Setting up the MobileFirst development environment

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IBM Mobile Foundation is made up of several components: the client SDKs, adapter archetypes, security checks, and authentication tools.

These components are available from online repositories and can be installed using package managers. These online repositories provide the latest release of each component. The same component is also available to download from the MobileFirst Developer Kit for local use. Note that the version that is available from the Developer Kit represents the version that was available at the time the specific Developer Kit build was released, and that downloading a new Developer Kit build will be required in order to use the latest.

Continue reading to learn more about the components of Mobile Foundation.

To evalute Mobile Foundation all that is needed is to spin an instance of MobileFirst Server on IBM Cloud using the Mobile Foundation IBM Cloud service. See the Using Mobile Foundation tutorial for instructions. You may also choose to install the Developer Kit for a local installation.

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Installation guide

Read the installation guide to quickly setup MobileFirst Foundation in your workstation.

MobileFirst Developer Kit

The Developer Kit provides a ready-for-development environment with minimal configuration needed. The kit consists of the following components: MobileFirst Server & MobileFirst Operations Console, MobileFirst Developer Command-line Interface (CLI), as well as optionally provides client SDKs and adapter tooling for download.

Note: If you need to set up your development environment on a computer that has no internet access, you can install components offline. See How to set up an offline IBM MobileFirst development environment.

Developer Kit Installer

The Installer packages the components for local installation where Internet connectivity is not available.
The components are available through the Download Center of the MobileFirst Operations Console.

To download the installer, visit the downloads page.

Note: DevKit for MacOS is available as a zip file. To install, you only need to download and unzip the file. Run the DevKit from the extracted folder.

Mobile Foundation components

MobileFirst Server

As part of the Developer Kit, the MobileFirst Server is provided pre-deployed on a WebSphere Liberty profile application server. The server is pre-configured with an “mfp” runtime and uses a filesystem-based Apache Derby database.

In the Developer Kit root directory, the following scripts are available to run from a command-line:

  • run.[sh|cmd]: Run the MobileFirst Server with trailing Liberty Server messages
    • Add the -bg flag to run the process in the background
  • stop.[sh|cmd]: Stop the current MobileFirst Server instance
  • console.[sh|cmd]: Open the MobileFirst Operations Console

.sh file extensions are for Mac and Linux, and .cmd file extensions are for Windows.

MobileFirst Operations Console

The MobileFirst Operations Console exposes the following functionalities.
A developer can:

  • Register and deploy applications and adapters
  • Optionally download native/Cordova application and adapter starter code templates
  • Configure an application’s authentication and security properties
  • Manage applications:
    • Application Authenticity
    • Direct Update
    • Remote Disable/Notify
  • Send Push Notifications to iOS and Android devices
  • Generate DevOps scripts for continuous integration workflows and faster development cycles

Learn more about the MobileFirst Operations Console in the Using the MobilFirst Operations Console tutorial.

Mobile Foundation Command-line Interface

You can use the MobileFirst CLI to develop and manage applications, in addition to using the MobileFirst Operations Console. The CLI command are prefixed with mfpdev and support the following types of tasks:

  • Registering apps with the MobileFirst Server
  • Configuring your app
  • Creating, building, and deploying adapters
  • Previewing and updating Cordova apps

To download and install the MobileFirst CLI, visit the downloads page.
Learn more about the various CLI commands in the Using CLI to manage MobileFirst artifacts tutorial.

Mobile Foundation client SDKs and adapter tooling

Mobile Foundation provides client SDKs for Cordova applications as well as for Native platforms (iOS, Android and Windows 8.1 Universal & Windows 10 UWP). Adapter tooling for adapters and security checks development is available as well.

Applications and adapters development



Adapters require Apache Maven to be installed. Refer to the Adapters category to learn more about adapters and how to create, develop and deploy.

Tutorials to follow next

Visit the All Tutorials page and select a tutorials category to follow next.

Inclusive terminology note: The Mobile First Platform team is making changes to support the IBM® initiative to replace racially biased and other discriminatory language in our code and content with more inclusive language. While IBM values the use of inclusive language, terms that are outside of IBM's direct influence are sometimes required for the sake of maintaining user understanding. As other industry leaders join IBM in embracing the use of inclusive language, IBM will continue to update the documentation to reflect those changes.
Last modified on June 01, 2020