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Posts Tagged ‘mobile

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.

magnolia

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.

 

Katerina Kviatkovskaya

Katerina Kviatkovskaya
Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

iBeacon is the name used for Apple’s technology that provides location-based services and information to mobile applications on both Android and iOS devices using Bluetooth Low Energy.

The beacons themselves are small transmitters that can be placed in stores or specific points of interest, such as museums or airports. Apps installed on mobile devices “listen” for the signal and respond accordingly when the phone comes within range.

iBeacon changes shoppers into byers

First of all, iBeacon technology opens great possibilities to retailers. Some of American and European big retailers already take advantage of iBeacon: Walmart, Macy’s, Tesco, etc

Using iBeacon, customers can find and watch videos, receive coupons and other discounts in real time, depending on where they are in a store.

IBeacon also helps to collect analytical info about customers` experience. Businesses and retailers now have a direct way to find out what customers are doing, exactly where in the store they are doing it, what they are looking at, how long they are looking at it, and maybe what they decided to buy at the last second instead.

At last, iBeacon can bring popularity to contactless payment. iBeacons ability to track a specific phone, linked to an Apple ID and user account opens the door for an Apple-based payment system.

iBeacon is not only about retail. The iBeacon ecosystem has the potential to change other industries. Here are some examples.

Event Industry: conferences and concerts, museums and exhibitions.

Here are a few ways iBeacons could help to manage events and improve the attendee experience:

-Attendee check-in. Using the event’s app, attendees check themselves in and avoid line-ups.

-Navigation. iBeacons provide devices with extremely accurate location services. In large conference facilities, museums and exhibitions, iBeacons can be used to power hyper-accurate floor maps.

-Networking. Using iBeacons, attendees can network through an opt-in feature in the event’s app, allowing them to discover and message other attendees. With Linkedin integration, attendees can get a detailed look at who is around them and decide who they would like to connect with. iBeacons were successfully used at Cannes Lions festival for networking with attendees.

-Promotions and advertisements. Instead of distributing brochures or physical promotional materials, an exhibitor can send targeted promotions to attract attendees to their stand.

-Gamification. Integrating gamification into events will provide new ways to engage and stimulate attendees. For example, iBeacons could be used for social games to drive networking, venue tours tailored to indiviual interests, or scavenger hunts for exclusive information and prizes.

Home automation systems

As we get closer to the coming smart home revolution, it’s clear that smartphones and tablets are going to be the devices that we use to control our lamps, lights, thermostats, sprinklers, security systems and entertainment systems. Beacons will detect when you arrive home and as you pull into the driveway , the lights will come on. The door is unlocked for you as you approach itJ

Restaurants

Enabled with touch devices, waiters don’t have to rush to the kitchen in order to dispatch orders. In other cases, clients can make orders directly on tablets available at the table. With iBeacons, the app automatically knows which table the waiter is at. It can display the client name (with eventual dinning/preferences history) and automatically associate orders with tables without requiring waiters to manually select a table number.

Education

The iBeacon platform offers a wide range of applications that can be applied on an educational context. From simple games that require students to move around, explore and find things to more scientifc or technical experiments in the classroom. Moreover teachers can track who from the students are present and send notifications to the parents whose children are away.

IBeacon is a new emerging technology that may change the world we live in. Things move quickly in any field in which a technology innovation has backing and breadth like this. This short list is only an introduction to the possibilities of iBeacon and where this technology can be applied.

And what do you think of iBeacon? Will it change our lives in the near future?

I`ll be happy to know your thoughts.
 

Anna Kozik

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

The mobile world is continuing its rapid growth while we are becoming more and more reliant on our mobile devices in everyday life.

By 2016, it’s expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile Internet devices in use, so the mobile application industry will grow tremendously to match the demand and keep up with ever evolving technologies.

Let’s have a look at obvious technologies trends continuing to influence the mobile world nowadays.

Three main platforms and architectures

In a short period of time a majority of big companies will need a special set of development tools to support three key platforms – iOS, Android, Windows and three application architectures – native, hybrid and mobile Web. Tool selection won’t be that easy, rising up technical issues and nontechnical ones such as productivity versus vendor stability. Undoubtedly most big organizations will need several tools to deliver to the architectures and platforms they require.

HTML5

Being fragmented, immature and thus possessing many implementation and security risks, HTML5 won’t be a simple solution for mobile application portability. However as it matures, the mobile Web and hybrid applications will become more and more popular. So despite many challenges HTML5 faces, we could expect that it will be rather essential for organizations delivering applications across multiple platforms.

