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Posts Tagged ‘Open source

 


 
Go was created in 2007 at Google as an experimental project. It was designed to be a fun language and at the same time it is productive, practical, expressive and powerful. Google Go can be considered the result of a rather conservative language evolution from languages such as C and C++.

Node.js is an increasingly popular platform that is built on fast, JavaScript-based runtime: V8. V8 is a JS virtual machine created by Google that is designed to build scalable, networked applications. It compiles JavaScript code to native machine code, using some complex optimizations. V8 also does the memory allocation and garbage collection of JS objects.

Recently, there have been criticisms about the value of using Node.js in a high-performance, networked application environment, and some developers have moved to the Go language. Not only developers but also some well-known companies, such as Google, DropBox, Docker, DigitalOcean and more have picked up Go for some of their projects.

Certainly, Node.js is still used by a much wider audience, has more modules, is easier to use and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, Go is gaining more and more popularity. In this article we will take a look at the differences between Node.js and Go to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each environment.
 
Performance

Due to JS’s dynamically-typed nature Node cannot reach the raw performance of CPU or memory bound tasks that Go can achieve in many tests. Go is about 3 times faster and more lightweight than Node.js in a production environment. Not to say that Node.js is slow, it’s fast enough for most use cases, but when you do hit a limit, Go can still go a long way.
 
Concurrency

One of the language’s peculiarities is the presence of goroutines, functions that can be executed concurrently with one another.

These can be launched simply by using a keyword. Go runtime contains a scheduler that coordinates the execution of an arbitrary number of goroutines on an arbitrary number of system threads (the M:N model). In this way it is possible to carry out rapid context switches in order to take advantage of all CPU cores. So, in a hypothetical web application written in Go a single process will be able to continue serving requests even if one of these is trying to execute a blocked operation.

Node suffers from JavaScript’s less than elegant concurrency support using the event-callback mechanism. However, for a lot of applications working with JS promises and the coming async generator support (also called “semi-coroutines”) will suffice. Something like the Koa framework is already supporting the async generator approach in Node.
 
Ease of use

Node.js is a much simpler platform to use, especially if you are already a JS developer. For Go you will need to learn some new programming concepts, such as: coroutines, channels, strict typing (with compilation), interfaces, structs, pointers, and some other differences.
 
Ecosystem

Both platforms have pretty active and growing ecosystems, but as Node.js has been around much longer and certainly it has a broader community of users and more tools that make certain software projects a lot easier and/or cheaper to implement.

Go is a younger language, however, it dynamically develops: the number of standard Go packages is growing steadily, currently at over 100, and the Go community packages can be searched easily.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that there is no ideal language/framework/tool that could be used by everyone otherwise there would be only one programming language and there wouldn’t be such debates as Go vs Node.js:) Every language is tailored to be used for specific use cases. But we need to admit that there are some things Go performs better in, at the same time it lacks some characteristics that Node.js provides.

And what advantages and disadvantages of using Node.js and Go have you come across?

 

Anna Kozik

Business Development Manager

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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

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!

Ref: MICHAL DYMEL – DEVBLOG

 

Darya Bertosh

Darya Bertosh

Business Development Manager

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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

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.

 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

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.

go

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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

E-mail: Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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

Over the years dynamic languages such as Python and Ruby have become cherished by startups. As for .Net it is more rarely heard to be used by startups. That’s interesting indeed, because this platform is definitely bigger than most of the popular ones.

So I wonder why a platform as widely adopted and supported as .NET isn’t more visible in startup culture. Let’s try figuring out the main arguments in favor and against making .Net a startup technical choice.

1. Community culture

 Some people say the main reason is the culture of the .NET community itself, not anything specific to the platform. Being centered mostly around the needs of enterprise market .NET developers’ concerns are often regarding supporting legacy systems, building enterprise architectures, large systems for supporting business processes. This implies solving problems which are not so relevant for startups at least at their initial point.

As for members of the startup community, they fuss over different issues – concurrency, experience design, supporting multiple clients and browsers, etc.

As a result the startup community and the .NET community don’t overlap as much as they do for other technologies. That’s why startup founders don’t get much exposure to .Net and don’t think of it as an applicable tool for their purposes. The same way many .Net developers who want to work for hot startups don’t have as many opportunities to do so unless they abandon the platform for a more startup-friendly one or start a company themselves.

So platform doesn’t always dictate its use – that’s people who make the choice. Enterprise and startups aren’t mutually exclusive – they’re just different stages in the evolution of software, and there’s no reason why the startup community shouldn’t look at .NET as an attractive starting point for a new business.

2. Startup tech compatibility

A startup is a risky venture with no guarantee of success. So tech startups seek advantages in order to succeed. Hence startups take what big enterprises consider risky bets on technology. This objective can be achieved by using technology that is popular in startup environment.

