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Data collection and analytics have always been crucial to chief business managers’ capability of making right business decisions. But unlike past, databases now have data with high volume, velocity, and veracity. Going by a big data infographic contributed by Ben Walker of Voucher Cloud in 2015, around 2.5 quintillion Bytes of data is created every day. The amount is good enough to fill 10 million Blu-ray discs.


Given the gigantic amount of data existing in databases nowadays, data industry coined a new term for it - Big Data. Big Data is basically large volumes of information present in databases in structured, semi-structured and unstructured form.


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A lot of hype has already been created around big data as its analysis opens new avenues for business managers to boost sales by targeting or retargeting right customers. Big data analytics helps understand what customers want to buy and what they don’t like about your products or services. Therefore, you can figure out a quick fix and improve the brand value of your business. Besides, you can provide personalized experiences and add more numbers to the list of loyal customers.


However, an important point to note here is that making sense of big data is a very challenging task. That said, one needs to put into use an analytics tool to make sense of big data and turn it into significant business value. Let’s discuss 7 tools business managers can use to work with big data for successful analytics.

7 Tools for Big Data Analytics

#1 Hadoop

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Apache Hadoop is an open-source software framework that facilitates distributed processing of very large data sets across hundreds of inexpensive servers that operate in parallel. It’s been quite a time business have been using Hadoop to sort and analyze big data. Hadoop uses simple programming models to ensure distributed processing of large data sets and making them available on local machines.


Click here to learn more about Hadoop

#2 Storm

Storm, another product from Apache, is a real-time big data-processing system. Storm is also open source and can be utilized by both small and big businesses. It is fault tolerant and goes well with any programming language. Storm is capable of performing data processing even if any of the connected nodes in the cluster die or messages are lost. Other tasks that Storm can perform is distributed RPC and online machine learning. Storm is a good choice for big data analytics as it integrates with existing technologies, which makes processing of big data much easier.


Click here to learn more about Storm

#3 Hadoop MapReduce

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Hadoop MapReduce is a programming model and software framework for writing data processing apps. Originally developed by Google, MapReduce enables quick processing of vast amounts of data in parallel on large clusters of compute nodes.


The MapReduce framework has two types of key functions. First, the map function which separates out data to be processed, and second, the reduce function which performs data analysis. As MapReduce involves two stage processing, it’s believed that a large number of varied data analysis questions can also be answered with it.


Click here to learn more about MapReduce

#4 Cassandra

Apache Cassandra is highly scalable NoSQL database. It is capable of monitoring large sets of data spread across large clusters of commodity servers and the cloud. Cassandra was initially developed at Facebook out of a need for a database to power their Inbox Search. The big data tool is now widely used by many famous enterprises with large, active datasets, including Netflix, eBay, Twitter and Reddit.


Click here to learn more about Cassandra

#5 OpenRefine

OpenRefine (formerly GoogleRefine) is an open source powerful tool that is meant to work with messy data. The tool allows quick cleaning of huge sets of messy data. Then, it transforms the data into useable format for further analyses. Even non technical users can integrate OpenRefine into their data workflow at ease. OpenRefine also enables to create instantaneous links between datasets.


Click here to learn more about OpenRefine

#6 Rapidminer

Rapidminer is an open source tool that is capable of handling unstructured data, like text files, web traffic logs, and even images. The tool is basically a data science platform that relies on visual programming for operation. With Rapidminer comes functions that include manipulation, analysis, modeling, creation of models, and fast integration in business processes. Rapidminer has become popular among data scientists as it offers a full suite of tools to help make sense of data and convert it to valuable business insights.


Click here to learn more about Rapidminer

#7 MongoDB

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Image courtesy: devGeeK

MongoDB is an open source and widely used database for high performance, high availability, and easy scalability. It is classified as a NoSQL database. MongoDB’s distributed key value store, MapReduce calculation capability and document oriented NoSQL features make it a popular database for big data processing. MongoDB is well suited for programming languages like JavaScript, Ruby and Python. MongoDB is easy to install, configure, maintain and use.


Big data analytics has become the need of the hour for business managers to make smarter business moves and yield higher profits. However, without a big data analytics tool, it’s very difficult to uncover hidden patterns, correlations and other insights to get a competitive advantage and take your business to new heights. With this, I am wrapping up this blog, hoping it helps you choose a big data analytics tool that suits your business the best.

Do you have a firsthand experience of using any big data analytics tool? Or, do you want to add more to what’s already being discussed above? As always, your views are vital for all our readers, please add them in the comment box below.

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There is no denying the fact that planning and estimation play a big role in the success of any project. While Agile methodologies continue to reign the IT world, the ordinary style of planning and estimation has declined to a big extent. That said, I am shedding light on how project managers can plan and estimate in Agile project management to make it a success.


Click here to learn why Agile Project Management is better than Traditional Project Management Approach.

Let’s Begin with Agile Planning

Due to the fluid nature of Agile, some project managers may think that there is no planning required in Agile project management. However, an important point to note here is that Agile project management entails specific kind of planning to handle the dynamic nature of Agile environment.


Since there are different Agile methodologies, like Scrum, Lean and Kanban, a lot of shared ideas exist on Agile planning. Here I am discussing the ones shared by most of the agile methodologies.


Click here to learn about key project management methodologies: PRINCE2, NPI, RAD, Scrum and Waterfall.


Agile Planning Life Cycle

Agile planning life cycle may not make sense to some project managers initially, since it has short, repetitive and flexible nature. It may also appear as if the Agile planning life cycle begins from where the planning for traditional (non-agile) projects ends. However, all these beliefs are attributable to lack of understanding of Agile concepts. Let’s understand how.


If you gather all the information before your development team even starts writing the code, you are highly likely to put a whammy on your end product by missing out on current market demands. This is what Agile does not not allow to happen.


The basis of Agile is simple: It’s not possible to determine all the tasks to complete a software project in the very beginning. Since the plan, the requirements and the architecture of a project have gradual emergence, Agile allows to make important iterations during the development lifecycle itself. The end product, as a result, not only pleases the client, but also meets current market demands.


Five Key Areas Agile Planning is Based On:

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Image source: blogspot.in


1. Product Vision Planning: This level of planning is meant to look into the future of the product and create the macro image of the product’s world. Product vision planning helps in understanding the priorities and their estimations.


2. Product Roadmap Planning: Now that the idea of how the product would look like is clear, the next step is to divide the product’s world into distinct buildings. These distinct buildings are used to estimate the releases with respect to the general functionalities and time needed.


3. Release Planning: This level of planning calls for determining how each building will appear.


4. Iteration Planning: Now comes planning for the floors required for each building and how each floor will appear from inside. For example, the kitchen, bathroom, etc. The benefit of iteration planning is that it helps assign the floors to different teams based on their abilities and experience.


5. Daily Commitment Planning: Simply telling your team the part of the floor they have to build is not enough. You are also required to give them explicit directions on how to build the assigned rooms, like constructing the walls, windows, doors, etc. As a result, you can make right expectations and accurate projections.

Now Comes the Estimation Part

  • Expert Advice: One of the best ways to make estimations is to ask people with previous experience on the assigned tasks.

  • Comparison: Conducting analogies between known and unknown tasks enables to find a relative scale for estimation.

  • Divided Tasks: Estimations are more likely to prove accurate when tasks are broken into smaller ones.


However, it’s important to understand that estimations are subject to change. Therefore, you must have real data with you, for which you need to create the minimum viable product. Doing so, you can see how close your projections are to reality. Besides, you need to keep making improvements in your products to make your projections realistic. After you begin getting results, you can figure out if the projections are valid or you need to make changes in them.


Agile planning and estimation enables faster completion of a project, but without making any compromise on quality. As project managers often witness rapid changes in market demands, a proper planning and estimation is must to save the end-product from up having loose ends. This is the reason why Agile methodologies continue to soar in popularity. I hope the insight I offered through this blog into Agile planning and estimation would help you make a better decision on project management.


Have you ever taken up an Agile project or been a part of Agile estimation and planning team before? Do you want to add more to Agile planning and estimation? Please put your views in the comment box below.

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Many developers use JavaScript, an object-oriented computer programming language, to create interactive effects within web browsers. The inclination towards using JavaScript increased even more after Node.js made entry in the tech market. For a simple reason, Node.js allowed server-side implementation of JavaScript, which was not possible earlier. In this blog, I am shedding light on MeteorJS, which is an open-source JavaScript web framework written using Node.js.


MeteorJS is a full-stack, MVC-style JavaScript framework for building websites and web/mobile applications. MeteorJS comes for free as it’s open source. As the name suggests, MeteorJS allows faster development of iOS, Android, and web applications by using JavaScript on the front and backend.

Key Features of MeteorJS

1. Offers a Full Stack Solution

MeteorJS is FULL STACK, thus offers numerous integrations, support and features right out of the box. The compatible parts of the stack come assembled in Meteor. Besides, every layer of its stack is powered by a default technology. However, if one is willing to go for alternatives, MeteorJS allows them to do so as well. For example, if Meteor’s default front-end framework Blaze is not a fit for your project, you can use React or Angular.js in its stead.


Meteor’s fully integrated stack up front lets developers expedite the development process. Also, several built-in features of MeteorJS facilitate the access to frontend libraries, Node.js based server and a command line tool.


An important point to note here is that ECMAScript 2015 is the official JavaScript of the Meteor platform and every new Meteor project now uses it by default.

2. Allows to Use a Single Language

MeteorJS simplifies the development process as requires the knowledge of only one language, i.e. JavaScript, for frontend, backend and database. Therefore, the framework removes the complexity of context switching between server language and JavaScript that requires installation and configuration of different libraries, module managers, APIs, drivers and more.

3. Real-Time Applications for both Desktop and Mobile


MeteorJS enables development of real-time applications right from setup to development to deployment. MeteorJS uses Distributed Data Protocol (or DDP) for querying and updating a server-side database. It also synchronizes such updates among clients.


The best part is that MeteorJS apps react to changes without the need of page refreshes or specific callback logic. So, whenever changes are made in the database that concern UI elements, they get reflected on your app’s UI in real-time.

4. Database Integration

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Image source: dandascalescu.com

MeteorJS supports MongoDB database along with Minimongo, which is a front-end representation of MongoDB. MeteorJS refreshes the data in the UI by replicating a subset of the MongoDB database as a local “Minimongo” subset. Besides, Meteor’s Mongo API allows faster reloading of pages and easier implementation of updates.

5. Allows to Build Cross-Platform Apps


Meteor’s integration with Apache Cordova allows developers to build cross-platform apps that look and function similar to native apps. Cordova is a platform for building cross-platform apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In contrast to native apps, cross-platform apps require only one codebase for separate operating systems or devices, which saves a lot of time and cost for businesses.

6. Custom Package Manager

NPM modules are compatible with MeteorJS. However, developers can also use Meteor’s own custom package manager, called Atmosphere, which holds more than 10,000 packages.


With Meteor’s built-in package, developers can handle pre-processing and custom user authentication for Email, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. Meteor also has packages that support popular frameworks like Backbone.js, Bootstrap and jQuery.

Some of the popular apps that are built using MeteorJS are as follows:


One of the seven principles of Meteor is "Simplicity equals productivity." MeteorJS is simple to learn, given it doesn’t require developers to rely on multiple languages. Any developer who has used JavaScript before will find MeteorJS easy to learn. Also, MeteorJS has a large active and supportive community. The Meteor Development Group (MDG) makes dedicated effort towards keeping Meteor updated and working well.


However, like every framework, MeteorJS has shortcomings too, like it only integrates with the MongoDB database. So, a developer who wants to use MySQL for their project will not be able to do so with Meteor as it does not support SQL databases as of now. However, there are 3rd party packages that integrate MySQL reactively with Meteor to some extent. For example, developers can use numtel:pg for reactive PostgreSQL support.


