Building a website wasn’t so easy earlier as it is now. Fortunately the time has passed when you had to hand-code HTML and PHP scripts in order to get an easy and fully functional website. Now content management systems (CMSs) do most or all of the heavy lifting for site creators. There are a number of CMSs for serious site creators, but the most common for websites today are considered to be three open-source tools: Joomla, Drupal and WordPress.
WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a CMS based on PHP and MySQL. It got its start as a blogging platform in May 2003 and gradually evolved, first into a blogging system that let users add Web pages outside of the blog and then into a full-featured, popular CMS. Of the three most popular open-source CMSs – WordPress, Joomla and Drupal – WordPress is both the most popular and the fastest growing by far, according to Web technology tracker W3Techs.
Earlier anyone could hardly think of using WordPress as the blogging platform. But now the situation has changed completely. Every second site owner using a CMS chooses WordPress. But to be objective let’s see what the facts are that speak in favor of this star-CMS. And what are there against it?
It means you get access to its source code and can study, modify and improve it according to your needs. However, it doesn’t mean you can do anything at all with the code. WordPress is issued under GPL license, which restricts certain actions (like limiting access to the code for others etc).
* Installation doesn’t cost anything
However, you may need to pay for customization, app development, premium themes etc, but the basic installation is at no cost.
* Easy set-up
That’s not even advertised anymore. It is simple and it is also quick. WordPress is known for 5- minute’s installation time.
* “Friendliness” with users
What can be a better way to gain popularity among users that become friends with them? WordPress is well suited for all types of users, even those who had never suspected a site can possibly have a backend. If you are able to google WordPress site and register your account, if you know how to use a text processor, you’re sure to get well with your new WordPress blog or website.
* No problems with customization
With the number of free themes and plug-ins for adding functionality to your site bigger than in any other CMS, a user gets the rich choice of website appearance and features that don’t come by default. And their integration is usually as easy as installing WordPress itself.
* Community support
WordPress has the enormously big community of users – from new born WordPressers to seasoned pros. They do great job helping each other via community support forums and discussion boards. Apart from that, WordPress provides exhaustive documentation on every possible issue, to ease the life of its followers.
* Multisite feature
WordPress allows its users not to be limited with just one website or start every new site with the new WordPress installation. With Multisite feature that’s available with all versions starting from WordPress 3.0 you can manage your several sites within one admin interface. However, to use this feature successfully, you need to study the WordPress codex well and have certain administration skills.
The security of WordPress leaves much to be desired, as with majority of open-source software. The thing is, when anyone gets access to the code, it’s easy to find flaws in it and use them to get into a site. But it doesn’t mean you’ve got to buy the most expensive software, you just need to use the techniques to enhance the protection of your site integrity.
- Advanced theming/features
If you know no HTML and coding and are satisfied with the looks of your blog by just switching to a new theme – you’ll be fine. If you desire to start off by changing everything to your taste – you may be in need for professional help. As to adding more functionality to your site via various plug-ins, in most cases, the common ones work out great, but if you experiment too much with them, you may get stuck when one plug-in is not compatible with the other, some need upgrade and some require tweaking the code to work correctly.
- Maintenance Costs
Although considered one of the most affordable CMSs, WordPress still may require money to be running successfully. For example, you pay for hosting, if it’s not self-hosted, exclusive themes or plug-in development in case nothing free suits you.
WordPress: what to expect?
During 2012, WordPress didn’t undergo any major changes. There wasn’t much new in WordPress 3.4 except easier theme customization. WordPress 3.5 had a mildly different new theme, some media improvements and not much else. In contrast, WordPress 3.6, which is set for a release sometime in April-May 2013 feels like a big step forward. There’s a bold new theme and several useful new features.
• Twenty Thirteen:
Twenty Thirteen will be the new default WordPress Theme with increasing support for post formats. Unlike previous default WordPress theme this theme is going to have lots of bold colors and will be fully responsive.
• Navigation Menus:
Lots of beginners complain that WordPress Menu system is quite hard to understand. In WordPress 3.6 this navigation menu options have been simplified and it will become easier to create and manage Menus in WordPress.
• WordPress Post Formats:
In WordPress 3.6 there will be a new User interface for Post Formats and theme authors will also have access to template the individual functions to change the structured data.
• WordPress Auto Save:
There will be some great enhancements related to Auto Save function. Posts are now auto saved locally so if the browser crashes, the server goes down or internet connection fails you will not lose the post and you will be able to resume editing right where you left it.
• WordPress Post Revisions:
Upcoming WordPress version will be a better handler for your post revisions. The changes will be highlighted with different colors so you can modify the usual things easily.
• Post Lock:
WordPress 3.6 will have a better editorial feature built in called Post lock. It will allow the authors or website administrators to lock a post to kick other person out of the editing and gambling between posts.
