While building a multifaceted and interactive web application, architects and developers are usually met with the challenge of performance, maintainability and modularity and are in constant need of a set of frameworks that can act like a backbone to their project and help them knock-out all the glitches in the process.
These frameworks provide a multitude of functions and help make it easier and more achievable for developers to create responsive, fluid and maintainable interfaces for web apps.
There has been a great surge in MV* frameworks over the past few years and the list of new and stable frameworks continues to grow each year.
The most established frameworks are Backbone.js and AngularJS, while the ones that have experienced the most growth in the last year are AngularJS, Meteor, Ember.js and Knockout.
This framework typically works by first reading the HTML page and then interpreting the custom tag attributes as a directive to connect the input and output parts of the page to a model represented by standard JS variables.
It is also worth noting that the values of these variables can be manually set within the parameters of the code or can be retrieved from JSON resources.
The rationale behind building AngularJS is the common belief that declarative programming is ideal for creating user interfaces and connecting components together, whereas imperative programming is well suited for business logics. All this innovation does not, however, rule out the flip side of the framework.
When it comes to the pain points, AngularJS is largely criticised for the complexity of the directives API. What confuses developers is the concept of ‘Transclusion’ which makes it challenging for them to understand the underlying concepts of compiling functions, pre/post linking functions and all other configuration settings for directives.
The newest addition to the flock, Ember.js, is the modular framework that is now used for creating scalable single-page applications by combining common idioms and best practices into the framework.
It is capable of inferring much of the configuration on its own and can create a controller for your resource, even when you don’t define one yourself.
However, what concerns developers is the fact that much of the content and examples in Ember.js no longer work and this confuses them when first using the framework.
Using a simplified model of even-driven programming, developers can build highly scalable web servers using callbacks to notify them when a task is complete.
The drawbacks of using Node.js is the tonnes of nested callbacks and the use of single thread. It means that, unlike pre-emptive concurrency, programmers will have to figure out how to deal with concurrency. Some issues with regard to API stability have also been reported by developers.
Another challenge with using Node.js is the newness of the framework. Not every developer is well aware of the pain points of working with a large-scale Node.js application until the language is thoroughly road tested and made error free.
Developers with an MVC programming background in Ruby, Python, Java, C# or any other object- oriented language may find Ember. js’s holistic approach a viable option for application programming.
For those who prefer to work in the non-blocking, even driven I/I paradigm, Node.js is the best.
Lastly, AngularJS’s innovative approach makes a lot of sense to developers who are working for quick prototyping projects and large-scale production applications.
So, which is your favourite framework? Do you have any points to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
Most organizations receive chunks of information. Some come from the customer service, some from their IT department and some from their market research team. This information might be random, anything from having a person’s name to his bill details. This random sets of information can start to make sense if organizations can organize this information correctly.
Companies can do well to interlink data that are similar – to be able to strategize better and understand their customers in a better way – a thing we commonly refer to as Big data.
What are we talking about, what is BIG data?
Organizations store data under different heads. Some relate to customer details, some relate to customer mail ID, and some relate to customer needs. Every bit of data is important, but it is useless until it is organized, processed and reduced to simpler forms so to make a sense out of it.
This data can be in the form of text, images, audio, videos – anything imaginable. Most of it would not make sense individually. However, put together in a certain way, they offer useful insights that can offer a detailed knowledge about the observed aspect. Combine your customers birth date with his personal taste and you might just understand how you can help him more with your products or services.
The term BIG DATA refers to large sets of data that are enormously large to be processed by the conventional methods of sorting and thus requires a smarter system to analyze, collect, share, store and simplify.
A system needs to process this data. It is this need that brought up the development of Relational Database Management systems and Hadoop and MongoDB – two big names in the Big Data market.
Talking about Hadoop
Hadoop is a Java-based open source software, developed by the Apache Software foundation in 2011. It is designed to store and process a large amount of data sets on computer clusters.
