Mobile Device App
Members discuss their strategies for development of mobile applications
November 2011 session.
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*Please note that this is a transcript of an audio conference and it may contain misspellings and grammatical er
The names of participants have been abbreviated, and their organizations have been deleted from this transcript.
platform development tools
Security considerations for iPads/iPhones
Small shop MDM
AT&T’s Toggle device
Androids vs. iPads/iPhones
ld nuggets from participants
NOREX WebForum Transcript
Mobile Device Application
November 8, 2011
I wanted to start with a poll, just to get a sense of how many people on the
call might have experience with mobile application development at this time.
It looks like the majority are still in the evaluation mode, with a handful of the
participants currently doing some development, and
about one fourth
of the participants
in the planning mode, and a few just do not know at this point.
platform development tools
Barry, you are asking about the viable candidate architectures for mobile device cross
platform development. So, you want to develop on a number of different platforms such
as iPad and Android and maybe Microsoft as well?
Yes, that is true. We are looking at a broad deployment even outside the
company. So, what options would exist, and compatible options?
OK. How did you respond to this poll, Barry?
OK. Who can tell
us what the options are for mobile device development? I
know there is Appcelerator, there is PhoneGap, and there are others. Those of you who
are currently developing, what are you using
Domino, WebWorks, and
. We use our Domino server for our data.
We use WebWorks for Eclipse, and Valtus to deploy Blackberry applications. Valtus
ws us to turn the Domino data and design into Java files that we can then deploy to
Blackberry. Same thing with WebWorks.
Are your devices primarily Blackberry?
At this time, yes. But, we are also evaluating other mobile solutions for
Is Valtus only for Blackberry?
I am not positive. I could not tell you that. I know we are using it for
We are developing with Blackberry today, just like Kendra mentioned. We are
looking at other cross platform development solutions as well. So, right now, we are at
the point in time where we are evaluating which one to kind of test out and do a proof o
concept on. We are looking at Appcelerator, PhoneGap, a pure HTML5 solution with
best(?) services on the back end, Titanium, and Sencha(?). Those are the ones we are
OK. Is Appcelerator different from Titanium?
I am no
t sure. We are just starting to put our matrix together, to see what each
one provides from a feature functionality perspective.
Topic: Product comparison
for information on this topic and found this
(the text and
revised after the WebForum and
includes a product not mentioned during the
session, Adobe Air for mobile)
In addition to one other commercial platform I did not fully assess (too
expensive), I looked at
Adobe Air for mobile
are free to use frameworks for centralized mobile development. The gist is to be
create apps for multiple devices off the same code base. With iPad & Blackberry
support, speed to market, and the ability to use Contacts & Multitouch as my critical
points, I began digging.
Adobe Air for
Adobe Air requires Android 2.2+
Adobe Air creates iOS apps with the
Appcelerator support is currently beta.
Appcelerator support is currently beta.
is a 3rd party attempt for PhoneGap.
Native UI support
PhoneGap and Adobe Air both require 3rd party
libraries. PhoneGap has
UIControls for PhoneGap
Adobe Air has
Native code support
PhoneGap has 3rd party libraries on Github:
Deploy without Mac?
Adobe Air uses the
Packager for iPhone/iPad
IDE & Tools
Appcelerator has no current IDE, but recently acquired
web view control
HTML, JS, CSS
Appcelerator also uses PHP, Ruby, and Python for
desktop app development
$2,189 per year
Adobe offers no professional mobile support for apps,
just their products.
Beyond the overall support structure of the frameworks I wanted to get into the specific device API functionality. This was
a little harder to track down, but the list here should be accurate as of the writing of this post. As I said earlier, c
and multitouch were the only criticals, but I wanted to know what else these frameworks offered. I’m assuming anyone
reading this far would find this information valuable as well.
Adobe Air for
Not yet supported Adobe Air for iPhone/iPad
File System IO
All support SMS via the “sms:” URL prefix.
PhoneGap cannot record sounds. Adobe Air
cannot record sound for iPhone/iPad
Adobe Air cannot record video for
That’s what I’ve got so far. Let me know if
and when some of these assessments change. I’m also eager to hear other
people’s thoughts. Feel free to chime in.
