Red Hat formulates a plan for building enterprise mobile apps

The FeedHenry acquisition last year now gives Red Hat an integrated mobile platform

Red Hat understands that developing a mobile application is not the same as building one for the desktop, which is why the company has augmented its software stack with new technologies for mobile development.

"The whole Web architecture is giving way to an emerging mobile architecture," said Cathal McGloin, Red Hat vice president of mobile platforms.

Like IBM and Oracle, Red Hat has been working to extend its enterprise software portfolio so it can support mobile applications as well, particularly those that its customers develop in house.

The company said Tuesday that it has completed integrating into its own software portfolio the mobile platform it acquired when it purchased FeedHenry last October. It has outlined how enterprises could use these technologies to build mobile applications.

About 51 percent of organizations surveyed by IT analyst firm 451 Research are increasing their budgets for mobile development this year. Many face challenges, given that traditional software development methods don't work well for the rapidly evolving world of mobile development.

Different mobile devices demand different user interfaces. Users are expecting mobile applications to be easier to use.  Mobile apps must also evolve more quickly to stay abreast with the competition.

For enterprises, developing mobile applications for either customers or employees can be a demanding task, especially when the programs need to be seamlessly connected with complex back-end systems.

Red Hat wants to help bridge the worlds of mobile apps and back-end systems of record.

"The role of IT is to introduce new agile development technologies to complement the ability to run existing systems," said McGloin, who is also the former CEO of FeedHenry.

The FeedHenry mobile platform is designed to reduce the work needed to maintain mobile applications, including tasks around data synchronization, caching and security.

For mobile-based cloud services, the company has established a single architecture based on a set of REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs (application programming interfaces), allowing different applications to communicate with one another.

Red Hat's integrated development environment (IDE), JBoss Developer Studio, can be used to create apps that run on FeedHenry.

The FeedHenry platform has been augmented with additional tools for mobile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and collaboration, allowing software development teams to rapidly iterate through new releases of a mobile app.

Red Hat has also teamed the FeedHenry software with its own set of platform services, OpenShift, allowing organizations to run their mobile apps within a cloud service.

This integration also allows enterprise customers to run mobile apps from their own private clouds.

A portion of Red Hat's customers are already using the mobile technology to build mobile applications, McGloin said, including companies in the industries of manufacturing, transportation and workforce management.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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