Thought Leadership

forrester_SM_1204_blog_002

Subscribe to our blog

Your email:

Connect with Ness

Software Engineering Services Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Survey Finds Mobile Users Remain An Impatient Bunch

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

8573547045 02f45a41e7Whether you're prepared or not mobile is taking over. Recent research by Netbiscuits (pdf download; registration required), a mobile web solutions provider, found that mobile users will not be trifled with when it comes to performance or mobile readiness.

They feel the need for speed and they want their content now. And I mean now. How does this manifest itself? First of all 41 percent reported speed being number one issue for them.

Even more important though, a full 76 percent -- that's right three quarters of all users -- say they that they will leave if your site if it's not optimized for mobile -- I know I will. And almost a third, 32 percent, say they will never return. That's right, you've lost them for good because you didn't take the time to make your site suitable for the mobile device.

And let's face it, at this point in the development of mobile, there's really no excuse not to be generating apps and mobile-optimized web sites. That's because people are spending more and more and more time on the web. In fact, China leads the way, with 53 percent of mobile consumers spending 6 or more hours a day on the mobile web. The US and UK both sit at 22 percent. France is the lowest with 15 percent. The differences in the chart below can easily be attributed to the fact that in non-Western countries, people tend to access the web exclusively from their mobile devices.

mobile web use graphic

Photo Credit: Netbiscuits

The report found that only 27 percent of are using apps. Now it's worth noting at this point that the creator of this report is a company that offers services for creating mobile websites, and there is always the danger of bias in vendor sponsored reports. 

In fact, last week speaking on a panel at the E2 Conference in Boston, Brian Katz, Head of Mobility Engineering at Sanofi, was not convinced that HTML5 is really dominating as these numbers would suggest. " Eighty to 90 percent of apps on mobile devices are native," he said, adding, "People have been saying HTML5 is winning for the last five years. It ain't."

Whoever is right, the switch to mobile is clearly happening and your company needs to be there too or you are alienating a good number of the world's user who can't access the internet, whether through apps or mobile web, any other way than via their mobile devices.

Even in wealthier countries with wider device choice, the scale is very quickly tipping toward mobile. That's why you need to consider how you're going to deliver mobile applications and your web site on mobile devices, sooner than later.

Regardless of what you think of these numbers, the fact is that independent research confirms that mobile is taking over and you need to adapt your development environment to accomodate that -- and you need to do it now.

 

Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 Share Alike/Attrbution License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 6-14-13

  
  
  

5 6 14 13

By Ron Miller
Ness Blogger
 

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Android versus iOS argument persists, but developers should follow the money, please check it out. Mobile app developers can't afford the luxury of having the passion of the average Android or iOS fanboy. They follow the money. For now, Apple's App store is far ahead of Google Play in terms of developer revenue, but the trend is in Android's favor, and developers should be paying attention.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

The $200,000 software developer: We can build him, we have the technology | ITworld

If you're looking to make top money as a developer, you need top notch skills and a keen understanding of the platforms that are most in demand. This article looks at the attributes and industries that can earn you top dollar.

Security at the edge of the cloud | Cloud Pro

A lucid explanation of the security challenges facing IT in the BYOD and cloud age. The game is changing and the security model needs to change with it. 

Employees circumvent IT security when it slows them down | ITworld

It should come as no secret that if you put up too many obstacles for your employees to do their job in the name of security, they will find a way to circumvent your security. That means the more you try to control it, the less actual control you have.

Is your smartphone making you stupid? | guardian.co.uk

It's only natural that as we become more reliant on our smartphones, we offload some of the tasks we used to use our brains for such as memorizing phone numbers or figuring out how to get some place, but whether that's making us stupid or giving us more room to think about other things is still open to debate.

