5 Changes Your Startup Must Make To Succeed With Offshore Product Development

Offshore product development is now quite common in the technology world. Some of the most successful startups such as Basecamp, GitHub, and MySQL are good examples of startups that successfully outsourced their product development and yet were massively successful.

It’s fair to say that outsourcing is only going to increase because of the cost and business benefits it brings to organizations and especially to startups. Highlighting this trend, the IT Outsourcing Report stated that nearly 40% of companies that outsourced application development planned to increase the volume of work they outsourced. The report also stated that 53% of companies with a mobile app outsourced their development initiatives. When it comes to startups, outsourcing had its own set of advantages other than just cost. Since startups are usually resource and time constrained, outsourcing product development makes abundant sense. Outsourcing gives startups the bandwidth to focus on the business aspect without having to worry about the many complexities of product development.

That said, outsourcing product development is anything but a simple process. Both the startup and the offshore product development team need to iron out certain processes to ensure that product development happens effortlessly, and the end result is superlative. Here are some suggestions on how to make this work.

  1. Treat the offshoring team as your extended team:
    Your offshore product development team is an extension of your internal team. They thus should be treated with the same amount of trust that you would show your local team. Startups must trust that the outsourcing vendor will work with a commitment to ensure that they develop a product that is successful.
    In our experience when a startup treats their outsourcing vendor and the team as their partner they work harder for you and empathize more. The fact is, you hire an outsourcing team for the experience and expertise they bring to the table. So, treat them as a part of your internal team to get the most out of that portfolio. Trust their insights and get them more involved by embedding them into your development process.
  2. Leverage them as your technology partners:
    Your offshore team gives you open access to strong technology experts. Sometimes this might lead to a clash of views. Such clashes often happen when the technology expert feels that a particular technology is more suitable for a project and the startup feels otherwise. In such a situation, it is advisable to have an open discussion like you would have with your internal team member. Let us speak on behalf of the offshore product development vendor for a minute. Given that these experts have their finger on the pulse of the tech ecosystem beyond just your product, their opinion will usually not be driven by technology bias. It will generally stem more from a desire to leverage the technology that will help in developing a better, feature-rich and more robust product.
  3. Integrate – make them a part of the big picture:
    Would your internal team be able to function if you don’t give them an idea of the big picture…of where your startup is heading? It’s no longer the case that offshore product development teams work best only when managing certain non-core activities in isolation. If you want your startup to succeed, you must ensure that all invested stakeholders have a clear idea of your company vision and mission -and this includes the offshore team. Help the offshore team understand not only the problems the product is trying to solve but also where the company wants to go in the long run. When you share your vision with the offshore team you give them the context in which they can innovate on your behalf. They can then help you come up with ideas to make the product better, how to extend the product, how to plan for an accelerated product development roadmap and come up with a product evolution plan.
  4. Establish clear criteria for success:
    You can only manage what you can measure. The same is true for startups working with offshore product development teams as well. Adopting an agile approach even in communication is key. Clear expectation setting helps in establishing clear criteria for success. To establish measurable and clearly accountable goals, have reasonable delivery timelines, have regular check-ins at a mutually convenient time, have a defined process of engagement that ensures that all deliverables are transferred in the appropriate format. It is most important to agree upfront on the parameters that define success to establish the performance of the offshore team.
  5. Great communication is critical for success:
    Great communication leads to successful partnerships. When it comes to an offshore product development team, communication can sometimes prove to be the Achilles heel. Startups, thus need to ensure that there is an environment that fosters effective communication between the offshore and local teams. This means leveraging all available tools like emails, messenger, and chat for communication and clarifications. This will involve the use of appropriate productivity tools for proper project management. This is essential to eliminate misunderstandings based on assumptions. Ensure that your outsourcing partner offers a model for business engagement that helps you get clarifications in case the outsourced team is in a different time zone. Regular check-ins also play an important role in establishing clear communication channels. This approach is more structured and ensures that everyone’s time is used optimally and that no information falls through communication gaps.

A change in mindset is essential to succeed while outsourcing product development to offshore teams for a startup. Once you see this team as an extension of your own company then ironing out issues that emerge during any product development lifecycle become easy. Remember that at the end of the day, “Individually we are a drop but together we are an ocean”. It’s time to dive in!

What the widespread adoption of digital transformation means for us?

Digital Transformation – These two words have changed the enterprise as we know it. Given the intense focus on digital, it has become evidently clear that the world will soon be divided into two parts – that of ‘digital leaders’ and of ‘digital laggards’ as per a Harvard Business Report. Unsurprisingly, HBR believes that it is the digital leaders who will outperform the digital laggards. Digital transformation has impacted business models, customer experiences, and operating models. This trend is all about employing digital technologies to business workflows and operations along with customer interactions. The aim is to enhance existing processes and improve the existing modes of interactions and consequently enable new, better, and more relevant products and processes. So pervasive has been the impact of Digital Transformation that it has topped the CIO agenda in 2017 as per a Wall Street Journal report. Having said that, here’s a look at what this widespread adoption of Digital Transformation means for companies like ours who support the organizations that have embarked on this journey.

  1. Web App Development:

    The enterprise today has to keep up with an insatiable demand for apps. It is because of the demand for enterprise-grade, secure, robust, and intuitive applications that organizations developing these apps have had to rethink how applications are created. Development methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, Behaviour Driven Development, and Test Driven Development thus have emerged as key enablers of digital transformation. They give organizations the capability to deliver reliable applications faster. Low-code, rapid application development platforms, also, have been thrust into the spotlight to fuel this digital economy that depends on applications. Given that organizations have to be more consumer-focused in this digital age also means an increased focus on UX. Organizations also have to realize that apps now have to be tightly integrated with existing systems and deliver value to the business. The need for IT agility also means that apps become more customized, simple and modular, and highly secure. App development needs to accommodate these needs. As digital transformation becomes stronger, app development also has to factor in the interfaces with and the working of all networking elements, servers, and databases. Insights into how they are likely to perform under application conditions will become key inputs to delivering service assurance. That is our challenge now.

  2. Mobile App Development:

    The mobile has a decisive role in digital transformation. The growing mobile obsession irrespective of geographical, cultural, and social diversity means that enterprises have to calibrate their digital transformation initiatives around mobile consumerism. For software partners like is, this means mobile app development has to look at emerging technologies such as bot frameworks, machine learning, AI etc. to elevate mobile apps to match consumer expectations and have a transformational business impact. Having a mobile plan for all the disparate systems, and ensuring all legacy applications have a mobile front-end will be imperative. Mobile app developers also have to take into consideration business intelligence and analytics as more enterprises move towards SaaS applications and the cloud. At the same time, traditional mobile apps will make way for intelligent mobile apps that employ cognitive API’s and focus on delivering hyper-personalized UX’s to finely-tuned mobile app experiences. With greater digital proliferation, mobile app development will also move towards amalgamating experiences of the web with the mobile to develop apps that are extendable, performance oriented, highly secure, discoverable, and shareable.

  3. Software Testing:

    The shift towards methodologies such as Agile and DevOps is changing the way software is tested. The need for fool-proof, secure, available, comprehensive, and robust applications has never been greater than today. Owing to this, shift left testing is becoming popular. Here testing is integrated into the development process itself and starts early in the development cycle. Testing in the digital world is not only about finding faults but also about assisting in creating an application that focuses on customer experience. Testing teams have to now not only look at the business aspect but also focus on providing intelligence for business creation. The speed of testing has to increase and thus, we have to implement higher levels of test automation and leverage technologies such as AI and Machine Learning to make testing smarter. Software testing teams also have to focus on ensuring consistent application performance across different platforms, mobile devices, and operating systems, even with an increased focus on UX. Most importantly, test automation initiatives have to be open to evolution in keeping with constantly evolving application demands.

