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Wearable tech devices, such as smart watches and bracelets, have firmly stepped into our everyday life and accompany us in different spheres of life. And who knows, we may soon witness the next tech revolution in the wearable world.

Microsoft Research and MIT Media Lab PhD students have teamed up to create the next level of wearable: temporary smart tattoos.

The technology is named DuoSkin. These tattoos consist of artistic arrangements of conductive gold and silver leaf, plus tissue-thin electronics. Users can apply the tattoo to their body with a wet cloth, similar to any other temporary tattoo.

The fabrication process is fairly simple: first, you design a stencil with any graphic design software, and cut the pattern out of tattoo paper and vinyl. Then you place the gold leaf layer on top to create conductivity, and attach surface-mount electronics.

Smart tattoos can be used for several purposes. Firstly, the tattoo can act as an interface that can be used, for example, as a trackpad or a button to remotely control devices. It may be quite demanding in the near future as our devices get smaller and smart tattoos could provide some additional auxiliary area, without carrying a larger device. Secondly, they can track and show users information about themselves, for example they can change color depending on the user’s mood or show body temperature. A third possible function is wireless communication. The tattoo could include an NFC (near field communications) tag, an electrical component that includes small microchips to store data that can be read by phones or other NFC devices nearby. In the near future, the technology could serve as a substitute for identification, subway cards, etc.

Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, the lead researcher, calls DuoSkin a “project” and not a product or prototype. Others may use this information as a basis to create their own personalized on-skin wearables.

Lets’s think a bit out of the box:) The future presented in some fantastic films is about to come to reality: not more physical devices but different tattoos and built-in chips:) Аnd what do you think about smart tattoos? Will they change the wearable world or will soon be forgotten?


Anna Kozik

Business Development Manager

Skype: kozik_anna
LI Profile: Anna Kozik



Altabel Group

Professional Software Development


Introducing ASP.NET Core:

ASP.NET Core is a new open-source and cross-platform framework for building modern cloud based internet connected applications, such as web apps, IoT apps and mobile backends. ASP.NET Core apps can run on .NET Core or on the full .NET Framework. It was architected to provide an optimized development framework for apps that are deployed to the cloud or run on-premises. It consists of modular components with minimal overhead, so you retain flexibility while constructing your solutions. You can develop and run your ASP.NET Core apps cross-platform on Windows, Mac and Linux. ASP.NET Core is open source at GitHub.

The framework is a complete rewrite that unites the previously separate ASP.NET MVC and Web API into a single programming model.

Despite being a new framework, built on a new web stack, it does have a high degree of concept compatibility with ASP.NET MVC.

ASP.NET Platform exists for more than 15 years. In addition, at the time of System.Web creation it contained a large amount of code to support backward compatibility with classic ASP. During this time, the platform has accumulated a sufficient amount of code that is simply no longer needed and is deprecated. Microsoft faced a difficult choice: to abandon backward compatibility, or to announce a new platform. They chose the second option. At the same time, they would have to abandon the existing runtime. Microsoft has always been a company focused on creation and launch on Windows. ASP.NET was no exception. Now the situation has changed: Azure and Linux occupied an important place in the company’s strategy.

The ASP.NET Core is poised to replace ASP.NET in its current form. So should you switch to ASP.NET Core now?

ASP.NET Core is not just a new version. It is a completely new platform, the change of epochs. Switching to ASP.NET Core can bring many benefits: compact code, better performance and scalability. But what price will be paid in return, how much code will have to be rewritten?

.NET Core contains many components, which we are used to deal with. Forget System.Web, Web Forms, Transaction Scope, WPF, Win Forms. They no longer exist. For simple ASP.NET MVC-applications changes will be minor and the migration will be simple. For more complex applications, which use a great number of .NET Framework classes and ASP.NET pipeline situation is more complicated. Something may work and something may not. Some part of the code will have to be rewritten from scratch. Additional problems may be caused by WebApi, because ASP.NET MVC subsystems and WebAPI are now combined. Many libraries and nuget-packages are not ready yet. So, some applications simply will not have a chance to migrate until new versions of the libraries appear.

I think we are waiting for the situation similar to the transition from Web Forms to ASP.NET MVC. ASP.NET Framework will be supported for a long time. First, only a small amount of applications will be developed on ASP.NET Core. Their number will increase, but sooner or later everyone will want to move to ASP.NET Core. We still have many applications running on the Web Forms. However, no one comes to mind to develop a new application on the Web Forms now, everybody chooses MVC. Soon the same happens to ASP.NET Framework, and ASP.NET Core. ASP.NET Core offers more opportunities to meet modern design standards.

