Saturday, 30 April 2011

Mobile, Web Client Storage And Offline

Desktops and laptops will be mostly connected to the internet. So almost all software written today targeted for desktops and laptops is web based. For mobile apps, that is much more tricky. Mobile devices are used when people are on the move. While general connectivity coverage is increasing, it will still take quite a couple of years before all planes, trains and stations give you decent broadband required by today's apps.

For mobile apps it's a tough choice between HTML 5 and native apps. Native apps don't require to be connected, but you need to develop one for every platform (at least Android and iOS).

Martin Fowler's blog CrossPlatformMobile makes the valid point that cross platform toolkits are no attractive alternative. But then there is this section that really confuses me
The biggest issue here is offline use. If you can live with online all the time, then this won't be a problem, but you need offline you'll need to explore the various local storage options.
This seems to suggest that the local storage options to some extend would be able to reduce the need for connectivity. That would decide the mobile platform battle in favour of HTML 5 easily. But I still don't see how storage on the client side helps to remove the need for connectivity. If you load a webapp before you go offline, then it is possible to keep it running on local storage when connectivity is down. That is a nice extension to webapps.

But afaict it doesn't give the ability to work offline because loading the app still requires connectivity and a refresh gives a 404 page not found without the possibility to get the app back in the browser. Also the linked article doesn't really provide a solution for this.

Given that the respected Martin Fowler seems to indicate that web storage has to be looked at as a solution for offline usage of webapps, I assume I must be missing something. But what ?

I'm in general puzzled why browsers are so bad at using caches when working offline. Yet it seems like a solvable solution for browsers to use their cache to overcome these 2 obstacles of loading the app and refresh and make HTML 5 the ultimate mobile platform.

Do you see a solution so that HTML 5 becomes a valid mobile technology option that also covers offline usage?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tijs Rademakers Joins Activiti

Tijs Rademakers joins Alfresco to supercharge Activiti. We are very proud to attract a top talented engineer like Tijs! Tijs brings a rich experience from consulting on various BPM related projects. Tijs is co-authoring his second Manning book. The first was Open Source ESB's in Action and he's is now working hard to complete Activiti in Action.
Tijs will continue to lead the Activiti Designer, an Eclipse plugin for authoring BPMN 2.0 processes. He will also be involved in architecting and building out the process capabilities to make Activiti the #1 platform for case and process management on the cloud.

Welcome to the team, Tijs. Looking forward to working with you!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Activiti 5.4 Released

Here's the next Activiti shipment
  • Added first version of BPM-roundtrip with Activiti Cycle (see this Screencast)
  • Started building case management features in the engine: Added dynamic comments, attachments and due dates to tasks in Activiti Engine
  • IMAP folder scanning for new tasks
  • Added accounts to users in Activiti Engine
  • Provided support to specify form properties in Activiti Designer Eclipse plugin
  • Many bug fixes
Download Activiti 5.4 here
Discuss on the forums

Activiti Switches To BPEL

[Update to avoid confusion: please check the date on which this article was posted]

Today we are announcing a drastic change in the project that we've been working on for quite a while: Starting from the 5.4 release later today, Activiti will upgrade the file format of all processes from BPMN 2.0 to BPEL.
Rather then considering business processes as a combination of manual and automatic steps, we came to the conclusion that XML, WSDL and XPath is the way of the future and a much more natural fit for large corporations. The things you can do in XPath are simply amazing.

We are proud to ship with this release with full automatic and seamless conversion of existing processes. Just replace the jar files and reboot your app. What's more, our eclipse plugin will automatically refactor your Java beans and add WS-I compliant web services adapters. But we recommend take a back up of your project before activating that refactoring.

With the conversion to BPEL fully completed, we now will start working on the mobile client. To improve usability by business people and at the same time simplify the implementation of our forms component, we'll build a mobile tree browser for XML documents. It will be available next month for iOS and Android. It's a really cool app that allows you to compose SOAP requests in a structured tree view. Those requests can then be sent directly into the new BPEL based Activiti engine. Also the app will allow you to browse your task list XML messages in a graphical tree with collapse and expand features.

We've upgraded our Amazon account to handle all the download traffic that we expect later today. But in case Amazon's download servers would not be able to handle the load, please keep trying and let us know.