What you must know about Low and No-code Software Development?

Back in 2011, Marc Andreesen said, “Software is eating the word”. These words have become even more relevant as digitization becomes an organizational priority for enterprises across sectors. The world is becoming software-driven and for the IT department, this has translated into increased demand for software to address ever-evolving requirements.

Users have high expectations of usability and demand greater flexibility in business operations. Frequent updates and upgrades are our new normal. Version 2.0 of a product is expected to be built almost simultaneously with the first version. Business applications need amendments and scalability according to the changing needs of business users. The task is huge. And the growing shortage of seasoned developers isn’t helping the situation.

low code and no code software development

Organizations are looking at ways to make software development faster, increase automation, and also make development easier to replicate, even by business users. They are looking at doing away with repetitive coding (something that weighs down traditional software development).

And this is how we came to know and love low-code and no-code software development.

The ABC of Low Code Software Development:

Low code software development is an accelerating trend. Research suggests the area growing from USD 4.32 Billion in 2017 to USD 27.23 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 44.49% during the forecast period. So, what is low-code development and what makes it so attractive?

Low code development is a methodology where manual processes are automated by employing a visual IDE environment and without hand-coding. The visual IDE environment connects to the backends and also to the application lifestyle management system. Low code provides avenues for developing custom code to deploy features that are not readily available.

Low code development is great for specific business processes especially those that need integrations with other applications, systems, and databases. Apart from giving developers the benefit of developing applications faster, low code development can also be done by the non-developers (mainly the power users) in the development team. These non-developers are usually not proficient developers but have some basic coding and scripting skills.

Low code development platforms such as Salesforce Lightning Platform, The FileMaker Platform, OutSystems, KissFlow, and Zoho Creator etc.  allow developers to arrange application components including the application data and logic using a drag-and-drop interface. It is almost akin to building Lego models using virtual blocks- the developer moves the Lego block with a mouse and snaps it into their model.

But does this mean low code is right for every application? Well, not just yet. However, low code development is great for applications that are built for an express purpose as it not only accelerates the workflow but also focuses it.

What Advantages does Low-Code bring to the table?

If you are thinking of low-code development get ready to experience a slew of benefits.

  • Faster and more democratized application development including greater inputs from power-users
  • Reduced need for software developers in specific functions can lower costs
  • Greater agility for organizations to match market demands
    • Better risk management and application governance as low-code facilitates immediate change
  • Reduced complexity in app development that enables faster transformation in a digital world

The ABC of No-code Development:

Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub says, “The future of coding is no coding at all”. But can this even be possible? Yes, it could with no-code development.

No-code development employs a visual development environment that helps anyone create applications. This platform uses a drag-and-drop method to add application components needed to create an application. The users need absolutely no coding knowledge. In fact,this could be anyone with an idea of building an application.

No-code development gives non-technical business users the ability to build full-fledged, complex applications that are powerful, secure, and, also, enterprise-grade. Surprised?

Such a platform uses a user interface builder, allows visual modeling to process and manage data easily and also allows for easy integrations. Essentially, a true no-code platform can be described as software that writes software. It has easy to use features such as drag and drop modules, picklist selection boxes, spreadsheet imports, etc. Tools such as Nintex, and Quick Base, and even options from Kissflow and Zoho Creator have been successfully giving users more freedom to develop applications with ease.

No code development is usually driven by specific use cases especially those that don’t need connections to third-party systems and are great for reporting analytics or tracking applications. In case such a connection is needed, it can be enabled quite easily as well.

So, What are the Benefits of No-Code?

Much like low-code, no-code development also gives us a host of benefits. It is hardly a surprise to see Forrester predicting that the no-code development market will grow from $3.8 billion in 2017 to $21.2 billion in 2022.

  • Greater agility as development happens visually using pre-built modules. Since the development time is reduced and testing is automated, organizations can build applications faster
  • Reduced overhead costs that come with having a team of highly skilled developers
  • Enabled re-usability as small parts of an application can be used in other applications
  • Enable change easily as all you need is new logic to implement change
  • Allows non-programmers to create applications at speed to fulfill business needs

Of course, the applicability is still limited and in truth platforms like low and no-code are just pushing the heavy lifting to platforms that do the hard work behind the scenes. But, that said, the value is clear.

No code and low code software development could revolutionize software development on getting established.Projects that used to take years and months can now be completed in days. The democratization of the development process also makes this methodology relevant for these times when collaboration has to be at speed to deploy new capabilities. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Do you have a low-code or a no-code strategy in place?

Application Development with Microservices in the DevOps Age

Does anyone even remember when companies developed an entire product, tested it, fixed it, and then shipped it? The entire process would take months, even years, before a functioning product made it to the customer. Before the product hit the market, neither did the potential customers know what it held for them and neither did the product owners know if it would hit or miss the mark.

Today, product users expect to be a part of the development process. They want to contribute their insights to develop a product that matches their ongoing needs. The need is for continuous innovation and improvements. The need is for DevOps!

DevOps combines technology and cultural philosophies to deliver products and services quickly. It is a continuous process of developing, testing, deploying, failing, and fixing applications to achieve market-fit. Jez Humble, one of the leading voices of DevOps sums it up “DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement.”

microservices Application development in Devops age

Today, DevOps is not just for a handful of large enterprises. According to Statista, the number of companies adopting DevOps went up by 17% in 2018

A quick look at what has made DevOps popular?

Apart from the continuous innovations and improvements, DevOps also helps in:

  • Improving customer satisfaction: With a DevOps mindset, companies use advanced methods to identify issues and fix them real-time before the customer is impacted. There is also scope to improve the product on-the-go driven by frequent suggestions and feedback from customers. Continuous improvement in quality leads to customer delight. Take Rabobank of Netherlands, for example. This large financial institution has over 60,000 employees and hundreds of customer-facing applications. As the deployments were manual, the failure rate was over 20%, and they received many complaints about delays. When they moved to DevOps, they were able to deploy applications 30x more frequently with a lead time that was 8,000 times faster than their peers.
  • Change in organizational culture: DevOps has played a significant role in breaking silos and boosting the collaborative culture in companies. In an agile environment, working in silos can slow down the process of developing, testing, and releasing the product. A DevOps team will be able to collaborate better and ramp up the process of developing, testing, and troubleshooting the product. 
  • A decrease in failure rates: According to the State of DevOps report, high-performing DevOps organizations have seen a reduction of failure rates of 3x, thanks to their ability to find and fix errors early in the cycle.
  • Higher productivity: DevOps organizations can deploy products 200x more frequently than a non-DevOps organization, leading to happier and highly motivated teams. Take Microsoft’s Bing, for example. It has moved developers to a DevOps environment with the idea of continuous delivery and innovation deeply ingrained within their processes. The result? Bing deploys thousands of services 20 times a week and pushes out 4000 individual changes every week. The continuous effort by the team to deliver has made Bing the second largest search engine in the world.

While adopting a DevOps culture is essential for a company to thrive, it is also crucial that they have the right architecture and systems in place to complement their principle of continuous delivery and innovation. That’s where microservices is now playing a massive role.

Micro-services and Their Role in DevOps Organization:

For a long time, companies relied on a monolithic architecture to build their application. As monolithic applications are built as a single unit, even a small change in a single element made it necessary to build a completely new version of the application. 

With more and more companies moving towards DevOps, such a monolithic architecture makes it difficult to implement changes rapidly. The need for greater agility gave rise to a new type of architecture -enter microservices. 

With Microservices, an application is built on small, independent components that are independently deployable. Although independent, these components communicate with each other via RESTful APIs. So, even if a single piece of code has to be changed in a single element, the developer does not have to build a new version of the whole product. They can simply make the changes to the individual components without affecting the entire application, making the deployment efficient and faster. 

For companies that have adopted the DevOps culture, developing applications with microservices has several benefits that include:

  • Easy rectification of errors: When a component fails the test or requires changes, it is easy to isolate and fix. This makes it easier for companies to fix errors quickly without affecting the users of other services.
  • Better collaboration: Unlike a monolithic architecture where the different teams focus only on specific functions such as UX, UI, server, etc, a microservices architecture encourages a cross-functional way of working. 
  • Decentralized governance: Monolithic architecture uses a centralized database, while microservices use a decentralized method of governance, wherein each service manages its database. This makes it easier for developers to produce tools that also can be used by others to solve specific issues.

