Guide: Maximize mobile services, SOA and mobile app development

Maximize mobile services, SOA and app dev futures

Widespread adoption of mobile applications is driving changes -- shifting toward mobile back ends -- in development, and popularizing new application integration and delivery models such as REST APIs and app stores.

In 2012, mobile disruption seemed to widen its scope and expand its reach -- right into the developer departments of many organizations. Mobile trends such as app stores and open APIs brought about a new, consumer-centric direction for developers and enterprise IT planners. To meet the scalability demands of mobile, some development teams turned to approaches such as representational state transfer (REST) and Backend as a Service (BaaS). At the same time, many developers and application architects were forced to learn new skill sets -- from front-end design to HTML5 -- in order to succeed in a mobile setting.

Widespread adoption of mobile applications is at the root of these changes in development, and it shows no signs of decline. Industry analyst group Gartner Inc. predicts that more than 73 billion mobile applications will be downloaded in 2013, and Gartner estimates that that number will nearly quadruple to 287.9 billion by 2016. Couple those numbers with the rising tide of IT consumerization--  the blending of personal and business use of technology devices and applications -- and a powerful trend emerges.

According to Jeff Schulman, group vice president and team manager at Gartner, traditional architectures, integration approaches and mobile app development mindsets are becoming "increasingly obsolete.". Schulman's observation played out in 2012 through a series of mobile-driven events that challenged the app dev status quo, such as Oracle's API-copyright lawsuit against Google, the battle between Web and native browsers, and the RESTful versus SOAP-style services debate.

Anticipating more mobile upheaval, experts say there are steps development teams can take to adapt their application strategies to mobile requirements heading into 2013. "The mobile world is moving so quickly that it's hard to keep up," said Rob Daigneau, custom application development practice lead at Slalom Consulting and former director of architecture for "But there are certain approaches, trends and patterns that you can identify as part of that movement."

This one-page guide brings together expert advice on the top mobile application and service development strategies of the past year. In addition to definitions of key mobile terms, it provides best practices on integrating mobile apps, navigating the HTML5-native debate and managing legacy applications in today's mobile era. From an in-depth look at BaaS to an overview of how mobile has changed integration architecture, development team leaders will gain insight into the latest in mobile app development with this collection of content.

Table of contents:

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Mobile middleware

2012 was a year of transition for mobile middleware, the software that connects disparate mobile applications. Back end as a Service (BaaS) emerged as an alternative, bringing cloud services architecture to back-end processing. With BaaS, the role of the developer shifts: No longer do front-end developers need to build out their own back ends. Instead, BaaS provides the back end, along with the integration of back-end services. This set of articles explores the new approach -- and what it signals for the future of mobile development.

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BaaS takes mobile middleware to the cloud

BaaS approach aims for more scalability, less lock-in

A look at the new -- but growing -- BaaS market

Integrating mobile apps

Mobile is just one of many technology trends that are changing the complexion of application integration, but it's arguably the most disruptive: While cloud computing, social and "big data" have also impacted integration, they are all less widespread than mobile. Over the past few years, new technologies and integration approaches have arisen to address the unique requirements of integrating mobile apps. As these strategies gain traction, they alter traditional integration mindsets. The following articles explain how.

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Gartner: More collaboration for better app integration

REST APIs gain sway in application integration design

Mobile, cloud and REST drive new integration architecture

Mainframes and legacy applications

As more and more companies turn to mobile apps, the question of what will happen to mainframes and legacy applications gets louder. Development leaders must work to accommodate enormous workloads on back-end mainframes due to an influx of front-end Web users. At the same time, development teams are faced with difficult decisions about application portfolios as they measure legacy applications against brand new Web apps. It remains to be seen how mobile will affect these longtime technologies; the following articles offer today's perspective on the issue.

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Mainframes face off with mobile and Web apps

Shiny new Web apps challenge legacy applications

The mainframe survives onslaught of Web, mobile and SOA

HTML5 versus native browsers

The battle between Web and native browsers came to a head in 2012 when Facebook's Zuckerberg denounced HTML5, but it is far from over. Aside from the obvious debate over which approach will pull ahead with developers, development leaders are also asking how HTML5 will impact open source software and mobile applications should it prevail. This set of articles shares perspective on the HTML5-native stand-off and takes a look at how HTML5 might ultimately impact both development and integration.

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MIT panelists: HTML5 will lag behind native approaches

HTML5 browsers gain influence, but for how long?

How HTML5 applications will impact enterprise app development

Expert views on mobile app development

Mobile has dominated the discussion at conferences this past year, and experts across the tech industry have answered tough questions about mobile app development trends. From Gartner and Forrester analysts, industry viewers, and development leaders, here is some expert perspective on mobile's impact today.

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Experts talk 2012's top trends in mobile app development

How mobile stands to change development team makeup

Gartner sees mobile development, cloud putting IT on edge

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