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Saturday,November 18,2017

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What is the Mobile Platform of Choice for India's Software Developers?

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Mobile systems and mobile applications have gained a lot of attention both in research and industry over the last years. The market share of mobile devices is constantly growing. More and more users expect their mobile devices to provide functionality similar to the one they know from their desktop computers, but also to provide additional, mobile device specific functionality, like location based services. However, software development for mobile devices is still cumbersome and a methodology geared towards supporting the development of such mobile applications is still lacking. While there is broad agreement that developing for mobile devices is more difficult than traditional software engineering, we lack a precise understanding that goes beyond anecdotal evidence of why this is the case and how the situation can be improved. We do not precisely know where and how the development of mobile application differs from “normal” software development and where new methodologies are needed. Aspects that need to be addressed in this context are, among others, the questions of software architectures for mobile applications, approaches to the software design for mobile applications and how the consequences of being mobile; for example, changing location, changing context, changing connectivity, heterogeneous software and platforms influencing the software development process, and what design approaches reflect the specialties of mobile applications and systems appropriately. At the same time, application development platforms we see today are getting more powerful everyday, with an ever growing list of funky features, bells and whistles. The downside to this is that development environments are themselves getting more complex and more difficult to master.


The tremendous growth in mobile communications has affected our lives significantly. The mobile phone is now pervasive and used in virtually every sector of human activity—private, business, and government. Its usage is not restricted to making basic phone calls; instead, digital content, products, and services are offered. This emerging mobile landscape will open up a wide range of commercial possibilities for companies across the mobile space and beyond. On the user side, all industries − ranging from financial services, distribution and retail to healthcare need to adapt to these new devices, and work out how to leverage them in their own unique context.

Creating a standard application on a mobile device itself would requires a huge amount of platform knowledge and a programming experience, not to mention the specific experience in C# or Visual Basic, Windows Forms Programming, database programming etc. for a .NET programmer. The list goes on and on. Similar issues arise with Java and every other platform out there.

Just exchanging data between mobile devices and a central repository or database may not be the only requirement of a mobile solution. In most cases data needs to be collected and distributed at the backend, to and from different business systems. This is another challenge when creating mobile solutions. One would need to consider using a purpose-built product rather than a generic programming platform to address the data integration requirements.

Mobile Development Tool Winner at Great Indian Developer Awards 2008: Dilip Thomas, Chairman & CEO, Saltmarch Media receiving the award on behalf of the Eclipse Foundation

In order to manufacture or create any product, a set of suitable tools needs to be identified and used for the job. Creating mobile solutions is no exception to this rule. It is always very attractive from the developers’ perspective to get excited about new challenges and to try to solve them, even if it would sometimes mean reinventing the wheel. We do all share the “I have done it” ego which is probably built into our genes. It is sometimes easy to get carried away. For successful mobility solutions, one would need more than a generic programming language or platform. A more highly abstracted product set is needed to cover the basic requirements of a mobility solution so that the teams can focus on just the business requirements rather than the intricacies of mobile software development.

Mobile Development Tool Winner at Great Indian Developer Awards 2009: Prakash Sayini, Forum Nokia India Lead, receiving the award on behalf of the Nokia Symbian team

Saltmarch Media's annual Great Indian Developer Awards honors software products across 12 categories, based on their productivity, innovation excellence, universal usefulness, simplicity, functionality and most importantly on the ground feedback from India’s software developer ecosystem. In the mobile development tools Category, the final shortlist consists of Windows Mobile, Nokia Symbian, Qualcomm BREW, .NET Compact Framework and Google Android. Eclipse eRCP was the first product to win in this category in 2008 followed by Nokia Symbian in the 2009 chapter of the same awards. 

If there is a particular mobile development tool that you personally endorse to your colleagues or you evangelize about them at the first opportunity you get, here is your chance to vote for it (voting closes April 10 2010) and see it win this prestigious award. Who knows? You could win along with it too. At the end of the voting process, a lucky draw will be conducted and one person will receive a surprise gift from our prize sponsor. So visit the 2010 Great Indian Developer Awards website and cast your vote. It counts!

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