A key trend accelerating the adoption of Microservices in such scenarios is Containerization. Containerization allows code for specific elements to be carved out, packaged with all the relevant dependencies, and then run on any infrastructure. These applications can be deployed faster and can be made secure. The applications are extremely portable and adaptable to run on different environments. 

Companies like Amazon and Netflix have shifted to microservices to scale their business and improve customer satisfaction. 

Product companies aiming to become customer-centric and delight with continuous improvement in the product may find it essential to adopt a DevOps mindset married to a transition to the microservices architecture

Of course, it will take some time to transition product development. Teething problems are bound to arise, including duplication of efforts due to the distributed deployment system. However, given the larger picture and the potential benefits, it’s a wise move for product companies to make. 

AngularJS – Making Mobile App Development Better

Google introduced AngularJS as an open-source framework specifically to address the challenges faced by the mobile app developer in creating and testing code. So, how does it do that?

AngularJS integrates HTML code along with the application modules.This forms an innovative framework that is now widely used to restructure JavaScript code. AngularJS is designed to help accumulate data by adding and eliminating extra source code to maintain the overall code integrity.

What is AngularJS?

In 2009, Google launched AngularJS, and it turned out to be a great framework for building iPhone and Android mobile apps. It doesn’t offer many add-ons but there are an array of features which makes it a perfect fit for the mobile app developer’s toolbox.

Its interactive abilities with backend, web servers and external data sources help mobile app developers build a feature-rich mobile app easily, quickly, and flawlessly.

angularjs mobile app development

A key value is that AngularJS helps to manipulate jQuery Document Object Model libraries. Another great feature of AngularJS is that it enables developers to expand the functionality of HTML by adding constructs through its two-way data binding. With its directives, mobile app developers can accumulate data into HMTL and can abstract DOM modifications.

A Summary of AngularJS:

AngularJS can be easily added to an HTML page through a simple coding script. The modular approach helps the mobile app developers segment codes, simplify testing, and update maintenance activities on different types of mobile apps. It has a few manipulations of JS and HTML, which adhere to the fundamentals, thus helping to deliver better stability.

It extends HTML templates, enabling an advanced approach in managing and editing the components. Mobile app development with AngularJS is extremely efficient, bug-free, and scalable.

Now that we are familiar with the basics of AngularJS; let’s explore how AngularJS can be very helpful in creating the best mobile apps with rich functionalities.

Build Mobile Apps with Advanced Development Practices:

Nowadays, every app is data-driven, and it makes obvious sense to use a tool that is built to address just this scenario. Simplifying the following three advanced software practices has made AngularJS the ideal choice here.

  1. Three-way Data Binding:

Data binding has become a crucial aspect of mobile app development. When the data model updates, the UI (User Interface) must also change and update. And when app UIs updates, the mobile app developer updates the mobile to match with application’s UI. This is called two-way data binding. AngularJS takes that a step further.

Three-way data binding is an idea that the developers can not only keep the UI but can also sync the data with the backend services. This means the developers can take inputs from an app, process it, save it on the webserver, and keep the UI in sync. With jQuery iOS and Android Background, the developers find AngularJS’s three-way data binding a considerable time-saver for app development.

  1. Reusable Codes:

It helps developers keep the UI, data, and code logic discrete. That means that AngularJS enables them to reuse older code on different devices and also on different platforms. It also allows the developers to customize their UI for each platform to provide a better user experience. In the past, application development was only limited to the PC and desktop.

But now, there are mobile devices with different operating systems, different functions, and different UIs. Thus, developers now have to create code for all the platforms separately. They cannot reuse that code. AngularJS addresses this issue by enabling the developers to reuse code which has been previously created.

  1. Testability:

When it comes to end-to-end unit testing, AngularJS provide advanced support. It offers flexibility to the developers so that they can conduct testing more efficiently. It has impressive testing compatibilities like the dependency injection concept to reuse, maintain, and test the code. In dependency injection, the components are given specific dependencies.
This helps to locate the code and makes it configurable. Thus, the quality analyst can quickly check the code and its dependencies and find bugs easily.

More Reasons to Use AngularJS:

Apart from three-way data binding, code reusability, and easy testing, there are other benefits that developers can experience while working with AngularJS.

  • Easy to understand: The code written in AngularJS is not only easy to understand but also easy to maintain and test.
  • Customization: While writing code, the mobile app developers do not require to add all the libraries at the same time while adding other modifications.
  • Wider Community: The Google community supports AngularJS which means the developers will get wider support to fix any issue.
  • Pre-defined Solutions: AngularJS comes with a pre-defined and versatile solution which can be used within the app. Developers can get pre-defined UI routing approaches and module practices to help them get their app created sooner.

Most Successful AngularJS Domains:

Businesses are looking to stand apart from the competition by creating impressive AngularJS mobile apps. Many tech-giants have significantly invested in AngularJS to provide a high-quality user interface and user experience. YouTube, Netflix, Upwork, and PayPal are some of the examples of mobile apps working on AngularJS. Developers looking to create mobile apps with great user experience are using AngularJS in domains like.

  • On-demand video streaming apps.
  • Travel and destination finder apps.
  • Weather updates apps.
  • User-generated and content portals.
  • Apps for user reviews.
  • Interactive social apps.

Clearly, AngularJS provides many benefits when it comes to creating seamless mobile apps. It is a futuristic framework which will continue to redefine the way mobile apps are developed. Does your mobile app strategy include AngularJS?

What the Coming of 5G Means for Mobile App Development?

Can you imagine the possibilities of downloading HD movies on your phone in seconds rather than hours or minutes? What about immersive games that blur the lines between reality and alternate reality? Both the scenarios may become commonplace in the future with the coming of the next-gen cellular technology – 5G.

As is apparent, 5G is generating a lot of interest in the mobile industry. With consumer interest high, many firms are thinking of making apps that can leverage the latest tech. The relatively new tech remains a concept for the wider world, but it clearly has the potential to deliver a massive impact. The technology could also drive big changes in mobile app development.

What the Coming of 5G Means for Mobile App Development?

In no particular order, the considerations we will have to factor into the new 5G-capable apps we develop will include:

  • Exponentially High Data Speeds – 5G networks can achieve significantly faster data speeds of up to 10 Gbps. This is a stark contrast to the 1 Gbps speed offered by its predecessor 4G. That will allow for the transfer of much much higher volumes of data.
  • Low to Zero Latency – Latency is the time taken by a device to send a packet of data to a different device. On current mobile networks, this is about 50 milliseconds. With 5G, this will be reduced to about 1 millisecond. Surely, this will pave the way for several AR and VR based apps in particular.
  • Better Connection Density – IoT is going to grow over the next few years. To accommodate billions of devices that are a part of IoT, there is a need for a network that offers better connection density. 5G will be able to support the connectivity of up to 1 million devices in a span of several miles. Watch out for the new IoT-everywhere world. And for the mobile apps that will inevitably follow.
  • Precision – 5G has better precision capabilities and it will be useful for creating high-precision mobile apps, such as the ones that are GPS-enabled. Looks like location-based services may become much more common.
  • Lower Battery Consumption – Features such as reduced latency and increased speed translates to lower battery consumption. In fact, 5G will be able to extend the battery life of both IoT and mobile devices up to 10 times! This is great news for both app users and developers!
  • Opens Up New Avenues – HD content, 360-degree videos, holographic videos, multi-person video calls will all become a breeze on 5G networks. This will help developers create a variety of apps that cater to the users’ interests.

How 5G Will Change Mobile App Development?