Many features of .NET, facilitating the productivity of big companies, are not always useful to startups. There is too much choice of implementation methods. If anything, web startups are looking to have this choice taken away – their technology choices come from the subset that is built for the web.

Also it is said that innovation is quicker with other ecosystems which have a bigger set of libraries and tools. As for .Net there are a few open source projects however most of them are pretty much an implementation of concepts that have already been implemented for a while in the Java world, for example.

3. Open source vs proprietary

Although many startups don’t mind paying for tools and services, most of them still pick things based on cost. For a long time the “enterprise” level tools, services, databases, etc were hardly affordable by startups. That’s why startups adopt so much open source.

It’s also hard to justify the use of proprietary software from a business perspective. If you want to be acquired it is wise to develop your product using an open stack rather than Microsoft’s.

However luckily for many startups Microsoft saw a huge value in giving their stuff away to startups and startups have benefited greatly. Microsoft has been running their Bizspark program for several years, which eliminates most of the startup costs normally associated with employing a .NET framework. To get into the BizSpark program you just need to get checked by BizSpark team if your startup is eligible (developing a real product). Then you’ll get free licenses to basically every product they make, including SQL Server, and a free MSDN gold subscription, for 3 years. They figure 3 years is long enough for you to get going so after that they want you to pay for new licenses. The great part is that they let you keep the licenses you’re already using. So Microsoft has basically taken the cost factor completely out of the equation for new startups.

4. Velocity vs performance

Some people say that it’s all about the velocity. If you agree with an assumption that a startup goal is to find a niche vs build a product, then the goal of a startup is to learn about the market, customers, and product needs as quickly as possible. Python, Js, Ruby, etc allow you to iterate quickly without a lot of infrastructure and boilerplate. However a company that has already has a market has a little different goal, for them the objective is to build a stable product that they can maintain.

Some people say that .Net is not suitable for quick changes. This is a pretty outdated view of C# these days, it’s actually fairly easy to write extremely terse code with. As an added bonus refactoring is so incredibly easy compared to JS, Ruby, Python, etc. that it’s ideal for rapidly switching directions in code as you can refactor so fearlessly without being slowed down by massive amounts of tests. Unfortunately what’s bad about .Net is the tooling and the supporting ecosystem.

Python is much better suited to quick prototypes that can be fleshed out into a reasonably reliable product without too many headaches. The key difference comes when you have to change features mid-stream. The lack of strict typing and interfaces means you can add, change, and remove features much quicker than C# for example. On top of that, you just write fewer actual lines of code to get the same thing done, although sometimes readability can suffer if you get too concise. There is a price to be paid with Python and Ruby though and performance is the biggest one.

5. Team and project size

The team and project size always matters. So when the solution is being built with a small team, then it is easier to use something like Python. Obviously the goal is to be fast to develop in and have a bunch of libraries to be used. On the other hand when building something with a big team, you feel like using something like C#. In this case it keeps it safe to develop in and easy to catch mistakes. Any optional documentation provided by a developer is incomplete. On the contrary the quality level of the available .Net documentation is outstanding.

However if the company is starting as very small at the initial point, it hopefully grows and builds up quite a sizeable codebase by some point. Python, JS & Ruby are fine for small programs but anything more than that and they become their own enemies because the programs they make are quite brittle.

6. Scalability

The common opinion is that .Net scales well.So, if your startup does make it, you’ll probably have a much easier time scaling the .Net stack than you would with say Ruby or PHP.

Conclusion: it’s all about stereotyping

Eventually, I found different opinions on my question of .Net being not so popular with startups such as “platform lock-in,” “no open standards,” “licensing costs.” Sure, these are issues preventing many developers from adopting .NET in the startup space, but not enough to bar all of them from using it. Most of the arguments are just stereotypes that can be dispelled under closer examination.

All languages have strengths and weaknesses. For a startup, you need to do due-diligence and research what the right language to use for your idea will be because recoding in a different language can get costly.

So do you use .Net in your startup projects? Please share your feedback and experiences with us.
 

Aliona Kavalevich

Aliona Kavalevich
Aliona.Kavalevich@altabel.com
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Even if you only build websites using CMSs, you’ve probably heard the word “framework” before. You’ve probably also heard of a few famous web frameworks, including Ruby on Rails, Django and Bootstrap. Many experienced web developers build websites using frameworks and often find them easier and enjoyable to use.

In this article, we’re going to explain what a framework is, and when you might use a framework.

If you are currently doing one of the  Coding Training classes, this information will prove especially useful to you. If you are just using a CMS, this post will still contain some valuable insights, as many CMS systems can and are built using frameworks. For example, Drupal 8 is currently being built on Symfony and Joomla 3 is using the CSS framework Bootstrap.