The following characteristics best define .NET Core:

  • Flexible deployment: Can be included in your app or installed side-by-side user- or machine-wide.
  • Cross-platform: Runs on Windows, macOS and Linux; can be ported to other OSes (Operating Systems). The supported OSes, CPUs and application scenarios will grow over time, provided by Microsoft, other companies, and individuals.Command-line tools: All product scenarios can be exercised at the command-line.
  • Compatible: .NET Core is compatible with .NET Framework, Xamarin and Mono, via the .NET Standard Library.
  • Open source: The .NET Core platform is open source, using MIT and Apache 2 licenses. Documentation is licensed under CC-BY. .NET Core is a .NET Foundation project.
  • Supported by Microsoft: .NET Core is supported by Microsoft, per .NET Core Support.

The Bad:

  • As for the “cons” one of the biggest issues are gaps in the documentation. Fortunately most of the things for creating and API are covered, but when you’re building an MVC app, you might have problems.
  • Next problem – changes. Even if you find a solution to your problem, it could have been written for a previous version and might not work in the current one. Thanks to open source nature of it, there is also support available on github. But you get same problems there (apart from searching).
  • Another thing is lack of support in the tooling. You can forget about NCrunch or R# Test Runner. Both companies say they will get to it when it gets more stable.
  • ASP.NET Core is still too raw. Many basic things, such as the Data Access, is not designed for 100%. There is no guarantee that the code you are using now will work in the release version.

The Good:

  • It’s modular. You can add and remove features as you need them by managing NuGet packages.
  • It’s also much easier and straightforward to set up.
  • WebApi is now part of the MVC, so you can have class UserController, which will return a view, but also provide a JSON API.
  • It’s cross-platform.
  • It’s open-source.

ASP.NET Core is the work on the bugs of the classic ASP.NET MVC, the ability to start with a clean slate. In addition, Microsoft also aims to become as popular as Ruby and NodeJS among younger developers.
NodeJS and ASP.NET have always been rivals: both – a platform for backend. But in fact, between them, of course, there was no struggle. The new generation of developers, the so-called hipster developers, prefer Ruby and Node. The adult generation, people from the corporate environment, are on the side of .NET and Java. .NET Core is clearly trying to be more youthful, fashionable and popular. So, in future we can expect the .NET Core and NodeJS to be in opposition.

In its advertising campaign, Microsoft is betting on unusual positions for it: high performance, scalability, cross-platform. Do you think that ASP.NET “crawls” on the territory of NodeJS? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Thank you in advance!



Darya Bertosh

Darya Bertosh

Business Development Manager

Skype: darya.bertosh
LI Profile: Darya Bertosh



Altabel Group

Professional Software Development



“Computer programming is an art, because it applies accumulated knowledge to the world, because it requires skill and ingenuity, and especially because it produces objects of beauty.”
Donald Knuth, 1974


It’s better to start your journey into the career of programming by answering the question “Do you really need programming?” This question does not apply to those, who majored in computer programming or was close to it. If at school you were good at math, if you like to spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer, if you want to learn something new, then programming is for you. What is more, this area is now in demand and highly paid in the world, job vacancies for the post of programmers are always open. Isn’t it the best time to be a programmer? 🙂

Everyone knows that the future programmer should be able to think broadly and to present the project from different perspectives before its implementation and realization. Unfortunately, the machine does not understand a human language. Of course, I’m not talking about Siri and other voice recognition — I’m talking about the creation of new software. To create the calculator, the computer needs to be given the task in the same way as the foreman explains to workers how to lay bricks. That’s why you can’t do anything without understanding the programming languages. Well, first you need to decide what kind of programming languages we should start with.

And here everyone chooses a language which will be useful for him. It depends on the kind of products you are going to develop. Most of us studied Turbo Pascal at school, and it’s no news that this language is practically not used anymore. So, if you want to join the team of programmers in the nearest future, the choice of language should be made sensibly.

Among the most popular programming languages in 2016 are Java, followed by C languages, then Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, etc. It should come as no surprise that the more popular language is, the more chances you have to find work in the future. So, you’d better start with Java or C#, as these are the best paid and relatively simple learning languages of writing code. If you can’t cope with them, then you should try to learn Python. This language suits for quick and effective programming.

