6 Tips for Ensuring Great Performance with Frontend Development

Did you know? In 2017 alone, there were 197 billion apps downloaded across the world! With people around the world spending 900 billion hours a year using mobile applications, it goes without saying that slow loading times, poor mobile optimization or browser incompatibility are just unacceptable. Great performance is one of the most critical aspects of any software project: whether it is a simple mobile app or a full-scale e-commerce website. Websites or apps that are clumsy and bothersome to use can never provide the convenience that today’s digitally savvy user expects.

6 Tips for Ensuring Great Performance with Frontend Development

What makes a Website/App Exceptional?

Have you ever looked at an app and wondered what makes it so awesome? Have you given thought to the way it was created? Have you wondered how quickly it offered you the information you were looking for and exclaimed, “I wish my website could do that”! With frontend development, you can. By leveraging various technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, frontend development ensures every aspect of an app or website functions smoothly, on a multitude of devices, form factors, and operating systems, with almost no bugs or errors.

While good content, an attractive layout, high-resolution images, and seamless navigation is essential, each of these elements have an impact on page load time and eventually the end-user experience. Balancing aesthetics and performance is key; at every step, developers need to put in efforts to build a user experience that has minimum impact on performance. Offering core content to users as fast as possible and getting the message across in a quick yet interesting fashion is critical.

So how does one ensure great performance? By focusing on certain guidelines, you can dramatically increase the speed and overall performance of your website. Let’s look at some tips and techniques that can enable a robust frontend development for great performance:

  1. Bundle and minify: A good frontend experience can be achieved by bundling and minification of CSS and JS files. While bundling concatenates multiple files of the same type into a single large file, minification goes a step further and adds model-based compression to the content and removes all unnecessary characters from text including white-space characters and comments. The result? Reduced file size, faster load times, improved responsiveness, and exceptional performance.
  2. Compress files: Speedy performance of a website or app can be achieved by compressing files such as documents, audio clips, JPEG images etc. File compression makes the site’s content light and easy to manage. Choose from an array of tools and techniques like GZIP or CompressNow and make your website or app extremely responsive to user input.
  3. Leverage CDN: If your website or app caters to a global audience, it is imperative you use a content delivery network (CDN). When you use a CDN, your website’s static content gets linked to an extended network of servers across the globe, enabling data to be fetched from the nearest server and delivered to users rapidly.
  4. Reduce external requests: Very often, a large portion of a website’s load time comes from external HTTP requests; each time a request is made, the chances of DNS lookups, redirects and 404 error pages increase – not to mention the increase in load times. Since redirects can cause significant delays, eliminate features that do not augment end-user experience including unnecessary images, pointless JavaScript, excessive CSS and redundant plugins.
  5. Enable caching: You can significantly improve the speed and performance of your website by enabling caching. Since websites and apps are viewed thousands or sometimes even millions of times, servers are often overloaded. By caching your website, you can reduce load on your servers, deliver content to users faster, and improve the performance of your website.
  6. Optimize images: Although high-resolution pictures add to the user experience, they often jam the rendering process often resulting in poor frontend performance. Since devices have limited screen sizes, there is no reason to have images larger than the screen size. Make sure to always compress and optimize your screen size; use tools such as JPEG Optimizer or Tiny PNG and offer a flawless user experience.

Minimalism is Key:

In a bid to offer a lot of information to the user, developers often make the mistake of cramming too many features into the time available. Determining what features your app absolutely requires and choosing the right framework ensures you use the right code, the right-sized images, and the minimum number of external HTTP requests. Although frontend development might seem intimidating, the truth is you can greatly improve the performance of your website by applying certain principles. Always remember, the faster your website loads, the better the user experience it will offer. Since your website is what makes your brand stands out, keep it minimalistic. Use the latest tools, techniques and web technologies to elevate your brand and build pages that are light and quick to load. And watch your users smile as they engage.

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Key Data Privacy Considerations in Creating Web and Mobile Apps

The app economy is booming. As of 2017, there were over 2.8 million apps available for download from the Google Play Store. The Apple App Store boasts of over 2 million apps. With the smartphone explosion, apps have created a permanent place in our lives. With this growing acceptance of mobile apps, the enterprise too has become ‘appified’. According to the “Mobile Enterprise Application Market by Software (Accounting & Finance, ERP, Communication & Collaboration, and CRM), Operating System (Android, iOS and Windows), Type of App, Organization Size, Industry Vertical and Region – Global Forecast to 2021” report, the mobile enterprise application market is expected to grow to USD 98.03 Billion by 2021 from USD 48.24 Billion in 2016. That’s a compound annual growth rate of over 15% from 2016 to 2021. There are many reasons for this appification of the economy – greater smartphone adoption, better connectivity, growing demand for real-time information capture and a consequent focus of organizations to make their processes mobile-ready, and a growing mobile workforce, are all compelling drivers.

Key Data Privacy Considerations in Creating Web and Mobile Apps

The growing use of smart devices and mobile applications also leads to a corresponding rise of volumes of data. Given the very nature of most apps, personal data is collected from them for the software to function as designed. As more and more data is captured to make apps hyper-personalized, there are increased calls for focusing on data privacy. The introduction of GDPR, the European online data privacy law that is expected to come into full effect in 2018, is a signal step in this direction. According to this law, organizations and entities seeking personal data have to explicitly inform the user exactly how that data will be used and what will happen to it. This means that the people will have a better idea of how their data is processed. They will also have the ‘right to be forgotten’ along with being proactively informed in the event of a serious data breach. This General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) framework is a solid step to solidify data protection for all individuals. Mobile and web app development companies thus have to significantly expand their efforts to make apps that are GDPR compliant. This means stronger encryption algorithms, protocols for single sign-on such as OAUTH, enforcing secure communication using HTTPS, and all other relevant steps.

Given this greater focus on data security and data privacy, as apps become an integral part of the enterprise operations, mobile and web app development companies have to look at ways to enhance the security layer of these applications. Application architects and designers have to thus design web and mobile applications placing security at the beating heart of the entire development effort. This means error-free and vulnerability-resistant code, and a strong emphasis on testing, especially security testing.

Apart from having the required Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Systems, in today’s app economy, it has become essential for organizations developing web and mobile apps to include security testing at the core of their development process. This approach ensures that all flaws and vulnerabilities can be exposed during the development process itself. It is also imperative to ensure that the data functionality is optimal to maintain operational capabilities without exposing the application to vulnerabilities or malicious attacks. Tests such as vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, security risk assessment, ethical hacking, access control testing, and security scanning etc. may have to be performed. The need is to test in a robust and judicious manner to prevent customer data being compromised in any manner during usage. At the end of the day, app developers have to be creative in their attempts to “break into” the apps. This is all about the many ways in which application data can be manipulated, all possible vulnerabilities identified, and all forms of risk assessed. Finding the vulnerabilities is an essential first step before identifying ways to boost the security of the application and the data that resides within it.

Given that there has been a dramatic increase in the complexity and sophistication of mobile malware, organizations in the web and mobile application development space have to dramatically alter their way of thinking to stay ahead of those creating such malicious code. They must implement strong security layers while ensuring compliance with regulatory security requirements. In today’s day, as Bruce Schneier says, ‘security is not just a product, but a process’. It’s hard to disagree!

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Are Mobile Apps Going To Die?

In a cut-throat economy, organizations realize that the key to success is to embrace change fast and not take a reactive approach to innovation. The mobile app market is no different. Yes, there are over a billion smartphones in use across the globe. There also are a dizzying number of mobile applications downloaded each year. In 2017 the Apple App Store had 2.2 million apps available for download while the Google Play Store had 2.8 million apps. Today, clearly we have become quite dependent on these little icons on our smartphones screens – from booking a cab, making a hotel reservation, ordering for food, making online purchases, calorie counting, banking, staying connected with friends and work…the list goes on. Mobile applications have established themselves as an essential part of our lives. But it is also true that the apps that we use now are light years ahead of their earlier iterations. Apps of today do not just disseminate content for the user but enable the user to determine what kind of content they want to consume. App functionality has improved by leaps and bounds owing to the use of geo location and the capabilities of the phone. Apps are more engaging and intuitive now.