What is Framework?

The goal of a framework is to allow designers and developers to focus on building the unique features for their project, rather than re-inventing the wheel by coding common, familiar features found across many websites and web applications.

A framework can be considered a pre-built that handles most of the repetitive or common features. As a result, unlike a CMS, a framework will probably not have a template/structure user interface (although this is not always the case, as Django provides an administration interface). Most of the activity will be done by writing code and interacting with different parts of the framework itself through code.

Often frameworks take a while to learn, but once you’re familiar with them, they should speed up your development time.

5 advantages to using a framework:

  1. Open-source: Most of the popular frameworks in many languages are open-source (or available to use for free). They also come with licensing that isn’t restrictive and allows you to build commercial products using such frameworks
  2. Documentation and support: Although this can vary (if the language being used is popular and the framework has a lot of developers using it), you can expect that the framework will either have good documentation, good support or both at the same time. It is worth mentioning that “good support” is a subjective issue at times. Typically, paid support will almost always be faster and more concise, but this also depends on the level of activity within the framework – as a framework like Ruby on Rails demonstrates with a massive community, which is renowned for its welcoming nature and good support too.
  3. Efficiency: This could be considered the most vital reason why frameworks exist. They eliminate the need to write a lot of repetitive code that you will find being used in many different applications. These include, for example, user-authentication and commenting systems. On average (if you have sufficient knowledge using a certain framework) you can expect to build a project in much less time than would be achieved writing code without a framework
  4. Security: Typically, a framework is developed and tested by many different developers. It is extremely likely that many security risks are addressed and tested when the framework is being built. New security risks can also be addressed and fixed quickly. However, security can also be considered a con, as will be mentioned in that section
  5. Integration: If you are building almost any type of application (including a website) and you want to store some data, you will typically use a database. Just like a database, there also exists many other tools that link to web development. Many frameworks will thus make it easier to link to these tools and also communicate with them (for example, when “talking to” a database is abstracted away in a certain framework, making communication with the database much easier)

5 disadvantages to using a framework:

  1. Limitations: Generally, you will not be able to do almost anything with a single framework. They are all restricted in some way, from coding paradigms to database designs and everything in between. A good way to work around this is to see what the framework is being used for by other developers in the community, as this will give you an idea of what you can achieve
  2. Performance: With the popularity of client-side JavaScript MVC frameworks like AngularJS, EmberJS and BackboneJS growing since 2012, performance can also be considered a factor. Although performance issues did exist before, they weren’t as relevant as today, where an entire application is loaded through JavaScript, using a framework as the tool for building that application. Whereas you might not feel the impact of loading a 75kb compressed-framework .js file on your PC (with high speeds), this .js file will definitely impact mobile users (who may have slower speeds on their smartphones or tablets)
  3. Learning bias: If you decide to learn how to use any framework from some programming language you are familiar with, chances are that what you learn will be somewhat different to the language itself. This is due to the fact that a lot of those repetitive tasks have been created in custom functions and other parts, which is why you will learn such things that may not have existed in the language lessons itself. Apart from that, you may also learn a lot of things that may be irrelevant to you whilst using the framework in real-life, but are necessary to grasp how the framework works
  4. Steep learning curve: Although this isn’t always the case, most frameworks can be difficult to learn and even more difficult to master. After some simple research into this matter, a university professor said that it will take about 2 years (with no programming background) to become familiar and comfortable using a language (Ruby) combined with a framework (Rails). This may not be the case when being self-taught or having years of programming experience, but I would say that even with experience, at least 3-6 months will be needed to become confident using any framework (based on continuous learning and practice)
  5. Cost: Frameworks require more development expertise and experience than most CMSs. As a result, it can be more costly to hire reliable framework developers than reliable CMS developers. As the experience shows, the average project built with a framework is more expensive than a similar project built with a CMS.

Examples of popular frameworks

Below are some popular web frameworks (in no particular order) for different web languages. This is not an extensive list, as there exists many more options out there.

PHP: 1.Yii; 2.CodeIgniter; 3.CakePHP; 4.Zend; 5.Symfony; 6. Laravel

Ruby: 1.Rails; 2.Sinatra; 3.Padrino;

Python: 1.Django; 2.Web2py; 3.TurboGears; 4.Flask

JavaScript: 1.AngularJS; 2.EmberJS; 3.BackboneJS;4.KnockoutJS

Design/CSS frameworks: 1.Bootstrap; 2.Foundation

Over to you?

Have you built any websites using a framework instead of a CMS?

What were the advantages and disadvantages of going with a framework?

Share your feedback or any other experiences below.

