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2017 AWS Mobile Popup



Launched to provide developers support in the building of apps using AWS Mobile Hub, gateway, API’s and services for developers to build mobile back end.  Strategically held in a “pop up loft” in the seedy section of Mission which is less than a block from the Twitter and Uber Headquarters.  Having an MUI (Mobile user interface) is now a core requirement for applications and SOPRIS monitoring AWS’ strategy form implementations.

The LOFT showcases the following:

  • IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to build a mobile app backend … starts with user login service (which can use Facebook, Google, AWS Cognito); create a restful cloud API identifying data allowed to be accessed; use Lambda functions with auto scale and persistence; use AWS chat bots; store data in S3 … builds the environment with resources to be managed. Enable user data stores and engagement features for messaging and analytics (to track user session actions, demographics etc.). Can download as an SDK to integrate with the mobile app or as sample mobile app code ready to customize. AWS API Gateway provides a framework for back end functions developed in Lambda (node.js) including links to 3rd party and other AWS API’s; functions for parsing user inputs; export to other applications (service chains); link to AWS cloud front web apps (javascript, http, etc.) AWS CDN, and so on.
  • Messaging service for push notifications integrated to work with Apple and Android services – low cost (i.e. 1 million notifications free, $1 for next million, and more) and pre-built to work doing token management and registration of active users (interesting side comment that snapchat has 27%v of users delete and reinstall every day – our very smart kids delete Snap Chat before going home and parents checking, then re-install in the morning when they have left their homes). Can also do matching of user identities – e.g. to WhatsApp.
  • Demo shown using Apple Swift (using XCode IDE) … immediately runs (with user login authentication) and tracks user activity with a dashboard to show use of back-end resources including things like which location users are coming from, what devices they are using, what actions they are taking (e.g. purchases completed), … Mobile app includes calls to back end services, search queries, …

SDK preserves user context between sessions (synced with cloud logic) and can restart interrupted background actions (e.g. a file upload) without having to build this into the client logic.   AWS mobile SDK’s for Swift, Xamarin, Unity, React Native, Objective-c, Android java … not phonegap (apparently losing popularity), though there is support for java script SDK underlying the higher-level SDK’s and available for hybrid apps.  Amazon LEX chat bot connects to Lambda to do thinks like intelligent data queries with a configurable intent engine to help make sense of context and voice recognition, so these can become part of a mobile app.  API’s to interact with Slack, Twilio (and others) as additional channels.

  • AWS Device farm for mobile app UI testing – example based on Zillow who do ad-hoc UI development; routine overnight build regression testing; and pre-production testing across a broad range of devices. Maintaining a device lab (with multiple OS version/device combinations) is a significant burden – AWS Device farm provides a cloud based alternative with real devices which can be remotely accessed (including gesture, swipe, etc.) and automated using APPIUM and Crest.   The AWS farm has Android and iOS devices with >350 unique combinations of device/OS isolated from each other and with support for most UI frameworks.   Results come with screenshots, test results, logs, performance data and video records.   Plug-ins for Jenkins, Android Studio, SDK’s and a CLI.  Used by Allstate, Etsy, Tableau, Gannett, Interactive Intelligence, Rainforest (test company that combines human and automated testing).  Interestingly, can simulate device location for GPS and can set up to use Wi-fi, Bluetooth, NFC; test duration on each device; and try it out with some sample apps (available in GitHub, a Web-based Git version control repository hosting service).


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About the Author:

David Stevenson is Head of Strategy at SOPRIS Technologies building solutions for Service Providers and Enterprise as Network, Cloud and Data Center converge around NFV and SDN.  Previously David led Motive (an Austin startup) growing it from a $50M at acquisition by Alcatel-Lucent to over $200M software business in Customer Experience Service Assurance, Device Management and Analytics with a global customer base.


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