Mon, Jun
3 New Articles

What Is IBM MobileFirst?

Development Tools / Utilities
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times


Demystifying IBM’s mobile application development offering.

IBM MobileFirst (formerly IBM WorkLight) is an enterprise-grade suite of tools which help you build mobile applications. I want to give you a little insight of how MobileFirst is structured, in terms of a high level technical infrastructure overview and your pricing options.

MobileFirst is made up of three primary components:

MobileFirst Platform Foundation

MobileFirst Platform Foundation (again, formerly WorkLight Platform Foundation) is a enterprise-grade mobile application development platform, which includes application development and security tools that assist in application life cycle management. It’s available both on-premises and as a cloud offering.

There are number of distinct components of Platform Foundation:

  • MobileFirst Server—Acts as middleware between back-end business data and mobile applications.
  • MobileFirst API—Sets of both client- and server-side Application Programming Interfaces (API).
  • MobileFirst Studio—An Eclipse-based development environment that includes an integrated server and hybrid app simulator. MobileFirst Studio is optional, which means you don’t need it to manage MobileFirst Server or create your data adaptors. Instead, you can do this by way of a command line.
  • MobileFirst Platform Operations Console—A web-based user interface used to monitor and administrate deployed applications, adapters, and push notifications. Console also allows access to logs, analytics, device profiling, and more.

MobileFirst Platform Application Scanning

Platform Application Scanning is probably the most obvious IBM product title I’ve seen in a while. It does exactly what it says it does: It integrates security testing and identifies application source code vulnerabilities as part of the software development life cycle so they can be fixed before deployment.

It touts the following features:

  • Stronger and more complete software security through integration with IBM Security AppScan
  • Improved intelligence through integration with existing tools and processes, such as application development, build integration, and security monitoring
  • Security best practices through optional management and enforcement of security policies
  • Governance and compliance assurance that address security requirements and best practices

MobileFirst Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance connects directly with both end users and developers when testing applications. Its main features are:

  • User feedback and sentiment analysis deliver user input from within the app and mined from public app stores.
  • Automated crash analytics provide context-rich crash logs from beta and released apps automatically.
  • In-app bug reporting allows defects to be submitted in seconds while using the app from your mobile device.
  • Over-the-air app build distribution provides the latest information and builds to testers.
  • Evidence-based prioritization enables business and IT professionals to collaborate on mobile strategy and user experience.

As far as platform support for MobileFirst goes, for Power Systems you’re looking at three options: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Server 7, Ubuntu 14.04, and AIX 7.1/7.2. Sorry, no IBM i. It also runs Windows Server 2012 on x86-64 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 12 on z Systems. I’ll digress and say you’ll see your SUSE options be limited in the future as Red Hat appears to be the Linux distribution standard du jour for IBM as of late.

Now, will you ever see MobileFirst running on IBM i? Probably not. That doesn’t mean it can’t interface with your IBM i systems of record. Quite the opposite. The value with MobileFirst is that it can tap into just about any back-end database, no matter the operating system.

The thing you need to know about MobileFirst is that it’s not cheap. The only product I could find on Passport Advantage was Platform Application Scanning, and depending on the license (fixed/floating user, etc.), it was anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000 per seat. I’ve read that MobileFirst Foundation starts at $36,000 per seat, but I haven’t confirmed it. This is an enterprise tool and is priced as such. That’s probably why you can’t find anything online regarding price either. The sticker shock is probably a full-fledged chest-grabber to the average SMB account.

If you’re an SMB shop that wants to investigate MobileFirst, the cloud offering is where you should start.

The Bluemix pricing options are as follows:

  • Developer—Use one or more instances of Mobile Foundation server free for 365 hours each month for development and testing activities only. Not valid for production. Price: $0.0069 USD/GB-hour.
  • Developer Pro—Use Mobile Foundation for team-based development and testing of any number of mobile applications. Get 375 GB-hours free per account per month. Not suitable for production. Price: $0.15 USD/GB-hour.
  • Professional Per Capacity—Use Mobile Foundation in production for any number of mobile applications. Get 375 GB-hours free per account per month. Price: $0.30 USD/GB-hour.
  • Professional 1 Application—The Mobile Foundation server that is provisioned can host a single mobile application in production, with unlimited mobile users. Price: $5,000 per instance.

How does IBM come up with its GB-hour value? Each application has a total number of instances, each taking up space in GB. You multiply the number of hours your instance is running by the total GB in application instances. For example, let’s say you have two applications taking up 2 GB each (a total of 4 GB) running for 24 hours under Professional Per Capacity. Multiply 4 by 24 and you have 96 GB-hours. Multiply that by $0.30 and you have a grand total of $28.80 spent on one day of production for two applications taking up a total of 4 GB space. For a full year, that will run you $10,512. You can have as many applications as you like. Just know you’re charged by the GB rather than the app. In this instance, the Professional 1 Application service for two applications would save you $500 USD for the year. You have to weigh the pros and cons. A couple of applications that only take up 0.5 GB would make the Professional Per Capacity the best option. For a single, heavy application in terms of storage, the Professional 1 Application is your best bet.

If you’re just kicking the tires and want to test, a $0.0069 price point can’t be beat for a couple weeks of testing and a small application.

It isn’t too shabby on the surface. Mind you, I’ve not dug in too deep. This is just to show you the cloud costs on the surface. It’s possible your IBM Business Partner could help make the cost more attractive.

Here’s where you can go to get started.

Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher works with iTech Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner. He is a specialist in IBM i and IBM Power Systems solutions since 2001. Feel free to contact him directly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: