Custom software is intended for particular organizations and users. As opposed to software developed for mass market, custom software is made and used by only one company. Businesses build custom software solutions to meet their unique business requirements. Leading companies use custom solutions for supporting their new initiatives in order to keep on being a leader in the market and enhance their performance.
Benefits for organizations
When it comes to making a major investment in software, company has to decide between buying ‘off-the-shelf’ software and getting custom software developed. Since every business has different requirements, it is very difficult for packaged software to comply with all the needs. Custom business software is designed to cater to your exact needs, the way you want it to be, which can simplify and improve your business process and enhance return on investment.
How choosing the custom software development path can help your business:
• Custom software development makes it possible to incorporate into software all the features you need and want. You don’t have to wait for vendor’s release schedule to deliver new features. This surely quickens time-to-market and positively influences your return on investment.
• By building software tailored to your specifications you won’t put your business into difficulty in case the purchased software doesn’t prove to be suitable later. Bespoke software is developed taking into account the current as well as future business requirements.
• When you choose custom software development, no modifications are required as it is the best-fit application. In case of readymade software, you may have to bring changes to fit its functions, which usually turns out to be very costly.
• Before starting bespoke software development, the programmers have a very clear understanding of what your business needs to receive in the end. Your business objectives, requirements, needs and vision are understood and the software is created accordingly.
• When you are getting tailored software developed, you can pick the project management methodology that best fits your business and the development team will put you in the loop of the entire development process. This guarantees cost-efficiency and proper usage of your resources.
• Bespoke software can even be customized to integrate to your existing as well as future systems, thus automating and simplifying your business operations. They are flexible and scalable enough for improvements, changes and future growth.
Most important things to consider when choosing a custom software development company
• Understanding Your Needs
Before you choosing a company, identify your business needs, the problems you are facing and trying to solve and the kind of software that will help you to meet your objectives.
• Cost Factor
Cost is always one of the most important deciding factors. Analyze the cost that will be involved in the project and whether it fits your budget or not.
• Portfolio & Experience
It is crucial to consider the past projects undertaken by the company to know its efficiency and get an idea about the different kind of custom software developed by them. A company that has already worked on various custom projects have tried and tested methodologies to successfully complete the project.
• Client References
One of the best ways to know about the company is to get in touch with its clients. Get the clients’ references from the company and gather the feedback. You can know about the type of projects the company has handled, its ability to meet the deadlines and the quality of the applications it has delivered.
• Size of the Project
Not all software development companies take all the sizes of projects. Some companies are small and have the capacity to take up only small and medium projects. Some companies target large and multi-enterprise projects. Whereas some companies take multi-year projects. You need to determine which company will rightly fit your project.
A company should have professional and motivated teams to work on the development projects. The developers should show the readiness to work on your project and be ready to take suggestions and inputs for improvements.
You should know whether the company has an expertise in the technology, which is going to be used in building your software. Different companies have proficiency in different technologies. So consider the technology expertise of the company before finalizing the project.
A very important consideration is the timeline of your project. A software project may take months or years to get completed. You might have a deadline or would want the software, for quickly launching your product in the market. But you just can’t expect the software to be readily developed; it is always wise to trade features for time. A good custom software development company will work with you the way you want, ensure you on-time delivery and even help you make a wise trade-off between the features and time frame of the project, in case of tight deadlines.
• Technical Support
Make sure you have the information about the technical support services of the company. Your software might face issues after the delivery, bringing your work to standstill. So discuss about the after-development support services provided by the company.
Choosing the right custom software development company is the first stage of your development process. And if you choose a wrong path here, you have to face devastating results, leading to the failure of your project. So doing proper research and study, and capturing detailed information about the company is of high importance. The best company will be the one that delivers you custom software matching your business needs within the stipulated time and cost, without compromising with the quality.
What is your experience with custom software development? Would you prefer custom or off-the-shelf solutions for your business? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment below :)
At one time, universities and colleges were institutes of higher learning for those who were passionate about acquiring knowledge. Today, education discussions tend to to center around how much individuals can make with their degree. Thanks to the Internet there are still places that offer open learning initiatives designed to help a new generation of technologists succeed.
Let’s start reviewing the free online courses to grow your tech skills.
1. Data visualization
Those who can take different types of data and visualize it in a way that helps provide clarity and insight are in demand. The big data machine is picking up steam. In fact, according to recent data from Dice, big data skills rank highly among those most in demand by employers.
This four-week free course offered by the University of Illinois through Coursera provides a foundation in elementary graphics programming, human perception and cognition, basic visualization, visualizing relationships and information. The course is offered from July 20th – August 15th, 2015 and requires roughly 4-6 hours per week of study time.
