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Understanding IBM's MobileFirst Platform

IBM's MobileFirst brings quality assurance, code scanning and location services to the enterprise mobile application management party.

IBM's MobileFirst Platform provides IT and developers with the tools needed to build, deploy and manage enterprise mobile applications.

IT administrators can implement the platform on premises or in the cloud, and developers can use the MobileFirst Platform (MFP) to connect their applications to enterprise data and services.

MobileFirst Foundation, which provides the basic development and management capabilities, is the heart of MobileFirst, but it's not alone. IBM also wraps quality assurance, code scanning and location-based services in the MFP package.

MobileFirst Foundation does the heavy lifting

IBM's MobileFirst Foundation is where admins and developers build, test, deploy, monitor and analyze apps for a wide range of mobile platforms, including Google Android, BlackBerry, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows.

MobileFirst Foundation provides a set of tools that support the complete app lifecycle, from development through implementation through ongoing maintenance.

At the center of MFP Foundation is the Foundation server, which serves as the integration point between apps and enterprise resources and back-end systems. MobileFirst Foundation also provides client application program interface libraries that provide data integration, security features, cross-platform support and other services.

An operations console for managing and monitoring MFP apps ties everything together. Developers can use the console to configure data collection rules, export raw report data, monitor deployed apps, assign device-specific identifiers and collect user statistics.

Get user feedback with MFP Quality Assurance

IBM's MobileFirst Platform Quality Assurance provides the information admins need to continuously assess and improve their applications. App owners can collect data from testers and end users who are working with the app on their mobile devices.

MFP Quality Assurance also provides automated crash analytics. When an app fails, it sends crash data to the Foundation server, where developers can analyze the information and pinpoint the causes of specific problems. IBM's MobileFirst Platform automatically logs and integrates crash data with bug-tracking systems. App owners can capture crash data at any time throughout the testing phase or after they release the app.

In addition, Quality Assurance delivers user-generated bug reports that include device details and screen captures.

Spot app defects with MFP Application Scanning

The Application Scanning component of MFP integrates security testing into the development lifecycle to help identify code vulnerabilities during development. The feature supports Cordova, HTML5, JavaScript and Objective-C.

In addition, Application Scanning manages security policies and prioritizes the results of security tests.

Application Scanning is built on an open architecture, so it integrates with build management tools, configuration management tools and defect tracking systems. It also defines and enforces security best practices as well as helps identify security and compliance risks.

Track app usage with IBM Presence Insights

App owners can use IBM Presence Insights to understand mobile activity based on physical location.

Presence Insights, which only supports iOS and Android platforms so far, provides a way to understand customer patterns that might affect business operations. For example, airports, stadiums or shopping malls can use Presence Insights to analyze customer behavior and deliver timely and personalized content, such as sales promotions.

Presence Insights uses Wi-Fi to gather the unique message authentication codes for customer mobile devices and to identify where the devices are located. It also requires sensing technologies for gathering customer location information, including proximity sensors, electronic beacons or third-party Wi-Fi sensing networks.

Next Steps

What's on the horizon for MobileFirst?

Deeper look at MobileFirst Platform Foundation

Explore MobileFirst for iOS

This was last published in December 2015

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Which features in IBM's MobileFirst are the most useful for enterprise app management and deployment?
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Very interesting article. At IBM we're seeing a great deal of duplication of effort as organisations attempt to scale mobile services across their business. One of the key benefits of the MobileFirst Platform is the reuse of code, integration, security and analytics allowing businesses to build and deploy apps that deliver real business value with speed, agility, and above all efficiency.
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