To our U.S. readers, welcome back to reality after the Thanksgiving break. Hope you had a wonderful holiday surrounded by friends and family and that this week hasn't proven too much of a come-down for you.
Three things triggered this week's blog. The first was an email from a friend and client who, having just gotten his hands on an iPad, was looking for recommendations for a 5250 app. The second was an email that announced the publication of the latest part of IBM Systems Magazine's Special Report on mobile applications. This particular report focuses on security and should be compulsory reading for all those moving into the mobile universe. The third component originally came to our attention back in October at the Fall RPG & DB2 Summit where the folks from CNX showed us a preview version of their new iAdmin product. Having had the experience of wrestling with a smartphone 5250 app just to enable a user profile, we were thrilled to see this product in action. Now that it has been officially released, we can tell you about it. For those of us with older eyes and/or fat fingers this really is a great idea, and a great example of just what can be done with mobile apps. Give it a test drive from your phone or tablet at iadmin.cnxcorp.com and see what you think.
One thing that all of this highlighted for us is that mobile is different. The design issues are different. The security issues are different. And different challenges require different thinking. We might have been able to get away with designing our Web applications as giant multitabbed and (hopefully) prettier versions of 5250 applications, but not mobile apps. We need to rethink our design perspective and look for our inspiration elsewhere. The folks at CNX initially developed their new application for in-house use based on their own frustrations with teeny tiny 5250 screens (and they are all much younger than us!). What is missing in your shop? What problems could mobile apps solve for you? Things are changing quickly and embracing mobile technology may well be a make-or-break point for many IBM i shops. Because if we don't do it somebody else will.