Are Mobile Apps Going To Die?

The death of the mobile app as we know it

Today there is an increasing integration of technology with mobile apps to push the boundaries as we know it. Remember the classic Snake game on the Nokia 3310? Well, that was technically a mobile app back in the 90’s. Now compare that to the 2011 Temple run experience. The evolution of the mobile app is pretty evident, isn’t it? Technology is improving. The needs and demands of the app consumer are changing. Consumers are now looking at more seamless and connected experiences. They want their apps to behave in a certain manner. They want more features. They demand greater speed. They want more personalization. And they want access…all the time, anywhere.

Can the present day mobile apps deliver on all these demand parameters? Not quite. With technology giving us opportunities to get the best of everything, mobile apps, too, are not to be left behind. With the growing comfort with smartphones, consumers now want an amalgamation of web and mobile apps and want intelligent interactions with their mobile apps as they traverse their digital experience journey.

The rise of intelligent apps

As mentioned earlier, apps today are no longer being used to disseminate content to the user. The mobile apps are becoming increasingly intelligent. As an example, think Amazon. Using technologies such as machine learning and AI, Intelligent Apps are getting more contextual. These apps have the capability to learn the behavioral, emotional, and contextual patterns of the user in real-time and capably deliver hyper-personalized experiences in each successive session. With each input, the mobile app creates a personalized response. These apps make the use of cognitive API’s, ensure that personalization of the UX is a continuous activity. They eliminate the use of keyboard inputs and use speech, gestures, and bio-metrics to operate the apps without the keyboard. They leverage frameworks to take the app to the next level of user satisfaction with faster releases. Service providers like Netflix, e-Commerce providers such as Amazon, and browsers such as Chrome are already making use of intelligent apps. Gartner expects that this year some of the world’s largest organizations will begin to leverage intelligent apps to fine-tune their mobile app experiences.

The rise of progressive web apps

As you may have read earlier here, Progressive Web Apps are actually web applications that deliver a native app-like experience to their consumers. They come with progressive enhancements to implement features such as push notifications, caching, and background sync to deliver better experiences. Research suggests that an average user spends 80% of his total time on only three apps. The rest of the apps just sit on the mobile phone screen eating up precious mobile memory. PWA’s do not need any installing, deliver a great user experience, have browser compatibility, are responsive to fit any form factor, work offline, and function even in low network quality. Further, they provide app-like navigation and interactions and have a robust update process that makes sure that the app performance is at its peak always. Given that PWA’s are actually websites these are easily extendable. They make it easier to add functionalities. Along with this, these apps are also highly secure, easily discoverable and easily shareable. Quite simply put, Progressive Web Apps amalgamate the best qualities of web apps with that of native mobile apps – what’s there not to love then? But the question for us is –are these Mobile Apps? We would have to say Not really –and that’s a threat to the world of mobile apps as we know it.

Conclusion:

There seem to be clear signs that the age of mobile apps as we know it is fast coming to an end. Well not in the Tyrannosaurus Rex kind of way, but, it is becoming quite evident that the next evolution of these mobile apps is now upon us. Would it then be wrong to say, “The Mobile App is dead. Long live the Mobile App”?

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Are you ready for Robotic Process Automation?

I’d say that the biggest misconception about RPA is that it’s easy—It’s not easy. That’s why barely 10% of the buyer population in Global 2000 companies have embraced it.” – Frank Casale, founder, and CEO of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (IRPA AI)

Given that warning, it would make sense to assess the internal readiness and capacity of your company before adopting or even considering RPA technology. RPA, or robotic process automation, sometimes conjures up images of a solution that helps with cognitive computing. While that may represent the ultimate level of artificial intelligence that exists, solutions that are being developed in the present focus more on automating repeatable, predictable, and fixed business processes. When we speak about enterprises, this technology is still perhaps hard to implement, but experts say that those that do adopt RPA will rapidly see the immense benefits. For companies, it could mean a winning strategy for all the stakeholders – employees included. Let us look in-depth into the possible benefits of embracing RPA.

Are you ready for Robotic Process Automation?

Firstly – what is Robotic Process Automation?

With the surge in digitization and the increasing demand on the already limited resources, the push towards adopting automation technology has now become a necessity. Technology adoption would help to empower organizations and accelerate their efforts towards gaining more business and staying ahead of their competition. Robotic Process Automation is specifically made software that is capable of simulating human conducted activities that would be routine and repetitive in nature. The software “robots” follow designated workflows, seeking information from clearly identified sources and then performing routine yet critical operations. The functions impacted could include back-office processing, support, and front office management. Today, several companies have begun using these solutions with resounding success.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation to Organizations:

  1. RPA is best for transactional or rule-bound processes and for organizing data. Using robotic technology companies have a reduced effort and even lowered full-time equivalent employee (FTE) requirement.
  2. By incorporating RPA into the rules of business, companies would be able to simplify processes, conduct speedier transactions, maintain uniformity in their documentation, and afford complete transparency of their processes. These factors incidentally are among the top priorities for customers today, which therefore would lead to enhanced business and success.
  3. Using RPA reduces the opportunities for human error in rote tasks, and limits the exposure of sensitive and confidential information to humans – critical for the proper functioning of any company.
  4. Several companies require huge amounts of data to be added to various systems and myriad applications. Manual data entry is prone to errors especially given the mundane nature of the task. By using RPA in this process, companies can be sure of increased output of work with no errors, thereby removing the requirement of extra headcount to check and correct the errors. Re-work is eliminated as well.
  5. Since several tasks can be completed in less time and at a lowered cost, the ROI of the initiative can be achieved relatively quickly.
  6. Since RPA is a software, it has endless possibilities and capacity to work – meaning around the clock availability and work churned out. This means a lot more work with no interruptions or breaks.

Where Robotic Process Automation Stops

These RPA-driven software robots are capable of making only limited decisions and the cognitive ability is extremely constrained. In some ways, the primary objective is significantly improving the efficiency, not really the effectiveness. That’s to say, RPA allows organizations to perform these functions faster, with less effort, utilizing fewer human resources, and with greater accuracy. That said, if there is ambiguity about the inputs or if there is volatility in the functions to be addressed or the business processes are extremely fluid and dynamic, RPA is less likely to be successful.

A Bright Future for RPA

It has been said often that the downside of cognitive artificial intelligence is that it would reduce the number of jobs and dislodge employees from their roles. RPA on the other hand empowers employees by allowing them to engage in more creative and value-added tasks and removing the dull, rote ones.

Well-designed RPA solutions have this distinct advantage – companies can embrace them without the need to dismiss employees or spend too many resources in training them on the solutions. The great part of RPA is that it requires human supervision, placing control in the hands of the employees, thereby raising their morale, enhancing their development, and making them more productive on the job. Different types of organizations are already tasting success in areas like:

  • Government: Verifying existing processes; populating forms and assigning subcontractors to jobs, and integrating legacy systems with newer systems.
  • HR: Providing employee on-boarding; better managing leave of absence requests; more efficiently populating employee data into multiple systems, and offering performance appraisal management.
  • IT: Creating new accounts; installing software and updates more seamlessly, and setting up printers and workstations.

Conclusion:

It is probably time to integrate RPA solutions into your company, and the good news is technologies, including strategies borrowed from test-automation, are already at hand to seamlessly draw RPA into your business processes. Are you ready, is the question?

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Why you Should Start Caring About Progressive Web Apps (If you Don’t Already)?

Have you heard of the term “the best of both worlds”? As utopian as it might sound, there is one place where this may apply -in the application world. Progressive Web Apps or PWA’s are being touted as the next big thing for the mobile web. These apps take the advantages of the latest technology and combine the best experiences of mobile and the web apps to deliver better functionality and smoother and more engaging application experiences. As web interactions move increasingly towards the mobile, application developers are faced with the challenge of creating applications that can be easily accessed over the smartphone without compromising on quality, aesthetics, and functionality. One solution is to create web applications that look and feel like iOS or Android apps that are native to the device. Welcome Progressive Web Apps!

