Splitting IBM TRIRIGA into mobile bits


IBM TRIRIGA! It’s been months since I last talked about delivering IBM TRIRIGA from the cloud or mobilizing IBM TRIRIGA on mobile. While it isn’t hard to see the trend towards centralized cloud-based and mobile-browser solutions, there might be other trends on the horizon. For example, IBM Endpoint Manager, formerly called BigFix, offers a more-decentralized processing-agent approach.

Recently, Google began splitting its Google Drive mobile app into standalone apps — Google Docs for documents and Google Sheets for spreadsheets — because the company realized that “more of you are starting to use your mobile devices not just to view, but also to create and edit content”. Here, we’re seeing another example of migrating towards a more-decentralized mobile experience.

Potential future of IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps

Potential future of IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. While cloud-based “software as a service” (SaaS) approaches might be delivered entirely through a mobile browser, such third-party browsers might also be limited in their processing power or interactive experience. Like Google standalone apps, will IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps evolve beyond mobile browsers?

What if you don’t own a smartphone?

For those of you who don’t own a smartphone yet, and I know you’re out there, here’s a brief history of the revolutionary technology you’re missing. For those who already own one, two, three, or more smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices, don’t worry, this history should still set the context for my assumptions, observations, and potential predictions about IBM TRIRIGA and its mobile future.

iPhone and later

In 2007, Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone, one of the first mobile phones to use a multi-touch interface. The iPhone was notable for its use of a large touchscreen for direct finger input as its main means of interaction, instead of a stylus, keyboard, or keypad typical for smartphones at the time. 2008 saw the release of the first phone to use Android called the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1). Android is an open-source platform founded by Andy Rubin and backed by Google. Although Android’s adoption was relatively slow at first, it started to gain widespread popularity in 2010…

Application stores

The introduction of Apple’s App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch in July 2008 popularized manufacturer-hosted online distribution for third-party applications (software, computer programs) focused on a single platform. Up until that point, smartphone application distribution depended on third-party sources providing applications for multiple platforms, such as GetJar, Handango, Handmark, and PocketGear. Following the success of the App Store, other smartphone manufacturers launched application stores, such as Google’s Android Market in October 2008 and RIM’s BlackBerry App World in April 2009.

Dedicated mobile websites which offer specific content targeted to the context of mobile visitors, have also emerged. While some mobile sites may stick to the bar[e]-bones functions and information from their desktop site, there is nothing stopping a brand from creating a dedicated mobile site that functions like an app in terms of applications and capabilities.

Development trends such as HTML5, have led to the development of web applications with enhanced functionality (such as geo-location features, offline storage, and enhanced graphical capabilities). Whereas in recent years, Web 2.0 became a buzzword for enhanced media and rich web content, the web as we know it today has become mobile friendly and browsers are capable of running powerful web applications that replace bulky software.

Every year, phones and tablets get better, and more of you are starting to use your mobile devices not just to view, but also to create and edit content. And while the Drive app is a convenient place to store your stuff, we want to make it easier for you to quickly find, edit and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go. Starting today, you can download new, standalone mobile apps for Docs and Sheets — with Slides coming soon. Need to find a spreadsheet? Go to the Sheets app. Need to create a document? Go to the Docs app. They’re all right there at your fingertips.

Google this week released standalone apps for its Docs and Sheets services (with Slides coming soon) for Android and iOS. The apps, which were both previously bundled into the company’s Google Drive app, come not long after Microsoft brought its Office productivity suite to the iPhone and iPad. Google notes that the standalone apps are intended to make it easier for you to quickly find, edit, and create new documents and spreadsheets.

As you can see, in only 7 years, the modern smartphone has already transformed or deconstructed the basic “building block” of the user-interactive internet from desktop-based websites and web applications to mobile-based websites and standalone mobile apps. Based on the current path of Google mobile apps, the trend points strongly to the proliferation of mobile apps over mobile sites.

To illustrate, here are 6 mobile apps by Google — Gmail, Maps, Drive, Keep, and the recently released standalone Docs and Sheets which were formerly bundled with the Google Drive app.

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

Google mobile apps

What do I mean by evolving beyond mobile browsers?

Now that you have a better idea of the mobile context, let’s return to my question: “Will IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps evolve beyond mobile browsers?” At present, IBM TRIRIGA enterprise solutions offer not only desktop-browser delivery but also cloud-based delivery. In fact, in a previous post, I noted “the abundance of IBM partners that are already offering IBM TRIRIGA software as a service”.

However, if enterprise-class trends point simultaneously to the consolidation of centralized cloud platforms and the proliferation of decentralized mobile apps instead of mobile websites, then the spread of standalone mobile apps should be the next logical step in the IBM TRIRIGA evolution. In other words, desktop and mobile browsers might be extinct sooner than we think. Another 7 years?

