I just finished reading yet another article telling me that this is the year of MEAP (Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms) and how the enterprise and developers need to get onboard or be left behind. Now don’t get me wrong, MEAPs are a huge part of the mobility revolution and they are an important aspect of the current deployment of mobile apps within the enterprise. However, I’m really seeing a convergence of the mobility platform with the rest of the enterprise and I am seeing this within our own enterprise today. Every day I get to work with some of the smartest people in the room and they are actively looking for ways to not only join in on but also shape the future of the revolution.
You see, in the very near future it will no longer be acceptable to have an enterprise desktop app and an enterprise mobile app as I’m seeing more and more that the new generation of technology user is expecting to be able to access their data anywhere, anytime and on any device. But what’s more telling is that they are expecting the same interface across their devices, they are not interested in learning a new application just to view their data on a new form factor. Because of this, it is important for IT teams to understand the changing landscape and modify their development to adjust to this shift in thinking. That’s why I think we need to move away from the word MEAP and begin to employ DEAP (Device Enterprise Application Platform) thinking. DEAP thinking takes IT from a siloed approach to an overall approach that provides the development platform no matter what device they are targeting.
Now it’s understood that not all apps can work across all platforms in the same fashion. First off your differing form factors will dictate displays sizing and availability of data. Secondly, most people want quick access to data on their mobile devices where they want the full fledge data (everything but the kitchen sink) on their desktop as porting all that data to the mobile platform becomes very cumbersome.
Because of these differences, IT teams need to create a solid foundation for their development through SOA along with building their apps with the desktop, and not just the mobile device, in mind. Today, many MEAPs support desktop (windows), but most developers are focusing on mobile, not the desktop. They are pushing to create mobile apps that are separate from the desktop, but the convergence of the two over the course of the next few years as consumers demand a unified experience with all the functionality of the desktop on their mobile device without it being cumbersome will cause many of these developers to have to start over and create entirely new apps.
If developers truly want to get ahead of the game, they need to focus on the foundation and not so much the end user interface. If they build with the true mantra of mobility (Any device, any data, any time) then they must also include the desktop. When laying the foundation, developers should look to development tools that are truly device agnostic. One such tool that is having a sort of rebirth is Enyo (the parent of webOS). With Enyo 2.0, the focus has been on a truly device agnostic platform that can span everything from the phone to the desktop. It’s still in its early stages and only time will tell what kind of developer adoption it will see, but I see this group of people developing the Enyo 2.0 framework as truly DEAP thinkers.