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The long awaited Windows 10 OS has been just released. The launch of the new OS, Microsoft`s revenge on unsuccessful Windows 8, will become one of the most important launches in Microsoft’s history.

With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to keep some of the touch and tablet features it created for Windows 8, combine them with the familiar Start menu and desktop, and run it all on top of an improved operating system. To decide whether to switch to Windows 10 or not, let`s have a closer look at new cool features offered by Windows 10:

1. New and Improved Start Menu

Microsoft brings back the Start Menu. Absence of which, Windows 8 has been blamed for. Now, when you click on the Start button at the bottom left of the screen, you get two panels side by side, with the left column showing pinned, recently and most-used apps.

Now it’s a more familiar place where you can view regularly used apps, have the ability to use universal search (including web search) and even have the ability to shut down or restart a Windows 10 laptop or tablet.

2. Cortana for desktop

Microsoft is bringing its mobile digital assistant, Cortana, to the desktop. It will be the central location for searching your local machine and the Web, either by voice or typing in your query.

“Hey Cortana” – you say and the assistant opens.

Another interesting feature of Cortana is its Notebook that you can customize to fit your interests, which helps Cortana get “smarter” over time. You can add interests from Bing news, sports, weather, and more.

3. New web browser: Microsoft Edge

Forget about Internet Explorer, that annoyed most of users. Microsoft Edge is leaner, meaner, and faster. However their icons look exactly the same.

Edge is the new default web browser for Windows 10. It features a host of built-in features such as a screen grab tool with touchscreen doodling abilities, a note pad and reading mode.

4. Continuum

With the rise of hybrid laptop-tablet devices, Microsoft wants to make it easier to switch between either mode. It`s one of the greatest new features in Windows 10, now the system will detect if you’ve plugged in a keyboard or mouse and switch modes for more convenient interaction. If you remove the keyboard/mouse, a notification will pop up from the task bar at the bottom, asking if you want to activate Tablet mode.

5. Improved Multitasking

A new Multiple Desktops feature lets you run another set of windows as if on another screen, but without the physical monitor. This is similar to Apple’s Spaces feature on OS X, and helps you manage your multitude of open windows and apps. Instead of having multiple windows open on top of each other on one desktop, you can set up a whole other virtual desktop for those programs to reside in. Set up one specifically for home and leave your apps such as Netflix and Amazon open, and create another desktop for work on which you keep Word, Excel and Internet Explorer open.

6. Action Center

One of the more annoying features in Windows 8 is the Charms bar. It’s hidden and pops up annoyingly when your mouse pointer is at the edge of your screen. That annoyance is gone, replaced by a notification center that Microsoft calls “Action Center”, which gives you notifications and quick access to common actions like Wi-Fi or Airplane Mode. Plus, on the desktop, you need to click a button on the taskbar to bring it up, which means it won’t be popping up arbitrarily as you’re getting things done.

7. Universal apps and Unified Windows Store

Previously called “modern” or “metro-style apps”, now will be called “Universal apps” as they’ll look and function virtually the same on different Windows 10 devices.

With a new Windows Store in Windows 10, users can buy apps once that work across their computers, smartphones, and tablets.

8. Control Panel – Settings app

Instead of having two apps to control your device settings in Control Panel and PC Settings, Microsoft is making things less confusing by bringing them together in one. You’ll be able to manage your device from one place.

9. Touch support for office apps

A new version of Office apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will provide a touch-first interface across phones, tablets and PCs. The apps will look and perform the same way on a PC as they do on a mobile device for a more coherent experience.

10. Windows 10 is free

One of the biggest new developments in the Windows 10 story is that it will be completely free to upgrade. It will be available at no charge for the first year for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. It will also be free if you’re still running Windows 7.

The article covers only some of the new things you’ll see in Windows 10, and I`m sure, you will reveal more great features offered by Windows 10. But we can say for sure that Windows 10 is a big improvement over Windows 8 and worth trying it. And will you upgrade for Windows 10?