We have seen a picture of the future of 5G and how it is going to shape mobile app development. Here is what is 5G mobile app developers need to think about:

  1. They Can Develop Apps with Rapid File Transfers – Several apps, especially productivity apps require the users to exchange files, data, and other forms of information. 5G with low latency and high speed will be a boon for such apps and offer the users speedy transfer. Think how smoothly your apps will run without any lag! This also means that users will be highly satisfied with the overall experience and won’t abandon the app/uninstall it from their device.
  2. Media-Rich UX – 5G will be able to provide rich UX like never before. From watching movies to listening to music, or playing a high-quality game, the user experience will be uber-intense on the new network. This means that developers can give free rein to their imagination when it comes to the UI and take it to the next level.
  3. Better Capacities and Features – For IoT, AR/VR, and other apps that use new technologies, developers will be able to build feature-rich apps that have exceptional user experiences. Powerful apps with outstanding user experiences will drive new monetization possibilities and increase app revenues as well.
  4. More Navigational Apps – 5G will be useful for creating GPS-enabled apps, which means that there will be more navigational apps in the future. The network will offer high-quality and uninterrupted communication, which is going to be a boon for such apps that are useful for the travel and tourism genre of apps as well as for utility apps or apps for wearables.
  5. Swift Feedback – Chatbots and voice bots powered by 5G networks will be able to provide instant feedback and offer better, real-time experiences to the users. No more wait times mean better conversations. This promises many use-cases like specialized apps for the customer care sector.
  6. Low Dependence on Hardware – The enhanced communication speed and delivery speed of 5G network also mean that the mobile apps of the future will be less dependent on device hardware. Therefore, it may well pave the way for device-agnostic apps.

The Road Ahead

While the coming of the 5G network will bring forth a plethora of opportunity for mobile apps, the path forward will be challenging. 5G, like any technology, will come with its own set of challenges. Evolving standards, security loopholes, setup of new business models, and the creation of the necessary infrastructure are some of the core issues at the nascent stage of adoption. This is why, even though the technology will be a game-changer, mobile-app developers need to tread carefully.

That said, there are opportunities aplenty to leverage 5G’s capabilities to design and deliver cutting-edge apps even in the early days of 5G implementation. It’s time to break out of the rut of slow, high-latency, low-capacity networks and embrace the promise of 5G!

What is Rapid Application Development and why you should care?

Even before the Agile methodology became commonplace in software development, the Rapid Application Development model brought flexibility to the entire development process. Rapid Application Development quickly swept the Waterfall model out of its place. And it continues to deliver value.

Rapid Application Development helps to quickly develop prototypes to test functions and features without having to worry too much about their impact on the end product. With RAD, you can add or remove functionalities, change the design of a software product and clean it up by eliminating extra fluff – all without harming the end product.

Rapid Application Development

Markets and Markets have predicted the Rapid Application Development market will grow from USD 7.8 bn in 2018 to USD 46.2 bn by 2023. This growth is driven by the ever-rising demand for faster software programming with low-code, and customizable and scalable solutions.

But how did the RAD model come to light? Is it the right model for your software development process? When should you choose to work with Rapid Application Development?

 

Let’s find out.

Rapid Application Development in a Nutshell

The Rapid Application Development model prioritizes quick prototyping instead of long, drawn-out development and testing cycles. With Rapid Application Development, developers can make multiple iterations to their software without having to start from scratch each time.

Rapid Application Development has been around since the 1980s. So it’s not new but has always found value in projects where the continuous evaluation of development is at the core.

Steps Involved in RAD

Although RAD has massively evolved over the years, these four basic steps remain at its heart.

  • Define the Requirements– The Rapid Application Development model does not need you to start with a detailed list of specifications. Instead, it encourages developers to ask for requirements at the time. As the project advances deeper into the development cycle, the specifics of the requirement can be further ironed out. This step sets the stage for the ultimate success of the project. This is where the developers, users, stakeholders, and other members sit down to discuss the goals and expectations of the project. They also address the current and potential challenges that may hinder their path during development. The key to successful RAD is for all the stakeholders and users to be involved right from the beginning to define the goals and expectations.
  • Build the Prototype – Once the scope of the project is clearly chalked out, it’s time for the developers to dive in. In this step, the basic user design is built through prototype iterations. During this phase, users or clients collaborate with developers to make sure their requirements are met at every step in the design process. The developer designs a prototype, the user tests it and provides feedback on how it can be improved. Ultimately, through this collaboration, there is less chance that something will slip through the cracks.
  • Rapid Construction – The prototypes and beta systems developed in the previous stage are now converted into working models. Since a large number of glitches and gaps would have been addressed during the prototyping process, the developers can now move at full speed in constructing the product. It is fascinating that even during this phase, the end users provide inputs, and suggest modifications which are subsequently accommodated.

The last two steps repeat iteratively until the client’s objectives and expectations are met.

  • Finalizing and deployment – In this step, the features, user experience, and interface of the software are finalized with the product owner or client. Before delivering or deploying the product at the client side, developers test the software for stability usability and maintainability.

RAD- When And Why You Stand to Gain

Does it make sense to use the Rapid Application Development model for each type of software development? Perhaps not. Here’s when you can use Rapid Application Development-

When you have access to a pool of users

If you have got users who can give consistent and reliable feedback on your prototypes, the Rapid Application Development is a great model. Since the RAD model has its roots in the feedback developers receive throughout the cycle, is not the best model without access to dependable sources who will use and review your product in an unbiased manner.

When you Need Quick Delivery:

If you are on a tight deadline, RAD could help. You can cut down on the requirement planning and design phases which individually consume time, and begin prototyping rapidly to deliver something that works sooner. Rapid Application Development is an on-the-fly approach that leads to quick development. Some estimates are that the RAD approach can slash the traditional technology lifecycle by 80 percent.

Rapid Application Development-

  • Is a flexible model that can adapt to changes.
  • Minimizes the overall project risk.
  • Is easy to transfer deliverables in the form of high-level abstractions scripts and intermediate codes.
  • Allows Iterative prototyping that reduces the possibility of bugs and defects.

Clearly, with RAD, an organization can build a software product faster, eliminating the need for long development lifecycles and hassle-filled development journeys. Does that sound like something you would consider for your next software development project?

Mistakes to Avoid While Building a MVP

We all know the history of the MVP. The concept of MVP, an offshoot of the Lean Startups movement, was popularized by Eric Ries-a consultant and writer on startups. The minimum viable product (MVP) is a development method in which a new product is developed with just enough features to satisfy the initial adopters. The final, comprehensive set of features is only planned and developed after analyzing feedback from the product’s early users. This feedback is gathered often, and product versions are released often.

In its essence, a minimum viable product is the most trimmed down version of a product that is still suitable for release. In simple words, the MVP has sufficient value for people to adopt or buy it initially. A key characteristic is that it displays promising future benefits to retain initial adopters. A vital component of the plan is that it renders a feedback loop to support future development.

An obvious drawback or rather difficulty with this development methodology is that it assumes that the initial adopters can visualize the outlook of the final product and give the required feedback to help developers progress.

Mistakes to Avoid While Building a MVP

Have you wondered, why the concept of an MVP was introduced in the first place? Well, because in a startup environment, mistakes are the norm. In fact, studies show that nine out of ten startups fail. To get around this failure rate, many startups began to build a Minimum Viable Product. The aim was to embrace the fact that they would fail but to fail fast and fail often so that they still had resources to recover.

However, Several Startups are facing failure despite going the MVP route. Why?

This happens because when companies expose an MVP to a test audience, they often get distracted. They lose sight of the end objective. Sometimes, the immediacy of the task of making the next release successful draws them away from the larger objective of pursuing a more significant market segment. The big picture may call for them to change direction or to design an unusual feature. This could lead to cost-intensive rework, loss of focus, and, in turn, a failed product.

To Avoid Failure and Make the Most of Your Minimum Viable Product, Here are a Few Mistakes to Avoid While Building an MVP.

  1. Targeting the Masses:
  2. You cannot begin your development with the mindset that your product is something that everyone needs. You must design your product in a way that it focuses on a narrow market segment that will benefit the most from using your product immediately. If you try to create a one-size-fits-all type of product, you will not be able to do anything competently.

    Facebook is a perfect example of an organization avoiding this trap. While yes, today, Facebook is a platform that everyone uses; they didn’t start this way. Their initial focus was on college students. By customizing their product for a narrow segment, Facebook managed to build a better and more focused platform. This enabled them to expand later.

  3. Overtaxing the Initial Users:
  4. While seeking feedback, too often, companies make the mistake of asking too many questions and over-taxing the users. However, on the flipside, even a deficit of information from the users is a drawback. Companies are often stuck in the limbo of asking too few questions to ensure maximum participation but end up getting the feedback they can’t use because it is not specific or actionable enough. Therefore, it is essential to make the testing process as user-friendly as possible and create user surveys that ask detailed yet relevant questions.

