Business Thoughts by Allegro

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Why mobile sites are more critical then ever

The writing was on the wall last year that Google and other search engines were putting more and more emphasis on the mobile responsiveness of web sites.  This is important for more informational sites such as our own Allegro site but it is critical for those companies that sell products directly over the web. If your rankings are reduced, your customers may likely find someone else to buy from instead of you.

As of this spring, Google changed their search algorithms to provide greater weight to responsive web design. Fortunately , they also then provided helpful tools to test your site such as their Mobile Friendly Test. Initially Google stated that this would only impact the ranking of mobile sites and not the more typical "desktop" sites but the true impact was quickly felt.  Within the first week of implementation, pages on mobile sites were getting a huge spike in their presence on search engine results versus "desktop" sites using the same keywords.

The morale of the story is to make sure you pay attention to your Google tools and analytics. Make sure this new paradigm in search ranking doesn't leave you behind.

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Want to read about SaaS, mobile computing, cloud and more?

Whether it is relaxing by the pool enjoying vacation with your family or filling in time while traveling to yet another client site, many of us turn to books to fill in this time.  If we're feeling motivated, these books are business or technology related to help us keep current in our professional life.

Progress is providing an unexpected boost to anyone looking for that next inspiration.  As part of their revamped website, they have started a book club to poitn out new releases in such areas as SaaS, mobile computing, social media and more.

Take a look at the OpenEdge Book Club to grab the leading chapter of these recommended books and start reading today.

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Progress User Group: OpenEdge Mobile

On October 22, 2013 Allegro Consultants hosted the Progress User Group meeting with guest speaker Peter Judge, Principal Software Engineer with Progress Software. The topics included Horizontal Table Partitioning and OpenEdge Mobile. With mobile devices becoming increasingly popular, this topic has generated much excitement with our attendees and the majority of the business world as well. More than ever companies are taking a serious look at how they can get a piece of the action. Mobile applications allow people to use free time while out and about to search a specific item, comparison shop, and make purchases online. If a business does not have a mobile application, they may be missing out on opportunities to gain new business.

OpenEdge Mobile makes it possible to connect potential customers to the OpenEdge business logic your company uses every day. OpenEdge Mobile provides everything you need to develop apps for Android and iOS platforms. Mobile applications can be developed easily from the Progress Developer Studio. Design your app using drag and drop functionality to sculpt your user interface. OpenEdge Mobile gives you the ability to add your progress code, your own security protocols, so that your users can access your data. OpenEdge Mobile offers an express setup allowing you to have a basic setup up and running in minutes, offering testing to see your work in action, and a QR code to scan and see your handiwork on your own mobile device.

There are three different types of mobile applications, Native, Hybrid, and Mobile Web app. Native apps are specific to one particular device, which would require building an app for each specific operating system. This type of application would allow full access to features of the device, and distribution of the app on the AppStore, allowing restricted distribution of the app.

The hybrid app is one that would allow you to develop one app for a specific group of devices. Hybrid applications are device specific and use HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. This allows you work with most of the capabilities of the device, and you would also be able to distribute your app on the AppStore, but allow restricted access to the app.

The Mobile Web App uses HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript and allows you to develop one app for any device. For this app to work there must be an internet connection available. The access to device capabilities is diminished, and there is no native AppStore for distribution or restricting access to the app.  

OpenEdge Mobile uses the Hybrid App model which uses the native container and the web application as well. There is no need to learn new programming languages or purchase a specific computer to develop your app. Using the Hybrid approach also allows you to market your app in AppStores your customers are familiar with making it accessible to a wider audience. A hybrid application also gives you access to more functionality of the user’s device which gives a richer experience to the end user.

There are some expenses involved in going mobile. OpenEdge Mobile is only available in version 11.2 and up, so you may need to upgrade your software. OpenEdge Mobile also requires licensing. Depending on the device you are developing for, there are fees to submit your app to Apple or Google as well. It is typically a once a year subscription, and the cost is relatively low.

Connecting a device to your business logic can be made using different techniques, but the use of REST is the recommended method. Typically in the past, SOAP was used to connect the data to the mobile device, but REST is much more flexible and easier to use.

OpenEdge mobile uses drag and drop for the functionality of buttons, maps, and other interface items. Just drag over the fields from the table you are accessing and assign them to the desired display location. Button actions and page calls are all done for you through the intuitive tools of OpenEdge Mobile. Mobile development is just one of the new additions to the Progress Software collection.  Join us for our next Progress Users Group meeting to learn more.

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