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PhoneGap - can it replace M-Bsuiness Client?

5 posts in General Discussion Last posting was on 2010-12-15 10:06:47.0Z
Shao Chan Posted on 2010-12-08 11:15:31.0Z
Reply-To: "Shao Chan" <nospam@nospam.com>
From: "Shao Chan" <nospam@nospam.com>
Newsgroups: ianywhere.public.mbusinessanywhere.general
Subject: PhoneGap - can it replace M-Bsuiness Client?
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Article PK: 9491

Hi all,

As the M-Business Client is no longer actively being developed, we are
looking at alternative ways to migrate our application.

SUP requires that the application is re-written using a common MBO which
generates localised code as a starting point for each native device. As SUP
does not want to use a container approach, then the chances of Sybase
supporting a web interface like the M-Biz as a future development is low.

We are looking at different ways to develop for multiple platforms and we
are mainly considering:
1) Using SUP
2) Using just Java - as we are building database applications, Java is more
likely to be more x-platform, even with its fragmentation issues.

Problem is that we still have issues with the various form factors etc.

One direction I wanted to look into was a tool with a browser component with
x-platform capability but with a framework such that you can extend/input
your own compiled APIs.

Now whilst PhoneGap has framework calls to SQLite as the local database, I
would want to be able to call Ultralite which is supported on many mobile
platforms.

The idea is to:
1) remove the pods from our M-Biz application.
2) re-write each of the pods (GPS, camera, etc) either using PhoneGap's
framework APIs or writing on native to each device and maintain several
development streams of these native APIs.
3) Port the M-Business client web application to PhoneGap.
4) All Javascript calls to the database will result in calls to native code
which will access the Ultralite either via C# or Objective C.

Now, I am not completely familiar with the capabilities of PhoneGap, but
does anyone think the above approach is a feasible approach forward for our
older M-Business applications?

Thanks,

Shao


Jeff Albion [Sybase iAnywhere] Posted on 2010-12-08 16:28:25.0Z
From: "Jeff Albion [Sybase iAnywhere]" <firstname.lastname@sybase.com>
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Hi Shao,

I would highly encourage you to discuss with your sales rep your
concerns regarding migration paths from M-Business and to discuss
solutions that may fit your requirements more closely.

On 08/12/2010 6:15 AM, Shao Chan wrote:
> Now whilst PhoneGap has framework calls to SQLite as the local database, I
> would want to be able to call Ultralite which is supported on many mobile
> platforms.

The reason M-Business can work with UltraLite is because we actively
develop an API for it. We do not have an UltraLite equivalent for
third-party HTML solutions, so you would then need to solve the problem
of synchronizing SQLite databases to your back-end servers...

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

--
Jeff Albion, Sybase iAnywhere, an SAP Company

iAnywhere Developer Community :
http://www.sybase.com/developer/library/sql-anywhere-techcorner
iAnywhere Documentation : http://www.ianywhere.com/developer/product_manuals
SQL Anywhere Patches and EBFs :
http://downloads.sybase.com/swd/summary.do?baseprod=144&client=ianywhere&timeframe=0
Report a Bug/Open a Case : http://case-express.sybase.com/cx/


Shao Chan Posted on 2010-12-08 17:11:39.0Z
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Subject: Re: PhoneGap - can it replace M-Bsuiness Client?
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Hi Jeff,

Thanks for that.

The point I was trying to make (possibly garbled in the length of the email)
is that you can prepare native calls that the browser can ultimately call.

Therefore I was thinking that we can call the Ultralite from Java or
Objective C and have the call methods exposed to the PhoneGap browser
application.

We have spoken to iAnywhere who confirmed that the M-Business Client will
not be developed for the newer mobile platforms.

We are exploring the new SUP platform. Whilst some of our projects are
suitable for migration, others are debateable.

Furthermore, we have concerns that the lack of a web-based offering via SUP
because of the container concept, maybe a problem for us as we believe that
the M-Business vision of HTML/Javascript with native calls is the correct
vision for the future. Unlike the desktop market, the mobile device market
is ever changing and not dominated by a single vendor. Furthermore, the
languages available for mobile devices are not really easily portable from
one to another, partially also because of major underlying hardware
differences.

I was hoping that someone on the M-Business newsgroups would be able to
offer some insight into the feasibility and the possible pitfalls especially
as the M-Biz team would have come across a few as they integrated their own
internal APIs into the M-Biz client.

Cheers,

Shao

"Jeff Albion [Sybase iAnywhere]" <firstname.lastname@sybase.com> wrote in
message news:4cffb229$1@forums-1-dub...
> Hi Shao,
>
> I would highly encourage you to discuss with your sales rep your concerns
> regarding migration paths from M-Business and to discuss solutions that
> may fit your requirements more closely.
>
> On 08/12/2010 6:15 AM, Shao Chan wrote:
>> Now whilst PhoneGap has framework calls to SQLite as the local database,
>> I
>> would want to be able to call Ultralite which is supported on many mobile
>> platforms.
>
> The reason M-Business can work with UltraLite is because we actively
> develop an API for it. We do not have an UltraLite equivalent for
> third-party HTML solutions, so you would then need to solve the problem of
> synchronizing SQLite databases to your back-end servers...
>
> Hope that helps!
>
> Cheers,
>
> --
> Jeff Albion, Sybase iAnywhere, an SAP Company
>
> iAnywhere Developer Community :
> http://www.sybase.com/developer/library/sql-anywhere-techcorner
> iAnywhere Documentation :
> http://www.ianywhere.com/developer/product_manuals
> SQL Anywhere Patches and EBFs :
> http://downloads.sybase.com/swd/summary.do?baseprod=144&client=ianywhere&timeframe=0
> Report a Bug/Open a Case : http://case-express.sybase.com/cx/


Jeff Albion [Sybase iAnywhere] Posted on 2010-12-13 19:05:27.0Z
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Hi Shao,

On 08/12/2010 12:11 PM, Shao Chan wrote:
> Therefore I was thinking that we can call the Ultralite from Java or
> Objective C and have the call methods exposed to the PhoneGap browser
> application.

