|1. Predicting upcoming trends in web development 20161.1.Background images
1.2.Card based design
1.3.Digital first branding
Web development has entered into an exciting phase as it enters 2016. It is going through a complete makeover and hence it becomes interesting to predict what awaits us in 2016. As time rides by, a lot of visual information and graphic appeal becomes defunct. So what would stay and to what shall we bid farewell remains an important question at this juncture? What are we looking forward to then in terms of look, content, branding and data management? Seems like 2016 is the year when a lot of elements of the webpage shall see the new and bury the old. Lets run over the contents quickly.
Website speed and performance have become one of the primary factors as we approach 2016. With internet spreading across the globe and reaching out to the remotest corners of the planet, the web is being served on portable platforms. High quality background images are going to be a matter of the past. Innovations in typography are expected as they will be required to replace the background images. So say hello to your blank background and say yes to speed, better performance and better text.
This brings us to the point of the “almost flat design approach”. It is not that it is a new trend for background images to take the backseat – we have been gradually reaching this point over some good period of time. The following image illustrates the almost flat design approach. In this, the idea of a complete flat design is negated by using depth to elements to create a sort of balance and appeal.
Back in 2014, high quality images were the trend and it had gained its share of popularity only to take the downfall in 2015. By 2016, we expect the same trend to continue.
|What stays? - Innovative typography
– Interesting illustrations
– Almost flat design
|What Goes? - High quality background images
– Flat design
– Huge size content
The card based design is indeed the current trend now and it shall only continue to be so. In this re-architecture of the web, cards enable the user to create a personalized space with individual content. With internet gradually shifting from computers to tablets, from laptops to the mobile phone, the card based design has become a great design pattern. Already the big guns like Twitter and Google have made the move to cards. The Google Search has become more personalized with the introduction of Google cards in mobile phones.
In the evolution of the modern civilization, cards have always played an important role in trade, celebrations, funerals and intimate events. Hence there is a psychological impact made by the cards as they enable the user to have an intimate space within the larger scope of the world wide web. In the fast paced pay per click world, cards have become story telling agents and effectively push stories quickly. The success story of Pininterest highlights the impact of the card based design. 2016 shall just see more of it as more websites take the baton and move to cards.
So, say hello to more information in less time.
|What stays?- Card Design
– Personalized content
Brands do no longer work if they haven’t yet embraced the digital revolution. Brand retention value has been transfigured and digitized. 2016 sees the same trend as it reaches its culmination point and more brands take the plunge into digitizing themselves.
According to Aberdeen research, a 336% quicker conversion rate of vistor to buyer year over year has been achieved by companies that use mobile touch points. The customer lifetime value also increases by 4.8% v/s the 0.3 % for those who do not acknowledge the digitization move.
Digital first branding enables users to interact with brands which adds value to the relationship between a customer and a brand. The rules of branding have definitely changed and web development shall have to appreciate the same and adapt. A swipe to new information is now deemed more personal and interactive than a static piece of information. New advances in UI design shall be accompanied with enhanced interactive tools. Be ready for the micro-experience.
|What stays?- Interactive UI design
– Flexible branding options
|What Goes?- Fixed rules of brand creation
– Brand identity
It is a historic moment to quote that open data has become a reality. According to a report in the “The Guardian”, open data has entered digital policy packages and transparency initiatives across the developed countries. There are still setbacks to the same but open data has a bright future. In predicting upcoming trends in web development, 2016 open data ranks as one of the pioneers that shall redeem its true value and importance. It’s been 5 years since the first pan global meet on open data took place in Warsaw and now it is here to stay to offer public service and value.
Responsive Design Evolved
This has already reached its culmination point and yet it shall keep continuing being the industry standard. With new inventions coming up and newer platforms being accessed for the web, responsive design is a pre-requisite for every website. The focus area in responsive design has been navigation. The input method is expected to go through a change in the 2016. Audio input already exists in the form of Siri and hence with the rise of wearables like the Apple Watch, even other sensory inputs shall be involved. From screen agnosticism we shall gradually move to screen independence.
With the almost flat design approach to the web, a flash of colors to add depth and visual appeal will be the trend. Websites will become more vibrant with various interesting color schemes. Look forward to vibrant headers and quirky illustrations painted in a flat backdrop with a range of colors.
What’s hot in 2016 might not be in 2017. Till then, let’s hope the predictions roll for good as web development ages by another year. The future of web development can be safely translated as a trend of an interactive user experience.