2. Programming for everybody (Python)
This beginner’s course is a gentle introduction into the world of Python programming. It’s meant to be a first programming course, and as a result the focus is more so on understanding the concepts. There are no prerequisites and no advanced math skills are required so if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to code or are just interested in the simple intuitive programming syntax that Python offers now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity to learn.This 10-week free course is offered from October 5th to December14th 2015. It requires 2-4 hours a week of study time. All textbooks and resources are free.
3. Begin programming: build your first mobile game
A crash course in programming, this offering from Future Learn aims to teach the beginnings of Java, taking students through the basics of programming by modifying a small Java game (code provided) that can run on your desktop or your Android devices.
Over the seven-week course has started on June 1 , 2015 students will be introduced to the basic constructs of Java that are similar to many programming languages. The course consists of video introductions, on-screen examples, Java game code, downloadable guides, articles and group discussions. It requires roughly four hours of study per week.
You could join the course in progress or register to a new one (date TBA).
4. Introduction to Linux
Have you always wanted to learn more about Linux but never had the extra cash to inveset. This course offered through edX might be just what you’re looking for. The Linux Foundation partnered with edX to offer this free Introduction to the Linux that covers familiarity with the graphical interface and command line as well as a look at all the major Linux distributions. The course gives an over view of the day to day working environment of a Linux administrator and covers pertinent tools and skills.
The designers of the course estimate that a total of 40- 60 hours of study are required to accurately cover the material. Students have the option of auditing the course, at no cost. You get access to course materials, tests, assignments and activities. Those who audit and complete the course will receive a certificate of achievement, but for those wanting to add it as a bullet point on their resume there is a verified certificate available for a fee.
5. Google Analytics Academy
With the proliferation of the Web, online shopping and social media marketing, competition for organic search traffic has gone through the roof. Understanding your website’s analytics can help you make better data-based decisions while at the same time improving the customer experience. Google knows this and would love for you to use its product, Google Analytics. So much so that they’ve created this online learning center that offers courses to help you better use the hidden data located within your site.
The courses highlighted here are all free and are good examples of how the digital revolution is bringing education to the masses around the globe.
Zend Framework 2 and Symfony 2 comparison: which one of these frameworks to choose for your business?
Posted June 4, 2015on:
Building software applications can be a complex, time consuming process, however utilizing a framework can help you develop projects faster (by reusing generic components and modules), and work better (building on one unified structural foundation). Using a framework also facilitates scalability and long-term maintenance by complying with development standards, keeping your code organized and allowing your application to evolve and grow over time.
PHP frameworks help you to write clean and reusable code. It follows the MVC pattern, ensuring a clear separation of logic and presentation. But there is a much discussion all around because some prefer performance, some prefer better documentation, some prefer amount of built-in functions etc.
Zend Framework 2 and Symfony 2 are the two frameworks that are often compared. Which one is more functional? Which one is more preferable in terms of productivity? Which one is better for general understanding? Let’s try to find the answers together.
Zend Framework 2
Zend Framework 2 is an open-source framework for developing web applications, using object-oriented code. The components in the standard library form a powerful an extensible framework when combined, offering a robust, high performance MVC implementation. It’s easily extensible, adapting to your needs, with a modular base so you can use building blocks in combination with other applications or frameworks.
Using the ZendService you can implement client libraries to access the most popular web services available. As Zend is a collection of classes, you can just load the components you need, to take advantage of the components as individual libraries, instead of the framework as a whole, cutting down on unnecessary project bloat. With no model implementation you are free to implement the framework and components in whatever way you need, free of predefined restraints.
Zend Framework 2 advantages:
– Modularity is perfected in it – it has beautiful ways to make your code modular and forces you into good design patterns to make it so;
– Some things are very well thought out: for example for each session container you can define its time-to-live and number of hops (page requests) it will last;
– Modules exist for a lot of things, which is always nice. However, most modules aren’t very mature so you won’t find a solution to every problem there, or you will have to reinvent the wheel because module’s author didn’t write it in the way that you would like;
– Things are abstracted away beautifully in this framework, which means you have a lot of control over everything.
Zend Framework 2 disadvantages are the following:
– There is no ORM implemented out of the box. While there is a solid query builder and ways to interact with database, if you want ORM you need to use third party modules;
– Documentation is written in a tutorialish manner, meaning information is dumbed down and simplified and lacks a lot of important stuff;
– So, the only way to really learn it is to browse the code. Zend does a great job of abstracting things away and letting you program by contract, but try digging into its code and you will find it hard to follow. The execution of code isn’t linear, it rather depends on events and forces you to adhere, so it’s very hard to follow what part of code is calling which event and what kind of magic happens to every object in the execution flow.
