Keynote CEO Umang Gupta on HTML5 and a “pragmatic” philosophy

Umang Gupta, CEO and president of mobile monitoring and testing provider Keynote Systems, speaks to DeveloperTech about Keynote’s latest product launch, cultivating your business plan around as many customers as possible and why he’s a big proponent of HTML5 in the long run.

Keynote Systems has launched DeviceAnywhere Enterprise 6, a product designed to help make testing more efficient for its enterprise customers through a cloud-based model of real devices.

The solution combines two innovative new features – ScriptObjects, which allows devs to script for multiple devices more quickly – build once, deploy anywhere in other words – as well as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) Recorder program designed for developing robust scripts with precise validation checks.

For CEO Umang Gupta, a man credited with forming Oracle's first business plan in the early 1980s, this is certainly a "very important" announcement. Yet the tale of how Keynote aligned with DeviceAnywhere – a company bought out by the monitoring firm two years ago – is an interesting one.

“Keynote Systems, until about two years ago, was purely in the monitoring business,” Gupta explains in a call. “We provided outside the firewall monitoring above websites, web services, mobile sites and mobile services.

“Two years ago we bought DeviceAnywhere, and we felt that it made sense under a single roof to provide enterprise customers with a choice of either testing platforms, or monitoring platforms.”

Yet perhaps the most revealing facet of the product is its HTML5 integration – there’s that write once, deploy anywhere again. Gupta acknowledges the importance of this, although plays down the emerging standard’s importance for now.

“I think at the end of the day, customers will end up choosing a mix and match, for at least the foreseeable future,” Gupta explains.

“Part of the problem is the theory behind HTML5 is excellent, I think it will eventually end up becoming a standard, and a ubiquitous standard, but from an implementation viewpoint, if you wanted to build an app for the next six months then it’s possible the implementation may not give you as fast performance and snappy response times.

“If you’re doing a pure web-based service, HTML5 makes eminent sense, even today, but a lot of customers want a service or software sitting on the client side, and therefore more snappy, and people will mix and match,” Gupta concludes.

This provides an interesting insight into Keynote Systems’ strategy going forward.

“I’m not one of those who would be a naysayer of HTML5,” explains Gupta. “I am a big proponent of HTML5 in the long run, but in the short term one needs to be pragmatic, and we are a highly pragmatic company.

“If you want HTML5, we support it. If you want native script objects, we have native support.”

Gupta, of course, sits primarily on the testing and implementation side, and certainly has an educated opinion on the problems facing enterprises when they go mobile – one of a lack of standardisation.

“Perhaps the biggest roadblock is the plethora of platforms that people have to choose from,” he says. “If you write for one [Windows] browser platform, it will work pretty much the same way on all the other browsers because of standardisation.

“Unfortunately we don’t have that standardisation in the mobile and smartphone world today. The result is that you end up having to either fracture your scarce development resources across multiple platforms, which by definition slows things down, or you just choose fewer platforms which by definition reduces the potential size of the market that you can go for.

“I think that’s a real fundamental issue for the mobile world today – I don’t think it’s so fundamental that it’s stopping the mobile explosion, but it’s fundamental  enough that it’s perhaps reducing, at least impacting the speed at which everybody goes mobile.”  

Umang Gupta will be speaking at ‘The Enterprise Goes Mobile’ on June 20, a Keynote DeviceAnywhere event showcasing information on what development teams need to know about the testing process. Find out more about the event here.

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