Enterprises have now understood the potential in the cloud. The cloud that serves the business with more self service ability and elasticity is now on high demand. As enterprises successfully make the transition and move their applications and services to the cloud, they are still left with a bigger issue which they cannot neglect – these enterprises haven’t been shifted their mission critical applications to the cloud. These applications for most of the enterprises are still pocketed in their own data center hosted by their servers. Hence as a reality check it hasn’t been possible for harnessing the cloud advantage to its full extent.
Where do Enterprises Go Wrong?
Is is important for enterprises to fix this issue and complete the transition. It has to be understood also that it is not a simple job to move these mission critical applications. Security is the highest concern. It also involves the availability of the technology to support these apps. Since the cloud is still going through its maturing phase, there’s scepticism as well as complexity involved in making the shift. This has created a gap in strategy between the critical apps and the non critical apps.
However, this too shall pass. New innovations in cloud technology to meet the demands of the mission critical apps are already around. With time, a more mature and stable phase of cloud shall emerge which will make it more convenient for enterprises to move their critical apps to the cloud. Then the benefits of cost, efficiency and agility will come a full circle and not be limited to non critical apps.
Let’s try to understand as to how enterprises can make the complete transition before their competitors start making benefits out of the same. The approach to cloud services definitely needs to shift from infrastructure to application-centric(SAAS Application Development). Lets outline the 3 steps involved in reaching out to our goal:
Identify a new route to availability
High availability is the first key and is absolutely non-negotiable. But then if we look at the recent Microsoft’s Azure cloud service outage, we can see for ourselves the downside of high availability. If you think that spotty availability is the only obstacle, then you are wrong.
- It’s therefore important to chart new route to availability rather than looking at it as a one way street.
- The orthodox hardware based infrastructure centric approach doesn’t match with the fluid dynamics of the cloud environment.
- The application centric approach comes into use now when we approach availability with the concept of software defined availability. Recovery becomes much more simplified via this approach.
This minimizes the risk involved in moving the critical apps to the cloud and doesn’t require any re-engineering. Also it is a time and cost effective approach. This simplifies most of the complexity involved in the transition.
Strengthen the orchestration abilities
Orchestrating the cloud resources is the next step for a successful transition. Exact pocketing of data where it needs to be(the right time, the right place aphorism) is taken care by strong orchestration capabilities. Its noteworthy to point out that critical applications do not have a static requirement. They are also fluid in nature and do not remain mission critical at every point of the timeline.
For example in a Christmas season, a payment processing application becomes critical and during the start of every month, financial services in the form of salary transactions become critical. Hence scalability needs to be incorporated according to the need and time.
- A dynamic application configuration approach will also reduce the need for rewriting applications.
- Dynamic orchestration in the cloud enables deployment of an application only when that degree of maximum availability is required.
- Without any interruption of any services, this saves money and effectively manages the computing resources.
Tapping open source technologies
Open source definitely cuts down on costs. Proprietary technology always bring along with it expensive licenses, fees and miscellaneous expenses.
- Tapping open source technologies like Linux, Kernel-based Virtual Machine, OpenStack can drastically change the ball game and make cloud services more profitable than they otherwise were.
- These technologies also provide the enterprise with software defined availability and allow strong orchestration.
Open source technology is here to stay and is only bound to grow. Hence harnessing the power at the earliest would be a wise business policy.
To be a step ahead in the race for cloud applications, the critical apps need to be immediately moved to the cloud. It is indeed a complex and a risky affair but then with the right kind of approach the risks can be minimized. Before the competitors fasten their belts, enterprises need to make the move and look forward to having a successful transition to the cloud. With cloud getting into its mature stage, the prospects only look brighter. The traditional methods of hosting applications need to be given up for good and cloud needs to be embraced in the most effective way possible. The leap to the cloud is easy if done the right way.
Remember to tickmark the following before making that move:
|1. Application centric approach
|2. Software defined availability
|3. Develop strong orchestration abilities
|4. Open Source
How does an organization manage its resources? We’ve seen organizations fumbling at the basic points. The common mistake is to aim bigger when you’re not prepared for it. You cannot fight Goliath without being prepared. Your organizational strategy needs to be different and needs to be tailored to what you need.
In a competitive scenario, you will need to be prepared to fight the basics. For instance, you will need to have to decide between outsourcing projects versus choosing the seemingly more reliable option of staff augmentation. Here is a look at what a normal IT Consulting firm has to take care for instance.
For them, staff training is important, as well as the question of security. Staff augmentation can take care of both these incidents but it might not be able to solve network or software issues that the in-house team cannot handle. For that, they might need to outsource the projects.
