Mobile developers offered helping hand by BlueMix claims IBM

News Jane McCallion Feb 25, 2014
blue cloud graphic
blue cloud graphic

PaaS will make it easier for developers to create mobile-first apps, said Big Blue

IBM is set to allow  developers to build and run applications in any language using IBM’s portfolio of composable services.

The company has launched BlueMix, a PaaS offering built on Cloud Foundry running on SoftLayer. It allows developers to create apps specifically targeted for smartphones and tablets, rather than trying to move a web application into a mobile environment. BlueMix has been in closed beta for some months but is now available to developers as an open beta.

“Think of this as the very first true Platform as a Service,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of middleware at IBM Software Group. “You can build on top of open standards … so those services that you are building can run in multiple different places. It doesn’t tie you down to a particular vendor.”

Speaking at IBM conference, IBM Pulse, LeBlanc added: “We are also providing … integration services, so you can start to connect to your [on premise] systems of record. Imagine you can take these systems of engagement, these new mobile applications and very easily and very quickly connect them in a secure way to these back-end systems that contain all of those transactions and data that you have built up as an organisation over a period of time.".

Mobile first means development cycles for applications are being reduced from 18 months to 18 weeks, LeBlanc claimed.

“You’ve got to change the way you think about all DevOps and the tools that you use to build [and] connect all these services together and what we are announcing [with BlueMix] is we have built that platform for you,” said LeBlanc.

BlueMix also features a number of IBM and third-party SaaS applications as what it describes as “composable API-based services”, such as Watson, commerce, security, analytics and marketing. These are available through the BlueMix dashboard to add in an almost one-click manner.

Demonstrating how this works, Jeff Lawson, co-founder and CEO of Twilio, a cloud-based communications and telephony platform, show how he could add Twilio capabilities to a pre-existing customer service app built on BlueMix.

While he was able to add Twilio to the application in one click, some programming was required in order to configure how it worked within the app. Nevertheless, the entire process was completed in the space of five minutes, with Lawson claiming it would traditionally take roughly 18 months.

“IBM is committed to helping developers IT operators and line of business professionals collaborate and compose enterprise applications based on open standards,” said Erich Clementi, senior vice president of global technology services at IBM.

“[BlueMix offers] a unique new development environment and capabilities as a service, which will help developers speed the adoption of dynamic, hybrid clouds,” he concluded.

BlueMix is available to try in beta form immediately.