Advanced mobile user experience design

A vast majority of new techniques and methodologies such as motivational design, “quiet” design and “playful” interfaces contribute to exceptional user experiences most leading mobile apps have. Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges, such as partial user attention and interruption, or that can exploit technologies with novel features or “wow” factors, such as augmented reality. Leading consumer apps are setting high standards for user interface design, and all organizations must master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations.

High-precision location sensing

Knowing the location of a person to within a few meters is a key factor in the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and services. Applications that use the precise indoor location currently exploit such technologies Wi-Fi, imaging, ultrasonic beacons and geomagnetics. Such technologies as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing  in combination with mobile applications will create a new generation of highly personalized services and information.

Mobile phone as a universal remote

Some time ago we had to stay in front of TV in order to turn channels. Later remote controls were sold with every TV and stereo on the market. Nowadays, our homes have become smarter and many people manage their homes with the help of a smart phone. In 2015, mobile applications are expected to move to the next level, becoming a universal remote control for your life. Air conditioner controls and alarm systems are heading the list with cars and door locks to go behind soon. With all the different data including financial, electronic, home and automotive deeply embedded in your phone, the general remote seems to be a usual extension.

Apps will start thinking for you

Artificial intelligence is going to influence mobile applications in 2015, initially with smarter apps that think for you. The ability of apps to forecast behavior and lessen manual work is amazing. In the year 2015, apps will begin to foresee where you are going, what thoughts you are having and the types of information you might require. Imagine future applications less of a tool and more of an associate.

Wearable Devices

The smartphone will become the center of personal-computer network consisting of wearable devices such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewelry, smart watches, display devices such as Google Glass and different sensors embedded in clothing and shoes. These gadgets will communicate with mobile applications to deliver information in new ways and include a wide range of products and services in such areas as sports, fitness, fashion, hobbies and health.

What are your predictions on mobile technologies trends for the upcoming time? Eager to hear your thoughts :)

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Skype ID: yuliya_tolkach
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

People are increasingly making use of their mobile terminals (tablet and smartphones) to connect to the internet and it is important to adapt websites to the new browsing habits. Each terminal has its own features and limitations (such as the screen size) which will determine how a website will be displayed. The Responsive Design is a compelling solution if you want to have your website smoothly displayed on multiple screen sizes.

Responsive web design (RWD), is an important evolution in an increasingly on-demand world. RWD is a design approach that lets you view content in a way that is optimized for the screen size that you are viewing it on. For example, if I access a RWD website on my laptop, I will see the content formatted in a way that is optimal for a larger screen. And if I access that same website on my smart phone, I will see the same content reformatted to fit that screen size. The important thing about this is that it is showing me the same content whether it is on a large screen or small screen, only the layout is different.

It wasn’t long ago that the prevailing practice, when considering how to make your website mobile friendly, was to create a separate website for mobile devices along with separate content. The content would be pulled from the existing site and edited down for brevity with some sections being omitted entirely. All of this was based on the assumption that visitors to the mobile site would only want certain kinds of information and not others. Specifically information that would be consumed while “on the go,” and therefore needed to be short, to the point, and informative. Anything less, wouldn’t make it into the mobile site. The implications are that some of the content on the non-mobile site may be potentially long, pointless, and ultimately not very valuable.

One interesting aspect of responsive website design is that it forces us to think about the value of content. If it’s going to be shared across all devices, then anything other than short, to the point, and informative, doesn’t make the cut.  This is a great filter because it helps us focus on the purpose of the information.

Does this mean you should convert your website to a Responsive design? Let’s consider the Advantages of Responsive web design:

  • The advantages of Responsive Design are numerous. This technique allows a website to automatically adapt itself to the different screen resolutions.
  • Columns and images are automatically adjusted, resized and moved automatically according to the screen resolution. This technique allows optimum ergonomics in preserving the layout and the display of the information from the website.
  • The Responsive Design is a strategic long-term solution and you don’t have to worry about redirecting users to another version of your website. Once deployed, there is very little maintenance to perform and the cost of development could be often lower than creating and maintaining a dedicated mobile site.
  • Responsive Design also implies having a unique URL: perfect for promotional campaigns.

There are certainly some Disadvantages to Responsive web design so I thought I would list these along with pros for RWD:

  • If there are many benefits, there are still some drawbacks to Responsive Design. These include a longer loading time. Most of the time, users (browsers) are obliged to download useless a HTML/CSS codes. Similarly, the images are often stretched and not simply resized causing a negative impact on the loading time.
  • Responsive Design won’t allow you to easily adjust the titles, descriptions and other content on mobile phones. In addition, the development of Responsive Design websites takes more time.
  • The Initial Cost. It is obviously takes longer to code and test a website that is to work on a wide variety of screen sizes and devices so the initial cost of having a website designed is usually could be higher than having a non responsive site designed.

