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ASP.NET vs PHP for Enterprise Applications

PHP open source and ASP.NET have been major contributors to web development for many years now and continue to be used for their flexibility and other strengths in the programming arena.

In our experience as knowledgeable website development agency, we are often asked by clients whether we feel they should move forward with an ASP.NET or a PHP based solution for their project.

ASP.NET was designed as an enterprise wide solution platform

In response to this question there are a few points that we like to make clear to clients who ask for our opinion.  But before we get started in our exploration of these two powerful platforms, it’s important to understand that PHP was originally built as a platform for building Personal Home Pages.

PHP was designed to be a web language, more than an enterprise wide solution platform. ASP.NET was designed as a platform for enterprise wide solutions and therefore was built for scalability and to be robust.

One is open source and the other is from Microsoft

First of all we mention the fact that ASP.NET is produced by Microsoft and PHP is an open source product. Quite often the client hasn’t got a lot to say about that. After all, it’s not really as important as what the difference are between them when it comes to areas such as:

  • Security
  • Features
  • Whether it’s possible to extend
  • Average development time
  • Frameworks
  • Cost

PHP is available as an open source product and therefore does not come with the background support that ASP.NET is provided with. The latter not only has Microsoft user support available with it, but also potentially a more structured developer culture that we can expect so see associated with MS products.

Regarding the first three points. They are actually remarkably similar in performance of them. Similar results are possible with either platform. Good security is down to the work of the programmer, they need to ensure that the application is secured well and safe.

The big differences between ASP.NET and PHP

The big differences lie more within these areas:

Microsoft ASP.NET is equipped with just several frameworks just as PHP open source is.  The big difference lie in the requirement in question. On a case to case basis, we feel, one framework is better suited to a project than the other. We have the experience to be able to advise on this

Scalability works better in ASP.NET in our experience with smaller projects working better in PHP. In fact PHP is good for start-up solutions whereas ASP.NET has industrial strength with many different features. If you’re looking for flexibility and scalability then go with ASP.NET.

With regards to average development time, it is sometimes more advantageous to use PHP. Very small projects can often be created faster on this platform as it’s easier to find web hosts and development machines are so very easy to set up.

Which programming knowledge does a company have access to?

One of our main considerations is whether a client wants to work with one type of technology stack vs another. They may have already invested in in-house programmers who have more knowledge and experience of one over the other.

In some cases, our clients prefer the stability that going with Microsoft offers. They will be able to gain support, look forward to upgrades and more if they go with ASP.NET. Some clients will prefer the idea of a product that is open source.

Our clients may well have Linux servers already set up what they want to use to their full capacity.  Of course, open source comes with little overheads in terms of cost due to it being free.

However, if our clients don’t know which they prefer, or come to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter, then we will choose for them based on what we feel they will gain the most overall value from. We may even look forward to what else they may need in the future, and make the decision based on what makes sense.

A couple of our developers even have the viewpoint that it’s not so much a matter of ASP.NET vs PHP as more a case of PHP vs C# when it comes to programming. Now that C# has had optional parameters added in its version 4.0, then the advantage that PHP had over it is now defunct.  It’s possible to perform dynamically typed variables, which of course keeps the abilities of the language very flexible.

What about cost?

When it comes to cost, we feel that PHP is first over the line. Although it’s possible to run ASP.NET on Mono on a Linux server, it will not be without issues. However, Webforms (one of the frameworks of ASP.NET) can be run on SQL Compact and SQL Server.  Although we do sometimes use Webforms, we find that there is more control using ASP.NET.

Summary

In our opinion PHP is perfect for starter solutions, but if you are representing a large enterprise and are looking for a solution that is robust and capable to being scalable then we would recommend ASP.NET to you. We are fans of both as they both have their virtues. However, we would guide you based on what the future is for your project.

Which one do you prefer and why?

7 Questions You Need to Ask a Web Development Company

Over the past 12 years, our professional team of 150+ individuals has had the pleasure of delivering more than 1000 projects in nearly three dozen countries.

Unfortunately, we have also worked with a number of clients who fell for false promises and unrealistic claims made by other so-called web development companies.

In this short article, we hope to help you avoid disappointment, frustration, and lost earnings by offering guidance in the selection process.

When it comes to choosing a web development company, who do you trust? How do you know who to work with? 

Elance, oDesk, Guru & More

Thanks to the unprecedented global reach of the internet, numerous freelancing platforms have emerged in recent years. Virtually anybody can create a profile on a website like Elance, oDesk, Guru, and several others – and in turn proclaim him or herself to be an expert of any variety.