The long and short of my recommendations:
Go Adobe Air if performance isn’t critical and you have AS3 experience. The tools and workflow for
using pure AS3
or Flex Hero make turning out mobile apps very smooth. Watch out for performance, particularly on iOS.
Go PhoneGap if you needed the widest range of support for devices. If you need it to run everywhere, this is your
framework. Beware of the
less than stellar documentation and wiki, though.
Go Appcelerator everything else. The native UI and ability to access native code is a big win. Also, the community,
IDE, and documentation are top notch.
Appcelerator was my choice in the end, but that doe
So, those are the pros and cons from Ton
in his blog. Matt has asked
taking to develop and deliver enterprise mobile
applications? You suggest native apps versus HTML versus application accelerators
such as Appcelerator and PhoneGap. The items that I just put up there, was that kind of
new to you? Or were you already aware
of those main points, Matt?
Some of that is new, but some of them I was familiar with. Definitely because I
am working with internal developers here, I have both sides of the spectrum. There are
pure mobile developers on the Java side, and web de
velopers as well, as they have an
interest from a marketing side. So, they are very familiar with CSS. So, both prefer one
over the other. But, that is a nice summary. I like that. I am going to share that with the
These options, Appceler
ator and PhoneGap, are sort of cross platform
tools that would work on the major devices, Blackberry, Apple,
? Is that
Yes. It is more rapid application development. You know, from an enterprise
perspective, I am looking for mos
tly internal applications that we can share with our
employees. So we want to keep the cost of producing these apps low, but also have a
good experience. In some of the proof of concepts that we have done, you can get a lot
out of an HTML5 or an accelerato
On an iPad, for instance, you still have the finger swipe, you still have some of the rich
capabilities, and persistent storage on the device, that you would originally think that
you can only get that from a native app. So, from a marketing p
erspective, I think most
of them are going apps, so you can get it into the App Store. It has that rich, robust, and
So, I think most organizations are going to have to pick and choose. I think, you know,
from an external pers
pective, if you are creating apps and pushing them out to
customers or end users, you probably want to think about native more than anything,
even though there is a higher cost of producing those apps. So, that is where we are at
en, you also asked about these products. What do you know at this
Actually, not much more than what you guys just covered in the previous few
slides. Basically, the questions or the things to consider that you mentioned in the slide,
is sort of how far we got in the process. We have gone back and forth debating, do
we go with the more native app development, or do we just go with HTML5. So, I was
hoping that maybe someone else has had the experience and could weigh in one way
Yes, it seems like we have got a lot of people on the call that are trying to
make that decision.
We are evaluating a product. I do not know if there are any other Domino
people out there, but we are looking at a tool to
deploy to multiple platforms using a tool
called Teamstudio Unplugged. So, I do not know if there are any Domino people, but
that is the tool that we are looking at for rolling out at least Notes(?) type of databases to
Any other Domino folks on the call?
We are also looking at HTML5 apps as well, as well as native apps. So, we
are kind of doing a mix of things there.
, Kendra, it does n
ot sound like there are any other Domino users on
the call. But I know we have them in the group, so we can find some folks for you to talk
to. I got a chat from Blaise. What is MonoTouch?
It has enabled the C
shop that I have done to write
programs on the iPhone
and Android. I have not used it so far, but I am looking at it to see if anyone in the
meeting has already made some progress. I wanted to know more about it.
Does anybody else on the call have knowledge or experience with
Here is a topic from Daniel, developing apps for iPad. Now,
we will get a little bit more specific here, talking just about the iPad. Daniel, what are you
trying to develop? Where are you in the project?
Topic: iPad application development
Well, currently right now, we are just about to implement to some of our
sales agents on the field throughout the U.S. We were looking at, what are the best
ractices used by others, I guess, to distribute them or to pass them out to the users,
especially if they are remote. The best practices for that, and how to train them on how
to best use it, things like that. We are just starting out. We are just looking
at this, and I
am just looking to see what other people can offer.