But if you have no programming experience at all you can start with something more simple for understanding. Good examples can be the basics of HTML and CSS.

Why? These two languages are essential for creating static web pages. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) structures all the text, links, and other content you see on a website. CSS is the language that makes a web page look the way it does—color, layout, and other visuals we call style. Well, if you are interested in making websites, you should definitely start with HTML and CSS.

Let’s move to JavaScript. It is the first full programming language for many people. Why? It is the next logical step after learning HTML and CSS. JavaScript provides the behavior portion of a website. For example, when you see that a form field indicates an error, that’s probably JavaScript at work.

JavaScript has become increasingly popular, and it now lives outside web browsers as well. Learning JavaScript will put you in a good place as it becomes a more general-purpose language.

Some people also suggest choosing Python as the first programming language because Python’s program code is readable, first of all. You don’t even need to be a programmer to understand what is happening in the program. Due to the simple syntax of Python you will need less time for writing programs than in Java, for example. A huge base of libraries will save you a lot of strength, nerves and time. Large technology companies are working with Python: Yandex, Google, Facebook and YouTube. It is used for web applications, game development, software for servers.

Java can also be a good choice for a beginner. This language is more popular than Python, but a bit more complicated. At the same time, the development tools are much better designed. Java is one of the most popular languages for the backend development of modern enterprise web applications. It is used in Amazon, eBay, LinkedIn and Yahoo! With Java and the frameworks based on it, developers can create scaling web apps for a wide range of users. Java is also the primary language used for developing Android applications for smart phones and tablets. Moreover, after Java you will be able to work with low level programming languages.

PHP is one more popular language. The PHP language, along with databases (e.g. MySQL) is an important tool for creating modern web applications. Most of the sites developed on PHP are focused on a large amount of data. It is also a fundamental technology of powerful content management systems like WordPress. There are no normal imports in PHP, there are many solutions to one and the same problem. And it makes training more complicated.


The languages C and C# are a bit complicated for a beginner. But if you develop software for embedded systems, work with system kernels or just want to squeeze out every last drop from all available resources, C is what you need.

Ruby has begun to gain popularity since 2003, when the framework Rails appeared. Used widely among web startups and big companies alike, Ruby and Rails jobs are pretty easy to come by. Ruby and Rails make it easy to transform an idea into a working application, and they have been used to bring us Twitter, GitHub, and Treehouse.

Choosing a programming language may still seem challenging. It shouldn’t. You can’t go wrong. As long as you choose a language that is regularly used in technology today, you’re winning. When you are starting out, the goal is to become solid in the basics, and the basics are pretty similar across almost all modern programming languages.

Part of learning to code is learning a language’s syntax (its grammatical or structural rules). A much bigger part of learning to code, the part that takes longer and gives you more headaches, is learning to solve problems like a programmer. You can learn the grammatical structure of the English language pretty quickly; however, you won’t truly understand the language until you put that grammatical structure to use in a conversation. The same is true in programming. You want to learn the core concepts in order to solve problems. Doing this in one language is similar to doing it in another. Because the core concepts are similar from language to language, I recommend sticking with whichever language you choose until your understanding of the core concepts is solid. If you have a clear idea of your reasons for learning to program, and know exactly what you want to accomplish with your new coding skills, then you’ll be able to make the right choice.

How did you guys get into programming? What are the best programming languages for first-time learners?

Please, share with us your experience and opinion here below 🙂


Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
LI Profile: Kate Kviatkovskaya



Altabel Group

Professional Software Development


Java brings a lot of popular and user-friendly frameworks, content management systems and servers that help to simplify the application development process, website management process and much more irrespective of the size and complexity of the project. When it comes to CMS, Java possesses a host of CMSs that have been highly recognized in the market, but one CMS that has gained great popularity and attention from the developers and companies across the world is Magnolia.

Magnolia is an open source content management system which delivers exceptional simplicity on an enterprise level, combining user-friendly usage with a standards-based and flexible Java architecture. Companies such as Airbus Group, Al Arabiya, Avis and Virgin America use it as the central hub for their web, mobile and IoT initiatives. Founded in 1997, Magnolia is a privately-held company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. The company has offices around the globe, and customers in over 100 countries.

Making a good CMS to cater the needs of the clients is never an easy task, and the developers Magnolia knows this thing better. Hence, Magnolia brings some of the much needed features and functionalities for the enterprises.

