Mobile Developer Becomes Redundant

Michael Vizard, July 10th, 2013

The phrase mobile application developer gets frequently bandied about because for a while not it’s required specific tools and expertise to build these types of applications. But as general purpose application development tools become more tightly integrated with HTML5, Javscript and cascading style sheets (CSS) a question about whether the average IT organization is going to need dedicated tools for building mobile application not only arises, the whole concept of being a mobile developer may eventually become as quaint as the phrase Web developer before it.

According to newly appointed Alpha Software CTO Dan Bricklin, there’s always a period of time when new innovations require new developer tools. But over time Bricklin, who is widely credited with being “the father of the spreadsheet, says history has shown that general purpose toolsets incorporate whatever unique functionality those tools may have had. The reason for this is that developers themselves don’t want to limit their expertise to one class of platforms. They inevitably need to develop applications that span a complete IT spectrum that includes everything from mobile devices to the cloud.

Img Credit: Alpha Software

With that goal in mind Alpha Software recently launched Alpha Anywhere, which allows developers to build their own objects, methods, components and event handlers on any device, including both clients and servers.

Of course, at the crux of the mobile developer debate is the argument over whether native application development tools such as ObjectiveC for Apple iOS devices provide a significantly better end user experience than HTML5. While at one point it was clear native application development tools provided much more in the way of functionality, the gap between HTML5, Javascript and CSS on the one hand and native programming languages on the other has narrowed considerably.

Bricklin says there will still be plenty of instances where native programming tools will still make sense for certain classes of consumer applications, but when it comes to business applications in the enterprise most organizations are going to favor more general-purpose approaches such as HTML5 that can be more cost effectively leveraged across multiple platforms. In essence, says Bricklin, history has shown time and again that it’s the ubiquity of the player that ultimately wins out when it comes to application development.

Obviously, with most enterprise organizations there is a new “Mobile First” rallying cry that reflects the increased end user preference for interacting with data in mobile computing devices. But that shift in where and how applications are being accessed doesn’t necessarily mean there needs to be a wholesale shift towards new application development tools. What’s more likely to occur is that the tools that most developers already proficient with are about to become a whole lot more mobile friendly.

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One Response to “Mobile Developer Becomes Redundant”

July 11th, 2013
at 2:34 am
Comment by: Victoria Mudaraya

I totally agree that with the boost of HTML5 and the fact that most of experts predict it a great future, such developers tools would be neeeded, and there certainly will be demand for them. But as I see it, the best decision would be a tool allowing to develop both html5 applications and native apps for top devices, that is at least iPhone and android apps

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