No site or platform is perfect, but WordPress has so much to offer and is very easy to use. In my opinion, the advantages outweigh disadvantages and with new version of it things are only getting better. Do you agree? Are there any other pluses and minuses of WordPress that are essential in your opinion and that I didn’t mention in the article? I’m eager to see your comments
Yuliya Tolkach – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Software-defined networking (SDN) is a hot, much debated topic and although still in its infancy, it offers the potential to transform how complex networks work. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s only yet more industry hype, the era of Software Defined Everything is already upon us. Software is being applied to everything from servers, storage, data centres, right through to arguably the most ground-breaking piece of the jigsaw – the Wide Area Network.
SDN changes the way companies build their IT environments by essentially moving the “control plane” of the network away from each individual device in the network to a central controller that works with all the devices, both virtual and physical. This allows for a single controller to configure or manage the complete network, as opposed to each device managing its own functionality and being programmed individually. The technology has huge benefits for businesses, including reducing IT expenditure and enabling changes to the network quickly and easily.
The importance of the network
SDN deployments are still very limited and at their early stages of development. This is due in part to the fact that today’s corporate networks use open standards such as the IP protocol and Ethernet connectivity, but configuring the networks themselves often requires lots of manual tasks because each device on the network has separate policies and consoles. Making significant changes in the network – even with existing hardware – can be time-consuming, potentially taking a week or two. With the move towards server virtualisation and cloud computing, this has become even more complex.
With this in mind, it is no surprise that SDN is making its way to centre stage. SDN is being tackled from all sides of the ecosystem, from virtualisation vendors like VMWare to the traditional networking providers like Cisco. Not only is it going to fundamentally change the business models of the networking and server industries, but it is also going to escalate the importance of the network.
The value that SDN poses for businesses is immense. It holds greater potential for productivity increases from IT than any other development because of the way it acts as a unifying force between disparate elements – computing, networking, virtualisation, information, and business logic. There’s no doubt that SDN will be a disruptive force across cloud, carrier and enterprise networks, likely in that order. The natural progression of turning hardware into software will result in re-architected networks, data centres and infrastructures.
What the future holds
The integration of everything into the network will become a no-brainer in the coming year and this will essentially transform the network into the epicenter of ICT services. While no one can predict the SDN end-game, we are at the cusp of a revolution in the way global networks are designed, built, and managed.
By providing more real-time intelligence and deep application integration SDN is going to enable enterprises to realise innovation earlier with applications rolled out in hours instead of weeks. Organisations will achieve never-before-seen levels of agility while reducing both capital and operational overhead to the lowest levels ever delivered in enterprise solutions.
As a platform, SDN provides the potential to drive the next generation of IT services. Early high visibility adopters like Google and the recent significant increase in VC funding into the SDN area is fuelling momentum and the emergence of the era of Software Defined Everything looks set to change the power of the network for good. Organisations should be looking very seriously at how SDN can benefit their businesses before their competitors get there first.
WHAT TO CHOOSE TO MOBILIZE YOUR SITE: MOBIFY/BMOBILIZED, NATIVE APP, RESPONSIVE DESIGN OR MOBILE VERSION FROM THE MAIN SITE?
Posted April 18, 2013on:
WHY DO YOU NEED A MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
There is no secret to anyone that people are browsing the web more from their smartphones and tablets rather than from traditional computers. So having a mobile-friendly site for business nowadays is more important than ever. This is both a big problem and a big opportunity for businesses seeking to engage with new customers.
In the end of 2012, Google conducted an independent survey to learn what users want most from mobile sites today. And the numbers are striking! In fact mobile-friendly site can turn users into customers, according to a survey about 67 percent indicated they would be more likely to purchase a product or service from a business that built a mobile-friendly website. On the contrary not having a mobile-friendly site helps your competitors , for example, 61 percent of users indicated that they’d leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. Actually non-mobile friendly sites can hurt a company’s reputation: about 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company and 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business
HOW TO MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE
Just shrinking your text into the device’s screen won’t give good impression about your business to the customer. The development of your mobile site should be determined by the kinds of products and services your business provides.
There are several options how to optimize your website for mobile, free and paid, having their own pros and cons. Here are a few strategies how to make your site mobile friendly:
- Mobile Website Conversion Service
There is a number of services on the web, that will convert your existing website and provide a script that will direct mobile users to your newly created mobile site from the main website. Among these services are Duda Mobile, bMobilized, and Mobify
- Separate Native Mobile Site
Some businesses want to keep their desktop and mobile websites separate. By creating a mobile website, you maintain control: its design, maintenance, hosting, and security. A script will be added to the main website that will determine if the visitor is using a mobile device and if so, it will automatically direct the visitor to the mobile version.
