Why We're Excited About AEM Mobile
3|SHARE Team, April 11, 2016
If you are reading this blog post, you are probably curious about the latest Adobe AEM product offering - AEM Mobile. AEM Mobile is Adobe's vision of bringing the best of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) World and Adobe PhoneGap together. The new product offering was announced at the Mobile Conference in Barcelona and you can read more about on the official Adobe Blog. We at 3|SHARE have been busy evaluating AEM Mobile and for those who are not aware, we have the most comprehensive AEM practice in North America - meaning all we do is AEM; nope no other experience management system. So it just made sense for us start looking under the hood since we have worked extensively on AEM Apps (the old PhoneGap version) for a long period of time. In this blog post, I’ll be covering two things; the first articulating to you what the 3|SHARE team has done over a period of time to understand AEM Mobile and second, what excites us about AEM Mobile from an Adobe Experience Manager perspective - meaning if you are a current AEM customer, what could potentially excite you with this new offering and our team can do to be your partner in that journey, if you do decide to undertake it. Having worked on AEM for over 11+ years on extremely high visible, complex and successful projects, I feel I could add my 2 cents ;).
A recent experience I had with AEM Mobile was attending an Adobe workshop in San Jose. We went in with the mindset that this new offering would be a "different version of PhoneGap" and we were wrong! The workshop was absolutely fantastic led by Klassjan Tukker, the leading Technical Marketing Manager of AEM Mobile but most importantly he was able to walk us through over a period of two days what the key differences were in this new offering. AEM Mobile takes the best of the DPS world, which allows native applications to be created and managed and couples that very nicely with the PhoneGap SDK. At the workshop, we were able to quickly learn that the AEM Mobile offering comes with a SAAS based module called On Demand Services, which allows a customer to create layouts, manage their applications, create push notifications and integrate closely with the Adobe Marketing Cloud to really understand via Analytics what the user is doing on your application from it being downloaded via the Apple App Store to navigating through your content. Another impressive part of the workshop was getting the trial version of the On Demand Services, along with sample content and applications to really understand what it would take to make a customer successful. Since we at 3|SHARE believe in transparency and open communication, a reason why we had probably the most successful implementations among all Adobe's partners, we articulated some concerns that were considered and appreciated - which ultimately led to us being invited to the Adobe AEM Mobile Customer Advisory Board (CAB). A badge of honor we take extremely seriously. Fast Forward to the Adobe Summit, held in Las Vegas, where the first ever CAB meeting was held, we actively participated with other customers to provide valuable feedback to the Adobe Engineering group and Product Management. Unfortunately for Non-Disclosures Agreement purposes, I cannot articulate the contents of all those conversations, but what I can state is that the timeline and product roadmap, for all features and functionalities being added to AEM Mobile are quite impressive, and more importantly one where the Adobe team is taking the feedback from partners and customers extremely seriously!
I don't want to bore you with every single feature set and functionality on AEM Mobile. You can read all about it in this very well articulated documentation. Instead, what I would like to focus on as articulated earlier, is why, if you are an existing AEM customer, should you undertake this journey and how seamless it would be for you, plus certain drawbacks.
Imagine a scenario where all of your assets and content that you have created and managed on your current AEM instance to be leveraged for your mobile applications - with the same workflows and metadata structure etc. Would that not be impressive? When you are creating content on the new AEM Mobile platform, you can pretty much use all your existing content and can go as far as even leveraging some of your responsive design templates. The responsive design templates can kick in when the PhoneGap side of the new AEM Mobile platform can be leveraged, thus not just re-using some of your existing code and content but also leveraging the power of the plugins of PhoneGap.
It took me a while to understand the concept of the Layout Engine which is part of the On Demand Services package, but what is impressive about it is that it allows customers to rapidly create a layout and insert content where it is necessary to deploy a mobile application. The layout engine, which will undergo a series of improvements and feature sets to make it more customizable is a quick way for a designer to get into the system, create certain layouts at various navigation levels and then allow content to be part and parcel of the app deployment. As it currently stands, there are some limitations to what can be done within the layout engine, but this is something that the Engineering team at Adobe is actively working on.
As I started to visualize what an implementation for a customer would be like, I started to imagine a scenario where the DPS part of AEM Mobile would play the role of the top navigation tier or maybe even a level below and from there I could pretty much use all the plugins that PhoneGap exposes to me along with responsive templates that I have already created. I hit that "ah-ha" moment. That is what makes this platform awesome. The fact that I can do that for a customer along with allowing them to leverage all their assets? Wow!
We at 3|SHARE have decided to offer a quick start solution to our customers for AEM Mobile under our offerings called "SWIFT". You can read more about what SWIFT has to offer here, but we really wanted to make sure that we took all our knowledge from all the AEM implementations we have done and couple that with all what we have learnt about AEM Mobile to provide the customer with a method to get up and running with AEM Mobile very quickly. We are excited and hope you are as well.
If you are looking for more information about AEM Mobile, please feel free to contact us and if you are really curious about more information, do not hesitate to ask us to provide more blog posts such as this in more technical detail.
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