Saturday, February 13, 2016

Has The Era Of Mobile Web Apps Finally Come?

It has long been a subject of an argument, essentially since the advent of the mobile web itself more than ten years ago: the anticipation of mobile web taking over the native mobile apps - repeating the success of desktop web on mobile devices - has been just that - the anticipation.

The beauty of "write once, run everywhere" was once again challenged by the realities of computing power and user experience compromises, as it was back in 90s when Java was created with the same promise only to fail delivering on it.

No matter which year is printed on the calendar, the verdict has always been the same: "mobile web apps are promising, but not quite there yet, but wait, they are just around the corner".

At the same time, the times of one-man-show stunts making big $$ by developing mobile apps are over. The industry has increasingly professionalized and the need to support three major mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows) is heavily taxing native app development and raising the bar for entry.

Recent apps on my phone - guess which are native vs. web apps.

However, I have seen two interesting developments in the past year, which should make you reconsider the mobile app strategy:
  1. Since Android 5.0, mobile Chrome browser supports the "Marge tabs and apps" feature, which makes web applications such as Facebook or Twitter look like native apps when presented in the recent apps carousel on Android.
  2. With the support of push notifications in Chrome and other mobile browsers, the ability of mobile web apps to catch user's attention and bring her back to the app, many times the primary reason for developing the native app, has become almost obsolete as well.
"Merge tabs and apps" feature in Chrome
It is indisputable, that the user experience of native apps still beats mobile web apps, so for apps I use every day, I prefer native apps. However, for less frequented apps, the situation changes dramatically in my eyes: I hesitate to install apps on my phone just to try them out or use them once or occasionally. My primary concern is privacy & security, but besides that it is also a matter of convenience - the bloat some apps cause, the precious space consumed by them and ironically even the frequent app updates: a rarely used native app may consume more battery by frequent updates from the app store than actually running on the phone. It has been long time ago I uninstall Facebook from my phone and I am completely happy to use the mobile web version for the occasional visits.

Web push notifications settings.
Given my experience above, I believe the mobile web apps should seriously be considered for use cases where you are not aiming at daily usage. Good examples would be various reservation systems, ticketing apps for buying cultural events tickets, travel booking apps, loyalty programs and others. In these cases, a mobile web app removes the friction - no need to install a native app - while still providing decent user experience. Last but last not least - the development and maintenance cost are likely to be much lower than for native apps for multiple platforms and a lot of the infrastructure can be shared between the mobile web app and the desktop web version of the service.

So think twice before you launch that job postings for Android, iOS and Windows mobile developers for your next project - it may well be the case the mobile web can expedite your journey to the customers and save you $$, if your application is intended for occasional transactional use.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Big Data Pipeline for Analytics at Scale at FIT CVUT 2014

The recent boom in big data processing and democratization of the big data space has been enabled by the fact that most of the concepts originated in the research labs of companies such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Facebook are now available as open source. Technologies such as Hadoop, Cassandra let businesses around the world to become more data driven and tap into their massive data feeds to mine valuable insights.

At the same time, we are still at a certain stage of the maturity curve of these new big data technologies and of the entire big data technology stack. Many of the technologies originated from a particular use case and attempts to apply them in a more generic fashion are hitting the limits of their technological foundations. In some areas, there are several competing technologies for the same set of use cases, which increases risks and costs of big data implementations.

We will show how GoodData solves the entire big data pipeline today, starting from raw data feeds all the way up to actionable business insights. All this provided as a hosted multi-tenant environment letting its customers to solve their particular analytical use case or many analytical use cases for thousands of their customers all using the same platform and tools while abstracting them away from the technological details of the big data stack.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bringing GoodData Platform to the Next Level

Back in 2007 Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape Communications and an investor in GoodData, wrote his legendary blog post entitled “The three kinds of platforms you meet on the Internet”. He defined the following three levels of a platform as follows:
  • Level 1 - “Access API”: “platform’s apps run elsewhere, and call into the platform via a web services API to draw on data and services – this is how Flickr does it.”
  • Level 2 - “Plug-In API”: “platform’s apps run elsewhere, but inject functionality into the platform via a plug-in API – this is how Facebook does it.”
  • Level 3 - “Runtime Environment”: “platform’s apps run inside the platform itself – the platform provides the “runtime environment” within which the app’s code runs.”
In the same year, GoodData was founded by serial entrepreneur Roman Stanek to take on the calcified world of Business Intelligence (BI). Unlike other BI vendors, we chose a radically different approach. We did not try to build yet another closed BI tool with its inherent strengths and unavoidable weaknesses. We were determined to build an open BI platform. Last week, after years of continuous innovation from over 150 engineers who powered nearly 100 major platform releases, we officially unveiled our next generation, end-to-end Open Analytics Platform.

Continue reading at

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Partnering with StartupYard to Turbocharge European Startups

"Our thinking behind the StartupYard partnership was this: if you want to innovate in the BI space, why try to replicate what GoodData has already done in the past six years? Why not focus on your core competency and let GoodData to take care of the rest? Amazon Web Services (AWS) has spurred innovation by lowering the barrier to entry for new software startups as new companies no longer need to buy hardware and run their own datacenter. In a similar fashion, GoodData is changing the domain of BI. If you want to innovate in the Data and Analytics space in 2014, there is no need to start from scratch." - See more at:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

GoodData: The DevOps Story @ FIT CVUT October 16 2013

Presentation was a part of FIT CVUT / MI-AIT (Případové studie aplikace a řízení IT). We compare the traditional organization model of separate teams for engineering, QA and operations to the DevOps model using autonomous cross-functional teams. The presentation uses GoodData as a case study.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Software Engineering in the Age of SaaS and Cloud Computing - SERA 2013 - MFF UK - August 2013

Cloud computing is accelerating the pace of migration from on-premise behind-the-firewall software deployment to Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription based delivery model. While accelerated innovation cycle and reduced time to value enabled by the above paradigm shift are well recognized due to their direct business impact, it is often overlooked how the new delivery model is affecting software engineering itself in terms of tools, processes as well as of its theoretical arsenal needed to develop cloud applications. Updated GoodData platform statistics as of Q2 2013!

Saturday, May 11, 2013