It consists of HDFS (Hadoop distributed file system), the storage part and the MapReduce, the processing part. The HDFS splits large data blocks into the nodes of the cluster, and this received data is processed parallelly through the package code that manipulates the data so to work efficiently and carry the process.
The data is acquired from the various sources, and these data bits are then passed to a system program that allocates locations to each data bit. These data bits carry this indexed data and move forward in the line to the processing unit. Here the data is harvested and is redirected to the intended nodes that carry the data to different locations to be stored. The program is equipped with the feature to prevent data loose, and machine failure, and so multiple copies of this data is produced and stored at different locations. The data transfer takes place through some reserved protocols and lines so to ensure security and prevent data corruption.
Networks like Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon use these cluster networks for data accumulation.
MongoDB brings solution to the data management hazard
MongoDb also called the NOSQL database, is a cross-platform database management system. Released in 2009 by the MongoDB Inc, this platform has made integration of data much simpler and faster. This is a free and open source software.
This software works as the back-end for many applications. This is among the popular NOSQL database management systems and enterprises like eBay, Craigslist and Viacom use this software for their services.
It utilizes document-oriented approach for data management. This means instead of creating copies of the data and saving it in a different location; this software stores the data in minimum space and least number of documents. Related documents like salary, employee id, and expenses for an enterprise would be compiled into a single document file, and this will not only make data easily available but also easy to manage records. Multiple copies of this compilation are produced to maintain a backup. Also, the read and write operations are initially performed on the primary copies, and the secondary copies remain unaffected until the temporary commands are made permanent. Thus, it can be concluded that the secondary replicas or the document are the read-only type.
Hadoop or MongoDB: A choice too difficult to make?
Both the platforms work on contradicting approaches. Hadoop works on the concept of distributing the data and creating multiple copies while MongoDB defines its algorithm by compiling all the related data into a single document.
Hadoop is designed to function in sync with the presently existing DBMS, while MongoDB is a replacement to these traditional programs.
Hadoop is itself a compilation of several software components while MongoDB is a DBMS in itself.
Can these offer a combined solution?
The MongoDB can help organize and accumulate enormous amounts of data. But this is not it, almost every application of the Big Data Management requires this data to be processed. Now the question that arises is can Hadoop provide this service. It is a good idea to work on but practically achieving this is a difficult task.
Hadoop uses languages like Pig and Hive, which compile as the MapReduce, and using this with the MongoDB is might solve the problem, and this is because the Mongo supports the native MapReduce language.
Working on a data as a whole and bulk processing exerts an excessive load on the hardware but if the load is distributed and the processing is different networks, the transaction takes place more efficiently and quickly.
The CAP (or Bower) theorem states that ‘distributed computing cannot achieve simultaneous Consistency, Availability, and Partition Tolerance while processing data.’ According to this concept, any system can achieve two out of the three above specified goals. This means that it is not possible to solve the problem entirely using a single software.
Some statistics of the platforms using these programs
The following table provides examples of customers using MongoDB together with Hadoop to power big data applications.
Source – mongodb.com
What should you look for?
Surveys and studies state that information generation would become two fold from within the next decade. One system alone would not be capable enough to process such enormous loads. If your organization is large, you need to depend on programs like Hadoop and Mongo together to handle and process data at such a large scale.
The middle of the last decade saw two Operating Systems begin to take shape – the iOS and the Android. Apple owned one, and the other was open source. A lot has changed since then. The ninth iOS version has just been announced while Android has seen everything from Gingerbread to Lollipop.
The user base of both the companies has grown too. It wasn’t just a few years back that smartphones weren’t affordable for the common many. In fact, touch screens by itself were a luxury. Processor improvements, RAM increase and a host of new specs meant that these two OS needed to change too, for the better. Then, Google acquired Android. Android smartphone prices came at a level where the general consumer could afford one – and the smartphone war started.
While Google and Apple continue to battle it out against each other, both companies manage to woo in customers only because their OS gets better with time. One of the major developments that both companies have stressed in is that of design and development. Enhancing the user experience and intuitiveness seems to be at the focus point and for a good reason.
App Developers – A Story That Has Just Begun
The developments mean that app developers can rethink on their app strategies. With a better UI, app developers can design apps that rake in more customers and drive in more traffic. Some features are the same while some are unique to one of them. The unique benefits mean that developers can look at a good amount of customization too. So, what are the Android and iOS design trends that app developers can take advantage of?
Here is a look at the trends of both the OS.
Flat interface design
Android and iOS both have a flat design today, which offers a neat and clean look to the interface, and allows for a better user experience. A flat interface essentially means that users can access apps and features quicker. The simple colour schemes can beautifully use the Flat design.
Use of bright and vibrant colours
Again, this is something similar to both iOS and Android systems – apart from a high PPI ratio, the Android interface offers rich and vibrant colours for users, which aims to grab attention right away.
Use of layered interface
A layered interface means that users have a 3D-like experience, enabling increased user engagement. Users can also use a multi-layer interface, with active widgets at the front and the inactive ones at the back.
Google Material Design
Introduced in 2014, Google’s own Material Design has a host of new features, which includes grid-based layouts, and responsive animations. There is also Google Now, which uses a ‘card’ like motifs and extensive transitions, padding and in-depth effects. The introduction of shadows to app icons was a first, which meant that visible edges and surfaces of app icons and objects could be seen clearly. This in turn means that users get to experience the Android touchscreen in a more life-like manner.
Code Thumb-Focused Interface
Most people prefer using their smartphones with one hand – and developers can design apps that recognize simple thumb oriented gestures easily. You can even specify the instances when multiple finger gesture is needed. This betters user experience and increases the engagement rate.
Use of blur effects extensively
Both the iOS and Android use blur effects. It helps offer a clean look and users can focus on the areas of the screen that are ‘working’.
Animation just makes the user experience a whole lot cooler. From background animations to in-app animations, developers can add in graphics and animations easily to give their app an edge.
Gestures For Different Audience
Developers can create unique gestures for the application. Think of the Game Amazing Spiderman: Unlimited by Gameloft. This episodic adventure game which involves you running around mostly, allows you to control the super hero with your gestures. While a single swipe allows you to change lanes, a swipe with two fingers means that you can change two lanes at once. Developers thus have a world of potential out there, and app designing becomes so much more exciting.
If Android got you talking about the user improvements, here is what iOS has to offer.
Native improvised design
Developers have it easy with a native environment that is friendly to app development. Aimed to make the app user experience more enjoyable, it helps developers integrate the native functions into the app easily.
Flat design everywhere
The iOS 7 introduced the flat design, enhancing user experience up by a few notches. The design is just right for viewing on mobile phones and offers a complete experience.
Minimal design -just what is needed
Down the years, there has been a trend in going minimalistic. A minimal design tries to say a lot more by saying a lot less. That’s a reason app icon sizes have gone smaller and there is a lot more information to your screen space without it seeming overdone.
Another important change that I see is the fact that there are so many typography options available. Whether it being customizing your keyboard or using newer fonts, typography options help user explore more and send messages in new, innovative ways. Apple only recently allowed third party apps and API integration, helping users personalize easily.
Use of bright and vibrant colors
While pixel density is always focused on while creating iOS devices, Apple also uses bright and vibrant colours to enhance the user experience.
iOS too uses Blur effects, which means that users can check out the portions of the screen that are working – while all other portions of the screen can be blurred out.
Gesture targeted designs
Pinch on the picture to zoom in. Swipe your fingers to move from one screen to another. Gesture targeted designs have made users experience iOS devices in a new way while allowing developers to use their creativity a little more.
Building a successful app – Do’s and Don’t’s
How do you build your app? Understanding the benefits on offer and the unique features of the operating system you’re developing for, will just enable you to develop apps that fully explore the capabilities. This in turn betters user experience and helps you reach out to a wider audience. Here are a few do’s and don’t that can help you.