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

If you’re looking for Android automation that isn’t as challenging as Tasker, find bellow the ideal solution :)

Tasker is the de facto standard for Android automation. The only caveat with Tasker is its rather steep learning curve. For anyone wishing to add automation to their Android device, Tasker is the app to use — if you have time to invest in learning the ins and out of the app (the end result is worth it). If you don’t have time to spend diving into that which is Tasker, there are other apps that make automation easier. One such app is MacroDroid. Although it doesn’t have the impressive abilities of Tasker, it can make automation an option for those less than Android adept.

You’ll find only one version of the app on the Google Play Store — the free version. This version is limited to only five macros, with a few actions and constraints per macro. With an in-app purchase, you can gain access to the Pro version and unlimited macros (with unlimited actions and constraints per macro) for $2.99 (USD).

Let’s install MacroDroid and see how you can make it a part of your daily Android life.

Installation

Installing MacroDroid is quite easy. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
  2. Search for MacroDroid
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Arlosoft
  4. Tap Install
  5. Read the permissions listing carefully
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept

Once the installation is complete, you’ll find the launcher in your app drawer or on your home screen (or both). Tap the launcher, accept the license, and you’re ready to automate.

Usage

The MacroDroid home page (Figure A) is perfectly designed to make it easy for any level of user to get started.

Figure A

Figure A
MacroDroid running on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.

The first thing you might want to take a look at is the templates. From within this listing (Figure B), you can get an idea of what MacroDroid is capable of (you can even edit specific templates).

Figure B

Figure B
The template section offers plenty of pre-fab automation macros.

Each automation macro is broken down into three categories:

  • Trigger — what causes the action to occur
  • Action — what the automated task actually does
  • Constraint — add an option that must be present before the action can occur

To add a new macro, tap the Add Macro button on the main window. Let’s create a macro that sets the phone to silent when you arrive at work (Note: The details of creating each macro will vary). The first step is to select your trigger (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Selecting a trigger for your macro.

Search through the list and tap Location Trigger. You’ll then be prompted to select from Area Entered or Area Existed. Select Area Entered and tap OK. Next, you have locate the area on the map. You can tap the radar button at the top to select your current location. Tap the check when finished. (Note: You can’t enter an address, so you must manually find the location on the map.)

Now, select the Action from the list. For our silent mode macro, locate and tap Set Volume. From the pop-up (Figure D), you can adjust the volume for alarms, music, notification, ringer, system sounds, voice calls, and Bluetooth voice. Adjust the volume to fit your needs, and tap OK.

Figure D

Figure D
Setting the volume to silent for when you enter work.

You can add more actions for the trigger (for this example, we only need the one). Tap the right-pointing arrow to move to constraints. For this particular action, we do not need any constraints (Figure E), so tap the right-pointing arrow at the top right of the window.

Figure E

Figure E
Adding a constraint to a macro.

The last step is to give your macro a name and tap OK. The macro is now in place and will immediately start working.

That’s really the basic in and out of using MacroDroid. If you want to dig a bit deeper, you can also create variables for your macros. You can create boolean, integer, and string variables that can then be used in the Actions category (for example, to help you count how many SMS messages you receive from a single contact during a day). To create a variable, tap Settings (from within the MacroDroid main window) and then tap Edit MacroDroid Variables. Tap the plus sign [+], give your variable a name, and select the type from the Type drop-down (Figure F).

Figure F

Figure F
Creating a variable.

Once the variable is created, you can edit it (say you need to change the integer from 0, which is the default, to 1). After the variable is created, you can then use the variable as an action by selecting Set MacroDroid Variable (within the Add Actions screen) and choosing your newly created variable from the list (Figure G).

Figure G

Figure G
Setting a variable as an action.

Depending on the type of variable, you can define how the variable is to be used (such as Value + 1 for an integer).

Although MacroDroid isn’t as powerful as Tasker, if you want to enjoy automation on your device (and don’t want to have to endure the steeper learning curve of Tasker), this is your app. Give it a try, and see if it doesn’t perfectly fit the bill for your Android automation needs.

