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What are the best tools for building enterprise mobile applications?

Many enterprises still rely heavily on consumer-grade mobile applications, but making your own may not be as complex as you think. Here are three ways you can get started.

Today, things like mobile email, calendaring and BYOD are commonplace in the enterprise. But the next step -- building...

and distributing applications that will be used in an organization -- has taken much longer to materialize.

This slow adoption is understandable, given the results enterprise users have achieved with consumer-grade mobile applications. However, it's worth realizing there are tools that can be used today to speed up the delivery of enterprise mobile applications.


A leader for rapid mobile application development in the enterprise is Capriza Inc., a development platform that essentially connects to web applications you already use.

The development of a Capriza application starts with linking to a web form, then linking the functionality of each element in a web application into a new mobile application. In this model, enterprise mobile applications based on Salesforce, SAP, SharePoint and other commonly used software can be created extremely quickly.

A Capriza app can be created wherever there is a web form. The problem with Capriza, however, is that their reliance on web forms and not APIs is actually a stumbling block, as they do not include support for APIs.

Office 365 PowerApps

Microsoft has realized that Windows is dying, and the organization has made a smart move to cloud and mobile-centric services. That move includes changes to Office 365, Microsoft's poster child for collections of tools and services that can be accessed anywhere on any device. A new addition to Office365 is PowerApps, a tool to quickly build mobile apps for the enterprise.

PowerApps is similar in concept to Capriza, the big difference being how data is consumed and moved in PowerApps. It uses a concept called Data Connector to connect to websites, APIs and Office 365 tools. The connections are very flexible and support the "must have" API model for modern mobile design. The movement of data in a PowerApp tool leverages Flow, a competitor to If This Then That.

Creating apps with PowerApps is very easy, but it does have its limitations. It is clear that PowerApps is very new, as the product will sometimes stop working due to a bug or a change in code. As with Capriza, PowerApps' usability should improve over time.

Responsive web design

A third method of rapidly delivering enterprise mobile applications is to leverage something development teams have been using for years: HTML and JavaScript. Frameworks such as ReactJS, AngularJS and Bootstrap all form the foundation for responsive web design. And there are hundreds of tutorials, article and books written supporting how to implement responsive web design.

With all of the options available to you, I would start by exploring how responsive web design can be used to build enterprise mobile applications. If HTML5 or JavaScript won't work for the application you are seeking to create, dig into either Capriza or PowerApps. Neither product is perfect, but they are both excellent for building out something in a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks or months.

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