What are Progressive Web Apps?

Progressive Web Apps, PWA’s, deliver a mobile like experience to the users without having them download or install the app from the play (or App) store. With these apps, developers can create a simple web application using JavaScript, HTML, CSS etc. and add mobile capabilities such as camera access, push notifications, offline support etc. PWA’s are deployed to servers, are indexed by search engines and can be accessed through url’s. Mobile web apps that are accessed on a mobile browser usually are not capable of sending out push notifications, do not deliver the look and feel of a native app downloaded from an app store, cannot load on the home screen etc. With PWA’s developers can fix this problem leveraging new design concepts, using new web API’s and standards-based technologies in tandem to deliver a native app like experience.

Why you Should Start Caring About Progressive Web Apps?

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

Research suggests that “every step you make a user perform before they get value out of your app will cost you 20% of users.” In such an environment PWA’s work well for businesses since these apps do not compromise on user experience as compared to a traditional mobile web browser and neither do they demand a user go through the process of installing a mobile app. Here are a few benefits of PWA’s

  1. Adaptability– Since PWA’s are built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet they have the capability to work for every user irrespective of browser choice.
  2. Responsiveness – PWA’s have the responsiveness to fit any form factor, be it a laptop, tablet or mobile device, thus ensuring a consistent user experience
  3. Workability – These apps have the capability to work offline and in low network quality since these are enhanced with Service Workers. This is a script that runs behind the scenes and runs in response to events such as network requests, push notifications etc. This capability ensures that these apps also run faster than traditional websites and hence improve app speed and performance.
  4. App-like – Provide app-style navigation and interactions using design concepts such as App Shell that provides the web application a shell of an app UI. The content is then loaded later, is kept and cached separately. This helps in fast loading and improving the user experience.
  5. Always Updated – PWA’s are always updated owing to the service worker update process.
  6. Highly Secure – High on security as these are delivered via HTTPS. This also ensures that the content of the application does not get tampered with.
  7. Discoverability – Since PWA’s are actually websites, this makes them easily discoverable by search engines. PWA’s also speed up the process of application indexing and ensures that the app is indexed in Google much faster without worrying about app deep linking.
  8. Frictionless – PWA’s provide a frictionless user experience since unlike mobile apps these are easily installable without using an app or play store. Since these do not have to be downloaded, application updates happen effortlessly from the user’s side and this gives them access to the latest features, security updates, functionalities etc. This feature also helps in avoiding the problem of software fragmentation as faced by native mobile apps.
  9. Expandability – As PWA’s are essentially websites, it is very easy to expand them to add functionalities.
  10. Sharability – These apps are easily shareable via URL as they do not need to be downloaded.

It’s fair to say that we are still in the early days of Progressive Web Apps. Cross-browser support in browsers such as Safari and Edge is limited but the open support that PWA’s have been getting from companies such as Microsoft (they plan to implement more PWA features) and with Twitter, NASA, etc. all using Progressive Web Apps to create new versions of their service, it is quite clear that this craze will catch on quickly. After all, it is becoming evident that the future of mobile apps is the web!

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Here’s Some Help In Picking The Right CMS For Your Business!

Choosing the right content management system(CMS) is key for boosting the efficiency and productivity of your web app. A good content management system results in improved site navigation, greater flexibility, increased security, and helps in reducing errors by preventing content duplication. In today’s digital world, a CMS is essential for every web-based business. Consider how your website needs to be regularly updated with content, new products, styles, services, and campaigns which may be added or removed.

Here’s Some Help In Picking The Right CMS For Your Business!

For those who came in late let’s introduce the CMS first. The CMS is mainly used for managing web content and offers tools for website authoring, collaboration, and administration. This helps users with limited knowledge of HTML and other programming languages to create and manage their website content easily. They are easy to use and can be customized easily, they cost less and provide better workflow management. Without the CMS, the website risks becoming unorganized and inaccurate. Navigation may become more difficult for the users, thus compromising the all-important user-experience.

With different CMS options available in the market, it may be challenging at times to pick the right CMS suited to your business needs. So how do you know which is the best CMS for your company? In this post, we have shared information on the different types of CMS along with their key benefits. We hope this will help you in making the best CMS decision.

First, what are the different categories of CMS that are widely used today?

It may be useful to understand the different types of CMS, their features, and their advantages, before choosing the one which fits your business needs. Open source CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento are some of the widely used in the industry.

  1. Proprietary CMS:
    Proprietary CMS or the traditional, commercial software involves initial license fees for using the software and there are also annual charges required for their support or updates. There may be additional costs for making customization and technical support as well and can prove to be more expensive. Hence, it may be important to know the features that may be covered by this type of license. Ex: Microsoft Sharepoint, Sitecore, Shopify.

  2. Open Source CMS:
    This kind of CMS software is largely free and hence there is no initial cost involved in its usage. There are no license fees, upgrade fees as they are mainly created by a team of developers within the community. However, there may be costs involved if customization needs to be made to the software to meet specific business needs. Ex: WordPress, Magento, Drupal. Since feature additions and support is from the community there is some unpredictability in their cadence and availability.

  3. Software As a Service(SaaS):
    SaaS CMS solutions comprise web hosting, web content management software, and technical support through a single supplier. These solutions are hosted in the cloud and typically involves a subscription model offered on a per user or per site basis. One of the main benefits of using SaaS CMS solutions is their easy accessibility across laptop, mobile devices. Costs are also quite low compared to other types of CMS. The updates for the software can be done in real time and packages are usually scalable.

  4. Component Content Management System:

    As a point of interest, Component Content Management Systems help in managing content at the component level rather than the document level. They deal with content which may be repetitive and may be regularly revised and translated into different languages.

Top Factors To Consider While Choosing The Right CMS For Your Business are:

  1. Assess impact on your business:
    In most organizations, the IT, marketing and sales departments are closely involved in the activities related to the website. Hence one key task is prioritizing the requirements of different stakeholders to avoid internal conflicts. Next, the business needs to know their key internal needs, before choosing a specific platform so that they can plan in case they need to deploy additional staff and resources if required.

  2. Must be able to match with the technology and skillsets:
    There are many dependencies that may influence your choice of CMS solution. It may be necessary to integrate with other core functions such as marketing, sales, communication along with other project management initiatives. If there are any technology upgrades which are planned for the future, it may be best to choose a CMS which may be compatible with these projected changes. It may also be necessary to assess the technical skills and capabilities of your in-house team. In addition, it’s necessary to understand if the CMS is easy to use and manageable for your end users as well.

  3. Choosing the right features::
    The kind of features which you would require for your CMS would largely depend on your business goals. The size and scope of your web app, the likely schedules of content updation, the volume of this content, the number and type of users who will be tasked with managing the content, and the nature of the content will all play a role. The CMS software needs to be user-friendly, easy to use, have a scalable architecture to meet your future needs, must provide security features, and needs to have documentation and support for the end users.

  4. Focus on on-going support:
    Support for CMS platforms is of paramount importance as there may be on-going issues over the business operations. Especially, if you are opting for Opensource CMS, then it’s necessary to choose one with a wider and more interactive community for on-going support and seeking solutions. Besides, this also involves a cost, especially for implementing solutions using traditional platforms. Support may also be required even for the hosting infrastructure.

Conclusion:

Choosing the right CMS platform calls for thorough research on the various available options, weighing their pros and cons and finding the best fit that meets your specific business requirements and goals. If the choice seems too complex, then drop us a line and we will be happy to help!

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Software Trends You Should Be Excited About In 2018

2017 was an exciting time to be in the software product development and testing space. We witnessed the rise of DevOps as a solid development methodology, saw Agile become more mature, and the establishment of test automation as an essential to the success of any software development methodology. Iterative software development emerged as the enabler of delivering high-quality software and this resulted in generating greater customer satisfaction. 2018 promises to be no less transformational in the world of software development. Here’s a list of things that we are, and you should also be keeping an eye on in 2018.