Do you think MeteorJS has the potential to become an ideal JavaScript development platform? Would you like to consider MeteorJS for your next web app or mobile app project? Please share your views in the comment box below.


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React Native, a JavaScript framework and product of Facebook, is widely used by developers to build quality, native and powerful mobile applications for iOS and Android. The framework quickly rose to fame after Facebook open sourced it in 2015.

As React Native has become the current trend for building cutting-edge mobile apps, many developers want to get insight into the best code editors that are currently available for the framework. That said, I am bringing to light the best 7 code editors you can use for React Native to create immaculate mobile apps. However, developers must understand that the word “Best” may vary as per their specific requirements.

Click here to know “7 Major Reasons Behind Skyrocketing Popularity of React Native”.

Top 7 Editors For React Native Mobile App Development

1. Nuclide

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Image source: Nuclide

Nuclide has been crowned as one of the best IDEs for developing React Native applications. Nuclide comes with built-in support for React native framework and offers great support to JavaScript. Facebook brought Nuclide into existence with the motive to simplify mobile app development and transcend the limitations of other IDEs like AppCode and Eclipse.

Nuclide also offers all features of Flow, like Autocomplete, Code Diagnostics, etc, which is a big plus for developers who have to deal with React Native apps that are primarily written in Flow.

Key Features of Nuclide

  • Remote development

  • Debugging

  • Flow Support

  • Mercurial Support

  • Hack Language Support

Click here to learn more about Nuclide

2. Atom

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Image source: Linuxslaves

Atom, an open source editor for OS X, Linux, and Windows, is a brilliant text editor for almost all technologies. Since Atom has a very large community, a lot of plugins and enhancements are available for developers to build top-notch React Native apps.

With Atom, it’s easy to hack the core and write packages, thanks to JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.

Key Features of Atom

  • Built-in package manager

  • Allows cross-platform editing

  • Autocompletion

  • Multiple panes

  • File system browser

  • Find and replace

Click here to learn more about Atom

3. Sublime Text

Going by Stackoverflow's 2016 developer survey, Sublime Text is the 3rd most popular Development Environment. Sublime offers a lot of packages and themes, much similar to Atom. Sublime Text came into existence almost a decade ago, hence a lot of iterations has been made into it so far, which means it has become a seasoned player in the tech market.

Key Features of Sublime Text

  • Split editing

  • Goto Anything

  • Command Palette

  • Distraction Free Mode

  • Multiple Selections

  • Instant Project Switch

  • Customize Anything

  • Cross Platform

Click here to learn more about Sublime Text

4. Visual Studio Code

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Image source: YouTube

Visual Studio Code is a powerful and flexible cross-platform editor. Though Visual Studio Code is a new editor as it was released last year (April 2015), it has already gained a lot of traction among developers.

Key Features of Visual Studio Code

  • Extensible and customizable

  • Git commands built-in

  • Code debugging right from the editor

Click here to learn more about extensions

Click here to learn more about Visual Studio Code

5. Vim Editor

Vim Editor is open source and allows developers to create and change any kind of text at ease. The plugins available for Vim Editor are as follows:

  • vim-jsx - Syntax highlighting and indenting for JSX.

  • vim-react-snippets - A set of snippets for Vim to work with Facebook's React library.

  • vim-babel - A set of snippets for Vim to work with Facebook's React library.

Key Features of Vim Editor

  • Extensive plugin system

  • Integrates with many tools

  • Supports numerous programming languages and file formats

  • Persistent, multi-level undo tree

  • Extensive plugin system

  • Powerful search and replace

Click here to learn more about Vim Editor

6. Spacemacs Editor

Spacemacs is an open source Emacs distribution. Spacemacs is simple for users who have used Vim before. You can also mix Vim and Emacs style in the same time. Since Spacemacs is based on layers, you get additional functionalities with it.

Key Features of Spacemacs Editor

  • Command line editor

  • Highly customizable

  • Great documentation

  • Mnemonic prefixes allows to properly organize key bindings

  • Simple query system allows to find available layers, packages, et. in no time

  • Community-driven configuration

  • Similar functionalities have the same key binding everywhere


Click here to learn more about Spacemacs Editor

7. GNU Emacs Editor

GNU Emacs Editor comes free under GPL license. It has earned the epithet, "the most powerful text editor available today." Emacs Editor is extensible, customizable, self documenting real-time display editor.

Key Features of Emacs

  • Content-aware editing modes

  • Complete built-in documentation, including a tutorial for new users

  • Full Unicode support for nearly all human scripts

  • Highly customizable, using Emacs Lisp code or a graphical interface.

  • An entire ecosystem of functionality beyond text editing, including a project planner, mail and news reader, debugger interface, calendar, and more

  • A packaging system for downloading and installing extensions

Click here to learn more about Emacs

These 7 code editors enable developers to create quality React Native mobile apps at utmost ease. However, as I said in the very beginning that the word “best” may vary as per specific requirements of projects, some developers may find other editors better than the ones discussed above.

Have you ever used a text editor for React Native before? Do you really think the aforementioned editors deserve to be in the list of top 7 editors for React Native. Please share your views in the comment box below.

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Python developers have a big pool of frameworks to choose from for their web projects. However, Django, without a shred of doubt, has become the most popular web framework among Python developers world over. Through this blog, I am throwing light on why Python developers prefer Django to other popular Python web frameworks, such as Flask, Pyramid, Tornado, Bottle, Diesel, Pecan, Falcon, and many more.


Before jumping on to the virtues of Django, let’s understand in brief what a web framework is


A web framework is a code library that makes it easier for developers to build dynamic websites, web applications and web services. It’s a known fact that every site has a common set of functionality (like handling sessions, data validation, etc) that you need to re-write each time you create a website. This makes the task mundane and tedious. However, using a web framework ends your plight of re-writing common set of functionalities each time you create a website, resulting in faster development. In a nutshell, web frameworks ease web development life.


If you want to dive deep into web frameworks and their benefits, click here.

Why Django is the Best Web Framework for Python Developers

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Django is a high-level, MVC-style, open-source collection of libraries written in Python. Django, also called “the framework for perfectionists with deadlines," was originally designed for news sites as it allows developers to write database-driven web applications without having to start coding from scratch.


Besides faster completion of common web development tasks, Django helps keep the design clean and pragmatic. Django is the best place for new Python web developers as the official documentation and tutorials are some of the best in software development.


The tech market is flooded with a gamut of web frameworks, but Django sits nicely at the top when it comes to the most popular server-side web frameworks. The motto behind designing Django was simple: Don’t repeat yourself. Django is written in Python, therefore emphasizes efficiency improvement by minimizing the hassle of writing too much code. Cloud platform support makes Django even a more popular choice for web development.

Key Features of Django

  • Django Comes with “Batteries-Included”


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Image Courtesy: SlideShare


That Django is based on ”batteries-included” philosophy, you need not to use separate libraries to implement common functionalities, like authentication, URL routing, a templating system, an object-relational mapper (ORM), and database schema migrations. If you are using or have used Flask, you must have noticed that it calls for a separate library like Flask-Login to perform user authentication. Such is not the case with Django.

  • Free API


With Django, it’s easy to generate a Python API based on your models. No additional coding required as a simple command is good enough to begin generating APIs.


  • Unique Admin Interface

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Image Courtesy: Django documentation


You can have information on your site from outside contributors even before the site is completely built. Such is the power of Django. The framework empowers you to quickly and easily generate an administration site straight from an application's models.


  • Code Layout


In contrast to most web frameworks, Django makes it easier to plug new capabilities in your product by using things called applications. As a result, developers feel encouraged to write code that is self contained.


  • Django’s ORM Takes Care of Databases

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Image Courtesy: Full Stack Python


Django’s Object Relational Mapper (ORM) takes care of databases. So, no hassles of dealing with the Structured Query Language (SQL), which is mostly used to query the database for the data needed. Unlike many other Python frameworks that directly work on the database via SQL, Django developers have a unique option to manipulate the corresponding Python model object. Django works out-of-the-box with relational database management systems like PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, and Oracle.


Click here to learn the basics of data management with Django and its ORM.


  • Robust Built-in Template System


Based on the inheritance system, Django’s templates allow developers to build entire, dynamic websites out of a very small amount of front-end code. Thanks to the option to replace certain elements of templates with other, context specific elements. Imagine a situation where you know that every page of your site is going to have a header and a footer. Now, you first need to write the code in the site’s base template. And then, you can alter the components between those two things dynamically, from other parts of the application.


  • Simple, Readable URLs


It’s difficult to properly read URLs developed in PHP os ASP. With Django, you can create simple and easy-to-read URLs, which is good for both human beings and search engines. You can create readable URLs with other frameworks too, but none is as easy as Django is for URL construction.


  • Enables Quick and Easy Creation of RSS and Atom feeds


With Django, you can quickly and easily create RSS and Atom feeds by creating a simple Python class.

  • Automatically Creates Tables in Database


If there is a table missing in your database, you can automatically create it by executing the migrate command in Django.



  • Easy Database Migrations


One of the most useful features of Django is database migrations. With Django’s migrations, you can change a database schema in quick time. It’s also easy to track your database schema and its associated changes. Migration names help in managing version control, and a plethora of options are available to merge versions and make modifications.


  • Security


Django is highly secured. The framework comes with default protection against XSS attacks, CSRF attacks, SQL injections, clickjacking, user management, cookies, email header injection, cryptography, directory traversal etc.



Django has a very dynamic community, with 80,000 StackOverflow issues and numerous blogs from the developers and power users. Some popular websites that use Django are Bitbucket, Pinterest, Instagram, and The Onion. Django continues to soar in popularity and is likely to remain the most popular choice of Python developers.


PHP vs Ruby vs Python: Which Language is the Best for Your Career and Prospects

 

Have you used Django for a project before? Do you really think that Django is the best framework for Python developers? As always, your views are vital for all our readers, please share them in the comment box below.

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Read this blog to get insight into why app developers worldwide are flocking to React Native despite several JavaScript frameworks already existing in the tech market.


It’s no secret that Facebook’s React Native has become a popular trend for building quality, native and powerful mobile applications for iOS and Android. React Native, a Javascript framework, is based on React, which is Facebook’s JavaScript library for building user interfaces for web. React Native has already gained a lot of traction for making it possible to build mobile apps that emulate the performance of native apps. The social media giant open-sourced it in March 2015, and there has been no looking back since then.

7 Factors behind Skyrocketing Popularity of React Native

React Native Covers Two Major Ecosystems


You will agree that developing native apps for two different platforms is a painstaking and tedious task. The fact of the matter is that iOS and Android are two entirely different ecosystems, therefore developing native apps for them is seen as the bane of developers.


In case of iOS app, you need to have a sound knowledge of Swift or Objective-C and Cocoa Touch. Android app development, on the other hand, requires learning of Java and the Android SDK. Apart from that, you need to bear the pain of staying updated with the latest features these two major ecosystems offer time and again. But, it's often said that no problem lasts forever with technology.

How React Native Changes the Game


React Native allows app developers to use the same code for building apps for different platforms. Thus, gets the major drawback covered. Nothing could be better for developers than being able to build apps for cross platforms by learning and using only one set of tools.

Allows to Reuse the Code that is Already Written


Being able to reuse the code that is already written is a big thing in software development. And, React Native brings you that exact ability. Here, I don’t intend to say that React Native is "write once and use every platform". You need to write some fresh code to build a UI that looks and feel native for individual platforms as per their best practices and standards. But the best part is that you can always use some common UI code on both platforms. The advantages are as follows:


  • Better efficiency

  • Allows to use human resources in much better way

  • Reduces time to write code

  • Less code to maintain

  • Brings down bug issues

Offers Compatibility with Third Party Plugins


React Native empowers you to integrate third party apps in your app. In simple words, the framework lets you to incorporate the functionality of other native apps of the device in React Native and vice versa. For example, you want to add Google Maps’ functionality to your app. Simply download a third-party plugin offered by React Native and link it to a native module. Well, that’s all! Your app can now use the device’s functions like zoom, rotate, and the compass, without any hassles.


