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Archive for September 2016

With the coming of Node.js, JavaScript has taken the lead. It is no longer limited to front-end development, and back-end development is no longer super complex for front-end coders. It became a popular and a well-known programming language used by developers in browsers.

Today, Node.js offers one of the most innovative solutions to building servers and web/mobile applications. Its single-threaded event looping and asynchronous, non-blocking input/output processing feature distinguishes it from other runtime environments. Its scope is increasing fast with valuable contributions from developers’ community and other technology giants. Right now, several performance-driven frameworks are being developed using primary principles and approaches of Node.js. These frameworks have extended the functionality of Node.js to a great extent and have also built newer features.

In this article let’s have a look at the frameworks associated with Node.js so that you can choose the one you like.

Express.js

Express is a minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework that provides a robust set of features for web and mobile applications. With a myriad of HTTP utility methods and middleware at your disposal, creating a robust API is quick and easy. Express provides a thin layer of fundamental web application features, without obscuring Node.js features that you know and love. Many popular frameworks are based on Express.

Sails.js

Sails is the most popular MVC framework for Node.js. Sails makes it easy to build custom, enterprise-grade Node.js apps. It is designed to emulate the familiar MVC pattern of frameworks like Ruby on Rails, but with support for the requirements of modern apps: data-driven APIs with a scalable, service-oriented architecture. It’s especially good for building chat, real-time dashboards, or multiplayer games; but you can use it for any web application project – top to bottom.

Hapi.js

Hapi.js is a powerful Node.js web framework for building APIs and other software applications. The framework has a robust plugin system and numerous key features, including input validation, configuration-based functionality, implement caching, error handling, logging and more. Hapi.js is used for designing useful applications, such as Postmile, a collaborative list making tool. Besides, it is used for providing technology solutions by several large-scale websites, such as Disney, Concrete, PayPal, Walmart and more.

Koa.js

Koa is a new web framework designed by the team behind Express, which aims to be a smaller, more expressive, and more robust foundation for web applications and APIs. Through leveraging generators Koa allows you to ditch callbacks and greatly increase error-handling. Koa does not bundle any middleware within core, and provides an elegant suite of methods that make writing servers fast and enjoyable.

Meteor.js

Meteor.js is a real-time application designed to build Web apps that constantly synchronize with the server. Your changes to templates and data flow from the server to the browser automatically. The redrawing and the updating are handled directly by the underlying framework. This works, by the way, in both directions. Your browser code can make changes or write data as if the database is right there. The synchronization happens in the background.

Derby.js

Derby.js is a full-stack MVC framework built for establishing a more solid routine towards creating modern web applications without the need to write complicated code. With Derby you can easily build real-time applications that will run simultaneously in the Node.js server and the browser. The Racer Engine that Derby enables for developers to use is a powerful way of synchronizing your browser, server and database data in real-time amongst all three mediums, enabling you and your app users to experience a true real-time experience. Racer supports offline usage and conflict resolution out of the box, which greatly simplifies writing multi-user applications.

Total.js

Total.js is one of the modern and modular Node.js frameworks supporting model-view controller (MVC) software architecture. It is fully compatible with various client-side frameworks, like Angular.js, Polymer, Backbone.js, Bootstrap and more. Total.js is fully extensible and asynchronous. One great feature of Total.js is that you don’t need any tools like Grunt to compress JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Additionally, the framework has NoSQL embedded database and supports array and other prototypes. It supports RESTful routing mechanism, supports web sockets, media streaming and more.

Restify

Not every application requires full support for a browser. Restify is one of the server-side frameworks designed to serve up data and only data through an API. You fire it up and out comes JSON to everyone who shows up.
Restify places special emphasis on debugging and profiling so that you can drill down and optimize the performance of your server. DTrace is well-integrated and supported to make it possible to watch what happens and when it might go wrong. Restify is available from GitHub under a very basic license that requires little except a notice of copyright.

Web and apps development landscape is changing very fast and developers are shifting to frameworks aiming at quick and clean project delivery. The biggest plus of using node frameworks is that they provide high level readymade structure and you can focus on scaling your application instead of spending efforts in building and defining the basics.

Let us know your experience with Node.js frameworks via comments. Perhaps there are any «new comers» that deserve our attention?

