As I wrote last week, Single Page Web Applications are another area where we’re investing in 2013. The term "Single Page Web Application" is probably familiar to most of my readers. But, for those that are not, wikipedia defines Single Page Applications as:
A single-page application (SPA), also known as single-page interface (SPI), is a web application or web site that fits on a single web page with the goal of providing a more fluid user experience akin to a desktop application.
You’ve probably used this type of application already today: Gmail, Facebook, and Outlook.com are all common examples. The latest version of the Azure developer portal is another great example of a Single Page Application.
These application types bring a desktop-like experience to web applications. Users do not have their workflow disrupted by pauses while the application posts to the web server and redraws an entire new page of content. Of course, these applications do send requests to the server, and receive new data. What’s important is that these applications do that work using client-side code. These applications provide a true stateful application experience to the user. The web now becomes more of an application platform.
Single Page Web applications provide the mechanisms to give your users a better experience when using a browser based application. You’ll see more and more adoption of these techniques, and the companies that adopt them well will be the companies that succeed in the marketplace.
We’re making strong investments in this area to help our customers leverage these techniques. We’ve even launched a self-guided training lab: Choose Your Own Application so that developers can learn more about the toolkits that can be used to create these modern applications.
Last time I gave an overview of the areas where we’re making significant investments in 2013. In these posts, I’ll go into some detail on each of the areas where we’re investing. This is somewhat difficult, because our view is that all these areas work together to provide the right experience for users and customers. I’ll return to that in my final post on our investments this year.
The first area I mentioned was Mobile. Mobile applications help you reach your customers in more places and for more time. Your customers are on the move. They are using multiple devices. To deepen your relationship with this customers, you need a quality presence in all the places your customers are.
But, creating a mobile presence isn’t simply recreating your entire application presence on a phone. If you’re going to smartly leverage Mobile, you need to reimagine your application, or your web presence in terms of a mobile device.
The main goal of a mobile application is to reach your customers where ever they are. The only way to succeed in that is to reach them with what they want to do when they have that device. Are they going to do the same tasks they perform when at your website? Or a subset? Or are there tasks that only make sense when they are using the mobile device?
We try to create mobile apps that have these properties:
- It provides an authentic experience on the target platform: It fits on the device.
- It grows the customer’s relationship with the brand: Customers want to spend time with it.
- It adds value because it is native to the mobile device: Mobile users can do things desktop users can’t.
Only when a new mobile application exhibits these properties does it justify the investment. We don’t create mobile apps just to mark the checkbox. They must provide true value on the platform.
At SRT, we continuously examine the overall technology landscape and make decisions on where to invest more time, what should stay the same, and what should be getting less investment. The change is actually quite fluid. We are always looking at what can help our customers achieve their goals, and what technologies seem to be getting less emphasis in the future.
But, the beginning of the year seems to be the right time to make a statement for the coming year. Here goes:
We’re seeing three areas that deserve big investments this year: Mobile, Single Page Web Applications, and the seamless integration of user experiences.
Let’s start with mobile: We’ve been building mobile applications for years, and demand continues to grow. There is obvious growth for iPhones, iPads, Android Phones, and Droid tablets. Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets are adding strong competition as well. There are a number of questions relating to how much market share each of these platforms will enjoy. But there is no question that the overall market for mobile software is growing, and growing quickly.
But mobile is only half (or one third) of the story.
Our customers demand that users access applications from their main computer as well as from their mobile device. Modern web applications, termed “Single Page Applications” behave more and more like desktop applications everyday. Facebook and Gmail are the two most popular examples. These web applications provide an almost native experience in the browser.
This gets to the final and encompassing strategy decision: Applications we’re building now must be available to users on any device, at any time. Data must be available on the web, on mobile devices, or on the desktop/laptop. The best apps can move seamlessly from device to device. That requires building applications that are part mobile, part web, part cloud, and always available from anywhere.
We’ve positioned ourselves to build those applications. We’ve got strengths on mobile platforms, web platforms, cloud platforms, and most importantly, building applications that span those different environments.
In my next few posts, I’ll go into more detail on each of these three topics: why they are important, and how to learn more about each of these topics. In the meantime, what do you think? Are these where you’re investing? Do these ideas represent the kinds of applications you want to use? Leave comments.
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