  5. Choosing the Wrong Features:
  6. The primary purpose of an MVP is to test the idea before proceeding to complete development. An ideal MVP has only a few core functionalities that offer the end-users an understanding of the product and the issues it resolves. The selection of features is a crucial process in the development of an MVP. Too many companies spend a significant amount of time and budget in polishing the design and adding more and more features to impress the audience.

    The downside of this is that after spending the most vital part of a project budget on building an over-designed MVP the product idea may be rejected by the audience. On the other end of the spectrum, some companies adopt the ultra-minimalist approach and ignore the viability aspect of the product. Since their focus is on reducing a set of features, they overlook the elements that make their product unique and useful for users. The product fails to find favor with the users because it will not deliver sufficient meaningful value.

Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that MVPs tend to get enormous amounts of data and ideas from customers.  Much of that data may suggest changes that may not be suitable. While yes, these ideas and suggestions are great to broaden your horizon, it may be wiser to avoid making significant adjustments immediately. If you expand too quickly you may not be able to gauge which features are creating a positive impact and which are stirring a negative response.

Do remember, there will be plenty of time to progress into new directions once you are confident that your product is well-designed and that it meets the needs of your core clientele.

Agile, DevOps or Others – Which software development methodology is right for you?

The uber-significance of software in the business world has given rise to an extraordinary windfall of software development methodologies. It’s also true that the software methodology you choose can make or break your business. The wrong choice can result in miscommunication, schedule and cost slippage, wasted time, and resource burnout. So, how to choose?

software development : agile or devops

Factors to Consider while Choosing the Right Software Development Methodology

Choosing the right software development methodology among many alternatives could be challenging. Yet, this choice is crucial for it will decide the fate of your project. For teams having a hard time choosing, here are the top factors to consider:

  • Size of project: The size of the project is one of the first aspects to keep in mind while choosing a development methodology. While small projects with limited requirements will only need a handful of resources for successful delivery, large projects that span software generations would require many architects, developers, and testers spread across locations.The size and scale of the project determine the project management plan and the number of developers needed to handle it. You must choose a methodology that allows for constant collaboration and feedback between the teams so the end product meets the intended requirements, and is delivered within time and budget.
  • Fluctuations in requirement: With customer demands and market dynamics constantly changing, changes must be made to the software to drive better experiences. Dynamic requirements also determine the methodology you choose.
    If stability and predictability are the norm and ongoing changes minimal, traditional methodologies work well. However, if you need to constantly incorporate new features and enhancements in your code, you need to choose a more modern methodology that allows for such changes to be embedded – without impacting cost or schedule.
  • Cost of delays: Staying on schedule is important for any software development project. Yet, with requirements constantly changing, software projects invariably overshoot deadlines. Obviously, this substantially impacts costs too.
    The larger the scale the more the pressure to deliver on time. If not, the project risks massive cost of delays. For smaller projects,the impact of a schedule overrun is not so drastic. Make sure to choose a methodology factoring in how delays impact the project and your organization.
  • Team locations: The software methodology you choose must also depend on how dispersed your team is.
    If your developers, engineers, and testers are located across different geographies, miscommunication, confusion, and missteps may become more common in the development process. That suggests a greater need for coordination, coherence, and accountability. A transparent and collaborative project management regimen is needed. Then teams can stay updated about the progress of the project, and work together towards common goals.
  • Feedback frequency: In a customer-driven world, there is a constant clamour for new features. Some projects require customer feedback to be constantly incorporated. While some projects may require more such feedback elements to be baked in due to the complexity and the size of the project, some require far less. The software development methodology you choose will depend on how frequently you have to incorporate customer feedback.

The Options at Hand:

A variety of factors come together to have a considerable bearing on the project. No matter the type of software you are building –choosing the right software development methodology is critical to ensure happy teams, on-time delivery, and easily-met business and end-user needs.

Here are the options you have at hand:

  • Even today, if your requirements are clear and fixed, the best-suited development methodology is Waterfall. Offering a well-defined phased approach to software development, the waterfall methodology allows you to design the solution as visualized. Since there will be no surprises or changes in the requirements along the course of development, you can seamlessly proceed with development, integration, and testing based on the design, and deliver the product on time.
  • If your requirements are fairly straightforward, but you do not have a clear picture of how the solution should be built, you will need to choose a methodology that enables constant feedback. Kanban allows you to constantly monitor the product, check on tasks in progress, prioritize them if needed, and receive feedback on a continuous basis. Such feedback ensures the software you are developing is in line with the intended need and as visualized at the beginning.
  • If your requirements change frequently, the Agile methodology will allow you to meet your goals better than others. Using Agile, you can build projects in sprints and accommodate a fair number of changes and enhancements – with less cost of delay. Since each sprint needs to be completed in a given time frame, you can ensure you stick to the commitment and complete all tasks within the sprint – in time and within budget.
  • If your requirements change frequently, your teams are dispersed across the globe, and the cost of delay is high, DevOps can help you drive rapid software delivery. This is especially beneficial in case of products that live on the Cloud -like SaaS products. By fueling better communication and collaboration between the development and operations teams, DevOps helps to condense development cycles, increase deployment frequency, and meet software needs quickly and efficiently. It helps reduce development complexity, detect and resolve issues faster, and allows you to deliver high-quality, innovative software.

Always look at the Bigger Picture:

It is crucial to make the right decisions about tools, resources, schedule, and budget in software development. Do consider aspects such as the size of the project, fluctuations in the requirement, cost of delays, team location as well as the feedback frequency and then make the choice of development approach.

The right software development methodology will allow you to deliver quality outcomes in the time and budget allotted. When looking for the best software development methodology, ensure you consider the bigger picture. This choice will give you the best results for the effort, money, and time invested. How did you zero in on your product development approach?

Talk to our Expert Regarding Software Methodlogy

Trends Impacting Software Development in 2019

Technology has created our software-defined world of today. As technologies change and evolve, we see the rise of new software development trends to further augment this growth. 2018 was no exception. We saw some exciting developments in the world of software development. We witnessed the rise of cloud-based software development, the cementing of DevOps, and the ever-growing importance of testing. But what about the year ahead? Here’s a look at some of the trends that will impact software development in 2019.

Trends impacting software development 2019

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI):

    Gartner estimates that the revenue from the AI industry will touch $1.2 trillion by the end of 2019. By 2022 the business value derived from AI is expected to reach $3.9 trillion. With the digital transformation wave taking over almost all organizations, it is clear that AI will continue to trend in the software universe for the next couple of years.

    In 2019 we will see the use of AI to speed up and improve the accuracy of software development- be it in automatic debugging, for creating intelligent assistants to speed up development processes, to automate code generation, or to create and train an automated system to produce accurate estimates to develop MVPs faster…the AI impact will be all around and hard to ignore.

  2. Blockchain:

    Blockchain, the meta-technology, holds the promise of completely reshaping software development. Blockchain consists of a single ledger of transactions and enables smart contracts. It has a distributed database that is accessible to a peer-to-peer network but is protected against unauthorized access. The technology is secured by cryptographic technique making the applications developed using this tech more secure.

    Blockchain has already made its presence felt in several different sectors be it retail, banking, financial services, healthcare, and public administration. It is only a matter of time before Blockchain becomes a prime focus for organizations involved in software development. As security becomes top of the mind, the need for blockchain-based applications will increase. 2019 looks like a good year to jump on this technology trend.

  3. Progressive Web Apps:

    Progressive Web Apps leaped to our attention when Gartner announced it as a software trend in 2017. In 2019 however, with a more mature app ecosystem in place, we expect to see Progressive Web apps become more dominant and gain that promised place. As the app economy gets stronger and the mobile environment evolves, progressive web apps are gradually going to become the new normal in this changing environment.
    Research shows that progressive web apps show a 68% increase in mobile traffic and are 15 times faster to load and install as compared to native apps. Progressive web apps also require 25 times less device storage space in comparison to native apps. These applications are also less complex to develop, are easy to maintain and provide the benefits of mobile experience with the features of browser technology. What’s not to love?