 

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach

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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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cog

If you are a techie person, you, of course, know the tradition to write a little program to print the text “Hello, world!” to the screen when learning a new language. So today I would like to say “Hello, Rust!” to relatively new system programming language that runs blazingly fast, prevents segmentation faults, and guarantees thread safety.

Rust gives many of the same benefits as traditional systems languages while being highly reliable, more approachable, safer and often more productive.

Although Rust development is sponsored by Mozilla, it is an open community project that strives to be a warm, welcoming and inclusive network of people, who act together to build something awesome. Today, Rust has a worldwide audience with its users in Europe, Japan and Australia. And what is more, Rust jumped to the first place in Stack Overflow annual survey for being Most Loved Programming Language of 2016.

Now we’ll go a little bit deeper into Rust and find out why this programming language grows in popularity and stays focused on three main goals: safety, speed and concurrency.

History

Mozilla employee Graydon Hoare started developing Rust as a personal project in 2006. In 2009 Mozilla began sponsoring the project. In 2010 Rust was officially announced on Mozilla Summit 2010. After several years of active development the first stable version (Rust 1.0) was released on May 15, 2015. Thereafter the release of new version is available every six weeks.

Nowadays we see more companies dealing with Rust. Each one has its own reason to do this.

  • Mozilla. The company has developed Rust code to replace the C++ code that currently handles complex media formats.
  • Dropbox. While much of Dropbox’s back-end infrastructure is historically written in Go, some key components were rewrote in Rust.

Aside from above mentioned tech giants, the other companies that use Rust in production are Skylight, Terminal and MaidSafe.

Peculiarities

Let’s review how Rust can solve the problems and what type of solutions best flow from it.

  • The goal of Rust is to be a safe language that means ‘doesn’t do anything unsafe’.
  • Rust lets us control the costs and guarantees of a program. Rust is a compiled language. Its compiler adheres to strict safety rules, thanks to which additional costs for code execution are missed. As a result of that it’s needed minimum time for implementation or in some cases this time isn’t required at all. So Rust can be used in a real time mode or as an add-in project.
  • There are only two kinds of statements in Rust: ‘declaration statements’ and ‘expression statements’ and everything else is an expression. So Rust is primarily an expression-based language.
  • It is also important to have a well-defined interface, so that some of your functionality is private, and some is public. To facilitate these kinds of things, Rust has a module system.
  • Like most programming languages, Rust encourages the programmer to handle errors in a particular way. That’s why return values are responsible for error handling here.
  • If you know C, C++ or even Java, you will become familiar with the language without any problems.
  • The Rust project uses a concept called ‘release channels’ to manage releases. It’s important to understand this process to choose which version of Rust (Nightly, Beta or Stable) your project should use. New ‘Nightly’ releases are created once a day. Every six weeks, the latest ‘Nightly’ release is promoted to ‘Beta’. Six weeks later, the ‘Beta’ is promoted to ‘Stable’, and becomes the next release of 1.x. Generally speaking, unless you have a specific reason, you should use the stable release channel. These releases are intended for a general audience.
  • Rust is a good solution for: middle and large-size developers team; long-term usage in production; a code with regular support and/or refactor; a great number of existed unit-tests.

Rust was developed with aim to work on various programming platforms. And now it operates on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, FreeBSD, Android, и iOS. Thanks to Rust wide functionality this language can be used for diverse tasks, such as:

  • front-end applications and interfaces;
  • device driver, games and signal handlers;
  • server-side applications;
  • real-time mode systems (e.g. operating system kernel);
  • embedded systems;
  • robotechnics;
  • web-frameworks;
  • large-scale, highly-productive, resource-intensive and complex software systems.

What’s the difference between Rust programming language and the other ones?

1) Rust is a safe alternative to C++ to make systems programmers more productive, mission-critical software less prone to memory exploits, and parallel algorithms more tractable.
2) The syntax of Rust is similar to C and C++. But despite the syntactic similarity, Rust is semantically very different from C and C++.
3) Rust object orientation isn’t as obvious and advanced as in Java, C#, and Python. Since Rust has no classes.
4) Rust’s more sophisticated than Go. In comparison with Go, Rust gives you larger control over memory and resources. This equates to writing code on a lower level.
5) Swift and Rust are both considered as substitution of C, C++ and ObjectiveC. Swift developers spend more time to make the code readable adding majority of syntactic sugar into the language. While Rust is more distant, it deals with minimum things.