Do you automate your Android — or do you prefer everything to be under your specific control? What type of mobile user are you? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

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Romanas Lauks
Romanas.Lauks@altabel.com
Skype ID: romanas_lauks
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

It’s time for our roundup of the latest, greatest Android apps and games.

APPS

Sleep Better
Runtastic made its name as an activity-tracking app – hence the name – but now it’s turning its attention to your night-time health. This app aims to track your sleep cycles, complete with a smart alarm to wake you up at the right moment – translation: not grumpytime – as well as helping you pinpoint good and bad influences on your sleep.

Messenger
Messenger is Google’s latest attempt to break out a feature of Android into a standalone app, which can then be updated more frequently via Google Play. In this case, it’s all about the messaging: SMS, MMS, group texts and more.

snowbuddy
An essential download for winter sports folk, this provides maps and weather forecasts for pistes around the world; tracks your speed and distance while skiing and snowboarding; and has some inventive social features to challenge friends, or simply (virtually) yodel at them.

Rooster Teeth
Rooster Teeth is one of the most creative studios making original videos for YouTube at the moment, and now it has an official app for fans to keep up with its output. From gaming Let’s Play videos to comedy, it’s a handy way to watch – albeit not one that’ll replace the main YouTube app for more casual viewers.

Home Design 3D
Having moved house earlier in the year, I’ve been building up a mountain of bits of paper with scribbled layouts. Home Design 3D is one of the apps aiming to take that process digital, as you quickly draw rooms, place furniture and then see how it all looks. A handy visualisation tool.

Facebook Groups
Forgotten that Facebook had groups? Apparently around 700 million people are still using the feature. This new standalone app – part of Facebook’s strategy to “unbundle the big blue app” – focuses on groups: creating new ones, joining existing ones and posting to any that you’re a member of.

SideChef
There’s a growing community of cookery apps on Android, with this one aimed at a wide audience (translation: even kitchen liabilities like me) with more than 1,000 recipes to try. Step-by-step instructions, built-in timers and the ability to control the app with your voice when your hands are floury make it very useful.

A Hollow Body
Looking to fill time during the (long) wait between series of Sherlock? This app from the Museum of London is just the thing: a narrated walk starting near St Paul’s Cathedral, inspired by the original Sherlock Holmes stories. Note, they’re stressing it’s NOT just a guide: “You should imagine walking through a film, where you are the main characters…”

OurHome – Chores and Rewards
This is a good idea for parents grumbling that their children don’t help out around the home. It’s part family-organiser, so you know who’s where when; it’s part motivational tool to reward kids for doing chores; and it’s also a digital shopping list, kept updated in between shop/supermarket trips.

SnapDonate
Finally, a simple but potentially-effective idea for charities to raise money through mobile donations. SnapDonate lets you take a photo of a charity’s logo, then donate to them in a variety of small-to-medium amounts.

GAMES

TwoDots
Dots and its sequel TwoDots have been very popular on iOS, but now the latter is on Android too. It’s the perfect pick-up-and-play puzzler, as you connect coloured dots across 135 levels, challenging friends to beat your skills as you go.

Kingdom Rush Origins
Kingdom Rush is a rightfully-respected brand in the tower defence genre, and from what I’ve played so far, this is the best version yet. Pitched as a prequel, it’s an absorbing strategy game as you marshal your fantasy forces (and towers) to fend off onrushing enemies.

The Banner Saga
Thankfully spared a lawsuit from the Candy Crush people, this Viking-themed RPG is a carefully-crafted treat. Its battles and storytelling blend perfectly, as they did on iOS, with a tale you can happily lose yourself in.

Turbo Dismount
If you’re more action-focused, you’ll love Turbo Dismount. It’s a “crash simulator” that sees you trying to causing as much chaos as possible with “Mr Dismount and the cars who love him”, with slow-motion replays making the most of the impressive physics engine.