Snowden NSA Case Points Up Security Flaws in Thumb Drives | TechTarget

It's the kind of story IT pros lie awake in bed thinking about at night. Someone walks into your building with a thumb drive and walks out with a cache of company secrets. That's exactly what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden did and it makes securing your network very challenging indeed.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

Android versus iOS Argument Persists, but Developers Should Follow Money

  
  
  

describe the image By Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

I don't know about you, but I don't care very much about phone operating systems. They all have their charms and operate in a similar fashion. Each platform has first class phones available, but there is the whole market share thing and it's hard to ignore.

When it comes to market share regardless of whose numbers you look at, Android wins hands down. It's not even a contest. Let's look at a couple of examples: According to comScore's Mobile Lens published earlier this month, Google has 52 percent of US market share compared with 39 percent for Apple. 

If you look at IDC's worldwide numbers for the first quarter published last month, the comparison is much starker with 75 percent for Android and 17.3 percent or iOS. 

So looking at it from pure market share, it's pretty clear Android is the easy winner any way you choose to slice or dice the numbers.

Developers clearly can't ignore Android, not with those kinds of numbers, and they would be foolish to, but does that mean the developers are making more money developing on the Android platform? Not necessarily.

As a small example, Mashable published some numbers from Black Friday compiled by IBM last November and found that when it came to tablets, in spite of these numbers, iPad users accounted for 88 percent of all money spent via tablets on Black Friday.

If you would prefer to compare iOS devices to Android devices, it was 18.5 percent for iOS and 5.5 percent for Android.

But it's not quite that simple. Distimo did a study recently and found that while the Apple App Store generates far more revenue for developers today than Google Play, it found that Google Play is growing steadily, while the App Store remains somewhat flat for Apple.

That could be attributed to the shear number of phones out there. If Android controls the market to the extent the numbers suggest, it makes sense that just from volume it is going to start to generate additional revenue, even while Apple continues to hold a substantial lead over Android in this area.

So what does this mean for developers? There are no easy answers. For today, it seems, you are probably going to make more money in the App Store, at least for the short term. Over the long term, it's much more difficult to call because if you want to move to where the market is most likely to be, it makes sense from a numbers standpoint, all things being equal that eventually Android would catch up and pass Apple in terms of App Store revenue.

But we are very far from that point today. A reasonable strategy would seem to be to develop for iOS first today, then follow up with Android and continue to do that untll Google Play approaches a tipping point for developers.

All the while, keeping mind that statistics can be manipulated to some extent to prove whatever bias you might have, leaving developers in a precarious postion with no clear answer on how to proceed. 

What's your methodology? Do you develop for both iOS and Android? Which do you develop for first?

Photo Credit: CanStockPhoto
Tags: ,

Infographic: More reasons for developers to pay attention to emerging markets

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

Last week, we wrote about analyst Mary Meeker's view of China and why developers need to be paying attention to it as a market. This week, we have an infographic that shows the growth of smartphones as the chief means of accessing the Internet in Latin America.

Both of these reports indicate that emerging markets are a key area of potential growth for developers. In Latin America for instance, according to Sandvine, LTE is fundamentally changing how people access the internet, and for the most part people are using smartphones as the onramp to the internet.

What does this and other data in this infographic mean for developers? It means you need to be paying attention to other markets outside of the US and the EU because the potential for growth in these areas is huge as more people have access to smartphones.

If you want proof of this trend, at Mobile World Congress this past February I saw a couple of phones aimed squarely at this market, including the Nokia 520 (which has been doing great in India) and the ZTE Open, which runs the open source Firefox OS and is aimed at the youth market in Latin America.

Infographic 1H 2013

Tags: 

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 5-31-13

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

describe the image

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, Mary Meeker's Charts show China's explosive mobile market potential, please check it out. Mary Meeker's State of the Internet report had a whole section on China this year. The Chinese market potential is staggering and mobile developers would be foolish to ignore it.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Everything I Know About Project Management, I Learned from Game of Thrones | Smartbear

Always a fun exercise to compare a bit of popular culture to life in the corporate IT shop and this one takes the famous HBO show, Game of Thrones, based on the books by George R.R. Martin and applies lessons to IT project management. You might be suprised how much you recognize.