While there are some freelancers online who can deliver a high quality development project, we would caution that most cannot compete with the results of an established web development company.

  • Freelancers do not have the reputation of an established brand to maintain or protect.
  • Freelancers will often favor rapid turnaround over client satisfaction.
  • Attaining authentically verified credentials for a freelancer is next to impossible.
  • In most cases, revisions, changes, and iterations will result in an additional expense.

Of course, these generalizations are not true in every instance – but they certainly do present enough risk to make sourcing a credible web development company a good idea.

How to Choose a Web Development Company

Choosing the right web development company will vary significantly based upon your individual needs. That said, what we are aiming to do here is to provide a list of seven questions you should use to vet prospective companies.

Can they suggest a plausible solution based on your budget and timeline?

To begin, you need to be transparent with a prospective web development company about your budget, timeline, projected ROI, and specific needs. Those needs may include an increase in lead generation or other measurable targets.

From there, let the web development company provide you with an appropriate solution.

If the company you have contacted is expecting you to describe the solution you need, it is a possible indication of a ‘one and done’ approach to serving their clients.

Can they provide a realistic action plan to achieve that solution?

Once that solution has been clearly established, ask the company how they intend to deliver that solution.

  • What specific actions steps will be taken?
  • What sort of timeline is this company projecting?

Any claim made by the company should be backed up in writing. If they aren’t willing to substantiate their claims with a legal contract, do not proceed.

What methods or processes will they follow to complete your project?

It is important to have a solution and an action plan – but what methodology or processes will be followed to achieve those actions?

To put it in lay terms,

  • The solution is to eat a pizza.
  • The action is to order a pizza.
  • The methodology is to have that pizza ready and delivered.

Although that may be oversimplifying things, presenting ‘order a pizza’ as an action step does not explain how delivery of that pizza will be facilitated.

How do they measure and track results?

Before beginning any web development project, it is important to note how success will be defined. What milestones will be measured, and what will success look like?

This should be quantifiable. And if the company has confidence in their ability to deliver exceptional service, they should be enthusiastic to provide you with detailed analytics throughout development.

How established is their business?

It is a good idea to establish whether or not this web development company has a proven track record of success. Although it is not the only indicator to consider, investigate:

  • How many years have they been in business?
  • How large is their team?
  • How many clients do they serve?
  • Where is their office located?

Do they have references and an extensive portfolio?

Before hiring a company, give consideration to past web development projects they have done.

  • What types of projects do they do most often?
  • Do any of the samples they are showing you pertain to your project?
  • Can they connect you with previous clients who can provide a reference?

What type of ongoing support do they offer?

As with any web development project, there will be modifications, upgrades, improvements, and new iterations to develop.

Does this web development company offer any type of ongoing support, or will you be on your own to deal with any technical challenges that arise later?

Conclusion

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

While it may seem excessive, a credible web development company should be willing to satisfy your every curiosity prior to taking on your project.  After all, the burden of proof with respect to expertise is on them.

Choosing the right web development company will show in the finished product, especially if their development team follows a distributed Agile methodology.

But just about anyone can claim to be an expert in their field, so doing a little digging at the onset can save a ton of headaches down the road.

 

What Makes Agile Methodology Ideal for Product Development

What Makes Agile Methodology Ideal for Product Development

Everyone seems to be excited and talking about Agile product development these days. Let’s see why.

Getting a product to market is more challenging and competitive than ever before. Adaptability is crucial, and many traditional product development methods overlook the importance of that flexibility.

It’s not that traditional development methods are inherently bad – they simply lack in the necessary flexibility to be effective. The primary objectives of product development are to reduce time to market, increase product quality, and save money, all while delivering a product that exceeds client expectations.

To begin this guide, let’s review the Waterfall model, a more traditional approach to product development that you may already be familiar with.

The Waterfall Development Model

If you can imagine progress flowing from top to bottom in a cascading fashion, you will begin to get a sense of the allegorical origins of the ‘Waterfall’ method.

First used in the manufacturing and construction industries, the Waterfall model follows a sequential design process. In other words, each of its seven phases of development must be satisfied in order to move on to the next. If an error occurs in a later phase, the Waterfall model necessitates returning to an earlier phase in the sequence.

In essence, this results in having to retrace a number of steps in between. Needless to say, a mistake in a later phase can be both expensive and time-consuming.

To put it simply, a model that relies upon moving through only one of seven sequential phases at a time will be slow, tedious, and without flexibility.

Thankfully, the Agile product development methodology has demonstrated the ability to overcome these limitations.

What Is Agile Product Development?