Polina Mikhan

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

If you follow our blog regularly you probably remember that my last post was dedicated to Sitecore CMS. This time I decided to represent for your review one more powerful at the same time arguable CMS – Magento. Magento as well as Sitecore CMS is meant to build big things but this time in the world of ecommerce: helps to create online stores.

As the field of ecommerce is tending to grow and develop continuously IT solutions try to meet the needs and offer the best solutions to make it extremely innovative, make the managing process easier for holders and of course attract as many customers as it is possible. There are many CMSs for this purpose like PrestaShop, OpenCart, osCommerce, phpShop, Spree, nopCommerce and others. The choice of CMS depends on what kind of eCommerce/business you intend to go on. You need to take into account such aspects as the size of your firm, whether you haveB2B, B2C or you’re retail, what management system you use or you will use ecommerce platform for that, connection of you websites with other sales channels, your programming skills: PHP, .NET, etc.

So as you may see there are many CMS available today, the choice depends on what type of business you have and type of software you use. Nevertheless, beyond the rich variety Magento is considered to be one of the front runners.

Almost all claims that Magento is rather complicated system as it is built on Zend framework; however has a lot positive aspects. Generally it is characterized as big, complicated and powerful CMS/platform that provide excellent and multiply options to grow you website.

Magento is also very serious CMS and there is no doubt that it is not for everybody. It is tool for professional rather than for amateur.

-It rather complicated to use and work on it for its coding style, so be prepared to spend/charge from your development team twice more hours than usual. Also if you’re not experienced in coding or working with this CMS we would offer to hire skillful developer/development team with proven past experience to help you with that. Based on our experience working with Magento you should be prepared that the development process could take much more time as you will need to learn all the curves that CMS has.

– Magento is extremely powerful offering a wide range of customization options. It is easy-editable gives an opportunity to improve the code regularly by making updates and fixing bugs. And what is important here is that code itself doesn’t require any changes!

– One more aspect is the rich variety of features that makes Magento so flexible. Let’s now review the key features of Magento:

  • International support – multiple languages and currencies, list of allowed countries for registration, purchasing and shipping, localization;
  • Site Management – control of multiple web sites, multiple languages.
  • Catalog Browsing – easy navigation, advanced product filtering system, product comparison.
  • Catalog Management – inventory management, batch import and export of products, different tax rates per location, additional product attributes.
  • Analytics and Reporting – integration with Google Analytics and offers different reports.
  • Payment – different payment methods: credit cards, PayPal, Authorize.net, Google Checkout, ePay, etc.
  • Marketing Promotions and Tools– coupons, discounts and different promotion options.
  • Encryption Key – security storage of the sensitive data in the script’s database.

 

It is also scalable and it grows with your business. That’s the point why it is mostly recommended for mid to large size vendors.

Additionally it should be said that Magento team offers 24/7 live support. Of course it is not super fast but at least it works and you never know when you will need immediate help. Moreover it has video tutorials, good knowledge base, webimars, user guides and support forum. As Magento has three versions the opportunities of each version differs: Community Edition (downloadable version, you will need to find hosting and security for your store), Magento Go (cloud based of hosted Magento CE, preferably for small retailers) and Enterprise one, the last is complete ecommerce solution, fully supported and it is not cheap. Here it should be noted about technical support: Community version has an access only to the forums that are not so active mainly because Magento is relatively new and don’t have yet many followers. So there is no guarantee that you get an advice you need.

And at last as Magento is open source CMS it is free and you don’t spend your money to download it. But you will need to invest if you want to have store live.

At the same time (there is always the other sideJ) there are gaps (that make this platform a bit vulnerable and look unfinished) that need to be improved too. We have a made a short list of them:

  • Slow – Many reports that the software is clunky and suffers from slow load times.
  • Expensive – Even it is open source and free it will end up costing you after you add up hosting, security, and developer fees.
  • No Customer Support – Magento CE users have no access to technical assistance with the exception of a forum.
  • Requires Coding Experience – it requires users to have technical skills and experience in order create and launch stores. It is not for amateurs or hobbyists.

Some more aspects to consider:

  • Confusing and hard to learn.
  • Difficult to implement templates.
  • Not much themes to choose.
  • Software updates don’t work always properly.

To use Magento or not?

In my opinion Magento is proved to take one of the leading positions and has potential to save it. It has many positive aspects and if your business is well developed and you have large list of items to put online, you need to consider Magento and invest money in it. But of course be prepared for serious work with all the curves if you don’t have much knowledge in programming or take care to choose the development team wisely. And certainly don’t forget about tech support, Magento CE don’t have it.

In case you still considering whether adopt Magento for your business or not, feel free to share your personal experience with us leaving your comments below or contact me directly if you need assistance with your ecommerce shop to discuss the details.

Thank you for your attention!

Katerina Bulavskaya

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

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


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