  4. Cloud

    The cloud is a key enabler of digital transformation efforts as it offers enterprises the ease, speed, and scale that businesses need. The digital economy demands application availability. There is no place for latency in this business environment. The cloud emerges as the enabler of efficiencies here to ensure the anytime, anywhere availability of applications and information access. The need for greater computing power, storage, and a robust IT infrastructure can be addressed with the cloud. We have to consider that the cloud will become even more pervasive in enterprises looking at the digital transformation. This is inevitable as it provides enterprises with the capability to continuously innovate, build, test, implement, and experiment with different applications on multiple platforms. Additionally, since digital transformation demands the adoption of a culture of collaboration, it enables people to work more efficiently, to find ways to service customers better, generate revenue, and to find solutions to unsolvable problems. The cloud emerges as its critical enabler of innovation, creativity, and productivity and it has to form a key part of our arsenal.

The true value of digital transformation lies in complete transformation- not just tweaks. This transformation implies disruption and halting a previous trajectory to allow a fundamental change of path. It is only then that you can achieve the goal of digital transformation – to raise the bar and change the ground rules so that you can win in this competitive global economy. And yes, it will be software service partners that will help power that transformation.

The Top 5 Programming Languages of 2018 for Software Excellence

Spring 2018 is already here, and with the year flying by (like it always does), it’s time for a bit of a pause and a status check. At the heart of our world of technology is the underlying programming language. It follows, that if you want to stand out from the crowd and develop cutting-edge software, you must keep pace with new and upcoming languages. Although mainstream languages like Java, C, C++, and Python continue to be among the most popular in the software industry, emerging languages are just as (or sometimes more) capable of delivering great outcomes.

Emerging Languages of 2018:

Software development is one of the most dynamic industries out there. Languages, frameworks, and technologies arise, become popular, and then die an inglorious death. Developers have to constantly learn new skills (and languages) to outperform the competition. That’s why this collation of the top 5 emerging and influential languages for 2018!

If you’re an aspiring product developer, this is a good insight into what’s trending; if you’re an experienced hand, here is your chance to unlearn/re-learn.

  1. Elixir: First appeared 7 years ago in 2011, Elixir is a dynamic, functional programming language designed to build distributed, scalable, fault-tolerant applications. Used by companies like Pinterest, Elixir helps in creating high-availability, low-latency systems. It boosts performance by running on the Erlang VM.  Since the Elixir code runs inside lightweight processes, thousands of processes can run concurrently in the same machine. This offers substantial horizontal and vertical scaling. What works for Elixir is its high-scalability, high-extensibility, fault-tolerant nature, its functional programming capability, the fact that it is Erlang compatible, and part of a growing ecosystem.
  2. Swift: Debuted first in 2014, Swift is a powerful, intuitive, general-purpose programming language developed by Apple Inc. for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Being a multi-paradigm, compiled programming language, Swift serves as a good replacement for the Objective-C language for OSX and iOS development. Used by companies like Uber and Airbnb, Swift is new-programmer friendly and ideal for developing robust and lightning-fast applications – a must in today’s fast-paced world. What works for Swift is its modern, forward-thinking nature, its easy and fun-to-use Playgrounds, its security features, Objective-C interoperability, its fast and powerful performance, and the fact that it is open-source.
  3. Haskell: First released in 1990, Haskell is a standardized, general-purpose functional programming language that ensures excellent software performance. Haskell uses two popular systems: 1) the built-in type system determines the type of every expression at compile time – reducing the possibility of bugs and ensuring code optimization, and 2) the lazy evaluation system which delays the evaluation of expressions until its value is needed – avoiding repeated evaluations and reducing run time. Being used by companies like Facebook, Haskell is ideal for applications that need to be highly modifiable and maintainable. What works for Haskell is its expressive syntax, its clean code, shorter lead-times, higher reliability, code re-use features, powerful abstractions, and built-in memory management.
  4. Scala: Scala, which first appeared in 2004, is the perfect combination of an object-oriented and functional language, offering you the best of both worlds. Since Scala runs on the Java Virtual Machine, it provides language interoperability with Java; it allows you to use Interact seamlessly with Java libraries and also overcomes many of the challenges associated with Java. Just like Haskell, Scala also uses the same type interface, and hence reduces the possibility of logic errors. The simple and straightforward syntax and highly functional code make development entertaining and fun. What works for Scala is its code reuse feature, high flexibility and extensibility, and built-in class hierarchies.
  5. Go: Google Go, appeared first in 2009, is a compiled, open-source programming language ideal for building simple, reliable, and efficient software. Used by companies like BBC, Go offers immense speed, and is easy to deploy – you can cross-compile your applications, and easily run your original code on multiple machines. Since there are no complex abstractions or clever metaprogramming in Go, it makes it easier for new programmers to learn and excel at development. What works for Go is its simplicity, scalability, its straightforward syntax, its code optimization and error-checking feature.

Surge Ahead

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. The world of software development is blessed with an undying energy and new technologies and languages, all with their own virtues appear each day. Languages like Elm, Rust, and Kotlin could easily find mention in a list like this put up by someone else. Working in software development requires you to always keep pace with technological innovations and to hone your skills with the ever-changing technology landscape. As demands grow, and projects get bigger and more complex, innovation in programming languages becomes key. Staying abreast of new and upcoming languages is crucial to developing bug-free software faster and smarter. Leveraging these (re)emerging programming languages will help you surge ahead in our competitive industry! You can thank us later.

Beyond Code – 5 Benefits Your Software Development Partner Brings To Your Startup

In a world where technology rules and market velocity is king, even startups have to hit the ground running for success. However, you know that developing a great technology product is almost like climbing a mountain. Just like you need an expert guide when you scale a mountain, an expert guide can support you on the arduous uphill climb to product success too. Today startups have the option to work with an offshore development partner for their software development.

So, why should you outsource to an offshore development partner? The traditional argument has been that such outsourcing gives a fledgling startup the bandwidth to focus on activities such as getting their sales cycles moving and identifying new business opportunities while the outsourcing company does the software heavy lifting. However, to put your startup on a winning growth trajectory, instead of looking at a vendor, you should ideally look for an outsourcing partner…one who has the capability to help you beyond coding.

So what are the things that a development partner can help you with? For sure, coding is one of them. Let’s take a look at a few others.

  1. Assist in Making Correct Technology Choices:

    To succeed in the market today, you need specialized technical expertise. You might have the right idea but without the right technology in place, you may struggle to translate your vision into action.
    A development partner can actually be your technology visionary. They can help you not only make the right technology choices that fit best with your product but will assist you in identifying ways to make the product under development more robust and feature rich. A tech outsourcing partner will have a pool of technology experts and access to this valuable resource pool can prove to be of great value to your startup. With access to tech experts, startups can be sure that they make the best technology choice and not just go by the latest trend.

  2. Innovate on Your Behalf:

    Yes, a startup almost always has a clear picture of what their end product should look like. But what if it could be better? A technology partner can give you an early proof of concept to help you assess if your final product is market ready or not. They can help you understand if the product fulfills the needs it was designed for and if not, help in identifying the gaps. Given their experience in software product development, your partner can innovate on your behalf and also identify ways in which your product can be better and even future ready.