Software Trends You Should Be Excited About In 2018

  1. Artificial Intelligence:

    While AI has made its presence felt in our lives in the form of Siri and Cortana, 2018 will witness AI influencing development and testing too. Right from conceptualization to software development and testing, and deployment and maintenance the AI impact is expected to be quite pronounced in 2018. Using AI, developers can create better software by creating richer functionalities that are more user responsive. The use of AI in software testing is also going to be quite tangible. With the use of AI, testing teams will be able to better optimize test automation cases, validate hard to process artifacts, simplify complex tasks, and create intelligent test scripts that are adaptive in nature -amongst other things.

  2. Progressive Web Apps:

    2018 is also looking like the year of Progressive Web Apps. Introduced by Google in 2015, PWA’s got a lukewarm reception in 2016. 2017 saw these apps gradually gain momentum as they presented a potential alternative to designing a native mobile app. Presently there are over 6.5 billion apps for download while the corresponding number for regular app use is on the decline according to Statista. As the number of mobile apps increase but lose their appeal, PWA’s present themselves as the next big hope for the mobile web. PWA’s makes use of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile applications. These are more reliable, load quickly, respond faster, and provide an immersive UX all while being more maintainable.

  3. Single Page Application (SPA):
    Single Page Applications or SPAs continue to climb up the popularity charts. Initially used to build the private dashboard portions of SaaS platforms or Internet services, SPAs based on JavaScript will continue to rise in popularity in 2018. This is driven by the sense that they are high performance, reduce development time, and are device agnostic. While it still might be too early to assess the likely success levels, the growing popularity of SPAs in the development circles is already visible.

  4. Automation and Continuous Testing:
    Continuous testing is all set to become an overarching theme in 2018. This is owing to the accelerating shift towards DevOps, continuous delivery, agile etc. With this, we will see an increase in automation in the software testing space. We are sure to witness test automation become a first-class citizen in the age of digital transformation. As continuous delivery pipelines along with running software and services become an omnichannel business, software development and testing companies will want an even greater convergence of testing tools. In 2018, we can expect to see this convergence of functional test automation tools with mobile front-end test automation tools. These companies will no longer want to use one tool for running functional tests for browsers and other environments and another for mobile environments.
  5.  Motion UI:
    Web design trends in 2018 are all about being more cutting edge. As web design becomes more dynamic, smooth animation becomes a design imperative. In 2017, we saw Motion UI gain rapid popularity. This was because it gave developers the capacity to animate content faster and with greater ease without any in-depth knowledge of jQuery or JavaScript. Motion UI helps in capturing the attention of the user by easily adding movement and drama elements to pages.

Conclusion:

Along with all this, we could also expect to see the further evolution of strategies to engage the users more. An example in 2018 could be chatbots based on artificial intelligence to increase the efficacy of online communication.
2018 promises to be an important year in the software development business as software begins to touch our lives and work in every possible way. Clearly, technology is all set to embed itself in everything we do as almost all businesses become software driven. As the way people and companies use software changes – can the way we develop software afford to stand by the wayside and ignore the change?

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5 Technologies That Technology Driven Startups Must Adopt Today.

As the dominance of technology increases, almost every day we are bombarded with the next ‘it’ technology that is designed to be the cure of all ills. In such an environment, technology-driven startups can find themselves lost in a maze of options. After all, making the right technology decision and leveraging the right technology can play a huge role in their success. As startups come under pressure to deliver faster and deliver better and create applications in extremely stringent timelines, here’s a look at five impactful technologies that tech-driven startups can adopt to be successful.

Cloud:

The cloud has evolved to be one of the most disruptive technologies of our times. It can be considered a big contributor to the high-speed growth of technology-driven organizations. Large organizations such as Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox etc. have been hugely successful owing to cloud technology. With the cloud, startups can store and manage large volumes of data easily and in a cost-effective manner since the cloud does not make any heavy infrastructure demands. It becomes a great option as seasonal spikes, scaling and hosting woes are laid to rest with it. Cloud has almost become the poster child of the ‘lean development’ movement as it has low fixed and variable costs and the capacity to scale as per business demands.

Software development in the cloud is also becoming quite popular in the development circuit. It enables real-time collaboration even in a distributed environment, assists in putting testing at the heart of software development, increases the speed of development, and aids capacity planning, updates, and releases easily.

JavaScript:

As front-end development gains popularity in the world of application development, JavaScript is one technology that technology-driven startups must look at. JavaScript assists front-end developers build fluid interactions using effectively designed code structures even in applications that have complex code structures. It helps developers manage concurrent operations with ease, enables faster programming using a host of frameworks such as jQuery, AngularJS, Backbone.js, ReactJS, or Bootstrap. This helps in streaming complicated commands by making them simpler. It provides cross-browser support – a must for all applications in today’s digital economy. It also provides a wealth of frameworks with predefined functions that makes adding functionalities easier and less time-consuming. JavaScript frameworks such as ReactJS, Angular.js make responsive design a piece of cake as well. Finally, JavaScript allows rendering of pages both on the client and the server side which helps in application maintainability, greater search engine optimization, and better application performance.

Ruby on Rails:

Ruby on Rails is an object-oriented full-stack web application framework. This framework allows organizations to develop easily maintainable, high-quality products. It can work on multiple platforms and allows organizations to come up with prototypes faster and helps in building ‘cool applications’ in a much shorter time frame. It aids the theory of ‘fail fast’ which can be of great help for startups to chart the future course of their product offering. RoR is a powerful language that has great security features and a flexible syntax debugger. RoR is a good choice for websites that need high scalability, enterprise applications and for software projects that demand faster development.

Angular JS:

An open-source framework, Angular JS has emerged as a great choice for developing responsive mobile web applications. It is an open source, JavaScript MVC framework. It helps developers make feature-rich and responsive applications suitable for both mobile and web applications leveraging the same codebase. Applications built using Angular JS are highly scalable and allow for easy implementation of upgrades, patches, and bug-fixes. Its object-oriented design principles make the case for easy maintainability.

Angular JS provides some great mobile components. Developers get the capability to create rich user interfaces on mobile environments to provide a smooth mobile experience. Since Angular JS uses reusable logic, it allows developers reuse web application logic on multiple devices across multiple platforms without compromising on the UI. Its declarative paradigm for creating patterns, the capability to load pages asynchronously, and use of lightweight code, assists in enhancing application performance. It also helps developers optimize application security features and hence becomes a great choice for enterprise applications. The icing on the cake is that Angular JS has an active community support, has a testing focus, and is easy to get started with.

NodeJS:

Over the past few years, NodeJS has firmly established its credibility as a reliable technology choice. The core functionality of Node JS is written in JavaScript which makes it a great choice for developing real-time applications. Since it uses the same language for both the front-end and back-end it increases the efficiency of the development process. Scaling of Node.js applications is also easier as it uses clusters for ensuring scalability, provides an inbuilt support for package management, is publicly available and also provides dependency and version management.

Node.js applications are also stronger and more resilient since they are made of smaller and reusable components. This also makes adding functionalities easier. Further, Node.js applications are designed to handle large traffic volumes and allow for actual data streaming. Node.js provides real-time collaboration tools and gives organizations the option to use it as a proxy server along with being easy to learn and highly secure.

Conclusion:

Choosing the right technologies can help technology-driven startups create high-value and successful software products. Startups can ensure that budgets are checked, timelines are met, and that work flows smoothly. Leveraging technology that is mature and is built to last makes development faster and efficient. Assessing the maintenance needs of the technology, compatibility, and security levels are a few things to consider for while making a technology choice. At the end of the day, technology-driven startups have to ensure that their technology choices pave the way for their growth story. Are you ready?

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Does Front-End Web Development Demand A Different Testing Strategy?