What is Staff Augmentation?
Staff augmentation can be a great way to reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies. If you’re looking to expand strategically and are looking for more human resource, staff augmentation is the way to go. Staff augmentation refers to where can add in staff to your organization as you want. Staff augmentation refers to adding in staff as per the needs of the company. You do not permanently hire the employees so you can scale up and down as needed, offering you the flexibility to manage important projects and needs as well as avoiding the liabilities of hiring full time employees. After the work is complete, the staff will no longer need to be paid by the employer.
What is Project Outsourcing?
Suppose you’ve a specific task that needs to be done. You might not have the staff expertise to do it. This can put you in a dilemma. What do you do to ensure that you’re right on track with the project? Project outsourcing helps outsource specific tasks and resources with other people or agencies. Sometimes, project outsourcing can even take the shape of staff augmentation, but in a different way. Let’s say you outsource the work to Company B, which uses staff augmentation in its own workplace to complete it.
The wrong strategy can have an effect on employee morale. For one, the wrong HR strategy made an employee vent his frustration on the company, equating employees with staff augmentation. A recent survey stated that the outsourcing market in the U.K. is expected to grow, with service providers meeting expectations more often than not. The survey, carried out by Whitelane Research in collaboration with PA Consulting Group, had 69% of respondents stating that they will increase the amount of IT services that they get from their service providers.
So, which one’s the better option?
That’s the billion-dollar question. It’s like asking, should I prefer a Chocolate or a Strawberry cake. You need a strategy that can help you complete your projects on time and within budget.
Let’s talk about investing in project outsourcing while not compromising on staff augmentation. Here is a table for what works for both and where they lack in.
||Great for having control over staff and ensuring quality and confidentiality. Everything remains within the organization.
||Great for doing specific tasks that require to be completed asap but there might be a need of confidential information sharing – which can go wrong at times.
||Requires staff expertise which means that you will have to invest in training staff.
||Can directly go for assigning tasks and not worry about training and other related costs.
||Greater integration with internal processes and understanding company culture, helping offer better products. Management overhead costs can increase though.
||Can make use of the best practices without being hindered by organizational bottlenecks. The ignorance of the company culture can also be a downside. Management overhead costs can be eliminated.
||Great for handling rapidly changing staff needs and improving internal skill development. However, staff can get to know the in-house working methodologies without being a permanent employee.
||Extremely easy when it comes to scalability. Keeps the focus on the business and helps in procuring the right talent for the right needs, without wasting time with training staff for project needs that only rise periodically.
||Less employer burdens as staff can be scaled up and down as needed to meet project deadlines without worrying about normal employee liabilities.
||Significantly reduces the cost burden as you only pay for the work. Great for one-off or periodic tasks but not that right a choice if the work required is a regular one.
||Great if you’ve a long term project and are looking to hire staff specific to that project.
||Better suited for strict deadlines that are urgent as it can take time to build staff and train them.
||Larger projects and smaller projects can both be looked after with staff augmentation
||Great value if you will need some expertise in larger value projects and can outsource part of the tasks that your team is not experienced in.
PHP web development has always been a complex and time consuming task. But not anymore!
This is all thanks to high-end PHP frameworks.
Agile application development is now not only easy, but it is also faster.
These high-end PHP frameworks come to your rescue when time is a big issue and you want to implement those high-end functionalities in your application in the least possible time.
Image credit: Flickr
This is thus the time that you need to look at popular PHP frameworks.
Without any delay, let us take a look at the top PHP frameworks that would help you develop agile and secure applications.
Packed with a lot of interesting features, a tempting engine and other development related stuff, Laravel provides your application with a reliable and tested environment.
Painless routing, a robust library and powerful ORM along with simple authentication are some of the features that make Laravel the first choice for developers.
- Allows you to easily manage third-party packages with its tool composer.
- Has an easy to comprehend syntax.
- Eliminates testing hassles with its built-in unit testing.
- Allows you to manage client and server routes through Restful routing.
- Provides you with the flexibility to craft enthusiasts’ small businesses into big enterprise applications all in one go!
Named as one of the fastest PHP frameworks that the industry has ever witnessed, Phalcon provides you with an array of features.
They include asset management, security and translations, which make it one of the most preferred MVC frameworks boosted by PHP.
Consider Phalcon to develop micro application and high-end MVC applications with multi modules.
- Easy to grasp and learn.
- More cost effective than other frameworks.
- Allows you to use selected objects or a whole framework due to its loosely coupled nature.
- Has a powerful design.
- Has neat API.