- Do explore the full potential of the operating system
- Do keep your audience in mind
- Do focus on user engagement
- Do create a fluid UI and gestures that are easy to comprehend
- Don’t use dull colors
- Don’t use complex working method that makes users read a ten page manual first
- Don’t just design something for the sake of it – the user has to like what you’ve to offer.
iOS and Android have stayed up to date, constantly reinventing themselves down the years and helping developers do a lot more. While they have managed to retain user engagement with their native interface, the question is, does your app have the potential to use those design features to spark user engagement?
iOS 8 Vs. Android Lollipop – Which one let’s you build better? Here is a quick head to head comparison of the features of both the platforms that developers need to take a look at.
There are more mobile users using the internet than those using fixed internet access lines today, and it comes as no surprise. It’s no longer the question of whether you should have a mobile presence, but rather ‘when?’ Google’s Mobilegeddon update was important for web developers. For app developers, Apple’s introduction of Swift as a programming language was a wake-up call.
Mobile adoption is increasing with a Gartner report stating that users are increasingly satisfied with the current engagement rates. So, does it mean that you need to develop apps for both these OS? That’s one area that many entrepreneurs and developers ponder about. App entrepreneurs and developers are looking to develop apps on both Android and iOS, and are often asking the question, ‘Which one do we look at first’? Here is a quick head to head comparison of the features of both the platforms that developers need to take a look at.
What do you like about the iOS 8 – the new developer friendly features or a smoother performance? iOS 8 has the same design as its predecessor and comes with a number of extensions for developers. With iOS 8, Apple has finally moved away from its policies of not allowing third party extensions to communicate with its operating systems. So, which extensions have come in? Here is a look.
There are other extensions as well. Photo editing extensions allow users to edit photos, right after taking the picture with the phone, without the need to go to the third party app. Storage provider extensions allow users to select cloud services like Dropbox and OneDrive easily.
What makes iOS 8 Special?
We know that iOS 8 boasts of new features – but which ones are the best? There are a host of things that are new to iOS 8. One of them is Continuity, or the ability of Apple users to pick up their work from one Apple device to another Apple device – say you were writing on your Mac and then had to go out – your iPhone could help you finish off your task. Introduction of Swift as a programming language brings in a whole new dimension to app developers. While there is a good learning curve of Swift, Apple promises faster and better app-making with Swift. There are many other features that can be a developers’ paradise – from Family sharing to Health Kit and Home Kit.
Where does it fall short?
Don’t fall in for the iOS 8 as your ultimate choice for app development – there are a number of areas that Apple still needs to address. For instance, Apple didn’t time the release of iOS 8 well, with bugs aplenty leading to missing features for users. Apple had to send in an immediate update to fix the issue.
Apple’s iOS8 isn’t open source like Google’s Android. While that can work to an advantage sometimes, it means that users and developers have to wait for Apple’s acceptance before bringing in something new.
What’s the future like?
The changes by Apple that allows third party app developers to integrate with Apple’s own services, is a positive one. While it opens a new world for developers, users are benefitted as well through increased choice. Apple is expected to work more towards making their OS more developer friendly, with app making becoming easier.
Google’s Android Lollipop
Google has recently unveiled the next Android platform – Android M. The move is a surprising one as Google is yet to fully roll out Android Lollipop for a number of devices. For developers and app publishers, the question often is to choose
Google has made quite a few changes to Lollipop and seems to bring significantly more to the table.
New & Vibrant Google’s Material Design
Lollipop sports a new design, and unlike iOS 8, which is similar in UI to iOS 7, has over 5,000 new API’s for developers. The design, called Google’s Material Design, offers new themes and new widgets that offer complex views and custom shadows and animations with the help of new API’s. Backgrounds and images look sharper than ever and the ‘shadows’ effect is the first to be introduced.
More stable core
Google seems to be doing away with its lagging issue bit by bit. The lollipop promises a more stable core, offering better frame rates and user experience. In fact, Google is investing in Project Volta that is making the cores more energy efficient.
What makes Android Lollipop appeal?