It is becoming increasingly clear that the consumers of everything digital are growing visually and technologically more sophisticated each day. Today’s digital landscape demands smooth interactions, clean designs, logical usability, and seamless interactions. Iterative product development has become more mainstream.

This means that taking feedback from customers to build products and services that they would like to use is becoming an accepted way to build better products.

It is because of this growing need to create products that user’s love and will continue to use, that front-end development is rapidly becoming popular in the world of software development.

What is Front-end Development?

Front-end development works by combining design layouts and programming that powers the visuals and user interactions. The objective of front-end development is to create the visual display so that a user can interact with these displays smoothly. Owing to the large number of devices and device formats that are bombarding the market today, front-end development is becoming even more relevant to ensure great user experiences and accessibility. This also helps ensure that the information display is relevant and readable irrespective of the screen size. The objective of front-end development is also to ensure the website is displayed correctly across different browsers, operating systems, and devices and hence demands careful planning by the developer.
As the focus on usability and design increase incrementally, developers and product design teams can no longer work in silos. Collaboration has become a key in the world of software development and front-end development further cements this development aspect.

Testing in the Front-end World:

Front-end development is in itself quite complex and hence demands a comprehensive testing strategy. When doing front-end development, testing strategies have to cover the Presentation Layer (user interface), while the Business Layer (Application User Interface) and the Database layer will be covered by back-end testing.
Front end testing is performed on the GUI and is done to check the overall functionality of the application. Unlike back-end testing that involves databases and business logic testing, front-end testing does not demand any information storage in the database but needs the testers to be knowledgeable about the business demands and have a comprehensive understanding of automation tools and frameworks. Tests that fall under the purview of front-end testing are:

  • Unit Tests
  • Integration Tests
  • End to End Test
  • Acceptance Tests
  • Visual regression testing
  • Accessibility and Performance Tests

Here’s a look at a few considerations that front-end testing teams need to factor into a comprehensive and fool-proof testing strategy.

  1. What are you Testing?
    Front-end testers need to be clear about their testing objectives. Understanding functionality requirements and detailed specifications of requirements from all invested stakeholders are essential when creating a front-end testing strategy. Here while the focus in on bug detection, a greater focus is on meeting the functionality requirements and ensuring that all functional elements of a web page are displaying and working as intended.
  2. Who are you Testing for?
    Since front-end development focuses on usability and the user interface, front-end testers need to understand who their target audience is in order to understand customer preferences such as which devices do they prefer using, which OS and browser combinations are popular amongst them, what are the bandwidth and connection speeds they are used to, etc. This helps in creating a simpler testing strategy and helps testers prioritize the test methodology with ease.
  3. What are your Limits?
    Understanding the testing project limits is also essential during front-end testing so that testers do not have to depend on the ‘that’s good enough’ statement. Therefore, it is crucial to identify realistic testing budgets, including the project’s timeline. This helps ensure that testing is not rushed and to identify the main use cases to fulfill exactly what your target user base demands.
  4. What are your device and browser support targets?
    Front-end testing has a lot to do with device and browser support. Thus it becomes essential to define these support levels. However, front-end testing teams have to ensure that all content must be readable, all functionalities must work, navigation must work, and there is a minimal deviation from the approved graphic design.
  5. What is your performance target?
    Determining the performance target of the web application being developed is crucial for front-end testing to ensure satisfied clients and users. They have to agree on an acceptable score on say, Google’s PageSpeed Insights, to ensure that the application is performing optimally. Starting with the known pain points, creating good base-line tests to enable high-level testing, increasing accountability, and constantly revisiting the code base to ensure that the current implementation makes sense helps in achieving the set performance targets.
  6. Selecting the Right Testing Tools:
    The right testing tool is a formidable weapon for the front-end testers. While there are a number of testing tools available, choosing one that is not only cost effective but is also easy to use is key. There are quite a few factors to consider during the testing tool selection for front-end testing. The tool must make adding bugs, issues, tasks in an orderly manner easy, and helps in assigning bugs to the right team members with expected dates of completion. It must allow teams to upload screenshots, documents etc. related to the bugs, assist in detailed reporting, and aid testing to match the speed of development.

Front-end testing teams need to ensure that they invest their time and energy in building a comprehensive testing strategy and attempt to limit the time spent on fixing regressions. This ensures that more time can be invested in feature development and in making the existing code stronger and more resilient. Given that the end objective of front-end and back-end development are not the same, it is thus inevitable to have a different testing strategy for front-end development.

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Why You Should Consider ReactJS for Your Web Application?

It’s a JavaScript library by Facebook. It helps in building very attractive and interactive user interfaces. It offers great performance and is extremely easy to use for programmers. Today, New York Times, Slack, Pixnet and other 100,000+ such well-known sites with heavy traffic use this library.

Yes, we are talking about ReactJS – the JavaScript library which is the hot favorite of developers and is climbing the popularity charts every day. According to the 2016 StackOverflow developer survey, React.Js’s popularity had recently increased by over 300%.

What is making ReactJS so popular? Let’s take a look

  1. Quick Implementation:
    The very fact that ReactJS is a library and not a full-fledged framework makes it extremely easy to implement into any project. It is just a view layer and that’s what makes it so attractive in terms of quick adoption.
  2. Fast Rendering:
    This is one of the best features of ReactJS. The smart methods in ReactJS mitigate the amount of DOM operations and optimize and accelerate the updates process – all these things make the overall rendering very fast.
  3. Code Stability:
    ReactJS uses downward data binding. Through one directional data flow and by making ReactJS just a view system, Facebook has ensured that any changes to the child elements don’t affect their parent elements and parent data. While allowing for direct work with components, it ensures that the code remains stable. Changing an object is also very easy – the developers simply need to modify its state and apply updates. With this, only the allowed components are upgraded maintaining the overall code stability.
  4. Ease of Use:
    ReactJS uses JSX which is a HTML-like syntax. It allows the creation of JavaScript objects using HTML syntax and simplifies the creation of React tree nodes with attributes. Anybody familiar with HTML can very easily use JSX and build a ReactJS application. The code built using JSX is machine-readable. It allows the creation of compound components in one compile-time verified file.
  5. Code Reusability:
    Another big advantage of ReactJS is its ability to reuse code components. The reusability of components saves a lot of time and efforts for developers. Managing system updates is very easy with ReactJS because every change does not necessarily affect each component in the system. The React components are isolated and a change in one does not affect the others. This allows the developers to reuse the components and makes coding more precise and comfortable for the developers.
  6. Easier Debugging:
    One of the things which developers love about ReactJS is the descriptive warnings. New developers working with ReactJS find it very useful to know what exactly went wrong, where is the error in the code and what is the best way to fix it. Debugging becomes very easy and less time consuming with React.
  7. Constantly Developing Library:
    Facebook released ReactJS as the first JavaScript-connected open source project. Developers using ReactJS have free access to a variety of useful applications and tools from the community at large. There are over 1000 open-source contributors who are working with ReactJS library and enhancing it every day. Apart from this, there is an excellent community support extended through groups, conferences, and documentation.

Real-World Examples of ReactJS Usage:

Asana:
This web and mobile application which helps teams improve collaboration and communication moved to ReactJS in 2016 to create a more maintainable, readable, testable, and performant application.

Atlassian:
The creator of products like JIRA, Confluence, HipChat, etc. moved to React for its simplicity, component-based structure, testability, and maintainability.

Netflix:
This leader in the internet delivery of TV shows and movies, transformed its desktop and mobile user interface in 2015 using React. React was selected for its ease of use and runtime performance.

Yahoo Mail:
Yahoo Mail, which has been around since 1999, decided to use ReactJS + Flux when it wanted to build its next-generation Mail product. ReactJS was chosen for its independent deployment of components, easy debugging, and shorter learning curve.

Apart from these, there are numerous other examples such as Uber, Salesforce, KISSmetrics, Tesla, Scribd, Reddit, Periscope and many more which have leveraged the power of ReactJS to build world-class interactive web applications.