The Responsive Design is definitely an effective solution to provide an optimal user experience. This is a major evolution of web design inviting designers to take a new challenge. Disadvantages and limitations of using this technique are easily overcome by putting more emphasis on the design and development stages of your website. But still I have added the advantages and disadvantages above so that people can make their own mind up about the responsive approach, whether you might be an individual looking for a new web site or a designer considering the expansion of your own design services, it is always nice to know the pros and cons of any concept.

What are your thoughts on Responsive web design?

Polina Mikhan

Polina Mikhan
Polina.Mikhan@altabel.com 
Skype ID: poly1020
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

There exist a lot of mobile app development frameworks. Cross-platform tools reduce barriers to entry and democratise app development, by allowing developers from any language (HTML, Java, C++), any background (hobbyist, pros, agencies, corporates) and any skill level (visual designer to hard-core developer) to build mobile apps. Just imagine that by using a cross-platform tool and covering just two platforms such as Android and iOS, you will cover 91% of the whole smartphone market. Sounds appealing:)

PhoneGap and Sencha are the most widespread: they are used by 32% and 30% of cross-platform developers, irrespective of their primary tools. I`m suggesting to have a closer look at PhoneGap which turns to be the most popular tool.

How it works

The cross-platform capabilities of PhoneGap are reached this way: a native project is generated, distinctive for each platform, which includes a browser (a native webView component) as the main component. This browser is able to display HTML/JavaScript code as a usual web page. The file system of this project acts the part of a file server, which gives access to the page. Also there is an object that allows PhoneGap to standardize the access to native features of mobile devices running the supported operating systems, such as camera, compass, accelerometer, contacts etc.

Good moments

-The most obvious one is cross-platform capabilities. Currently PhoneGap supports the following platforms: iOS, Android, webOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian OS, Tizen.

-PhoneGap app is written upon HTML, JavaScript and CSS, with the opportunities of using numerous external libraries;

-Adjustments can be performed via browser; remote adjustments can be performed on a mobile device via “weinre”.

A blot on the landscape:)

-Many users complain of the irresponsiveness of PhoneGap apps. Here I`m talking about one of the specifics of the PhoneGap development: the 300 millisecond lag between touch and click event on touchscreens. The solution to this problem can be easily found around the Internet. There are several JavaScript libraries, and their work principle is the same – tracking such events as TouchStart and TouchEnd – and at the moment when the latter is done, runs a click event.

– Users feel uncomfortable when touching a button and it doesn`t work. This is one of the most widespread bugs in PhoneGap apps. This bug appears due to improperly created interface, and it raises the problem of touching. The fact is that we look at the touchscreen at an angle and the visual contact area between the finger and the screen differs from the real contact area. This can be corrected quite simply – proper layout of the app page. For example, the area of response can be made bigger than the button itself.

– On average, an app has 5 to 15 pages. But unfortunately, JavaScript apps have no mechanism to store and transmit data between the pages. One of the simplest ways to solve this problem is using one-page apps. These are apps that display the same page, which has changing content. This approach however causes lags in the app.

-Nevertheless this is a cross-platform tool, UI should be optimized for different platforms. But it’s much faster, than creating another native app from scratch;

As you can see, these drawbacks are not quite ‘drawbacks’ in their nature, but rather technical conditions of PhoneGap, which you should consider, like in a usual development process for any other platform.

Certainly, PhoneGap is not a “miracle cure” but can be a good way out if wisely used. And what are your thoughts on PhoneGap?

 

Anna Kozik

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

 

iOS7 has been the greatest change to Apple`s iOS almost since its introduction. And iOS 7 differs quite a lot from its previous version. It`s easier, brighter, bolder and flows better than its predecessors. It has not only the updated user interface but also it`s packed with a great deal of new features.Let`s take a look at iOS7 and compare its major changes to iOS6.

Lock screen: One of the nicest features of iOS 7 is parallax effect: when you move the phone, wallpaper appears to move as well. iOS 7 gets rid of the black bars and becomes lighter. At first this may seem unusual but you get used to it quickly and won`t move back to the old look and feel. Also iOS 7 has four swipeable bits: unlocking, Camera, swiping down from the top of the screen to see notifications, and swiping up from the bottom to bring up Control Center.