Android is open source and thus has the scope of customization. While Google releases its Android version, most providers customize it. So, there is a different feel to your Samsung Galaxy S 6 than the HTC M9. What the customizations do, is help enhance features and enable developers to expand on device capabilities.
Where does it fall short?
Google is still working on stability. Android still faces the lag issues
What’s the future like?
Google has been experimenting with Android for a long time. It’s time they got it right and the Lollipop was a step in the right direction. Android M, already slated to be released by the year end, will further expand on Android’s capabilities.
Google offers more customizations than Android but a system that still is plagued by lags. iOS offers a lag free system but offers less customizations. Both the companies are looking at enhancing user experience, albeit different ways.
While Apple’s CEO Tim Cook termed Google’s system as vulnerable, Google’s then CEO Larry Page said that there was no real competition to Google. Developers need to understand that both the app ecosystems offer a lot when it comes to exposure and the way out is only to move from one ecosystem to another. As to which ecosystem, works better initially, here’s the deal – Google’s Play Store fares better when it comes to freemium models while Apple is the better way to go first if you’re offering paid apps.
By the end of 2015, the U.K IT and Services market is expected to be worth £43 billion. SaaS model will play a pivotal role in this mammoth growth
Traditional on-premise applications are passé. We have been in the industry for quite a few years and never before has the gap between SaaS and other software delivery models been so wide. Companies that are looking to increase security and drive in productivity aiming to get access to enterprise grade applications.
From helping employees collaborate better with the help of Cloud to coming out with applications to interact with customers, these apps can help increase efficiency and better sales targets.
Having delivered many SaaS and B2B apps in the recent past ourselves, we know that it’s an exciting world out there.
Predicting the trends
So, what does 2015 have in store for us? Going by the current trends, we will see a lot more of Software-as-a-Service this year. Some of the major trends are visible.
For instance, since last year there is a growing demand for vertical SaaS, or solutions to particular industries that mainly include healthcare and financial services. This goes against the traditional norm of growth of horizontal SaaS that were mainly solutions used by sales and HR.
The ACG report corroborates this. The report also states how SaaS models are targeting individual users to form enterprise-wide deals. Here is what happens – SaaS vendors woo in a few employees with what they offer. This in turn leads to potential enterprise deals as employees understand how productivity is affected. The tactic, similar to the freemium model, will see a significant rise this year.
Gartner on its part states that cloud-integration would be a $1.5 billion business soon. SaaS, a type of cloud integration is among them. What works for SaaS is that there are too many avenues still left to be explored. This means that these vendors will be up trying up new tricks up their sleeves, from offering free SaaS to a plethora of on-demand services catered to the audience needs, innovations will be many. SaaS services will be made to focus on specific geographic regions also, to address specific needs of a company. A company in the U.K. can do with a SaaS system that takes into account the U.K. tax structure. You can use the services of a good SaaS app/product development team to design your own SaaS software as well.
There is an increasing need to have these services on mobile devices and that’s what exactly will be happening, with more vendors keen to bring their services to tablets and mobiles. A good app/product team of developers can help you develop your own application that’s available in major app stores too.
The Different Benefits
Most of us have used SalesForce. SalesForce is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and one of the more popular applications out there. SaaS adoption has slowly been picking up, and companies are exploring new avenues to tap into it. Here is why.
Many of these solutions are available on a subscription basis, meaning that you do not have to worry about huge deployment costs. You already have a working API, and do not have to think about creating a website from scratch. You can implement enterprise grade applications as well, that are unique to your organization. There are no costs involved when it comes to installing and maintaining a sales app.
Reduced time to build
The solutions can be built easily and are tailored to suit your organizations’ needs. You can build a site to interact with parents if you’re running a school. You can build a SaaS app to help people book cabs. You can even build apps that can help share thoughts anonymously by users. The possibilities are endless.
Subscription based model
Most SaaS vendors like SalesForce offer a subscription-based model, where you use their services for a particular amount of time. This helps you only to use the services when you need it and adopt newer business strategies quickly, when needed. It doesn’t matter if you create your own SaaS application. Just ensure that you’ve a good SaaS app/product team of developers to help you with issues related to uptime and security and upgrades.
