Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Corey Roth

Related Topics: Machine Learning

Machine Learning : Article

Real-World AJAX Book Preview: The Mobile Application Value Chain

Real-World AJAX Book Preview: The Mobile Application Value Chain

This content is reprinted from Real-World AJAX: Secrets of the Masters published by SYS-CON Books. To order the entire book now along with companion DVDs for the special pre-order price, click here for more information. Aimed at everyone from enterprise developers to self-taught scripters, Real-World AJAX: Secrets of the Masters is the perfect book for anyone who wants to start developing AJAX applications.

The Mobile Application Value Chain

Content Owners: Content owners include players like broadcasters (TV and radio), news agencies, publishers, entertainment companies (movies, music, and entertainment), and rights owner companies (music rights, sports rights, and general showbiz agents). Unlike the Internet, the general perception of the mobile Internet is that content isn't free. Content owners own the rights or represent copyright owners. Content owners believe that "Content is king."

Service Providers/Aggregators: Service providers act as aggregators in the market. A service provider can be a mobile operator or an independent portal. They are concerned with billing and customer support. They can be customer-facing. They believe in high volumes ("Pile 'em high - sell em cheap") and can work on a revenue-share model but prefer upfront payments.

Mobile Operators: Mobile network operators actually manage the physical network and in some cases also fulfill the aggregator role. Examples of mobile network operators include T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and NTT DoCoMo. The mobile operators have a direct relationship with customers and influence the whole value chain.

Device Makers: Device makers are often the first physical point of interaction with the customer. Examples of device manufacturers are Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung. They can be strong brands. Device makers are trying to own a larger share of the value chain by becoming portals. For example, Club Nokia (www.nokia.co.uk/clubnokia).

End Users: The end user is the actual consumer of content and pays for the content. He defines market demand.

Types of Mobile Data Applications
We've seen how data gets to devices. Once the data arrives on the device, we need applications to process it and interact with the user.

There are two principal ways to categorize mobile applications: browsing applications and downloading applications. There are others like messaging applications, SIM applications, and embedded applications but a vast majority of the applications we see today fall under downloading or browsing applications.

Browsing Applications
Browsing applications are conceptually the same as browsing on the Web but take into account limitations that are unique to mobility like small device sizes. Similar to the Web, the service is accessed through a microbrowser that uses a URL to locate a service on a wireless Web server. The client is capable of little or no processing.

Downloading Applications (Smart Client Applications)
In contrast to browsing applications, downloading applications are downloaded first and installed on the client device. The application then runs locally on the device.

Unlike browsing apps, a downloaded or smart client application doesn't have to be connected to the network when it runs. Downloading applications are also called smart client applications because the client (i.e., the mobile device) is capable of some processing and/or some persistent storage (caching). Currently, most Java-based games are downloaded applications, in other words, they are downloaded to the client, require some processing to be done on the client, and don't always have to be connected to the network. Enterprise mobile applications such as sales force automation are also examples of smart client applications.

Resurgence of the Browsing Model

Problems Facing the Industry Today
Currently downloaded applications are more prevalent than browsing applications. While downloaded applications such as games are popular, they suffer drawbacks. These include:

Problem One: Market Fragmentation
Downloaded applications tend to fragment easily due to different local implementations by mobile operators and device manufactures.

Problem Two: Porting Woes
Related to market fragmentation, there's an issue with porting applications. Besides different implementations of the same software on different devices, the localized application has to support varying screen sizes and device capabilities. So writing the application once and porting it across various devices is very expensive.

Problem Three: Application Distribution Without Walls
Also related to the issue of fragmentation is the problem of application distribution. The greater the market fragmentation, the greater the difficulty in gaining critical mass and the benefits gained from the network effect.

Browsing Offers Some Solutions But Has Its Own Issues

In contrast to the fragmentation seen on the mobile Web, the Web is relatively less fragmented because the browser is the lowest level of abstraction. While browsers are fragmented to a degree (think Mozilla, Opera, Internet Explorer), there are still tens of browsers to contend with as opposed to literally the hundreds of combinations required to overcome the issues of application porting.

It follows that mobile browsing applications could potentially alleviate some of the issues discussed above. The sheer momentum and pervasive nature of the Web make it a natural choice on the mobile Internet.

However, while browsing applications can solve some of the problems, they introduce problems of their own. Let's consider a hypothetical question: Can we develop all mobile applications using browser technology?

In the PC/Internet world, the browser is fast becoming the universal client. However, there's a crucial difference between the PC world and the browser world.

In the PC world, we need one type of program to run a specific type of application (Word to view Word documents, Excel to view spreadsheets, and so on). In contrast we can use the browser to view any type of application (i.e., one client for many applications). This makes applications development much more optimal and less susceptible to software running on the client (in this case, the PC).

But can all mobile applications be implemented using browsing technology? After all, the browser works well on the PC as a universal client, why not on the mobile device? A corollary to this question could be:

  1. When would you be forced to develop an application on a mobile device that isn't run through a browser?
  2. And are there some fundamental differences with browsing on a mobile device versus browsing on the Web?
Let's consider the second point first. To understand the differences between browsing on the Web and browsing on a mobile device, we have to consider factors such as:
  • Intermittent connections - unlike the Web, the wireless network connection is relatively unstable and is affected by factors such as coverage (you lose the connection in a tunnel).
  • Bandwidth limitations - for example, even when 3G coverage is available, the actual bandwidth is far less.
  • The need for data storage on the client - if the device has no (or little) local storage, all the data has to be downloaded every time. This isn't optimal given intermittent and expensive bandwidth.
  • Finally, and most importantly, a local application provides a richer user experience, especially for applications such as games.
There are other factors such as limited user input capabilities and screen sizes. Some of these factors are getting better (for instance, coverage black spots are decreasing) but the overall user experience remains one of the most important factors.

The answer to our hypothetical question is "No, we can't develop all mobile applications only with the browser." However, as we'll discuss below, the architecture of browsing applications is changing and the distinctions between the browsing and downloading applications aren't as clear-cut as before.

This is causing a resurgence of the browsing model because of the capabilities of AJAX and the creation of widgets using AJAX.

This content is reprinted from Real-World AJAX: Secrets of the Masters published by SYS-CON Books. To order the entire book now along with companion DVDs, click here to order.

More Stories By Ajit Jaokar

Ajit Jaokar is the author of the book 'Mobile Web 2.0' and is also a member of the Web2.0 workgroup. Currently, he plays an advisory role to a number of mobile start-ups in the UK and Scandinavia. He also works with the government and trade missions of a number of countries including South Korea and Ireland. He is a regular speaker at SYS-CON events including AJAXWorld Conference & Expo.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
In their session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Berman, VP Engineering at TidalScale, and Ivo Jimenez, Engineer at TidalScale, will describe how automating tests in TidalScale is easy thanks to WaveRunner. They will show how they use WaveRunner, Jenkins, and Docker to have agile delivery of TidalScale. Michael Berman is VP Engineering at TidalScale. TidalScale is developing a scale up compute and resource architecture for customers to perform big data exploration and real time anal...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
FinTechs use the cloud to operate at the speed and scale of digital financial activity, but are often hindered by the complexity of managing security and compliance in the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sesh Murthy, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Raxak, showed how proactive and automated cloud security enables FinTechs to leverage the cloud to achieve their business goals. Through business-driven cloud security, FinTechs can speed time-to-market, diminish risk and costs, maintain continu...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
"We work around really protecting the confidentiality of information, and by doing so we've developed implementations of encryption through a patented process that is known as superencipherment," explained Richard Blech, CEO of Secure Channels Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.