I recently met up with Stefan Stölzle, a Senior Solutions Engineer at Sencha, on his first trip to my home town of Adelaide at a local Irish Pub. We talked about many things, but one particularly interesting conversation focused on Sencha Space. I know of Sencha Space but I only had a vague idea that it was some kind of "app platform for internal enterprise mobile apps". I've never really got a good grasp of what it is exactly and what its use case is.
Stefan has a lot of experience with this product and the conversation helped make Sencha Space clear to me, so I'd like to provide a brief overview of what exactly it is and what it may be used for.
To quote directly from the Sencha website:
Before I elaborate a little more, here's a brief overview of the features and benefits of Sencha Space:
- Manage the access of users or groups of users from a single management console
- Easily publish applications to specific users and groups
- Activity reporting on how users interact with the applications and data
- Create secure HTML5 web applications: Stefan stated that Sencha Space is secure, and has been audited by security firms to make sure of that. He pointed out that normal PhoneGap applications can be reverse engineered.
- Remotely wipe sensitive data from any device
- Secure network connectivity
- Single log in for multiple applications
As an example of a potential use case of Sencha Space, Stefan gave the following scenario:
- A new employee in an organisation downloads Sencha Space, logs into the organisation and has immediate access to the necessary applications that they need to function within that organisation.
- That same person loses their device or has it stolen. They report the incident to their manager and the manager can easily remove access for that device and stop any sensitive data from being exposed.
- That same person (who is clearly not making any good first impressions) discovers that they had in fact just left their device underneath their couch. The manager can then re-enable that device and everything will return back to normal.
This is of course just one example, but from that and the features I've briefly described above it seems as though this product is most useful for big organisations using internal applications. This is probably mostly why I never really _got _what Sencha Space was used for, since I haven't really been exposed to the problems CIO's, IT workers and app developers face in this area. I primarily build applications for distribution to the general public, and will likely not require a service like Sencha Space.
Internal applications are an obvious use case for Sencha Space given the description above. It's not just for internal applications though.
A white label version of Sencha Space is also available. An example Stefan gave was of a banking company. As I mentioned above, it is possible to reverse engineer a HTML5 / PhoneGap application so they may want to make use of the security measures Sencha Space provides.
If someone manages to reverse engineer most applications it's likely not going to be that big of a deal unless some trade secrets or proprietary information was used in the development of the application. When it comes to a banking application however, obviously security becomes a big concern.
A bank would not want to release an application to the public that would require their users to download Sencha Space though. It's not a good user experience and most importantly it would not have their branding. Instead, the banking company can use a white label version of Sencha Space and submit that to the app store. It would have their branding and users could download it just as they would any other application.
Sencha Space is free for up to 10 users, after that it is charged at a per month / per user rate of $3.99/user. Enterprise customers should get in touch with the sales team.
Your role within the Sencha Space ecosystem will depend on your role within your organisation, i.e. whether you're in a management or application development position. Developers should take a look at the Sencha Space Documentation to learn how to take advantage of the new features it provides.
If you're developing mobile applications for use by the general public then you're probably not going to get a lot out of Sencha Space. As I mentioned you can use it for this purpose, but unless you're developing some high end secure application it's probably not going to be necessary.
If you're developing applications for an organisation though, Sencha Space could be a great solution.