With ReactJS, organizations can quickly and easily build UI rich applications with good performance. With its component re-usability feature, it offers code re-usability and saves a lot of time and effort for developers. It is extremely easy to edit, test, and debug the code which makes the web applications very maintainable. If you are looking to develop SEO-friendly, interactive web applications with great UI and expect your application to handle heavy traffic, it’s time to migrate to ReactJS.

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5 Reasons Python continues to Rule the Popularity Charts

Web development is hardly an easy task. Using a complicated programming language to that mix can often be a recipe for disaster. In order to make robust and user-friendly applications that the consumer loves to use, developers thus need to use a language that is highly functional without the complexity, is easy to implement and puts emphasis on code readability. Python, an open-source and object-oriented programming language, has continued to rank highly as one of the world’s most popular programming languages. According to Stack Overflow, Python has been the fastest growing programming language of 2017 and has overtaken Java and JavaScript for the first time this year. So what makes Python a developer’s favorite? Let’s take a look at some compelling reasons.

  1. More Features With Lesser Code:
    Python has the benefit of having a clear syntax and its simplicity. Since Python is easy to learn and is a relatively shorter language when compared to other programming languages it is easier to develop and debug. The features in this language are simple to graph because developers do not need to emphasize greatly on the syntax. Since the syntax of the language resembles pseudo code, developers can easily build more functions and features using fewer lines of code. This helps developers maximize code writing and helps them roll out software products to meet the demanding timelines of the present day. Further, the simplicity of the language also reduces programmer efforts and the time taken to develop large and complex applications.
  2. Extensive Support Libraries:
    Python gives programmers access to extensive support libraries. These libraries include areas such as Internet protocols, web service tools, string operations, and operating system interfaces. A lot of the popular programming tasks have already been scripted into these standard libraries which helps in significantly reducing the volume of code to be written. This also helps developers build functioning prototypes faster and reduces the time and resource wastage. This also helps in the ideation process, an often overlooked part of web development.
  3. Flexibility:
    Python is a high-level programming language but is far more flexible than most programming languages. There are many robust Python implementations that are integrated with other programming languages such as Jython, or Python integrated with Java, PyObjc, or Python written with ObjectiveC toolkits, CPython, a version with C, IronPython, that is designed for compatibility with .NET and C# and RubyPython which is Python combined with Ruby. This helps developers run Python in different programming scenarios. The source code written in Python can be run directly without any compilation, making it easier for developers to make changes to the code and assess the impact change almost immediately. Since it does not demand code compilation it further reduces the coding time significantly.
    According to Gartner, almost 90% of enterprises are using open-source software to build business-critical applications. Since Python was not created to address any one specific programming need, it is not driven by templates of API’s. This also makes the language more flexible and makes it well-suited for rapid and advanced application development for all kinds of applications. This enables faster time-to-market for enterprise applications.
  4. Robust Nature:
    Python is a solid, powerful and robust programming language. This is one of the reasons why some of the leading organizations across the globe such as Bank of America, Reddit, Quora, Google, YouTube, DropBox, for example, have chosen it to power some of their most critical systems. Since Python has fewer lines of code, it becomes more maintainable and is prone to fewer issues than any other language. Python also has the capability to scale easily to solve complex problems making it a programming favorite.
  5. Wide Range of Development Tools:
    Depending on the requirement, Python gives developers the advantage of a wide range of frameworks, libraries and development tools. Developers can leverage a number of robust frameworks such as Flask, Django, Cherrypy, Bottle, and Pyramid to build applications in Python easily. With increasing demand for custom big data solutions that demand features to collect, store, analyze and distribute a large amount of structured and unstructured data, Python gives developers the tools for data analysis and visualization as well. Developers can also use specific Python frameworks to add desired functionalities to statistical applications without writing additional code. Python libraries such as NumPy, Pandas, SciPy and Matplotlib further help in simplifying development of big data and statistical applications.Python also has a number of GUI toolkits and frameworks such as Camelot, PyGTK, WxPython, CEF Python etc. that helps developers write standalone GUI applications in Python rapidly.

Python presents itself as a comprehensive programming language that has basic tenets and simple instructions. This increases the level of accuracy and makes it easy to identify mistakes in development. Its simplicity allows developers to create system administrative programs to direct all processes correctly and efficiently as well. Additionally, Python has search-engine-friendly URL’s, making it SEO friendly. Given that it is a free programming language it also reduces upfront project costs. It has a rich web asset bank to support developers and gives developers the capability to combine it with other programming languages and technologies using specific implementations. Given the breadth of its capabilities, it is hardly a surprise that Python today is continuing to rule the development popularity charts. Has your application development turned to Python yet?

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Top Trends Of The Future That Will Drive Mobile Apps

In the past few years, there has been an explosive growth in the number of mobile apps with over 2.1 billion users reportedly having access to smartphones around the world. As per reports from Touchpoint- adults over 25 years use their smartphones almost 264 times a day, which includes both text and calling. The number is even greater among people in the age group between 15-24 at 387 times a day.

The biggest names in all areas of business such as Amazon, Bank of America, and Walmart have been actively using mobile applications for boosting their customer and brand engagement strategies. Even small and mid-sized firms are seen following this trend and mobile application development continues to grow at a rapid pace. In this post let us look at some options available in mobile app development and some future trends for mobile app technologies:

Refresher (Feel free to skip ahead if you know the types of Mobile Apps)

  1. Native Mobile Apps:
    The first thing that comes to the mind while creating mobile apps is a native mobile app which is coded in a specific programming language such as Java for Android or Objective C for IOS. These apps are designed specifically for a particular platform and guarantee high performance with greater reliability to deliver a better user experience.
  2. Hybrid Mobile Apps:
    Hybrid mobile apps can be developed using a combination of technologies such as HTML, CSS, Javascript etc. They can be installed on a device like a native app but they mainly run on a web browser. In 2015, HTML 5 seemed to attract a lot of attention from many leading companies such as Facebook, Xero, and LinkedIn. However, the trend seems to be declining from last year and companies still continue to rely on native apps.
  3. Web Apps:
    Web apps are mainly of three types-traditional, responsive and adaptive. Traditional web apps comprise websites, whereas responsive web apps display a different design when viewed on the mobile devices. The biggest advantage of using web apps is they are developed using some of the most popular languages and to a great extent are cross-platform.So, you with us so far? Now onto the future.
    Trends that will shape the future of mobile apps.
    According to some recent predictions, an estimated 268 million mobile apps are likely to be downloaded this year, generating a revenue of $77 Billion for companies that use them as tools for their businesses. Mobile application development driven by advancements in technology is increasingly becoming a critical part of business success. This makes it critical for businesses to develop a solid vision for the future.

Here are some of the key trends that will change the future of mobile apps:

