Cisco Joins the Business-Oriented Mobile App Development Parade

Hardware and networking power Cisco Systems Inc. this week entered the software development arena as part of its new Enterprise Mobility Services Platform (EMSP), announced at its partner summit in Las Vegas.

Much like Adobe Systems Inc. did earlier this week, Cisco positioned its mobile app development tools as part of a broader initiative focused on business and marketing. In announcing the new platform, Cisco's Hari Harikrishnan emphasized the company's intention to blend mobile app development with marketing. He cited a recent survey that predicted "up to 50 percent of all marketing hires in 2014 will have a technical background," conducted by IT staffing provider Mondo.

"The shift is happening," Harikrishnan said, "and successful mobility vendors will need to align to [line-of-business] requirements to be successful." The EMSP will be released in late May, he said, "to meet the next wave of mobility."

Cisco said its ecosystem to build "business-relevant" mobile apps will support back-end data integration, mobile app management and app development. The platform will help businesses grow the bottom line by "using real-time data connected to the location and context of people and things," the company said.

Developers will have the option to code apps from scratch in new optimized IDEs or use a "pre-built vertical experience kit" for customers in certain vertical industries, the company said. Developers can use technology adapters to code in Java and use the LDAP, HTTP, SOAP and REST protocols.

The Cisco EMSP will help developers more easily build thick, thin or hybrid mobile apps, Cisco said in an informational PDF. The company claimed the IDEs will save developers time by incorporating drag-and-drop UI capabilities. Also, much like Adobe's initiative that leverages the cross-platform PhoneGap IDE, developers can build one codebase and use the platform to automatically generate cross-platform code for multiple devices and OSes. It also supports multilingual development, offline data support and synchronization of mobile app data.

According to a data sheet, the platform features several optimized IDEs to build thick, hybrid (native and HTML 5) and thin apps. An XML-based native client IDE will generate cross-platform code. The hybrid client IDE is based on open source JavaScript libraries, leveraging the Apache Cordova project. The thin client IDE uses technology based on JavaServer Faces and features dynamic UI elements depending upon a device's browser capabilities. Coders can use the IDEs to automatically generate binaries for Android and BlackBerry apps and test for those platforms with integrated emulators.

The Cisco EMSP will come in two versions, basic and advanced. The latter will add adapters to integrate with SAP, Siebel, PeopleSoft, Microsoft CRM and Oracle On-Demand CRM systems. Both versions will run on Windows 2008 R2 or Windows 7 64-bit systems, on-premise or in the cloud. Pricing wasn't available.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.