APP UI becomes More Predictable and Easier to Understand


Declarative API in React Native replaces an imperative one, making it easier for users to predict and understand your app UI. An application with different states requires you to monitor all changes in UI and keep on modifying them from time time. But it’s not as easy as it may sound, especially when your application starts growing. It’s called imperative programming in the software world.


However, React Native’s declarative APIs give your worry a ride to the moon, requiring you to only care about the current state of your UI. There’s no burden of keeping a track of states of the older ones either.


Click here to learn the distinction between Declarative and Imperative programming.

Reloading Was Never So Simple


As a matter of fact, developers conduct testing of changes after some code is written. There’s nothing wrong in that, but it requires compilation and installation in either a simulator or a real device. But not with React Native; it rids the need of recompilation of the app every time a change has been made. All that’s required to see changes in the code is to refresh the app in the simulator, emulator, or device. You can also use an amazing feature “Live Reload”, which automatically performs refresh task soon after detecting a change in the code.


React Native is UI-Focussed


Unlike AngularJs and MeteroJS, React Native is more focussed on User Interface (UI). As a result, React Native apps sport a highly responsive interface. Besdies, Javascript interactions between React Native and the Native environment of the device reduce load times and give a smoother feel of your app.

It’s Open Source!


We all know that open source projects often comprise of a large community of contributors, who help in making the project better and better. Likewise, React Native has a very large community of developers working constantly towards feature improvement, bug fixing and helping people to use it at ease. If you are looking forward to build something that is common in mobile apps, there is always a high possibility that it has already been built by React Native members.


I don’t want to overplay the importance of React Native in development of cross platform apps. Like other frameworks, React Native has drawbacks too. Nevertheless, the project is still new and efforts are being continuously made to make React Native the best solution for mobile app development for multiple platforms.


What do you think about Native React? Do you agree about the virtues I have mentioned above about React Native? How React Native can change the app development landscape?


Please share your views in the comment box below.

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Google-parent Alphabet Inc has launched a new smart-messaging app for Android and iOS on September 21, a month after it launched its video chat app Google Duo. What makes Allo standout on messaging app market is AI-integration. That said, Allo is set to give Facebook Inc's WhatsApp and Messenger a tough run for their money. Let’s dive into Allo’s exciting features that can change the way how you conversate with your friends.


Why You Must Download Google’s Intelligent Messaging App “Allo”?


Allo will leave you awestruck, mainly because of its two unique features - Google Assistant and Smart Reply. I am taking them one by one.


Google Assistant


Google Assistant will make you feel as if you chatting with Google Search and Google Now in one. There are two ways you can use Google Assistant    One-on-one chat and within your conversations. Google Assistant comes as first contact when you launch Allo for the first time in your smartphone. You can either ask the Assistant questions directly or bring it in during any conversation by just typing @google in the message line.

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Imagine that you live in San Diego and you have Allo installed in your phone. You started chatting with a friend of yours via Allo, and your friend asks you to watch a movie with him/her. You have no problem in watching the movie with your friend, but you have no idea which movie to go for since you don’t know the movies currently being showcased in your area.


Don’t worry! Here comes Allo to your rescue, simply type in the message line @google show movies and timings in San Diego. And Google Assistant acts in a swift manner to present you the list of movies currently being showed in San Diego. The best part is you get answers to your question without even leaving the chat.


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Image source: bgr.com


Likewise, you can access other forms of information, like Google Search, Images and YouTube results. You can also use Google Assistant even if you are not chatting with anyone to search for restaurants, sports scores, flight status, weather, and many more.


However, Google says that Google Assistant is not complete as of now, and is currently in “preview edition’. Google is asking people to submit their real-time feedback with conversations, to make further advancements in Google Assistant. Let’s now move on to another great feature of Allo: Smart Reply.


Smart Reply



Image source: android.wonderhowto.com


Smart Reply is built on the premise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The feature is about machine learning. The app learns from your texting habits and suggests you quick replies. The feature suggests basic responses once it learns your reply patterns. The best part is that its suggestions vary with people you are chatting with. In simple words, its suggestions would be based on whether you're chatting with your girlfriend or your boss. Google will store your chat data in its servers to make the best out of it for you.


For instance, your friend sends you a photo of their pet. Now, Smart Reply will show you suggestions, like “Aww cute” or something you generally use to express nice feelings in chat conversations.


Apart from these two wonderful features, Allo brings you a few more interesting things. Let’s talk about them as well.


Incognito Chat


Google’s Allo also enables you to chat in Incognito mode. Any message you send in Incognito mode will have end-to-end encryption, discreet notifications. They will not show up on your lock screen. Also, you get the option to set a time how long these messages will last. Once you set the expiration time, the chat history will be removed after reaching that time.


Tight security is the best advantage of Incognito mode, but unfortunately, you cannot use Google Assistant with Incognito mode on. For a simple reason, such features require context and tracking of what you type.


Photos, Emojis and Stickers



Image Source: venturebeat.com



No messaging app is complete without non-text options. Having known that, Google brings a plethora of non-text options in Allo. But what will make you jump in excitement is the ability to enlarge or shrink emojis and text by simply dragging the send button up or down. Besides, Allo allows you to write on photos before you send them to your friends and loved ones.In contrast to WhatsApp that allows to send maximum 10 photos at one time, Allo allows you to send 20 photos at one time.


If you want to use Allo to send a message to a non-Allo user, you can do that. The message will be visible to your non-Allo friend in notifications. The message will also have a link to download Allo. Nick Fox, Google's VP of Communications Products, says that Allo is a mobile-only app, which is the current focus of Google.


Both Duo and Allo were unveiled during Google’s I/O 2016 developer conference in May. The much-anticipated launch of Allo happened a month after the launch of Duo since development work started on the latter first.


Another good news is that Allo comes ad free, meaning it won’t cause any disturbance while you are chatting with your friends or having a standalone conversation with Google Assistant. Neither it will use anything from yor conversations for the kind of data it uses to power ads.


The app has everything to make you addict, but how much traction it gets still remains to be seen. But, one thing is sure, Google has tried something that could actually revolutionize chat apps. What are your views about Allo? Do you think Allo is worth download? What extra feature could make Allo even better?


Please share your views in the comment box below.

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Image source: clavax.blogspot.com


Read this blog to know about 5 best cross platform mobile app development tools. But before we go ahead with that, let’s understand why we need a mobile app in the first place. And then, why particularly cross platform mobile apps.



Since more and more people are now preferring smartphones over PCs to access the Internet, having only a website to grow your business is no longer enough. However, building a native app for each mobile platform is very time consuming and expensive. Besides, you need to write separate source codes for individual mobile platforms. And, you can actually use a very little of the code that’s already been written.


So, developers now think that it’s a good idea to go for cross platform mobile app development. For simple reasons, it makes your mobile app compatible with multiple mobile operating systems and enables to reuse the code that’s already been written. Besides, it involves low maintenance cost since you need not to offer support for multiple mobile platforms.


Click here to learn the distinction between cross platform mobile apps, native apps and hybrid apps.

Now that we know about the virtues of cross platform mobile app development, it’s paramount you know about the most effective and easy-to-use cross platform mobile app development tools. So, let’s move on to the most important part of this blog.

5 Best Cross Platform Mobile App Development Tools


#PhoneGap


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Image source: www.apps24x7.com


The reason why PhoneGap, aka Apache Cordova, has gained immense popularity among developers is the ease of building cross platform mobile apps. No extra skills are required, your own development team is well capable of using it. This framework involves the use of standard web technologies such as HTML5, Java and CSS3 for building a cross platform mobile app.


Key Features of PhoneGap are as Follows:


  • Easy to use and comes packed with many libraries

  • Apps work uniformly well on multiple platforms

  • Robust backend system increases the speed of app development

  • Offers support for various application programming interfaces

  • Since PhoneGap is open source, it comes for free

  • PhoneGap based apps are easy to manage

  • PhoneGap apps sport top-notch UI and enable seamless navigation

  • Easy distribution and installation


#Sencha


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Image source: appstedltd.tumblr.com


Sencha, a tool to develop cross platform mobile apps in HTML5, is known as a time saving tool in the mobile app development industry. It also gives rise to high productivity. Besides, Sencha allows access to Sencha Architect, Sencha IDE Plugins and few others to further ease the process of cross platform app development. However, Sencha Ext JS 6 continues to enjoy the most widespread usage.


Once you make the HTML code ready using Sencha, the next step is to convert it to both Android and iOS. For conversion into Android and iOS, you can use a translational tool like PhoneGap.


#Xamarin


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Image source: plus.google.com


Xamarin is a brilliant tool to use for building apps for iOS, Windows and Android smartphones. Xamarin requires developers to use the C# programming language to develop robust cross platform mobile apps. The language runs on the .NET Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). Xamarin is popularly regarded as “write once, run anywhere” tool.


Native API access and sharing code compatibility add to the effectiveness of Xamarin. Xamarin has recently partnered with IBM, Xoriant and Microsoft. Xamarin 2, which entered the tech market last year, is one of the most used cross platform app development tools.


#Unity3D


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Image source: thinkapps.com


Unity 3D is a very popular tool for developing 3D games. Unity supports three programming languages: C#, JavaScript and Boo. You can also go for millions of ready-made assets in the Asset Store and an online community. You add awe-inspiring graphics to your game using Unity3D. Besides, the game engine significantly reduces both development time and cost.


Unity 3D offers a single integrated development environment for all platforms. Developers can easily learn how to use Unity3D through numerous video tutorials offered by the company.

#Cocos2d

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Image source: android.app-liv.jp


Cocos2d is also a popular tool for gaming apps and other interactive programs. However, unlike Unity 3D which can be used for both 2D and 3D game development, Cocos2d allows development of only 2D games. Developers can use any language among C++, Javascript, C#, Xcode & Objective C, and Python, to develop a 2D game using Cocos2d.



Cocos is open source, therefore does not cost anything. With Cocos2d, you can build games for multiple mobile platforms using the same code base and making a few platform-specific adaptations for each one.



Cross platform mobile app development is becoming popular due to low cost, high productivity and no headache of maintaining mobile apps for multiple platforms. Though, cross platform apps do not completely eliminate native apps. Performance of native apps is better than cross platform mobile apps as they are specifically made for individual mobile operating systems.


What’s your view on cross platform mobile app development? Anything you think I missed on popular cross platform mobile app development tool? As always, your views are vital for us, please share them in the comment box below.

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HTML5/CSS3 Website Templates have become so popular that many designers now can’t think of creating a website without using them. The reason behind skyrocketing popularity of HTML5/CSS3 Website Templates is their efficacy at providing several essential website development features in one package. Now that we are almost in the final quarter of the year, I am presenting you top 7 HTML5/CSS3 Website templates that have ruled the web-development arena so far this year.

Let’s Begin!

Pivot

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Image source: www.feedtip.com


Pivot, a multi-purpose block-based template built on Bootstrap, covers all your business niche. Pivot is best used for education, business, portfolio, agency and resume web applications. In the era of multiple devices and screen sizes, Pivot gives your website the flexibility to work on all ⎼ be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC.


With Pivot, you can make your website amazingly responsive. It comes with powerful, intuitive, and flexible theme, packed with 70+ content blocks and multiple page headers. The amazing Variant page builder makes Pivot stand out. If you are looking forward to launch a new app landing page or product, let me assure you that Pivot is the best deal out there in the market.


Many Pivot users say that page builder significantly reduces the span of development time. It allows you to try different layouts in quick time and enjoy customization at utmost ease.

