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Chris Fleck

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How to Make Enterprise Apps Mobile-Friendly

Enterprise desktop applications can be used on a smartphone without development.

Most desktop apps are designed with multiple Window Pane's to organize data and make it consumable without forcing a users eyes to scan from one side of a monitor to another. In many cases these Pane sizes are discretionary for the developer or already user adjustable. Given that, why not make the Window Pane sizes easy to consume on a mobile device.

It turns out that the 320x480 Pixel screen of the iPhone provides a very readable Window Pane whether its displayed with multiple Panes on a desktop app or one at a time on a mobile device. That same Window Pane of information can also look great on an iPhone when hosted on XenApp and displayed with the Citrix Receiver. If it's done right, navigating multiple window Panes of a Desktop app can be done without constant zooming, pinching and panning.

A great new usability feature in version 2.0 of Citrix Receiver for iPhone includes a "Pane-Swipe" gesture that will shift the "view" one Pane at a time with a 2 finger swipe. A user can simply swipe left or right or up and down whether the iPhone is in Portrait or Landscape mode. The result is users can be productive when mobile without the common complaint about dealing with a small screen.

This scenario makes securely delivering apps to Desktops or Smartphone's easier than ever. Even better, many desktop apps can easily be configured without coding to provide a great mobile experience. The app displayed is standard desktop Office Excel 2007 with both a Mobile and Desktop View.

Certainly some apps would need to be modified but the effort could be minimal vs the multi-platform development and support alternative . The apps could be Windows, Web, or RIA apps like Flash and Silverlight. In fact for many vector based apps simply publishing the app on XenApp at the right dimension will make it Mobile-Friendly ( i.e. publish a 3 column app at 960 wide ).

Some native iPhone apps are great, but they can open IT issues around security, compliance and support of employee owned devices ( BYOD ). Even if the organization accepts the security implications and allows native email or other business apps, there are bound to be more company app requirements than can be solved with only existing native apps.

It is also becoming more obvious that the iPhone will have some serious competition, fortunately many of the new devices are also adopting the same 320x480 screen resolution. So that same Mobile-Friendly desktop app can also be delivered to devices from Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Google , etc. The OS of the new device doesn't matter either as long as it's equipped with the Citrix Receiver.

To get started check out the Mobile-Friendly demos fom your iPhone on CitrixCloud.net and visit CDN where you can get more details on how to Mobilize your apps. Also checkout the presentation on Prezi.

If you are a developer, are your apps Mobile-Friendly? Keep this in mind for your next app project. Mobilizing your app is easier than you thought.

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More Stories By Chris Fleck

Chris Fleck is Vice President of Emerging Solutions at Citrix Systems. Chris started his career at IBM working across multiple engineering and product organizations leading to Business Unit Exec of the IBM Industrial Computer Group. As a pioneer of new technologies, Chris founded an IBM spin-off to commercialize the initial Server Blade products as CEO of OmniCluster Technologies. At Citrix Chris is responsible for Emerging Solutions and is involved with or leading strategic initiatives at the company. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog at TechInstigator.com