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API’s and the Mobile Space

Like many software developers, I am an avid follower of Slashdot and in fact, have it as my browser’s home page.  This morning when I started up the browser, the top story on Slashdot at the moment was the announcement that the White House’s ‘We The People’ initiative was releasing a series of API’s in order to provide read-access to their data for developers to build upon.  The reason I bring this up is due to a conversation I had the previous night with a Salesforce CRM technical engineer on how Salesforce is approaching the mobile space versus Oracle.
Salesforce has approached integrating their flagship offerings to mobile devices by supporting mobile developers through a series of API’s, SDKs and a recently announced Eclipse plugin.  That is not to say they do not have a stable of pre-build mobile apps supporting their systems but Salesforce realizes that developers would rather rely on the vendor providing a series of integration points and allow the developer to be creative in integrating with Salesforce and provide targeted business value through the use of mobile applications.
This is in contrast to Oracle’s Peoplesoft CRM package (I chose Peoplesoft only because I have worked with the package in the past).  If you look at a list of features and innovations in one of the newer versions of Peoplesoft CRM, you don’t see anything around mobile.  If you look at the Oracle Mobile site, Oracle discusses their ADF Mobile Framework but it is only available for Oracle Fusion Applications and Oracle Fusion Middleware.  What if you are not on Oracle Fusion but have stayed on Peoplesoft CRM (or any other major Oracle purchase for that matter that has not moved to Fusion).  I don’t doubt that there are ways to integrate with Peoplesoft CRM but my point is that Oracle needs to provide mobile developers with integration support to their major back-end system offerings through a set of API’s.
As stated in this blog post:
Web APIs have experienced an exponential increase in popularity and usage in the past few years. These days, they’re an important tool for web developers; however, they are also even becoming an effective marketing tool for many types of businesses.
This was posted over a year ago and with mobile developers increasingly looking to API accessibility in order to build mobile applications that integrate with key enterprise back-end systems, the statistics for 2012/2013 are only going to be more significant.

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Perry Hoekstra

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