First Steps with Movilizer – Intro & Background
A few people will no doubt think I’ve mistyped Mobilizer but I do indeed mean Movilizer. I’ve recently changed jobs and moved to a consultancy who are working closely with the Movilizer mobile platform (we are a partner with Movilizer as well as SAP) hence I’ve been getting up to speed with its capabilities from a development perspective. In doing so, I was quite surprised to find little, in fact zero, content and collateral here on SCN relating to the platform. (Of course, I could just be falling foul of the SCN search, which as we know has it’s moments…) No doubt many of us are already more aware of some of the other alternatives to SMP so I thought I’d do my bit to get Movilizer into the spotlight too.
(Updated 01.05.2014 – Whilst I was composing this post, someone has finally added something else about Movilizer on SCN!)
As is the way here on SCN this isn’t meant to be a ‘blog post for me to pimp my new employer or generate sales leads – instead I wanted to share my own personal first steps with the platform from a technical/development angle… Having said that, there may be a little unintentional pimping as I explore the platform, for which I am eternally sorry 🙂
I think its fair to say anyone who is familiar with SMP will see a number of similarities with what the Movilizer platform is promising and aiming to deliver. The stand-out difference for me after only a brief look at the Movilizer platform is how the approach to development feels quite different to my experiences with SMP. The biggest positive is that quite complex and feature rich mobile solutions can be built in good old ABAP, straight in SE80. Having seen some of the solutions already built by my new colleagues, as well as now understanding a bit more about how they got to that stage my initial reaction is to be very impressed. It feels like I should be able to build a simple solution in relatively little time compared to utilising the SMP platform. Let’s see…
- Multiple ERP backend platforms are supported (such as SAP, Salesforce.com, etc.) as well as custom platforms via WS
This isn’t too different to SMP in that it has named backend systems that are supported but by also following standards, it should be able to work with other, un-named systems
- There is a cloud element, acting as the go-between for the backend systems and the mobile clients (there are important shades of grey here, that I’ll hopefully get into with a follow up posting)
Unlike SMP, which needs an extra system in the landscape (that could be on-premise or in the cloud) Movilizer can utilise your existing SAP system
- Mobile client support is pretty extensive (currently it is 8 platforms) and importantly also includes a Windows desktop client.
Build once, run anywhere is again a strong message – my experience with SMP was lacking on this front but so far it is pretty positive with Movilizer
Movilizer has a concept called Movelets, essentially the building blocks of their mobile app’s. To use their own description:-
1 APP = 1 or N MOVELETS running on the Movilizer Client
1 MOVELET = 1 mobile process, a sequence of screens
So, in short a Movelet could be a simple single-screen approval task or it could be a multi-step creation process. You can then combine multiple Movelets into one overall application. This gives you the flexibility to make quite complex applications by re-using some Movelets and creating composite solutions. The fact you can easily integrate Movelets originating from an SAP system with those from another system type means that you can get quite creative with your solutions. There is even a specific type of Movelet, called an Intermovelet, that allows for integration between different Movelets to enable the re-use and componentisation.
Ultimately, a Movelet is an XML file that describes the screens, meta-data, and flow to the Movilizer client application running on your target device, as well as including any MIME objects or HTML needed to support your solution. With this in mind, I suspect it would be perfectly feasible to create your Movelets and indeed full Movilizer applications by hand-crafting raw XML but where is the fun in that?!
Please, continue on to Part Deux where I’ll get my Hello World freak on…
For a really good overview of the Movilizer platform, please take a look here.