Three ‘Smarties’ (code name: 3 Wise Men) were seen blending in with the crowd last night at the Norwich offices of Virgin Wines, for a Christmas special meetup organised by Norfolk Developers (@NorfolkDev) the specialist group for techs by techs.
On a fact-finding mission to gather intelligence and boost their knowledge around Worklight, IBM’s swish mobile development and deployment platform, they didn’t come away empty-handed – or hungry!
Here’s their account:
Covert ops report: filed by JElsey, CSimms and JSpear at 22.00hrs on 04.12.13 in deep cover at Lat 52.634 Long 1.301
Polite intros by the organisers and adverts about the many tech events in the locality didn’t throw us of the trail. We were 100% focused on the mission at hand (but never underestimate how much is happening for techs and devs in Norfolk thanks to Grenyer, Davis and others).
Vladimir Kislicins, IBM-er at Hursley, was first up. His unassuming and suave delivery looked to us like a “Worklight 101”. Covering a bit of history and context of Worklight, Kislicins provided the essential heads-up on things like basic setup and ideal set (you’ve really gotta have iOS and Android devices). He dared a demo or two before the interval.
Eye-witnessing ample vino refills (VirginWines, naturally) and repeated swoops on the buffet, we saw attendees mingling and comparing notes on the event so far. Nobody stood alone. Despite all the hubbub, we retained our cover and stood resolute to our mission; we were here for the facts, not the food… oh ok, maybe one more sandwich then.
Andrew Ferrier IBM-er also out of Hursley (@andrewferrier) was second up. Focused on best practices with hybrid and mobile, Ferrier extolled the advantages of Worklight for developers.
And he took off like a gazelle, pouncing this way and that, as he contested the differences between the dojo and jquery mobile frameworks. Armed with his up-beat style and his laser pen pointer, he took us entirely by surprise. We felt the need to regroup but there just wasn’t time…
Ferrier blasted through debugging options, the pace of change, (iOS 6+: web inspector; Android 4.4) and was unexpectedly intercepted by an inbound challenge on Weinre from dev expert Neil Sedger (@moley666), himself in deep cover amongst the crowd. But it was ok – Ferrier fielded the intervention with ease and pressed on to cover performance and memory management.
“You have to remember we’re still targeting old devices” he cautioned. This tip seemed highly significant so we wrote that down, put big quote marks around it and swallowed it. We’d analyse these tops tips later if we all made it back to the safe house (no, not the public house, what do you take us for? Oh c’mon, were meant to be incognitus tonight guys).
Appearance, CSS rules and treatment of lazy-loading images appearing as they are scrolled in were covered before Ferrier could move on to RESTful services.
GET. PUT. POST. DELETE. - Yup, we got that.
JSON as your data format. – Yup, got that too.
But Ferrier saved until last his secret weapon – the Worklight Adapter framework. This was very, very neat stuff. Our developers knew to see that one coming, but the crowd clearly didn’t. Ferrier did well to contain his enthusiasm for Worklight Adapters, a jewel in the crown for IBM’s mobile application platform.
Sprinting to finish, Lifecycle would have been Ferrier’s final topic and last hurrah in Norwich, but he saved it for another day and opened the floor for questions.
There was a very lively interactive Q&A, with questions being fired in from all directions. We busied ourselves capturing the intel.
But surprisingly for a tech meetup, everyone was fixated on Worklight pricing. Ferrier looked like he had been tazered, but said he knew nothing about pricing. Pressure from the crowd did force him to let slip the existence of a B2B and B2C pricing model and, crucially, availability of a developer version and a production version. The secret was going to blown wide open now.
Ferrier cracked and the baying crowd moved in.
“Developers can download Worklight for free!”, he exclaimed,“OK – take it, have a play with it, see what it can do for you, it won’t cost you an penny. But take an app to the outside world, or put it into production in your own organisation, then we’ll obviously have to start charging you.”
We’d got what we came for. It was time to retreat to HQ.
Thinking that Norfolk Developers will be worth another visit in 2014, we disappeared into the night and went our separate ways.
Current status: Mission accomplished.
No names have been changed. Nobody was that innocent.
Blog by James Elsey on Worklight and Continuous Innovation > http://smart421.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/ibm-worklight-making-light-work-of-app-development-in-the-enterprise/
Blog by JSpear on IBM Mobile First > http://smart421.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/with-mobilefirst-ibm-has-just-made-mobile-exciting-again/
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