- Allows you to easily create software through the direct injection feature of Phalcon.
Symfony 2 is another PHP framework that you can choose to build websites and web applications. Witnessing 1,000,000 downloads till date; Symfony is currently backed up by an amazing support of 300,000 developers.
- Allows easy configuration with event dispatcher and dependency injectors.
- Allows for easy customisation as per your needs.
- Allows you to deploy a micro framework and there is thus no need to deal with the entire framework.
- Is highly extensible.
- Validate roles easily and helps you boost productivity.
Yii is another high-performance framework. The beauty of this framework lies in its features that allow you to focus on the code while all the messy work can be managed behind the scenes.
Although many tasks in Yii are automated, you might still have to dig through the framework a bit more to know it inside out.
- Is equipped with a powerful caching system for loading the web applications quickly.
- Integrates with third-party codes easily. And, guess what, the codes from the Zend and Pear frameworks can also be used in the Yii web application.
- Is a highly secured framework. It boosts some advanced security measures, such as injection attacks, cross-site scripting and input validation.
- Has RBAC-based built-in authentication support.
- Is highly compatible with Ajax and jQuery which allows you to create highly scalable and versatile UIs.
- Can easily be integrated with both relational and non-relational databases.
Zend is the preferred PHP framework if you want to build a high performing web application. Packed with secure coding tools, the Zend framework showcases various important features, such as extensibility and modularity.
- Has highly deployable API-centric applications.
- Follows an agile design methodology.
- Has a drag-and-drop editor.
- Has instant debugging.
- Includes PHP unit testing tools.
Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing a PHP Framework
What do you expect from the framework?
Even though familiarity is an important element when choosing a framework, functionality should also be considered.
This is because a CMS might not be suitable for an eCommerce application. You must thus first relax and analyse your requirements. Only thereafter can you proceed to compare the myriad of options that are available to you.
What about the documentation?
Always choose and go for a framework that comes with a lot of documentation and training. You never know when you might need it!
No matter how much expertise you have in a framework, it always appears to be hazy six months down the line. Under such circumstances, documentation comes to the rescue.
Does the framework have an active user base and is it actively being developed?
Writing code that is not perfectly coupled with your chosen framework is time consuming.
At that time, you are left with only two choices: Stay with the framework and continue to do its maintenance all by yourself or simply do the coding again with a new framework.
Neither choice is favourable nor should you thus always take a look at the framework’s community and active user base before you settle on one.
Still puzzled about which one to choose for PHP web development? This table might help!
So, which framework do you plan to choose for PHP development?
PHP and ASP.NET are definitely not new to the web development industry.
They have both been major contributors to website and enterprise applications for many years now.
Python, Django, Ruby on Rails and a lot of others have challenged their survival.
But these two languages have always emerged stronger, all thanks to the feature set that they possess and the flexibility that they provide to developers.
PHP development and ASP.NET development have been in a neck and neck competition with each other for the title as the best.
And have thus forced CTOs and enterprise owners to make the difficult decision of which one to choose for their enterprise application?
So let us find out more about these two languages!
ASP.NET and PHP at a Glance
Active Server Page (also known as ASP) is scripting language mainly used on the server side which was developed by Microsoft.
Image credit: Flickr
It is a more powerful server side language and hosts an array of features, including links to the backend, session, and state management, and handling request and response parameters.
How Does ASP.NET Work?
You request an ASP page which is on a server and the corresponding page fetches the information from the database.
This then dynamically generates the HTML code for you to present your requested data and it sends it to you to view in a browser.
PHP is a scripting language. PHP is mostly found embedded with HTML code, or is even served as a standalone program.
It processes the code using an interpreter in the web server or Common Gateway Interface (CGI). PHP can also be used as a command line scripting in GUI applications. It has the ability to be integrated with various database systems.
ASP.NET Development vs PHP Development – Which One to Choose for Enterprise Applications?
ASP.NET and PHP are both versatile languages used in larger web application development and have the ability to scale a lot. Each has its own strengths to support your application.
The choice between the two should be based on your application and its environmental parameters, such as traffic, scaling, and cost.
The size of your business is an important factor to consider when deciding which language you should go for.
Firstly, PHP was essentially designed as a web language, while ASP.NET was crafted for designing enterprise applications.
Secondly, ASP.NET is easy at scaling and easily gears big projects, while smaller projects work better in PHP. Furthermore, ASP.NET has industrial strength, which provides robustness and power to your application.
PHP is an open source language and runs on any open source platform which overtakes ASP, since ASP is cost-effective and requires larger resources and more support than PHP.
