A first look at Adobe Experience Manager Mobile

It was announced on February 22 that AEM Apps will be joined with the Digital Publishing Solution to form a new capability under the Adobe Experience Manager Solution. This new capability will be called Adobe Experience Manager Mobile. On the heels of that announcement, Adobe began inviting a few of their preferred business partners who were familiar with DPS and Adobe Experience Manager to get a two-day in-depth training on this new capability from some of the people who helped create it. Axis41 was one of those partners, and we got our training workshop in early March. Last week I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Nick Bogaty, General Manager of AEM Mobile to talk about this new capability. Below is a portion of our discussion about Adobe Experience Manager Mobile and the implications of its release.

Peter: What is Adobe Experience Manager Mobile?
Nick: AEM Mobile is a combination of Adobe Experience Manager Apps and the Adobe Digital Publishing Solution, with the addition of the Apache Cordova framework. It is a completely new capability. It allows marketers and developers to build mobile apps and solve the problem of how they are going to use mobile applications in their organization to reach their customers.

Peter: Why was AEM Apps combined with DPS to form Adobe Experience Manager Mobile?
Nick: The main reason to bring them together is that both have a rich pedigree in their respective domains. DPS brought a pedigree of out-of-the-box prototyping where designers could produce rich mobile apps and iterate on those mobile apps to produce a real live working application based on real live working code. And we wanted to bring forward the really broad platform of extensibility that Adobe Experience Manager offers from a content and asset management perspective and extend the app itself. What we see in mobile app development today is design and UX being divorced from development, and in this product we are really trying to bring those things together more seamlessly.

Just like Adobe Experience Manager Sites did for websites by putting the control of content in the hands of authors, Adobe Experience Manager Mobile is poised to put the content in the hands of the people trying to communicate through mobile apps. This is just another extension of that AEM mindset, within another channel. Why should that be different in the mobile world? You shouldn’t need to call up your developer to change some content in your mobile app, in the same way you no longer have to call up your webmaster to change your webpage.

Peter: If you are combining AEM Apps and DPS, what is going to happen with PhoneGap? Is the connection with PhoneGap going away?
Nick: PhoneGap is a great technology for people who know web skills (HTML, JavaScript) to build out mobile apps pretty quickly. It’s still there, but we are now leveraging the Apache Cordova framework. And all the skills you learned before by working with PhoneGap can still be used, but in the Apache Cordova framework.

Peter: Is AEM Mobile setup to work with any other Adobe Solutions besides Adobe Experience Manager?
Nick: Yes. One of the important things people want is the ability to get good data about who is viewing your content and how they are viewing it, whether web or mobile. That is why we made sure that Adobe Experience Manager Mobile is setup to work with Analytics. We felt so strongly about this that we made sure to include, as part of Mobile a free setup, Adobe Analytics Essentials, in the event that you don’t have an Analytics account already. Additional integrations will follow, most notably Adobe Target.

Peter: Can this be used on premise or does it need to be cloud hosted?
Nick: To leverage the full set of tools, you will need to use the On Demand Services. Given the quick way that software moves, it probably wouldn’t make sense to offer an on-premise solution. This would be really hard to replicate in an on-prem world, and after careful consideration, we felt that On Demand Services were the best way to deploy the Solution. Because of the architecture we have built in the On Demand Services platform, we can continue to serve up new features every three weeks.

Peter: Hang on a second, did you say three weeks?
Nick: Yes, our planned release schedule of new features is slated to be every three weeks.

Peter: That’s a big undertaking. Why such an aggressive release schedule?
Nick: We want to get features out into the hands of our customers as quickly as possible.

Peter: Where can people go to keep track of what gets released?
Nick: Good question. We want people to be aware of what is available so that they can take full advantage of the tools and features that the Mobile capability can offer. The website is: status.aemmobile.adobe.com or you can follow #aemmobile. March 29 is our next big release, because it will be our first release where we bring the Cordova framework into our runtimes. And the first one we will start with is an iOS release, with Windows and Android to follow shortly. Feb 22 we announced this new product and March 29 is the complete story in its first version and is our starting off point, with lots more to follow.

Peter: How can people get started with Adobe Experience Manager Mobile?
Nick: There are a few ways. First, you can go to our website adobe.com/go/aemmobile and sign up for the trial program. Second, you can approach an Adobe sales rep and request a demo. And third, you can request assistance from one of our preferred AEM Business Partners.

If I could also mention one more thing: We are very keen to hear from users of the product to know how we can improve it. We feel confident in the offering of this new AEM capability as well as the roadmap of features to be released in the next year, but we want to hear from you. After you have started to use Adobe Experience Manager Mobile, please feel free to contact your sales rep and ask for my email address to send us your feedback. When you do, make sure to help us understand the business rules/reasons for why you want something, rather just just telling us “we want a red button instead of a blue button.” We want to understand the underlying problem so that we can approach it more holistically.

Our special thanks go to Nick Bogaty for taking the time to talk with us about Adobe Experience Manager Mobile. If you are interested in getting started with AEM Mobile, then please feel free to reach out to us or subscribe to receive updates as we talk about Adobe Experience Manager Mobile more.