Last week Giovanni told us how we can use the new development tools for omnichannel applications available in the new editions of Instant Developer.

Today, I’d like to take this opportunity to lay out the 2015 roadmap for these editions; they’re not simply an evolution of previous versions, so they require a real beta program. This program launched in June, is now underway, and will wrap up in late September.

Currently the beta program is reserved for people who came to the event on May 29. During this program it is possible to use the IDE Cloud to develop and test your applications in browsers and mobile devices, but starting in October it will be possible to install them both on the managed cloud and on your own corporate servers, completely independently. Mobile applications can be sent to the Apple and Google app stores downloading the installation packages from these sites.

In terms of compatibility, I’d like to specify that online applications will be usable on HTML5 browsers and the data will be able to reside on SQLServer, Oracle, or Postgres databases. Offline applications on the other hand, can be used on iOS 8+ and Android 4.0+ devices.

In August, automatic synchronization services for mobile device databases will also be made available. Those who want to use this functionality should plan to move to iOS version 9, which also extends the use of offline databases to the new display classes that we’ve used.

Our friends abroad will need to be patient for a few more months. The international version of the new edition is slated for late 2015.

I hope that I’ve given you an overview of what’s coming up in the next few months, which will bring us to the release of a complete version in line with our predictions. But it doesn’t stop there: over the course of 2016, the new editions will be progressively expanded with new features and made increasingly integrated with Foundation.

If you’d like more information, I’ll be glad to respond to your comments.

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Last week Andrea described for us the innovations in technology that we’ve introduced to respond to the new challenges the market has generated: omni-channel applications, mobile first, online and offline, social and with an increasingly native user experience.

Today I’d like to tell you a bit about how these innovations will be offered in the Instant Developer suite.

As you’ve probably already figured out, these are important innovations. New architectures, new technologies, and new languages have required the creation of two new tools: a totally cloud based platform as well as a new IDE which – differently from what you’re familiar with now – can be used from any Chrome or Safari browser, from a PC, Mac, Chromebook, etc., and even from tablets!

And if programmers have two tools at their disposal, Instant Developer now offers three editions: Foundation, Managed cloud and Self managed.

The Foundation editions refer to the current versions of Instant Developer in both the previous configurations of the product – Standard, Professional, Teamwork, and Enterprise – and in the new configurations that came out last year: Freelance, Business and Ultimate.

The new Managed cloud and Self managed editions on the other hand are both new options that we introduced at the event, and they differ in the way that you publish the applications developed using them.

Three different editions, designed to satisfy different needs and requirements, but also in order to work in an integrated way. Let’s look at an example.

Does your client need a company management application that will mostly be used by its users and that is integrated into the legacy database of their admin software? It’s probably a good idea to develop this type of application using Foundation in order to capitalize on all the RAD characteristics and the advantages that you’re already familiar with in Instant Developer, and maybe you’ve already done so.

However, if we need to extend certain functionalities, perhaps on mobile and for a much broader and diverse audience, we have to start thinking about a cloud-based architecture in order to be able to fully meet the needs of all possible users.

In order to do this, it might be more convenient to use the new IDE and the new features, possibly managing the sync services between the DB for your web application created using Foundation and this new app.

The great thing about the new editions is that among the various working methods, you’ll find a few that will allow you to develop your applications completely free of charge!

And when it comes time to publish the application, you can use Managed cloud mode to publish it directly to our cloud, using our configuration, publication, security, and analytics services. This mode also allows you to publish it on your own cloud.

But if you have other requirements, or your clients need the application to be published independently on a company server, similarly to what happens with Foundation, you also can do that using Self managed mode.

All the editions will be part of the Pro Gamma Instant Developer suite, so they’ll be available to all current clients, who will be free to choose the working method that best meets their needs. Those who already have Business or Ultimate licenses can use the Self-managed edition without additional costs.

In this post I simply wanted to give you a quick introduction to the new editions to help you understand what I mean when I say that Instant Developer has become three. As you know, we’re still in early days, and we’ll be able to discuss it again soon in more detail!

Stay tuned!

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Last week we saw how today’s world is demanding that we create a new type of application, with a refined user experience that can run on all the various channels that are now available, from smartphones to desktops. Applications that live in a cloud, but also function offline. Applications with advanced social features that automatically collect usage data from users.

But which technologies, languages, and tools will allows us to do all this? When we started to answer this question, we realized that there are three obstacles to be overcome:

  1. The “server” technologies don’t allow us to create applications that can also function offline in mobile devices working from the same codebase.
  2. The basic mechanisms of communication between browsers and servers (http protocol) are too slow and synchronous with browser requests.
  3. There isn’t a practical system for creating HTML front-ends with performance good enough to offer a user experience comparable to the native mobile experience.

The answer to the first two obstacles lies in latest-generation web technologies: NodeJS makes it possible to create high-performance server applications based on JavaScript, while WebSocket is a communications standard that makes it possible to use two channels that are always open, bidirectional, and asynchronous with low transfer times.