Let’s observe how the competition of mentioned above languages can improve technical picture in the future. And we hope it will do a power of good.

Minuses

It’s impossible to imagine any programming language without drawbacks. If it was so, we’d live in an ideal world. So, let’s back to reality and quickly determine the gaps in Rust.

  • Rust cannot prevent all kinds of software problems. Buggy code can and will be written in Rust. These things aren’t great, but they don’t qualify as unsafe specifically.
  • As a systems language, Rust operates at a low level. If you’re coming from a high-level language, there are some aspects of systems programming that you may not be familiar with.
  • It’s a pretty new language. So using it in development still brings the risk that Rust won’t survive for long and in a few years you need to rewrite it.
  • Considering the previous point, Rust tutorials are quite poor. But Rust’s still a comprehensive language. You can’t become familiar with it quickly and start writing professional code in just several weeks. It’s often needed to peruse RFC, blogs and even GitHub comments to find out necessary information. And still there is no dead certainty in it.
  • Rust isn’t as fast from the beginning as it is often told to be. You can write a fast code, but this still needs good optimization of your algorithms and program structure.
  • Rust compiler is rather strict. People call it a disciplinary language. Everything that isn’t obvious for Rust compiler you should specify on your own. Interestingly enough, when start coding with Rust you can be not aware of your intentions at all. So this learning barrier (altogether with the other ones) leads to the fact that the first Rust impression turns out to be frustrating.

Updates

And yet Rust itself hasn’t been standing still. So I’m pleased to mark an important milestone: with Firefox 48, Mozilla’s shipped its first Rust component to all desktop platforms in August, 2. Ralph Giles and Matthew Gregan implemented the component. For the Rust community as well, this is a real achievement: Rust code shipping to hundreds of millions of Firefox users. Seeing Rust code ships in production at Mozilla feels like the culmination of a long journey. But this is only the first step for Mozilla. For instance, Android support’s coming soon. And more to come! The latest ‘Stable’ version of Rust, 1.11 was announced in August 18, 2016.

There’s a lot more to say about what’s happened and what’s coming up in the Rust world. I however tried to dwell on the most essential and valuable details.

Now that you have Rust introduced, Altabel Group will help you start your first Rust project. And I personally would encourage you to play with this programming language. It’s a great time to get started, and increasingly, to get involved with something safe, speed and concurrent.

So are you ready to give Rust a try? We’d love to hear your comments!

 

Victoria Sazonchik

Victoria Sazonchik

Business Development Manager

E-mail: victoria.sazonchik@altabel.com
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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

As the Internet of Things begins to revolutionize businesses, economies and our society, IoT platforms are coming up being the core basis in the overall IoT infrastructure. IoT platforms, in simple words, are just about connecting the sensors to data networks and integrating with back-end applications to provide insight into huge volumes of data.

However developing for the Internet of Things is a complicated undertaking, and almost nobody chooses to do it from scratch. IoT data platforms provide a starting point by integrating many of the tools needed to operate a deployment from device control to data prediction and grasp into one service. Ready-built IoT platforms can meet the needs of any company and smoothly accommodate constant growth and change. In the light of the possibilities offered by IoT, many high tech companies started taking advantage of it. For the time being there are more than 300 hundred various IoT platforms on the market and the number is continuing to grow. So, let’s see what features of IoT platforms take into consideration while choosing one for your business.

Before selecting an appropriate solution which may be suitable for your organization, you must determine:

1. Three different types of IoT platforms. Here they are listed from most complex to least complex:

  • Application enablement and development (AEP/ADP): This encompasses platforms that offer modules, widget-based frameworks or templates for producing (with minimal or no coding) actual end-user applications. These platforms are capable of turning data into either intelligence or action very quickly. The vivid examples of such platforms are Oracle, ThingWorx and etc.
  • Network/Data, and subscriber management (NM): In the wireless carrier and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) space, this kind of platforms try to streamline connecting cellular M2M data, so you don’t have to build much of the data infrastructure behind it. For instance Cisco and Aeris do network management as well as device management, while Jasper and Wyless do more sheer network management.
  • Device management (DM): These platforms are more about monitoring device statuses, troubleshooting issues, configuring embedded device settings and administrating the provisioning and health of the endpoints. Usually in the IoT space this fairly elementary software is provided by hardware vendors. Like both Digi and Intel provide pure device cloud management.

