Pushed Content Provides Easy Entry to Mobile Development
September 23, 2014 Dan Burger
Your excursion into mobile application development can be a lot easier than what you’ve been led to believe. And a lot less expensive, too. A pre-packaged mobile app that allows system administrators and application developers to automatically send mobile device notifications from modern IBM midrange servers or from applications running on those boxes could be the mobile momentum you need. The app, which delivers notifications to iOS and Android mobile devices, was released last week by SystemObjects.
SystemObjects calls the app SP4i-Push. It’s a follow-up to SmartPad4i, which SystemObjects introduced in mid-2013. That product was designed to create IBM i Web and mobile applications (with full read-write DB2 for i access) with an iPad interface. It includes a user interface designer that can import existing Web interfaces and display them using the Apache Web server on the IBM i server.
SP4i-Push gets its name from its capability to deliver information that originates from the IBM i server instead of a client. Pre-defined user profiles steer the messages to the assigned recipients. The original SP4i delivers messages via email.
SP4i-Push software installs on the IBM i server and is configured so that only authorized personnel receives the messages. The messages can be sent to one user, many users, or to predefined groups of users. All users must be registered on the IBM i server.
The software consists of a library and an IFS directory installed on IBM i. It provides the administrative framework to securely manage push and email notifications, including a device registration utility and a user device database. The SP4i-Push mobile app is available for free from the iOS and Android stores.
The configuration involves establishing notification routines using a call to the SP4i-Push API and the approval so that specified users receive specific routines. Notifications are color-coded to indicate the degree of urgency.
When the SP4i Push app is installed on a mobile device, the device is registered and it establishes a unique ID that is known by the system admin. The person assigned to that device is entered into the database. The i server can send messages only to registered users. And the device can only receive messages from the i to which it is registered. If multiple partitions or multiple i servers are involved, users need to be registered on each partition and each i server.
System administrators could use SP4i-Push to monitor data backups or file transfers for instance. It could also be embedded in applications to provide end users with information about the application. One example could be alerting a help desk that an application problem exists and a resolution of the problem is necessary. That notice could be sent to whoever is designated and whenever it is necessary.
Serge Charbit, CEO at SystemObjects, predicts in the next five years we will see all applications running on mobile devices. The reality that this can be done on the IBM i platform needs to be demonstrated today, or the system will lose credibility.
“Everyone is thinking about mobility and the i,” Charbit says. “I want to see real IBM i applications on real smartphones to show organizations this is possible today.”
To encourage mobile development projects, SystemObjects is offering a Community Edition of SP4i-Push. For up to 10 users, the software license fee is waived. Charbit says this is an easy and inexpensive way to demonstrate the IBM I platform is capable of deploying modern, mobile applications.
For more than 10 users, SP4i-Push licensing charges are determined on a per user basis, with price breaks at 20, 50, 100 users, plus a license option for unlimited users. Specific pricing is unavailable for publication. For more information and a free community edition download, see the company’s website at www.systemobjects.com.