Delivering Apps to Mobile Devices via Remote Pixel Projection is a Terrible Idea

San Antonio

The use of remote pixel projection technology to view Win32 apps on mobile devices should be considered nothing more than an interim workaround.

What’s the fastest way to move Win32 desktop apps to mobile devices? Don’t feel bad if you chose a remote desktop or screen sharing technology to project PC desktops to smartphones or tablets. This happened decades earlier when companies migrated from 3270 terminal emulation to PC apps. Lots of screen scraping took place to avoid large rewrites.

If you’ve tried various remote desktop technologies on smartphones, you found yourself doing a lot of pinching, zooming, panning and scrolling to accomplish simple tasks. The intermittent nature of wireless data networks results in a frustrating experience. A lack of offline capabilities leads to application errors and possible data loss. Nonexistent integration with essential smartphone sensors leaves employees without the contextual experiences they expect. Obviously, tablets fare much better due to larger screen sizes that more closely match the desktops they’re trying to render. When paired with corporate Wi-Fi, this delivers the least-bad remote experience. The tablet + Wi-Fi scenario is the best compromise for large apps that are difficult to migrate or third-party apps that are out of your control. In limited scenarios where sensitive corporate data is not allowed on a device, remote desktop technologies keep your device free of data. For everything else, remote pixel projection should be a short pause on the road to complete mobile migration.

Reduce risk to your business by using remote pixel technologies in situations where sensitive data cannot be securely moved to a mobile device. Is your company taking a pass on employee productivity by not migrating legacy desktop applications to mobile apps?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Web 1.0 Server Round-Trips are Like Watching Paint Dry

Milwaukee

Replace wasteful, server round-trip Web 1.0 sites built with Cold Fusion, CGI, ASP, Servlets, Perl and Livewire with AJAX empowered web apps.

The 90s web moved from online brochures to a technology that could be used for actual apps through the clever use of the HTTP verb called POST. A web page with text boxes, radio buttons, lists and check boxes full of data could POST information to a special web server directory containing something called a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) script. This would insert data into a database and build dynamic web pages. The notion of POSTing data and having servers do all the heavy lifting of executing code, connecting to databases and building new web pages made a lot of sense in a world of browsers with minimal capabilities. That said, users didn’t like the way their web pages disappeared and new pages were loaded and sent to their browser.

Things got a more interesting when asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) came along allowing a page to send and receive data from a server without refreshing. They just updated the page’s document object model (DOM) ushering in Web 2.0. Modern web apps use this technology to call web APIs using JSON instead of XML for data. Powerful HTML5 browsers with fast rendering plus just in time (JIT) compiled JavaScript facilitate advanced UI and JavaScript frameworks as well as the notion of single page apps. This is the web your employees want.

Deliver web apps that respond quickly to user commands and behave like a native mobile apps to improve the productivity of your employees. What steps has your organization taken to boost the responsiveness of its mobile web apps?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

Get with the Program and Migrate those Web 1.0 Intranet Apps to HTML5

toronto

Migrate Web 1.0 Intranet apps built for Netscape + Internet Explorer 3 to HTML5, CSS3 & ECMAScript5 for modern browsers.

The web really exploded in the commercial space during the second half of the 90s. Tim Berners-Lee’s HTML 3.2 specification received W3C recommendation in 1997. Netscape submitted its JavaScript language to ECMA and got its specification published in 1998. Cascading style sheets (CSS) received their first W3C recommendation in 1996. The problem with all of this was that Netscape and Microsoft were in a browser war where both pushed their own standards on web designers and developers to try and gain an edge in the market. In an attempt to avoid incompatibilities between browsers, most websites built in the 90s targeted the lowest common denominator.

Modern mobile browsers can now render the app-like web provided by HTML5, CSS3 and ECMAScript5 (JavaScript). You get all the cross-platform development benefits plus a deployment model that bypasses app stores. This new breed of web app supports offline operation, multithreading, the ability to call web APIs and take data offline via local data stores. Most enterprise solutions require these features and Web 1.0 apps can be migrated to get this functionality.

Since existing HTML 3.2/4.0 still renders properly, just enable the new features of existing HTML tags and add new tags where appropriate. Add new JavaScript functions to empower your web app with modern capabilities. Update and add new CSS to give your web app the look and feel of a native mobile app.