Some of amazing features of Pivot are as follows:


  • 14 colour schemes

  • Coming soon page

  • Login page template

  • 404 & 500 error pages

  • Instagram feeds

  • Twitter feeds

  • Complete LESS files

  • Mailchimp & Campaign Monitor integration


Pages

Image source: colorlib.com

 

Pages comes with endless possibilities for your website. It’s an adaptive multi-purpose HTML5 web template, which offers a plethora of practical features. Besides, it allows your site’s capabilities to expand way beyond what you might have ever thought of. Pages sports 20 distinct web designs and over 70 pre-designed blocks for page customization.


Floating elements cause parallax effects to give your site a modern feel. Besides, an immersive page slider improves the satisfaction of browsing for your site visitors. Pages makes your site highly responsive and workable on all devices, regardless of their sizes.


Click here to know about new HTML templates released in January 2016

 

Massive

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Image source: webdesignshare.com


Want to create a website that best fits your personality? Go for Massive. It offers 260 unique pages and over 50 variations for your home page. Although it’s a gigantic tool kit, it’s far from being complex and difficult to use. Whatever your business niche is, Massive gets you covered, including General, Corporate, Creative, Portfolio, photography, Agency, Magazine, Restaurant, Hotel, Spa, Renovation, Fashion, E-commerce, Blog , Parallax, App Landing and Event category. Massive has all the building blocks you need to create a beautiful site, and that too in no time.


If you want to create a portfolio, Massive offers you 85 gorgeous portfolio page options. That apart, you get 900 custom line icons, 150 shortcodes, 15 pre-designed sliders, and 20 menu variations. To make Massive even better, 70 layered PSD and 27 PSD mockup files were made available during recent updates. 

Intense

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Image source: healthy-websites.com


Intense, a product of TemplateMonster, is a fully responsive multipurpose HTML template. If you are planning to launch a personal blog, eCommerce store or a company website, Intense should be among your top choices. And I will tell you “why”. It gives you the freedom to choose from 4 home layouts, 150+ pre-designed pages, 40+ specific-purpose pages, 30+ blog templates, 15+ portfolio templates and 10+ eCommerce shop templates. You also get Intense plugins for free, along with different header and footer styles, event templates and sundry additional related pages.


You can add tremendous value to your brand via huge number of skins, colors, Google fonts and hover effects. There is no need to hire a developer to install the theme, even a non-skilled person can do it at ease. Intense helps you create a standout website and add brand value.

Wolverine

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Image source: themeforest.net


Wolverine is best suited for Corporate, Ecommerce, Portfolio, Creative Agency etc. It’s a multipurpose HTML5 template, capable of living up to even the most varied customer demands. From desktop to smartphone, Wolverine works on all. For a WordPress site, you can buy a version from Themeforest. Creative slider element, CSS3 animations are only two of its many amazing template features.


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Yamen


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Image source: themeforest.net


Yamen brings you powerful and streamlined business HTML templates. Yamen is developed keeping in mind the requirements of professionals and freelancers who want to design a package for corporate, agency, creative, personal websites and much more. Single-page and multi-page variations were introduced in its latest update. We all know how important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to get traffic to your site. Yamen is SEO optimized to get your site good ranking in search engine page results.


Amazing features of Yamen include:



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JangoImage result for jango html web template



Image source: themeforest.net


The main motive behind building Jango was to aid developers, end users and designers. If you have a plan to run an online eCommerce site, Jango should be among your top choices, since it comes packed with 28 eCommerce pages, 3 eCommerce sidebar menus, JS functions, and 2 distinct eCommerce footers. However, Jango can be used for any business niche. Jango is very responsive and fit for mobile devices, regardless of their screen sizes.


SASS framework makes Jango even more special, providing quick and easy styling capabilities. You can also benefit from helper CSS classes that come with it, paving the way for you to add new dimensions to your styling customizability. Improvements in Jango keep on happening via free updates to give every user a dynamic experience.



HTML5/CSS3 website templates have a widespread usage, owing to the ease they offer to have an attractive and effective website. Have you ever used a HTML5/CSS3 template to design a website? How was your experience? Any HTML5/CSS3 template you think should make to the list I have presented you above? Please add your views in the comment box below.

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Image source: www.blogkori.com


WordPress plays a big role in how we interact with the Internet, with currently more than 15,886,000 websites running on WordPress. Since WordPress has become so popular, web developers don’t shy away from adopting general layout, formatting, navigation, and sometimes even color schemes and typefaces of WordPress sites. As a result, it becomes very difficult to keep your WordPress site distinct from other sites, including your competitors’. However, by using some HTML tricks, you can make your WordPress site stand out.

7 HTML Tricks To Use In WordPress


The base HTML code you used to build your WordPress site is the key. By making some subtle tweaks, you can easily and effectively empower your site to appear distinct from others. Let’s understand how.


Custom Page Creation

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Image source: www.devsaran.com


Does your site have the relatively standard, boilerplate layout? If yes, there is nothing wrong in it, as it creates familiarity and enhances user experience. However, it’s important that you customize within those parameters. All that you need to create custom page template is to make simple HTML edits. One of the best virtues of custom page creation is that it allows your site visitors to see what you most want them to see. The freedom to prioritize and streamline your content allows you to give right content to your target audience.


Click here to learn how to create custom page templates


Easy Search Outlet


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Image source: premium.wpmudev.org



Not all your users want to get details of deeper part of your website. So, it’s a good idea to narrow down search results by adding a faceted search function. With that being done, it becomes easier for users to find specific things they have in their mind when they come to your site. If you have ever shopped on Amazon, you must have seen Amazon’s suggested search. Users like it since they don’t have to waste time in finding what they are looking for, and navigation also becomes easier. It’s also easy to implement the plugin and additional HTML.


Click here to learn how to add amazon-like faceted search to your WordPress site.


Offer Random Posts to Users


If your site keeps coming up with new content, it’s better to redirect users to random posts. Since there are kind of users who want to dig deeper, redirecting them to random posts helps them explore more. Create a button with some HTML code and redirect users to a random post on your site. It helps users find out more offerings of your site and serves an alternative to the funnel-oriented navigation of a page.


Click here to learn how to redirect users to a random post.


Syndicate Your Content With RSS Feeds


If you want to get maximum eyeballs to your posts, you need to introduce them at the right time. One of the good ways to do so is syndicating your content with RSS feeds. You must target prime hours when most of your audience is checking their feeds. After creating a code which delays WordPress RSS syndication for a fixed amount of time, you posts will show up to your audience only during prime hours. In addition to interesting and quality content,  timeliness of posts is very essential to reach out to a wider audience.


Click here to learn how to delay wordpress RSS after publishing post.


Drop-Down Menu


The traditional horizontal menu bar often troubles users when it comes to navigation. It also clutters up a page, which is why you should consider a drop-down menu for your WordPress site. You can easily create a code for a drop down menu and get access to several customization options. These options will allow you to direct your site’s users to the pages they want to visit, and that too in different ways.


Click here to learn the code to create a drop-down menu.


Remove Post Revisions


WordPress allows you to revert back to an old post in your hour of need. By default, WordPress saves all your revisions as separate posts. As a result, those revisions can appear in search results for your users, posing the risk of cluttering up your database on the admin side. The best way to avoid it is to control post revisions. It helps keep things streamlined and reduces the burden of fixing things at your end too.


Click here to learn the code to create a drop-down menu.

Highlight Author Comments


WordPress is very popular across the globe for blogging. And one of the major reasons behind its popularity for blogs and heavy interaction sites is its amazing comments section capabilities. However, problems can happen in comment sections too, which can irritate users and force them to run away. A remedy to this problem is to highlight author comments as it helps users see a natural flow of conversation.


Click here to learn the code for highlighting author comments.


By using these 7 HTML tricks, you can maximize the appeal of your site and empower it to look different from other sites. You should also follow Best Practices in WordPress Development to create a strong web presence.


If you have ever used HTML tricks to make your site look different and function effectively, please share your experience with us in the comment box below.



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With Google’s rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat (nʌɡət) on Nexus devices on August 22, 2016, Android phone users can’t stop wondering about what features Nougat has in store for them. If you have also been holding your curiosity horses for long, let me unveil for you the new features that are highly likely to arrive on smartphones that support Android Nougat.


Google surprised everybody when it released a preview version of Android Nougat on March 9 this year. We all knew that Google announced its previous mobile operating systems only at Google I/O, the Google's developer conference. However, the motive behind the unprecedented move, according to Google, was to give developers enough time to have a good look at it and provide their vital inputs. The sooner, the better!


Click here to find out which non-Nexus smartphone is to be the first to Ship With Android Nougat.


Exciting Features Android Nougat is Set to Bring for Android Fans


Going by what Google revealed during Google I/O on May 18, Android Nougat’s new features can be divided into three categories: Productivity, Performance, Security. It appears Google has built its latest operating system for mobile phones on the premise of extending functionality, improving pre-existing features and further expanding what’s possible in stock Android. It’s quite possible that not all specifications will make it to the final release. But hoping for the best, I have highlighted the most amazing features that have the best chances to come along Android N.


Let’s Talk About Productivity Enhancement Features Of Android Nougat


  • Multi-Tasking with Split Screen Feature:


Image result for android nougat multi window support or split screen

Image source: http://techbeats.org/


The most exciting feature of Android N is “Split Screen”, which supports multitasking. Although Samsung and LG phones have incorporated this feature couple of years ago, Google is bringing it for the first time in its own software. Thanks Google for listening to public demand, which means Android Nougat users can open and use two apps at the same time. All that you would be required to split your screen is to long press the recent button in navigation bar.


You can also resize the window by dragging the divider. Moreover, with “Quick Switch” feature you can switch between the two most recently used apps. For this to happen, you would need to double tap on the Overview button. On the top of the multitasking menu would be a Clear All Button to allow you to close all the apps at once.

  • Direct Reply Through Notifications on the Top of Screen


It seems that Google has learnt a lesson from Apple Inc. I said so because Google has now incorporated direct replies feature in Android N, much similar to Quick Reply. However, unlike Apple which restricted Quick Reply only to its iMessage app, direct reply on Android N works with all messaging apps, like Whatsapp, Viber etc.


Image result for direct reply in Android nougat

Image source: http://dixplore.com/


So, next time when you see a notification on the top a screen of your Android Nougat smartphone and feel tempted to reply, there is no need to navigate away from your current window. No matter if you are playing a game, watching a video or surfing the internet, you can easily reply through a notification on the top of screen of your Android N phone, without leaving the current window.


Besides, if you don’t want to see notifications from a particular app, you can block all notifications from that app. In Android N, you will get the option to choose from 6 levels of power notifications to manage the priority of any individual app.


  • Bundled Notifications


Google has also revealed in an announcement during developer conference on May 18 that notifications cards will be grouped together if they are from the same app. To your better understanding, all messages from a specific app will stay together as a bundle in the notification shade. If you wish to expand them to individual notifications, you need to use a two-finger gesture or tap on the new expansion button.


  • Expanded Emoji


Android N brings support for Unicode 9, meaning 72 more emojis to help your phone fit your personality. Now, the total number of emojis in Android are over 1,500. So, go express yourself on an Android Nougat phone in an even better way.


  • Android N to Support VR with Google Daydream


Image source: http://www.stuff.tv/

In order to provide virtual reality (VR) experience on mobile, Google has built Android Nougat compatible with Daydream. Google’s Daydream is a spec with headset, and aims at giving rise to high-quality mobile VR for Android smartphones. Google Daydream is certainly the successor of Google Cardboard.


Samsung, LG, HTC, Huawei, Alcatel, ZTE and Asus are in the process of developing Daydream-ready phones since the current phones offered by them don’t have appropriate hardware to support VR. Daydream will provide VR support to the Play Store, StreetView, Photos, YouTube and Play Movies. So, be ready for an immersive experience and jumping into games, locations and videos, with Daydream .

Now Comes the Performance Part of Android Nougat

  • Android Nougat Data Saver


Android Nougat brings you data saver. It significantly reduces your mobile data usage by restricting background data on apps when you're on a mobile/cellular network. Samsung has already been offering the same function on Galaxy S7 for quite a time, but Google is bringing it it the first time ever on its mobile operating system. However, when your Android Nougat phone is on WiFi, all the apps get there data access as normal.


