series.
3. Voice rather than Touch
There are a lot of situations where you would want to build voice input into your app today. For a running or fitness app, a phone is likely to be strapped to a person’s sweaty arm. The same is true while driving. Modern applications are to let people use their devices while keeping their eyes and hands off it.
4. Hybrid Applications
With each release, popular mobile operating systems get better at supporting HTML5 and its attendant APIs. That capability will let companies reuse more code across multiple devices, which will be important in keeping app development costs down taking into account the proliferation of connected devices and form factors.
5. Cloud Powered Mobile Applications
With the power of the cloud, the mobile application market is about to change radically. Several industry analysts predict that mobile applications will gradually move to the cloud and move away from being installed and run directly from the handsets themselves. Instead, cloud powered mobile applications are accessed and executed directly from the cloud through a mobile web browser interface and several technologies facilitating this change are already available. HTML5, for example, is necessary for enabling caching on the handset, so that users will experience uninterrupted service levels despite fluctuations in network service delivery.
Cloud powered mobile applications are not limiting their choice to one platform. Application developers also have real advantages from mobile cloud computing. The largest benefit is that it allows them to have access to a larger market. This means developers will have a much wider market which means they can bypass the restrictions created by mobile operating systems. But with greater developers’ power comes greater responsibility for security and performance. Expect more developers to be on call for application support in the new model, using triage to handle defects and investigate degradation to production services. Those tasks have traditional been the domain of systems administrators. Expect IT operations personnel to become integrated into development teams and to start their work at the inception of an idea.
I think the challenges mentioned are some of the most important ones. What are the challenges you have already faced in the mobile development? Even more interesting to hear about the challenges you are envisaging for the near future! As usual many thanks for sharing your thoughts!