The total number of mobile application users stood at 1.2 billion at the end of 2012. This number is forecasted to grow aggressively at 30% a year, to reach 4.4 billion users by the end of 2017. Mobile applications—whether for your customers, partners, or employees—are becoming an increasingly important tool for improving business outcomes. Mobile users expect a consistent experience across their channel(s) of choice, regardless of their location and connection speed.
Seventy-four percent (74%) of mobile website users and 50% of mobile app users will exit out if the system does not load within five seconds. Expectations are high and the consequences for failing to meet expectations are severe.
Out With the Old, in With the New
Traditionally, web applications have been developed using a three-tier architecture: a web browser on the client side with business logic running on an application server accessing data within a database on the backend. Application servers that “translate” between back-end business protocols and HTTP are costly, complex, and highly inefficient.
Compelling web and mobile applications can be developed using the new HTML5 WebSocket standard that provides a full duplex communication model. In place of application-server farms and performance-killing translation, WebSocket allows native business protocols to ride over a true end-to-end socket connection.
Challenges of Mobile Data Delivery
The WebSocket Protocol opens up a whole new world of possibilities to developers; it makes polling-based tricks, which simulated a persistent connection on the old three-tier browser/application server architectures, a thing of the past.
Ok, well, not exactly. There are still a number of challenges that you need to consider.
One is the availability of WebSocket on the devices you are looking to support versus any network infrastructure limitations. You need to ensure the WebSocket’s technology you are leveraging will support legacy browsers, as well as all network infrastructures, or you will be finding yourself supporting dual environments.
You also need to consider the volumes expected for your mobile applications. What many developers fail to consider is that the number of activities performed by end users on mobile devices are often 5x or 10x that of the same activities performed on a browser. And how you are going to eliminate some of the challenges with cellular networks? Will you balance the loads between multiple systems or distribute them geographically so users can access information from a nearby location?
You cannot forget about security. It is not practical to reinvent the wheel when it comes to mobile projects and securing your data. You need to leverage the existing infrastructure but also have additional challenges like revalidation, a WebSocket extension that ensures that WebSocket connections do not outlive their authorizing credentials. (Read TIBCO’s report explaining how to unlock and deliver your backend data to better understand how to address these challenges.)
The WebSocket standard is a fundamentally new approach to web communication, and TIBCO adds the industrial strength that makes it enterprise-ready. TIBCO Web Messaging allows you to extend existing back-end systems, including your messaging middleware, to deliver data to mobile devices—this slashes the costs associated with developing and maintaining these applications. And stay tuned: We’ll be talking a lot more about mobile challenges and best practices of mobile integration in the coming weeks.
Explore the whitepaper Five Ways to Address the Challenges of Data Delivery in a Mobile Environment to learn more about how you can leverage TIBCO Web Messaging to extend your back-end systems to mobile and Web apps.