  3. Assist in Developing New Opportunities:

    Outsourcing has a definite cost advantage associated with it, but it also gives startups an opportunity to develop new markets.  Having been a part of the technology circuit, a technology outsourcing partner can help a startup identify new need gaps and new market opportunities. They can help the startup identify new ways of making the product viable for a new market. For example, the startup might be interested in developing a mobile app for a specific demographic, but perhaps they could increase their market acceptance by deploying a progressive web app.

  4. Mitigate Risks and Navigate the Regulatory Landscape:

    Startups also need to ensure that they mitigate risks of various kinds. Security, regulatory, and compliance regulations are now a top concern for startups in the face of data breaches and the associated consumer anxiety regarding these breaches. Startups need to be more well-versed in areas such as data protection laws and applications security. They also have to be nimble to adjust fast to ensure compliance with changing regulatory and operational requirements. An outsourced development partner gives you the experience advantage and helps you navigate these challenges with ease and assurance.  

  5. Assist in Team Scaling:

    Working with a partner gives your startup the capability to scale your team up, or down, faster. Finding great programmers with the right skills, in the right quantity, at just the right time, in today’s competitive market can be hard and expensive. At the same time, a start-up might need to scale down as well at times. With a strong outsourcing company, you do not need to worry about the emotional and logistical problems associated with scaling down. You can gain access to rock star developers on demand, and you can focus on developing a product that you want.

According to IT Outsourcing Statistics, application development is the most frequently outsourced function with 37% of organizations outsourcing this function already. By working with a software development partner, startups, like yours, not only gain the coding advantage from programming experts but can also gain other advantages that will help them go-to-market faster with a product that will win the market.

Are great products due to great developers or great testers?

As the world becomes increasingly software-defined and all products become software products, the focus shifts to not only developing newer, better products but to develop them faster. Along with faster development, there has been a shift in the way quality is perceived today. Can we even imagine using a product that is slow or prone to bugs today? In a software-defined world, quality includes reliability and an assurance of uncompromising security. Software development too has undergone a quantum leap over the last few years. Developers are now the superheroes of this software dominated world developing products using new technologies to make our lives simpler and agiler. Developers don’t just create code but are deeply invested in creating products that generate value in our lives. Given this tectonic shift in the manner in which products are developed one big question that may crop up is, “Are great software products created due to great developers or great testers?”

are great products due to great developers or great testers

First, a caveat. Clearly, product development calls for a bunch of collaborative efforts. Just as vital as development and testing are defining the user’s needs and adoption behavior, designing a great user experience, and obviously impactful marketing and sales. For the purposes of this blog though we will focus on the nuts and bolts of building the product.

To begin that conversation, we have to take a look at the change that has come about in the software development landscape. The need for great software products to be delivered in the shortest timeframe possible has led to the adoption of development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps. These methodologies are all about faster processes, the use of the latest and the most relevant technology options, and a clear alignment with business demands. As software eats the world, businesses have to release software products faster to meet the ever-changing and increasing consumer demands. The success of an organization has become directly proportional to its capability to release, update, and improve its software. Development teams have thus had to become focused on perfecting releases. Key is making incremental changes to the software as the need arises.

The connection of the end-user with the quality of code is also becoming ever-tighter as the consumer base becomes more used to great digital experiences. Developers are now expected to create intelligent apps that include the latest technologies such as virtual personal assistants (VPAs) etc. New technologies have the potential to transform workplaces and make everyday tasks simpler. Clearly, the developers of today have to know exactly what their audience needs from them and how the application is expected to fulfill a business demand. At the same time, they have to create code that rocks the user’s world. Software products are becoming easier to use but harder to build! Developers now have to focus on creating code that has interconnected parts which render themselves to iterations with ease. Without a doubt, developers have to constantly keep an eye out for the latest technological and business trends and remain updated to create stellar products that can survive in today’s intensely competitive marketplace.

While the role of the developer has risen to one of paramount importance and software delivery reaches Formula 1 speed, the role of the tester has evolved as well. In order to finish first in the race for quality software delivery, the focus on software testing has moved from a good-to-have to a must-have. Software testing can no longer remain an end-of-development exercise. As DevOps and Continuous Delivery move from being a competitive advantage to just par for the course, testing becomes more integrated into the development process itself. Can we imagine fast deployment without adequate testing? Can we release quality software products, releases, or updates fast if the speed of testing does not meet the speed of development? Can we, any longer, afford to leave software testing to the end of the development lifecycle?

While developers have been the key people to recast our society with software, it is the testers who decide the strength of the software in production. It is the testing teams that will identify numerous and creative ways to dispassionately break down a software product so that the product, in the hands of the end-user, behaves as it should. Testing teams are utilizing test automation and technologies such as AI to make the testing process smoother, more expansive, and yet faster, to make sure that broken code does not impede product performance or render the product to vulnerabilities. Testers are the superstars who will dare to raise the uncomfortable questions that ultimately elevate the barometer of quality.

If we look at these two roles closely, we can identify that both developers and testers are working with the same intent – that of creating quality products. However, with new development methodologies such as DevOps coming into play, these two roles are becoming inextricably entwined. Development and testing can no longer function in isolation. If you need a great development team, you need an equally strong testing and test automation team to make sure that the final product is accepted in the market.

The way the world is heading, it is clear that great products can only be created when you not only have great developers but great testers as well. Developers and testers thus both become superheroes fighting the quality war in the software universe…one the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the other the Avengers. Despite their differences, they remain superheroes in their own right, and the biggest battles are won only when they fight on the same side!

6 Tips for Ensuring Great Performance with Frontend Development

Did you know? In 2017 alone, there were 197 billion apps downloaded across the world! With people around the world spending 900 billion hours a year using mobile applications, it goes without saying that slow loading times, poor mobile optimization or browser incompatibility are just unacceptable. Great performance is one of the most critical aspects of any software project: whether it is a simple mobile app or a full-scale e-commerce website. Websites or apps that are clumsy and bothersome to use can never provide the convenience that today’s digitally savvy user expects.

6 Tips for Ensuring Great Performance with Frontend Development

What makes a Website/App Exceptional?

Have you ever looked at an app and wondered what makes it so awesome? Have you given thought to the way it was created? Have you wondered how quickly it offered you the information you were looking for and exclaimed, “I wish my website could do that”! With frontend development, you can. By leveraging various technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, frontend development ensures every aspect of an app or website functions smoothly, on a multitude of devices, form factors, and operating systems, with almost no bugs or errors.

While good content, an attractive layout, high-resolution images, and seamless navigation is essential, each of these elements have an impact on page load time and eventually the end-user experience. Balancing aesthetics and performance is key; at every step, developers need to put in efforts to build a user experience that has minimum impact on performance. Offering core content to users as fast as possible and getting the message across in a quick yet interesting fashion is critical.

