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Archive for October 2012

Much was written and heard about Windows 8 before its release and there were many rumors around it. Finally October 26, it has arrived. Microsoft announced that the cost for online upgrade will be only $39.99 and approves that it will be compatible with previous operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. In stores, the price will be quite a bit higher: $69.99. However, the question still remains whether it is really worth upgrade to Windows 8? First of all let see what the advantages offer Windows 8 and if there any hidden rocks.

The advantages of Windows 8:

- It’s faster, quicker in comparison with previous versions of Microsoft and either with Apple’s new Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
- Innovative Interface – Microsoft has brought the Metro-style, so much criticized by many users, has an entirely new layout and interface, which is highly touch-optimized as well.
- Loads of apps – recently launched Windows Store that has many programs and apps to download.
- SkyDrive integration – Cloud Storage is going to be an essential element nowadays on PCs, tablets and smart phones. With SkyDrive cloud service will be easy for users to sync docs, music, video and other content with cloud and they can be easily accessed from all PCs across the world.
- First-class touch feature – Microsoft has designed Windows 8 both for tablets and for regular computers with keyboard and mouse.

There’s always a but…

Users remain significantly less enthused about Windows 8. Many of them think that it is unstable and the first version of a new operating system is bound to have bugs and issues. As the result, they don’t find anything attractive in new software as the priority feature remains the confidence. The absence of common Start Screen and Start Button is the other reason why the users not interested with Windows 8.

According the last survey that was held in US among 1,200 adults; it was found that 52 per cent hadn’t even heard of the release of Windows 8.

“Among the people who knew something about the new operating system, 61 per cent had little or no interest in buying a new laptop or desktop computer running on Windows 8, according to the poll. And only about a third of people who’ve heard about the new system believe it will be an improvement (35 per cent)”.

“I am not real thrilled they are changing things around,” Dionne said. “Windows 7 does everything I want it to. Where is the return on my investment to learn a new OS?”

“I like something I am used to and can get around on without too much trouble. Sometimes when you get these new (systems), you wish you could go back to the old one.” said Sweeten.

The proverb says how many people so many opinions. So for those who is keen to push towards innovation and ready to the upgrade primary Microsoft recommend to make sure that currently running OS will be compatible with Windows 8 and in this connection prepared sort of instruction of commonly asked questions and answers. Below you may find some of them in order to find out whether your computer is ready for the Windows 8 upgrade.

Can your computer run Windows 8?

The minimum system requirements for Windows 8 are fairly accommodating. Microsoft says that if your computer can run Windows 7, it should be able to run Windows 8.

Among the basic requirements for Windows 8 are:
• Processor: 1GHz or faster
• Memory: 2GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit) RAM
• Hard disk space: 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit)
• Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Besides the basic ones, Windows 8 has the specific features. To use touch options, obviously you’ll need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch, though some laptops will get extra trackpad gestures through the new OS. Windows Store apps (which include most of the new ‘Modern’ interface options) require a screen resolution of at least 1024 by 768, and app snapping requires at least 1366 by 768. This can be a problem for netbooks, which typically have a resolution of lower resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels. There’s a somewhat clunky registry hack to fix that, and you can still install Windows 8 on netbooks if you’re happy to only use the conventional desktop mode.

Are your programs and devises are Windows 8 compatible?

Most apps and devices that work on Windows 7 should be fine on Windows 8. To check specific programs, visit Microsoft’s Compatibility Center or run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, which scans your computer and checks for software and hardware compatibility.

Besides, on Microsoft.com you can also find the guidelines for how to install Windows 8, apps on your computer and further technical support.

For sure Windows 8 is quite different from previous Microsoft versions and other operating systems; it represents new approach towards computing. There are many positive and inspire opinions as well as the hostile ones. As everyone makes decision according to his own preference it’s hard to predict the real impact of Microsoft windows 8 in the market. So let’s wait –and-see how the things go on.

Thank you for your attention and you are welcome to leave the comments and share your advice and experience on Windows 8.

Best regards,
Katerina Bulavskaya
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

When a developer faces the necessity of creating a web application using Microsoft.Net, he/she needs to choose which .Net framework to choose. Then the question arises: which one is the best one?

In this article a general outline of best ASP.Net Web Application Frameworks is given with the focus on their positive sides. Let’s start.