Available in its version 2, Symfony is an excellent PHP Framework for creating websites and web applications. It has been built on top of Symfony components such as Drupal, Ez Publish and phpBB. Backed by a huge community of Symfony fans, it is believed that the framework will go to a whole new level in the forthcoming years.
Symfony is used to build high end web applications at reduced costs and development times. It is a native PHP 5 framework and makes use of the latest PHP 5. It helps streamline web application development by automating similar patterns in development. This essentially means that every time the same function is required, you need not re-invent the wheel. A framework makes the code more structured, better and maintainable.
Symfony2 has been tried and tested for a host of real world applications and business websites. The high demanding e-businesses or ecommerce businesses also prefer Symfony as a framework for development. Well, Symfony is also compatible with a number of databases that are used at the backend including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server.
The advantages of Symfony 2 are:
– Symfony is feature rich. Both Zend and Symfony have a kitchen-sink approach, but Zend is much lower level;
– Symfony is expandable. Everything is presented as a bundle in Symfony. Each bundle adds functionality to the framework. These frameworks can be used for other projects too and functionalities can be added as per business requirements. Businesses benefit from the ability to add as many features and innovative features as required;
– It’s fast and takes us less system resources. Symfony was built to be fast. It is said that Symfony2 is three times faster than its predecessor Symfony 1.4 and Zend Framework too. It’s also a known fact that Symfony2 takes 2 times less memory. These are great performance statistics and businesses can easily take advantage of these to create high performing apps and ease business processes and work more efficiently;
– Symfony 2 is also known for its stability and sustainability. The framework is robust and can be used to create large enterprise websites too;
– The structure and code is very intuitive.
As for Symfony 2 disadvantages, we can say that Symfony 2 takes learning. Documentation is quite useful, but very tutorialish. You can’t dive into development without spending some hours reading first so you can figure out how to do it properly.
Both frameworks may be utilized for large websites or web apps, and both are excellent choices to develop either one. Symfony 2 is better for general understanding because with this framework it is easy to create new projects from scratch, and you can create your first prototype really quickly and advance from there on. While Zend Framework 2 feels over-engineered, written by people who know a lot about PHP but have developed very few sites in it, Symfony 2 feels very natural and has a solution to most common problems.
Zend Framework 2 and Symfony 2 belong to the same enterprise niche. Their quality and complexity is at the same level, and both of their functionality allows for highly professional web application development. However, in Altabel Group we believe that Symfony 2 is slightly better than ZF 2, according to a number of factors mentioned in this article.
Please feel free to share with us your thoughts what you choose for your projects – Symfony 2 or Zend Framework 2.
Thank you for your attention and looking forward for your comments.
The competition in the server side programming department is getting tougher with each month, especially with the recent popularity of NodeJS. However let`s look how everything began.
PHP appeared about 20 years ago, in 1995 and ever since then it has been a number one language for back-end developers and has gathered a big community behind it. For a long time there wasn’t any good reason why not to use PHP: it`s rather easy to use PHP, it`s supported by the majority of hosting companies and it has become the most commonly used language in terms of number of websites powered by it.
Of course, everyone has his own truth: one coder will praise the speed of NodeJS while the other will be devoted to the stability and long history of PHP. But let`s have a look at strong sides of both for you to decide whether to concern yourself with the so popular nowadays NodeJS or not.
PHP strong sides:
– Huge community and tons of materials for all programmers, from a beginner to an advanced coder.
– Deep code base. The most popular platforms for building websites (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla) are written in PHP. Not only are the platforms open source, but so are most of their plug-ins.
– Easy to find a hosting company. PHP has been the industry standard since the stone age and any hosting company still surviving is bound to be compatible with it. For Node.JS you still need to make a little research.
– Simplicity. PHP can be run inside of the same file as html.
– Speed of coding. For most developers, writing PHP for Web apps feels faster: no compilers, no deployment, no JAR files or preprocessors — just your favorite editor and some PHP files in a directory.
– Mixing code with content. You just open up PHP tags and start writing code. No need for templates, no need for extra files or elaborate architectures.
– No client app is needed. All of the talk about using the same language in the browser and on the server is nice, but what if you don’t need to use any language on the browser? PHP is a way out.
NodeJS strong sides:
– Speed. NodeJS is blazing fast compared to PHP. This is where Node really kicks assJ.
– Separation of Concerns. NodeJS separates fundamental components up giving a clear separation of concern across controllers / routes, models and views.