  • Enhanced Doze To Let Your Phone Battery Last Long


We first saw Doze in Android Marshmallow, and have been loving it since then, right? To make you love it even more, Google has enhanced Doze Mode 2.0 in Android N. Your Android Nougat phone will stop all background tasks the moment you turn your screen off, thereby increasing the battery life by even a bigger extent. So, if you leave your phone on standby mode for a day or week, you can still use it without having to recharge it right away.


  • Pressure-Sensitive Display Technology


Image source: http://dixplore.com


Google has announced “Launcher Shortcuts” feature to equip in Android Nougat smartphones with pressure-sensitive display technology. As a result, Android manufacturers will find it easy to bring 3D Touch-like technology to Android handsets.

  • Vulkan and Java 8 Support


For better graphics and smoother, faster performance, Google is introducing Vulkan 3D graphics API in Android N. The benefit of Vulkan is that it has a much lower CPU overhead than OpenGL. Moreover, it opens gates for developers to fit much more graphical detail into frames.


Android N also brings support for Java 8, which will allow developers to do better things with code.

  • Improved Speed for App Installation


Google is also bringing JIT compiler in Android N for better performance. It increases the speed of app installation by 75%, in addition to 50% reduction in the size of the compiled code.

Google’s Take on Security with Android N

File-based encryption, media framework hardening and seamless updates in Android N give rise to better security. File-based encryption, as per Google, will ensure isolation and protection of files for individual users on your device.


Android N will also stop password-reset ransomware. According to ZDNet, “The new operating system will no longer allow users or software to invoke a command that clears already-set passwords. However, in order to protect your device it notes that you will need to set a password in the first place.”


Google’s Android Nougat is making rounds on the internet, and Android fans have been long wondering what all new features it will bring for them. Here, I have tried unveiling the features that Google has announced during developers conference to bring with Android Nougat.


If you know more about important features likely to come with Android N, please share them in the comment box below.




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Are you an Ubuntu user and seeing regular notifications to upgrade the older version (14.04 or 15.10) to the newest Ubuntu 16.04? If that’s a yes, then let me unveil for you seven major benefits you can draw by upgrading your older Ubuntu version to Ubuntu 16.04.


Called as Xenial Xerus, the latest Ubuntu 16.04 upgrade is a Long Term Support (LTS) release. So, no grumbling over critical security, bug and app updates from Canonical, for at least five years. In my view, if you are looking forward to a stable, predictable system, Ubuntu 16.04 should definitely be your choice.


Let’s Talk About Top Seven Virtues Of Ubuntu 16.04

  • No Spyware In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS


Since 2012, unbuntu was mired in the controversy over the online search results in Ubuntu’s Dash. The things were only made worse with the introduction of “Smart Scopes Service” in 2013, so much so that Free Software Foundation President Richard Stallman called Ubuntu Linux "spyware". He along with many people raised concerns over the operating system sending data to Ubuntu maker Canonical when a user searched the desktop. However, the latest Ubuntu upgrade puts all such search-related concerns to rest.


Online search features in Ubuntu 16.04 come disabled by default for new installs, meaning your search terms will reside within your computer only. In case you think the move will attenuate your ability to search and preview content through the dash, you can re-enable online search results in a couple of clicks.

  • Snap: The New Packaging Format


Ubuntu 16.04 sports a brand new packaging format, opening gates for developers to distribute packages that contain everything needed to run. Unlike previous Ubuntu versions, Ubuntu 16.04 boasts of snap that can contain both application binary and any dependencies required for it to run. And this is regardless of whether or not libraries are installed on the host system.


So now, there is no need to add x PPA for an app and then y PPA for the latest version of z dependency. Moreover, developers can include newer versions of any libraries as part of their Snap. In previous versions, developers faced limitations of building apps to frozen base of libraries. But not anymore, thanks to snap in Ubuntu 16.04. Users can also enjoy newer versions of apps on older versions of Ubuntu without compromising on the stability of the entire system.


  • New Software Center

Image source: pentruprieteni.com


People were bored with Ubuntu’s centralized app store, which was introduced by Canonical in 2009. Due to slow speed of Ubuntu Software Center, many users got frustrated and wanted something that acts briskly. To address the issue, Canonical has brought up a new package manager, called GNOME software, in Ubuntu 16.04, which is fast, lightweight and very responsive.


  • Ubuntu 16.04 Allows To Move Unity 7’s Launcher To The Bottom

Image source: askubuntu.com


With the latest LTS release of Ubuntu 16.04, many users believe their requests have finally been heard by Canonical, especially with Unity launcher. Now, the Unity 7 desktop on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS enables users to move the launcher bar to the bottom of the screen. Now that we mostly use widescreen monitors, the launcher bar on the left hand side does not make sense to many.So, Ubuntu 16.04 finally gives you the choice to preserve’ space efficiently by moving the application launcher to the bottom.


However, you need to use the GUI and the command-line. Don’t worry, it's hassle-free. Simply open a terminal window and enter the command given below.


gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom


In case, you don’t find it the cup of your tea, you can easily undo it by using this command.


gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left


  • Linux Kernel 4.4


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS comes with a modified version of Linux 4.4 kernel. The move aims at providing improved system stability, efficiency, performance, power, and file system handling. Moreover, it gives better support for Intel Skylake, Intel’s new sixth-generation Core family of mainstream processors, and Raspberry Pi.


Other advantages of Kernel 4.4 are:


  • 3D support in the virtual GPU driver

  • New driver for Corsair Vengeance K90

  • Support for TPM 2.0 chips

  • Journaled RAID 5 support


  • Set App Menus To Always Show

Image source: www.makeuseof.com


In Ubuntu 16.04, a new setting called "Menus visibility" is available in the Appearance panel. You will see two options therein - “Displayed on mouse hovering” and “Always displayed”. So, by choosing “Always displayed”, users can ensure that the menus of any application are always visible.


It won’t be wrong to say that by leaving the menu visible in each application’s windows, you can easily combine old-school functionality with a modern look.


  • Support for ZFS File System

Image source: arstechnica.com


Ubuntu 16.04 is the first version to support zfs filesystem on Linux. As per Canonical, zfs is the combination of a volume manager and a filesystem. The new version does not ask you to make any effort from your side, since zfs.ko will be automatically built and installed on your Ubuntu systems. Zfs facilitates improvements towards enterprise and server use.


Also, zfs is better than BTRFS and allows users to efficiently create snapshots of your machine. Zfs support in Ubuntu 16.04 opens gates to manage multiple physical storage devices in a much better way than previous options, like ext3 and ext4.


Without a doubt, Ubuntu 16.04 is the most exciting release by Canonical in the past few years. There are many other benefits of Ubuntu 16.04, like access to session shortcuts in Dash, which allows users to Logout, Reboot & Shutdown, directly through it. However, I have discussed the top six that have been coaxing Ubuntu users into upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04.


Do you think Ubuntu 16.04 is the right choice for you? Have you already upgraded to Ubuntu 16.04 and facing issues with it? You think of benefits that are more important than what I have discussed? Please share your views in the comment box below.





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    VR

    Image source: vrjournal.com


    We all have witnessed the technology world advancing from one level to another, so much so that humanity is now setting up to colonize planet Mars by 2023. In this blog, we intend to talk about the two next frontiers of digital technology - Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR), and their distinction.

    What is Virtual Reality?

    Virtual Reality means creation of the world that is not real, but seems real. To your better understanding, Virtual Reality is the creation of a 3D environment that simulates the real world and users can interact with it by wearing a VR helmet or goggles similar to Oculus Rift. The virtual environment is immersive and computer generated. A coding language Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) is used to create VR software and bring some place else for you.


    Image source: www.linkedin.com

    “VR is about escaping the real world and going someplace you couldn’t normally go,” says Jeffrey Gattis, HTC’s executive director of marketing for connected products, adding that “Games, movies, even sporting events and travel are perfectly suited to the medium, but it will be important that we continue to see growth in the number of developers creating VR content.”


    Click here to learn about 7 best virtual reality mobile apps.

    What is Augmented Reality?


    Augmented reality is a perfect mix of digital and real world, making the existing reality more meaningful. The creation of Augmented Reality calls for integration of digital information with the user’s environment in the real time. So, it’s absolutely correct to say that AR makes use of our current reality to overlay new information on top of it, thereby allowing the user to make more sense out of the existing environment.


    Let’s get a better insight with an example:


    Blippar (an AR app for iOS and Android) allows you to discover a whole new world by pointing your phone’s camera to various products or images. The Augmented Reality app enables you to blip everyday objects from plants, fruits to pets. Moreover, the app allows your smartphone to bring a static print ad to life, or watch a movie trailer by simply focusing your smartphone camera at a poster.


    Click here to know about the 15 best Augmented Reality apps available in the app market.


    Image source: www.slideshare.net


    Microsoft made headlines last year when it unveiled HoloLens that uses AR similar to Mini's driving goggles. However, HoloLens goes a step further to significantly narrow down the gap between your PC and your living room. It actually paves the way for you to surround yourself with your Windows 10 apps.


    Pranav Mistry, the Global Vice President of Research at Samsung and the head of Think Tank Team, has developed an AR device SixthSense that enables new interactions between the real world and the world of data. SixthSense allows a user to use natural hand gestures to interact with digital information.


    Both AR and VR are very interesting technologies, which takes us to the next important section of the blog:

    Difference Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality


    Although both AR and VR create an immersive experience for a user, they are different from each other. VR isolates a user from the real world and creates a completely fabricated world, while AR delivers virtual elements as an overlay to the real world.


    With AR, virtual components like digital images, graphics, or sensations are added to the real world as a new layer of interaction. So, AR does not give rise to an environment that is not real, but enhances and enriches the current reality.


    Without a doubt, VR provides users more immersive experience than AR, however, VR does not allow the users to interact with their surroundings. As it’s not possible for a VR user to see what is right next to them, VR doesn’t provide a practical way to interact in the real world. VR is best suited for video games and social networking in the virtual environment, like Second Life or PlayStation Home.

    Gears for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

    Virtual Reality

    Augmented Reality

    • Oculus Rift

    • Samsung Gear VR

    • Google Cardboard

    • HTC Vive

    • Sony Project Morpheus

  • Google Glass 2

  • Microsoft HoloLens

  • Sony SmartEyeglass

  • Recon Jet

  • Magic Leap

  • Vuzix M100

  • ODG R-7



  • By now, it must be clear that VR and AR and two different concepts. While AR is for real world, VR is for content that has nothing to do with our current reality. AR adds more meaningful information to our experiences in real time, which is why it is believed to do a lot with our everyday lives. If you have ever got a chance to experience AR or VR, please share your experience with us in the comment box below.

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    Posted by on in General

    saas-world-CROP.jpg

    Image source: www.tnooz.com


    Many businesses, especially small and medium size ones, have been increasingly moving to Cloud Computing for one great reason - Huge reduction in business cost. However, there is a fallacy among many people that Cloud Computing and Software as a Service(SaaS) are one and the same thing. Although SaaS is related to Cloud Computing, the duo is very different from each other. In this blog, we will talk about how Cloud Computing and Software as a Service(SaaS) are distinct from each other.


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    Image source: www.salesforce.com


    Cloud is basically used as a metaphor for “the Internet”. Cloud Computing offers storage and access to data and applications over the internet, rather than your local servers or personal devices. So, instead of buying your own servers or software, you can rent computing infrastructure and services to ensure smooth functioning of your business operations.


    Imagine that you are a startup company with a unique idea, but don’t have enough funds to bear the cost of infrastructure, hardware and software to kick off your business operations. Here, Cloud Computing comes to your business rescue to prevent it from drowning in the ocean of cost struggles.


    Click here to gain insight into 7 Ways Cloud Computing helps SMBs boost their Business.