  • Augmented Reality set to be a game changer:
    In 2016, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality created a revolution in the gaming industry with games such as Pokemon Go, Sky Siege, IOnRoad, and myNav that grew immensely popular. According to statistics from Goldman Sachs Global Investment, the market size of different AR/VR software for various use cases in 2025 would be as follows: Healthcare-$5.1 billion, Engineering-$4.7 billion, Real estate-$2.6 billion, Retail-$1.6 billion. Over the upcoming months get set as AR and VR experiences start appearing more frequently in traditional mobile apps too.
  • IOT and Wearable devices will be in vogue:
    Analysts have predicted that Internet Of Things will continue to grow from $157.05 billion to about $661.74 billion in 2021. As per Gartner’s predictions, there will be over 26 billion connected devices as we approach 2020 which will comprise of hundreds of smart objects including domestic appliances, LED, toys, sports equipment along with electronic devices. Most of these domestic smart objects will be an integral part of IOT and their communication will take place via an app or through smartphone devices.Smartphones could well be the center of a personal area network comprising wearable devices such as sensors, smart watches, display devices such as Google Glass, medical sensors etc.
  • M-commerce trend to remain strong:
    The growing popularity of mobile-based payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet will push the demand for mobile purchases further. A time may come when people will prefer using mobile phones for payment over credit cards or debit cards. Mobile commerce will continue to grow popular in the coming years with wearable devices also playing a crucial role in the growth and future of m-commerce.
  • Cloud-driven mobile apps to grow popular:
    According to reports by Cisco, cloud driven apps will be able to attract 90% of the entire mobile data traffic as we approach 2019. This will result in a compound growth of 60% of mobile cloud traffic over a year. In the coming future, it may not be surprising to see high powered mobile apps able to retrieve data from the cloud and occupy less space in the internal memory of smartphone devices.
  • Micro and enterprise apps to gain wide acceptance:
    The main purpose of enterprise mobile apps is to help businesses manage their processes better. For example, work organizer and planner Evernote. Then there are a plethora of enterprise apps for everything from CRM, to Logistics, and Supply Chain Management, On the other hand, micro apps are focused on a single task to achieve the end results such as Facebook messenger. According to a research by Adobe, 77% of business owners feel that enterprise apps are beneficial to them and over 66% of them are planning to increase their investment in them. As far as micro apps are concerned, they are set to become more popular with some of their excellent features which are targeted, nimble, ad hoc and HTML based. Look for these worlds to come together in the months ahead as Enterprise apps look to recreate a more consumer-like app experience and features.
  • Location-based service to become popular:
    iBeacon from Apple and Beacon from Google are some of the widely-used location-based services now. These are at the vanguard of device data capturing apps. This trend is driving the integration of a growing number of external devices with mobile apps for business benefit. In a recent example, Google acquired Senosis, a company that helps make the phone a device for medical diagnoses.

Conclusion:

The revolution in technology is set to change the future of mobile apps. It will become critical for businesses to embrace these new trends to stay ahead and competitive in their business. Is your mobile app leveraging any of these trends?

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Have you considered JavaScript for your web application?

Application development has been in a constant state of evolution over the last couple of years and continues to evolve. The race is to deliver high-quality applications in the shortest possible time. The focus now is on a complete user experience. This drive is blurring the lines between development and design, paving the way for a sustained focus on front-end development.

Front end development is essentially a method of developing a website that allows the users to interact with it directly and gain access to information that is relevant to them. The goal is to combine programming and the design layout in a manner that powers the interactions of the user. If front end development was to be a car, then all the things you can directly touch and see to run the car such as the accelerator, the brake pedal, the steering wheel and the things that make it a cool drive such as the slick interiors, and the cool car design fall into its purview.

Why is front-end development gathering steam?

Today while it has become infinitely easier to develop great products, it has become that much harder to create products that the users will love and continue to use. In order to create software products that can capture the love of the users, it is now imperative to acquire a deep understanding of the users. This will help to develop a product that can be helpful to address their needs while delivering delightful experiences. With iterative product development becoming more mainstream, product design teams that were usually relegated to their own silo are being compelled to work more collaboratively in the software development ecosystem.

As front end development is picking up speed in software development so are the technologies, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that enable it. In front end development, much of the front end work that defines the look of the web page is done in HTML and CSS. JavaScript is used as the programming language that runs directly within the web browser. Using JavaScript, developers can effectively design code structures that help them build fluid interactions, especially in applications that have complex user interactions.

  1. Manage concurrent operations with ease
    JavaScript helps software developers immensely in developing web applications that need concurrency. Using the event loop programming model, developers can execute multiple instruction sequences at the same time and also handle concurrent operations on a single thread. This saves developer time and effort.
  2. Faster Programming:
    In front end development you can develop the front end interfaces using HTML and CSS. Then in order to build user interaction, developers need to use JavaScript or one of the many JavaScript frameworks such as jQuery, AngularJS, Backbone.js, ReactJS, or Bootstrap. They can streamline complicated commands and make the programming process faster and easier. Given that these frameworks are widely used and easy to learn, finding the right talent is never a problem.
  3. Cross-browser Support:
    Good front end development is not just related to the code but also how the code interacts with the customers. JavaScript has a host of libraries such as jQuery that provide cross-browser support. This ensures that a dynamic web application can be run on any browser without any glitches. These libraries also help in simplifying and standardizing interactions between the JavaScript code and HTML elements. This helps in making web applications that are more dynamic and interactive. Further, JavaScript has several popular engines such as JavaScript V8, Chakra, JavaScriptCore and SpiderMonkey that help server-side development. They compile the JavaScript code to native machine code with ease and gives the language the capabilities of an interpreter, a compiler, and a runtime environment to run in a browser with ease.
  4. Frameworks that provide ease of adding functionalities:
    Adding functionalities to web applications using JavaScript also becomes much easier since the wide range of frameworks have predefined functions. This makes the task of adding functionalities easier and less time-consuming. This also further simplifies the coding process and reduces development time and costs significantly while helping developers develop complex applications easily. For example, using Angular.js, developers can extend HTML vocabulary for custom applications with ease. Developers can also wire up the backend with form validation, deep linking, and server communication as well as create and reuse components.
  5. Responsive Design:
    Since responsive design has become a critical component for web application success, developers need to ensure that the web applications that they design are device agnostic and can respond correctly to all form factors. Here too, JavaScript frameworks such as ReactJS, Angular.js come to the rescue and provide a host of options that make responsive application development convenient and efficient.
  6. Universal/Isomorphic JavaScript:
    Universal/Isomorphic JavaScript is gaining prominence today as it allows rendering of pages both on the client and the server side. This isomorphism helps in better application maintainability, better application performance, and better Search Engine Optimization. Using JavaScript framework Node.js, it is also possible to write code that renders both on the browser and the server. Having this one set of code makes application maintenance much easier and allows developers reuse same libraries and utilities on both the server and the browser using libraries such as Underscore.js, Request etc.

In the fast evolving web application development landscape, JavaScript provides developers a comprehensive ecosystem to develop web applications that are smarter and create an impact. With JavaScript, developers get access to the right set of tools that help them create functionalities and UI’s. They can craft experiences that help in turning innovative ideas into successfully executed web applications that can capably capture the interest of the users – even amidst all the noise that surrounds them.

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How to Decide on the Best CMS for Your eCommerce Site?

It has never been easier to build an online presence than today. Even online stores today are mimicking the experience of the brick and mortar stores with product displays, and images very close to the real thing. eCommerce merchants understand that the online shopping experience has to go beyond the simple product browsing and shopping cart functionalities. In order to keep today’s informed customer engaged, they have to use informative content to make their online store interesting to shop in. While the product display is important, it is equally important to have great content to complement the product for better customer engagement. The content becomes the primary spokesperson in an eStore. Retailers such as Marks & Spencer and bike retailer Wiggle are showing how to engage with their customers by giving them the relevant advice that they need. In order to do so, they have to employ a powerful Content Management System(CMS) to deliver consistent experiences. However, CMS is not exclusively about content. It also needs to deal with a range of complex functions without compromising on usability for those in charge of managing and updating content. The question then is, with a plethora of CMS options out there, how can you ensure that you are making the right choice?

Why use a CMS?
A CMS offers eCommerce sites the power of scalability, flexibility, extensibility, reliability, and security. As an eCommerce site grows it needs to store the increasing volume of content in a database in an organized manner so that it can be manipulated easily. As the sophistication of eCommerce consumers increases, eTailers must ensure that the content changes according to the visitor and should ensure that dynamic content can be woven into static content without compromising on the UI and display. eCommerce providers also need to ensure that the site is secure and runs reliably. Additionally, they also need to ensure that they can improve site performance while adding add-ons. All these things can be managed easily using a powerful CMS.

