Magnet Systems: An Open Source Approach to Mobile App Development

Serendipity is one of Alfred Chuang’s favorite words. It only seems appropriate considering his life’s journey. He went to high school in Canada, and during one summer vacation, on his way back to his hometown Hong Kong, Chuang’s plane was grounded at Bay Area, California, due to technical snag. It caused him to stay with the family friends until the issue was resolved. They convinced Chuang to stay back and continue education in U.S. that led to series of “fortunate happenstances”. Chuang went on to receive master's degree in computer science from the University of California, Davis. He co-founded BEA Systems, and as its CEO steered the company to become one of the most successful e-business infrastructure software providers that power much of today’s e-commerce. The company grew up to have 91 offices in 38 countries, before being acquired by Oracle for a whopping $8.6 billion. Chuang is back in business with a goal of transforming the way mobile applications are written, and founded Magnet Systems. The company is powering the next generation of mobile applications with an open architecture to enable businesses and developers to create more engaging and productive enterprise-class mobile applications.

Delivering the Much Needed Mobile Experiences to Enterprises

“Mobility is no longer a luxury but an enterprise need to support productive workforce,” says Chuang. As employees expect to work from anywhere and on any device, one of the biggest challenges confronting CIOs is the high cost of developing or rewriting enterprise applications for mobile deployment. Adding to the complexity is the fragmented nature of mobile landscape often scattered among diverse mobile platforms, server environments, and organizational units, giving rise to new generation of costly, technology silos. According to Gartner by the end of 2017, market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organizations’ capacity to deliver them.

With Magnet MAX we’re providing a new approach to enterprise mobile application development that simplifies the entire process of developing, integrating and running mobile apps in a secure, enterprise-ready environment

“The enterprises can address these challenges by embracing a new approach-one that employs a common architecture, open standards, and a modular framework for creating, implementing and running authentically mobile enterprise apps,” says Chuang. Magnet Systems offer Magnet MAX, the first fully realized open source architecture created specifically for developing and deploying mobile-first enterprise applications. Its open source architecture provides APIs and SDKs for faster application development, a server optimized for mobile applications, and advanced messaging capabilities for stronger user engagement. Magnet MAX also takes care of offline data, back end connectivity, reliable mobile connections, that are crucial for applications to run, so that enterprises can focus on building engaging app experiences without worrying about back end processes.
“Developers are desperate for standards that can enable them to transform multiple legacy applications to mobile platforms,” says Chuang. “With Magnet MAX we’re providing a new approach to enterprise mobile application development that simplifies the entire process of developing, integrating and running mobile apps in a secure, enterprise-ready environment.”

Development teams use Magnet MAX to deliver distributed, multi-tiered, mobile-first solutions that can run on iOS, Android, and on hybrid platforms, and can connect in real time to existing enterprise assets on premise and in the cloud - including legacy apps, web apps, data and services. Magnet MAX’s core component AppStudio offers comprehensive toolset for modeling and designing applications. As the starting point for every enterprise mobile development activity, it enables development teams to adopt, create and share standards and specify app development accountabilities. “With AppStudio, teams can decouple dependencies, work in parallel, and create apps more quickly-while leveraging enhanced collaboration, consistency and cross-platform development,” says Chuang. Complementing AppStudio is Magnet MAX Server built and optimized for mobile applications. The scalable server comes complete with an array of core services that are essential for enterprise mobile apps, including multi-factor authentication, user management, unified logging and more. It also serves as the integration point to legacy enterprise applications, databases, and other enterprise services. “Built in Java, it is instantly familiar to most enterprise developers, allowing them to be productive immediately within this environment,” remarks Chuang.

"With appstudio,teams can decouple dependencies, work in parallel, and create apps more quickly-while leveraging enhanced collaboration consistency, and cross-platform development"

Magnet MAX mobile SDKs for Android, iOS, and REST-based web services-make it easy for developers to create mobile client applications with reliable, high-performance connections to the Magnet MAX Server. Developers can also build in essential offline capabilities for mobile clients, ensuring that apps still function and data or actions are cached or stored, when necessary, for later delivery.

Magnet Systems also offers a developer Sandbox, a free, hosted environment for Magnet MAX developers to test and code their applications. “We host the server and give access to the web-based console interface. This ready-to-use environment imitates a local or production server deployment,” says Chuang. With Magnet MAX, the enterprises can quickly begin leveraging a community of developers to build the next generation of authentically mobile experiences solutions that will change the way they engages and interacts with the world.

Turing Any App into Messaging Hub

Enterprise applications need to become a communication hub where employees can collaborate to execute tasks. “Messaging is clearly the prominent aspect of mobile apps but the enterprises have been left behind due to lack of robust tools,” says Chuang. Magnet Message, another core component of Magnet MAX, enables developers to quickly build a wide range of secure, advanced mobile messaging capabilities from in-app messaging to public or private forums and beyond into enterprise mobile apps.
Alfred Chuang, Founder & CEO “The result, businesses, workers, and customers tap the full potential of mobile technology, and engage in completely new ways,” extols Chuang. It provides a robust set of functionalities right out of the box, including push messaging, in-app chat, rich message payloads, message delivery confirmation, and publish-subscribe capability. While the push notifications alert or wake up mobile apps, in-app messaging can help send messages between the connected mobile clients. “Magnet Message is available under the Apache 2.0 license, so it is free to use, modify, and integrate,” he adds.

“The Sandbox is where developers can test-drive Magnet Message for free and with zero installation,” says Chuang. Sandbox offers systematic instructions for developers for an easy start with Magnet Message framework on both iOS and Android. “During the process, we help developers create a sample project in Xcode or Android Studio IDE that they can use to build a functioning quick start sample app,” he adds. Magnet Message provides configuration settings, source code, and all the necessary steps making it easy to build apps. The developers can test messaging and confirmations between the Magnet Message Sandbox and a client app running on a mobile device or in a simulator. “We include a ready-to-run messaging server and native mobile SDKs for both iOS and Android and support easy integrations with back end applications using our REST APIs,” says Chuang.

Making Further Inroads into Mobile-first Enterprise Applications

“There is a massive market opportunity for a company to build the infrastructure of the new mobile enterprise and I see no one better poised to take on that challenge than Alfred, who revolutionized the enterprise web once with BEA Systems,” says Ben Horowitz, Co-founder and General Partner of Andreessen, a venture capital firm. The Magnet MAX suite of development tools and technologies presents a radical new approach to enterprise mobile application development; one that is developer-led, open source, mobile optimized and enterprise ready. In this regard, the Palo Alto, CA based company has received series $59.8 million in two funding rounds led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Magnet Systems’ mission is to simplify the entire process of developing and deploying enterprise mobile apps. Magnet revolutionizes the development process by allowing collaboration, consistency, and cross-platform development for the enterprise. “We provide the blueprint and the architecture for companies and mobile developers to create rich, mobile-first experiences that address real business challenges for employees and customers,” says Chuang. “It was important for us to make these tools open source and provide a community of support for our users, because we truly believe that they will find new ways of using our technology that we can’t even imagine yet,” concludes Chuang.

Magnet Systems

Palo Alto, CA

Alfred Chuang, Founder & CEO

Provider of open source application development platform to develop enterprise grade mobile apps.