[CoMoDev] Re: Pervasive computing

  • From: David Beers <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 10:34:54 -0600

Pervasive computing.  I like that term!

I'd agree with Bud that architecting the solution is the biggest challenge for 
me.  Part of that is probably because I didn't come out of an enterprise 
development background (unless you count web development, which is quite a 
different animal).  I suspect that my particular trajectory into this space 
isn't the most common, though.

Here's the dilemma I'm working with.  Being basically a one-man show means my 
typical client tends to be small- to medium-sized businesses who have an 
interest in deploying Field Force Automation solutions just like bigger 
companies do.  But where the big companies can make powerful synchronization 
solutions like Intellisync Mobile Suite or ExtendConnect OneBridge work 
cost-effectively--and these are easy to work with from a developer 
standpoint--they aren't well suited for companies with less than 100 seats.

If we're talking about Palm OS devices this often means writing a custom 
HotSync conduit, but that doesn't work well if you have enough users that 
concurrency issues are likely. And of course it doesn't help with non-Palm 
applications, where you have to write things like ActiveSync Service Providers 
(nasty, from what I understand) or use RAPI or SQL Merge Replication.  The 
technologies are so vastly different that aside from understanding 
synchronization at an abstract level there is next to nothing you can transfer 
from one platform to the next.  I have so many development environments and 
APIs that I have to keep in my head now it's not even funny.

Of course, that brings us to Java--or at least can bring us there.  I'm 
starting to do more work in Java now on the device-side (or SuperWaba, at 
least, which is compliant with the language even though it has its own 
libraries).  What I'd really like to understand better is how Java could help 
me deal with synchronizing application data to database servers in multi-user 

Getting back to the enterprise stuff, there are a couple of things that I'd 
love to hear you respond to.  Two stumbling blocks for bigger companies 
considering rolling out mobile solutions are deployment and systems management. 
 Software updates are a nightmare if there isn't a way that you can push them 
out to hundreds of users with minimal to zero intervention on their part.  And 
what happens if a user loses a device that has sensitive corporate data on it?  
You have to convince big companies that the mobile devices aren't going to 
impose a huge administrative burden on them, which is why outfits like 
Intellisync are doing good business: they've worked that stuff out.  If I could 
do no-touch deployments and maybe even remotely disable a lost device and I 
didn't have to see a big chunk of my client's budget go to Intellisync to 
accomplish it, I'd be a happy camper.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing

On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 09:11:41 -0600, Bud Cookson wrote:
> One of the things that we always struggle with is the architecture.
>  That is the key starting point but there are so many options that
> it becomes a huge matrix of possibilities.  Especially when you
> incorporate the LAN / WAN architecture on top of the development
> architecture. Just our biggest stumbling block.   BUD
> -----Original Message-----
> From: comodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:comodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Sue Spielman
> Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 3:55 PM To: comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [CoMoDev] Pervasive computing
> Hi all. Usually I wouldn't blast this out to a list, but I thought
> that it might be a fun way to get some cool ideas and also to see
> what types of things people have seen in their various travels.
> I'm putting together a new presentation on pervasive computing
> called 'Integrating Mobile Data in the Enterprise'. Here's the full
> session description that I'll be doing at JAOO in Denmark in Sept.
> http://www.jaoo.dk/speakers/show_speaker.jsp?oid=72
> Anyway...I'm in the process of putting this together and would like
> to start a conversation and get some feedback on a couple of things:
> -If you were sitting in this presentation, what would you be
> interested in hearing about?
> -If you've worked on Mobile enterprise apps, would you like to
> share some of your experiences...like roadblocks, technology
> hiccups, data issues...etc -Have you seen resistance to any types
> of technology being used in the field...lie field force automation
> apps? -If you haven't worked on mobile enterprise apps, what types
> of questions do you have about them? -Anything else you'd like to
> add :).
> Any and all thoughts are welcome for discuss. As soon as I can make
> a meeting with my travel schedule...I'd be happy to present this to
> the group at some point :)!
> Thanks.
> Regards,
> Sue
> President/Senior Consulting Engineer
> Switchback Software LLC
> http://www.switchbacksoftware.com
> Providing a full range of J2EE and J2ME software development and
> consulting services PH: 303.838.6643 FX: 303.838.6649

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