Control Center: iOS users have been waiting for it for agesJ now there is no need to jump through endless Settings screen. Control Center is the answer: it provides quick access to the most important key features: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Rotation Lock and Do Not Disturb. It also provides media playback controls, Airdrop file sharing, and quick access to the phone’s LED light and the Clock, Calculator and Camera apps.

Notification Center:  Last year iOS 6 introduced the Notification Centre – offering little gobbets of information from your email, or stocks, or Twitter, or games. It was pretty basic. Now it’s split into three elements – Today (a calendar and weather update), All (the things you used to find in the old Notifications) and Missed (appointments, calls). The calendar element is like Windows Phone, though more useful (you get a day view). You can decide what is visible in the lock screen – it won’t show all your notifications if you don’t want.

AirDrop: Thanks to AirDrop it became easier to share files from iOS devices. Now a “sharing” icon in an app lets you send your data to those willing to receive it. You choose AirDrop and you get a list of people in the vicinity. Press their icon, and it’s done. Nice, isn`t it?

If you don’t plan to use this feature in iOS 7 then turn it off to safe battery life.

Camera and Photos : Have also experienced great changes. Camera app now four kinds of shooting: video, photo, square (for Instagram-style shots) and Pano (for panoramas) and a number of pleasant new features.. As for Photos app, it`s became easier to search for photos as they are organized into collections. Your photos can be sorted by date or by location (when using GPS)

Safari/Search: It has also been updated: interface became simpler : it disappears completely when scrolling through pages, and the interface for switching tabs became more visual.

Mail: Mail application got some great new features: mail management became easier. There appeared gesture control for messages and smart mailboxes

Multitasking:  Now you can double-click the home button in iOS to get you to a number of recently used apps. What is more iOS 7  learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 every morning, your feed will be ready and waiting for you.

That was an overview of the main updates  that experienced iOS7. Many things have changed and many users that updated to iOS 7 say that they will never return to iOS 6 :)

And what about you: have you already updated to iOS 7 and can share your experience?

Interesting to know your thoughts.

Anna Kozik

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

WHY DO YOU NEED A MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
There is no secret to anyone that people are browsing the web more from their smartphones and tablets rather than from traditional computers. So having a mobile-friendly site for business nowadays is more important than ever. This is both a big problem and a big opportunity for businesses seeking to engage with new customers.

In the end of 2012, Google conducted an independent survey to learn what users want most from mobile sites today. And the numbers are striking! In fact mobile-friendly site can turn users into customers, according to a survey about 67 percent indicated they would be more likely to purchase a product or service from a business that built a mobile-friendly website. On the contrary not having a mobile-friendly site helps your competitors , for example, 61 percent of users indicated that they’d leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. Actually non-mobile friendly sites can hurt a company’s reputation: about 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company and 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business

HOW TO MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE
Just shrinking your text into the device’s screen won’t give good impression about your business to the customer. The development of your mobile site should be determined by the kinds of products and services your business provides.
There are several options how to optimize your website for mobile, free and paid, having their own pros and cons. Here are a few strategies how to make your site mobile friendly:

– Mobile Website Conversion Service

There is a number of services on the web, that will convert your existing website and provide a script that will direct mobile users to your newly created mobile site from the main website. Among these services are Duda Mobile, bMobilized, and Mobify

– Separate Native Mobile Site

Some businesses want to keep their desktop and mobile websites separate. By creating a mobile website, you maintain control: its design, maintenance, hosting, and security. A script will be added to the main website that will determine if the visitor is using a mobile device and if so, it will automatically direct the visitor to the mobile version.

– Responsive Design

Responsive design is becoming more and more popular. It allows having one website that will display correctly on all devices — desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It takes advantage of CSS “media queries” to style pages based on the width of the device being used. To determine if your website is responsive, just resize the browser window. If it adjusts — so that the images and text are readable with a narrower browser window — it’s responsive.

-Mobile Version from the Main Site

Some e-commerce providers are heading for mobile. For example, Magento has taken its way to mobile commerce! Magento Mobile introduces exciting Free of cost Magento Mobile extension which allows store owners to manage multiple native applications across various mobile devices from a single Magento interface and provides support for iPhone, iPad and Android base mobile devices. The beauty of Magento Mobile is that it integrates just seamlessly with your account management, product catalog and checkout functions and facilitates your users to experience the same functionality of web store on their mobile devices.

In this article I wanted to draw your attention to the importance of optimizing your website to mobile. Is having a mobile friendly website important for you?

Anna Kozik

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


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