This past Thursday and Friday I had the privilege of attending and speaking at MoDev East 2013 .  MoDev East is an event that links developers, designers and marketers together offering four distinct session tracks targeted to each group. This year over 700 attendees gathered at the Gannett HQ in Tysons Corner Virginia for two days of learning, networking and thought leadership.

The morning started with a keynote by Dr. Tom Love, cofounder of Objectve C. Dr. Love started with a history of OO languages and regaled the audience with flashbacks of early OOPSLA conferences. For readers not familiar with OOPSLA, this is a long running, annual conference that has brought the world things like: Design Patterns, Test Driven Development, UML, Agile Development, SOA and much more. The lesson here being don’t forget your history, the present and future are built upon it.

He then transitioned to an area near and dear to my heart: enterprise mobile applications. Why are they hard to write? What don’t we know about creating this category of apps? What’s the learning curve moving from consumer to enterprise apps? This is where remembering your past comes in.

After the opening keynote, the remainder of two days split into tracks focussed on UX + design, mobile in the enterprise, mobile development, marketing and monetization and a number of sponsored tracks by Samsung, LG, BlackBerry, Amazon, Microsoft, SendGrid and WillowTree apps.

The individual tracks were great. Steven Hoober reminded me that users have thumbs and even though we’re starting to think about how touchscreen devices really work, and design proper sized targets, we still often forget about the user.  Fingers and thumbs take up space, and cover the screen. Corners of screens have different accuracy than the center and we should start thinking more about this when we design interfaces. If you design mobile interfaces you should check Steven’s work out on Amazon and http://4ourth.com/

Do you design mobile apps? Have you ever thought about how cool it would be to have responsive prototyping? The team at Rock Creek Strategic Marketing have and they’ve implemented a really cool process for it using open tools most of you are probably already familiar with. Have I raised your curiosity? Good! Check out http://poptartcats.org/ for more, it will change your thinking on the subject, promise.

Security is job one when we write mobile apps, David Keppler introduced us to the SVMP, Secure Virtual Mobile Platform, based on the Android platform. As David says: “Mobile devices are at constant risk of loss, theft, or being compromised by malware making it very difficult for an enterprise to provide its employees access to sensitive apps and data from mobile devices.” SVMP can enable enterprises to provide BYOD access to their users while maintaining data security, check out the project https://github.com/SVMP.

Salesforce is a disruptive company so when I saw a session titled “Disruptive Technology in Enterprise Mobile Development”, I knew I had to check it out. Michael Lake of WillowTree apps talked about technologies that target multiple platforms. Technologies and techniques that get us close to write once run anywhere realization such as Native C, Titanium, and J2Objc. Xamarin was the only commercial tool he mentioned by name so I invited him to my presentation where he could learn more about Salesforce1 platform and add that to his list.

Thursday late afternoon was my turn to present “Building Mobile Apps on the Salesfore.com Platform”. I was grateful to have an hour long session because it gave me the opportunity to cover building apps both on the Salesforce1 platform as well as with our Mobile Platform Services. This was the first time I’ve brought  the Salesforce1 message to a non-Salesforce only audience and was pleased to see how well it was received. If you would like to check out the slides you can find them here .

Are you excited about the release of KitKat? As the team’s ‘Android Guy’ I certainly am. That’s why my final session, Andy Lawton’s “A Preview of New Features of Android 4.4”, was like a fine dessert after a large meal. Google has spent a lot of effort making changes that show it listens to its developers and users. The focus on lower powered devices is an especially critical touch in my opinion. Once manufacturers and carriers get on board and adopt KitKat perhaps we’ll see the realization of minSdkVersion=”14”. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

MoDev sponsors a number of events in various locations throughout the year. If you get the opportunity to attend one you should add it your list of conferences, behind Dreamforce of course.

 

 

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