In another previous post, I admitted that “I haven’t found any clear indication of newer IBM TRIRIGA mobile solutions by IBM or its business partners since IBM acquired TRIRIGA in 2011… [I]t’s quite possible that I’m being unfair and it’s not too late… [T]here are probably teams at IBM that are developing both SaaS-flavored and mobile-flavored solutions of IBM TRIRIGA at this very moment.”

Guess what? Nearly 8 months later, I’m beginning to see signs of a bright new dawn. According to the IBM developerWorks website, the first role-based IBM TRIRIGA mobile app is coming soon.

IBM TRIRIGA clients are increasingly mobile and need access to their integration workplace management system (IWMS) from handheld devices. The ability to directly update the IWMS with work data increases efficiency of end users, in turn reducing cost for the organization. The IBM TRIRIGA Workplace Operations application provides the ability to gather data at the point of work, an improved user experience for targeted business processes, and built-in features of handheld device services such as the camera and GPS. It also provides both connected and disconnected modes. Additionally, our clients can configure the mobile application to align with changes they have made to the IBM TRIRIGA system.

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

IBM TRIRIGA Anywhere Workplace Operations

What other mobile trends do I see?

Whether the trending “proliferation of mobile apps” is a result of the mobile-device advantages in processing power or interactive experience or both, it’s also intriguing to observe the mobile-app developments not only by multinational corporations such as Google, but also by lesser-known companies like Como, which is also the name of its unique “do-it-yourself app-creation platform”.

I don’t remember how I first stumbled across the Como platform, but when I visited its website last month, I couldn’t resist the idea of creating my own mobile app. Just like WordPress where you don’t have to be a web developer to create and design your own blogs, you don’t have to be a mobile developer to create and design your own mobile apps. It only took an hour or two, and it was fun!

Como™ is the world’s leading do-it-yourself app-creation platform, powering more than one million small business apps around the world — with over 4,500 new apps created every day. Founded in 2010, Como makes it easy for brands and businesses to become an integral part of their customers’ lifestyle, helping them build lasting loyalty and thrive in today’s digital world.

Featuring a host of customization options, advanced features, and marketing tools, Como’s unique platform enables anyone to quickly and easily create custom mobile apps and sites for all major mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, and HTML5), with minimal cost and no coding necessary. Como is a division of Conduit Ltd., a leading global software innovation company.

Como app-creation platform

Como app-creation platform

Como app-creation platform

Como app-creation platform

Como app-creation platform

Como app-creation platform

Como app-creation platform

Como app-creation platform

To illustrate, here are a few screenshots of my mobile-app design. If you’re interested, here’s my live mobile-website demo. But don’t click the app store links. I don’t plan to officially submit the app.

Jay Manaloto mobile app

Jay Manaloto mobile app

Jay Manaloto mobile app

Jay Manaloto mobile app

What are my final thoughts?

Will standalone browsers really be extinct in another 7 years? Why not? If you own a smartphone, tablet, wearable, or other mobile device, think about the dozens or hundreds of mobile apps that you’ve installed until today. Since all mobile apps are expected to be internet-ready by their very nature, how often do you open your mobile browser? Maybe 5% of the time? Maybe less than 1%?

The modern smartphone has existed for only 7 years. But today, are you still buying physical calculators, calendars, and compact discs as often as you used to? If typical desktops and laptops, especially non-gaming ones, are giving way to mobile devices, while websites and web applications are giving way to mobile apps, do you see a future for standalone desktop and mobile browsers?

Next, if Google standalone apps and Como “do-it-yourself” apps can do it, will IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps evolve beyond mobile browsers? I think the answer is clear. Besides, given the fast-paced high-tech circumstances, I don’t think IBM TRIRIGA has a choice. I’ve found at least 2 IBM partners who already offer IBM TRIRIGA mobile solutions: eCIFM On-The-Go and CFI Mobile Technology.

But I still have hope for IBM TRIRIGA and its mobile future. If an information developer like myself can create and design his own mobile app in a matter of hours, our IBM TRIRIGA development team should be able to build a dozen role-based IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps in a matter of months, not only for Operations, but likewise for Requests, Reservations, Projects, Moves, Contracts, and more.

Okay, maybe I’m being overly optimistic. But it’s nice to dream of the mobile possibilities. Like I wrote 8 months ago, “when their releases are announced, it’ll be a new day on the IWMS stage indeed.”

Potential future of IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps

Potential future of IBM TRIRIGA mobile apps

Do I have an update?

One month after splitting IBM into mobile bits, I looked into killing XML authoring with IBM apples!

Apple + IBM

Apple + IBM

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