So how does one ensure great performance? By focusing on certain guidelines, you can dramatically increase the speed and overall performance of your website. Let’s look at some tips and techniques that can enable a robust frontend development for great performance:

  1. Bundle and minify: A good frontend experience can be achieved by bundling and minification of CSS and JS files. While bundling concatenates multiple files of the same type into a single large file, minification goes a step further and adds model-based compression to the content and removes all unnecessary characters from text including white-space characters and comments. The result? Reduced file size, faster load times, improved responsiveness, and exceptional performance.
  2. Compress files: Speedy performance of a website or app can be achieved by compressing files such as documents, audio clips, JPEG images etc. File compression makes the site’s content light and easy to manage. Choose from an array of tools and techniques like GZIP or CompressNow and make your website or app extremely responsive to user input.
  3. Leverage CDN: If your website or app caters to a global audience, it is imperative you use a content delivery network (CDN). When you use a CDN, your website’s static content gets linked to an extended network of servers across the globe, enabling data to be fetched from the nearest server and delivered to users rapidly.
  4. Reduce external requests: Very often, a large portion of a website’s load time comes from external HTTP requests; each time a request is made, the chances of DNS lookups, redirects and 404 error pages increase – not to mention the increase in load times. Since redirects can cause significant delays, eliminate features that do not augment end-user experience including unnecessary images, pointless JavaScript, excessive CSS and redundant plugins.
  5. Enable caching: You can significantly improve the speed and performance of your website by enabling caching. Since websites and apps are viewed thousands or sometimes even millions of times, servers are often overloaded. By caching your website, you can reduce load on your servers, deliver content to users faster, and improve the performance of your website.
  6. Optimize images: Although high-resolution pictures add to the user experience, they often jam the rendering process often resulting in poor frontend performance. Since devices have limited screen sizes, there is no reason to have images larger than the screen size. Make sure to always compress and optimize your screen size; use tools such as JPEG Optimizer or Tiny PNG and offer a flawless user experience.

Minimalism is Key:

In a bid to offer a lot of information to the user, developers often make the mistake of cramming too many features into the time available. Determining what features your app absolutely requires and choosing the right framework ensures you use the right code, the right-sized images, and the minimum number of external HTTP requests. Although frontend development might seem intimidating, the truth is you can greatly improve the performance of your website by applying certain principles. Always remember, the faster your website loads, the better the user experience it will offer. Since your website is what makes your brand stands out, keep it minimalistic. Use the latest tools, techniques and web technologies to elevate your brand and build pages that are light and quick to load. And watch your users smile as they engage.

Key Data Privacy Considerations in Creating Web and Mobile Apps

The app economy is booming. As of 2017, there were over 2.8 million apps available for download from the Google Play Store. The Apple App Store boasts of over 2 million apps. With the smartphone explosion, apps have created a permanent place in our lives. With this growing acceptance of mobile apps, the enterprise too has become ‘appified’. According to the “Mobile Enterprise Application Market by Software (Accounting & Finance, ERP, Communication & Collaboration, and CRM), Operating System (Android, iOS and Windows), Type of App, Organization Size, Industry Vertical and Region – Global Forecast to 2021” report, the mobile enterprise application market is expected to grow to USD 98.03 Billion by 2021 from USD 48.24 Billion in 2016. That’s a compound annual growth rate of over 15% from 2016 to 2021. There are many reasons for this appification of the economy – greater smartphone adoption, better connectivity, growing demand for real-time information capture and a consequent focus of organizations to make their processes mobile-ready, and a growing mobile workforce, are all compelling drivers.

Key Data Privacy Considerations in Creating Web and Mobile Apps

The growing use of smart devices and mobile applications also leads to a corresponding rise of volumes of data. Given the very nature of most apps, personal data is collected from them for the software to function as designed. As more and more data is captured to make apps hyper-personalized, there are increased calls for focusing on data privacy. The introduction of GDPR, the European online data privacy law that is expected to come into full effect in 2018, is a signal step in this direction. According to this law, organizations and entities seeking personal data have to explicitly inform the user exactly how that data will be used and what will happen to it. This means that the people will have a better idea of how their data is processed. They will also have the ‘right to be forgotten’ along with being proactively informed in the event of a serious data breach. This General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) framework is a solid step to solidify data protection for all individuals. Mobile and web app development companies thus have to significantly expand their efforts to make apps that are GDPR compliant. This means stronger encryption algorithms, protocols for single sign-on such as OAUTH, enforcing secure communication using HTTPS, and all other relevant steps.

Given this greater focus on data security and data privacy, as apps become an integral part of the enterprise operations, mobile and web app development companies have to look at ways to enhance the security layer of these applications. Application architects and designers have to thus design web and mobile applications placing security at the beating heart of the entire development effort. This means error-free and vulnerability-resistant code, and a strong emphasis on testing, especially security testing.

Apart from having the required Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Systems, in today’s app economy, it has become essential for organizations developing web and mobile apps to include security testing at the core of their development process. This approach ensures that all flaws and vulnerabilities can be exposed during the development process itself. It is also imperative to ensure that the data functionality is optimal to maintain operational capabilities without exposing the application to vulnerabilities or malicious attacks. Tests such as vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, security risk assessment, ethical hacking, access control testing, and security scanning etc. may have to be performed. The need is to test in a robust and judicious manner to prevent customer data being compromised in any manner during usage. At the end of the day, app developers have to be creative in their attempts to “break into” the apps. This is all about the many ways in which application data can be manipulated, all possible vulnerabilities identified, and all forms of risk assessed. Finding the vulnerabilities is an essential first step before identifying ways to boost the security of the application and the data that resides within it.

Given that there has been a dramatic increase in the complexity and sophistication of mobile malware, organizations in the web and mobile application development space have to dramatically alter their way of thinking to stay ahead of those creating such malicious code. They must implement strong security layers while ensuring compliance with regulatory security requirements. In today’s day, as Bruce Schneier says, ‘security is not just a product, but a process’. It’s hard to disagree!

Are Mobile Apps Going To Die?

In a cut-throat economy, organizations realize that the key to success is to embrace change fast and not take a reactive approach to innovation. The mobile app market is no different. Yes, there are over a billion smartphones in use across the globe. There also are a dizzying number of mobile applications downloaded each year. In 2017 the Apple App Store had 2.2 million apps available for download while the Google Play Store had 2.8 million apps. Today, clearly we have become quite dependent on these little icons on our smartphones screens – from booking a cab, making a hotel reservation, ordering for food, making online purchases, calorie counting, banking, staying connected with friends and work…the list goes on. Mobile applications have established themselves as an essential part of our lives. But it is also true that the apps that we use now are light years ahead of their earlier iterations. Apps of today do not just disseminate content for the user but enable the user to determine what kind of content they want to consume. App functionality has improved by leaps and bounds owing to the use of geo location and the capabilities of the phone. Apps are more engaging and intuitive now.

Are Mobile Apps Going To Die?

The death of the mobile app as we know it

Today there is an increasing integration of technology with mobile apps to push the boundaries as we know it. Remember the classic Snake game on the Nokia 3310? Well, that was technically a mobile app back in the 90’s. Now compare that to the 2011 Temple run experience. The evolution of the mobile app is pretty evident, isn’t it? Technology is improving. The needs and demands of the app consumer are changing. Consumers are now looking at more seamless and connected experiences. They want their apps to behave in a certain manner. They want more features. They demand greater speed. They want more personalization. And they want access…all the time, anywhere.

Can the present day mobile apps deliver on all these demand parameters? Not quite. With technology giving us opportunities to get the best of everything, mobile apps, too, are not to be left behind. With the growing comfort with smartphones, consumers now want an amalgamation of web and mobile apps and want intelligent interactions with their mobile apps as they traverse their digital experience journey.

The rise of intelligent apps

As mentioned earlier, apps today are no longer being used to disseminate content to the user. The mobile apps are becoming increasingly intelligent. As an example, think Amazon. Using technologies such as machine learning and AI, Intelligent Apps are getting more contextual. These apps have the capability to learn the behavioral, emotional, and contextual patterns of the user in real-time and capably deliver hyper-personalized experiences in each successive session. With each input, the mobile app creates a personalized response. These apps make the use of cognitive API’s, ensure that personalization of the UX is a continuous activity. They eliminate the use of keyboard inputs and use speech, gestures, and bio-metrics to operate the apps without the keyboard. They leverage frameworks to take the app to the next level of user satisfaction with faster releases. Service providers like Netflix, e-Commerce providers such as Amazon, and browsers such as Chrome are already making use of intelligent apps. Gartner expects that this year some of the world’s largest organizations will begin to leverage intelligent apps to fine-tune their mobile app experiences.