ASP.NET MVC

ASP.NET MVC is a part of the ASP.NET Web application framework. It is one of the two different programming models you can use to create ASP.NET Web applications, the other being ASP.NET Web Forms.
ASP.NET MVC brings the power of this development paradigm to ASP.NET development, allowing you to use your .NET development skills to create MVC applications.
It gives you total control over your HTML Markup as well as enables rich AJAX and jQuery integration. It also allows you to create SEO-friendly URLs for your site and makes Test Driven Development (TDD) easy. Besides, it enables a perfect and clean separation of bugs and concerns, helps in creating and building dynamic websites and web application that are rich in user interface.

DotNetNuke

DotNetNuke is a free, open source and easy to use application that is particularly based on web content management system along with web application framework which comes and is working perfectly with Microsoft .NET platform.
DotNetNuke is developed on the powerful Microsoft .NET platform – Windows server, IIS, SQL Server 2000, and ASP.NET (VB and C#). It can run on almost any database server, as long as someone has created the necessary provider (third-party providers include Oracle and mySQL). The flexible technical requirements make it possible to install and evaluate DotNetNuke on almost any computer.
DotNetNuke is offered under a nonrestrictive BSD License, a standard open source license that allows for full usage in both commercial and noncommercial environments. The BSD, well-documented ASP.NET source code, an active developer community, and a modular architecture make it possible to customize DotNetNuke and leverage it as a mature Web Application Framework. For end users, all DotNetNuke requires is a Web browser and an Internet connection.

OpenRasta

OpenRasta is an open source development framework targeting the Microsoft .NET platform for building web-based applications and services. OpenRasta framework has been released under Open-Source MIT License which mainly focus on various HTTP methods as well as on development of available resources. With the help of this, user can now create user friendly Web Interface by its web application framework.
OpenRasta however does have many MVC features and can serve as a full-fledge web application framework.
OpenRasta’s strengths lie in it’s comprehensiveness, wide range of features, active development and support community plus good documentation. OpenRasta’s weaknesses are similar to other frameworks in that is not as approachable as Web Forms and is intended for experienced developers. Hosting of an application built on OpenRasta is available through ASP.NET, in-memory, in-process through Windows’ HTTP APIs, or through any other environment able to receive HTTP requests, as the framework itself has no dependency on ASP.NET.

MonoRail

MonoRail is an Asp.net MVC based web application framework which has been inspired and designed from Action Pack. This tool offers completely different approach towards development of application towards standard WebForms way of development.
It also enforces handling application flow, separation of concerns, troubleshooting, model representation as well as viewing the application from the presentation logic point of view. This also means that your will have to write less code and result would be more maintainable application.

CSLA.net

CSLA.net is an Asp.net MVC based web application framework that is particularly used for development purpose. It allows you to design and develop applications for various kind of services like for Windows, Web, service-oriented and also for work-flow applications. One of the best advantage of using this tool is that it reduces the cost of developing, building as well as maintaining applications.
It performs various action of collecting data and storing them into the database application along worth creating user friendly interface. This is one of the most widely used framework which allows developers to use the power of object oriented design which will result out in developing powerful web applications.

Thanks for your attention :) Hopefully, this article was informative and useful for anyone who read it. And do you have any comments? Looking forward to hear your opinion on best ASP.NET Web Application Frameworks!

Kind regards,
Yuliya Tolkach – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Go-To Prescriptive Guidance for .NET Developers Building on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and HTML5

Telerik, a market-leading provider of end-to-end solutions for application development, automated testing, agile project management, reporting, and content management across all major Microsoft development platforms, has recently released “Platform Guidance for Microsoft.NET”. And , you know, it worth reading. It has been shared hundreds of times socially and is at the top of the list for Google searches. This document is easy to read and it highlights best practices and tips for .NET developers looking to leverage the latest Microsoft technologies. The advice is spot-on, and although somewhat basic, still worth your time.

I`d like to present a short overview of it. The goal of the document is to provide clear, direct guidance when picking a .NET platform. Platforms are suggested based on their ability to provide the most benefit for specific application scenarios relative to other .NET options. Platforms discussed within the guidance document include:
· Desktop Applications -WPF

WPF is still the choice for rich, beefy, custom Windows apps. However noticeable fact is that it wasn’t recommended for any of the other five scenarios. It’s comforting to hear that Silverlight is still a recommended technology however with some caution: Silverlight is also a good candidate for building desktop apps, sharing many of the same characteristics of WPF. While it seems clear that Microsoft will not release a major version beyond the recently released Silverlight 5.

