Srinivas Reddy’s Weblog

My Tech Rants

Which platform(container) should your application(content) target?

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My last blog post was about what new applications can be built, in this blog I would like to share my thoughts on how we should be building them. Having recently read this blog post on Timeless software, I like the idea of thinking in terms of container (read platform if you like) and content (aka application). I had blogged a log time back how offering ‘Everything as a Service’ was the trend for IT industry, looks this still holds true. One could potentially build a custom container for hosting their content but considering the resource constraint most apps wouldn’t do it. This Oreilly Media  youtube video gives a good overview on the container/content battles happening in the Internet economy. Given that some key containers (ex: social network by Facebook, search by Google, Smartphone by Apple/Google,…) have established providers while for other intense battle is currently underway, it’s a real challenge to bet on one container to build the app on.

Taking a value chain approach would help on deciding the container of choice. The most important being the target consumption audience. Based on the end-user of application several constraints (ex: need for a native app or browser based, on premise/cloud or mixed offering, ..) limit container choice. The procurement options (be it of hardware, reusable software components, skilled development team, ..) also to an extent constrain the choice. Container support for the production process (be it for application lifecycle management, built-in data models, legacy integration options, ..) is a important criteria.  Last but not least the monetization options offered by the container (ex: revenue sharing model, appstore to enable delivery, support and relationship management options, ..) are important.

I would be personally interested in building applications in Sustainability and E-learning domains.  Typical container requirements would include support for collaboration (ex: office documents, content management systems, ..), support for transactional/analytical data models ( ex: Asset management, Course management, ..) and support for legacy integration (ex: migrate/integrate asset data, integrate energy data from external data sources, ..). Current container options to build such a application can range from using Infrastructure services from Amazon (be it for compute or store), using Microsoft Azure services (considering current Microsoft on premise options not ideal for next gen apps), build on the Salesforce platform, build on the Google app engine platform, use hosting services from vendors such as Rackspace and build on open source components (ex: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, ..) or build on the SAP Business ByDesign platform, to list a few of the many options.

As you can see making the container choice is complex and risky! While we can only expect the container/content battles to intensify in the future using open standards and open data maybe the best guidance in preventing any vendor locking and ensuring hopefully a ‘Timeless Software’. Wishing all readers a Happy New Year hopefully you will have a successful 2011!

Written by srinivasreddy

December 31, 2010 at 7:49 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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