How to decide which CMS to use?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the CMS choice. Some of these are:

  1. Business Goals:
    As with every other aspect of the business, when making a CMS selection, it is imperative that you keep the business goals in mind. You must take stock of the target audience and multichannel demands and identify internationalization and language needs to ensure that the site displays correctly. It is important to assess future trends and define how you want the online business to grow. Assessing the existing information management practices and having a ready checklist of the desired functions and features also helps to fine-tune the CMS selection process.
  2. Technical Knowledge:
    When exploring CMS solutions take a look at the technical competency of the team who will be using and managing it. There are CMS solutions that are apt for people who are proficient in CSS and HTML. At the same time, there also are CMS offerings for people with limited technical knowledge or even those who have no idea about coding and despite this the CMS allows them to customize the website easily.
  3. Feature Assessment:
    All CMS platforms come with their own set of features that are either built-in or can be added using add-ons or plug-ins. Assessing the kind of features your eCommerce site demands, understanding which of these features will differentiate you from the competitor, what eCommerce capabilities does the CMS platform offer, ease of adding plug-ins for added functionalities etc. are just a few of the CMS features to consider. It’s also key to assess the automated functions and processes such as stock control, invoice generation, order monitoring capabilities, product views, catalog management, cross-selling or upselling capabilities, payment and delivery management etc. of the CMS options at hand before making a decision.
  4. Customization Capabilities:
    Does the CMS under evaluation offer the eCommerce portal the power of customization and personalization? The CMS solution should offer interactive elements such as quizzes, feedback forms etc. and have the capability to automatically tie these into the customers’ experiences. It should also be able to auto-generate content based on user preferences in on-page locations, be able to refine and streamline displays, send emails and updates in response to user behaviors etc. The CMS should also offer one-to-one marketing capabilities for better personalization.Additionally, the CMS should offer its users the capability to create group permissions, directly edit code, create custom forms, without impacting the entire system negatively. These were areas that previously were under the exclusive control of the developer. The CMS should also integrate easily with third-party applications to enable competitive advantage.
  5. Technology Demands:
    When selecting a CMS, it is essential to flesh out the technical demands of the site and evaluate its compatibility with the existing technology stack in use. For example, if the eCommerce site is built using PHP and you have a team proficient in that language, choosing a CMS that works on a PHP platform would make more sense than say, choosing Demandware. It also makes sense to see if the CMS platform offers an integration with the existing ERP or warehousing solution etc. to reduce overhead costs.
  6. Deployment Infrastructure:
    Take into account the deployment infrastructure when choosing a CMS. A cloud-based CMS does not demand any IT infrastructure investment and allows eCommerce portals to focus on the business. At the same time, when looking at the infrastructure, it makes sense to take a stock of the traffic and bandwidth demands, the time taken for backups and updates etc. and ensure that the CMS provides the right support so that the site performance does not suffer due to latency on CMS deployments.
  7. Speed, Scalability, and Flexibility:
    Identifying how fast the CMS can render content, if it can operate in different environments or if it is OS specific, can it handle huge spikes in traffic and scale easily, can you create multi-server environments that mirror each other for load balancing etc. become key points of assessment. Then there is the speed of deployment -assess how easy the CMS is to install, setup and configure and identify the time it would take to do that and whether that meets your needs.
  8. Architecture Flexibility:
    Does the CMS under evaluation offer control over the templating system? Assessing the kind of control the CMS offers is important as it helps the users create a unique brand identity easily. Control over the templating system could be simple like editing existing templates easily and can extend to working outside of a template structure altogether. A CMS that offers architectural flexibility provides development freedom to its users from a set template structure and helps them create a differentiated design experience for their clients.
  9. Mobile Support:
    Today smartphones account for 45.1% of all eCommerce traffic. By the end of 2017, this number is expected to cross 60%. When making a CMS choice, it, therefore, becomes absolutely imperative to see that it offers responsive mobile support. This will allow you to reach the customers seamlessly irrespective of the device they are using. It should also offer API connectivity so when you choose to develop a mobile app, the application can connect easily with the CMS platform data making it easier to implement.

That’s already a pretty long list – and it’s not done yet. When making a CMS choice, evaluating the security features it offers is a must to ensure that data integrity or bug attacks do not affect site performance. Then there are factors like developer and custom application support, ease of upgrades, and many more to factor in based on your specific needs. The choice is not easy – mainly because it is such a critical element of your eCommerce success. When faced with this decision we hope this post will help you draw up your own evaluation criteria – and if you need help then do not hesitate to ping us!

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The Business Case for Startups to Outsource Software Development

Skype, Klout, GitHub, Basecamp, MySQL are just a few examples of startups who successfully outsourced their software development and grew to become billion dollar organizations. Why did they follow this path, can your startup go the same way?

“Alone, we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Hellen Keller

With technological advancements and the rise of digitization, the world has become smaller and increasingly interconnected. Add new emerging markets and the rise of a skilled workforce and the case for companies looking to outsource software development becomes quite strong. There has been over a period of time a lot of discussion over whether a startup should outsource software development – some say that it is hard to find reliable vendors. Other say managing timelines and an offshore team poses as a challenge. Though these concerns are not unfounded it is also true that once you find the right outsourcing partner there are some clear benefits to be had.

Startups are always walking a tightrope. With limited resources, both financial and human, it does make sense to focus on the core business and outsource the rest. It is also a reality that the software product development environment is in a constant state of flux. The ‘it’ technology of yesterday could be no longer viable for the product that you are trying to create. Platform demands keep changing. Development methodologies evolve… Startups doing product development in-house may get dragged into the many operational aspects of the development and the other aspects of building the business such as identifying markets, business opportunities or revenue sources can get lost.

Let’s face it, the proof of the pudding for a startup will lie in the end product. And who makes a great product? A crack team of technical professionals. It’s by no means certain that a startup will be able to find, hire, and retain such top talent – the founders apart, of course.

So, the fundamental grounds for startups to outsource their software development is apparent. What are the actual benefits that they can reap from doing so though?

  1. Lower Development Costs:
    Hiring a team of experts can cost quite a pretty penny. Plus, the buck doesn’t stop with hiring an in-house team. You also have to spend some time investing in the right infrastructure, building processes and delivery methodologies and in training. By outsourcing, a startup can almost reduce its development cost by half since they do not need to incur any of these expenses.Even in the rank and file developers, cost advantages can accrue. Labour arbitrage has traditionally been one of the accepted advantages of outsourcing. Research from Aberdeen Group shows that outsourcing software development activities cost approximately “30- 65% less than in-house development initiatives.”While being face to face with your developers seems good, it is no longer a necessity. With mobile and internet technology evolving at the pace it is, doing business with anyone across the globe has become convenient. Having geographically distributed software teams is now par for the course anyway. Scrums, meetings to discuss product features, design, or other inquiries, can easily be done using collaboration tools or video conferencing.
  2. Access to Technology Experts:
    It is getting increasingly common to get horses for courses, the right expert for a specific task, during the development process. Perhaps among of the greatest advantages of outsourcing for a startup is the kind of access they can gain to an array of technology experts. Working with an established outsourcing organization gives you access to highly skilled technology experts whose contribution would help in developing a stronger, feature-rich and robust software product. These experts can also help in identifying ways to make the product better, and assess if the product can be developed in other cost effective ways. The advantage here is that the technology expert can be brought in for a specified period of time to perform a particular task without any long term commitment and the associated costs.
  3. Team Scaling:
    While the thought of an in-house development team sounds enticing, the reality is this restricting when startups need to ramp up teams or scale down because of the demands of the business. Hiring trained developers is not easy and is time-consuming and overstaffing is costly. Outsourcing gives startups the flexibility to add resources or reduce them according to the speed of development, project demands, and time-to-market amongst other considerations.
  4. Partner for Growth:
    There are many outsourcing companies that instead of a pure fee-based model, are willing opt for working on more innovative partnership models. Many are willing to offer their services for a stake in the company. The money saved can be used for other activities such as marketing and sales. This model works to the advantage of the startup as their outsourcing vendors become invested in the success of the company and partners in their progress. All the typical concerns that startups looking to outsource harbor, such as commitment, product quality, delivery timelines, communication etc. get resolved easily with this level of partnership.

All this, of course, presupposes that the outsourcing company will provide timely delivery of service, is resourceful in identifying new solutions and executing them expertly, and has deep technical implementation skills. Since no two development companies are the same, look for one who shares your vision and is willing to work with you as a partner. A great software product then becomes a natural consequence of this partnership.

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