• Magnolia comes with a smart cache, a built-in clustering capabiliy and distributed deployment architecture that easily decouples authoring from publishing and the possibility to develop load-balanced public servers to bring more throughput and availability.
• It also offer code highlighting for the designers & developers, easy integration of 3rd party frameworks, extendable workflow, J2EE compliance, RSS generation & aggregation and more for the customization.
• When it comes to designing, it brings standard-based templating in JSP and servlets, unlimited page and component design, Freemarker as a template engine, custom tag library to speed up templating and pluggable templating engine for the designers.
• It brings Open APIs, advanced caching strategies, unlimited scalability, clustering & load balancing, transactional activation and tons of other performance related features & functionalities for the enterprises.
• From the security point of view, Magnolia brings flexible user permissions using role-based user management and distributed architecture, which is a need of today’s enterprises.
• It also enables team work through concurrent editing, deletion, address book, workgroup collaboration and some other features.
Apart from all these, Magnolia also enables search engine optimization, content tagging, configurable workflow, content versioning, social media integration, multilingual support, multi-site management, mobile publishing and tons of other enterprise-scale functionalities.


However, like any other technology or platform, Magnolia also has some advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at each of them:

The Pros
• It’s an open source.
• User friendly, easy to use for Administrators/Content Editors/Authors
• Good set of standard components in the standard templating kit (STK)
• Very flexible, almost anything can be customized
• Vast set of open modules for many additional features
• Leverage from page-based site or navigation.
• It utilizes installer, but the WAR files can be used to redeploy it to some other place.

The Cons
• Steep learning curve
• Inconsistent or lack of documentation
• Configuration via JCR-Tree can be error-prone and not very transparent
• Versions -4.5, 4.5+ and 5 all have shifts in paradigms
• Versioning and collaboration

All in all, Magnolia is a very promising CMS that integrates well into an enterprise java stack. It is predominantly suited for medium to large businesses where processes need deep integration and customizations. With regards to small businesses, Magnolia might be somewhat of an overkill.

How about you? Did you have a chance to work with Magnolia CMS? What is your attitude to it?

Please feel free to share with us your thoughts and experience here below.


Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
LI Profile: Kate Kviatkovskaya



Altabel Group

Professional Software Development


The Go Programming Language (Go) is an open-source programming language sponsored by Google and created by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software.

Go has gained popularity since it was first announced in 2009, and it’s now being used by many companies worldwide and for a variety of applications; Dropbox, Google, SoundCloud,  CloudFlare,  Docker and Cloud Foundry are some of the Go programming users.


Like any technology, though, it has its adherents and critics. Here are some key benefits and perceived drawbacks of the language as told by experts familiar with it.


  • It is fast. And not only fast in the sense that programs written in it run fast when compared to other common languages; but also fast in the sense that its compiler can compile projects in the blink of an eye. You can even edit and run Go programs directly on the Web.
  • It is a garbage-collected language. This puts less pressure on the developer to do memory management, as the language itself takes care of most of the grunt work needed.
  • It has built-in concurrency, which allows parallelism in an easier way than is possible in other languages. Go has the concept of goroutines to start concurrent work and the concept of channels to permit both communication and synchronization.
  • Go has documentation as a standard feature. That makes it easier for developers to document their code and generate human-readable data out of source code comments.
  • Go has a rich standard library which covers a lot of areas. In fact, Go is probably the only language that can claim to have a fully working Web server as part of its standard library.
  • Go’s built-in build system is both elegant and simple. No need to mess with build configurations or makefiles.


  • Go is still a very young language and has a very young ecosystem. This means there aren’t many libraries for it yet, leaving developers to write libraries themselves. There is also a shortage of books and online courses on the language.
  • Go is simple to the point of being superficial. Go’s simplicity is mostly superficial, and in its effort to find simplicity, it threw away decades of valuable programming language progress.
  • Although Go is a high-level language, it still has low-level features such as pointer-arithmetic which does not rule out the chance of doing systems and OS programming.
  • Go’s tooling is really weird, on the surface it has some really nice tools, but a lot of them, when you start using them, quickly show their limitations.
  • It is still not so easy to learn Go and it’s difficult to handle errors in it.

What is your attitude to Go? Is it worth learning? What do you think are Go’s advantages and disadvantages? Can you tell us about a real use you have given to this programming language? Please, feel free to share your thoughts here below.


Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
LI Profile: Kate Kviatkovskaya



Altabel Group

Professional Software Development


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.

Symfony 2

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.


Marina Karabanova
Skype ID: m.karabanova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

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