FeedHenry CEO Cathal McGloin on the “stealthy” changes as mobile evolves

Mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) provider FeedHenry has put together a list of five myths concerning enterprise app development in a mobile-first world.

The Irish firm wanted to slash and scythe at outdated ideas on enterprise software and development; the idea that enterprise apps take six months to develop and deploy; mobile app developers need to keep up with a myriad of languages and frameworks; and that enterprise apps are data hungry, battery draining machines.

Cathal McGloin, FeedHenry CEO, describes the new trends as “stealthy”, and advocates the use of API management going forward.

“We find people understand that it’s less about building a very complex heavy front-end mobile app, and it’s more about building agile, fast, lightweight apps that consume robust APIs, so the whole restful API story is beginning to merge with the MBaaS story,” he says.

Naturally, you’d expect these enterprise mobile myths to fit in with FeedHenry’s company ethos, providing agile backends to integrate with internal business systems. But it’s not just about that.

Another myth relates to the idea of appointing a head of mobility, or the dreaded term ‘chief mobility officer’ to head up the mobile project aside from the line of business and IT.

McGloin advocates a more streamlined approach. “People understand that mobility is not a separate thing,” he says. “So you see a trend towards mobile centres of excellence, traditional IT emerge, rather than appointing somebody to be mobile, and having that somebody separate from your head of IT, your marketing officer, and so on.”

Languages are also becoming lighter, more streamlined. Whereas “With the advent of MBaaS and caching, what you’re doing is bringing back that data from the legacy system,” McGloin explains.

“You’re actually stripping out all the [Java] data and converting it into JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data, and you’re only then exposing the three or four fields you need from that API – turning a heavyweight Java API into a lightweight JSON-producing API that the mobile app can consume, and stripping out a lot of the payload that’s unnecessary.”

This enables you to create a mashup in the cloud rather than on the phone, as McGloin put it – data and time saving all round.

“It’s one of the general trends that’s going on, a shift from heavier weight languages like Java,” he says.

“To be a good Java programmer, and to build a highly scalable app in Java, you needed 10, 15, 20 years of experience in the industry. These were architectures that were meant to be robust, enterprise wide...it took years and years to put in this architecture, and by the time they’ve put [it] in, the business requirements had moved on.

Enter JavaScript. “What was originally a very lightweight, second rate thing has emerged as a fast way of doing things,” McGloin adds. “This JavaScript trend is not just happening on the server side, or the cloud side – it’s happening on the mobile app side.”

The overall trend, of greater agility, is one FeedHenry is seeing in larger enterprises.

“We found over the last 12 months a real trend towards multi-development toolkits within an enterprise, so more and more people have fixed on a strategy of having both native and HTML5, a Xamarin, or an Appcelerator,” says McGloin.

“More and more as we go into organisations and talk, and we present the fact that you can choose iOS and you can choose HTML5 and you can have one of these cross platform toolkit, they go ‘we’re using all of them, this is great,’” he adds.

Take a look at the full list of myths in this infographic here.


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