BYOD is not about saving a few pennies | CITEworld

Most companies look at BYOD and see a way to save money, but if that's how you're looking at it you're really missing the point. It's about empowering employees and making them more productive --and when they like their phones that's a much more likely outcome. 

The need for cross-platform app parity | ZDNet

As iOS and Android fight it out for markeshare on smartphones and tablets, users are left wondering when they will get particular apps on their platform. Often when an app starts on one platform, it gets ported to the other, but with less functionality. This writer argues it's time for parity across both -- but getting there will be a challenge. 

Ethernet Invention Revealed the Origins of Innovation | eWeek 

40 years ago, a group of very smart people came together and through brains and a bit of happenstance developed Ethernet networking. What these folks did was remarkable and had a profound impact on enterprise computing. Veteran IT journalist, Wayne Rash had the privilege of sitting down with members of the team 40 years after the fact and learning about the origins of innovation.

Hogwarts for Hackers: Inside the Science and Tech School of Tomorrow | Wired.com

In a world that demands new approaches to education beyond sitting in rows in classrooms and spouting back facts and figures, there is a shining example in Ilinois that encourages exploration and creative learning and has become for all intents and purposes a Hogwarts (the school that trained wizards in the Harry Potter series) for hackers (in the good sense).

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

Mary Meeker's charts show China's explosive mobile market potential

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

One of the many things that jumped out at me in Mary Meeker's always excellent State of the Internet report, released earlier this week, was the explosive mobile growth in China. That China with its huge population and growing middle class is a fertile market is hardly surprising, but just how far along it is might be.

And if you're a mobile developer with ambition, you may want to include China in your business plans.

Let's start with smartphone ownership. As you can see from the chart below, China surpassed the US in total number of iOS and Android phones owned some time in the first quarter of this year. That's fairly remarkable in itself, but it doesn't tell the whole story of course.

China   US Smartphone OS comparsion chart

As TechCrunch reported in April, the US remains the biggest market for the iPhone, but China is the fastest growing and demand in the EU (and US) are beginning to plateau, which might be a good time to show another of Meeker's charts comparing Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

China versus EU, US GDP

As you can see, the EU's GDP is now on par with China's and the US is only marginally ahead. That means the biggest markets moving forward are likely to be US, China and EU in that order (until perhaps China passes the US). That literally turns your business world view on its head.

Let's explore one more chart on mobile usage. So we are seeing a huge rise in the number of smart phones bought with a corresponding rise in GDP. The Chinese spend more time on the internet in general than their counterparts in the US and they are using their mobile phones to access the internet almost twice as much. 

Chinese Internet and Mobile US

That Chinese users are accessing the Internet more from the mobile devices or using the Internet more than other forms of media is probably not surprising either since mobile phones provide easy access to the internet for a relatively low price point.

Finally let's look at how much money Chinese are spending on the internet and as you can see it's considerable. Alibaba/Taoboa has surpassed Amazon and eBay in total merchandise volume.

chart 4

This chart is harder to interpret, but it's likely if the volume is there, the sales are too because we certainly know they are with Amazon and eBay. 

All of this data suggests that as a mobile developer you have to be paying attention to this.

You have a fertile and growing market full of people who are mobile savvy, use their phones a lot and are gaining disposable income.

You might not be in China now, but if you're smart, you'll be thinking about it on your mobile product road map because the market potential is staggering and you would be foolish to ignore it.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 4-26-13

  
  
  

by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 


describe the imageIt's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, 5 Things You Need to Know About Massive Announcements that Might Reshape the Mobile Web,  please check it out. Earlier this month, there were two major mobile announcements that had to the potential to rock mobile developer's world...but did they?

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Designing Apps with Automation in Mind | Mendix Blog

Sure, all developers start a project with the goal of creating a great application, but some are more successful than others at achieving this. And whether your users really love your application can pivot on design decision on how to automate certain processes for them. This article looks at five key areas you should paying attention to as you design and application. 