We understand, from an iPad perspective, if you have an enterprise license
and you are developing an in
house app, you can deploy them by putting the final
package on a web server
inside your company behind the firewall. Then, you need to be
able to send your employees who have the iPad a link to get there, whether it is through
VPN or whether you make it publically accessible.
Then, that will download the application to their de
vice. You know, you sign each app if
you build it with a license key, essentially, allowing only specific users to be able to run
that app on the iPad. So, the deployment of iPad apps from an internal perspective is
different than the App Store concept
t we are all familiar with.
Topic: Security considerations
That is helpful, Matt. Thank you.
Let’s move to the topic of security.
being used in conjunction with applications to protect
the data being stored on the device? This also goes with the consumerization of IT. If
people bring their personal devices into corporate America, how are they protecting
those devices from an enterpr
ise perspective, so that employee data or company data
is not being leaked out to third party devices or to the web, essentially.
So, we are looking at
solutions and creating a dynamic VPN tunnel using Juno’s
Pulse, and there are other clients out th
ere. So, I am just trying to ping the group here to
see who is doing it, who has done it, you know, what other considerations to encrypt the
data, to protect the data, or not even putting the data on the device, keeping it purely in
the backend systems whe
re it belongs.
If you do the VPN route, will you still have the need for a mobile device
management tool, say, like MobileIron or Good or something like that? Are these
Yes, I think they are different. But, you do not need both, but I think we are
looking at both. It depends on what your needs are as a company.
We are evaluating
those same solutions for Android and for iPhones, iPads,
things of that nature, Apple devices. So, we are in this mix, too, of the MDM and the
VPN, figuring out the best solutions there. But, as far as Blackberry, you know, a lot of
that is handled in the
application, deploying that, as well as through the BES. The BES
protects things as well. It is basically your tunnel into the data.
The MobileIron solution provides the ability to enable policies and content
filters on individual devices. We al
so use Jump program for VPN access.
Topic: Developing online educational courses
Let’s move to
the next topic from Lorna
, which was submitted by Lorna
What are the best applications for developing online courses for mobile application
deployment. Lorna, t
ell us what you are trying to do?
Well because we are an
educational institution we have a lot of courses
some are for our current students and some are for
perspective students. So
we are trying to look at the best types of
for deploying mobily. W
at is I know t
hat soft track has now moved away from Flash to a JAVA
___ for their c
ourse applications and we have been experimenting with deploying it
So this is sort of an industry specific thing in the education community?
One comment that I would like
to make is I met recently with
He has created a community out there. It has been recognized
by Google as one of the
10 most influential in the country.
By the way the guy is 20 years old.
He started one of
those young movements about the iPads and things like that.
There have been a couple
of articles written about him.
I think because his focus is educat
ion he gives lectures. He has gone to Tanzania. He
has gone to several different places in the country. Verizon I think hired him for a couple
of lectures in this regard. He may be someone that you would need to check.
Topic: Security considerations for
Thank you and again Lorna we will reach out to some of the other
and put you
and you can brainstorm on that.
Roque, we just had your topic up a minute ago on security concerns of iPads. We didn’t
get much reaction but
try it again now that you are on. What are your thoughts
regarding security around the i
We are piloting. We gave the dev
ice to a few senior execs. The adoption
say out of ten people only two say; you know I am still struggling with this. The
other eight, they would shoot you if you tried
take it away from them. So the idea is I
think it is a point of no retur
n. The problem is; can you secure it. From an IT point of
view I don’t know if that question has been answered yet.
n previous sessions I believe that the general consensus was that the i
vices are more secure than the A
ndroid or at least
the tools that we have been talking
about; Mobile Iron, Good, are able to provide some level of security for the i
not necessarily the Androids at this point. Can anyone on the call chime in here and
validate that? That is just my sense of what
I have heard at previous discussions with
My belief is that this device is going to be targeted, by all of the hackers and
people who like to do these kinds of things and have the time for it, like no one else, like
. If you are going to support it because it is a device that opens to so much
imagery, so many possibilities, I think that the framework for security is still to come. It is
still to new even the IT
out there have not been able to adapt to it y
Are people exploring secure app development on Android power devices or are
they too vulnerable to security threats? If secure applications are being
are they bei
g secured? Is anybody doing app development on android devices?
