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iAnywhere offers sophisticated mobile development tools

Mobile middleware vendor iAnywhere Solutions' new developer tools allow Web-based apps to be easily customized for use on mobile devices and allow for better integration between mobile apps and databases.

IAnywhere Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of Sybase Inc., today announced the availability of two new developer products designed to help businesses create more sophisticated mobile applications.

The Dublin, Calif.-based mobile middleware vendor is launching its M-Business Anywhere Developer Edition, a platform that allows developers to make Web-based applications and content suitable for use on mobile devices with limited recoding. It also announced better integration capabilities for its SQL Anywhere Studio database development tools, which will enable developers to create more sophisticated database-oriented applications, said Ojas Rege, iAnywhere's senior director of mobile solutions.

With improved integration with SQL, developers will be better equipped to build useful, database-driven applications for mobile workers in vertical markets, said Stephen Drake program manager with Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp.

As businesses become more comfortable using mobile devices, they often want to move beyond simple e-mail and calendaring applications to more sophisticated applications, Rege said. For instance, many workers in the medical field already have a strong need to update databases via handheld devices, he said.

ArcStream Solutions Inc., a Watertown, Mass.-based mobile consultancy and application development company, already creates such applications for medical schools and other organizations. Andrew Robertson, director of technology at ArcStream, said that his organization has developed applications using iAnywhere's tools that allow doctors and students to input data using a handheld, saving time and avoiding the costly errors that come with entering pen-and-paper notes into a database manually.

Many hospitals and other medical buildings do not yet have Wi-Fi networks, so data captured in handheld devices is often uploaded to a database at the end of the day by syncing the handheld in a cradle. But, in many cases, syncing handheld device data with complex databases creates mistakes and repetition of data, Robertson said.

With iAnywhere's improved integration capabilities, data can now be synced up much more effectively between mobile devices and back-end systems, making the process cleaner, Robertson said.

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The same goes for Web-based applications, since a database server will not have to pick through complicated URLs to decode Web-based data. Instead, data can now be merged directly, Robertson said.

With this release, iAnywhere is trying to leverage its parent company's developer community, which uses Power Builder, said Warren Wilson, practice director with Boston-based based research firm Summit Strategies Inc. With iAnywhere's new tools, those developers can build mobile applications.

In the long term, this release should help Sybase retain its strong position in the market, Wilson said.

"Any enterprise that is thinking about going mobile will look at Sybase and see a collection of products that are well proven and very capable," he said.

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