    Cloud Computing comes in Three Forms: Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud

    Image source: vmwaretips.com

    • Public Cloud services are available for use off-site over the internet. You can use public clouds, like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and IBM’s Blue Cloud, for developing SaaS applications for end-users. The rental cost of public clouds is very pocket-friendly since the provider bears the cost of hardware, application and bandwidth.


    However, an organization that deals with sensitive data may not like to go for public clouds since configuration, security, and SLA specificity are weak on public clouds.


    • Private Cloud services facilitate flexibility, scalability, provisioning, automation and monitoring for a single company. Private clouds are expensive, but they are highly secured, thus companies dealing with sensitive data may not want to shy away from private cloud model. Private clouds are divided into two categories: On-premise private clouds and externally hosted private clouds.


    • Hybrid Cloud is a mix of public cloud and private cloud. So, you can begin using a public cloud to save your business cost, however, you can also migrate to private cloud as soon as you face security concerns.


    Microsoft's Windows Azure, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace.com are some of the popular names of Cloud Computing service providers.

    Offerings of Cloud Computing Under Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud


    Cloud Computing has three offerings: Platform as a Service(PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).


    PaaS provides a platform to developers to build applications services over the internet using tools and plugins supplied by the provider. All you need to use PaaS services is a computer with an internet connection, obviously you have to pay for the subscription of PaaS services, but only for the services you use. The best part is you need not to worry about update of services, since the PaaS service provider regularly updates the services, upgrades existing features and adds additional features without charging any fee.

    IaaS services include virtual server space, network connections, bandwidth, IP addresses and load balancers. IaaS automatically allocates as many servers as your requirement is, and charges you accordingly. So, IaaS saves you a lot of business cost since you only pay as per the usage of numbers of servers being allocated to your business.

    As IaaS is a scalable service, you need not worry if there is a sudden rise in the numbers of your service users. Moreover, the IaaS service provider is responsible for maintaining the data centers. The IaaS service remains unaffected by the failure of one server or network due to the remaining multitude of hardware resources and redundancy configurations.

    Click here to learn what scalability means in cloud computing.

    Let’s Now Move On To SaaS


    Image source: www.qaist.co.uk


    SaaS means computer applications that sit on the cloud, instead of your computer and devices. It’s true that SaaS is available on the cloud, but it must not be mistaken for the cloud. The reason is simple, developers can develop a SaaS application using PaaS, but the application itself doesn’t mean cloud. Google Apps, Salesforce, Workday, Concur and GoToMeeting are some of the examples of SaaS applications. Unlike PaaS services that are used by software developers, application vendors, savvy computer users and IT executives to build a service or app, SaaS applications are used by end-users.


    While cloud Computing is meant for high-end customization, SaaS is more about low-end customization. By now, it must be clear that Cloud Computing and SaaS are two very different technologies. The only similarity between SaaS and Cloud Computing is that they free you from the need of having on-premise hardware or software.


    The Takeaway: Cloud Computing and SaaS are not one. SaaS is a subset of Cloud Computing.


    SaaS relates to Cloud Computing since it sits on virtual servers, but it must no be mistaken for being Cloud itself. You can use a SaaS application that exists on cloud and build it using PaaS, but can’t call it cloud. If you have ever used a SaaS, PaaS or IaaS and want to share your experience or add more on to the distinction between Cloud Computing and SaaS, please put your views in the comment box below.


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    Posted by on in Mobile Development



    We all have heard the buzz about Virtual Reality (VR) being the next big thing of the future, along with Internet of Things (IoT), right? VR is actually an artificial environment created using computer hardware and software to make it appear real for users. Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, author, and composer, coined the term Virtual Reality in 1987.


    The good news is that you no longer need to buy expensive Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset to experience Virtual Reality. It may take you by surprise, but as a matter of fact, even an Android or iOS smartphone serves the purpose of a VR device. You can easily pair a sub-£20 Google Cardboard headset with your Android/iOS phone to allow it to use your device’s screen and bring some place else for you.


    Now that you know about VR capabilities of your Android/iOS device, it’s worth knowing about 7 best VR apps. Unlike apps that force you to buy Samsung’s Gear VR mobile headset, these apps are regular Android and iOS apps, meaning no extra burden on your pocket.


    • Cardboard


    Cardboard app is free to download and gives you an easy access to virtual reality. The app is distinct from Google Cardboard, which is a device to place your smartphone into its back and get the amazing view through the lenses in front. Coming back to the Cardboard app, it lets you find those apps that are available for download and are compatible with the Cardboard device, like Earth and Photo Sphere Camera. If you want to build your own Google Cardboard viewer, you must visit Google's Get Cardboard page to learn the specifications. However, if you don’t like this DIY approach, you can buy a pre-manufactured one available from various vendors. Click here to know about best Google Cardboard apps.


    Image source: www.tomshardware.com


    • NYT VR


    NYT VR, a product of New York Times, allows users to view content, like a compelling video of three children who were forced to leave their homes because of conflict. You can watch such videos without Google Cardboard as well, however if you want to feel as if you are there, you must use the Google’s VR device. The video of the three children brings the content back to life, showing you the destruction from war, a plane dropping food to not let the victims starve, etc.


    The website of New York Time says, “All it takes is a smartphone. Go underwater or on the campaign trail. Experience life through the eyes of a refugee or explore previously unseen worlds. Experience stories reported by award-winning journalists, all told in an immersive, 360-degree video experience.” The app is available to download for free for both Android and iOS smartphones.


    Image source: www.technobuffalo.com


    • VRSE


    VRSE, a free-to-download virtual reality app, hosts high production value 3D 360 content. Chris Milk, an artist and filmmaker, who has directed videos for popular names like Kanye West, Beck, Arcade, etc, has formed VRSE to create virtual reality experiences. A short VR documentary “Waves of Grace” tells the story of an Ebola survivor in Liberia. So, you can get the real feel of documentaries with VRSE.


    Vice, The New York Times, and NBC were so smitten by the idea that they decided to enter into a partnership with VRSE. Click here to learn from Chris Milk about the future of VRSE.


    Image source: YouTube.com

    • Sisters: A Virtual Reality Ghost Story


    Sisters: A Virtual Reality Ghost Story app takes your horror experience to an all new level. Don’t give it a try late at night. Without a doubt, the entry of VR in horror genre will encourage other ghost storytellers to bring users scary, terrifying experiences. The app is available to download for free for both Android and iOS smartphones.


    Image source: www.youtube.com

    • Seene


    Seene, a free-to-download app available on Play Store and App Store, enables users capture photographs and view them in 360 degrees. The app does not require a special camera on your smartphone to let you capture and share pics in 3D. Unlike Google’s Cardboard Camera app, Seene sports an awesome feature to share 360-pics with the world. Seene was also crowned as the UK's most innovative mobile company on display at Mobile World Congress.



    Image source: play.google.com


    • Jaunt VR


    Similar to VRSE, Jaunt also enables users to get cinematic VR experiences. The app is available to download from both App Store and Play Store. The company aims at making VR content production easy. Jaunt works with Google Cardboard, $25 Dodocase cardboard headsets and the foam Merge headset. With Jaunt VR, you can celebrate Disneyland's 60th Anniversary celebration on Main Street, USA. Besides, you will feel as if you are on stage with Jack White as he performs “Freedom At 21” at The Bleacher Theater at Fenway Park in Boston, MA. More and more creators are getting attracted to Jaunt to take your entertainment experience to an all new level.


    Image source: www.slashgear.com


    • Orbulus


    Orbulus enables stereoscopic 3D photo viewing on mobile devices. It supports most 3D content viewers like Durovis Dive and Altergaze. It works flawlessly with Google Cardboard and other Smartphone VR Viewers. This VR app lets you visit interesting locations with a simple click. So, you can stand on Mars or get a virtual sight into the New Year’s Fireworks on Hong Kong Harbour by simply looking into your Cardboard gear. It’s also free-to-download VR app for both Android and iOS smartphones.


    Image source: play.google.com


    All these apps are the best VR apps for smartphones and enable you to get first-hand experience of virtual reality, without forcing you to make any hefty investment. Have you ever used a virtual reality app before? If yes, and want to tell us more about VR apps for smartphones, then please share your views in the comment box below.




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    Responsive Web Design.png

    An exponential rise in the popularity of smartphones and tablets has made Responsive Web Design a necessity for website owners. The equation is simple: Build a site with responsive design, and open gates to reach out to a wider audience.


    Before mobile devices began soaring to popularity, the main challenge web designers had to deal with was keeping the same look and feel of their websites. But the spread of mobile devices has drastically changed the web design landscape. Now, web designers have to deal with may tougher challenges in a bid to make their site fit for various screen sizes. And the only solution to this problem is a responsive design. Read this blog to gain insight into benefits, challenges and fixes for developing a website with responsive design.

    Let’s First Talk about Benefits of Responsive Design


    • Flexibility at An All New Level


    A responsive web design site helps achieve content flexibility like never before. The content on sites in question behaves like water to move smoothly across screen resolutions and all devices. I am sure we all have learnt in school that water fits into whatever space it gets and takes its shape too. The same is true for images and grids on a responsive site, since they also act as fluid therein and resize themselves according to different screen sizes and resolutions.


    • Top Notch User Experience


    Content is the success mantra in this current digital arena. However, content fails to yield the desired results if your users are not able to consume it on their preferred choice of device. The implication is pretty clear, responsive web design provides a user top notch user experience, regardless of the device they use to access your site. The content of a responsive web design site remains the same even on different devices and resizes automatically to give the same visual appeal, which significantly enhances user experience.


    Without Responsive Web Design You Can Lose Out

    Source: www.guaranteedseo.com


    • Having a Single Site Reduces the Burden on Your Pocket


    It’s obvious that two sites cost more than one. So, if you build two websites for desktops and mobile devices, you would have to bear the development, maintenance and functional cost of both the sites. But why would you do so when just having one site that conforms to the need of all device can serve the purpose. Thus, a responsive web design site reduces your business cost, and removes the hassles of updating and maintaining two sites.


    • Easily Turns Content On and Off for Each Device


    A responsive layout enables the delivery of relevant content on specific devices. For example, a large sliding banner on your site’s homepage to link various areas of your site is not a fit for a mobile device. But since your site is responsive, smartphone users would see small thumbnails of these banners, thereby making it easier for users to navigate.


    • Eliminates the Need of Developing Mobile App for Multiple Platforms


    A responsive design rids the need of developing platform specific apps. If you developed an app for App Store, you would soon feel the need of developing another one for Play Store. Then, you will have to develop for other app stores to reach out to maximum number of potential users. But why to go through all these hassles when all your users can view your responsive website on any device they prefer. The bottom line is, a responsive site cuts the cost of developing cross-platform apps without causing any negative impact on user experience.


    Image source: www.websolpro.com


    • Google also Recommends Responsive Site


    According to Google, the best thing as far as mobile configuration is concerned is a responsive design of your site. That responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML for all devices, Google finds it much easier to crawl, index, and organize their content. If you have a different site for smartphones, Google will have to deal with different URl and different HTML than the ones for desktop, forcing the search engine giant to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.


    • Boosts SEO Efforts


    With responsive web design comes various SEO benefits. A responsive web design not only saves time to maintain just one site, it also reduces the burden of building links and drawing traffic to multiple sites. It becomes much easier to implement SEO techniques and derive fruitful results when you are required to focus only on one site.


    Without a doubt, a responsive web design improves conversion rates, gets more traffic to your site, cuts business cost, saves time and boosts your SEO efforts. However, all these benefits comes along with challenges that developers have to deal with in order to create a responsive web design.

    Let’s now move on to another integral part of this blog: Responsive web design challenges and fixes

    • Sketching and Prototyping


    The visual stage in the past was not a cumbersome process. Before kicking off the development process, the client simply had to give approval for static images and screenshots. However, designing is no longer the same and makes sketching and prototyping a difficult process. Now, more attention is paid to designing elements and devising ways to rearrange them across different screen sizes and resolutions.