  4. Security Rules:

    Security has been on everyone’s mind in the software development space. The increased focus of security during software development is only going to increase in this year. Research from Alert Logic showed that data loss and leakage is one of the biggest concerns for cybersecurity professionals (67%). Threats to data privacy were the concern for 61% while 53% were concerned with breach of confidentiality.

    Owing to the huge impact security issues can have on a software product and its users, organizations are conscious of baking security into the process of software development. Software development companies also have to keep a close eye on regulatory considerations for specific industries.

    They must also follow security best practices and ensure that all security guidelines and protocols are met consistently. To make security more robust, organizations are also looking at Managed Security Providers or MSP’s for robust application security without compromising on development timelines.

  5. Automated Testing:

    While test automation has been around for a while, automated testing will continue to be a trend in 2019. This will continue for as long as there is a need to release better-tested products into the market faster -that means, forever! As testing gets deeply ingrained into every software development methodology, test automation will get even more pervasive with testing teams striving for greater levels of automated test coverage.

    In 2019 we will witness test automation leveraging AI for better test accuracy. Tests will become more comprehensive, more intelligent, and more dependable. Even with that, that they will become faster and less taxing. The products will become better tested and more robust as a result.

    Borrowing from, and evolving the technologies that help to automate testing, Robotic Process Automation or RPA will also become a dominating trend in 2019. RPA will drive to automate high-volume repeatable tasks, thus making them faster, more accurate, and less effort-intensive.

Conclusion:

2019 promises to be an exciting year in the world of software development. It will be interesting to see how these trends develop over the course of the year. Check back with us at the end of the year for a review of our predictions. And, do feel free to add more about the trends you think will dominate software development and testing in 2019.

 

5 Most In-Demand Technology Skills

This is now a software-defined world. Almost every company today is a technology company. Every product, in some way, is a technology product. As businesses lean more heavily on technology and software, the software development and technology landscape become even more dynamic. Technology is in a constant state of flux, with one shiny new object outshining the one from yesterday. The stakeholders of software development, the testers, developers, designers etc. thus need to constantly re-evaluate their skills. In this environment of constant change, here are, in my opinion, the five most in-demand technology skills to possess today, and why?

demanding technology skills

  1. R: Owing to the advances in machine learning, the R programming language is having its coming of age moment now. This open source language has been a workhorse for sorting and manipulating large data sets and has shown its versatility in model building, statistical operations, and visualizations.

    R, over the years, has become a foundational tool in expanding AI to unlock large data blocks. As data became more dominant, R has made itself quite comfortable in the data science arena.

    In fact, this language is predicted to surpass the use of Python in data science as R, in contrast to Python, allows robust statistical models to be written in just a few lines. As the world falls more in love with data science it will also find itself getting closer to R.
  2. React: Amongst client-side technologies, React has been growing in popularity rapidly. While the number of frameworks based on JavaScript continues to increase, React still dominates this space. Open Sourced by Facebook in 2013, React has been climbing up the technology charts owing to its ease of use, high level of flexibility and responsiveness, its virtual DOM (document object model) capabilities, its downward data binding capabilities, the ease of enabling migrations, and light-weightiness.

    React is also winning in the NPM download race and has won the crown of the Best JavaScript framework of 2018. In the age of automation, React gives developers a framework that allows them to break down complex components and reuse codes to complete projects faster.

    Its unique syntax that allows HTML quotes, as well as HTML tag syntax, help in promoting construction of machine-readable codes. React also gives developers the flexibility to break down complex UI/UX development into simpler components and allows them to make every component intuitive. It also has excellent runtime performance.
  3. Swift: In 2017 we heard reports of the declining popularity of Swift. One of the main reasons for the same was a perceived preference among developers’ to use multiplatform tools. Swift, that is merely four years old, ranked 16 on the TIOBE index despite having a good start. The reason was mainly the changing methodologies in the mobile development ecosystem.

    However, in 2018 we seem to be witnessing the rise of Swift once again. According to a study conducted by analyst firm RedMonk, Swift tied with Object C at rank 10 in their January 2018 report. It fell one place in the June report, but that could be attributed to the lack of a server-side presence, something IBM has been working to rectify in keeping with its enterprise push.

    Once Swift became open source it has grown in popularity and has also matured as a language. With iOS apps proving to be more profitable than Android apps, we can expect more developers to switch to Swift. Swift is also finding its way into business discussions as enterprises look at robust iOS apps that offer performance as well as security.
  4. Test Automation: Organizations are racing to achieve business agility. This drive has promoted the rise of new development methodologies and the move towards continuous integration and continuous delivery. In this need for speed Test automation will continue to rise in prominence as it enables faster feedback. The push towards digital transformation in enterprises is also putting the focus on testing and quality assurance.

    I expect Shift-left testing to grow to hasten software development. Test automation is rapidly emerging as the enabler of software confidence. With the rising interest in new technologies like IoT and blockchain, test automation is expected to get a further push.

    The possible role of AI in testing is also something to look out for as AI could bring in more intelligence, validation, efficiency, and automation to testing. These could be exciting times for those in the testing and test automation space.
  5. UX: Statistics reveal that 90% of users stop using an application with a bad UX. 86% of users uninstall an app if they encounter problems with its functionality in design. UX or User Experience will continue to rise in prominence as it is the UX that earns users interest and ultimately their loyalty. The business value of UX will rise even further as we delve deeper into the app economy.

    The role of UX designers is becoming even more compelling as we witness the rise of AR, chatbots and virtual assistants. With the software products and services market becoming increasingly competitive, businesses have to focus heavily on UX design to deliver intuitive and coherent experiences to their users that drive usage and foster adoption.

It is an exciting time for us in the technology game. Innovation, flexibility, simplicity, reliability, and speed have become important contributors to software success. The key differentiator in these dynamic times may be the technology skills that you as an individual or as a technology-focused organization possess. To my mind, the skills that will help you stay ahead are those I’ve identified here.

The Role of Big Data in Mobile App Development

With 4.57 billion mobile phone users in the world right now, the mobile app development industry is also at its pinnacle. With every company building mobile apps to address external as well as internal customers, there is a pressing need to keep pace with rapidly changing market trends, technology advances, and customer needs. One sure-shot way of out-performing the competition and achieving success is by letting data drive your decisions. Big data can enable you to unearth hidden patterns and customer preferences and you can lean on these to develop state-of-the-art mobile apps. Here’s how big data can play a major role in mobile app development.

Role of big data in mobile app development

  1. Understand Customer Needs: A great mobile app is not one which looks stunning but one which meets the needs of users. Using big data, you can analyze the overwhelming volume of data that users generate on a regular basis and convert it into relevant insights. By understanding how users from different backgrounds, age groups, lifestyles, and geographies relate, react, and interact with mobile apps, you can formulate ideas for new and innovative apps and boost the capabilities of existing ones. Uber uses big data in a big way to improve its customer service; when a customer requests for a cab, Uber analyzes real-time traffic conditions, availability of a driver nearby, estimated time for the journey, etc. and provides a time and cost estimate for improved engagement.
  2. Drive User Experience Analysis: In addition to understanding customer needs, mobile app development also requires you to understand how users use your app. Using big data, you can conduct detailed user experience analysis, get a comprehensive 360-degree view of usage and the user experience, evaluate the engagement for each feature or page, and determine the most sought-after features as well as pain points. You can understand which elements of your mobile app make users spend more time and which cause them to leave. You can then use this information to create a list of the very features that users demand, plan for changes or modifications in the design, improve user experience, and maximize engagement.
  3. Get Access to Real-time Data: Businesses today have to remain in touch with changing trends to stay ahead of the race. Big data helps a great deal in keeping up with the times. By examining real-time data, you can take real-time, data-driven decisions to improve customer satisfaction and bring in higher profit. Using big data, Fitbit tracks real-time health data including sleep, eating, and activity habits to enable better lifestyle choices. The data gathered by Fitbit not only helps individuals become healthier, but it also provides doctors and healthcare practitioners with a clear picture of overall health and habits across a wider population.
  4. Build the Right Marketing Strategies: With a pool of data about user behavior including their likes, dislikes, needs, expectations, and more, you can build the right marketing strategies around how, when and where to target your audience. You can make better decisions of all types, from what type of push notifications to send and what strategy to use in increasing engagement. Using big data, you can analyze users’ demographic data, purchase patterns, and social behavior to modify your marketing messages according to their current interests. By building the right strategies, you can drive adoption, fuel engagement, increase satisfaction and ultimately, grow app revenue.
  5. Enable Personalization: Big data also enables you to optimize search and make it more intuitive and less cumbersome for users. By analyzing data from customer queries, you can prioritize results, deliver better and more contextual experience that matter the most to a particular user. You can also group data and features to provide smarter self-service for immediate answers. Amazon uses big data to enable predictive analysis and offers product suggestions based on a user’s previous purchase history, products they have viewed or liked as well as trending products. By integrating recommendations across the buying cycle – from product discovery until checkout, Amazon delivers the most relevant products and delivers a personalized shopping experience to each shopper.

