Helios Erp Systems: Challenges and Opportunities in Mobile Application Development

The world is turning mobile, it would be hard to argue otherwise with over two hundred millions smartphones, tablets and airbooks already sold worldwide. This evolution introduces significant changes to the form factor of software solutions (Table 1) that mandate carefully vetting prior to initiating the development of a mobile solution.

Overall, mobile users generally pay more attention to the user experience (UX), and when they have a choice they prefer a native look and feel be it for email, social networking, checking weather, sport events … even Google is building native apps. Increasingly, developers can emulate a native experience in the browser thanks to the progress made by WebKit.

If these changes can already significantly impact a mobile solution delivery process, the most profound architectural change introduced by mobility is the evolution from “connected” applications to “converged” applications where voice, messaging, location services, data services and video may all contribute to deliver an experience simply unavailable to a desktop or a Web application. In the early 2000s, in the wake of SOA, several companies had developed the concept of Composite Applications or Connected Systems. Mobile applications advance this concept to the next level and enable an arbitrary application to consume a mashup of any number of voice, messaging, data, location and video services maintained by different 3rd parties which each may have a direct relationship with the end user, independent of the application. Converged Apps create strong privacy constraints (as the application is granted access to contacts, location, movies, TV programs …). Standards like OAuth 2.0 have emerged to support these scenarios. Oauth 2.0 requires the developer to maintain individual API keys and (user) access tokens for each type of services. Developers can no longer rely on a “single sign on” mechanism such as OpenID or LiveID because they share the identity of the subscriber with the application and do not provide any authorization capability. Converged Applications are also often requested to perform in a downgraded mode when the user does not grant the application full consent to consume all the services on his or her behalf.

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