Essential Guide

The IT pro's guide to mobile app delivery

Mobile app delivery can be a boon to IT pros wrangling with consumerization, but there's no guarantee any method will be easy or cheap.

Introduction

There's no shortage of mobile app delivery approaches to help business users get real work done on their smartphones and tablets.

Virtualization, application refactoring and enterprise app stores are all potential options, but IT pros must consider the cost, complexity and user-friendliness of each before making any decisions. Delivering Windows applications to mobile devices may be easy -- especially in shops that already use desktop or application virtualization -- but it doesn't always make for a great user experience. Native mobile apps are easier to use, but building, buying and deploying them can get tricky.

There's more than one right way to approach mobile app delivery, and many organizations use a combination of different strategies. Evaluate your options with the resources in this Essential Guide.

1Definitions-

Mobile app delivery terminology

Mobile app delivery has a language all its own. Some terms refer to deeply technical information, others to emerging trends that are rapidly evolving. Make sure you know what you're talking about by brushing up on these definitions.

2Evaluate your options-

Comparing app delivery strategies

Desktop and application virtualization are often the first technologies IT pros turn to when they need to deliver legacy software to mobile devices. Virtualization streams Windows applications -- which are designed for mouse-and-keyboard interfaces -- to mobile devices, which have touchscreens. As such, it may not provide the greatest user experience compared to apps that have been developed from the ground up for mobile. Refactoring could emerge as a beneficial middle ground.

Tip

Four ways to deliver mobile apps

With the right application delivery strategy in place, users can perform their jobs better while IT deals with fewer headaches. A carefully chosen approach also helps IT secure data, which can be a challenge in the consumerization era. Continue Reading

Tip

Virtualization vs. Web-based apps

Web apps and desktop virtualization are two ways to bring corporate software to mobile devices, but they have different use cases. Web apps are built specifically for browser-based access, whereas desktop virtualization delivers existing Windows applications to smartphones, tablets and other endpoints. Continue Reading

Feature

The drawbacks of mobile application delivery

There's no perfect approach to delivering mobile applications. Connectivity requirements, support costs and deployment challenges can all sneak up and cause problems. Be aware of the potential gotchas and you'll be in a better position to overcome them. Continue Reading

3Native mobile apps-

Pros and cons of enterprise app stores

Enterprise app stores are a good way for companies to empower mobile workers. Whether your company has custom applications or wants to take advantage of publicly available apps, an enterprise app store can help you get them into the right hands.

Tip

Striking a balance with enterprise app stores

If you're looking to have more control over your mobile environment while still giving users choice and flexibility, an enterprise app store is a good option. It's similar to public app stores like those from Apple and Google, but it lets IT choose which apps users can and can't access. Continue Reading

Tip

How to build an enterprise app store

Enterprise app stores aren't easy to build. They have many moving parts -- from identity management to licensing compliance. IT also needs to consider costs and cross-platform compatibility. Continue Reading

Tip

The hidden benefits of enterprise app stores

The monster of enterprise software license compliance and asset management can become much easier to handle with an enterprise app store. Centralized metadata and self-reporting capabilities help tame the beast. Continue Reading

4Emerging tech-

The new world of app refactoring

Application refactoring supplements traditional application virtualization by retooling Windows apps for mobile interfaces. The technology is still new, but it could solve some of the user interface problems that spring up when running Windows apps on smartphones and tablets.

Tip

PowWow makes app refactoring accessible

Most app refactoring tools require access to source code to work, which has prohibited widespread adoption. PowWow, a startup, eschews the norm for an HTML 5-based approach -- and it adds a collaboration feature into the mix. Continue Reading

Opinion

Hey VMware, where's the app refactoring?

VMware's new Workspace Suite can deliver Windows apps to mobile devices, but it doesn't include app refactoring capabilities to make the apps more user-friendly. In the bring your own device era, that's a glaring hole. Continue Reading

Opinion

And what about Citrix's refactoring plans?

When Citrix acquired Framehawk, many observers thought Framehawk's app refactoring technology would wind up in Citrix's XenMobile product. But there are signs that Citrix plans to only use Framehawk's Lightweight Framebuffer protocol, which improves the performance of remote applications on low-bandwidth networks. Continue Reading

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