Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, John Mertic, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, IoT User Interface, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

Service Enablement of Enterprise Data through Mobile Devices

Leveraging Service Architecture in extending enterprise applications to mobile devices

It's well known that in recent times that consumption of data or a service through mobile applications is increasing exponentially due to the increase in the mobile customer base and the increase in the number of mobile devices connected to various systems disproportionately(1). That means in most of the cases, consumers of mobile devices are increasing more than traditional desktop browser based service model of consumption. These end users use a large number of different types of devices starting from standalone desktops, laptops, and tablets to mobile devices. It is expected that applications keep up the data or service while they move from one system to other, for example, if someone starts reading a book from Amazon Kindle and continues to read the same book from an iPad. So the continuity of the service or data is achieved and this is possible only when all the systems are connected with some sort of loose coupled integration. While it is possible for standalone systems to make it easier to get data or service connected, mobile applications also have to be ensured that the same data or service is provided and integrated. In this article, we are discussing the various ways of service-enabling the enterprise applications data in the mobile devices.

Before we discuss about service enablement (2, 3) of enterprise data through mobile devices, the following factors are considered when mobile enabling the enterprise data applications:

  1. Desktop services are accessed through http, while mobile devices predominantly follow WAP (Wireless application protocol).
  2. There are several device vendors in the market each with their own proprietary operating systems
  3. There is plethora of device models with wide range of form factor and screen sizes, hence GUI design to fit to all models is arduous task.
  4. Data security is big challenge, client side security validations are difficult to achieve on memory constraint mobile devices
  5. There would be significant increase in load on the servers.

Technical parameters considered for Service Enablement of Enterprise Data through Mobile devices
The following options are considered when building mobile-enabled services (4), each with its pros and cons.

  • Accessing the enterprise services through mobile browsers
  • Using mobile client by native application or through a framework

The complete application can be developed on the server side and mobile browsers can be used to access selected services. Which services are the best fit for mobile access depends on how critical the data being exchanged is. Unless strict security measures are enforced, sensitive data cannot be exchanged over the mobile network. The data needs to be exchanged through secured network (SSL) with access to authorized users only. This needs seamless integration with identity management systems.

Data such as the product details of inventory, promotional activities, special offers, etc., can be shared across mobile network as this is not security sensitive data. All financial transactions, personal data of users should be transmitted under careful security measures.

Lengthy operations like filling order or feeding sensitive data are not good candidates for operating with mobile browsers as they need a live connection to the server. In all such critical scenarios, mobile clients are best suited as they can operate in offline mode as well.

The JSF technology can be used to develop a presentation tier as it has protocol flexibility. The GUI developed (Component tree) for desktop access can be re-used to render on wireless mobile devices provided a WML (wireless Markup Language) render kit is available. There are some third-party render kits available such as myfaces that can be plugged-in. GUI development with JSF is very fast as most of the standard IDEs (RAD, MyEclipse, NetBeans, JBuilder, JDeveloper, JBoss Developer Wtudio ) support JSF drag & drop (WYSIWYG ) editors.

But there are some serious challenges while developing browser-based applications. The high latency and low bandwidth of networks in mobile environments affects application responsiveness for mobile users. Screens refresh slowly, diminishing the mobile user experience. Hence mobile application development should use Partial Page Rendering (PPR) to display only dynamically changing data without going for complete page reloading. Browsers that do not support AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) use full page rendering instead of PPR, seriously choking the network bandwidth. The other important parameter is to take into account form factor and widely differing screen sizes while developing GUI for accessing through mobile browsers. While JSF stack provides a good toolkit for the faster development of GUI, one common opinion is that JSF components are heavy thus leading to slower loading of a requested page.

The other option is to access enterprise services through mobile clients. Mobile clients are small client-side applications hosted on mobile devices. But what is the right technology to develop mobile clients and how they communicate with the server side enterprise applications? As discussed, there are many vendors in the mobile market, each with their own operating systems and SDK. Developing mobile clients for every vendor is not only tedious but not recommended from a cost perspective. There are few mobile frameworks that  abstract the common functionality of different mobile operating systems, some of them are open source and others are proprietary. These mobile frameworks mostly operate using simple HTML, JavaScript, JQuery, JQuerymobile to develop mobile clients and support the SDK of all leading mobile vendors in the market.

