An Over­view of Con­ver­tigo

Con­ver­tigo is an open source mo­bile app de­vel­op­ment plat­form that en­ables en­ter­prises to in­te­grate any mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion with back-end ap­pli­ca­tions or data sources — all at a con­sid­er­ably lower cost and within less time.

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Con­ver­tigo is the first open source mo­bile plat­form to pro­vide a com­plete, end-to-end so­lu­tion — from back-end en­able­ment to mo­bile UI de­vel­op­ment tools — in­te­grated in one unique mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment plat­form (MADP) and MBaaS (Mo­bile Back­end-as-a-Ser­vice).

The plat­form com­prises sev­eral com­po­nents that in­clude the Con­ver­tigo server, Stu­dio and third party SDKs. Con­ver­tigo de­liv­ers a se­cured and scal­able, all-in-one so­lu­tion that in­te­grates rapid cross-plat­form mo­bile de­vel­op­ment tools and a pow­er­ful MBaaS. It pro­vides chal­leng­ing back-end en­able­ment and fea­tures mid­dle­ware op­ti­mised for mo­bil­ity.

Ar­chi­tec­ture of the mo­bile plat­form

A mo­bile plat­form dif­fers from a sim­ple mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment tool by pro­vid­ing all the com­po­nents needed to build, run, man­age and con­nect mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions to the ex­ist­ing en­ter­prise in­for­ma­tion sys­tem.

The ca­pa­bil­i­ties that a mo­bile plat­form should pos­sess are listed be­low.

Mo­bile back-end con­nec­tors: These al­low mo­bile apps to con­nect to the en­ter­prise data­base and to business ap­pli­ca­tions. Mo­bile ser­vice or­ches­tra­tor: This al­lows back-end data to be ag­gre­gated, fil­tered and com­bined to pro­vide a mo­bile­friendly ser­vice API. The or­ches­tra­tor can also aug­ment an ex­ist­ing back-end ap­pli­ca­tion with mo­bile-spe­cific ca­pa­bil­i­ties such as push no­ti­fi­ca­tions or lo­ca­tor ser­vices. Cross-plat­form UI: This al­lows de­vel­op­ers to work on mul­ti­ple op­er­at­ing sys­tems.

Se­cu­rity man­ager: This is used to en­crypt sen­si­tive data on the net­work or on the mo­bile de­vice.

Mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion SDKs: These pro­vide the ca­pa­bil­i­ties to in­te­grate other third party mo­bile UI de­vel­op­ment ef­forts.

What are mo­bile ser­vices?

Mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions need mo­bile ser­vices to in­ter­act with the data. Mo­bile ser­vices are made on top of ex­ist­ing back­end ser­vices pro­vided by ESBs (en­ter­prise ser­vice bus) or other SOA based ar­chi­tec­ture. Mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions in­ter­act with mo­bile ser­vices us­ing stan­dard pro­to­cols like HTTP/ HTTPS, XML for­mat, etc.

Mo­bile ser­vices can be de­fined us­ing ei­ther a bot­tomto-top ap­proach or a top-down ap­proach, where the ser­vice model is de­fined by the mo­bile UI de­vel­oper. A very

com­mon sit­u­a­tion is that ex­ist­ing en­ter­prise ser­vices are not de­signed for mo­bil­ity.

Con­ver­tigo’s MBaaS com­po­nents ad­dress these re­quire­ments as fol­lows:

Plat­form trans­for­ma­tion that en­ables the chang­ing of ex­ist­ing in­ter­nal ser­vices.

Data fil­ter­ing to expose only the re­quired data model to mo­bile de­vices from the ex­ist­ing mo­bile ser­vices. Business logic aug­men­ta­tion to en­hance ex­ist­ing in­ter­nal ser­vices for mo­bile pro­cesses.

These com­po­nents are built on the very cur­rent con­cept called ‘se­quences’, de­fined as ‘steps’ needed to get the data, trans­form it and han­dle it based on the business rules. Cre­at­ing se­quences does not re­quire any pro­gram­ming lan­guage; it is sim­ply done by us­ing ob­ject con­fig­u­ra­tion in Eclipse based on the Con­ver­tigo stu­dio GUI. The se­quences can also be en­hanced by us­ing JavaScript steps to per­form multi-faceted business logic.

Mo­bile se­cu­rity

An en­ter­prise mo­bile plat­form must have se­cu­rity ca­pa­bil­i­ties to se­cure data and pro­cesses.

These ca­pa­bil­i­ties are:

User au­then­ti­ca­tion in or­der to be sure which user is ac­cess­ing the en­ter­prise data.

