At last week’s WCA panel, Jeff Haynie, CEO and founder of Appcelerator, suggested that mobile frameworks will continue to gain traction because of the rise in complexity of mobile applications. Mobile applications are becoming context-aware. They know who you are, where you are — the physical sensors are augmented by the potential for this personal device to have very detailed information about us, which being connected to vast data stores and services in the cloud.
Applications are integrating social features. Isaac Mosquera, CTO and founder of AppMakr, sited the integration of social context when I asked how they will be different from other point-and-click tools for generating applications that have fallen by the wayside. We now have these cloud-hosted social networks, twitter, facebook, linkedin, that know who we care about, who are friends and colleagues are.
Adam Blum, CEO and founder of Rhomoble, spoke about how NFC (near-field communication) will change the kinds of applications we develop. NFC-capabilities are part of the Rhodes 3.0 release and available on new Android and BlackBerry devices.
Andre Charland, CEO of Nitobi, the makers of PhoneGap, agreed that there’s an exciting future for mobile apps of growing complexity, but he also cautioned developers and entrepreneurs in the audience that we need useful applications. I agree there is room for innovation along practical vectors.
Jeff compared the rise in cross-platform mobile frameworks to what we saw on the web when applications like Gmail appeared. I think the analogy is apt. We can look at the rise of web frameworks like jQuery, Ruby on Rails, and see similar industry and technical trends. It seems there is an inflection point. Where engineers have been building something long enough that patterns are well understood and when there is enough CPU and memory to support a layer of abstraction, then it is practical to build a framework. When the applications we are working to build rise in complexity, then it becomes necessary to use a framework.
I enjoyed moderating this panel of leaders in mobile development. Many thanks to WCA for creating the event.