The rise of progressive web apps

As you may have read earlier here, Progressive Web Apps are actually web applications that deliver a native app-like experience to their consumers. They come with progressive enhancements to implement features such as push notifications, caching, and background sync to deliver better experiences. Research suggests that an average user spends 80% of his total time on only three apps. The rest of the apps just sit on the mobile phone screen eating up precious mobile memory. PWA’s do not need any installing, deliver a great user experience, have browser compatibility, are responsive to fit any form factor, work offline, and function even in low network quality. Further, they provide app-like navigation and interactions and have a robust update process that makes sure that the app performance is at its peak always. Given that PWA’s are actually websites these are easily extendable. They make it easier to add functionalities. Along with this, these apps are also highly secure, easily discoverable and easily shareable. Quite simply put, Progressive Web Apps amalgamate the best qualities of web apps with that of native mobile apps – what’s there not to love then? But the question for us is –are these Mobile Apps? We would have to say Not really –and that’s a threat to the world of mobile apps as we know it.

Conclusion:

There seem to be clear signs that the age of mobile apps as we know it is fast coming to an end. Well not in the Tyrannosaurus Rex kind of way, but, it is becoming quite evident that the next evolution of these mobile apps is now upon us. Would it then be wrong to say, “The Mobile App is dead. Long live the Mobile App”?

Are you ready for Robotic Process Automation?

I’d say that the biggest misconception about RPA is that it’s easy—It’s not easy. That’s why barely 10% of the buyer population in Global 2000 companies have embraced it.” – Frank Casale, founder, and CEO of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (IRPA AI)

Given that warning, it would make sense to assess the internal readiness and capacity of your company before adopting or even considering RPA technology. RPA, or robotic process automation, sometimes conjures up images of a solution that helps with cognitive computing. While that may represent the ultimate level of artificial intelligence that exists, solutions that are being developed in the present focus more on automating repeatable, predictable, and fixed business processes. When we speak about enterprises, this technology is still perhaps hard to implement, but experts say that those that do adopt RPA will rapidly see the immense benefits. For companies, it could mean a winning strategy for all the stakeholders – employees included. Let us look in-depth into the possible benefits of embracing RPA.

Are you ready for Robotic Process Automation?

Firstly – what is Robotic Process Automation?

With the surge in digitization and the increasing demand on the already limited resources, the push towards adopting automation technology has now become a necessity. Technology adoption would help to empower organizations and accelerate their efforts towards gaining more business and staying ahead of their competition. Robotic Process Automation is specifically made software that is capable of simulating human conducted activities that would be routine and repetitive in nature. The software “robots” follow designated workflows, seeking information from clearly identified sources and then performing routine yet critical operations. The functions impacted could include back-office processing, support, and front office management. Today, several companies have begun using these solutions with resounding success.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation to Organizations:

  1. RPA is best for transactional or rule-bound processes and for organizing data. Using robotic technology companies have a reduced effort and even lowered full-time equivalent employee (FTE) requirement.
  2. By incorporating RPA into the rules of business, companies would be able to simplify processes, conduct speedier transactions, maintain uniformity in their documentation, and afford complete transparency of their processes. These factors incidentally are among the top priorities for customers today, which therefore would lead to enhanced business and success.
  3. Using RPA reduces the opportunities for human error in rote tasks, and limits the exposure of sensitive and confidential information to humans – critical for the proper functioning of any company.
  4. Several companies require huge amounts of data to be added to various systems and myriad applications. Manual data entry is prone to errors especially given the mundane nature of the task. By using RPA in this process, companies can be sure of increased output of work with no errors, thereby removing the requirement of extra headcount to check and correct the errors. Re-work is eliminated as well.
  5. Since several tasks can be completed in less time and at a lowered cost, the ROI of the initiative can be achieved relatively quickly.
  6. Since RPA is a software, it has endless possibilities and capacity to work – meaning around the clock availability and work churned out. This means a lot more work with no interruptions or breaks.

Where Robotic Process Automation Stops

These RPA-driven software robots are capable of making only limited decisions and the cognitive ability is extremely constrained. In some ways, the primary objective is significantly improving the efficiency, not really the effectiveness. That’s to say, RPA allows organizations to perform these functions faster, with less effort, utilizing fewer human resources, and with greater accuracy. That said, if there is ambiguity about the inputs or if there is volatility in the functions to be addressed or the business processes are extremely fluid and dynamic, RPA is less likely to be successful.

A Bright Future for RPA

It has been said often that the downside of cognitive artificial intelligence is that it would reduce the number of jobs and dislodge employees from their roles. RPA on the other hand empowers employees by allowing them to engage in more creative and value-added tasks and removing the dull, rote ones.

Well-designed RPA solutions have this distinct advantage – companies can embrace them without the need to dismiss employees or spend too many resources in training them on the solutions. The great part of RPA is that it requires human supervision, placing control in the hands of the employees, thereby raising their morale, enhancing their development, and making them more productive on the job. Different types of organizations are already tasting success in areas like:

  • Government: Verifying existing processes; populating forms and assigning subcontractors to jobs, and integrating legacy systems with newer systems.
  • HR: Providing employee on-boarding; better managing leave of absence requests; more efficiently populating employee data into multiple systems, and offering performance appraisal management.
  • IT: Creating new accounts; installing software and updates more seamlessly, and setting up printers and workstations.

Conclusion:

It is probably time to integrate RPA solutions into your company, and the good news is technologies, including strategies borrowed from test-automation, are already at hand to seamlessly draw RPA into your business processes. Are you ready, is the question?

Why you Should Start Caring About Progressive Web Apps (If you Don’t Already)?

Have you heard of the term “the best of both worlds”? As utopian as it might sound, there is one place where this may apply -in the application world. Progressive Web Apps or PWA’s are being touted as the next big thing for the mobile web. These apps take the advantages of the latest technology and combine the best experiences of mobile and the web apps to deliver better functionality and smoother and more engaging application experiences. As web interactions move increasingly towards the mobile, application developers are faced with the challenge of creating applications that can be easily accessed over the smartphone without compromising on quality, aesthetics, and functionality. One solution is to create web applications that look and feel like iOS or Android apps that are native to the device. Welcome Progressive Web Apps!

What are Progressive Web Apps?

Progressive Web Apps, PWA’s, deliver a mobile like experience to the users without having them download or install the app from the play (or App) store. With these apps, developers can create a simple web application using JavaScript, HTML, CSS etc. and add mobile capabilities such as camera access, push notifications, offline support etc. PWA’s are deployed to servers, are indexed by search engines and can be accessed through url’s. Mobile web apps that are accessed on a mobile browser usually are not capable of sending out push notifications, do not deliver the look and feel of a native app downloaded from an app store, cannot load on the home screen etc. With PWA’s developers can fix this problem leveraging new design concepts, using new web API’s and standards-based technologies in tandem to deliver a native app like experience.

Why you Should Start Caring About Progressive Web Apps?

Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

Research suggests that “every step you make a user perform before they get value out of your app will cost you 20% of users.” In such an environment PWA’s work well for businesses since these apps do not compromise on user experience as compared to a traditional mobile web browser and neither do they demand a user go through the process of installing a mobile app. Here are a few benefits of PWA’s

  1. Adaptability– Since PWA’s are built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet they have the capability to work for every user irrespective of browser choice.
  2. Responsiveness – PWA’s have the responsiveness to fit any form factor, be it a laptop, tablet or mobile device, thus ensuring a consistent user experience
  3. Workability – These apps have the capability to work offline and in low network quality since these are enhanced with Service Workers. This is a script that runs behind the scenes and runs in response to events such as network requests, push notifications etc. This capability ensures that these apps also run faster than traditional websites and hence improve app speed and performance.
  4. App-like – Provide app-style navigation and interactions using design concepts such as App Shell that provides the web application a shell of an app UI. The content is then loaded later, is kept and cached separately. This helps in fast loading and improving the user experience.
  5. Always Updated – PWA’s are always updated owing to the service worker update process.
  6. Highly Secure – High on security as these are delivered via HTTPS. This also ensures that the content of the application does not get tampered with.
  7. Discoverability – Since PWA’s are actually websites, this makes them easily discoverable by search engines. PWA’s also speed up the process of application indexing and ensures that the app is indexed in Google much faster without worrying about app deep linking.
  8. Frictionless – PWA’s provide a frictionless user experience since unlike mobile apps these are easily installable without using an app or play store. Since these do not have to be downloaded, application updates happen effortlessly from the user’s side and this gives them access to the latest features, security updates, functionalities etc. This feature also helps in avoiding the problem of software fragmentation as faced by native mobile apps.
  9. Expandability – As PWA’s are essentially websites, it is very easy to expand them to add functionalities.
  10. Sharability – These apps are easily shareable via URL as they do not need to be downloaded.

It’s fair to say that we are still in the early days of Progressive Web Apps. Cross-browser support in browsers such as Safari and Edge is limited but the open support that PWA’s have been getting from companies such as Microsoft (they plan to implement more PWA features) and with Twitter, NASA, etc. all using Progressive Web Apps to create new versions of their service, it is quite clear that this craze will catch on quickly. After all, it is becoming evident that the future of mobile apps is the web!

Here’s Some Help In Picking The Right CMS For Your Business!

Choosing the right content management system(CMS) is key for boosting the efficiency and productivity of your web app. A good content management system results in improved site navigation, greater flexibility, increased security, and helps in reducing errors by preventing content duplication. In today’s digital world, a CMS is essential for every web-based business. Consider how your website needs to be regularly updated with content, new products, styles, services, and campaigns which may be added or removed.

Here’s Some Help In Picking The Right CMS For Your Business!

For those who came in late let’s introduce the CMS first. The CMS is mainly used for managing web content and offers tools for website authoring, collaboration, and administration. This helps users with limited knowledge of HTML and other programming languages to create and manage their website content easily. They are easy to use and can be customized easily, they cost less and provide better workflow management. Without the CMS, the website risks becoming unorganized and inaccurate. Navigation may become more difficult for the users, thus compromising the all-important user-experience.

With different CMS options available in the market, it may be challenging at times to pick the right CMS suited to your business needs. So how do you know which is the best CMS for your company? In this post, we have shared information on the different types of CMS along with their key benefits. We hope this will help you in making the best CMS decision.

First, what are the different categories of CMS that are widely used today?

It may be useful to understand the different types of CMS, their features, and their advantages, before choosing the one which fits your business needs. Open source CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento are some of the widely used in the industry.

  1. Proprietary CMS:
    Proprietary CMS or the traditional, commercial software involves initial license fees for using the software and there are also annual charges required for their support or updates. There may be additional costs for making customization and technical support as well and can prove to be more expensive. Hence, it may be important to know the features that may be covered by this type of license. Ex: Microsoft Sharepoint, Sitecore, Shopify.

  2. Open Source CMS:
    This kind of CMS software is largely free and hence there is no initial cost involved in its usage. There are no license fees, upgrade fees as they are mainly created by a team of developers within the community. However, there may be costs involved if customization needs to be made to the software to meet specific business needs. Ex: WordPress, Magento, Drupal. Since feature additions and support is from the community there is some unpredictability in their cadence and availability.

  3. Software As a Service(SaaS):
    SaaS CMS solutions comprise web hosting, web content management software, and technical support through a single supplier. These solutions are hosted in the cloud and typically involves a subscription model offered on a per user or per site basis. One of the main benefits of using SaaS CMS solutions is their easy accessibility across laptop, mobile devices. Costs are also quite low compared to other types of CMS. The updates for the software can be done in real time and packages are usually scalable.

  4. Component Content Management System:

    As a point of interest, Component Content Management Systems help in managing content at the component level rather than the document level. They deal with content which may be repetitive and may be regularly revised and translated into different languages.

Top Factors To Consider While Choosing The Right CMS For Your Business are:

  1. Assess impact on your business:
    In most organizations, the IT, marketing and sales departments are closely involved in the activities related to the website. Hence one key task is prioritizing the requirements of different stakeholders to avoid internal conflicts. Next, the business needs to know their key internal needs, before choosing a specific platform so that they can plan in case they need to deploy additional staff and resources if required.

  2. Must be able to match with the technology and skillsets:
    There are many dependencies that may influence your choice of CMS solution. It may be necessary to integrate with other core functions such as marketing, sales, communication along with other project management initiatives. If there are any technology upgrades which are planned for the future, it may be best to choose a CMS which may be compatible with these projected changes. It may also be necessary to assess the technical skills and capabilities of your in-house team. In addition, it’s necessary to understand if the CMS is easy to use and manageable for your end users as well.

  3. Choosing the right features::
    The kind of features which you would require for your CMS would largely depend on your business goals. The size and scope of your web app, the likely schedules of content updation, the volume of this content, the number and type of users who will be tasked with managing the content, and the nature of the content will all play a role. The CMS software needs to be user-friendly, easy to use, have a scalable architecture to meet your future needs, must provide security features, and needs to have documentation and support for the end users.

  4. Focus on on-going support:
    Support for CMS platforms is of paramount importance as there may be on-going issues over the business operations. Especially, if you are opting for Opensource CMS, then it’s necessary to choose one with a wider and more interactive community for on-going support and seeking solutions. Besides, this also involves a cost, especially for implementing solutions using traditional platforms. Support may also be required even for the hosting infrastructure.

Conclusion:

Choosing the right CMS platform calls for thorough research on the various available options, weighing their pros and cons and finding the best fit that meets your specific business requirements and goals. If the choice seems too complex, then drop us a line and we will be happy to help!

Software Trends You Should Be Excited About In 2018

2017 was an exciting time to be in the software product development and testing space. We witnessed the rise of DevOps as a solid development methodology, saw Agile become more mature, and the establishment of test automation as an essential to the success of any software development methodology. Iterative software development emerged as the enabler of delivering high-quality software and this resulted in generating greater customer satisfaction. 2018 promises to be no less transformational in the world of software development. Here’s a list of things that we are, and you should also be keeping an eye on in 2018.

Software Trends You Should Be Excited About In 2018

  1. Artificial Intelligence:

    While AI has made its presence felt in our lives in the form of Siri and Cortana, 2018 will witness AI influencing development and testing too. Right from conceptualization to software development and testing, and deployment and maintenance the AI impact is expected to be quite pronounced in 2018. Using AI, developers can create better software by creating richer functionalities that are more user responsive. The use of AI in software testing is also going to be quite tangible. With the use of AI, testing teams will be able to better optimize test automation cases, validate hard to process artifacts, simplify complex tasks, and create intelligent test scripts that are adaptive in nature -amongst other things.