Ac­cess con­trol to con­trol which part of the data should be seen for a par­tic­u­lar mo­bile user.

Pro­to­col en­cryp­tion to pre­vent net­work spies from read­ing data com­ing or go­ing to the mo­bile de­vices. This is built on TLS 1.2 en­cryp­tion and sup­ports client and server cer­tifi­cates.

Mo­bile de­vice data en­cryp­tion to pre­vent at­tack­ers from read­ing data on de­vices if they are lost or stolen.

Iden­tity man­ager to han­dle unique mo­bile iden­tity and sev­eral dif­fer­ent cre­den­tials to ac­cess the back-end sys­tem.

IoT in­te­gra­tion

The In­ter­net of Things (IoT), the next chal­lenge fac­ing en­ter­prises, con­nects nu­mer­ous de­vices at the same time. These de­vices take part in the en­ter­prise ecosys­tem by in­ter­act­ing with ex­ist­ing sys­tems and ap­pli­ca­tions al­ready de­ployed by com­pa­nies.

Track­ing ob­jects, de­tect­ing smoke, mon­i­tor­ing ma­chines and alerts for empty park­ing slots are some ob­vi­ous use cases where IoT tech­nol­ogy can help.

The IoT world con­nects a num­ber of fields with each other in the fol­low­ing ways:

De­vices from IoT ven­dors are able to ex­change data with net­work op­er­a­tors.

IoT net­work op­er­a­tors de­ploy ra­dio net­works over the planet, which are able to han­dle IoT de­vice traf­fic. Plat­form ven­dors pro­vide soft­ware to con­nect the IoT net­work with ac­tive back-end sys­tems or data repos­i­to­ries.

The Con­ver­tigo mo­bil­ity plat­form is able to han­dle data com­ing for IoT de­vices through an IoT net­work op­er­a­tor. In this way, all the back-end ser­vices from Con­ver­tigo, such as con­nec­tors, se­quences and se­cu­rity man­agers can be used to push and pull data from the back-end. The Con­ver­tigo mo­bil­ity plat­form is fully in­te­grated with the Sig­fox net­work as a P3 plat­form.

The plat­form can be con­nected to the Sig­fox net­work us­ing the lat­ter’s call-back API. In this way, any IoT de­vice trig­ger­ing an event will be cap­tured by the plat­form and will be pro­cessed by se­quences to or­ches­trate ac­tiv­i­ties to be done in the back-end sys­tems.

Off­line data ca­pa­bil­i­ties

Nowa­days, most of the mo­bile pro­cess­ing tak­ing place, for ex­am­ple, at en­ter­prises uses large files on the mo­bile de­vices. These files can be PDFs or some me­dia files such as MPEG videos. It is easy to trans­fer large files on­line, but in off­line mode, this is still dif­fi­cult. This can be solved by us­ing the Con­ver­tigo mo­bile plat­form, which pro­vides a pow­er­ful file trans­fer de­vice based on Ful­lSync tech­nol­ogy. So how ex­actly is this done? Ba­si­cally, Con­ver­tigo can get a file from any en­ter­prise con­trol man­ager and trans­fer it to one or sev­eral mo­bile de­vices. The trans­fer is done in chunks so that if a file is not trans­ferred to­tally when the net­work crashes, only the un­trans­ferred con­tents will be re­trans­mit­ted. File trans­fers are done as back­ground tasks as long as the mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion is run­ning. Con­ver­tigo pro­vides these ca­pa­bil­i­ties out-of-the-box as an SDK API that can be used on An­droid and iOS de­vices.

Mo­bile plat­forms are key com­po­nents of the dig­i­tal en­ter­prise as most com­pa­nies have de­signed their in­for­ma­tion sys­tems for the Web and not for mo­bile de­vices. Mo­bile de­vices en­able com­pa­nies to gain agility, re­duce de­vel­op­ment and main­te­nance costs, pre­serve sys­tem in­tegrity and im­prove se­cu­rity.

With the in­creas­ing re­quire­ment for digi­ti­sa­tion, en­ter­prises will need con­stant mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment. The Con­ver­tigo mo­bil­ity plat­form of­fers all the nec­es­sary com­po­nents for en­ter­prises to ac­cess the dig­i­tal world, and for their cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees and their part­ners too — all with a con­trol on costs and project time­lines.

Us­ing the Con­ver­tigo plat­form helps en­ter­prises avoid hav­ing to re­de­velop the same ser­vices each time they need a new mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion, hence slash­ing costs.

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