Drive Revenue:

In a highly mobile world today, the mobile app has become the centerpiece of all communication strategies for every business. It is estimated that the mobile app market will reach $189 billion by 2020. Although thousands of companies across the world are building mobile apps every single day, it is through technologies like big data that you can really boost app-performance and fuel user engagement. Big data puts real-time data to work to offer personalized experiences that cater to the needs of the users in the most effective manner. If the mobile is central to your go-to-market strategy, its time you made the most of big data to build better mobile apps that drive value and revenue.

Google has a New Cloud Platform – What Does it Mean for Application Development?

Google’s foray into the cloud computing space is the talk of the town. By offering a suite of public cloud computing services such as compute, storage, networking, big data, IoT, machine learning, and application development, Google has now joined the likes of Amazon and Microsoft and hopes to take over the cloud computing market. Since the platform is a public cloud offering, services can be accessed by application developers, cloud administrators, and other IT professionals over the internet or by using a dedicated network connection.

google cloud platform for application development

What Google New Cloud Platform Means For Application Development?

According to Gartner, by 2021, the PaaS market is expected to attain a total market size of $27.3 billion. In addition to the core cloud computing products such as Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Storage, and Google Container Engine, what’s particularly exciting for the application development world is the Google App Engine – a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that enables developers to build scalable web applications as well as mobile and IoT backends. It offers access to Google’s scalable hosting, software development kit (SDK), and a host of built-in services and APIs. Here’s a list of features application developers can leverage:

  • Access to familiar languages and tools: Since developers are most comfortable developing apps using languages that they are familiar with, the Google Cloud Platform allows them to choose the language of their choice – from Java, PHP, Node.js, Python, C#,.Net, Ruby or any other language you prefer. Access to a collection of tools and libraries that include Google Cloud SDK, Cloud Shell, Cloud Tools for Android Studio, IntelliJ, PowerShell, Visual Studio etc. make application development all the more efficient. And with custom runtimes, you can bring any library and framework to the App Engine by supplying a Docker container.
  • Hassle-free Coding: Despite being proficient in coding, developers often end up managing several other aspects of the application development life-cycle beyond the purview of their role. The Google Cloud Platform offers a range of infrastructure capabilities such as patch and server management, as well as security features like firewall, Identity and Access Management, and SSL/ TLS certificates. With all these other facets of development taken care of, developers can enjoy hassle-free coding, without worrying about managing the underlying infrastructure.
  • Scalable Mobile Backends: Depending on the type of mobile application that is required to be built, the Google Cloud Platform automatically scales the hosting environment. With Cloud Tools for IntelliJ, one can easily deploy Java backends for cloud apps to the Google App Engine flexible environment. Integration with Firebase mobile platform provides an easy-to-use front-end with a scalable and reliable backend, and access to functionalities such as databases, analytics, crash reporting and more.
  • Quick Deployment: Quick deployment is a top priority for any developer; if one can’t deploy apps quickly, someone else will and might eat into your market share and customer base. Being a fully-managed platform, Google Cloud Platform allows developers to quickly build and deploy applications and scale as required, and not worry about managing servers or configurations. What’s more, Google’s Cloud Deployment Manager allows you to specify all the resources needed for the application and to perform repeatable deployments quickly and efficiently.
  • High Availability: Making applications available anytime, anywhere, and on any device has become a requisite. The Google App Engine allows developers to build highly scalable applications on a fully managed serverless platform. All they have to do is simply upload their code and allow Google to manage the app’s availability — without having to provision or maintain a single server. Since the engine scales applications automatically in response to the amount of traffic they receive, you can ensure high availability and only pay for the resources used.
  • Easy Testing: The impact of an app failure is extremely profound. Not only does it cost a lot but it also impacts customer trustworthiness. Do you know? In 2017, software failures resulted in losses of over $1.7 trillion. The Google Cloud Platform integrates with the Firebase Test Lab that provides cloud-based infrastructure for testing mobile apps. With Firebase Test Lab, app developers can initiate the testing of apps across a wide variety of devices and configurations and view test results directly on their console. And if there are problems in the app, they can debug the cloud backend using Stackdriver Debugger without affecting end-user experience.
  • Seamless Versioning: Users need updated information about the version of the app installed on their devices. This means that versioning is a critical component of the application upgrade and maintenance strategy. When developing apps in the App Engine, one can easily create development, test, staging, and production environments and host different versions of the app. Each version then runs within one or more instances, depending on how much traffic it has been configured to handle.
  • Health Monitoring: Providing users with high-quality app experiences requires app developers to carry out timely performance monitoring. As applications get more complex and distributed, Google Stackdriver offers powerful application diagnostics to debug and monitor the health and performance of these apps. By aggregating metrics, logs, and events, it offers deep insight into multiple issues. This helps speed up root-cause analysis and reduce mean time to resolution.

Streamline Application Development:

The Google Cloud Platform – with its application development and integration services – could change the face of application development. With access to popular languages and tools and an open and flexible framework that is fully managed, it enables app developers to improve productivity and become more agile. Developers can focus on simply writing code and run all applications in a serverless environment. Since the App Engine automatically scales depending on application traffic and consumes resources only when the code is running, developers do not have to worry about over or under-provisioning. Now developers can efficiently manage resources from the command line, debug source code in their production environment, easily run API backends using industry-leading tools, and streamline the application development process.

The Big Deal About Interactive emails, and How They Could Rule This Online Shopping Season

Email marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s among the most effective ways for online retailers to build relationships with customers. For substantial conversions, you should be emailing your customers regularly. However, if your email campaigns aren’t working, it’s time for you to examine what you’re doing.

Your emails should create user engagement, and among the best ways to do that is to increase interactivity. Interactive emails are a great way to bring more functionality into your customers’ inbox; this could range from showing a hidden message when the user clicks a button to creatively using scrolling to tell a story – there’s a lot of untapped potentials.

interactive emails for shopping seasons

The big deal about Interactive Emails:

Do you know? 54% of marketers say increasing engagement rate is their top email marketing priority. A remarkable alternative to traditional emails, interactive emails are set to be the next big thing in the e-commerce industry. Interactive emails are a great way to surprise and delight customers with new offers, discounts, and more. They are making interactions between retailers and customers more engaging. With innovative ideas, creative designs, interactive features, and visually attractive content and videos, interactive emails are driving substantial increases in the click-through rates as they enable customers to act from within the email body.

  • You can offer menus in emails (like on the website). Users can easily surf products or service categories right within their inbox. Menus are great for new product launches, recommendations, and cross-selling and can help you improve your click-through rates and generate traffic.
  • Delivering engaging content through photos, GIFs, and videos is an excellent way to capture the attention of your customers. From the latest news to the latest product on your website, how-to messages to interactive pics –embedding such features in emails is better than sending a link to your website or social handles.
  • Since e-commerce sites have an extensive array of products, counters work great to create a sense of urgency in an email.  Countdowns to promote a sale or event promote quick action. They allow you to offer limited period discounts and motivate customers to make a purchase directly from the email body.
  • If you want to showcase the latest products or trends or offers, rotational banners are perfect to drive customer interactions. Not only do they make email aesthetics attractive and catchy, but also help in keeping content precise and to-the-point.  
  • Another great way of driving interaction is through the use of sliders. By displaying multiple products in a limited space, you can encourage users to click to view the next or previous slide – with a different CTA for each. You can use sliders to showcase new products, recommended products, product reviews, and more.

