Mobile Development Platform Strategy Chart – ADF Mobile, WebCenter Sites, Portal, Content and Social

In an effort to make key information accessible to various mobile delivery channels – once perceived as a nice to have – are now front and center in any discussion involving user engagement. Unlike desktop web focused efforts, the world of mobile has undergone change at a feverish pace.

Evaluations of various mobile platforms and development strategies very clearly impact the business, as organizations attempt to have their applications participate within mobile form factors and partake in a mobile land grab in their respective vertical.

With potential mobile devices multiplying year over year, is there a way to step back and holistically understand what approaches to mobile development exist and what their strengths and weaknesses are? In this post we make an effort to summarize key elements when evaluating mobile platform development strategy for your projects. We examine 3 categories of development approaches – Native Applications, Hybrid Applications and Mobile Web Applications.

Additionally, if you are using WebCenter technologies – how do these platform development strategies correlate back to the various capabilities within the suite?* We will also touch on how the recently released ADF Mobile that features hybrid application development capability plays into the mix. Please note that the opinions in the post do not represent the views of my emploer and are solely those of the author.

Chart and Resources

Platform Summary Native Applications Hybrid Applications Mobile Web Applications
  • Developed using an SDK for a particular device.
  • Results in highly optimized applications for a given device at the price of portability to other devices.
  • Traditionally has been the primary path for mobile application development.
    iOS, Android, Symbian, webOS are some mobile operating systems.
    Native development is generally more challenging, but generally results in higher levels of performance.
  • Facebook recently adopted a native application for mobile, as their prior hybrid application was not performant.
  • Runs a web application using client side technologies (HTML5 / CSS3 / JavaScript) in a native container that provides access to native device functions.
  • Can be packaged just as a native application to appear in stores.
    Majority of application code reused for various platforms as long as native wrapper exists for a target platform.
  • Most applications use frameworks like JQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch to provide basic mobile UI and interaction.
  • PhoneGap is arguably the best known examples of a hybrid development framework.
  • Web sites and applications using adaptive / responsive design via CSS3 media queries to provide optimized web experience for a particular form factor to cater toward mobile usage.
  • Originally, server side technologies used to alter markup based on requesting device type and deliver device specific markup (sometimes using WAP), but with the range of devices on the markup.
  • Developers are trending toward a balance of responsive / adaptive design, resulting in high levels of code reuse and form factor support.
Native API Access ★★★ ★★ NA
Ease of Development ★★ ★★★
Application Performance ★★★ ★★ ★★
Multi-Platform Support NA ★★★ ★★★
Application Store Support ★★★ ★★★ NA
Offline Capability ★★★ ★★
Development Cost $$$ $$ $
Interface Components Included with SDK JQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, ADF Mobile,, etc JQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, ADF Mobile,, etc
Delivery Method Application Store Application Store Web
Approval for Distribution Application Store Application Store None
Runtime for Application Operating Systems Operating Systems / Mobile Browser Desktop Browser
Application Updates User Initiated Developer Controlled / User Initiated (major Developer Controlled release) Developer Controlled
Developer Skillset Software Developer (Objective C / Java) Web Developer (HTML5 / CSS3 Media Queries / JavaScript) / Light Software Development if Addon Native Libraries Needed Web Developer (HTML5 / CSS3 Media Queries / JavaScript)
Example Applications Facebook Native Mobile Application, Oracle Social Network Application PhoneGap, Sencha Touch, ADF Mobile, Web Designer Wall – Inspiration Fluid Responsive Design
WebCenter Portal / Spaces
  • Native iOS Application
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Native Application
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Hybrid Application
  • ADF Mobile on top of Web Services
  • Adaptive / Responsive Design
  • ADF Mobile on top of Web Services
WebCenter Sites
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Native Application
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Hybrid Application
  • ADF Mobile on top of Web Services
  • Adaptive / Responsive Design
  • WebCenter Sites Mobility Server
WebCenter Content
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Native Application
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Hybrid Application
  • ADF Mobile on top of Web Services
  • ADF Mobile on top of Web Services
WebCenter Social Network
  • Native iOS / Android Applications
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Native Application
  • Consume Web Services in Custom Hybrid Application
  • ADF Mobile on top of Web Services
  • Adaptive / Responsive Design
  • ADF Mobile on top of Web Services

Download the PDF Version of Mobile Development Platform Strategy Consideration Chart

Mobile Development Platform Consideration Criteria

  • Platform Summary – quick overview of the characteristics for a particular approach to mobile development.
  • Native API Access – a general rating indicating the depth of access to native device APIs.
  • Ease of Development – level of complexity in solution development for a given platform approach.
  • Application Performance – rating of performance generalizations for a given platform approach.
  • Multi-Platform Support – level of support for various platforms from a single code base.
  • Application Store Support – indicating of the delivery model support via commercial application store (e.g. iTunes, Google Play, etc).
  • Offline Capability – extent of offline capabilities available for developers that are inherent to a given platform.
  • Development Cost – generalized rating of cost involved in solution development for a given platform.
  • Interface Components – understanding of what user interface components available to developers using a given platform approach.
  • Delivery Method – actual method to deliver application to a device – store, web, etc.
  • Approval for Distribution – indication if any approval process is required to deliver application.
  • Runtime for Application – technical “engine” that runs the application code for a given platform approach.
  • Application Updates – level of end user involvement in updating an application.
  • Developer Skillset – general development skills required for a given platform.
  • Example Applications – example applications and sites for the various approaches.

WebCenter Specific Implementation Examples

WebCenter Portal / Spaces
Using these services a number of organizations, as well as Oracle have developed applications for mobile devices. Additionally, some people have implemented Adaptive / Responsive designs using specific page templates.

WebCenter Sites
Sites can leverage its mobility server to deliver device specific experiences. It also provides a RESTful interface and it templating can support any type of Adaptive / Responsive design.

WebCenter Content
A number of organizations have developed applications that call into services to connect with content server due to its service based native architecture.

WebCenter Social
WebCenter Social has a rich set of RESTful services available for developers to extend the social experience to a broad set of applications and devices. Additionally, a native iOS / Android application is available.

At Oracle Open World 2012 an Oracle Social Network “Hackathon” was held to see what developers could do around the REST interfaces. An especially interesting entry is shown in this Video overview of Fishbowl Geotagging by John Sim.

  • Alan MacMillan
    October 26, 2012

    Nice Work John!

    • John Brunswick
      October 27, 2012

      @Alan MacMillan Thanks Al!  Will have much more to come on the new ADF Mobile release in particular.  Hopefully this post will act a good baseline for people to get a sense of various approaches.

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