Development Pioneer Dan Bricklin Champions JAVA for Mobile

After a decade’s long career as a pioneer in software development Dan Bricklin isn’t done yet. Now the CTO for Alpha Software Corporation, Bricklin is providing leadership in the development space. He is also advocating the use of JAVA for mobile development over native code.

In a recent article for Infoworld Bricklin goes to great lengths to explain why, despite the fact that certain specific native code applications may run faster than one created in Java, there are many more where Java simply runs circles around native code.

As he says in the article in Infoworld, “While it’s true that for general computation of mathematical operations native code should be able to run circles around JavaScript (and compute those circles while doing it),” going on Dan explains, “that viewpoint ignores the fact that far different operations are performed in many apps and JavaScript based apps often equal or beat native code for those operations.”

Speed is “Top of Mind” for Bricklin.

Although he champions Java for mobile, the Infoworld piece goes into far more detail than just that and shows that there will be a balance between native code, Java, advances in browser functionality and the use of HTML5 and CSS3.

Speeding things up is on the top of Dan’s mind and he sees both old ways and new to approach the problem, “It’s long been known in programming that different languages for the same algorithm can result in small performance gains of perhaps five to 10 times, but that improved algorithms give you orders of magnitude improvement in the range of 10 to 100. That is, if you can approach a problem in a different way or rethink it after you’ve coded it and have seen what is really needed, you can often get enormous performance gains versus just running the same operations somewhat faster. The history of algorithms for sorting is a simple, powerful example.”

Using JavaScript in a browser with CSS3 can often make it easier to realize this type of improvement. Of course, if the benefits that a browser and JavaScript provide are not appropriate for your task, then you may be pushed to the native side. The bottom line is that developers can’t blindly say JavaScript is always best. “Deciding on which way to go may require some outside input.

Whether your organization is being driven to provide more mobile applications for your work force or need legacy software accessible via a mobile application, deciding what to develop in is your most fundamental decision. Many companies with legacy systems or
lacking the internal expertise of mobile savvy developers might benefit from employing an outsourced solution.

Outsourcing this sort of development to third party teams who provide well established experts in native code, Java and understand the advances in browsers and mobile app environments is an important option to consider. This can speed development time, lower costs and conserve internal resources for more critical projects. The growing advances in HTML5 and the continuing evolution of CSS3 make keeping up difficult for more focused development teams. Seeking outsourced experts in these areas and for testing services post development are also a good way to ensure your choices have been good ones.

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