Last week, Reddo Mobility, formerly called Gizmox, released the latest in a flurry of app-refactoring platforms. If you’ve heard of Gizmox before last week, you’re probably a developer. Their claim to fame for the last seven years has been a Visual Studio plugin that allows you to build web apps with rich, HTML5 driven UIs. Recently, though, they’ve restructured and spun out the “old Gizmox” products into other entities while creating Reddo Mobility.
There’s a lot going on around app-refactoring these days, from PowWow (the co-darling of BriForum, along with Devolutions) and Capriza, not to mention the Citrix Mobility SDK. These solutions have their limitations, though. Capriza only re-factors web applications. The Citrix Mobility SDK requires access to an application’s source code, so it only works on homegrown apps. PowWow works for any Windows or web app, but it does it by reading the window calls from RDP streams which means there’s an extra layer in the mix.
Reddo Mobility’s platform (simply called “Reddo”) runs inside Windows and watches the Windows application controls in between the OS and Presentation layer. Positioned there, it can figure out what the app is trying to tell the OS (and vice versa), then use that information to create a customized mobile interface for the application. It’s not screen scraping or transcoding at all. Rather, it’s intercepting the direct UI calls and transforming it for mobile devices.
Reddo has a designer that administrators can use to map aspects of the Windows app to the mobile interface, as you would expect. In the designer, you can change the flow of an application, break up the application into multiple screens (like tabs), and theme the apps to look like native iOS or Chrome apps. They have a feature called “Smart Suggestions” to help with application flow, too. The designer is also aware of different device types, so you can create the most appropriate layouts for each type of device your users have.
On the client side, nothing is required other than a browser. All the transformation is done on the backend (if you could see the console, you could see the apps being used as if someone were sitting there). Without going completely overboard, I think that the browser-only requirement is probably the most important part of the announcement. Clients are just one more thing to manage, so eliminating them is key to adoption.
As with the other products, there are a few limitations to the Reddo solution:
- They are focused on Win32 apps right now, so there’s no help for web apps that aren’t HTML5 or mobile-ready. It’s not impossible, but just not on the radar for this release.
- Since the app is running in the session, using this on physical desktops means that someone could watch the console. As of now, Reddo doesn’t have a solution for this. If you’re using VDI, it’s not a huge deal, but if you’re using physical desktops, you’d have to find a third-party solution to lock the console and/or blank the screen.
- Highly graphical apps are not ideal for a solution like this. The most appropriate applications are data-centric.
Gestures and UX tweaks are great, but they’re no match for custom interfaces to Windows applications, so I think it’s absolutely fantastic to see this space exploding the way that it is. With these companies identifying and plugging the gaps that others leave, we should see a lot of innovation in a short period of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and others get involved and acquire these companies, either. In fact, VMware recently announced a partnership with Capriza, so you can move them over to the short list. I think we’ll continue to see a lot of activity around this well into next year.