As hardware companies such as Intel usher in a new era of mobile computing, software developers will need to change their applications to reflect new ways of accessing corporate data, according to Intel's chief software strategist and director of strategic initiatives for Intel's Solutions Market Development Group, Chris Thomas.
Thoams was speaking at the Software Development Conference and Exposition where some attendees might have been confused to see Intel on the program.
The conference attracts software developers keen to learn more about the next generation of software applications. But Intel devoted a great deal of time and money to software development, believing that features built into its chips could help software developers create nimble applications for a mobile workforce, Thomas said.
Developers at SD Expo are studying how to bring concepts such as Web services and service-oriented architectures into their applications. The idea is to create applications that are no longer tied to a single network or a single environment, instead creating software that can be accessed by any device over any network by any authorised user, Thomas said.
Intel plays an important role in this transition, as it is creates many of the chips that power both the notebook PCs and handhelds used to access the information from locations outside the office and the server chips used to process and store that data, Thomas said.
The company has recently decided that simply improving processor performance every generation is not enough to enable this new era of Web services. It must deliver features, such as virtualisation technology, within its chips that could help developers create these new types of applications, he said.
To that end, Intel had created several software development kits (SDKs), such as the Intel Mobile Platform SDK, Thomas said. These toolkits helped developers create applications that, for example, were more sensitive to mobile needs such as extended battery life or Internet access over a variety of networks, he said.
Thomas showed developers an example of an application built with mobile users in mind. He displayed a document created with Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) technology that had fields designed to be filled out by a remote user.
Once the user had entered the information, two buttons appear at the bottom of the form that would submit the document either instantaneously or gradually, depending on the bandwidth provided by their current network.
Another example of a mobile application built with these architectural concerns in mind was an airport database created by Iona Technologies, Thomas said. Pilots used to cart books of information about far-flung airports in duffel bags, but an Iona application allowed them to put all that information on laptops and update those databases over networks around the world, he said.