  2. Progressive Web Apps:

    2018 is also looking like the year of Progressive Web Apps. Introduced by Google in 2015, PWA’s got a lukewarm reception in 2016. 2017 saw these apps gradually gain momentum as they presented a potential alternative to designing a native mobile app. Presently there are over 6.5 billion apps for download while the corresponding number for regular app use is on the decline according to Statista. As the number of mobile apps increase but lose their appeal, PWA’s present themselves as the next big hope for the mobile web. PWA’s makes use of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile applications. These are more reliable, load quickly, respond faster, and provide an immersive UX all while being more maintainable.

  3. Single Page Application (SPA):
    Single Page Applications or SPAs continue to climb up the popularity charts. Initially used to build the private dashboard portions of SaaS platforms or Internet services, SPAs based on JavaScript will continue to rise in popularity in 2018. This is driven by the sense that they are high performance, reduce development time, and are device agnostic. While it still might be too early to assess the likely success levels, the growing popularity of SPAs in the development circles is already visible.

  4. Automation and Continuous Testing:
    Continuous testing is all set to become an overarching theme in 2018. This is owing to the accelerating shift towards DevOps, continuous delivery, agile etc. With this, we will see an increase in automation in the software testing space. We are sure to witness test automation become a first-class citizen in the age of digital transformation. As continuous delivery pipelines along with running software and services become an omnichannel business, software development and testing companies will want an even greater convergence of testing tools. In 2018, we can expect to see this convergence of functional test automation tools with mobile front-end test automation tools. These companies will no longer want to use one tool for running functional tests for browsers and other environments and another for mobile environments.
  5.  Motion UI:
    Web design trends in 2018 are all about being more cutting edge. As web design becomes more dynamic, smooth animation becomes a design imperative. In 2017, we saw Motion UI gain rapid popularity. This was because it gave developers the capacity to animate content faster and with greater ease without any in-depth knowledge of jQuery or JavaScript. Motion UI helps in capturing the attention of the user by easily adding movement and drama elements to pages.

Conclusion:

Along with all this, we could also expect to see the further evolution of strategies to engage the users more. An example in 2018 could be chatbots based on artificial intelligence to increase the efficacy of online communication.
2018 promises to be an important year in the software development business as software begins to touch our lives and work in every possible way. Clearly, technology is all set to embed itself in everything we do as almost all businesses become software driven. As the way people and companies use software changes – can the way we develop software afford to stand by the wayside and ignore the change?

5 Technologies That Technology Driven Startups Must Adopt Today.

As the dominance of technology increases, almost every day we are bombarded with the next ‘it’ technology that is designed to be the cure of all ills. In such an environment, technology-driven startups can find themselves lost in a maze of options. After all, making the right technology decision and leveraging the right technology can play a huge role in their success. As startups come under pressure to deliver faster and deliver better and create applications in extremely stringent timelines, here’s a look at five impactful technologies that tech-driven startups can adopt to be successful.

Cloud:

The cloud has evolved to be one of the most disruptive technologies of our times. It can be considered a big contributor to the high-speed growth of technology-driven organizations. Large organizations such as Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox etc. have been hugely successful owing to cloud technology. With the cloud, startups can store and manage large volumes of data easily and in a cost-effective manner since the cloud does not make any heavy infrastructure demands. It becomes a great option as seasonal spikes, scaling and hosting woes are laid to rest with it. Cloud has almost become the poster child of the ‘lean development’ movement as it has low fixed and variable costs and the capacity to scale as per business demands.

Software development in the cloud is also becoming quite popular in the development circuit. It enables real-time collaboration even in a distributed environment, assists in putting testing at the heart of software development, increases the speed of development, and aids capacity planning, updates, and releases easily.

JavaScript:

As front-end development gains popularity in the world of application development, JavaScript is one technology that technology-driven startups must look at. JavaScript assists front-end developers build fluid interactions using effectively designed code structures even in applications that have complex code structures. It helps developers manage concurrent operations with ease, enables faster programming using a host of frameworks such as jQuery, AngularJS, Backbone.js, ReactJS, or Bootstrap. This helps in streaming complicated commands by making them simpler. It provides cross-browser support – a must for all applications in today’s digital economy. It also provides a wealth of frameworks with predefined functions that makes adding functionalities easier and less time-consuming. JavaScript frameworks such as ReactJS, Angular.js make responsive design a piece of cake as well. Finally, JavaScript allows rendering of pages both on the client and the server side which helps in application maintainability, greater search engine optimization, and better application performance.

Ruby on Rails:

Ruby on Rails is an object-oriented full-stack web application framework. This framework allows organizations to develop easily maintainable, high-quality products. It can work on multiple platforms and allows organizations to come up with prototypes faster and helps in building ‘cool applications’ in a much shorter time frame. It aids the theory of ‘fail fast’ which can be of great help for startups to chart the future course of their product offering. RoR is a powerful language that has great security features and a flexible syntax debugger. RoR is a good choice for websites that need high scalability, enterprise applications and for software projects that demand faster development.

Angular JS:

An open-source framework, Angular JS has emerged as a great choice for developing responsive mobile web applications. It is an open source, JavaScript MVC framework. It helps developers make feature-rich and responsive applications suitable for both mobile and web applications leveraging the same codebase. Applications built using Angular JS are highly scalable and allow for easy implementation of upgrades, patches, and bug-fixes. Its object-oriented design principles make the case for easy maintainability.

Angular JS provides some great mobile components. Developers get the capability to create rich user interfaces on mobile environments to provide a smooth mobile experience. Since Angular JS uses reusable logic, it allows developers reuse web application logic on multiple devices across multiple platforms without compromising on the UI. Its declarative paradigm for creating patterns, the capability to load pages asynchronously, and use of lightweight code, assists in enhancing application performance. It also helps developers optimize application security features and hence becomes a great choice for enterprise applications. The icing on the cake is that Angular JS has an active community support, has a testing focus, and is easy to get started with.

NodeJS:

Over the past few years, NodeJS has firmly established its credibility as a reliable technology choice. The core functionality of Node JS is written in JavaScript which makes it a great choice for developing real-time applications. Since it uses the same language for both the front-end and back-end it increases the efficiency of the development process. Scaling of Node.js applications is also easier as it uses clusters for ensuring scalability, provides an inbuilt support for package management, is publicly available and also provides dependency and version management.

Node.js applications are also stronger and more resilient since they are made of smaller and reusable components. This also makes adding functionalities easier. Further, Node.js applications are designed to handle large traffic volumes and allow for actual data streaming. Node.js provides real-time collaboration tools and gives organizations the option to use it as a proxy server along with being easy to learn and highly secure.

Conclusion:

Choosing the right technologies can help technology-driven startups create high-value and successful software products. Startups can ensure that budgets are checked, timelines are met, and that work flows smoothly. Leveraging technology that is mature and is built to last makes development faster and efficient. Assessing the maintenance needs of the technology, compatibility, and security levels are a few things to consider for while making a technology choice. At the end of the day, technology-driven startups have to ensure that their technology choices pave the way for their growth story. Are you ready?

Does Front-End Web Development Demand A Different Testing Strategy?

It is becoming increasingly clear that the consumers of everything digital are growing visually and technologically more sophisticated each day. Today’s digital landscape demands smooth interactions, clean designs, logical usability, and seamless interactions. Iterative product development has become more mainstream.

This means that taking feedback from customers to build products and services that they would like to use is becoming an accepted way to build better products.

It is because of this growing need to create products that user’s love and will continue to use, that front-end development is rapidly becoming popular in the world of software development.

What is Front-end Development?