How to build applications your users will hate | mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

What? Why would I want build an application my users hate? Well, of course you wouldn't and this post looks at some ways you could be doing just that -- and by understanding what to avoid, you can build applications that people will love. 

The New API Gold Rush | ReadWrite

There's a lot happening around Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) as evidenced by Intel's recent purchase of Mashery. Trying to manage APIs is not always a simple matter and this article explains some of the issue involved.

10 Non-Computer Network Security Dangers | Smartbear

Remember Murphy's Law? This writer did and he applies it to network security. Sure, you're watching the obvious security holes, but as Murphy would point out, if it can go wrong it will, and you need to be prepared for as many eventualities as possible.

Christopher Haag, Hamster Chase, developer | APPetite App Marketing podcast

Listen and learn how this game developer released his new game and achieved 10,000 downloads in just 8 days. What strategy did he employ to achieve this? Listen and find out.

Photo by Ron Miller Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

5 Things You Need to Know About Massive Announcements that Might Reshape the Mobile Web

  
  
  

by Glenn Gruber
Ness AVP Travel Technologies and Mobile Solutions

April 3rd was an interesting day for the mobile industry with two major announcements that could reshape the mobile web. Two days earlier and I might have thought someone was playing a rather large joke.

The news that got most of the attention was Google’s decision to diverge from WebKit to introduce Blink as Chrome’s new rendering engine. Many people – myself included – referred to Blink as a fork of WebKit. While this is accurate, it’s often short-hand pejorative term that implies bad intentions. But before we ascribe good or evil to the move, let’s take a step back for some context.

Webkit has been the most popular browser engine, but has not been used on a majority of the desktop web. 

describe the image

But the numbers tell a very different story when you look at mobile browsing statistics (I used US numbers as a proxy for smartphone usage). On mobile devices (which now outnumber desktop devices) WebKit was the clear winner:

describe the image

But Webkit was never a homogeneous entity. With the many flavors of Webkit-based browsers (about 40 according to Wikipedia) many of them used different JavaScript engines. So the idea of a pure WebKit browser was never true. As such, the forking of WebKit might not be as big of a deal as many fear.

But Blink wasn’t the only news...

1. Samsung/Mozilla Partnership Could Have a Bigger Impact on the Mobile Industry

On the face of it, the other announcement seems less dramatic, but is likely more intriguing. Mozilla announced that they are partnering with Samsung to create a next-generation browser engine called Servo. Two thoughts come to mind:

  • Samsung seems to be steadily pseudo-forking Android for its own purposes. TouchWiz, S-apps that replace core Google services (e.g. messaging, translation, voice, navigation, app store) and the Knox platform seem to be creating a Samsung experience, almost to the point that it wouldn’t be recognizable as Android. In fact if you look at Samsung’s advertising it’s virtually free of any mention of Android. What’s missing is a browser and this could be their plan. Could the browser be the last step before truly forking Android as Amazon has? And if that happened, could it be said that Google has lost control of the platform? That could have a seismic impact on the industry.
  • For Mozilla this could be the next step in maturing the FirefoxOS and more importantly, lining up the #1 non-Apple smartphone brand in the world as a manufacturer.

2. Community Projects Aren’t Always the Utopia We Want Them to Be

Google is no doubt making this decision to further its own interests and perhaps Blink will allow them to speed up the delivery of improvements to Chrome as well as perhaps our browsing experience. According to Alex Russell, a Google Chrome engineer, this is the primary driving force behind the move. Nothing nefarious, just Google’s laser-like focus on execution and speed.

Or is it?

The truth is that when you have a lot of people contributing to a project you reach a point where priorities diverge and that really seems to be at the crux of Google’s decision to introduce Blink. All you have to do is look at Chrome’s current advertising spot and it becomes clear. 

 

Google wants to more tightly integrate your browsing experience across all devices (even though the ad doesn’t include TVs, it’s definitely part of the vision) and having greater control of the core browsing engine was likely seen as a linchpin to deliver that. With all the different voices that are part of a community project, Google probably couldn’t get where it wanted to go without going off on its own. Besides, if Google thinks it provides a competitive advantage, I can understand why they would choose not to share.