Improve user productivity by delivering the feature-rich HTML5 web apps that modern, mobile browsers are designed to work with. Has your company updated all it’s Intranet web apps from the 1990s yet?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

The Cloud is Dead, Long Live the Edge

fog

We interrupt your regularly scheduled migration to the cloud to bring you a much more important megatrend called the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things demands a low-latency, distributed, peer-to-peer environment that can only be found in the fog layer via edge computing.

It’s Time to Dump your 1990s App Authentication

Orlando

Migrate Win32 applications secured by client/server database logins to mobile apps that use OAuth & enterprise cloud directories for authentication instead.

Do you know Scott Tiger? Are you familiar with SA and no password? If so, you probably worked with client/server database security mechanisms from companies like Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and others. Anyone who’s built client/server, multi-tier database systems over the years has worked with Oracle Net Listener, TNSNames, Sybase DBLIB, ISAM and VSAM drivers plus a revolving door of Microsoft drivers. App logins were typically the same as the database login. DBAs were in control and app developers worked with what they were given. Sometimes data access was secured through the use of views or stored procedures. Things improved when databases started supporting integrated authentication where data access could be controlled by users and groups found in the company Active Directory.

Today’s mobile apps don’t connect to client/server databases this way. Win32 apps connecting via the LAN or VPN can kick the can down the road a bit longer. Everything else talks to databases with web APIs or sync. While these mobile-friendly APIs use database authentication to connect, the services they expose must be secured by an enterprise directory. This pattern provides identity management to mobile apps. Furthermore, cloud-based enterprise directories must be kept in sync with existing on-premises directories to keep the login procedures seamless for employees. Add multi-factor authentication to boost security and avoid consumer auth providers like Facebook or Twitter.

Reduce risk to your organization by decoupling app security from database authentication and make the move to company-wide directory services. Has your employer switched all its enterprise apps to modern authentication methods yet?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

The Industrial Internet of Things is Like Football

Russell Wilson

The Industrial Internet of Things is a lot like football. Sensors relay data to devices like a center hikes the ball to a quarterback.

Devices send telemetry to IIoT platforms like a quarterback passes the ball to a receiver. IIoT platforms ingest data like a receiver catches a pass. I think you get the idea.

Is your company enjoying positive outcomes through the use of an Industrial Internet of Things platform?

Connect > Collect > Analyze > Act

Complexity Kills so Simplify your Mobile Apps Now

Boston

Migrate Win32 apps with complex user interfaces to mobile apps where each screen is focused on a single task or idea.

The 90s was a time where many developers did their best to create NASA mission control screens. If an app performed ten different functions, they’d see if all those activities could be performed on a single screen. No one ever considered there might be a correlation between those complex screens and the mountain of training manuals and classroom instruction required to make employees productive. A lack of empathy for app users left many employees confused and intimidated by technology. Complexity kills.

You now have a second chance to kill this complexity. In the same way that I want you to break up your large, monolithic Win32 apps into multiple apps, I also want you to do the same for individual screens. Take a look at how many different tasks are accomplished on your complex screens and break them apart into their own screens. Once you’ve created multiple, mobile screens for each discrete function area of a complex Win32 screen, focus on which UI elements you can eliminate. You may find sub-tasks on your new mobile screens that can be further broken out into their own screens. Some designers call this Progressive Reduction. Keep iterating on this process until each screen is easy to understand and has the minimum number of UI elements needed to accomplish a single task.

Improve user productivity by breaking complex screens into multiple, simplified screens to reduce expenses and training requirements by making apps faster and easier to use. What is your company doing to make corporate apps easier to use for employees?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

I’ve Got a Cheat Sheet to Help Migrate Your Win32 Apps

New York

There’s a cheat sheet to rapidly and cheaply migrate Win32 desktop apps to touchable Windows laptops, convertibles and tablets.

If your Win32 migration path happens to take you to new, touchable PC hardware running more recent versions of Windows, I have a nice shortcut for you. One of the great hallmarks of Windows over the years is the notion of long-term, backwards compatibility so that customers can continue to use their apps through successive versions of the operating system. This is why your Visual Basic 6 app “just works” on Windows 10. This is good news and is why global business still runs on Windows. In our mobile-first world, you should be looking to make those Win32 apps less dependent on a mouse and keyboard by pivoting toward touch-first interaction. If you don’t have the time, money or resources to rewrite those apps for the new Windows Runtime, I have a book for you titled, “Keeping Windows 8 Tablets in Sync with SQL Server 2012.”