· Dashboard/Reporting Applications – ASP.NET MVC with HTML5

Combination of ASP.NET MVC and HTML5 may be an ideal variant to maximize reach: ASP.NET MVC with HTML5 can give developers the power to build applications that are usable on any PC or mobile device. As we see HTML5 has surrounded us: assimilate or die J
WinForms can be a viable alternative for applications that do not need the power and richness of HTML5 or XAML

· Data-Driven Websites – ASP.NET MVC and Web API

ASP.NET MVC provides developers with maximum control over website rendering and helps to maximize performance.

· Interactive Web Applications (Forms over Data) – ASP.NET WebForms

In this case Telerik suggests using ASP.NET WebForms. It`s the most mature ASP.NET variant and it`s the fastest way to build “desktop-like” rich application with web technologies.

· Mobile Website – ASP.NET MVC HTML5

ASP.NET MVC with HTML5 is considered to be an ideal choice for mobile websites: HTML5 helps mobile websites deliver more functionality in a single view and ASP.NET MVC, with its highly configurable views, provides the simplest path for delivering HTML5 to devices.

· Tablet Applications – XAML and .NET

Since Microsoft is making it clear that Windows 8 is their ideal platform for tablet apps, the bigger question developers must answer is how to develop tablet apps. Tablet apps can be built with either XAML/.NET or HTML/JavaScript. Both approaches have access to the full capabilities of the device and share a common Windows Runtime API. However the primaly recommend and focus on XAML and.NET. High-performance games may be developed using Direct X.

When this document was published Windows 8 was still in pre-beta and it didn’t get any recommendations; Telerik said it will update the document in time to reflect that. Also they promised to dwell on mobile development later.

Those were the recommendations from Telerik. And what are you personal recommendation regarding the choice of correct .NET technologies for a project?

Look forward to you comments.

Kind regards,
Anna Kozik – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

The necessity for companies and developers to market and promote their individual applications has never been more important than ever, and is often absolutely crucial to an app’s success.

Now we have absolutely different situation we have a flooded App Store with various applications and an imposing mass of competition. With more than 300 apps being released on a daily basis, it is much more difficult to gain free press at niche websites as well as make it into the Top 100 charts. This is where the practices of marketing and advertising are absolutely essential to survive in the App Store.

To begin with you should be ready with your precise plan of your further action. Your plan of attack should really begin before you even open Xcode. As with any other business model, you must cover all grounds including research, design, artwork and branding, coding and hardware, and advertising and marketing.

Pre Launch marketing

Building a buzz around your app and allowing users to become aware of it’s release will add to the success of an application. You can do this promotion and marketing yourself through iPhone forums, social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and creating individual web pages dedicated to the application itself.

Aside from word of mouth promotions, pre-launch hype also begins with advertisement campaigns and website takeovers. Nothing is better than having your application branded across a website for a certain amount of time. Other ways to gain recognition are Press Releases, demonstration videos on YouTube, and user reviews.

App Launching on AppStore

So you have your ready iOS application and the next step you would like to begin with is to upload it to the AppStore and start its promotion there. Below some tips how to make it in a better way.

Here I would like to highlite that this is the most important part of your iPhone marketing mix. Most people look for cool new apps either on their iPhone/iPad, or through iTunes. Why? It’s the most convenient! That’s why it is so important for iOS application developers to focus on app in-store appearance most. When I use term “in-store appearance” I mean the following components:

App name should be concise enough to attract attention, but should also contain the most important keywords. It is one of the most important factors in search result ranking within the App Store.

Customer Reviews & Ratings it is important to make sure that your application doesn’t look like noone’s ever downloaded it. No reviews, no downloads in the eyes of iTunes users.

iPhone App Marketing Services allow you to build a positive image for your app and attract more downloads across different country app stores.

Colorful and interesting screenshots - Important factor in relaying info about your app. Great screenshots make users be interested in further downloading of the app and trying it in the action.