The Agile model calls for a team-based approach to problem solving and product development. As opposed to Waterfall, which takes a sequential approach to task completion, Agile boxes development into phases called ‘sprints.’

Product development using Agile development methodology keeps priorities focused based on their perceived value to the client. As work is completed, conclusions are drawn to considering the timing and planning for upcoming sprints.

The bottom line is that continual input from the client is a necessary component to the Agile model.

Types of Agile Product Development

The Agile product development methodology, as flexible as it is, is often known to take on one of the following variations:

  • Extreme Programming (XP): Ideal for software development projects, this variation incorporates many real world applications observed by developers.
  • Dynamic System Development Model (DSDM): This variation incorporates the concepts of iteration, incremental delivery, and customer collaboration.
  • Scrum: A variation that concentrates on taking an iterative and incremental approach to managing tasks within a team-based environment.
  • Lean Development (LD): This variation is best known for creating a smooth workflow, a mentality of ownership, elimination of unnecessary waste, and a demand for high skill levels.

Certainly there are numerous variations to the Agile model, but Scrum is the most widely adopted Agile methodology for its proven effectiveness in development projects.

Process for Agile Product Development

agile_product_development

Regardless of the variation on the model itself, the phases – or sprints – of product development using Agile methodology are fundamentally similar to Waterfall:

  • Conception
  • Initiation
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Testing
  • Deployment

The main difference, as outlined above, is that input is required from the client upon completion of each phase.  This generally results in a more transparent approach to completing the job, early delivery, predictable costs, a more engaging end-user experience, and ultimately more flexibility with respect to unforeseen changes.

Agile Product Development Methodology Is Ideal

A lack of speed and flexibility tend to be the downfall of onshore and offshore product development alike, most often the result of using outdated product development models.

While Waterfall may follow a predictable and routine series of phases, it often overlooks the small yet crucial details necessary in the early phases of the project. It also overemphasizes the end goal, without the due respect and attention the in between steps deserve.

On the other hand, product development using Agile methodology keeps the focus on project quality, customer requirements, and carefully prioritized work phases, or sprints.

Consider using Agile product development methodology for your next major project – the flexibility and team-oriented collaboration will add immeasurable value to the final product.

How To Effectively Outsource SaaS Product Development

How To Effectively Outsource SaaS Product Development

 

Outsourcing product development projects most often results in an effectively executed project. This is especially true when it comes to developing software as a service (SaaS) solutions, which can present a unique and compelling list of challenges.

Fortunately, outsourcing SaaS product development has never made more economical sense. Outsourcing multiple different types of projects has grown on a significant scale in recent history, and SaaS product development is a prime example.

Through this post, we will explore what makes SaaS development different, the necessary ingredients for successful SaaS product development, how offshore SaaS development has evolved over the past two decades, and how you can ultimately benefit from outsourcing your SaaS product development.

SaaS Product Development Is Different

SaaS_Product

SaaS product development is different in many respects from the development of more traditional products. This is largely due to the sheer volume and scale to which the product is being developed.

Development teams need to be highly skilled and adept to truly understand the end goal for the product, and to plan technical advancements and deployments accordingly.

As a result, maintaining an existing SaaS product – or developing a new one – in-house can be both expensive and frustrating. The availability of required skillsets are often challenging to acquire, hiring qualified developers is usually a time consuming and expensive process, and the changing landscapes of technology are sure to further complicate the issue.

Effective SaaS product development necessitates a crystal clear vision, a well-defined plan, and the ability to swiftly react to new challenges as they arise.

The Ingredients of Successful SaaS Product Development

The following ingredients can often be found in successful SaaS developments:

  • Effective use of offshore  SaaS development
  • Implementation of Agile development methodology
  • Sufficiently qualified and capable product developers

The absence of any of these three factors has been known to slow or halt product development projects, or to significantly increase the demand on your most valuable of resources – time, money, and energy.

Offshore SaaS development, as this article will go on to explain, is important to acquire sufficient skillsets in a cost effective manner.

Agile development methodology offers a communication-oriented, team-based approach to product development, offering the additional benefits of flexibility and speed.

Qualified and capable developers are the cornerstone of any SaaS product development. By choosing to assemble a distributed offshore team, the precious aforementioned resources of time, money and energy can be wisely invested.

The Evolution of Offshore SaaS Development

Global developments in internet technology have made offshore SaaS development not only possible, but necessary to remain competitive.

For instance, applications such as Skype and Google Hangouts have created the unprecedented ability for every team member to see, communicate, and share with each other regardless of geographic location.

Furthermore, project management applications such as Jira and Basecamp allow teams to sort complex SaaS product development tasks into meaningful phases, or sprints.

