April 29 2014

Mobile BPM will play an increasingly important role in the relationship between businesses, customers and external partners. Consumers want mobile apps. As a group they download more than 11,000 iPhone apps, send 168 million emails and make 700,000 Facebook posts—in one minute. Businesses need to make sure apps align with their business processes.

Mobile apps require new architectural patterns and must support differing devices. Let’s take a quick look at some integration and data type technologies, and Oracle products that form a cohesive mobile solution.


1.       SOAP (“Simple Object Access Protocol”) — This is the workhorse of existing SOA infrastructures and can be a single solution to heterogeneous interconnectivity issues.  SOAP defines a standard communication protocol specification for XML-based message exchange.  It can use various transport protocols such as HTTP, SMTP and JMS.  It requires far less plumbing than REST for things like transactions, security, coordination, addressing, and trust.  However, change control can be problematic due to the complexity of SOAP interfaces.   Even though these features add weight to SOAP, it is highly useful when publishing an interface to the outside world because of the formal contract that it utilizes.

2.       XML ("Extensible Markup Language")—This is the request / response format within SOAP interfaces. It's benefit is that it's both human-readable and machine-readable.  Even though it’s verbose and harder to change it has a formal structure and can validate content.

3.       REST (“Representational State Transfer”) — simple, lightweight and stateless.  It can return multiple data types and has bandwidth advantages over SOAP.  However, since there is no standard it can be misused by developers.  Roy Fielding, the inventor of REST, described it this way: REST's client–server separation of concerns simplifies component implementation, reduces the complexity of connector semantics, improves the effectiveness of performance tuning, and increases the scalability of pure server components. Layered system constraints allow intermediaries—proxies, gateways, and firewalls—to be introduced at various points in the communication without changing the interfaces between components, thus allowing them to assist in communication translation or improve performance via large-scale, shared caching. REST enables intermediate processing by constraining messages to be self-descriptive: interaction is stateless between requests, standard methods and media types are used to indicate semantics and exchange information, and responses explicitly indicate cacheability.

4.       JSON (Javascript Object Notation)—  It is an open standard format that uses human-readable text to transmit data objects consisting of attribute–value pairs.  It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML (wikipedia). Used in conjunction with REST, it’s easy to change, but lacks formal structure and can’t validate content.   


  1. Oracle ADF Mobile—the foundation for future mobile Oracle application development.
  2. Oracle Mobile Suite - support for the development of both the front end client as well as the back end integration layer of a mobile system
  3. Oracle BPM Suite—combines and modernizes applications, and supports mobile processes.

Learn more about mobile BPM in TechTarget’s two-part Forrester webcast, and about the relationship between mobile BPM and SOA in Oracle’s on-demand webinar and then read our latest newsletter article, Now Is the Time to Tackle Mobile BPM.

About the Author

Brandon Dean

Brandon Dean is Executive Vice President for AVIO and focuses his time on building client relationships and directing sales, marketing, and strategy initiatives for AVIO. Prior to joining AVIO in 2008, Brandon spent time in various positions at Oracle, BEA Systems, and Fuego where he built a reputation as a thought leader in BPM strategy and implementation advisory services. 

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