Stories by Martin Heller

First look: Microsoft's Azure App Services sweeten cloud development

In early March I reviewed the AWS Mobile SDK, Google Firebase, and Microsoft Azure Mobile Services, the mobile back-end service offerings of the three major public clouds. The Microsoft option was a pleasant surprise. I was struck by Microsoft's thoughtful implementation of mobile services and the respect with which the Azure Mobile Services team addressed the needs of app developers without imposing on the choice of solution; thus, we awarded it an Editor's Choice.

Learn to crunch Big Data with R

A few years ago I was the CTO and co-founder of a startup in the medical practice management software space. One of the problems we were trying to solve was how medical office visit schedules can optimize - everyone's - time. Too often, office visits are scheduled to optimize the physician's time, and patients have to wait way too long in overcrowded waiting rooms in the company of people coughing contagious diseases out their lungs.

Kinvey boosts enterprise mobile apps

An MBaaS (mobile back end as a service) such as FeedHenry, Kinvey, or Parse is a kind of PaaS (platform as a service) for server-backed mobile applications. Kinvey bills itself as a complete mobile and Web app platform. It has extensive client support, integrates with the major enterprise databases, and offers a back-end data store, a file store, push notifications, mobile analytics, iBeacon support, and the ability to run custom code on the back end.

FeedHenry uses Node.js to fortify mobile apps

A few years ago, the mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) seemed to be the likely answer to the huge challenge of creating groups of mobile applications that work together and integrate with enterprise data. In hindsight, MEAP systems, which typically combined a back-end server and middleware stack with a client application, seem excessively expensive and heavyweight.

Jumping JavaScript! Hands-on with the Famo.us framework

Famo.us is an open source JavaScript framework for building high-performance mobile Web and hybrid mobile apps. The framework gets its speed and sizzle by replacing the browser's slow, DOM-based rendering mechanism with its own rendering engine and by tapping the GPU acceleration provided by CSS3's 3D transformation functions -- no plug-ins or native code required.

Google's tantalizing Mobile Chrome App SDK

Mobile app development is a huge pain point for most enterprises. The debate still rages about the best strategy. Should you develop native apps for the major smartphone and tablet platforms? That's expensive and time-consuming, and it means hiring hard-to-find specialists for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and any other platform you want to support. Should you develop mobile Web apps? That is faster and cheaper, but sacrifices both performance and features. Should you develop hybrid mobile apps, combining native app shells with Web views? That still sacrifices performance in some cases, but recovers the most important features.

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