Sonntag, 25. November 2012

Barcode PDAs and the bitter state of OS

We develop logistics software and we do this mainly on HTML(5) basis. This means that all of our products have HTML frontends. Our products run on PCs, Tablets and also on mobile Barcode scanners like the ones made by Motorola (formerly Symbol), Intermec, Honeywell and others. As i said, we do HTML everywhere which is fine but at the same time very annoying on Barcode PDAs. These kind of devices, no matter which manufacturer you chose, rely on Windows Mobile 6.x nowadays.

Now you ask, what is Windows Mobile 6? Its based on Windows CE 5.2 and if you use the browser on that OS heavily as we do, it feels like a device from 2003. But keep in mind that all current devices which cost a hell lot of money use this platform from Microsoft. Why does it feel like 2003? The browser is just a joke when you look at standards compliance and doesnt support a lot when it comes to javascript. So say goodbye to all cool frontend frameworks like jQuery mobile and other players in that field. Our JS developers really hate these devices.

And now its 2012 as far as i remember. We have this little OS called Android which runs on nearly every mobile phone on the market. It has rock solid browsers where you can chose which one you like most and you have a really nice development model. Look at all these apps already in the Play Store. We would kill for Android based industrial barcode devices like Motorola MC55 or MC75. But the players on the market seem to be asleep. In the meantime companies running warehouses all over the world think about buying devices like Linea Pro and other products which produces kits for iPod Touch (case+scanner+beeper). These companies dont consider it because of the price. Yes, its a little bit cheaper, but their main reason is because they like iOS aka a modern mobile operating system with standard compliants browsers and stuff. We all know that its a pretty bad idea to use products which are based on a consumer devices surrounded with a hardware kit for make it logistics ready but it seems for many people out there its an option and i can really understand the reasoning.

So Motorola, Honeywell, Intermec and others: WAKE UP. We want a modern mobile operating system on enterprise mobile devices for warehouses. And because iOS is not an option because Apple doesnt sell it. Simply use Android. Its the superior platform anyway.

Freitag, 9. November 2012

NoSQL KV Project search goes on

After checking those 3 projects i mentioned in my last blog post, i was still not convinced. I started again searching for a KV NoSQL Store which is JAVA based. At first i thought Hazelcast could be the solution but then i discovered that they dont have a store but just the infrastructure to implement a store yourself which was of course a no go. After some more research (i think right now i know nearly every NoSQL project on earth ;-)) i found Voldemort again. With again i mean that this was on my very first list but somehow i wasnt convinced in the first run but slowly running out of options, i will reconsider it now.

After some reading i see that they prefer BDB as primary storage system. I definitely cant go with BDB because of the licensing issues. We distribute a product and we definitely dont want to pay license fees on every sell. According to Voldemort slides i have seen, there are some other stores available which i need to check out. I still would love to see some file based storage implementation as redis does it.

Our list of requirements are:
  • embeddable into our java projects
  • KV store
  • data snapshots / persistence
  • nice to have: range queries

Sad to see that Redis does all that quite perfectly but its just not embeddable.