App description – it is make sense from a search result perspective. Should start with a bullet point list of important features, followed by a text description

Also one more thing we should pay attention to is Application Icon. Make sure that you have an attractive and eye-catching app icon that best represents and sells your application to the user. If your application icon lacks any attention, your product branding awareness is doomed from the start.

There are some smaller ways to gain attention across the net and within the App Store. So you can cause your app to jump back into the “new” charts by changing the release date of the app to the date at which your update was approved, which allows your app to be released in the next batch of updates that hit the App Store.

Also one more great idea is to offer “lite” versions of your application, especially if they are higher priced. It will offer not only free promotion but if the user is impressed enough, they’ll spring for the full version. Think “try before you buy”. Make sure the lite version includes a majority of the features offered in the full version, otherwise a user will move on and you potentially lost a buck to begin with.

This is some of the basic tools covering the first steps you need to do while promoting your application on the AppStore. For sure using AppStore as a core tool to promote the application is not the only variant but at the same time this is the most important playground for further application promotion campaign.

So my questions is what any methods/approaches do you use to promote your application on the AppStore? How do you promote your apps?

Please feel free to share your comments and opinions.

Natalia Kononchuk

Natalia Kononchuk
Natalia.Kononchuk@altabel.com
Skype ID: natalia_kononchuk
Senior Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Steve Jobs wasn’t a fan of Android. He thought it was a rip-off of the iPhone. He saw the iPhone as a ground-breaker and Android as an attempt by Google and a consortium of device manufacturers to bring a similar product to a wider market. He famously told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he would “spend my last dying breath if I need to” and “every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank” to right the perceived wrong done to Apple by Google. “I’m going to destroy Android,” he pronounced, “because it’s a stolen product…” Jobs’ quest led indirectly to the decision of a US court to award Apple $1bn in damages, and to place an injunction on Samsung distributing some of its product in the US.

But Android had been under development since 2003 and was purchased by Google in 2005, two years before the advent of the iPhone. Granted, its later development was undoubtedly influenced by the range of features incorporated in the iPhone, and the potential and scope of Nokia’s Maemo project.

Theft is an emotional concept and technology is a complex proving ground. The iPhone is an elegant synthesis of intricate ideas and technologies that had gone before, many of them originally developed, patented and supplied by companies such as Samsung and Motorola – now owned by Google. Smartphones and touchpads existed before the iPhone.

Samsung says it has spent billions on research into mobile technologies over the past 25 years and noted in its own submissions to the court that “the flash memory, main memory, and application processor for the iPhone” are supplied by Samsung. It said “also manufactures Apple’s A5X processor and is the sole supplier of the Retina display used in the new iPad”. It also initiated many of the wireless standards and technologies that make it possible for an iPhone to talk to other phones.

Apple’s distinctive contribution has been collation and design, derived from an understanding of why and how a Smartphone could and would be useful and attractive to an end user, and which features would enhance that effect. The iPod, iPhone and iPad are instantly recognizable for their cleanliness and simplicity – and the software is focused on simplifying the tasks of the end user.

Apple’s talent has been to transform utility into an art form, to reduce apparent complexity and anticipate the wants of the user. By collating the possibilities of the Smartphone, and pulling together the virtues of design and utility, Apple has lifted the concept of smart devices to browse the web from geek heaven into user space, which makes it all the more surprising how little attention other device and computer manufacturers have paid to the role of design in selling hardware.

But the bigger issue isn’t copying, or imitation, but the broken nature of the patent and so-called intellectual property industries. In an industry where last year’s must-have is already out of date, there is something obscene about a court case that involves, among other things, a dispute about patents and design registrations such as the one “for overall design of the product, including the rectangular shape, the rounded corners, the silver edges, the black face, and the display of 16 colorful icons”. Or the one “for the configuration of a rectangular handheld mobile digital electronic device with rounded corners”. These are not technological or design innovations.

The decision of the court to punish Samsung for its intrusion into the markets Apple considers its own, and in the words of Samsung’s press release “to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies” is symptomatic of the ongoing crisis in the creative and technological industries.

The decision against Samsung is just the latest event in the war. It is bad news for everybody, not least the users and developers of Android and the iPhone, as each of these companies scrambles to buy up the ownership of patents. As Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, put it last year: “A Smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 largely questionable patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a tax for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.”

And what do you think? Are you on Apple side or Samsung?

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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