Sunday, April 23, 2006

About convergence and getting your MySQL data on your mobile device

When we started Funambol, back in 2002, our idea was to create an infrastucture to distribute data between mobile devices.

I never believed in the convergence of everything in one single great device. I just got a new one this week and I am very happy about it. I do think that single specialized device do better than multi-purpose tools. Granted, I used the swiss knife in emergencies. But it is not my everyday tool. I do not really believe my MP3 player, my DVD player, my cellphone, my camera and my laptop will converge one day, just because it bothers me to bring them all with me.

I would love a converged device the keep my money and my keys in one place, though I still have a wallet and a separate keychain. I believe I will always have both (until ALL my doors will open thanks to biometric authentication).

So... I believe in divergence. I believe in multiple devices doing one thing very well. Something is certain, though: the data on all the devices will overlap. You will have your address book in Outlook, on your RAZR, on your Blackberry, in your car, on your home phone. It is the same address book, with some segmentation (I do not care to have my entire company address book on my home phone). The same for music, video and so on. Everything is shared between all your devices.

If the data is shared, it must be synchronized. If I change a phone number in Outlook, it must change on my cell. And vice versa. I do not have to do it twice or it is game over.

Hence, we created Funambol as an open standard synchronization engine. Synchronization will be a basic commodity powering the next computing shift towards mobile. Open source is the best way to address a commodity. So... we are golden :-)

That said, where is the data stored in open source? In a MySQL database. How do you get it out of there and put on a mobile device is a question a lot of people are asking (at least, they ask me ;-) The answer is in my speech at MySQL User Conference, next Tuesday April 25th, at 5:20 pm in Santa Clara (BYOB, bring your own beer because you are going to be tired).

The title is "Synchronizing MySQL-based Applications with Mobile Devices". The content will include a description of our cool tutorial "Creating J2ME Applications with Sync4j 2.3, MySQL, and Eclipse".

I'll see you there.