Tech done right: The 2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards

Vision and execution are hallmarks of great leadership, as these eight technologists proved in pushing their organizations in bold new directions

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2014 InfoWorld Technology Leadership Awards:

Technology creation/management

Sanjib Sahoo, CTO, TradeMonster Group

Sanjib Sahoo, TradeMonster

In 2012, the talk of the town was HTML5, the browser language that was supposed to become the lingua franca for mobile apps, letting developers create one app for a wide range of mobile platforms, as well as desktop ones. Debates raged between those advocating for HTML5 mobile development and those urging native development.

Online trading platform TradeMonster was already well regarded on the desktop, but it wanted to have a compelling mobile version, too. However, it had little money for its development efforts. CTO Sanjib Sahoo took a big bet and decided to create the company's mobile apps in HTML5 rather than in iOS's Objective-C and Android's Java. At the time, there were no high-speed transaction applications developed in HTML5, so it was a real leap of faith. The span of that leap became clear at the end of 2012 when Facebook abandoned its use of HTML5 for its mobile apps, saying the Web language wasn't up to snuff.

But TradeMonster was well under way in its mobile effort, which it launched in February 2013. Not only did the platform work, it won accolades from Barron's and others for its iPad app's sophisticated functonality and performance. Sahoo's two dozen internal developers proved that HTML5 could be used for serious mobile apps, even transaction-oriented ones. Since then, the company has released apps for the iPhone and Android devices.

The secret: The TradeMonster team had to develop its own framework for using HTML5, particularly for event management, performance handling, animations, and streaming. (That framework is now patent-pending.) "The core framework is built in such a way that the time required to release a new app on a new device/OS is minimal and just requires an update to a small native wrapper," Sahoo says.

TradeMonster's developers had found that HTML5 is not universal; browser and platform differences mean that the code is not truly one-size-fits-all, which had tripped up other developers. "It is not a true cross-platform technology, there is no standard framework," notes Sahoo. "It creates difficulties because of device fragmentation, major bottlenecks include rendering and caching, and catering to large volumes of streaming data is tricky. Organizations have failed to create a stable, high-performance app with HTML5 due to each of those factors."

Today, the mobile apps account for 7 percent of TradeMonster's transactions, with 28 percent of the company's user base doing transactions or research in them, which the company says is above industry averages.

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