- Responsive Design
Responsive design is becoming more and more popular. It allows having one website that will display correctly on all devices — desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It takes advantage of CSS “media queries” to style pages based on the width of the device being used. To determine if your website is responsive, just resize the browser window. If it adjusts — so that the images and text are readable with a narrower browser window — it’s responsive.
-Mobile Version from the Main Site
Some e-commerce providers are heading for mobile. For example, Magento has taken its way to mobile commerce! Magento Mobile introduces exciting Free of cost Magento Mobile extension which allows store owners to manage multiple native applications across various mobile devices from a single Magento interface and provides support for iPhone, iPad and Android base mobile devices. The beauty of Magento Mobile is that it integrates just seamlessly with your account management, product catalog and checkout functions and facilitates your users to experience the same functionality of web store on their mobile devices.
In this article I wanted to draw your attention to the importance of optimizing your website to mobile. Is having a mobile friendly website important for you?
Anna Kozik – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com |Skype kozik_anna
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Have you ever thought that mobile industry will become so popular? Never!
According to the recent research more than $10 billion were spent on downloading mobile applications in 2011, $21 billion in 2012 and according to forecast users will spend more than $30 billion in 2013. Rather impressive, isn’t it?
And all this is just for downloading paid mobile applications! And their number on the market is approximately 20 percent. The rest of mobile applications are free.
It is not surprising that mobile application testing spins up because of such boom in the industry. It is one of the most popular kinds of software testing performed by software testing company. What kinds of mobile applications do you know? Let’s try to find them out.
Types of mobile applications:
• Web applications;
• Platform applications;
• Mobile websites.
Let’s see what is the difference between? Should different kinds of mobile application testing be performed for them?
Web applications are considered to be the most acceptable as mobile web browser is an application that sends content to the mobile device. It means that such application is independent of any device, platform or operating system.
The development of such applications is rather simple but their supporting and testing are very costly.
It is the most simply type of application. User usually send a query in form of short code to receive immediately the desired information just like train schedule, ticket’s price, etc. They are testbased and have limitations of the message content.
Mobile websites are considered to be the source of simple and accurate information just like weather, news, sports, etc. Their great disadvantage is that the limited resolution screens information is hardly readable.
Different kinds of mobile application testing should be performed for them as they are very different. But there is nothing impossible for software testing company.
What Are the Typical Problems You Can Face During Mobile Testing?
• The software installed on a mobile device depends greatly on its creators and the decisions they take during the process of software development. Sometimes they create such type of software that may influence the overall behavior of your phone.
• The specific feature of mobile testing is that accurate test results may be really hard to obtain. The obtained data is usually quite conflicting. A software tester should have enough practical experience to be able to single out key challenges and the most important issues.
• Sometimes you may face the problem caused by a certain network operator. Sometimes they customize the software’s interface and functionality for their specific needs and it may cause its overall performance.
• Some models of mobile phones can also be very problematic in handling. Sometimes they may limit or even disable certain parts of tested software.
• Some application’s content may prove to be unsuitable for certain mobile devices. For example, it may contain unsuitable format.
If you consider all these issues when planning your mobile testing, you are sure to succeed.
Tips for Conducting Successful Mobile Testing:
• Sometimes the best option is unite mobile testing with another software testing type, namely automated testing. Automation will make your testing more productive and greatly economize your time.
• Take into consideration that depending on a software type, not all of the software products can be easily automated. Some applications require only manual testing if you want it successful.
• Check the software installation process (installation testing)
• Consider the used language (maybe you will need to implement the elements of localization testing).
• The preinstalled web browser is also something you should consider when planning your software testing.
• Verify that the device type doesn’t put any limitations on the software under testing.
• Check whether the software doesn’t influence the overall device performance.
• Make sure that the stated software is technically most suitable for the users’ devices.
• When choosing the most suitable devices to conduct mobile testing on, choose the most popular models with most popular environment (OS version, preinstalled software etc.).
• Test the software’s performance.
• Sometimes exploratory testing can be a good way of guiding the overall testing process.
• Combine several types of software testing in order to get the maximum profitable testing result.
Why do many software companies just ignore testing?
According to one of the latest researches, around 57 percent of application performance issues are usually found by users and 67 percent of applications are usually used without outsourcing software testing to ensure that they can scale to support desired traffic levels. I think it just proves one more time the necessity of mobile application testing and web site testing. Why not to supply the market with software equipment of high quality?
As my personal point of view mobile testing is necessary just as any other type of software testing. And it is really important because we all make mistakes. Some of those mistakes are unimportant, but some of them are expensive or dangerous. We need to check everything and anything we produce because things can always go wrong –humans make mistakes all the time.
In the conclusion I would like to ask you what are your considerations on the question if there is need and importance for mobile testing. Should we think twice before launch developed mobile product to the production without any testing performed?