However, without a solution to the third obstacle, they can’t be applied practically to the omnichannel applications we spoke about. That’s why we’ve developed a new page description and handling technology called RemoteDOM, with features that are definitely interesting:

  1. It allows you to develop server-based applications, in which the front-end and back-end layer are connected directly in memory to guarantee performance and security.
  2. It uses the same approaches as certain online video game platforms to create attractive, animated, and above all super-fast applications.
  3. It allows you reuse the best JavaScript widgets on the Internet and responsive techniques for interfaces that are suited to various form factors.
  4. It solves the problem of the callback hell familiar to anyone who works with the asynchronous world of NodeJS, providing access today to technologies that will only be available in a few years from now in the future versions of JavaScript.
  5. It allows you to build applications that work both online and offline, from the same codebase, and which also work in mobile devices thanks to a Cordova container.
  6. It includes advanced operating modes, like application telecollaboration, analytic data collection, and automatic testing.

Would you like to see an example? Check out Photo, which simulates a contact list of nearly 6000 names, working from a list of public photos collected from the web. You only find a user experience like this in the very best native applications!

Now I’ll hand the keyboard over to Giovanni Foschini, and next week we’ll explain how these technologies have been integrated into the world of Instant Developer.

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People who follow our blog know that “From Foundation to the Digital Future” was the title of the event we held on 29 May (there’s a photo from the event above). But it’s also a good summary of the work we’ve done in the past year.

We can all see the enormous changes that have come about in the field of hardware and software in recent years. There are more than two billion mobile devices operating today, and forecasts predict that number will grow to six billion in five years. And we have literally millions of apps that are transforming every aspect of daily life, from finding a parking place to ordering lunch.

Even the way we design apps has evolved: successful apps have an elegant user experience, are easy to use, fast, fluid, graphically attractive, and tastefully animated. Application processes are focused on the business moment, contextualized based on the time of day, the user’s location, and all the information that they collect about us.

Another trend that is easy to grasp is multichanneling: the same application must be usable through browsers, tablets, smartphones, and soon smartwatches as well, making the best use of the native characteristics of each of these devices.

So to stay at the forefront today we need to create new kinds of applications, which we could call omnichannel applications with native user experience. What are the characteristics of these applications?

  1. They are mobile first, even if they’re not just mobile.
  2. They also have to work offline, because there’s not always an efficient connection available.
  3. They live in a cloud to guarantee the proper security, scalability, and operational flexibility.
  4. They have advanced social characteristics. Today integrated video chat is an absolute minimum, and there are more and more services that allow users true remote collaboration, such as Google applications.
  5. They make it possible to collect usage data for the applications in order to analyze how they work, but above all to learn more about user behavior.

But how can you create applications like these? Which architectures, which languages, which tools make this possible? And what costs and skills are required?

We have focused our work on answering these questions for the past year.

At this point there’s no more room for the article, so I’ll sign off until next week, when we’ll explore a few of the answers we’ve found to these questions.

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Heartfelt thanks

09.06.2015

On May 29th, we had the pleasure of spending a lovely day with many of you, reuniting with faces we know and meeting new ones as well. We had the opportunity to share with your our vision for the next few years in technology, and the road we want to pursue together. What I want [...]

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Three more reasons to come join us

22.05.2015

Did you remember to sign up for the event, Instant Developer: From Foundation to the Digital Future? Not yet? It’s not too late! Registration closes Sunday, May 24th, but I recommend that you hurry because there are only a few spots left. Response was overwhelming from the very beginning. That’s what we were hoping for, [...]

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From Foundation to the Digital Future

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A few of you may have noticed that in the most recent post, when I invited you to Palazzo di Varignana, I didn’t even tell you the title of the event we’ve planned. That’s because titles always reveal too much. On May 29th, you are invited to: Instant Developer: From Foundation to the Digital Future [...]

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The app that laid the golden egg for Gemoro

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I could hardly wait for it to come time to tell you about the new success story we’ve prepared. This time, we’re talking about Aurum PocketOffice, the 100% mobile direct selling suite developed by Systech. Almost everyday I find myself talking to companies interested in expanding their software offer to mobile. Most of them already [...]

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Join us at Palazzo di Varignana

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As promised, we’re starting to reveal a few details about the event we’re organizing for you on May 29th, 2015. Last time, I told you that the subjects we’re working on are so important to us that we can’t just share them in a simple post or release notes, so we’ve decided to make our [...]

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Save the date: May 29th, 2015

17.04.2015

In his end-of-year post Andrea has already hinted that something was boiling in our technology pot, and again when version 14 was released he couldn’t resist telling you that soon we’d be bringing you updates on other developments in Instant Developer. Let’s start by setting the date: May 29th, 2015. In fact, that day I’d [...]

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