Time is also another big factor to consider. PHP is easy to deploy and develop. It is easier to install and set up on development machines than ASP.
ASP.NET requires huge libraries to be integrated, while PHP is simple to use with basic options.
ASP.NET also only supports Internet Information Server (IIS) servers, while PHP supports various servers.
ASP.NET furthermore uses server space and accessing the data every time from the server makes its performance suffer.
Since PHP uses built-in memory, it is easy to access the data faster and so PHP stands at the top due to its faster execution.
Here is a quick comparison table that will help you better understand the differences between the two.
Both languages are good in their way. It is up to the business types to choose the one that is best suited for them.
If cost is not a factor and your application is huge, you can go for ASP.NET Development.
If you are a startup or a small-sized business where cost is a huge factor, it would be best to choose an open source language like PHP.
So which one did you choose?
Amazon is not only about the online marketplace anymore and has more to it!
With Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon not only helps you by improving your wardrobe, but also helps you with your cloud application development too!
AWS is by far the best way you could host your application on the cloud.
Hosting an application using AWS has many advantages.
First of all, it is highly reliable.
Secondly, it has cost effective computing resources on which you could host your application.
It also has various components which make your application hosting process a lot easier and more flexible.
This is perhaps one of the reasons why you need to host your application with AWS.
AWS Components that Make Your Application Hosting Experience worth It
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
Commonly known as Amazon EC2, this component offers compute capacity in the cloud which is actually resizable. It also gives you APIs and full management consoles so that you can manage the computer resources.
Amazon Simple Storage Service
This component offers a web services interface that is easy to use and that can save and retain any quantity of data from anywhere around the world at any given time. It is easily available, safe and has good durability.
Amazon Relational Database Service
Commonly known as Amazon RDS, this component eases the whole setting up process and operation and can scale databases in the cloud that are relational.
It offers a resizable database capacity while simultaneously handling databases of administration works that are time consuming.
Amazon Cloud Front gives a content delivery system that is globally distributed and of great performance.
Your app could make use of this component to effortlessly share stream content with less latency and a greater data transfer pace.
Amazon Simple Queue Services
This component gives a highly secured queuing system with high performance. It gives you a chance to distribute the work among the application processes.
Amazon Devpay can be used for services related to account management and online billing that would ease your way through the selling of applications.
It is not only those components that make AWS what it is! AWS is further recommended because it has a lot of advantages.
Advantages of AWS Hosting
AWS was designed while keeping in mind the vision of all application providers, vendors, and ISVs who should be able to quickly and safely host their applications.
Irrespective of the kind of applications being hosted, whether existing ones or SaaS based, you can always use the AWS management console or web services APIs.
These are aptly documented in order to gain access to the application hosting platform of AWS.
AWS will allow you to choose the operating system, web application platform, programming language, database and various services you require.
Using AWS, you can access a virtual atmosphere that would allow you to load the services and software that the application needs.
This also makes the migration process easier for applications that already exist, while also conserving options for building other solutions.
The only expenditure you will have is the electricity and other resources that you would use. Since there are no contracts that last for a long time and upfront commitments, AWS is highly cost effective.
When you use AWS, you are exposed to the benefits of a secure global computing infrastructure that is very reliable and scalable.
Incidentally, this happens to be the virtual spine of Amazon’s online businesses that rake in billions of dollars.
You can easily scale your application up or down, depending on the demand. This can be done by using AWS tools, elastic load balancing as well as auto scaling.
Supported by the enormous infrastructure that Amazon has, you can easily avail access to storage and computing resources whenever you require them.
AWS uses an end to and characteristic to safeguard and harden the infrastructure which includes operational, software and physical measures.
Okay, so now you have decided to host your application on AWS. But how are you going to do it?
Since doing it yourself might be a risky and time consuming task, resorting to AWS implementation specialists would be the best solutions.
Why Hire an AWS Implementation Specialist for Cloud Solution Development?
From elastic block storage to the type of performance that can be expected, an AWS professional knows it all.
Furthermore, you cannot take the risk of backing up your data in the wrong way. Only a professional and well experienced developer knows the art of using the snapshot facility via API call and about other techniques.
It is better that you leave a few tasks to only be done by them.
Do You Know about Server Management Skills?
AWS is all about cloud computation and you cannot expect yourself to be a master of all trades.
It takes a considerable amount of time and monitoring the health of the server and various tools are used for that which you might not be aware of.
While AWS is still in its infant stage, the service is definitely giving startups a tailspin!
So, when do you plan to host your application with AWS? Do you have any questions or points to add here?