Easy integration and high scalability
Where Software-as-a-Service scores is its easy integration with your company’s systems. Whether it be putting up the company logo or integrating the SaaS software with company systems and company data. Vendors offer API’s that can integrate easily with your company ERP or CRM and even with other providers.
Work on the go
This is perhaps the biggest advantage when it comes to working with a SaaS solution – your employees aren’t restrained by premises and can work when they want, where they want. Is there any urgent project coming up? You can just log the details into the system. Is there a client’s feedback that you need your colleague to check? You can just put it into the system.
If it’s cost effectiveness services that you’re looking for to leverage in business productivity, 2015 can be a great year. Hire a SaaS app development team who can ensure a smooth transition to the SaaS system, without the hiccups.
Much of our day-to-day living would not now be possible without the development of apps. From booking concert tickets and train travel, to changing the heat settings in your home, apps are used today to complete a wide range of everyday tasks.
The complexity of apps today, therefore, means that they have to be designed, constructed and developed in a bulletproof way. There are many ways of doing this, but the rise of cross platform application development frameworks and improvements in native development techniques and customisation means that mobile landscape is now more complicated than ever. It can be tricky to decide which type of development method to use – in this article we will look at both native mobile app development and cross platform app development, weighing up the differences between them and how you can make either work for your app design.
Difference between native and cross platform application development
- Native app development is a platform specific development – designed and built specially for that particular operating system or platform. With the advent of Google’s Material Design, new iOS 7 designs standards and a tendency among many developers to go native, this type of app development is on the rise.
- A cross platform app is developed and designed to work on a number of different platforms in one go- The major advantages of cross-platform tools like PhoneGap, Appcelerator and more is that they support coding in different languages and offer platform independence, thereby cutting development costs.
There are a few good reasons people will choose to use native development for their apps – and some distinct advantages to this way of thinking. These include the code structure – in native code will generally run quicker and be faster to load. In addition to this, new features of the code itself and the general development of the app are far easier integrated into the existing platform – ensuring new features are introduced within the app’s lifecycle.
One other thing to bear in mind is with native development, Android and iOS apps are encouraged to be different. Of course, the UX is different on both platforms, so it goes without saying that with a native app, a developer can tailor the mobile development to suit what users of each operating system would prefer. Styles and different tastes and catered for to a far greater extent using native development.
Native development’s drawbacks, however, are generally concerned with development time and the amount of money required to be invested in initial development.
Cross platform Apps Development
A different way of working is look towards cross platform development – ensuring that users of all operating systems will be able to view your app in the same way. There are many reasons people are drawn to this – from the reduced initial development cost to the relatively minimal coding and simple business logic within the app itself.
If you are developing apps with a broad appeal, , it makes sense to use a cross platform approach to ensure you are reaching a broad spectrum of your audience and you can appeal to people using all types of operating systems. A uniform look and feel, in this instance, is preferred and the fact you don’t necessarily have to create niche marketing messages can reduce costs and time from a promotion point of view, too.
The downside is cross platform development reduces flexibility inherent in today’s operating systems – looking for commonality may undermine the performance and success of your development.
So which is better?
You have to look carefully at your needs when you’re developing an app and choosing how to design and build it. The reality is that both approaches are equally valid – and it may be that the reduced time and cost, as well as the greater reach cross platform development provides, means this may be the way to go.
With this in mind, it’s fair to say that a cross platform approach is better suited to smaller businesses or those who want a lightweight app to fulfill their mobile strategy. Moving on, at possibly a later date, to native, means a greater degree of customisation is possible and it will also provide more adept at handling complex workflows.
Finding a ‘one size fits all’ approach to app development is hard – there may be no easy answer but you should think about the objectives of your app first before you proceed. Researching and understanding your audience and what they’re looking for, is key to the process and you should spend time on this stage before you start design or development stages. You should ensure you contact an app development specialist before you embark on this process if you are unsure as to the steps you should take.