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The Digital Experience Platform blog covers the latest in innovative technologies to help you transform your business.

Simplify Enterprise Mobility with Mobile Application Framework

Kellsey Ruppel
Principal Product Marketing Director
By Mitchell Palski, Oracle WebCenter Sales Consultant

We are happy to have Mitchell Palski joining us on the blog for a Q&A around how you can Simplify Enterprise Mobility with Mobile Application Framework.

Q. How can Mobile Application Framework deliver Secure, Seamless Mobile for the Enterprise?
For many years, corporate IT departments looked to the desktop as the only way to present information from their corporate enterprise applications. With the advent and exponential growth in mobile computing, applications are no longer tethered to the desktop; users expect to be able to switch among desktops, tablets, or smartphones anytime, anywhere. Multi-channel, mobile environments are becoming the new normal. Oracle helps simplify your organization’s transition into a mobile offering by providing a comprehensive platform for developing a mobile solution.

Q. Is it possible to Develop Cross-Platform Mobile Applications with Mobile Application Framework?
Based on a hybrid architecture, Oracle MAF lets you build apps that are portable across devices and operating systems while still leveraging the device specific capabilities that deliver a rich user experience. 

Applications developed with Oracle MAF can be designed for phone and/or tablet form factors and packaged for either Apple iOS or Google Android – all from a single code base. Oracle MAF leverages the power of Java, HTML5, and JavaScript in a visual and declarative development environment to provide development teams with a more efficient approach to building on-device mobile apps. 

Oracle MAF end users will realize benefits from native apps that can work in both connected and disconnected mode, access device services, and store data in a local SQLite database.

Q. We’ve been hearing a lot about Digital Experience in the market today. How can Oracle Mobile Application Framework be leveraged to deliver optimized user Experiences?
The key word in the question is “how”. Anyone can develop something using any number of frameworks, but what separates Oracle Mobile Application Framework? How can MAF not only accelerate your development lifecycle, but also enhance the product you are ultimately delivering to your users?

Oracle MAF is designed to increase developers’ productivity and enable intuitive mobile application development by offering extensive out-of-the-box capabilities and a declarative integrated environment. By easing the learning curve of app development, Oracle MAF allows developers to focus on user experience and get the most out of their organization’s mobile offering.

Mobile Application Framework includes a library of more than 80 professionally developed components that can be used to create rich mobile application interfaces in a declarative way. Oracle MAF components were designed specifically for mobile devices, which means they include support for touch and swipe gestures and are “skinned” to look great on mobile form factors. Developers also have the ability to quickly and declaratively integrate with local device services and features, such as camera, phone, SMS, contacts and GPS, through the declarative binding layer.

 Along with UX development, Oracle MAF supports the development of applications that can work offline as well as online. Applications are self-contained and can run on the mobile device in both connected and disconnected mode which means users are never stranded when they lose internet access.

In addition to the component based user interfaces, Oracle MAF can incorporate local HTML5 pages into the same application. This enables developers who prefer direct coding of the UI to incorporate their expertise along with third party components and code-libraries to create features in the application while keeping the ability to leverage the Oracle MAF container’s services.

Q. Integration is a common concern among business and IT today. Can you Integrate Data and Services across the Mobile Enterprise?
Integration is one of the leading challenges of mobile application development. Oracle Mobile Platform supports and utilizes standard technologies and tools to expose many data formats and back-end business systems for exchange with any mobile application, primarily through the use of web services.

Web services provide the ability for a publisher of business services or content to provide that content and data to a consumer in a standardized and loosely coupled manner. In this case our MAF-developed mobile app is the consumer. SOAP or REST services can both be used by Oracle MAF through the use of data controls. Data controls create a level of abstraction over a business service that gives developers a consistent interface into all available business services, whether they are web-services or not.

They key to integration with an Enterprise is having those consumable services available to your mobile application. Many customers rush into mobile development without focusing on the business functions that their app will actually provide. A slick-interface that incorporates HTML5 and CSS3, ties into mobile device tools, and has offline functionality, still serves little to no purpose without the availability of a meaningful service-oriented architecture. The only case this might not be true is when you are developing a dictionary or glossary type app that is used purely an index for uses to reference.

Q. What about Connectivity? Can you Simplify Mobile Connectivity in the Cloud?
Separate from Mobile Application Framework, Oracle Mobile Cloud Service provides you with the tools you need to develop a strategy for supporting your mobile development. It provides out-of-the-box services that every mobile app requires, plus the ability to define and implement new enterprise-ready APIs quickly and cleanly. All API calls from your client applications are made via uniform REST calls, creating a cohesive development environment that’s easy to control and maintain.

Q. Finally, security is also a common concern when deploying anything on multiple devices. Can Mobile Application Framework deliver Secure Mobility Across All Layers?
Security is a top priority for mobile application development given that mobile devices have higher risks of loss or theft. Oracle Mobile Application Framework comes with built in security that can limit access to your applications and ensure encryption of sensitive data. Oracle Mobile Application Framework enforces Communication Encryption, On-device Encryption, and SQLite Database Encryption. At the presentation layer, Developers can build single user interfaces that meet the needs of users with different privileges and provide role-based access to various features and pages.

Thank you, Mitchell for sharing your insight into how to Simplify Enterprise Mobility with Mobile Application Framework.  You can listen to a podcast on this topic here, and be sure to tune in to the Oracle WebCenter Café Best Practices Podcast Series for more information!

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