Mark of the Dragon
Breeding dragons? There’ve been a few popular mobile games along those lines in recent years, but Gamevil’s new release looks like it’s putting a fresh spin on the theme. So yes, breeding and battling, but a community of guilds and multiplayer raiding looks to add depth too.

Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
It’s not so long since the (excellent) Five Nights at Freddy’s game was released for Android, with its tale of a spooky pizza restaurant and creepy animatronic characters. The sequel looks equally impressive, as you track the characters through security camera footage, and fend them off.

Battle Worlds: Kronos
A good week for hardcore strategy gaming, with Battle Worlds: Kronos a turn-based tablet wargame with depth to spare. You can play alone – the promise of 50 hours’ solo play looks about right – or pit your wits against other humans in the multiplayer mode.

Creature Academy
Kabam’s second entry in this roundup features more critters that you have to collect and train up for fights, with more than 200 to find, and a host of battles to harden their skills. It’s colourful, with a neat touch-friendly interface.

Endless Doves
The almost Game Boy-style retro graphics will have gamers of a certain age salivating at the sight of Endless Doves, but its gameplay has much more to offer than old-school visuals. “Collect Doves, Don’t Crash” is how the developers sum it up. Miles more fun than Flappy Bird is how I’d put it.

Jet Run: City Defender
Finally, Jet Run: City Defender is one of the best-looking Android games this week: an into-the-screen action game that sees you whizzing through urban landscapes in a jet, letting anything in your path have it with both missiles. Like Temple Run meeting After Burner, it’s great fun.

That’s my choice, but what Android apps and games have you been using recently? Make your recommendations – or give your views on the picks above – in the comments section.

Lina Deveikyte

Lina Deveikyte
Lina.Deveikyte@altabel.com 
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Call it the sumo wrestling battle of the smartphone world — two gigantic devices competing for our attention and our buying dollar. It’s the battle between Google’s Nexus 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.

The Nexus 6 and Note 4 are both big and brimming with power, but make no mistake about it: While the phones may share a shelf in the “plus-sized Android” aisle, they’re very different devices that offer dramatically different types of user experiences.

So which plus-sized Android phone is right for you? Let’s start by breaking down the key differences – practically speaking – between the two devices:

1. Style and design

The Nexus 6 is basically like a giant Moto X: It has a gently curved back, soft-touch plastic material, and an aluminum frame around its perimeter. It’s simple yet elegant and really an attractive phone.

The Note 4, on the other hand is a Samsung device. It’s boxy and flat, with a thin and removable faux-leather plastic back. It does have a metal frame instead of the faux-chrome plastic usually favored by Samsung, but it still errs on the side of chintz and isn’t exactly what you’d describe as a sophisticated design.

The Nexus’s curved form makes it the far more ergonomic and comfortable-to-hold phone of the pair. Although it’s slightly larger than the Note, it feels like it’s designed to fit into your hand. It’s a sharp contrast to the Note’s boxy nature, which feels awkward in comparison.

2. Software

The Nexus 6 runs a pure, unmodified version of Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop software. The Note 4 runs Samsung’s TouchWiz software on top of the Android 4.4 KitKat OS.

On that note, the Nexus is guaranteed to get fast and frequent ongoing software upgrades from Google moving forward; the Note is likely to get upgrades eventually, but it’s dependent on Samsung to roll them out — and Samsung tends to be one of the less communicative manufacturers when it comes to the realm of upgrades.

As far as user interface, it’s no contest: The Nexus’s pure Lollipop software is clean, modern, cohesive, and all around just a joy to use. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has gotten less bad over the years, but it’s still a bloated and inconsistent mess compared to the stock Android setup.

The one area where TouchWiz has an advantage is in the realm of features: While Samsung does cram its software full of gimmicky silliness you’ll likely never touch, it also provides a few genuinely useful additions you won’t find on the Nexus 6 — namely the options for viewing multiple apps on the screen at the same time, which can be particularly valuable on larger-screened devices like these.