Front-end development works by combining design layouts and programming that powers the visuals and user interactions. The objective of front-end development is to create the visual display so that a user can interact with these displays smoothly. Owing to the large number of devices and device formats that are bombarding the market today, front-end development is becoming even more relevant to ensure great user experiences and accessibility. This also helps ensure that the information display is relevant and readable irrespective of the screen size. The objective of front-end development is also to ensure the website is displayed correctly across different browsers, operating systems, and devices and hence demands careful planning by the developer.
As the focus on usability and design increase incrementally, developers and product design teams can no longer work in silos. Collaboration has become a key in the world of software development and front-end development further cements this development aspect.

Testing in the Front-end World:

Front-end development is in itself quite complex and hence demands a comprehensive testing strategy. When doing front-end development, testing strategies have to cover the Presentation Layer (user interface), while the Business Layer (Application User Interface) and the Database layer will be covered by back-end testing.
Front end testing is performed on the GUI and is done to check the overall functionality of the application. Unlike back-end testing that involves databases and business logic testing, front-end testing does not demand any information storage in the database but needs the testers to be knowledgeable about the business demands and have a comprehensive understanding of automation tools and frameworks. Tests that fall under the purview of front-end testing are:

Here’s a look at a few considerations that front-end testing teams need to factor into a comprehensive and fool-proof testing strategy.

  1. What are you Testing?
    Front-end testers need to be clear about their testing objectives. Understanding functionality requirements and detailed specifications of requirements from all invested stakeholders are essential when creating a front-end testing strategy. Here while the focus in on bug detection, a greater focus is on meeting the functionality requirements and ensuring that all functional elements of a web page are displaying and working as intended.
  2. Who are you Testing for?
    Since front-end development focuses on usability and the user interface, front-end testers need to understand who their target audience is in order to understand customer preferences such as which devices do they prefer using, which OS and browser combinations are popular amongst them, what are the bandwidth and connection speeds they are used to, etc. This helps in creating a simpler testing strategy and helps testers prioritize the test methodology with ease.
  3. What are your Limits?
    Understanding the testing project limits is also essential during front-end testing so that testers do not have to depend on the ‘that’s good enough’ statement. Therefore, it is crucial to identify realistic testing budgets, including the project’s timeline. This helps ensure that testing is not rushed and to identify the main use cases to fulfill exactly what your target user base demands.
  4. What are your device and browser support targets?
    Front-end testing has a lot to do with device and browser support. Thus it becomes essential to define these support levels. However, front-end testing teams have to ensure that all content must be readable, all functionalities must work, navigation must work, and there is a minimal deviation from the approved graphic design.
  5. What is your performance target?
    Determining the performance target of the web application being developed is crucial for front-end testing to ensure satisfied clients and users. They have to agree on an acceptable score on say, Google’s PageSpeed Insights, to ensure that the application is performing optimally. Starting with the known pain points, creating good base-line tests to enable high-level testing, increasing accountability, and constantly revisiting the code base to ensure that the current implementation makes sense helps in achieving the set performance targets.
  6. Selecting the Right Testing Tools:
    The right testing tool is a formidable weapon for the front-end testers. While there are a number of testing tools available, choosing one that is not only cost effective but is also easy to use is key. There are quite a few factors to consider during the testing tool selection for front-end testing. The tool must make adding bugs, issues, tasks in an orderly manner easy, and helps in assigning bugs to the right team members with expected dates of completion. It must allow teams to upload screenshots, documents etc. related to the bugs, assist in detailed reporting, and aid testing to match the speed of development.

Front-end testing teams need to ensure that they invest their time and energy in building a comprehensive testing strategy and attempt to limit the time spent on fixing regressions. This ensures that more time can be invested in feature development and in making the existing code stronger and more resilient. Given that the end objective of front-end and back-end development are not the same, it is thus inevitable to have a different testing strategy for front-end development.

Why You Should Consider ReactJS for Your Web Application?

It’s a JavaScript library by Facebook. It helps in building very attractive and interactive user interfaces. It offers great performance and is extremely easy to use for programmers. Today, New York Times, Slack, Pixnet and other 100,000+ such well-known sites with heavy traffic use this library.

Yes, we are talking about ReactJS – the JavaScript library which is the hot favorite of developers and is climbing the popularity charts every day. According to the 2016 StackOverflow developer survey, React.Js’s popularity had recently increased by over 300%.

What is making ReactJS so popular? Let’s take a look

  1. Quick Implementation:
    The very fact that ReactJS is a library and not a full-fledged framework makes it extremely easy to implement into any project. It is just a view layer and that’s what makes it so attractive in terms of quick adoption.
  2. Fast Rendering:
    This is one of the best features of ReactJS. The smart methods in ReactJS mitigate the amount of DOM operations and optimize and accelerate the updates process – all these things make the overall rendering very fast.
  3. Code Stability:
    ReactJS uses downward data binding. Through one directional data flow and by making ReactJS just a view system, Facebook has ensured that any changes to the child elements don’t affect their parent elements and parent data. While allowing for direct work with components, it ensures that the code remains stable. Changing an object is also very easy – the developers simply need to modify its state and apply updates. With this, only the allowed components are upgraded maintaining the overall code stability.
  4. Ease of Use:
    ReactJS uses JSX which is a HTML-like syntax. It allows the creation of JavaScript objects using HTML syntax and simplifies the creation of React tree nodes with attributes. Anybody familiar with HTML can very easily use JSX and build a ReactJS application. The code built using JSX is machine-readable. It allows the creation of compound components in one compile-time verified file.
  5. Code Reusability:
    Another big advantage of ReactJS is its ability to reuse code components. The reusability of components saves a lot of time and efforts for developers. Managing system updates is very easy with ReactJS because every change does not necessarily affect each component in the system. The React components are isolated and a change in one does not affect the others. This allows the developers to reuse the components and makes coding more precise and comfortable for the developers.
  6. Easier Debugging:
    One of the things which developers love about ReactJS is the descriptive warnings. New developers working with ReactJS find it very useful to know what exactly went wrong, where is the error in the code and what is the best way to fix it. Debugging becomes very easy and less time consuming with React.
  7. Constantly Developing Library:
    Facebook released ReactJS as the first JavaScript-connected open source project. Developers using ReactJS have free access to a variety of useful applications and tools from the community at large. There are over 1000 open-source contributors who are working with ReactJS library and enhancing it every day. Apart from this, there is an excellent community support extended through groups, conferences, and documentation.

Real-World Examples of ReactJS Usage:

Asana:
This web and mobile application which helps teams improve collaboration and communication moved to ReactJS in 2016 to create a more maintainable, readable, testable, and performant application.

Atlassian:
The creator of products like JIRA, Confluence, HipChat, etc. moved to React for its simplicity, component-based structure, testability, and maintainability.

Netflix:
This leader in the internet delivery of TV shows and movies, transformed its desktop and mobile user interface in 2015 using React. React was selected for its ease of use and runtime performance.

Yahoo Mail:
Yahoo Mail, which has been around since 1999, decided to use ReactJS + Flux when it wanted to build its next-generation Mail product. ReactJS was chosen for its independent deployment of components, easy debugging, and shorter learning curve.

Apart from these, there are numerous other examples such as Uber, Salesforce, KISSmetrics, Tesla, Scribd, Reddit, Periscope and many more which have leveraged the power of ReactJS to build world-class interactive web applications.

With ReactJS, organizations can quickly and easily build UI rich applications with good performance. With its component re-usability feature, it offers code re-usability and saves a lot of time and effort for developers. It is extremely easy to edit, test, and debug the code which makes the web applications very maintainable. If you are looking to develop SEO-friendly, interactive web applications with great UI and expect your application to handle heavy traffic, it’s time to migrate to ReactJS.