Released by Microsoft Corporation in 2001, SharePoint was earlier viewed only as a browser-based collaboration and document management platform. But over the years, SharePoint has seen much advancement which has further broadened the scope of this technology. There is so much that an organisation can do with SharePoint. Microsoft itself describes SharePoint as a number of things such as collaboration software, enterprise business process management portal, content management system, business intelligence dashboard etc. With so many capabilities contained in itself, SharePoint has completely changed the way organisations function these days. The platform has gone so popular that over three quarters of Fortune 500 companies now use SharePoint. This blog will talk about the different things for which organisations use SharePoint.
- With SharePoint you can create an intranet portal for an entire corporate network. This portal can be used to centralise access to enterprise information and applications. All the important news and announcements can be shared on the intranet portal. Even tasks can be assigned to the employees and access to a variety of information can also be given. The intranet dashboard can be customised by department and role and also different levels of access can be granted.
- Document sharing is one of the most important features of SharePoint. This feature is also the reason behind the initial popularity of the technology. With SharePoint, organisations have a shared space to store documents that can be accessed by anyone (or by those to whom the access is given by the administrator) in the company. This means that the documents can even be shared with employees working in different offices. That too without having to exchange emails for every change made to the document.
- It is not just the employees to which a business needs to share and communicate with. There are many parties, even other businesses, who partner with your business. With SharePoint, you can provide them with an access to all the information they may require from your company and vice versa.
- For big projects, on which a large number of people work from different locations, SharePoint makes interaction very easy amongst a large number of people, transcending geographical barriers as well. Workers provided with an access to SharePoint intranet portal can sign in from any system or even mobile from anywhere to have a constant access to the information of the project they are working on.
- SharePoint also enhances business intelligence. There is a lot of data and information being shared and stored on a SharePoint platform. This data and information can be used by the organisation in numerous ways to make better decisions. What’s amazing about this platform is that SharePoint is capable of displaying trends over time and relationships between different inputs in the form easy-to-understand of charts and graphs. This ready-to-use information can be used to formulate new course of action for further business growth.
- Lastly, SharePoint can also be used to build and manage publicly facing websites as well. It provides all the functionalities of content management system for a website including updating information, adding a new page, using both text and graphics etc.
With the passage of time, so many trends fade away. Take for example fashion. Once Bell Bottoms used to be so hit amongst everybody, but now they have completely vanished. Similar is the case with web technology. There is some advancement being made every second. Even while you are reading this, there is some innovation taking place somewhere and everybody is benefiting from it. Especially businesses! The World Wide Web has become an effective channel to enhance your business growth. That’s precisely why most organisations have set up websites to have an online presence. But there’s is a catch. The internet is not restricted to your personal computer anymore. The users now have laptops, smartphones, iPads, tablets and so many devices. Just walk into a Starbucks during lunch and you’ll find almost everybody surfing the internet from their phones, laptops and other devices.
So, the new trend is to take your website to the modern devices that the users are using. But your already working website which looks great on computer look horrible on mobile phones. Some doesn’t even function on phones at all. It’s time to upgrade because nobody wants to offer a negative experience to their users. Do we? The good thing is you don’t need to create separate multiple versions of your website to be compatible with different devices. We have responsive web design solutions.
Responsive web design is a design development technique that reacts according to the screen size of the device in use. In other words, responsive web is designed to respond according to its web browsing environment. As a business, the benefits of using Responsive web design are many. The user experience can have a more responsive and free flowing experience. This will directly result in an increase in customers and revenue. If recent statics are to be believed 67% of the internet users make purchases from their smartphones.
Investment in a responsive web design also means reduced cost and development time for cross platform solutions. But more than anything, responsive web design solutions makes your website ‘future-friendly’. And that’s quiet something. Isn’t it?
WordPress Plugins – Revolutionising Content Management
What was initially developed to be a blogging platform has grown exponentially as a platform used by designers and developers as well. Yes, WordPress has revolutionised content management. There’s hardly anything that this powerful content management system cannot do. If researches are to be believed, then WordPress holds 60% market share in the content management system market and hosts 21.2% of the total content on the internet. There are many CMS platforms that came, but their popularity doesn’t quite match with that of WordPress, which has been in the market for over a decade now.
We have to admit that it’s not just good marketing that has made WordPress so popular and a widely used platform for content management by organisations of all sizes. To be able to get acceptance from the user, a technology has to be good and that’s precisely what WordPress is all about. The flexibility that WordPress offers, allows you to use it more than just a blogging platform. The sheer simplicity with which users can manage and handle content with WordPress is commendable. The huge awareness that WordPress enjoys is a reason that the platform has earned itself credibility. With huge popularity, WordPress also enjoys the great support of a large community of volunteers who are ready to help at all times. Also, it is SEO-friendly and takes care of 80-90% of the search engine optimisation mechanism.
But that’s not it when we are talking about WordPress. The most important reason behind the huge success of WordPress as a content management system is the wide variety of creative themes, templates and most importantly plug-ins, it has on offer. Whatever your requirements be, there is a plug-in for that in WordPress. With its great plug-in architecture, WordPress allows the developers and its users to extend the ability of their blogs or websites beyond the core installation. The WordPress’s official plug-in repository has around 29000 plug-ins published which makes for a vast pool of features and functionality to the platform users. These plug-ins enable the users to tailor their sites to their specific needs which is a great thing when it comes to managing content. You can enhance the experience of website visitors and enjoy a good Google ranking by adding simple plug-ins in WordPress. There are some great plug-ins which enable you create photo galleries on your blogs. For offering a better design experience to your visitors, you can add sliders to your website. With great blog comment system, you can also turn your blog into a social media community allowing the readers to interact and express freely, just by adding a WordPress plug-in. Not just this, by incorporating a few plug-ins, you can even create an eCommerce website on the WordPress platform.
These are just a few functions that we have talked about. But the list of WordPress plug-ins is enormous. The best part is that you don’t need to be a developer to be able to create or enhance your website. Adding plug-ins in WordPress is easy. It’s like you have every resource you need with you and only thing you need to do is assemble them to create an advanced website. And we love WordPress for that!
There is a growing debate over the fight between HTML5 and Flash for supremacy. However, many agree that the debate largely focuses on web videos. The reason why this is such a crucial factor is because Flash is primarily used for web-based games and a significant part of YouTube. Flash has little to do with web designs. Therefore, flash is primarily associated with just web videos which HTML5 can also handle a lot more efficiently without sidelining the other aspects of web development.
HTML5 – The Best Way for Delivering Video on the Mobile Platform
The main problem with Flash is that the platform is not adaptable and cannot support different types of videos. The issue of compatibility lies with the hardware and software available on the mobile. This is why a drift towards native playback of videos in the H.264 format is observed. Basically, why would you want to use a container when the file can be played back natively along with memory optimization?
Some might argue that Flash also offers a Flash Lite. However, this version is not supported by all devices and even for the devices that do support flash, the video is optimized to the H.264 format. The use of HTML5 facilitates the integration of this process on multiple platforms. Another factor that comes into play is the licensed nature of the H.264 format. The web browsers usually refrain from using it because of this reason. However, the support of this format is integrated in the hardware of mobiles. In addition, HTML5’s capabilities are continually expanding. The ease with which HTML5 delivers videos on the smartphone platform is the reason why its popularity is increasing with each passing day.
Flash’s Inability to Support Operations on Mobile
While many of you may argue on this point, but the truth remains that Flash has not been able to prove worthy when it comes to supporting operations on mobiles. The following points throw some light on this aspect of flash usage –
- In the age where users have moved to smartphones and tablets, the use of Flash majorly remains restricted to the web browser platform.
- Although, the Flash 10.1 version promises to support more devices than Flash Lite, the version also possesses limitations in terms of the format and types of content that the software can support. One of the major reasons that limits the usage of Flash.
- Flash does not support hardware acceleration as well.
- In several cases, even though the platform may support Flash, the software is mostly not included. The fundamental reason why this has been the case is that the experience is not up to the mark. And Flash having issues while operating on Intel’s Atom Platform and several other devices doesn’t come as a news.
One Size May Not Always Fit All
In the present market scenario, everyone is looking at applications that can work on a number of platforms. Versatility is the latest buzzword in the industry. Therefore, there is a high demand for applications that can work on both, desktop as well as on the mobile platform. Even when applications are designed with that objective, they still have to be optimized to work on different platforms. This is perhaps the reason why native development has picked up lately. It is important to realize that one size may not fit all in some cases.HTML5 has become extensively popular, but Flash still remains relevant to its domain. There is something good in every technology and understanding what works well for a business is where the strength of a good web development company lies. Depending on the requirements of the project, Flash or HTML5 is used to ensure that the solution is nothing less than perfect.
With the start of the new financial year, it is time to assess and analyze all that 2013 gave us. This post focuses on the trends and leads that SaaS development has seen in the year gone by. Businesses are continually looking for new paradigms for sourcing software functionality and Software as a Service (SaaS) is a technology that helps businesses achieve exactly this and much more. Cloud hosted or web delivered SaaS has several benefits, which are –
- Improved efficiency of the company’s processes
- Optimization of the company’s IT budget
Some of the trends that this technology has seen in the year 2013 are –
Mobile Continues to Rule
The one revolution that has taken the world by a storm in the past decade or so is the Mobile Revolution. Mobile technology and its evolution has affected the SaaS drive notably. The services that are most in demand these days are for mobile applications and for mobile marketing purposes. A drift from the desktop model to the 4-G capable environment is clearly visible and considered more right and relevant for users. The services, which have shown a drift, include internal business software and consumer services.Increased Spending of the U.S. Customers and Emerging Markets’s Customers
The year 2013 saw a considerable increase in the growth, in popularity and use of SaaS, in emerging markets. An OpenView item that was published in Jan 2013 projected a growth rate of as much as 25% for the year. While the American customers increased their tech spending, the tech spending in the European countries went low as compared to what they were the year 2012.Japan and China also saw a steady increase in their tech spending.
Cloud Hosting and PaaS
PaaS is also gaining immense popularity lately. Used as a web delivered software serving as a platform as far as functionality is concerned, Platform as a Service is used within the realm of SaaS. The beauty of this system is the fact that it is capable of supporting the development and several different forms of engineering.
In fact,Antony Kosner in his article for the Forbes Magazine, PaaStermed PaaS as a rentable backend platform. This means that the developers can access the environment for development of mobile applications easily. Therefore, it has an impact on the future markets of SaaS.
Key Industry Players
From an analysis of the market, Parrallels, Workday, Salesforce.com, Microsoft and SAP have emerged as leaders in the SaaS landscape. Although, most of these names may not be the first choice of the clients, they are still the popular providers when it comes to specific services. Their demand is realized by business leaders and executives who are capable of figuring out the kind of services or web-delivered platform, which are unique to these industry leading companies, can do for them.Replacing Internal IT Departments
Although, it is a point that is considered integral to the SaaS system, it is worth mentioning that the use of a SaaS option replaces an ‘internal IT model’. The delivered option is customized, by the local technical department, to suit the requirements of the business concerned. Therefore, the use of SaaS makes the IT departments lean as issues like upgrades and fixes can be simply transferred to the vendor.
As a business, what will you prefer – buying monthly subscriptions for software solutions or buying them in entirety? Quite obviously, monthly arrangement looks like a cost-effective approach, which is an option that only SaaS provides. You have to realize that businesses are experiencing a technological change at the moment and the fact that a SaaS approach is capable of supporting any form of business approach is the reason why the popularity of SaaS has increased by leaps and bounds in 2013.
Content Management System is one of the most integral parts of web development. A good CMS can help increase efficiency, let you control & manage your web content, help in increasing your Search Engine ranking and help the visitors of your website to search for information with ease. There are many more ways in which CMS helps your website and business. Therefore, it is important to choose a CMS wisely.
If you are looking for a robust content management system, then you must consider Drupal. There is no reason why Drupal will not work for you. The program is capable of powering big sites, and it comes free of cost. Some of the websites are Fast Company, The Economist, the White House and Sony BMG.
This article will give you an insight on why and how Drupal can work for you. There are several benefits of using this framework –
Drupal offers unmatched flexibility and can be heavily customized. It gives you the power to develop applications of any magnitude and complexity.
Drupal allows the developers to customize their applications with the help of free programs called modules. In fact, the extensive number of modules makes it so powerful. Considering the fact that the program comes for free, the functionality that it provides is extensive.
If you are used to using command line utilities, then Drupal is the program for you. The framework entails the ultimate deal breaker in CMS. The site developed on this platform can be easily maintained using Drush, which makes the maintenance tasks rather convenient.
Cost Effective and Easily Maintainable
However, if you are not acquainted to command line utilities, this program also offers the developer an opportunity to perform routine maintenance activities quickly and in a cost-effective manner. In addition, Drupal also allows you to set up multiple sites that can easily be maintained. The Aegir program allows the developer to perform complex tasks like –
- Creating a copy of the site
- Easy migration of the site to an upgraded version
In addition, there are a plethora of tasks that can be easily performed using this utility.
Designed for the Future
Contrary to popular belief, web development is not a one-time project. In fact, it is a continually evolving project. Foresight is one of the most essential qualities of Drupal. The upgrade system available as part of this program is backward compatible and the site can be easily upgraded to the new version without any breakages to the website.
Now that you know the benefits of Drupal, the next crucial question is how and why this technology is the right choice for you. Here are a few reasons –
- Your website is a central element in the structure of your organization
- You have a good money and time budget
- If you are an amateur web developer and you love to learn latest software, then this framework gives you a good opportunity to broaden your expertise
Despite so many benefits, this framework is suited for those not willing to learn the system or doesn’t have sufficient budget to get the system developed. The bottom line is that Drupal provides a stable and flexible solution.