Dramatic changes in the last two decades have resulted in an assortment of emerging markets, such as India, to become a globally recognized powerhouse in effectively managing outsourced product development work.

Well before the turn of the century, SaaS product development was not a major component of most developed markets. Instead, the primary industries at the time related to manufacturing and textiles. Fast forward to today and we find that outsourcing is not only a common business practice, but the service sector now dominates the economies of developed nations.

Why Outsourcing Saas Product Development Is a Good Idea

Outsourcing SaaS product development results in a number of key benefits to your business, including:

  • Decreased costs and hence improved profit margins
  • Access to larger pools of talented and capable developers
  • Improved operational efficiency thanks to diminished internal strain on resources
  • Increased team efficiency, with particular respect to Agile development methodology

Conclusion

“Any project to be done at significant scale, including SaaS product development, needs to be outsourced for optimal efficiency”

Do you agree with this statement?

What has your experience been with offshore development, with particular reference to SaaS products?

Does your development team take an Agile, iteration-based approach to product development?

What other benefits are there to offshore SaaS development?

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below

Things To Keep In Mind While Drafting A Mobile SEO Strategy

If the statistics are to be believed 55 percent of the mobile consumers want to purchase within an hour. That’s a figure too good to ignore. Still there are many organizations that are resistant to the idea of having mobile-friendly websites for their businesses. It is high time that you give up this resistance. Your competitors are using this opportunity against you. They are there in your target audience’s mobile devices and making more money than you cannot make with your desktop website alone. Those who are intelligent enough to take the big plunge should concentrate on drafting a successful mobile SEO strategy. To make the task easier for you we are listing out all that you need to focus on while creating the successful mobile SEO strategy for your business.

User Experience
The user experience on a desktop / laptop is very different from that on mobile devices. It determines whether a visitor will come back to your website on not. Therefore, offering a great user experience to your mobile audience is very important to engage them. To be able to achieve that you either have the choice to go with responsive design or to get a mobile website developed.

Faster Load Time
One of the major things that impacts your visitor’s experience with your mobile / mobile-friendly website is how fast is it. And this is not important only from the user experience perspective. To reach the first pages of the relevant searches made on Google, you need a mobile website that loads in one second or less.

Crisp Design
On a mobile device, you bound by the smaller screen size. And the aim should be utilize it to offer maximum usability to the audience visiting your website through their mobile devices. Remember, that in order to showcase your creativity you will end up adding too many unnecessary design elements that will only make your website look cluttered on mobile devices.

Understanding User Needs
After the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, it has become completely clear that you will need to focus more efforts in understanding the needs of your customers by analyzing their actions on your mobile website. For example, search queries made by them. The desktop visitors are very different from the mobile visitors and have a higher intent to purchase. So the SEO strategy has be created accordingly.

The World Of mHealth!

It has been quite some time since the communication and information technology has been introduced to the healthcare industry. As a result, mHealth was born and it has shaped the way healthcare industry has evolved today. Yes, mobile phones and wireless technology has influenced the health care world in a positive way. But the technology is still very new and least talked about in the technology arena. So, we decided to talk about it here in our blog.

Today, mHealth is used in the healthcare industry for many crucial things such as delivering health care facilities / services, surveillance of diseases and even for the prevention of any kind of illness. The possibilities are endless. There are many people have been using mHealth to track the outbreak of any kind of epidemic and then there are some who use mHealth technology to manage chronic diseases. Yes, there is an app for everything! In fact, if a report by IMS Health is to be believed, there are over 23,000 healthcare-related apps covering numerous:

  • Clinical areas such as primary care and even surgery
  • Care sites
  • Users – patients, caregivers, clinicians
  • Parts of the patient journey that is from wellness to complex chronic disease

But the view of mHealth is flawed in two most basic things:

1. mHealth ignores the fact that they are not the only options of primary user touch points in a mobile-connected world. There’s a lot more available to health care seekers!
2. mHealth encourages the feeling that the way to solve any problem is to by simply building an app. Sometimes a problem may be much broader and can’t be solved by an app.

But you can definitely use mHealth for the purpose of:

1. Spreading education and awareness through SMSs by sharing information about certain new diseases, availability of health care services, treatment methods for a certain disease and more
2. Collecting data related to patients such as their personal details and how smoothly their health care efforts are going
3. Remote monitoring those patients who are at their homes
4. Imparting training to the healthcare workers
5. Communication amongst healthcare workers

If you are somebody from the healthcare industry and haven’t yet introduced mHealth to your health care center, then it’s high time you do it. It will simplify the way your premise functions and improve the quality of health care services you deliver to your patients.