What makes them so Effective?  

Although interactive emails are becoming popular across industries, it is the e-commerce space where they really shine. Here are 5 features that make interactive emails so effective in online shopping:

  1. Fill cart: Imagine if customers could shop for their products directly from the email body, without opening the app or logging into the website? Through interactive emails, you can allow customers to easily navigate through products, fill their cart, and check out right from the email. By updating the cart and associated prices, taxes, and discounts in real-time, you can increase customer satisfaction and revenue.
  2. Surveys and product reviews: Very often, customers want to provide feedback and product reviews but do not have the time or patience to log into the website. With interactive emails, customers can directly provide feedback and review products from the email body, and save substantial time and effort. You can gain valuable information about customers, get feedback about your products and services, increase the click-through rate on your emails, and show them that their opinions matter.
  3. Story-telling: Not everything in email marketing has to be about increasing revenue. It can also be about engaging and delighting customers and building relationships through interesting story-telling. Story-telling is a great way to captivate your audience. First, listen to your customers and discover their motivations, concerns, and aspirations. Then, align your story with what drives them, and link your products with their lives to tap the right emotions.
  4. Real-time marketing: If you’re looking to pursue additional sales opportunities, interactive emails are a great way to enable real-time marketing. By enticing customers to make quick decisions based on a certain interaction, you can not only help them make a purchase but also ensure it exactly fits their needs. For example, if a customer leaves your website with an abandoned cart, you can instantly send him/her an email and offer an incentive to buy immediately or check if they have a query. Price is often the main reason for abandonment, a discount may act as a great motivation to finalize the sale.
  5. Add to calendar: Since sale days are a great way to cash in on increased footfall, an add-to-calendar option can enable you to promote your event. Although it is a simple way to increase interactivity, it is highly effective as it will ensure your customer is reminded of the event, and in all probability, drop by as appointed.

Gear up for the Shopping Season:

Interactive emails are a great way to make customers aware of new and attractive offers. By utilizing interactive elements, you can urge customers to make decisions. If you want to build relationships with your customers, it is time to add value to the emails you send and ensure they don’t unsubscribe from your mailers. Make your customers scratch, pull or slide content, spark their curiosity, and enhance their experience with interactivity this shopping season.

Several online retailers are competing to own the 2018 shopping season. Through innovative and interactive tactics, you can truly drive customer engagement and stand out.

All you need to know about the AngularJS – ReactJS choice

With a variety of frameworks available in the market, deciding which web application framework to use can become overwhelming. There are a host of factors to consider including the libraries they offer, the database access options, templates, and code reuse. JavaScript frameworks are developing fast, and frameworks like AngularJS and ReactJS have become extremely popular. With over 318,754 unique AngularJS domains and 214,467 ReactJS domains, the choice is not easy. Let’s look at both these frameworks to see what may best suit your needs.
reactjs-vs-angularjs-framework

AngularJS

AngularJS, an open-source JavaScript-based front-end web application framework primarily maintained by Google. It provides a structure for building an application end-to-end: from writing the code and designing the UI to testing. It addresses many of the challenges encountered in developing single-page applications. It simplifies the development and the testing phases and allows for automatic synchronization of models and views for improved testability and performance. Like similar frameworks, AngularJS offers multiple solutions and designs and is used by several organizations such as AWS, YouTube, Google, Nike, PayPal, Upwork etc.
Key Features:

  • AngularJS offers an out-of-the-box MVC framework that automatically combines all the elements, making it easier to build client-side applications.
  • It uses HTML to build the user interface. This is easy to understand and simple to organize and maintain.
  • Being an end-to-end, full-fledged framework, it requires minimal coding and can run on any browser or platform.
  • AngularJS drives context-aware communications. This ensures the right messages are sent to the right nodes at the right time.
  • The dependency injection feature enables one object to supply dependencies to another object. This allows greater flexibility and cleaner code.
  • Custom directives enable assignment of the right attribute to the appropriate elements.

Advantages:

  • The MVVM (Model-view-view-model) allows different developers to work simultaneously on the same sections using the same set of data.
  • Since AngularJS relies on TypeScript, it offers more consistency and enables faster compilation.
  • Detailed documentation enables developers to easily get the information they need.
  • The two-way data binding reduces the impact of minor changes, minimizing the possibility of errors and eliminating the need for additional effort for data sync.
  • Being open-source, AngularJS is constantly updated and improved through contributions from developers everywhere.
  • AngularJS developers and designers constantly collaborate and contribute to the community. The global community support is excellent. This enables quick familiarization with concepts.

Disadvantages:

  • The earlier versions of AngularJS bring with them complex Angular-specific syntax that drives a steep learning curve.
  • The physical DOM is hard to manage and update.
  • Migration issues make it tough to move from an older AngularJS version to a newer one.

What is ReactJS?

ReactJS, an open-source JavaScript-based library primarily maintained by Facebook, offers a robust base for developing single-page web or mobile applications. Being declarative in nature, ReactJS makes the process of creating rich UIs seamless. It ensures the code is predictable and easier to debug. Since it is component-based, it ensures seamless integration of different components written by different people without causing major ripples through the codebase. The ReactJS ecosystem comprises many building blocks and online tools and is used by several organizations such as Instagram, Netflix, WhatsApp, Airbnb, Microsoft, Facebook etc.

Key Features:

  • The Virtual DOM enables developers to focus on writing the JavaScript code without worrying about updating React components or the DOM; when any data changes, the virtual DOM automatically updates the user interface.
  • The component-based architecture makes components easily reusable, enhancing their testability and maintainability.
  • By using JSX to write views, ReactJS enables JavaScript and HTML to operate in a single file.
  • External plugins enable developers to interface ReactJS with other libraries and frameworks.
  • In order to design an app interface, developers can either use nested elements (by including a reference to the child class within the render method of the parent class) or loops (by combining numerous HTML elements into an array).
  • Server-side scripting can be enabled with Node.js. Developers can create dynamic web page content before the page goes to the web browser.

Advantages:

  • The simplicity of syntax makes ReactJS easy to learn.
  • Since ReactJS is universally flexible, the libraries can be paired with all kinds of packages.
  • ReactJS gives developers more control to size an application by selecting only those things that are really necessary offering extreme flexibility and responsiveness.
  • The Virtual DOM makes arranging documents in HTML or XML formats much easier while developing different elements of the web app.
  • Since data flows only in one direction, the result is better data overview and easier debugging.
  • Downward data binding ensures child elements do not affect parent data.
  • Being open-source, ReactJS is constantly updated and improved by contributions from developers everywhere.
  • The presence of codemods ensures a seamless migration from earlier versions to newer versions.

Disadvantages:

  • The absence of systematic documentation and limited guidance makes development tricky and, sometimes, risky.
  • Since ReactJS is not a full-fledged framework, developers require deeper programming knowledge for integrating the UI library into the MVC framework.
  • Developers may take more time to get familiar with ReactJS as each project architecture varies.

Choose the Right Framework:

Clearly, choosing the right framework for your web application has to be a top priority. Since the framework you choose can have a direct bearing on your ability to meet your current requirements and as well as future needs, choosing between AngularJS or ReactJS is an important decision. While AngularJS offers more consistency, is easier to develop and compile, the complex Syntax and physical DOM make development a little tricky. On the other hand, ReactJS offers a shorter learning curve, is flexible, and easier to debug, but, the absence of documentation and the requirement of deeper programming knowledge make it more suited for professional developers. For the experienced developer, there is no substantial difference in the frameworks; but your choice will have to be driven by your business requirement, your web application goals, and your system constraints.

Check back with us if you need any help in picking what’s right!

Are you missing on these latest eCommerce web trends?