If you want to watch a video while answering a text or reference a document while composing an email, the Note has the upper hand; you can use its split-screen or floating app functions to accomplish those things. On the Nexus, meanwhile, your only real option is to toggle back and forth between the two processes.

3. Stylus

The Note has an integrated stylus; the Nexus does not. If you’re someone who likes the idea of drawing or scribbling on your smartphone’s screen, that’s something significant to consider; the Note 4’s stylus is top-notch and in a completely different league from any third-party accessory you could purchase.

4. Speakers

The Nexus 6 has front-facing stereo speakers that sound fantastic; the Note 4 has a single small speaker on its back that sounds pretty bad. Not much more to say about that.

5. Performance

On paper, both phones are perfectly equipped in terms of horsepower — but in the real world, the Note 4 is noticeably less smooth and snappy than the Nexus. There’s frequent jerkiness in animations and transitions, for instance, and tasks like switching apps or even just opening the Recent Apps switcher don’t happen as instantaneously as they should. The phone is by no means slow; it’s just less zippy and responsive than what you’d expect from a device of this caliber — and than what you’ll experience on the Nexus 6.

6. Storage

The Nexus 6 comes with a choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal space and no SD card; the Note 4 comes with 32GB of internal space and an SD card that allows you to add up to 128GB of external storage. For most people, 32 to 64GB should be more than sufficient — but if you need a lot of local space, the Note 4’s opportunity for expansion obviously has added appeal.

7. Battery

Both phones do respectably well. If you’re among the minority of users who values being able to swap out a phone’s battery on the fly, meanwhile, the Note 4’s battery is removable while the Nexus’s is not.

In terms of charging, the Nexus supports standard Qi wireless charging out of the box; the Note 4 doesn’t. Both phones offer a USB-based fast-charging option.

8. Buttons

The Nexus 6 uses the standard virtual on-screen buttons for Android’s Back, Home, and Recent Apps functions while the Note 4 sticks with Samsung’s typical mishmash of physical and capacitive buttons for those functions.

The physical-capacitive mix isn’t ideal — the physical button requires a fair amount of force to press while the capacitive ones take just a gentle touch, which makes for a jarring and somewhat awkward experience moving between them — but if you’ve used mainly Samsung devices in the past, you’re probably used to it and might even prefer it.

There is the argument that having the buttons below the screen instead of on it makes the display seem bigger — but on the other hand, the non-virtual buttons don’t rotate with the screen and don’t change or disappear based on context, as their virtual counterparts do. (Also, the Nexus’s screen is 5% bigger than the Note’s, which might counterbalance the “more screen space” argument to some degree.) With Lollipop, too, the Note 4’s buttons are going to look especially dated, as that release introduces a revamped appearance for them that can’t be applied to permanent keys.

Original here

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Romanas Lauks
Romanas.Lauks@altabel.com
Skype ID: romanas_lauks
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

It is expected that within the next 5-7 years there will be billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). However, on the way to this bright future, there are certain practical barriers.

The traditional model of the Internet of Things requires a centralized system for data processing, which handles all the data from connected devices. Nevertheless, this approach is seriously flawed in terms of cost of lifecycle and business model in general. For example, a company that produces “smart TVs” should support a centralized processing infrastructure and data management of the device for more than 20 years. While it earns revenues only once, when selling this device. This imposes restrictions on the Internet of Things. So far it is available only in the premium devices or those that are rarely used.

Nowadays, most of the IT companies are competing in invention IoT platforms and systems.

IBM: Adept

IBM’s solution is to use the web’s most innovative p2p technologies to create distributed cloud environment which means that all the devices will be integrated together. Thus, every device will be self-sufficient for managing and will use distributed public infrastructure to communicate with other devices. In this way, producing company won’t have recurring costs in maintenance. Such a system will be stable for the lifetime of the devices, and it will be equal to its clouds. The network will be fully autonomous, while the device remains in it, without requiring the cost from producer. However, centralized control becomes almost impossible with all the potential billions of devices on the network.