    Fix: One way to responsive sketching is creation of sketches for a desktop home page and other website pages first. The next major step is to making them a fit for different device dimensions or at least the devices that are the most popular among people.


    Another way for responsive sketching is to make use of paper in order to let the client understand design layouts and how they are going to reflow on on different mobile screen sizes. Also, instead of creating wireframes for every single page and state, you can create a system of components and figure out ways to reassemble them for different configurations.


    • Navigation


    Image source: www.youtube.com



    We all know about Hamburger Menu, right? The three bars at the top left corner of a user interface still serve the purpose of the navigation button on numerous websites. However, a website with complicated structure makes it troublesome for many users to navigate beyond the three-bar menu.


    Fix: An intuitive and self-explanatory navigation is what designers must aim at. Even a new user can access your site at ease if your navigation decision is based on a careful study of how and why users browse your site. Besides, gaining insight into your site’s content and information architecture could help you a great deal in making the right navigation decision. Moreover, testing navigation on different screen sizes could help you derive important results for much improved accessibility of your site. Click on the link for various responsive navigation and menu patterns.


    • Displaying Data on Small Screens


    Since data tables often have a great number of rows and columns, it becomes very difficult to show them on small screens. The tables become a real bane when they are complex and convoluted.


    Fix: The best way out to deal with data display problems on small screens is to go for responsive tables. Other remedies to the problems are as follows:


    1. Instead of the grid layout, you can create a smaller table without horizontal scrolling.

    2. Create smaller version of tables and give a link to the full version.

    3. Display only important elements, while a drop down menu provides access to all the content of the table.

    4. Use rainbow tables where colors replace columns.


    • Slow Loading


    Sometimes, responsive sites becomes a subject to slow loading due to traffic from both desktops and mobile devices. Also, some responsive sites weigh a lot, a factor that greatly contributes to slow loading. A study shows that 74% of users abandon sites that take more than five seconds to load or provide what they expect.


    Fix: The best solution to this problem is conditional loading, which calls for loading of only what users need. Instead of a flood of images, galleries, documents, downloads etc, you can ensure fast loading of those elements that are paramount to let to the users know what you are offering to them. Since more and more people are becoming used to access the internet through their mobiles rather than desktops, conditional loading stands the best chance to eliminate your responsive site’s loading woes.


    151119-mobile-phone-subscriptions-population-outnumbered-statista-chart.jpg


    • Long Development Time


    Making a site responsive takes a lot of time since you require less resources and time for creating a regular desktop site. However, designers and developers have to make arduous efforts to build a responsive site for various screen sizes. Compared to a regular site, a responsive one takes double the time.


    Fix: Well, the solution to this problem is to make gradual changes on your site and let it evolve naturally. This helps in saving a lot of time and effort since responsive sites can evolve from time to time.


    • Conversion of Fixed Sites into Responsive Ones


    Developers find it difficult to figure out whether to make changes in the less flexible code of fixed-layout websites or leave them as they are.


    Fix: Converting a fixed site into a responsive one involves a lot of effort on developers’ end. But it’s certainly much easier for light and simple sites. There are two ways of doing it: First, you can reverse style sheets and templates and second, you can go ahead with greenfield rebuild. A greenfield rebuild, which entails rebuilding a site without taking any cognizance of prior work, is the best to go for when you need to convert a bigger, complicated website into a responsive site.


    • Older Versions of Internet Explorer don’t Work with CSS3 Media Queries

    Since older versions of IE do not support CSS3 Media Queries, content of a responsive site does not properly display on mobile devices.


    Fix: In order to enable IE users to get proper access to your site, you can put JavaScript into use to make changes in page layouts. For this, it’s important that you pay heed to the size of the browser window.


    You can maintain the original layout by using Polyfill, which is an additional code that opens gates to facilities not being built into a web browser. Polyfill helps a developer implement technology the browser is expected to provide natively. Another way out is to use conditional IE style sheet with elementary styling.



    Responsive web design paves the way to boost business sales, increase traffic, enhance user engagement and stay ahead in the competition. However, you need to cope with various challenges to avail those benefits of responsive web design. If you own a responsive design site or have been a part of responsive web design team ever, please share your experience with us in the comment box below.


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    Posted by on in CMS

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    Are you looking forward to run an online store, but not being able to figure out which Content Management System (CMS) platform is the best to go for? No worries! I am bringing you a detailed list of 6 popular CMS you can choose from to develop a professional and successful ecommerce website.


    The reason behind skyrocketing popularity of CMS in ecommerce space is that it fulfills the emerging new needs of today's online vendors and gives them the much-needed control over their website. However, every CMS has its own advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s important that you choose the one that best fits your need.

    6 Popular CMS for Ecommerce Sites

    • Magento

    Magento offers Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition to choose from as per the requirement of your ecommerce site. Magento Community Edition is a free open source ecommerce software and allows developers to easily customize their online stores. Developers can install extensions via “Magento Connect” to enjoy the flexibility of altering the codes, adding features and improving functionality.


    MMMagento-ecommerce1.png

    Image source: elogic.co


    The ecommerce software also saves you the cost of software licenses since it is based on PHP and MySQL, which is compatible with Linux. Moreover, Magento’s open source community platform continues to expand and offers customers easy access to a giant store of extensions. In contrast to many other open source platforms, Magento Community gives developers a unique option to manage multiple stores, choose their preferred language and offer buyers multiple currency options. Magento Community has many users who make continuous effort to design new plugins and extensions to further improve the functionality of an ecommerce site.


    If you want even more features for your website, then you can go for paid Magento Enterprise Edition.

    Benefits of Magento Enterprise Edition are as follows:

    1. It can handle large catalogues and is perfect for a site that has a large number of products.

    2. Allows quick loading and makes your site scalable.

    3. Flexible Marketing Promotions and Tools.

    4. Online Analytics and Reporting.

    5. Search Engine Optimization with meta-information.

    6. Allows to apply categories of products as cross sell, up sell and related products automatically.

    7. Gives rise to customer-assisted shopping.

    8. Unlike Magento Community, Magento Enterprise Edition offers constant support to its customers.

    9. Faster, more streamlined checkout flow than that of Magento Community.

    10. Enables automated calculation of costs.

    11. Secured payment environment that adheres to PCI security standards council.

    12. Fully customizable order management system.


    • OpenCart

    OpenCart is an open source solution for ecommerce site development. It’s PHP based and opens the gates for easy management of multiple shops from one admin interface. Via default downloads in OpenCart, you can offer your customers over 20 payment gateways and various shipping methods. You can use OpenCart’s extension directory if you wish to get access to more than hundreds of additional payment gateways and shipping integrations. OpenCart also gives rise to DIY, since it’s simple to set up, meaning no reliance on a developer to create and manage your online shop.


    OpenCart_Theme_Sharp_Red_HomePage.jpg

    Image source: forum.opencart.com

    Advantages of OpenCart for an Ecommerce Site:

    1. Flexible, simple and multi-functional.

    2. Easy installation and maintenance.

    3. Light-weight ecommerce solution that uses Ajax technology to ensure fast load time.

    4. Easy issue debugging.

    5. More than 2,700 themes.

    6. Simple shop navigation, one page checkout and handy search.

    7. Allows you to set up different groups for retail customers and wholesalers.

    8. Supports different currencies and varied tax rules.

    9. More than 7000 extensions to ensure top-notch functionality of your site.

    10. Easy performance tracking of your shop.


    • PrestaShop

    PrestaShop is one of the best free open source ecommerce platforms available for download and installation. Since Prestashop generates codes that are search engine friendly, chances for your site to be easily found increase by many folds, and so do conversion rates. PrestaShop offers support for various payment gateways, like PayPal, PayPal Payments Pro DirecPay, Google Checkout, Skrill, Authorize, Net and even EBANX Checkout.


    Prestashop new-fashion-responsive-prestashop-theme-et-poostyle.jpg

    Image source: addons.prestashop.com


    PrestaShop sports more than 310 exquisite features that empower an ecommerce site owner to boost sales. You can easily use PrestaShop’s interface and manage complex inventories with its simple-click updates.


    What PrestaShop has an Offer for Your Ecommerce site?


    1. Responsive templates

    2. Inventory management

    3. High class stock management

    4. Gives the freedom of choosing a numbers of products per page

    5. Boosts SEO efforts

    6. More than 2000 cross platform templates to fit your need

    7. Over 25000 plugins to help your site achieve desired functionality

    8. Easy site management without investing on huge servers and premium hosting plans

    9. Multi-lingual


    • ZenCart

    ZenCart is a free and easy, open source solution for ecommerce. Anyone, with even rudimentary computer skills, can easily install and setup ZenCart, which is based on PHP and backed by MySQL database. The beauty of ZenCart is it offers unique options, features and support that are not available from other open sources content management systems. Industry experts, like programmers, consultants, designers and even business owners, have developed several add-ons to download and install on ZenCart system.

    Features that make ZenCart Feasible Option for many Types and Sizes of E-commerce Stores:


    1. Allows you to bank on cutting-edge combination of PHP and MySQL.

    2. Since it is licensed under GPL2, you have the freedom to modify the source code as per the requirement of your application.

    3. Easy set-up of multiple customer modes and a gamut of shipping options

    4. Offers support to almost every language in the world

    5. Works well with several payment gateways

    6. Enables easy updation of product catalogues. No need to rely on an HTML expert to write codes just to alter products.

    7. Features a sophisticated template system which allows to use both stylesheets and images.

    8. Easy inventory control to create special sales and discount offers

    9. Numerous design options


    m_marketing1.jpg

    Image source: www.12leaves.com

    • osCommerce

    osCommerce is an open source based e-commerce solution that was released under the GNU General Public License. Owing to easy and quick set-up, a wide range of customization choices and a plethora of benefits for an ecommerce site, osCommerce has become one of the the most versatile shopping cart solutions among e-retailers worldwide. Similar to ZenCart, osCommerce is also based on PHP and backed by expandable MySQL. It’s easy to use osCommerce software, however, experts suggest to avail services of osCommerce pros to bring your ecommerce site to fruition.


    home-light.png

    Image source: themeforest.net

    Benefits of Using osCommerce for an Ecommerce Site

    1. Easy to manage categories, manufacturers, customers, reviews and addition or removal of products.

    2. Database backup and restore.

    3. Custom functionalities to meet varied requirement of ecommerce sites.

    4. Static and dynamic banners with detailed statistics.

    5. Emails, newsletters to establish communication with customers.

    6. Easy option to print invoices and packaging lists.

    7. Breadcrumb trails to facilitate easy navigation.

    8. Offers support for both downloadable and shippable products.

    9. Automatic updation of currency exchange rates.

    10. Allows access only to authorized users.

    11. Automatically exhibits website on homepage.

    • VirtueMart (Joomla)


    VirtuMart is a very popular open source ecommerce plugin for Joomla, allowing to handle unlimited products and categories. It offers multi lingual support to reach out to global buyers with your offerings and give a significant boost to your sales. Besides, VirtueMart improves your site’s SERP results, a big factor to catch maximum eyeballs to your ecommerce site.


    VirtueMart’s integration with Joomla opens gates to easily sell your products and services online. An ecommerce business dealing with large products find VirtueMart very useful since it allows detailed product listing. With VirtueMart, it’s a doddle to add information about the parent product, along with a child product on other additional fields. You can add images, videos, use various colors and font sizes to create a snappy product page. VirtueMart plugin boasts about over 500 features , like inventory warnings, multiple payment and shipping options, SEO integrated reviews and many more.

    furniture-1500x1500.jpg

    Image source: stscript.info

    Why VirtueMart is Widely Used by Developers Across the Globe


    1. Allows to sell virtual products (downloadable), like MP3s, videos, etc.

    2. Allows to place products under multiple categories.

    3. Live credit card processing.

    4. Easy configuration/customization.

    5. Complete order management.

    6. Allows shoppers to add their individual shopping addresses.

    7. Administrator can monitor the online shop performance.

    8. Enables to add images and files to every product.

    9. Excellent management of the stock level for products.

    10. Supports numerous payment gateways.


    CMS is not only playing a pivotal role for ecommerce development, but is also seen as the future of overall web development. Although there are many other free open source content management systems available in tech market, I have discussed the five most popular ones that are currently enjoying the widespread usage. However, I still suggest to go for the one that best fits your business requirement. Have you ever used a CMS for your online business and have more to add on to what has already been discussed? If yes, please share your experience with us in the comment box below.