Jim, are you supporting Android devices in your organization?
We don’t actually support them in the organization. I was just kind of possibly
pursuing them for the future to see if they are actually viable or if i
Pads are the only
Well we are not hearing much today. It is common knowledge that with the
Android there is a big security question there. Matthew, what is this website that you just
forwarded to me. I am going to send it out to everybody but while I am
doing that why
don’t you tell us what it is.
informational article about iOS5 (iPad/iPhone) and ECRM
It is an older article that talks about how Blackberry Enterprise Solutions is
going to provide an MDM solution for iOS and Android. It is a little dated but it is
esting to see where they are at now, I guess.
Topic: Small shop MDM
to the topic of mobile device management, what tools are mid
Danny, have you looked at any of these?
No because I really wouldn’t consider our company mid
sized. We are more
of a small. The one we are using is the Apple iPhone configuration
which is able
to be used for iPads as well.
So the Mobile Iron and Good might be just more than you need? It is not
practical for you?
Any other suggestions for an organization that is not
to look at
one of these full blown Cadillac
of solutions for m
obile device management? Any
other smaller companies on the call confronted with the same question?
Topic: iPhone configuration Utility
I would definitely take a look at the iPhone configuration utility. It has a lot of
different features where you
can require passcodes and change your settings
. That is
what I was going to use for us but as far as best practices how to tune (?) out to the
users is where we are looking at right now.
I agree about the iPhone configuration tool however it is not multi
What about the
usage of iCloud. Are you allowing the syncing that it
enables? Does anyone have knowledge of iCloud that you can share?
: There are security risks and
limitations on data backup.
With iCloud you also get duplicates. If it goes through the
sometimes you will get that.
Topic: AT&T’s Toggle device
Here is an additional topic from Rick. Has anyone had any experience with
Toggle and AT&Ts acquisition of this platform? It is a cloud based device platform. Is
mobile device management tool, Rick?
Yes, it is.
OK, I hadn’t heard of that one.
new. It just happened. My understanding is it does not support the
iPhones yet. It only supports android.
Does anybody know anything about the Toggle in addition
what he just
K, well that is new. Toggle supports Android. We will look into that. I would
imagine that the marketplace is going to be seeing a lot of new mobile device tools
coming out. AT&T jumped on that one. They see potential no doubt for getting ahead of
e on Android. Thanks for
that one Rick. It gives everyone something to
Topic: Androids vs. iPads/iPhones
Why don’t we talk for a minute about the kind of pressure you are getting for Androids in
a corporate sense. Is anyone supporting
them yet or allowing them?
I definitely would prefer an iPad over an
. I have dealt with Android cell
phones on my personal side and I don’t see it as stable as an iPad or iPhone. I guess
that is with Apple being so restrictive but most developers don’t like Apple being so
Something to keep in mind
is that malware is moving the direction of
smartphone and mobile devices as the innate security on the most popular, particularly
iOS/Android, as they don't have native security features like firewalls or anti
Here are two articles with mor
Android's open marketplace makes them easier targets for malware. It's a
engineering scheme, but your average user isn't going to read user agreements
or other app specifications before downloading, and they often don't know what to look
How to Encrypt Your Smartphone
Info about Toggle, an AT&T service being developed for Android to have two separate
personas on the sa
me device, such as a personal and work personal
"Symantec Unveils Mobile Security and Management Strategy for Enterprises,
Consumers, and Communication Service Providers"
From June '11, Symantec white paper on iOS
"Mobile Malware Reality Check"
Copyright 2011, by NOREX, Inc.
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Prior Lake, MN 55372 The opinions expressed in this
NORVIEW are those of NOREX members, not necessarily those of NOREX, Inc.
Gold nuggets from participants
The fact that
companies are looking at iphone and maybe android devices
We're not in a position to develop mobile apps at this time, but we know it is a direction
we will have to go in the future.
platform development tools like Appcelerator, PhoneGap &
good to know about.
Toggle platform to manage Android devices at work.
feature was good to know about.