I recently had the opportunity to speak at Mobile Solutions Day. The conference featured several interesting talks by mobile technology personalities and leaders from companies around the world. Here are some that I wanted to highlight:
Firefox OS – Supercharged HTML5
There are problems in mobile that have persisted since inception: a lack of world-wide coverage for smart phones, a lack of lightweight applications, confusing context-specific interfaces, complex and convoluted distribution systems, and a lack of developers.
Firefox OS is Mozilla’s solution to these challenges. Mozilla’s Developer Evangelist Chris Heilmann introduced the audience to Firefox OS. Firefox OS is a platform built with HTML5 that leverages its strengths and compensates for a few of the problems that have dogged it in the past. It enables HTML5 apps to perform better, interoperability with the OS (i.e., offline access), and a consistently updated browser.
This means that Mozilla is enabling all types of web developers to build for the platform, which adds supply to the scarcity of developers. Its tiered quality control system is also an interesting concept; it has a centralized marketplace (which grants apps a Certified badge), but also opens up the platform so that people can create and distribute their own apps to the world.
If you’d like to learn more, check out Heilmann’s slides here.
iPad, apps – what’s next?
The University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt’s Prof. Dr. Karstein Huffstadt pointed out the necessity of building apps for more than one platform. Huffstadt referred to Heilmann’s slides and thoughts on HTML5 – for the most part, he was pointing out the effectiveness of HTML5 compared to native when it comes to enterprise solutions. Huffstadt highlights Skinny Ties as an excellent example of responsive design (nice find!).
Our own Mark D’Cunha wrote a blog post about this topic, which talked about how enterprise apps are evolving to fluid formats. However, we’ve also got some thoughts on HTML5 and building native, which were succinctly summarized by Kitty Shum.
Huffstadt’s prediction of the future revolves around mobile augmented reality for enterprises. The demo video he alluded to shows Google Glass in use by employees responsible for logistics – the device updates employees with information about safety and supplies. He closed by reinforcing the importance of having fleshed out ideas and functions before engaging in form.
As VP Engineering at Xtreme Labs, of course I have to plug my own presentation. Pair Programming is part of our engineering DNA, and this isn’t the first time I’ve discussed its benefits (check out my TechCrunch post). I’m a passionate advocate of this methodology, for the reasons outlined below.
Pair programming is one of the fundamental tenets that enable us to scale our company at a consistent rate. There are a few benefits that are a natural byproduct of pair programming; the quality of our engineering work is enhanced, the phenomenon of “pair pressure” allows for enhanced focus and productivity, debugging takes less time because the pair of engineers explains code to each other, and pairing gives engineers the courage to admit when they don’t know something.
If you’re curious to learn more, you can find the link to watch my presentation here. Mobile Solutions Day united some of the world’s most interesting minds in mobile and gave us glimpses into shared challenges, thoughts, and excitement for the future.
Connect with Farhan on LinkedIn.