Polina Mikhan – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Stories are told about the greatness of the free and mighty Magento e-commerce platform. There is much talking about Magento in comparison with other eCommerce platforms but in this article we thought it would be a good time to talk about Magento on its own. Now we’ll talk about the pros of Magento and some great ,positive things to expect while using it. Later on we’ll discuss another side of the medal which of course is there as well
The Pros of Magento:
Out of the box features: Magento boasts some of the most impressive features straight out of the box, including:
- Marketing / promotional tools
- Search engine optimization
- Catalog management
- International support
- Shipping (multiple addresses, multiple shipments, free shipping, etc.)
- Analytics and reporting
- Site management
- Catalog browsing
- Mobile commerce
- Payment (multiple payment options, payment extensions available, etc.)
- Customer accounts
Open Source: We think it’s common knowledge how much software developers love open source software. Magento Community is completely free to download, plus every version of Magento is able to be built upon and tailored to the specific needs of developers.
Administrative Interface: As we suppose Magento has the best administrative interface of any open source eCommerce platform. Magento provides a customer-friendly interface that is also a very flexible solution. The out of the box features go hand in hand with the power of the administrative interface, namely the features of order and customer management, catalog management, and analytics and reporting data.
Community and Updates: Magento has continued to thrive as a community with their number of users increasing dramatically over the past few years. Magento likely has the largest and fastest growing community of developers of any eCommerce platform. Magento also has continued to release new updates and versions of all three Magento editions on schedule.
Extensions: The extensions available for Magento help set it apart from all of the other eCommerce platforms. Magento’s core development team set out to create Magento as one of the most extendable eCommerce platforms available. Magento has the architecture necessary to allow its functionality to be extended while still remaining stable and maintaining its elegant looks.
The Cons of Magento:
While there are hundreds of the Magento-lovers, I am also willing to provide an objective view of the eCommerce platform which has some negative sides as well. Now I would love to cover the cons since we discussed the pros of Magento earlier above in the article. Below each con, we also provide the best solution, so don’t get too worried about getting scared off by the information below.
Speed: One of the main complaints people have about Magento is its speed. Magento has been known to be quite slow. Magento was designed to be the most extendable eCommerce system available, which is still the case today. In order for the system to work efficiently despite the extensions added to it, the system was created in such a way that isolates each feature so that changing that feature (via an extension) does not affect any other part of the system. The result of which is an immense number of files in many different folders.
The solution: Get a good host that specializes in Magento eCommerce sites. As would be expected, if you try to use Magento on an incapable server, of course it will be slow. If you have a dedicated server and your site still runs slowly, the problem is likely due to a custom theme, a custom query, or your extensions.
Documentation: Magento, as an open source platform, falls victim to the typical issue of not being well-documented. There are manuals for Magento available for purchase, but may not be of much use because the system is full of unique terminology.
The solution: If you’re having trouble with the administration side of running your site, you should look into Magento-specific training. Find a firm or developer group that has extensive experience with all the versions of Magento that can help you get the most out of Magento.
Updates: We talked about the large community and the timely and on-schedule release of updates earlier. While this can be a definite pro of Magento, it can also be a downfall because of how often updates are released since an update will sometimes cause something that was functioning just fine to have a glitch after installing the update.
The solution: Hire an experienced development team to make sure that your Magento site is always using appropriate extensions and is developed using Magento-suitable practices. Also, if you’re worried, go through your upgrade process in a separate development environment with a Magento expert available to make sure the glitches are fixed before your site goes live.
Complexity / Cost: One of the other complaints we hear about Magento is that it can be too complex for people who don’t have much development experience. In addition, if you’re interested in creating a more extensive online store, you’ll likely need to use Magento Professional (starting at $2,995 per year) or Magento Enterprise (starting at $12,990 per year). If you need a large store and you don’t have any development experience, using Magento would require you to spend money on the yearly costs, as well as on the web development firm you hire to create your store.
The solution: Make Altabel your go-to Magento developers. With our dedicated developers and experienced project managers, we’ll keep your costs as low as possible by giving you exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.
Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying Magento is bad ecommerce platform. What I am saying, is that Magento does not have a place for every level of ecommerce store and that users require training. Our advice to consult a professional with Magento experience, if you’re considering Magento for you platform and take note of the following:
• Don’t get caught up in the sales speak and try to ignore the shiny default template
• Remember you’ll need to set aside a great deal of time to learn the administration area – you may need training here
• Magento is not for every niche/business. The feature set and size of Magento implies you have a high volume of and complicated product variations
• Remember that due to the complexity of Magento, you’ll no doubt pay a premium for updates where a plugin will not suffice
Let us know What are your views on this matter in the comments section below. We are looking forward to a discussion on this important topic.
Polina Mikhan – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development