Further, the conspiracy theorist in me also sees this as a move done primarily because it directly hurts Apple --Google’s primary (only?) competitor in mobile. Lee Matthews of Geek.com notes that “For quite a while now, Google has held the number one spot on the WebKit code commit “leaderboard.” Now that its engineers are working on Blink, that leaves WebKit with a greatly reduced number of active contributors”, which can pose quite a challenge for Apple to ensure that WebKit keeps up with Chrome from a technical perspective. With Samsung joining forces with Mozilla on Servo, we don’t know how much future WebKit contributions we can expect from either – Seeing as Samsung has no love lost for Apple either.

And while Google gave good reasons for pulling out of WebKit, primarily pointing to Chromium’s use of a multi-process architecture, it didn’t have to go down the way it did, according to an Apple developer who is part of the WebKit team:

“…the main reason we built a new multiprocess architecture is that Chromium's multiprocess support was never contributed to the WebKit project. It has always lived in the separate Chromium tree, making it pretty hard to use for non-Chrome purposes.

Before we wrote a single line of what would become WebKit2 we directly asked Google folks if they would be willing to contribute their multiprocess support back to WebKit, so that we could build on it. They said no…

If Google had upstreamed their multiprocess support, we almost surely would have built on it. And history might have turned out differently.”

3. Modestly Higher Workloads for Web and Mobile Developers

In many ways the amount of work that development teams need to expend won’t change very much. Servo replaces Gekko for all intents and purposes, so that’s a wash. You can say that Blink becomes the 4th engine, essentially taking the place of Presto (previously used by the Opera browser), but given the low market share for Opera, I would wager that many organizations didn’t develop or test for it specifically.

And even though Blink is a fork of WebKit, will it really be that different? Will it really cause that much incremental effort? Xavier Facon, CTO of Crisp Media (a leading mobile advertising platform provider) doesn’t think so:

“It won't make life easier or harder. These two engines [Blink and WebKit] will stay more similar to each other than compared to Servo and others.  I can't imagine it will cause much fragmentation. All WebKit implementations already have different JavaScript engines. A different rendering engine increases the potential differences, but I think the WebKit teams and Blink teams won't work outside the specs much anyway.  In fact, the approach of using flags in Blink, and carefully remove webkit prefixes, allows new experimental features to be rolled out in fully backwards compatible approach.”

Bastien Cojan, Technical Director for Ness’ Imano mobile development team, notes that web developers will have to go back to testing Chrome and Safari separately, though he says that many firms were doing that anyway as the differences between the two WebKit –based platforms were already significant enough to merit it.

4. Better Security, Stability and Performance

canstockphoto5273579

All code gets worse over time. It’s not that the code itself degrades, but the layers and layers that are added increases code complexity, introduces bugs and expands vulnerabilities. So the streamlining of the codebase that will result from Blink (Google says it will remove 4.5 million lines of code and 7,000 files) and the removal of the Google-dependent code in Webkit should enhance both products.

Veracode, a leading application security platform vendor, agrees noting on its blog that there have been 210 reported security holes in Webkit since it launched in 2007, with 207 of those discovered in the last three years, including some moderately serious security holes. Given that Android accounts for 79% of all malware on smartphones, one can see why Google was keen to close up some of these holes.

5. This will be good for the industry

It’s generally a good thing when everybody works together. Life become more consistent, orderly. Standards, even if they are defacto, help the productivity of developers everywhere. But to really move an industry forward significant change such as Blink and Servo can spur innovation. With Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft all with significant skin in the game they will have to really up their efforts and the consumer will be the beneficiary in the form of better products and experiences.

Crisp Media’s Facon says, “I am pretty certain, all considered, it is a positive.  There are various mobile OS and browser projects scheduled by Samsung, Intel, Google, Apple, Opera, etc... that we don't know about.  Some of those projects are made complicated for developers when there is code share going on between all these competitors.  For Google to take this step was brave, considering they probably expected some backlash, but it solved business problems for both Apple and Google that allow them to move faster on projects we will end up caring about once we know them.”

