Mobile is hot these days; cannot deny, can you? I believe we are in the middle of a huge transformation within our industry; computing is turning on a dime and form factors are changing dramatically. At the forefront of this all, are some of the latest Mobile operating systems from the big software vendors. I’m going to go ahead and say that the big three are iOS, Android & Windows Phone 7. BlackBerry, WebOS & others are off course around; but in this day of cut-throat competition, you gotta be able to attract developers. This is where I think they are failing; but I’m a dork & could be completely wrong.
We, at Sogeti USA, are a software solutions company. We routinely take technology to its limits and do what makes sense for our clients. So, it makes sense that we would be good at providing Mobile solutions on the major platforms. From a client & developer perspective, the state of affairs is a little confusing. All three major platforms have their unique development paradigms, IDEs & toolkits. It is almost the case where a single solution needs repeated to suit apps in the various mobile platforms. This may be seen as unfortunate, since it needs developers skilled in different programming languages; but unavoidable in the near future. May be someday, rich Mobile web with HTML5 standardization will the de-facto way of doing mobile applications; but we are far from it.
So, since we have a lot of expertise in all three mobile development paradigms, it was time for a little educative showdown! Two weeks back, myself & couple of my esteemed colleagues (namely Robert Omalley, Nihar Shah, Nathan Strandafer & Thomas Weeseling) got together and decided to teach a Mobile 101 class for everyone else. They had tons of experience in iOS & Android and I was obviously going to talk about Windows Phone 7. The idea was to have a session where we lay out the state of affairs, and then pick up each mobile platform individually and compare & contrast. This would be followed by a quick smack-down – the kind we have at most mobile conferences these days. We would all build the same simple Hello World type application in the different programming environments & compare the tools of trade. We had a decent turnout & it was a blast!
Now, this is Sogeti proprietary stuff; so I cannot share with anyone outside. For interested Sogetians, you may find the slide-deck here (requires Sogeti credentials). Please get in touch with us or your local Mobility leads if there are possible mobile opportunities you want to talk about.
To me personally, this was a good eye-opener for the various platforms and the development tools. One thing stood out for me; I may be biased though. The Windows Phone 7 ecosystem is the newest mobile kid on the block. However, in terms of development ease, it seemed to have the lowest barrier to entry. The toolsets are just awesome with Visual Studio, Expression Blend & managed Silverlight/XNA runtime. MSFT has another comfort factor – the rich developer ecosystem around its .NET technology stack. As a result, there is no shortage of folks doing awesome cool stuff & then sharing their work as nugets/toolkits.
Anyway, I thought the session was really a lot of fun. Thanks a lot to everyone who attended or helped shape this talk.