The strategy of this book allows you to keep using your existing codebase while making some easy changes to the UI. If you want to give your users an immersive experience, there are a number of screen elements you can modify or eliminate that will do the trick. It’s also important to dramatically increase the size of the fonts and every UI and navigation element so they’re touchable and readable from any angle. This is such a big topic that I wrote whole a book on the subject. Go check out this book on Amazon if this scenario applies to you.

Improve user productivity and reduce company expenses by migrating to modern Windows platforms through simple UI modifications to existing apps that leave business logic intact. How quickly is your company migrating it’s legacy apps from the 90s?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

12 Steps to Stop the Next IoT Attack in its Tracks

IoT Attack

The recent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) IoT attack against DNS is a wake up call to how fragile the Internet can be.

The IoT attack against Domain Name Servers from a botnet of thousands of devices means it’s way past time to take IoT security seriously. The bad actors around the world who previously used PCs, servers and smartphones to carry out attacks have now set their sights on the growing tidal wave of IoT devices. It’s time for consumers and enterprises to protect themselves and others by locking down their devices, gateways and platforms. While staying secure is a never-ending journey, here’s a list of twelve actions you can take to get started:

  1. Change the default usernames and passwords on your IoT devices and edge gateways to something strong.
  2. Device telemetry connections must be outbound-only. Never listen for incoming commands or you’ll get hacked.
  3. Devices should support secure boot with cryptographically signed code by the manufacturer to ensure firmware is unaltered.
  4. Devices must have enough compute power and RAM to create a transport layer security (TLS) tunnel to secure data in transit.
  5. Use devices and edge gateways that include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip to securely store keys, connection strings and passwords in hardware.
  6. IoT platforms must maintain a list of authorized devices, edge gateways, associated keys and expiration dates/times to authenticate each device.
  7. The telemetry ingestion component of IoT platforms must limit IP address ranges to just those used by managed devices and edge gateways.
  8. Since embedded IoT devices and edge gateways are only secure at a single point in time, IoT platforms must be able to remotely update their firmware to keep them secure.
  9. When telemetry arrives in an IoT platform, the queue, bus or storage where data comes to rest must be encrypted.
  10. Devices and edge gateways managed by an IoT platform must update/rotate their security access tokens prior to expiration.
  11. Field gateways in the fog layer must authenticate connected IoT devices, encrypt their data at rest and then authenticate with upstream IoT platforms.
  12. IoT platforms must authenticate each device sending telemetry and blacklist compromised devices to prevent attacks.

Keeping the various components that make up the IoT value chain secure requires constant vigilance. In addition to doing your part, it’s important to hold the vendors of the IoT devices, gateways and platforms accountable for delivering technology that’s secure today and in the future.

Convert Your Confusing Win32 Apps to Touch First Mobile Apps

Philadephia

Migrate confusing Win32 apps with tiny controls to touch first mobile apps with large fonts and UI elements while including gesture support and proper spacing.

The advent of a mouse connected to every computer gave users a pixel-precision pointing device. Coupled with ever-growing computer monitors and higher resolution screens, UI elements got smaller and smaller. This wasn’t a problem until mobile devices with their small screens became popular. The developers that crammed lots of small buttons and data grids on big PC screens brought those bad UI habits to mobile.

At first, these new mobile developers got away with it because personal digital assistants (PDAs) like the Palm, Handspring, Zaurus and Pocket PC used a stylus with plastic, resistive touch screens. Until the touchable iPhone was released in 2007, many smartphones used a stylus as a replacement for the mouse’s precision pointing. This facilitated tiny, touchable UI elements that were hard to see.

When developing today’s mobile apps (native + web), touchable UI elements like buttons must be finger-friendly and at least 44 x 44 pixels in size. To prevent the “fat-finger” problem, they must also be at least 20 pixels apart from each other. This will vary based on screen size and pixel density. Implementing responsive design principles is also a must. UI elements must scale smoothly to different smartphone and tablet screen sizes and support gestures like swiping. They must also reorient themselves when a device shifts between portrait and landscape and implement “hamburger” menus to conserve screen space.

Improve user productivity by creating touchable apps that are easy to use to get employees up and running while reducing training requirements and expenses. What is your organization doing to improve app productivity?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany