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ASP.NET vs PHP for Enterprise Applications

ASP.NET vs PHP for Enterprise Applications

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.

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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

  • ASP

Active Server Page (also known as ASP) is scripting language mainly used on the server side which was developed by Microsoft.

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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.

A webpage that has been designed using ASP will include static HTML tags and dynamic validation using JavaScript or VBScript. Dynamic generation of HTML and CSS is also possible with ASP.NET.

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

PHP is a scripting language. PHP is mostly found embedded with HTML code, or is even served as a standalone program.

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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.

  • Business Size

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.

  • Time and Pricing

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.

  • Lightweight

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.

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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?

 

Captive Centre or Vendor Partner Model: Which One Suits Your Business?

Captive Centre or Vendor Partner Model: Which One Suits Your Business?

In today’s competitive world, businesses want to be careful when deciding whether a large software development project should be done in-house or done by outsourcing the work.

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Some companies have an in-house software development setup (captive centre subsidiary), but they are so flexible that they outsource work to reliable vendor partners.

Other organisations no longer outsource major software development work, because of their captive centre setup which has long-term goals.

You can select the best one that suits your business’s purpose in the short-term and in the long-term, by comparing the two setups.

So let’s take a look at a comparison of the key drivers and challenges for a captive centre set up with those for a vendor partner set up.

Key Drivers for the Captive Centre Setup

  • Does your business have a captive centre in a low-cost area? Do you want to benefit from the cost-savings of offshore resources? Then this model is the one for you.

You can choose to set up your own captive centre to make the most out of its large-scale offshore plans.

  • Does your business deal with sensitive information? Do you want to prevent the potential risk of data leaks to third parties? Then you may prefer this model.

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For example, if your business is based on banking, insurance or the stock market, you deal with a lot of monetary transactions and sensitive customer data.

  • Do you want complete control over your sensitive operational activities, like product costing and new product launches? Then this setup is suitable for you.
  • Does your business handle a complex software development project? Then the knowledge gained by the resources working on such projects will be invaluable. It will stay in the organisation with this model.

Challenges for the Captive Centre Setup

  • It is usually rapidly set up to scale up your business and you may start with lenient service level agreements (SLAs). But, when you need to make the SLAs stricter and better, you might have to spend more than you thought.
  • Some internal employees might be resistant of this setup. They may fear new projects being assigned to the captive centre which will lead to a lack of work for them with potential job cuts in the future.
  • Your company’s top management may start to focus less on the captive centre, due to it being viewed as a cost centre (instead of a profit centre). This is because it takes a long time to show decent returns on investment and results, despite it being costly to set up.

Key Drivers for the Vendor Partner Model

Most drivers for this outsourcing model stem from the shortcomings of the captive centre model.

  • Unlike the captive centre model, this model does not require a lot of time to start and the operations can be ramped up quickly. This is because the vendor generally has an established setup. For example, if you are a big retail company and wish to build an enterprise app, it makes more sense to start off using this model.
  • You do not need to invest a lot of money or time to enter a vendor partner relationship.

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  • Your company can opt for a pilot project execution, before getting into large scale operations. This allows you to first gain valuable experience in setting up a low-cost centre. You can then decide to continue to scale with the vendor partner or you can start your own captive centre.
  • You can smoothly close out offshore operations without hassles or high costs. This is possible with a clear contract with the vendor partner with a transparent exit clause. However, you may find it too tedious and expensive to close down offshore operations with the captive centre model, since labour laws in several low-cost countries are quite strict.

Challenges for Vendor Partner Model

  • You may find it challenging to maintain the security of confidential data for banks, insurance companies, etc.
  • Your business may have to spend a lot to ramp up your vendor partner setup with those who have expertise in the niche skills. This may also be difficult, because you may be unsure how long the resources and knowledge will be kept.

Verdict

Many companies may want to balance the two models based on the nature of their business.

However, Fortune 500 companies, such as Citigroup, Dell, Unilever and Deutsche Bank, have recently shut down their captive centres and opted for the cost effective and efficient vendor partner setup. This is due to the increased competition and the need to save costs and deliver instant results within strict deadlines.

So, which model will you opt for? Do you have any points to share?

 

8 Tips for Application Maintenance Outsourcing

8 Tips for Application Maintenance Outsourcing

Application maintenance outsourcing (AMO) is an important part of application outsourcing. With AMO, you can outsource all the maintenance activities, such as enhancements, corrections and patch developments.

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You can get the resources that you need for the maintenance phase of your project on a contract basis. These resources include the manpower with the required technical skills, technology and other required resources.

Application development and maintenance form about 80% of the total work that is outsourced. The number of outsourcing companies is also increasing due to the huge demand.

Thus, let’s take a look at the several pros and cons it comes with.

Pros of AMO

AMO is a cost-effective solution and improves your operations and technology well.

Here are some benefits of AMO:

  • Cost and time saving
  • It lets you have more time to develop the app and for other operations.
  • It lets you concentrate on the core business.
  • It makes use of external expertise.
  • Gives you access to industry experts without paying a big compensation as you would for a normal employee.
  • Allows your work to be flexible.
  • Gives you access to talented IT professionals, better tools, equipment, and technology.
  • Improves the performance, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
  • It allows work to be continued in different time zones.
  • Enables you to go without a payroll system.
  • Nullifies the worry about losing key employees.

Cons of AMO

There are many benefits of AMO. But, if you choose the wrong partner or if you don’t take care of the basic guidelines, you could end up losing rather than gaining.

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Here are some disadvantages of AMO:

  • You may lose control over the workflow.

You could have a conflict with the contractor about the differing workflows.

For example, you may want the contractor to use a different approach than what they usually use.

So, you should ensure that the approach that you want the contractor to follow is clear before you sign the contract.

  • The outsourced staff may be disloyal.

You may not have proper communication with your outsourced team and so you may lose control over the team.

  • There is a management overhead.

You will have to deal with extra management duties, since you also have to take up the management issues related to outsourcing.

  • There may be a slow response time to problems.

If there is no proper project management and communication, your customers will experience a slow response time and they may be less satisfied.

Tips to Implement AMO

Thus, you first need to choose the right partner for outsourcing. You also have to follow best practices and guidelines and you need to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Here are eight tips to help you.

1. Set Your Goals

You should set well-defined criteria and quantifiable goals.

You should know what you want from the outsourcing and you need to specify them as measurable objectives. You should then measure the progress of your project with these.

2. Understand the Process

The activities involved in maintenance outsourcing are:

  • Service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Asset transfer
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Architecture reconstruction
  • Environment replication
  • Pilot programme
  • Process propagation
  • Work execution
  • Testing (verification and validation)
  • Deployment
  • Monitoring and reporting
  • Review and improvements

You should understand the workflow, other specifics and how the maintenance process will be carried out.

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You should clarify everything with the contractor and only sign the contract once you are clear about everything. This includes the approach that the vendor will use.

You must follow a well-developed maintenance lifecycle. Each phase (the planning, transitioning, delivery and close out) should occur at the right time and you should have a proper plan for each.

3. Documentation

You must ensure that the knowledge transfer is done properly. So, you must maintain a good documentation and keep it updated. This will also help you during training.

4. Hiring

You must choose experienced and skilled professionals. Such employees will require less training and you can use work trials to select key personnel.

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You should also set aside a budget for training. They need basic training; since they must understand the app they are working on. You can optimise your training costs by choosing employees with the required technical skills and experience and by having good documentation.

5. Make Use of Metrics

You must establish metrics to evaluate the performance and to determine whether the contractor abides by the SLA.

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You can these metrics:

  • Customer demand metrics
  • Enhancements work backlog
  • Maintenance work backlog
  • Priority request ageing
  • Performance metrics
  • Maintenance work volume
  • Enhancement work volume
  • Quality metrics
  • Rework requests
  • Efficiency metrics
  • Utilisation metrics

Verify your measurements using audits and monitor them continuously. You should also regularly hold review meetings and ensure that you are on the right path.

6. Team Integration

You must integrate your in-house team with the outsourced team. There should be good communication with your external staff to reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.

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You should also understand the cultural and geographical differences of the offshore team and try to bridge these differences to work as a single team.

7. Production Management

If you believe in productive work, then must establish a proper monitoring and reporting system as well.