Ecommerce has come a long way from the time when a tiny company called Amazon started selling books online. Today predicted sales in the eCommerce industry are expected to cross $27 trillion by the year 2020. The mobile revolution further fueled the eCommerce revolution and today, you always have your favorite store in the palm of your hand. Almost 11% of online shoppers shop online using their smartphones. 35% believe that the mobile will become their preferred purchasing tool. 39% of the shoppers look towards social networks for purchasing inspiration. Clearly, eCommerce is evolving at a rapid pace. With every product imaginable available online and the increasingly mobile nature of the eCommerce customer, just having a good eCommerce website is not good enough anymore. Consumers today expect that online transactions will mimic the engaging and immersive in-store experience, eCommerce companies must make sure that they follow the latest trends to stay their customer’s preferred online shopping destination. Here’s a look at some of the latest eCommerce web trends you cannot afford to ignore.
latest ecommerce web trends

  1. The ‘motion’ experience:
    Motion is making big noise in eCommerce design this year. Subtle animation, some form of movement on the website, to engage the customer will be a UX imperative this year. The idea of introducing motion is to attract the consumer, keep them engaged, and make the online shopping experience more alive. You could, for example, use animated iconography like Etsy uses to notify people when a product is almost sold out. However, as with everything else, minimalism rules here as well. Don’t overdo the motion experience. This could annoy more than improve.
  2. The Social Connect:
    Today, 9 out of 10 people turn to Social Media before they make a buying decision and almost 75% of people purchase something after seeing it on social media. The Shopper Experience Index reveals that shoppers lean heavily on visual content to absorb the experiences and behaviors of others and to discover the products people are using on social channels.
    Social shopping is expected to be one of the biggest eCommerce trends for 2018. This provides retailers with the opportunity to showcase their products on the social applications their consumers spend the most time with. Levis, for example, added the social connect to their eStore and found that almost 30% of the website traffic started coming from Facebook. Adding the social connect to your eCommerce website will become imperative to give today’s shoppers the opportunity to purchase a product without switching between websites or applications.
  3. Shoppable videos:
    We all know that videos are a mainstay in the eCommerce landscape. They play a big role in drawing the crowds to your website. However, 2018 is all geared to be the year of shoppable videos, where the consumer will be able to shop for a product or service directly from the video itself. Shoppable videos reduce the catalog browsing time for the consumers while providing them with the best visual shopping experience. Global retailers, Marks and Spencer’s have given this trend a try already by selling their new denim collection via such videos wherein the customer could pause and purchase the denim at any point directly from the video itself.
  4. The omnichannel transition:
    The customers of today demand a fully integrated and unified shopping experience. The Shoppers Experience Index 2018, thus unsurprisingly shows an accelerating transition among online retailers towards providing customers with an omnichannel experience. Retailers thus need to focus heavily on delivering a high-quality customer experience that is consistent across online and offline channels irrespective of device. This omnichannel approach allows the customer to view the product on any device, ship purchases to stores, have in-store purchases shipped to them, and process returns and exchanges in any store location. With this approach, Online retailers can truly increase their market reach and develop the capability to sell online as well as offline. They can effectively ‘be everywhere’.
  5. Artificial Intelligence is on the rise:
    AI is going to take eCommerce to the next level. eCommerce companies such as Amazon and eBay are already leveraging AI to improve the online shopping experience. Did you know that Amazon’s recommendation engine drives 35% of the company’s sales? In 2018, Use of AI in eCommerce in the form of chatbots and AI assistants, smart logistics for automated warehouse operations, recommendation engines to analyze customer behavior, and in making hyper-personalized product suggestions will see significant growth.
  6. Voice search to become more commonplace:
    Voice search is geared to take off this year as voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa become more commonplace. Research suggests that more than 40% of millennials use a voice search before making a purchase online. Almost 20% of Google searches on mobile are voice-based. With mobile commerce gaining an even stronger foothold (it is estimated that mobile commerce will cross $600 million in 2018), optimizing the online store for voice search becomes imperative this year.

Finally, eCommerce websites have to become more performance-focused this year (like the years that went by!). Jem Young, of Netflix, said, “Beyond frameworks, beyond libraries, beyond the latest design trends, it’s performance that ultimately matters the most…For eCommerce businesses especially, where the difference of 200 milliseconds can mean the difference between gaining a customer or losing them to a competitor, keeping your site performance is crucial in order to stay competitive in 2018.”
How many of these eCommerce trends is your company following? How have they worked out for you?
Do share your experiences with us.

5 Changes Your Startup Must Make To Succeed With Offshore Product Development

Offshore product development is now quite common in the technology world. Some of the most successful startups such as Basecamp, GitHub, and MySQL are good examples of startups that successfully outsourced their product development and yet were massively successful.

It’s fair to say that outsourcing is only going to increase because of the cost and business benefits it brings to organizations and especially to startups. Highlighting this trend, the IT Outsourcing Report stated that nearly 40% of companies that outsourced application development planned to increase the volume of work they outsourced. The report also stated that 53% of companies with a mobile app outsourced their development initiatives. When it comes to startups, outsourcing had its own set of advantages other than just cost. Since startups are usually resource and time constrained, outsourcing product development makes abundant sense. Outsourcing gives startups the bandwidth to focus on the business aspect without having to worry about the many complexities of product development.

That said, outsourcing product development is anything but a simple process. Both the startup and the offshore product development team need to iron out certain processes to ensure that product development happens effortlessly, and the end result is superlative. Here are some suggestions on how to make this work.

  1. Treat the Offshoring Team As Your Extended Team:
    Your offshore product development team is an extension of your internal team. They thus should be treated with the same amount of trust that you would show your local team. Startups must trust that the outsourcing vendor will work with a commitment to ensure that they develop a product that is successful.
    In our experience when a startup treats their outsourcing vendor and the team as their partner they work harder for you and empathize more. The fact is, you hire an outsourcing team for the experience and expertise they bring to the table. So, treat them as a part of your internal team to get the most out of that portfolio. Trust their insights and get them more involved by embedding them into your development process.
  2. Leverage Them As Your Technology Partners:
    Your offshore team gives you open access to strong technology experts. Sometimes this might lead to a clash of views. Such clashes often happen when the technology expert feels that a particular technology is more suitable for a project and the startup feels otherwise. In such a situation, it is advisable to have an open discussion like you would have with your internal team member.
    Let us speak on behalf of the offshore product development vendor for a minute. Given that these experts have their finger on the pulse of the tech ecosystem beyond just your product, their opinion will usually not be driven by technology bias. It will generally stem more from a desire to leverage the technology that will help in developing a better, feature-rich and more robust product.
  3. Integrate – Make Them a Part of the Big Picture:
    Would your internal team be able to function if you don’t give them an idea of the big picture…of where your startup is heading? It’s no longer the case that offshore product development teams work best only when managing certain non-core activities in isolation. If you want your startup to succeed, you must ensure that all invested stakeholders have a clear idea of your company vision and mission -and this includes the offshore team.
    Help the offshore team understand not only the problems the product is trying to solve but also where the company wants to go in the long run. When you share your vision with the offshore team you give them the context in which they can innovate on your behalf. They can then help you come up with ideas to make the product better, how to extend the product, how to plan for an accelerated product development roadmap and come up with a product evolution plan.
  4. Establish Clear Criteria For Success:
    You can only manage what you can measure. The same is true for startups working with offshore product development teams as well. Adopting an agile approach even in communication is key. Clear expectation setting helps in establishing clear criteria for success.
    To establish measurable and clearly accountable goals, have reasonable delivery timelines, have regular check-ins at a mutually convenient time, have a defined process of engagement that ensures that all deliverables are transferred in the appropriate format. It is most important to agree upfront on the parameters that define success to establish the performance of the offshore team.
  5. Great Communication is Critical For Success:
    Great communication leads to successful partnerships. When it comes to an offshore product development team, communication can sometimes prove to be the Achilles heel. Startups, thus need to ensure that there is an environment that fosters effective communication between the offshore and local teams. This means leveraging all available tools like emails, messenger, and chat for communication and clarifications. This will involve the use of appropriate productivity tools for proper project management.

    This is essential to eliminate misunderstandings based on assumptions. Ensure that your outsourcing partner offers a model for business engagement that helps you get clarifications in case the outsourced team is in a different time zone. Regular check-ins also play an important role in establishing clear communication channels. This approach is more structured and ensures that everyone’s time is used optimally and that no information falls through communication gaps.

A change in mindset is essential to succeed while outsourcing product development to offshore teams for a startup. Once you see this team as an extension of your own company then ironing out issues that emerge during any product development lifecycle become easy. Remember that at the end of the day, “Individually we are a drop but together we are an ocean”. It’s time to dive in!

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