I was reading more up on this concept of 'plug-ins' in the PhoneGap API
which I wasn't aware of when I originally replied. Considering the
availability of this approach, yes, this seems like a reasonable
approach of 'gluing' UltraLite with an HTML development API. The
Obective C API would cover you currently for iPhone, while you would
need to move to UltraLiteJ/Java if you're going to support BlackBerry
with PhoneGap.

> Furthermore, we have concerns that the lack of a web-based offering via SUP
> because of the container concept, maybe a problem for us as we believe that
> the M-Business vision of HTML/Javascript with native calls is the correct
> vision for the future. Unlike the desktop market, the mobile device market
> is ever changing and not dominated by a single vendor. Furthermore, the
> languages available for mobile devices are not really easily portable from
> one to another, partially also because of major underlying hardware
> differences.

This is an interesting perspective; and personally speaking, I agree
with your approach as well. The reality of the mobile market is that
there are some devices that offer platform-specific, managed-only
workspaces, and this makes developing cross-platform difficult
(particularly while involving any unmanaged components, such as
UltraLite). The hope with some of the 'container concept' development
frameworks is to abstract out the native and unmanaged details, leaving
only the 'managed' area to work with that is cross-platform. The
preference in coding-approaches is up to the development team - best of
luck in your research.

Cheers,

--
Jeff Albion, Sybase iAnywhere, an SAP Company

iAnywhere Developer Community :
http://www.sybase.com/developer/library/sql-anywhere-techcorner
iAnywhere Documentation : http://www.ianywhere.com/developer/product_manuals
SQL Anywhere Patches and EBFs :
http://downloads.sybase.com/swd/summary.do?baseprod=144&client=ianywhere&timeframe=0
Report a Bug/Open a Case : http://case-express.sybase.com/cx/


Shao Chan Posted on 2010-12-15 10:06:47.0Z
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From: "Shao Chan" <nospam@nospam.com>
Newsgroups: ianywhere.public.mbusinessanywhere.general
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Subject: Re: PhoneGap - can it replace M-Bsuiness Client?
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Article PK: 9495

Hi Jeff,

Thanks very much for your reply.

> This is an interesting perspective; and personally speaking, I agree with
> your approach as well. The reality of the mobile market is that there are
> some devices that offer platform-specific, managed-only workspaces, and
> this makes developing cross-platform difficult (particularly while
> involving any unmanaged components, such as UltraLite). The hope with some
> of the 'container concept' development frameworks is to abstract out the
> native and unmanaged details, leaving only the 'managed' area to work with
> that is cross-platform. The preference in coding-approaches is up to the
> development team - best of luck in your research.
> Cheers,
> Jeff Albion, Sybase iAnywhere, an SAP Company

Thanks for that. I think that the only problem with SUP was that it moved
from a complete container approach (M-Biz) to a complete non-container
approach (SUP & direct coding) and there are 2 things to realised from this,
at least in my view:

1) The problem with the M-Business Client is purely that its been around a
long time with legacy (and difficult) implementation. The vision is sound -
spot on. There is nothing wrong with container approaches - there are many
pieces of software out there that run multi-platform and allow third-party
bolt ons. Developers just needed the ability to add plugins in the native
high level language rather than the obscure POD structure programmed in C.
Either way, for multi-platform, the PODs would be most likely programmed and
compiled differently - this is the part that would be different anyway.

2) Whilst SUP is fundamentally sound, the concept that you must move
completely away from a container approach I think is wrong. It's about
making the container simpler where possible and also separating that which
can be cross-platform and that which must be natively developed. The
concept of SUP is that a lot of the hard work is taken away from you by
managing much in the business objects and allow for code generation. The
problem is that much of the time with coding is coping with the
ever-changing number of user interfaces (form factors, and proprietory OS
interface) and fragmentation of the languages on the platform (as opposed to
the business logic). For example, even if you go the Java route, Android
supports the desktop version of Java and the other mobiles support the
standard J2ME edition. Then they each have their own proprietory way of
accessing the user interface. So even if SUP is really good at generating
code for all the platforms initially, to get it working is a lot of work.
The key is ideally to work out a way so that code will work on all
platforms, and that at the moment is Javascript/HTML.

With iAnywhere dropping support for Ultralite integration into the M-Biz
client in SQLA 12 onwards, the PhoneGap option appears to be a good way
forward allowing us to:
a) leverage a cross-platform container and program native code in a high
level language.
b) re-use much of the investment in the M-Business Client.web front-end
pages we have developed in our applications.
c) continue to use Ultralite and Mobilink, which is a key time-saving and
reliable best-of-breed component when it comes to developing applications
that need synchronisation.

Cheers,

Shao
p.s. There are also other software vendors offering variants such as
Titanium Mobile which also gives direct UI access to the local device, but
the problem with this is that your code is non-portable across devices, but
gives a native look and feel.