Except for some device specific functionality, mobile frameworks can be used to achieve standard enterprise functionality. This promotes "Develop once and deploy on any device" concept of mobile application development.

But how will these mobile clients access enterprise data? Some of the selected services can be exposed as web services, which can be consumed by mobile clients. There are two options, one is SOAP based web services and the other is RESTful web services.

SOAP-based services need client-side stubs to consume services by a mobile client. The client-side stubs take the responsibility of de-marshalling and marshalling data while consuming the service and sending requests to the server. But this needs a SOAP engine to be installed on mobile devices. SOAP-based web services often exchange data using XML, which will have header and footer overheads. There are many tools available to generate WSDL given the details of Java classes whose methods are exposed as web methods. The client application can use WSDL to generate client-side stubs to consume web methods exposed by a server application.

On the other hand RESTful web services are simple and easy to develop. They exchange the data in the JSON format, which can be encoded on the server side while transmitting over the network. The mobile client can use JQuery calls to decode and manipulate the JSON object. The JSON objects are simple and lightweight and hence easy to transmit over the network. But RESTful web services are not meant for stateful transactions.

While mobile clients facilitate an online or offline mode of communication with a server-side application, mobile browsers only work with the online mode.

  • Decide which business processes available for mobility
  • Redefine needed business processes offline/online mode
  • Decide which functionalities should be available on mobile
  • Design a GUI for mobile devices
  • Service enables the functionalities for mobile
  • Create a framework like JSF enabled for java apps, azure developed for Microsoft etc
  • Communication middleware and processing

Service Enabling Framework for Enterprise Applications
The following framework provides the service enablement (5) of enterprise applications.

The simplest option is compatibility of mobile device browser for enterprise applications. However, with the increase of demand for mobile application installations on devices, integration takes significance and it can at web server layer or Application layer or at database layer as shown above. Layered approach of the applications is used for achieving the service enablement.

While the above describes about service enablement of enterprise apps for mobile applications, the following diagram describes various ways of application integration with mobile apps which will make mobile enabled applications.

Integration using APIs:
Mobile applications are driven by open APIs to expose the functionality and most are REST-based APIs, stateless APIs running over HTTP. The significance of Open APIs for integration comes with lot of opportunities in terms of creating visibility of the products for business. For example, The Facebook Auth API is being used by several applications for access of applications.

The mobile enabling of enterprise applications and data is significant with the number of mobile devices increasing every day. Web browsers and mobile client installations are increasing their usage of enterprise data. The integration of web apps to enterprise applications is significant in terms of WAP integration, wireless extended integration, peer-to-peer integration, and web-based integration, and API integrations are gaining significantly. However, going forward, with the advancement of technology, new ways of accessing enterprise data is considered.


  1. http://mobithinking.com/mobile-marketing-tools/latest-mobile-stats
  2. http://clouddataanalytics.ulitzer.com/node/2112881
  3. http://sreekusumanchi.sys-con.com/node/837728
  4. http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/it-novcc00/
  5. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb972953.aspx

More Stories By GVB Subrahmanyam

GVB Subrahmanyam an Application Developer, Lead, Project Manager, Development Manager and Delivery Manager in a wide variety of business applications as part of an IT service provider. He focuses on Development, Delivery and Sustenance of IT Applications in Supply Chain/Insurance/Banking/Finance. Albeit most of his projects are Java-based assignments, he is technology agnostic.

In his current role, Subrahmanyam is working as a solution provider for Commercial Healthcare, Insurance, banking and Financial systems with Mahindra Satyam. He is also TOGAF certified Enterprise Architect and IBM certified Ratioanal Software Architect.

GVB Subrahmanyam has an M.Tech. and Ph.D. from IIT Kharagpur in the area of Chemical Technology, India and MS in Software Systems from BITS Pilani. He is also a PMI certified PMP. He attended one year of the Executive Program in Business Management(EPBM) from IIM Calcutta.

More Stories By Sriramachandra Murthy C

Sriramachandra Murthy C is a senior Solutions Architect at Java Competency in Mahindra Satyam. He can be reached at [email protected]

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, discussed how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from millio...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.