Cojan agrees: “These new web engines seem to be developed with 'mobile in mind', which should speed up the current mobile development and have a better handle of device specificities as it will be directly developed by the device manufacturers (google+samsung). In theory, this should make the developer’s life easier (think Apple owning both hardware and software) and reduce the need for handling high number of different cases for different devices. 

Photo Credit:  (c) Can Stock Photo

Tags: 

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 4-12-13

  
  
  

5 4 12 13by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, If you're adversaries with your software service provider, here's how to get back on track , please check it out. If you're having an adversarial relationship with your software service provider, you're not alone. This post explains in practical terms how you go to this point, and how to fix it.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Analyzing the Top-Paying IT Jobs for 2013 | Tom's IT Pro

If you're looking for something deeper than a top ten salaries list, this article will help you understand how to interpret these lists and whether they apply to you personally or a more broad overview of your specialty. 

Why Boring Data Centers Are the Best | Slashdot

For the second time in a couple of weeks I'm seeing an argument for homogeneity in the data center. If you want consistency across your data center, no better way to do it than to standardize on one vendor's hardware, but then, you're locked into one vendor and that could present a different set of issues. 

How to Deal With Software Development Schedule Pressure | CIO.com

Everyone feels it, that pressure to get your software project done on time and within the budget given you, but it's not always practical or easy to achieve. Some software development veterans sit down and talk about how they deal with keeping projects on track (or getting ones that have slipped back on).

15 Programming Skills Most Coveted By Employers  | ReadWrite

You're a coder, but maybe you're looking to expand your skill set. This list looks at the most desirable skills based on job listings on the Indeed.com job listing site. Have a look. You might just be surprised at the most coveted one.

Move Over, Apple and Google: Apperating Systems Are Taking Over Your Phones | Wired

When Facebook announced Facebook Home recently, a tool that takes over your phone and gives you information before you even unlock the lock screen, it gave rise to a whole new term, Apperating System, an app that's so important to you it supersedes the OS itself.

Photo by Tomma Henckel Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

5 Links for Developers and IT Pros 4-5-13

  
  
  

5 4 5 13by Ron Miller
Ness Blogger 

It's Friday and that means it's time for our weekly feature where we search the Web looking for 5 interesting, funny and poignant links for developers and IT Pros.

If you missed our most recent post, comScore Shocker: Android loses market share in latest report, please check it out. You might expect the same-old, same old from comScore's latest mobile market share figures, but you would be mistaken. There were several surprises.

And without further delay, here we go with this week's links:

Mobile-Device Management: 10 Best Practices for Creating a BYOD Policy | eWeek

Bring your own device is spreading across organizations, and it's causing some confusion among IT pros on how to manage a hodge podge of devices. This article offers some practical advice for creating sensible BYOD policy in your organization.

Why What You’re Reading About Blink Is Probably Wrong | Infrequently Noted

When Google announced its new browser rendering engine Blink this week, it certainly generated a lot of strong opinions. This article maintains that most of those are wrong. Do you agree? 

What is Open Source Cloud? | Linux.com

This post gives you a cloud computing primer, then explains the importance of cloud computing in the context of open source and that having an open cloud is essential to keep the work of the open source movement moving forward.

Your Code May Work, But It Still Might Suck | Smartbear

There is value in dedication to your programming craft and that means creating elegant code in every step of the process, even ones that might not seem to matter. Just because it works doesn't mean it's art and that's what you should be striving to produce.. See the next post. 

The Artful Organization | Agile Zone

When I saw Seth Godin speak a couple of weeks ago, he spoke of the importance creating something unique and how creative organizations will win --and this post extends that notion on the importance of being an organization that creates something unique and beautiful and offers some resources to help get you there.

Photo by Ron Miller. Used under Creative Commons Share Alike/Attribution License.

All Posts