     

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    HTML-css-Javascript A front-end developer often wonders about what to do next after having mastered HTML, CSS and Javascript. HTML is a markup language that is used to create static sites, whereas CSS is a styling language that is used to set the visual style of web pages and user interfaces written in HTML and XHTML. Javascript, on the other hand, is a dynamic programming language that supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles. Now that you know the basics of web development, the next big step is to learn PHP and MySQL web development. But why?


    PHP is a brilliant scripting language you can use to create interactive websites, and MySQL is a database management system which opens gates to highly desirable web assets, like email accounts, blogs, content management systems etc.

    Let’s talk about why PHP is important

    Having an interactive site brings a plethora of benefits to the owner. And what could be a better language than PHP for creating an interactive website or app that gives rise to consumer communication and paves the way to establish a strong relationship with them. As a web developer, you will find that it’s very easy to learn PHP and parse its syntax. Below are some important advantages of learning PHP:


    • Helps create dynamic pages with customized features.

    • Ensures stability and cross-platform compatibility.

    • Eliminates the need of separate coding for PHP since it is well capable of decoding HTML.

    • It’s easy to incorporate PHP into a code generated by WYSIWYG editors.

    • No need to rewrite every line of HTML in a programming language.

    • Reduces cost and increases efficiency of the websites or applications.

    • PHP is interoperable with multiple operating systems.

    • All the components of PHP are free to use since it is open source and is developed and updated by a community of developers world over.


    You can flawlessly meet specific requirements of clients since PHP can be easily customized. PHP is extensively used for creating e-commerce sites due to its ability to execute all the demands for ecommerce development. It’s not wrong to say that creation of interactive websites, high-end web development and online application development become a doddle with PHP. Moreover, PHP gives unlimited control over your web server, like processing a credit card, extracting data from a third party website etc.

    Let’s now move on to one of the most famous database management systems called MySQL


    MySQL is a relational database system and is widely used as the preferred database solution for websites due to its small size and speed. It’s easy to use, secure, powerful and scalable. Even a few simple SQL statements are enough to build and interact with MySQL. Benefits of MySQL are as follows:


    • High speed: Database professionals can easily configure the MySQL database server specifically for particular applications. MySQL is well capable of meeting the requirements of any system, be it a high-speed transactional processing app or a high volume website.


    • High Availability: MySQL guarantees high availability with a gamut of top-notch options, ranging from high-speed master/slave replication configurations, specialized Cluster servers offering instant failover, to third party vendors offering unique high-availability solutions for the MySQL database server.


    • Scalability and flexibility: Flexibility is one of the great features of MySQL. Since MySQL is open source, it enables easy customization for the clients who demand addition of certain requirements into the database server.


    • Safety and reliability: MySQL offers highly secured environment for the data stored in the database server. With encrypted database passwords, it ensures that only authorized users are able to access to data stored in the database server. MySQL also makes it possible to create physical backup and full and point-in-time recovery.


    • Cross-platform support: MySQL can be installed in all major operating systems LINUX, UNIX, Windows, Solaris etc. It also flawlessly runs with several development interfaces. like JDBC, ODBC, Python and many more.


    • Comprehensive support for every application development need: Owing to the comprehensive support for every application development need,MySQL has carved a niche for itself in the tech market. Support for stored procedures, triggers, functions, views, cursors, ANSI-standard SQL and more can be easily found within the database. Connectors and drivers ensure that all types of applications can make use of MySQL as a preferred data management server.


    Both PHP and MySQL are web-oriented, and PHP has special inbuilt features to communicate well with MySQL. Facebook, Yahoo! and Wordpress are some of the popular examples of PHP and MySQL web development. They work brilliantly together and provide one of the fastest ways to deliver web pages. For a front-end developer who has already learnt HTML, CSS and Javascript, the next big step is to learn PHP and MySQL.

    As always, your inputs are vital for all our readers, please share them in the comment box below.

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    What was your main aim behind building a website for your company? You would say, to promote your business and market your products, right? But a bigger question is do we know another stark reality - Without an appealing web design, most of your efforts to monetize visitors go in vain. Now that we are in 2017 already, it’s paramount to figure out what trends will appear and evolve in web design this year. So, here is a complete list of top web design trends that will rule the web in 2017.

    Top Web Design Trends to Look Out for in 2017


    • Vertical user flows: That mobiles have become a commonplace for users to surf the internet, web designers would feel enticed to give their websites the feel of vertical patterns and scrolling. Even Google confirmed last year that it witnessed more searches via smartphones than desktops. So, it’s important that your web design allows users to scroll more on smaller screens. In a nutshell, vertical user interfaces will become the thing of present in 2017 to lure prospective customers into visiting your sites, and thereby increasing conversion rates.


    • Card-style interface designs: Card-style designs are becoming ubiquitous since they help a great deal in giving personalized experiences built on collection of many individual pieces of content. Knowing that cards provide a perfect view of content from different sources, popular sites like Facebook and Pinterest have already joined the bandwagon of card-style architecture. Rise of mobile technologies has greatly contributed to the emergence of card-style interface designs.


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    Image source: www.droid-life.com


    Cards-layouts are a great medium to communicate stories and make it much easier for users to scan blocks. The freedom users get to view content immediately and as they wish is the biggest reason we find card-style interfaces in several apps, websites and printed pieces. And this trend is highly likely to surge in 2017 right from where it ended in 2017.


    • High quality background videos and images: Users understand a story more clearly when they see visuals and motions on your website in the form of photos, 3D graphics and HD quality videos. A website background with large-sized photos or headers with large images or hero headers gives users an entranced view your website. Thanks to recent advancements in mobile technology for making it possible to reduce bandwidth and compress images without compromising on quality.

    Image source: www.udemy.com


    According to ClickZ, online content video views surpassed 50 billion a month for the first time on record. The implication is crystal clear, grace your website with snappy background image and high quality videos to grab the attention of users.


    • Motion animations: Anything that involves movement catches a human eye. Motion animations rose in popularity in 2015 and the path is set for them to surge even higher in 2017. We can expect their sizes to decrease, but they are a great medium to keep users engaged while they wait for content to load. Web designers first need to identify the purpose tiny animations have to serve so that they can create the desired effect on users.



    Image source: 1stwebdesigner.com


    • Stylish loading bars: We all know that users quickly disappear from sites that take more than four to six seconds to load. The remedy to the poorly designed loading page is a loading page itself, but it must keep users interested and doesn’t let them drive away from your site. The loading page can tell users the story of what you do. For example, a car-selling site could have a loading bar that looks like a car running towards the finishing line.


    Image source: www.pinterest.com



    • Unique typography: Typography is where art meets text. In 2017, designers will realize the potential of typography to give their websites a unique look. The typeface of your website is important for branding since it plays a big role in whole representation of your website. You must ask these two questions to yourself before deciding on the typography for your website:


    Which fonts could reflect your brand identity?

    Can users see in them the message you want to deliver?


    Typography indeed has an impact on conversion rates, thus it’s very imperative that you make use of more usable web type tools like Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit.



    Image source: gtechdesign.net


    • Hamburger menu: Since the whole world is moving towards smaller screens, hamburger menus are expected to rise to even more popularity. A hamburger menu rids the need of taking too much room on a website. Hamburger menus make a site appear free of navigation clutter like drop-downs, social icons, search bars and utility links. Since most people are familiar with the usage of a hamburger menu, web designers would like to place navigation under it in 2017.



    Image source: techcrunch.com


    • Websites with full-screen slides: We have already seen websites with sliders where images move within a frame to display content. These slides then transformed into full-screen slides. These full-screen slides bring new content after being refreshed with a click, scroll or timed effect. The advantage of these full-screen slides is that they give users a physical experience as they navigate forward and backward. In 2017, we can expect an abundance of sites trying to nack upon on this concept.


    Image source: nowtheme.com


    • Bold colors: Web designers will increasingly make use of vibrant colors and bold tone combinations to add a unique eye appeal to their websites. Unlike 2015 when more monotone big colors designs were used, larger and brighter color palettes will be used in 2017.


    Web design trends keep on evolving to add more to site aesthetics, be it visual or text. The above examples are top trends that seem to reign web designing in 2017. If you have any experience in web designing and want to add more to what has already been discussed, please share them in the comment box below.


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    Source: YouTube

    You may have heard the new buzzword in software development world - Language Agnosticism. Language Agnosticism is a skill that programmers develop by expanding their reach to different languages. Simply knowing a programming language does not seem to be the thing of present anymore to make a mark in the software development industry as a software developer. Since software development paradigm has witnessed radical changes in the past few years, language agnosticism appears to have become a kind of necessary skill software developers should have. Let’s talk about what Language Agnosticism is and implications it has for software developers.

    What’s this “Language Agnosticism” software developers just can’t stop talking about


    Language Agnosticism means choosing a language that best fits a particular task based on factors like ecosystem, developer skill-sets, performance etc. If you are a language agnostic aspirant, you need to transcend the boundary of a specific set of language.


    Let’s better understand this with an example: You are a Java developer, but you have a new development task ahead for which Ruby or Perl is more appropriate. So, despite being a Java expert, you decide to go with either Ruby or Perl since they best suit the development task you are going to take up. This capability of a software developer is called as Language Agnosticism.

    Why Language Agnosticism is being touted as a boon to software development?


    Software engineering is no longer restricted only to writing code. It requires much more than that, like finding an effective solution to any problem related to software development, script, algorithm etc. Software developers also need to know about language-agnostic interfaces for software development. Language Agnosticism gives software developers the much-needed freedom to develop apps in their preferred languages. Below are the benefits of being language agnostic:


    • You become a complete software engineer rather than simply being a Java developer or C++ developer.


    You have been working as a Java developer or C++ developers for quite sometime and now you want to become versatile and stand out as a software engineer. The solution is to become a language agnostic, which will require you to learn other languages like Haskell or Scala. You will initially face problems learning a new language, but within a week or two you will begin picking it up. Once you get a strong grip over the new languages, your value as a software engineer increases by many folds.


    • Helps figure out how to use certain language features effectively


    A programmer is not using any object-oriented features in his/her C++ code and passing everything as a pointer. What do you make out of it? Simple, the developer is not programming in C++. Instead, the programming is being done in C using a C++ compiler. A language agnostic never makes a mistake of believing that learning a language is synonymous to writing code that compiles. He/she rather figures out what those things are and how to put them into the best use in that language.


    Many changes have occurred in ECMAScript 2015,  but it is yet possible to cross-compile any other language to ES5, though some will require a bunch of libraries to become as effective as desired.


    • Gives rise to nimble thinking


    When you know various languages, you tend to get the knack for finding quick solutions to future problems. The reason for this is well justified. Since you can think about your problem in several frameworks, chances are high for you to find a cleaner and effective solution to your problem.


    • A language agnostic software developer is a happy software developer


    Performance and quality of software have a direct impact on the happiness of software developers. Since language agnosticism paves the way for building good software, a language agnostic is happier than the ones who are not. Moreover, a language agnostic feels encouraged to keep on honing their skills and become better software engineers.


    If you want to get insight into language-agnostic interfaces for software development, click here.


    Language agnosticism opens new avenues for software developers to enhance their programming skills and stand out to offer unique solutions to their respective clients or organizations. Your views are highly welcome in the comment box below.









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