On the Move

How You Can Help Direct Oracle’s Mobile Strategy

August 2010

As a mobile software development manager at Oracle, Jeff Duggins knows mobility is quickly evolving from a bonus feature to “a checklist item that needs to be met.”

Duggins, who manages the team that developed Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant for the iPhone and BlackBerry and Oracle Mobile Sales Forecast for the iPhone, says Oracle is well-positioned to develop mobile solutions to meet customers’ business needs.

“As a big company, we want to be a vendor that can supply entire end-to-end solutions and point solutions that integrate well with other products,” he says. “Mobile’s part of that grand plan to integrate to everything and anything.”

Here, Duggins answers queries submitted by Profit readers through Twitter. Find out what he has to say about Oracle’s mobile strategy—and his advice for getting Oracle to develop the mobile applications you want.

@pedrovitorlima: How is Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant developed for multiple platforms? Does performance vary by device?

DUGGINS: Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant was developed natively for both iPhone and BlackBerry, so the design is shared between the two, but not the code. The advantage of that is they run about as efficiently as they can on the native platforms. They were each designed to work to pretty much the same performance metrics, so they perform roughly equally.

@sachinrai81: Can Oracle provide apps for the healthcare industry such as clinical information to patients, doctors, and mobile caregivers?

DUGGINS: Mobile apps at Oracle are developed in the various applications pillars; there’s no centralized mobile organization. There are certain verticals where mobile is going to come to the fore because it is part of the overall product strategy. Life sciences and retail customers are definitely interested in mobile.

The best way to drive industry mobile apps out of Oracle is to provide your feedback to the project managers who are driving the associated enterprise applications. You have to push it through the vertical.

Also, we’re exploring ways to make mobile applications development easier for end users, including technology that allows users to augment and build Oracle mobile apps in the same ways that they are able to augment and build Oracle enterprise apps on our framework.

@glsig: Will Oracle launch a database version compatible with popular mobile devices (BlackBerry, iPhone, and iPad)?

DUGGINS: Oracle Berkeley DB is a cross-platform database that already supports a lot of mobile platforms, including Android, Symbian OS, and Windows Mobile. It has a small footprint, is easily embedded in your application, and is very portable, so you should see support for more devices in the future.

Oracle Berkeley DB’s SQL API is based on SQLite, which is supported natively on many mobile platforms, so there’s ostensibly no reason why Oracle Berkeley DB can’t run on all of those platforms. The SQLite API compatibility also means that the upgrade path from SQLite to Oracle Berkeley DB is generally going to be very easy. Oracle Berkeley DB is supported by Oracle Lite Mobile Server, so the sync infrastructure is there as well.

@getjar: How can Oracle use or optimize Java for mobile use?

DUGGINS: Java has already been ported to a lot of mobile platforms—the notable exception is iPhone—so Java development fits very well into Oracle’s mobile strategy. It certainly has some benefits for allowing you to use code across platforms, although it’s not the panacea for mobile development, unfortunately, because it’s not universal enough.

Obviously we are well invested in keeping Java moving in as many platforms as we can. We like Java, we like the fact that it is applied in a lot of places, and we like that Java is cross platform and certainly want to continue to promote that. But ultimately we want to build effective mobile apps. To the extent that we can do that in Java, that’s great, but it’s not going to be a limiting factor. At Oracle, we like having as many options as we can.


Thank you to the Twitter users from Brazil, Canada, India, and the U.S. who asked questions for this issue.


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