You should also have a strong production management to help you smoothly carry out the joint operations. Everything should be planned and executed according to the plan.

8. Improve Your Infrastructure

If you have a mature infrastructure, you will achieve better results.

You should have a good communication platform, good connectivity and good technology support. Recovery features can also help you improve your efficiency.

So what’s your tip for AMO? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!

 

Got a Brilliant Mobile App Idea? Here is How to Get Started

Got a Brilliant Mobile App Idea? Here is How to Get Started

“I have an idea for a brilliant app, but how to get started?” This is a common question people who plan to launch a mobile app ask us.

Thousands of people think that they have a great app idea. If you’re one of them, then pull up your socks, because you got a great competition ahead.

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“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”

- Scott Belsky, Founder, Behance.

But, don’t worry. Read on, if you need help fleshing out your idea to actually build a business around it.

Here we will walk you through the step-by-step instructions to make your dream project a reality.

So, by not wasting any time, and words, here we go.

Validate Your Idea

This is the first and most important step for every idea and not specific to any technology.

It’s good that you have a killer idea, but it’s not about what you think. Instead, you have to figure out what your ideal users or customers think about your app.

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You need to find out:

  • What pain points your app is going to solve?
  • Is the problem which your app will solve indeed a problem?
  • Do you have a competitor? If yes, why would your users prefer your app?

You also need to ensure that your app idea is unique or fills a gap which no other app is doing.

The best way to start validating your idea is to ask your friends and family. Ask people you can trust to give you valuable and eye-opener inputs.

This will not only help you conclude if your idea is worth something, but it will also show you how to make the idea worthwhile.

Decide the Type of App You Need to Build

Once you have validated your idea, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to work on. The most important and immediate next step is deciding on what type of app it should be.

  • Do you want your app to be specific to any mobile platform like Android, iOS, Windows or Blackberry?
  • How can your users access it? Can they access it from an app store, such as iTunes or the Google Play Store?
  • Do you want a native mobile app or a web app that is optimised for smartphone usage?

Don’t get confused with too many choices. Just pick one and go for it. You can always tweak your strategy if need be.

Research and Read about App Development

This step may overlap with the second step.

If you’re non-technical, then you can find it challenging to decide on the type of app you need.

In that case, you may need to first acquire some knowledge about the basics of mobile app development. This will help you simplify your decision. Without this knowledge, you will not know what you need to know.

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But, if you are aware of the basics, then this step will come after choosing the type of app.

In either case, you need to have a good understanding of mobile app development to ensure you’re on the right path.

Here are a couple of tutorials which can help you get started:

But, don’t just stick to these tutorials. Read interesting and informative articles or blogs as well.

This will help you to keep abreast of the latest updates. Some popular blogs you can explore are ZdNet, The Next Web, CIO and Forbes.

Identify and Meet the Technical Requirements

You don’t need to buy an advanced PC with the latest configurations for mobile app development. However, it’s better to go for this.

For Android or web apps, you can create the app with Linux, Windows or a Mac.

But, for iOS app development, Mac is the only option.

Also, you need to have access to a smart device (iOS, Android or Windows) depending on the type of app platform you plan to design for.

If you plan to write the code yourself, then you also need an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Here are a couple of free developer tools for different mobile platforms which you can explore:

The biggest benefit of IDEs is that it offers a virtual smartphone to test your app for both Android and iOS.

Keep a Budget Ready

You don’t need to invest in the developer tools, but it will cost you money to register and publish apps in different app stores.

If you plan to publish on the Google Play store, then you have to pay a one-time fee of $25 at the time of registration. For Apple and Microsoft, it is an annual fee of around $100.

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Also take note that you need to share around 30% revenue of every sale your app makes with the app platform companies.

We hope by now that you have a clear idea of how to move from the ideation stage to the execution stage.

Although you can develop an app on your own, we advise that you get help from a specialist. If you make any deadly mistakes during the development process, all your efforts would be in the vain.

Thus, consult with a mobile development company that has extensive experience in delivering projects like yours. This will also give you a clear picture of whether you’re on the right path or whether you need to make a change.

So, when do you plan to develop your app? Which platform do you plan to go for?

If you have any questions or need advice, drop us a note below and we will get back to you soon.

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?