Their system Adept will rely on three different technologies to resolve a number of issues related to IoT development and commercialization: Block chain, famous from the crypto currency bitcoin, will allow IoT devices to communicate and interact with one another, BitTorrent (provides a stable and capable data distribution system ) and Telehash (private messaging protocol with end-to-end encryption).

Apple: Homekit

Apple is not idle in the IoT field. They introduced a new ‘smart home’ platform – Homekit this summer (2014).

Homekit is a framework and network protocol for controlling devices in the home. It promises a seamless user interface for organizing and controlling connected devices, all part of iOS 8. As part of this announcement there is also a new microcontroller SoC (system on a chip), containing a low-power WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth. It combines what had been separate components into a fully integrated unit. As with many other Apple products you will need a certificate, in this case Apple’s MFi certification (Made for iPod, Made for iPhone, Made for iPad).

Google: Nest

In January 2014, Google showed its commitment to the emerging Internet of Things by purchasing Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest’s main product is a learning thermostat connected to the internet that uses sensors, regional data, and learning algorithms to preemptively change the temperature of your house automatically. Thus, Google gains a direct entry point into the home to collect data, learn, and possibly advertise to end users in the future. Google’s purchase of Nest was considered an important indicator that the Internet of Things is poised to explode.

Microsoft: Windows 8.1 for IoT

Microsoft does not want to be left behind and has its own plan to bring Windows Developers to the Internet of Things with its new version of Windows 8.1 – operating system tailored for the Internet of Things. This version of Windows is designed to use in microcomputers, wearable electronics, and possibly, toys and household gadgets. At this point the preliminary version is only available to developers. Windows 8.1 distribution for the Internet of things weighs only 174 MB. For comparison, the size distribution of the full version of Windows 8.1 is around 3 GB. Slim enough to work on a single-core processor Intel Quark with a clock frequency of just 400 MHz. But the boot time is poor – 2 minutes instead of the traditional 3-30 seconds.

Intel: Galileo

The first platform that is compatible with Windows 8.1 for the Internet of Things is Intel’s Galileo. It is built around a processor, Intel Quark has 256 MB of RAM, a slot for cards format SD, two ports USB, PCI Express interface and a network adapter Ethernet 10/100 Mbit / s, and a pocket friendly price of just $ 50.

Samsung: Smartthings, Smart Home

Samsung, Intel and Dell announced in July 2014 that they are combining forces to create a new wireless standard for the Internet of Things, connecting sensors, appliances and gadgets to the Internet in the home, business and automobile. The Open Internet Consortium will include hardware component builders Broadcom and Amtel as well as embedded software provider Wind River.

Also it would be unfair not to mention the fact that Samsung has bought an internet of things (IoT) company called Smartthings (the startup that makes smart-home controllers) for about $200 million. Samsung is planning to use it to bolster its smart home plans. Smartthings will run as an independent entity within Samsung, and will continue to support its existing customer base. This system provides a smartphone app that users can employ to control features and functions around the house.

Smart Home platform will provide users with three main services: Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service. Device Control will allow users to access customized settings for all of their devices on their smartphone or on their Smart TV. Home View allows users to take advantage of the cameras built into many of Samsung’s connected appliances to take a look at what’s going on at home. Smart Customer Service will notify users whenever it’s time to service an appliance, and also provide assistance in after-sales servicing.

Other companies such as Vodafone, Cisco, MediaTek, etc are also a part of this great revolution in IT environment, and most of them have very prospective projects.

1

IoT Top10 Companies

Nevertheless, one should accept that the Internet of Things requires some technical and educational level from the society, and while in some countries this seems to be difficult to put it into practice, the Scandinavian region, more specifically – Sweden, invests in such projects at the national level. The vision of its industry is to increase competitiveness and to use innovation effectively in such social spheres as healthcare, welfare and sport. Business life is focused on getting benefits by implementation of IoT technology as well.