While these platforms can be found as distinct standalone products, it is becoming increasingly common to find vendors that combine two or all three types in a single offering.

2. Implementation, integration support and device management. Device management is one of the most significant features expected from any IoT software platform. The IoT platform should maintain a number of devices connected to it and track their proper operation status; it should be able to handle configuration, firmware (or any other software) updates and provide device level error reporting and error handling. Ultimately, users of the devices should be able to get individual device level statistics.

To make implementation smooth, the provider should possess convincing manuals, blogs and feasibly lively developer-community around the IoT platform.

Support for integration is another vital feature expected from an IoT software platform. The API should provide the access to the important operations and data that needs to be disclosed from the IoT platform. It’s typical to use REST APIs to achieve this aim.

3. Comprehensive Information Security. There are four main technological building blocks of IoT: hardware, communication, software backend and applications. It’s essential that for all these blocks security is a must-have element. To prevent the vulnerabilities on all levels, the IoT infrastructure has to be holistically designed. On the whole, the network connection between the IoT devices and the IoT software platform would need to be encrypted and protected with a strong encryption mechanism to avoid potential attacks. By means of separation of IoT traffic into private networks, strong information security at the cloud application level, requiring regular password updates and supporting updateable firmware by way of authentication, signed software updates and so on can be pursued to enhance the level of security present in an IoT software platform. Nonetheless while security ought to be scalable, it is unfortunately usually a trade-off with convenience, quick workflows and project cost.

4. Flexible Database. There are four major “V” for databases in IoT space:

  • Volume (the database should be able to store massive amount of generated data)
  • Variety (the database should be able to handle different kind of data produced by various devices and sensors)
  • Velocity (the database should be able to make instant decisions while analyzing streaming data)
  • Veracity ( the database should be able to deal with ambiguous data in some cases produced by sensors)

Therefore an IoT platform usually comes with a cloud-based database solution, which is distributed across various sensor nodes.

5. Data analytics.

A lot of IoT cases go beyond just action management and require complicated analytics in order to get the most out of the IoT data-stream. There are four types of analytics which can be conducted on IoT data:

  • Real-time analytics (on the fly analysis of data),
  • Batch analytics (runs operations on an accumulated set of data),
  • Predictive analytics (makes predictions based on different statistical and machine learning technologies)
  • Interactive analytics (runs numerous exploratory analysis on either streaming or batch data)

While choosing the right IoT platform, it’s better to keep in mind that the analytics engine should comprise all dynamic calculations of sensor data, starting from basic data clustering to complex machine learning.

6. Pricing and the budget. The IoT platform market features a diversity of pricing methodologies underlying various business strategies. And sometimes providers’ costs aren’t always transparent. Thus it’s very important to check out all the nuances of your provider’s pricing pattern, so you are not plainly bought into introductory teaser rates or into the prices for the base model.

Further you should bear in mind that you licensing cost for the chosen platform is just the beginning. The major expense can turn out to be the integration itself, as well as hiring consultants (if you are not able to do it on your own) to support the system.

Therefore, it’s extremely vital to brainstorm what your entire IoT system will look like at scale and choose which features are most critical to you chiefly — and only afterwards decide what sort of platform you need.

A lot of companies do this backward. They get the IoT platform and believe they’re getting the complete necessary solution—then realize the mistake half a year into development. Thus it’s critical to be aware of this before you get started.

Also it should be mentioned that some companies don’t use IoT platforms—they’re developing their own platforms in-house. Yet, depending on how you want to go to market, it may be clever to research pre-built options. Depending on your situation, you may save a lot of time and money by partnering with one of these platforms.

Have you ever faced the difficulties of choosing the IoT platform for your business? If yes, can you please let me know what kind of difficulties? And what do you think is it better to use a ready-built IoT platform or develop your own from the scratch? Looking forward to getting your ideas and comments.

 

Anastasiya Zakharchuk

Anastasiya Zakharchuk

Business Development Manager

E-mail: anastasiya.presnetsova@altabel.com
Skype: azakharchuk1
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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com


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