- As MEAP leaders focus less on front-end app development, the trend is to relinquish IDE/framework grip.
- The greatest value proposition among mobile app platform solutions now lies in backend integration.
MEAP leaders are altering the foundation of their mobile app platforms to allow for more flexibility in which application development frameworks mobile developers favor. Application platform providers no longer feel the need to differentiate through IDEs, so in lieu of pushing their own front-end app development tools on mobile developers, vendors are allowing tools such as Xamarin and Service2Media to be used with their platforms, focusing instead on improving integration at the backend.
Helping illustrate this growing trend through recent market activities:
– SAP dropped its IDE technology within SMP and ushered in its “bring your own tools” (BYOT) program, partnering with application development framework providers such as Xamarin.
– Microsoft has broadened its front-end tool options through partnership with Xamarin.
– IBM recently altered the foundation of Worklight 6.2 by enhancing support for native mobile app development, and we expect it to make similar moves to partner with app development framework providers.
Middleware leaders launching MEAP offerings over the past couple years are motivated to capture as much opportunity as they can in terms of developer support. They recognize that enterprise developers want to use the front-end tools they are most familiar with for creating innovative mobile apps. “Write once, run anywhere” is no longer the only mantra to those developers writing more sophisticated mobile apps in native code. They are now primarily concerned with finding MEAP solutions that reduce the complexities around integration, as well as including strong security and operations support to ensure enterprise-grade deployment. Solutions that will prove critical in mobile portfolios will come in the form of gateway technologies (such as SAP Integration Gateway) which expose APIs, API management, and wizard-based connectivity (such as IBM Cast Iron), as well as a template approach to connectivity.
The real pain point where vendors will be looking to differentiate is in the backend integration. This is where the battle will be waged and the war won among MEAP players.