– New and fresh. It’s newer in comparison to PHP and has been developed by programmers who have full knowledge and understanding of modern web applications, from the server to the client, and that means more modern features.
– JSON. NodeJS is a powerhouse for JSON. Accessing SQL is possible and there’s plenty of plugins that make it possible, but JSON is the lingua franca for interacting with many of the latest NoSQL databases.
– Gridlock. NodeJS uses a callback structure to pass logic from one asynchronous call to the next meaning we never have to worry about spawning new threads or even considering the deadlock process. Almost no function in Node directly performs I/O, so the process never block which is a major implication for scalable systems.
That is a difficult decision when it comes up to decide which language or tool to choose. But NodeJS worth considering and it`s proved by the fact that Node is getting more and more popularity every day. And what is your opinion on NodeJS, is it the future of web?
One of the first decisions you need to make before starting a project implementation is: which development methodology should I use? There are different approaches to the software development process. Two of the most popular methods are Waterfall and Agile.
What is Waterfall?
Waterfall is a linear approach to software development. That means that project stages are executed sequentially, and no stage can begin before the previous one is finished. You receive your completed project, fully developed and tested, at the very end of the process.
Pros of Waterfall methodology:
- Simple and easy to understand and use
- Easy to manage due to the rigidity of the model
- Phases are processed and completed one at a time
- Works well for smaller projects where requirements are very well understood
Cons of Waterfall methodology:
- You cannot go back a step; if the design phase has gone wrong, things can get very complicated in the implementation phase
- High amounts of risk and uncertainty
- Not a good model for complex and object-oriented projects
- Poor model for long and on-going projects
- Not suitable for the projects where requirements are at a moderate to high risk of changing
What is Agile?
Agile development, as opposed to waterfall, focuses on building software iteratively. The project is divided into small modules and delivered in weekly or monthly sprints. During each sprint, a certain functional set of features is developed, tested, and delivered to you for evaluation. This approach emphasizes rapid delivery.
Pros of Agile methodology:
- Value is added every sprint
- Easier to add features that are up-to-date with the latest industry developments
- Project priorities are set before every sprint and evaluated after each sprint
- Customer feedback is allowed and will contribute to the final end product
- High level of customer involvement (strong sense of ownership)
- Short time to market: quickly produce a basic version of working software
- Transparency is high
Cons of Agile methodology:
- Projects can run longer than anticipated
- Requires high level commitment of time and energy from developers
What can we conclude from all this? Both methodologies have their own strengths and weaknesses. The choice of methodology really depends on the goals you want to achieve. The key to deciding which is right for you comes down to the context of the project. Is it going to be changing rapidly? If so, choose Agile. Do you know exactly what you need? Good. Then maybe Waterfall is the better option. Or better yet? Consider taking aspects of both methodologies and combining them in order to make the best possible software development process for your project.
Do you use the Waterfall or Agile methodology? Why? Have you ever tried combining the two? How did that work out? Please, tell us below.
Startups have short launchpads and high expectations. In order to lighten the yoke, many startup founders turn to outsourcing, letting a third party provider handle some aspects of the business.
If you do it the “right way”, you can build a very successful company that way. The right way is *not* to think of your remote team members as outsourcing, but as a key part of your team.
In considering outsourcing as a potential option, you must first weigh the positive and negative impacts. Outsourcing frees up leadership to focus on the parts of the business that differentiate you from the competition, while staying assured that the basic parts are all still operating properly.
Outsourcing is a great option for some startups, but it can be confusing. There’re 5 questions you should answer to decide if outsourcing is the solution:
What is outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the farming out of a business process or service to a third-party provider. Outsourcing frees up some mental space for founders and can sometimes even save money.
What exactly are you outsourcing?
There are certain skillsets which are difficult to bring in-house. It is essential to understand what you will and what you will not be outsourcing, to understand what should rest totally in your control and what can be handled by someone else.
Is the vendor startup-oriented?
The choice of which company to outsource to is important. Vendor should be very active in implanting best practices from the software industry into the startups they work with.
Are you a good client?
Good clients should know what they want, otherwise they’re effectively wasting their own money. A highly collaborative attitude is helpful too. Clients should want to understand the development process just as developers should get a handle in the product’s business objectives. A mismatch between end-project and expectations is often the result of poor communication.
Does the reputation of the vendor matter to you?
People often rely on reputation to make outsourcing decisions. Ask for reviews and recommendations of providers to try and determine which one best fits your needs.
Outsourcing is one of the earliest crucial decisions that startups have to make after inception. Often, the decision lies not in whether to outsource, but who to outsource to and how.
Do you outsource? Please share your experience in comments bellow.