The connected world is too big to belong to somebody exclusively. So will Apple, Windows, IBM, Oracle, Google and others be able to all work together in this IoT universe? Or will the grand idea of a seamlessly connected Internet of Things environment slip away?

Will be thankful to hear your opinion on this subject. Share your thoughts here in comments or send me a message.

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Svetlana Pozdnyakova
svetlana.pozdnyakova@altabel.com 
Skype ID: Svetlana.pozdnyakova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

When looking for a suitable web framework you could definitely come across – Symfony and Yii – top PHP frameworks. But what to choose?  Most interviewed developers prefer Symfony than Yii. Let’s see why.

 

Code maintenance and management. I believe there is no problem to create a code from the very beginning. Still when it is a long term project there could arise some issues – for instance, after several months of the development on Yii there could arise some problems with small workarounds, hooks…it would definitely work but supporting would kill you. Protection from corruption is quite important for every company but who would like to care about hooks and workarounds everyday if these issues could be avoided?

Style of the code. Yii team has their own code style, it’s great. Still it can be a problem in case you have a project with different code guidelines than Yii team use. Sure, you can contribute some extensions in Yii community and save the extensions similar to native Yii code. But in the end you would have to switch between different code guidelines all the time – not great. Namespaces. Namespaces helps to shortcut class names, helps with classes autoloading etc. Yii doesn’t not use them. I believe you would feel more comfortable with namespaces.

Test driven development (TDD) issue. As for code testing, tests should be written easily. In case Yii, its global service locator (Yii::app()) destroys attempts to write tests. Starting with one test, after some time you would understand that you would need to mock this service and another one, and both of them depends on 3rd service…in the end  many services interact with each other in Yii L As a result we get tight coupling, which is tricky for performing decoupling application.

Thus, in spite of Yii has CWebTestCase, fixtures, base integration with phpunit etc it is more useful to test services/models without mocking other services and framework classes.

ActiveRecord. Having ActiveRecords as framework core is great, it’s really useful for beginner. Still Yii active record is too simplified and tightly coupled. Another more serious issue – there is no separation between entity and entity manager. Using Yii we have to use static methods for querying models and non-static methods for model logic. ActiveRecord and ActiveFinder are provided by a single instance in Yii and there could be a trouble when queries mixed with entity getter/setter.

Ah, regarding to static methods for querying, they can’t have state except for static one. And if you want to mix few conditions you have to merge criterias. What is Symfony in this case about? It has Doctrine 2 – quite serious ORM with unit of work and other cool things. Or as an option you can try Propel ORM. There is the things you would really like: real getter/setter, db schemas and migrations generation, behaviors that actually a generator addons, reach set of generator properties and integration in some Symfony components like forms and validator. It has some issues as well, still it works better and you can get clear separation between entities and queries.

Extensions. As for  extension in Yii, firstly you should find and download it on the Yii site,  manually copy it to the project directory, attach it in config. And then to monitor the site for updates. Such procedure is not comfortable for 21th  century. Composer could be a great choice in this case. You can easily define project dependency and run update. It download extension/lib/component/bundle or whatever you want, setup autoloading and you can use it. Also composer cares about all component dependencies and downloads them.  All components can be updated to most up-to-date version with one command. Also you can specify which version to use: to download test or dev versions , it’s easy!

There is another cool thing – contributing. It’s easy to publish your package and make it globally available, easier to define versions, easier to fork extensions, easier to send pull requests etc.

Now some short facts about Symphony:

  •         Symfony is not a framework but a project. Depending on your needs, you can choose to use some of the Symfony Components, the Silex micro-framework, or the full-stack framework.
  •         Symfony is used by many large companies (like the BBC or CBS), by many large websites (like TEDwetter.comLockers) and some Open-Source projects are also powered by Symfony (CMSes likeDrupal or eZpublish, libraries like PHPUnit or Doctrine, products like phpBB orshopware).
  •         Symfony enjoys a huge community of users and contributors; during the last year alone, 550+ people contributed to the Symfony core and the community created over 1,600 bundles for the full-stack framework. Symfony also has several annual dedicated conferences around the world and a large number of user groups.
  •         Symfony has been created in 2005 and here to stay. Besides SensioLabs, many other companies rely on Symfony for their clients and they contribute, invest money, and sponsor the future of the project.
  •         Symfony embraces the “don’t reinvent the wheel” philosophy, and provides tight integration with many other Open-Source projects.
  •        Symfony tries to bring innovation to PHP: it was one of the first major frameworks to embrace PHP 5.3, to introduce the usage of a Dependency Injection container, and to use a templating engine for its templates by default,Twig, which is now also adopted by major CMSes like Drupal and eZpublish. Symfony also has some unique features like its gorgeous debug toolbar and its great built-in profiler.

Conclusion. In case you would like to create a small blog – Yii would be a great choice. If you are going to develop a serious application, if you know why you need a Dependency Injection, and need to cover most of the code tests, need a super plug-in architecture, work with migrations and a fixture – only Symfony.

Thank you for your attention and look forward to your thoughts.

Elvira Golyak

Elvira Golyak
Elvira.Golyak@altabel.com
Skype ID: elviragolyak
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

To make sure your reputation stays clean, you have to keep an eye on what’s being said about you. These tools can help you protect your good name. If you conduct business online, or if you have an online presence for a product, service, talent, or skill, you need to manage how the millions upon millions of online users perceive you. It takes only a few bad comments, posts, or blogs to ruin the reputation you have spent years building. Fortunately, there are tools out there to help you manage that reputation. Those tools aren’t exactly obvious — and you have use caution when selecting them (to make sure you’re not about to get caught up in a scam). But when you find a reliable tool, it’s wise to make use of it.

Here are five tools you can use to help you ensure that your online brand and reputation are where you want them. Naturally, these tools require some work to really make the most of what they offer. And most of them aren’t just one-time usage tools — you actually have to spend time with them to really help massage your reputation.

1. Google’s Me on the Web
Google has a nice tool that allows you to easily monitor search results for your name. Me on the Web is included in the Google Dashboard. It allows you set up search monitors for your name/brand, assists you in the removal of unwanted content, and can help you manage your online identity. The search monitors are incredibly helpful as they alert you when others (individuals, companies, etc.) mention your name or your brand.

2. Reputation.com
Reputation.com is a service that allows you to see how you look online. The service is free and it doesn’t use your information for any untoward activities. All you do is create a free account. Then you can monitor your online “buzz,” search for and remove any negative information/mentions about you, and find out how you can control what people see when they search for you.

3. Naymz
Naymz is not a free service (although you can sign up for a 30-day free trial) and is a bit different from the other tools. Naymz is a network that includes tools to help you manage your reputation. With these tools (and with interaction within the network) you earn free products and services (as your reputation grows). Thanks to the Naymz network, you can get a quick assessment of what your peers think of you as well as connect to Facebook and Twitter.

4. Whos Talkin
Whos Talkin is a social media search tool that shows you what members of social sites are saying about your name or brand. Using the tool is as simple as entering your name (or brand), clicking search, and waiting for the results. Whos Talkin doesn’t help you manage those results, but it will give you a lightning-fast look at what the Web is saying about your name or brand. What is done with those results is up to you. Why use this over a simple Google search? Whos Talkin focuses only on social media, so your results aren’t buried inside other results.

5. Yasni
Yasni is a nice free tool that lets you search for people and services. The results of those searches will tell you how that person/service is seen from an online point of view. The only downfall of Yasni is that it will include any results that match your criteria. You are also given popular search terms that are associated with the name/service. Although you won’t find tools to help you correct any negative comments/posts/results, you can at least discover all the key terms that are associated with you and your brand.

Your reputation is everything in this constantly shrinking online-centric world. If you don’t monitor and manage your online name and brand, you run the risk of seeing your reputation plummet and your value disintegrate. Give each of these tools a test – drive and see if you can come up with a one-two combination to help you keep your reputation in check.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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