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No matter what type your business is, data analysis always plays a vital role in providing you a competitive edge and bring innovation in the way you do your business. Collating data to discover new business opportunities and meet customer expectations is not something very new, dating back to the decade of 70s. However, what has significantly changed since then is the amount of data growing everyday, its diversity and analytics techniques to make sense out of it.

The term Big Data was coined considering the abundance of data that exists today in structured, semi-structured and unstructured form. According to a new report from IBM Marketing Cloud, 90% of data that exists today was created in the last two years alone. The report further adds that nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day from numerous sources, like social media sites, business apps, public web, sensors connected to Internet of Things, etc.

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Image source: LinkedIn

In contrast to previous times when rudimentary data analytics was used to make future decisions, advanced big data analytics of today allows business managers to have real-time information and make immediate decisions. There is no denying the fact that big data analytics has become the need of the hour to understand hidden patterns and correlations, identify target audience, uncover new revenue opportunities, boost marketing efforts, offer better customer service, and improve productivity. Let’s understand in detail how information derived from big data analytics can help you get competitive advantage over your rivals.

How Big Data Analytics enables You to Beat Competition

Allows to offer Personalized Experiences

Acquiring customers is not enough to compete with your rivals. You also need to understand the needs of your customers and optimize their buying experience. Since customers interact a lot on the internet and look for products they want to buy in near future, big data analytics allows you to identify them and offer them what they want, not something they are not interested in. Doing so increases the chances of a customer to buy a product of their choice from you by many folds.

Having a good insight into a customer’s personality, attitude, buying behavior, etc. helps you make them feel personally valued, which increases their trust in your brand. Having valuable information of customers readily available paves the way for business managers to devise effective strategies and improve conversion rates. If you have a website for your business, you can use big data analytics to personalize the content in real time to meet diverse requirements of consumers based on their sex, nationality, etc.

Click here to read about “How Will Big Data Impact Effective Lead Generation for better Conversions.”

Enhances Productivity

Big data analytics also helps organizations enhance productivity. For good productivity, it’s important to understand production volume patterns, correlation with demands, and patterns from unstructured data, like social media feeds, blogs, videos and other sources. With big data analytics, it becomes possible for organizations to get useful insights from both structured and unstructured data, which in turn helps expedite varied processes and boost productivity.

Besides, many organizations are now using big data analytics to analyze employees’ performance. As a result, they are able to improve office productivity. By using devices like motion sensors, employers can keep a track of employee activity and understand them better, which in turn helps managers devise strategies to encourage them and improve productivity.

According to a study by Evolv, data analysis has proven to be a great way for getting insights into employees’ behavior and increasing productivity in the workplace. Max Simkoff, co-founder and CEO of Evolv, says, “CIOs have been charged with leveraging the right products to increase employee productivity. Unfortunately, much of that work revolved around guessing what employees wanted and what they didn't. With help from big data, it appears that far more insight can be gleaned from employees’ behavior and, in turn, improve their job performance.”

Helps Understand What Works for You and What Doesn’t

One of the best advantages of big data analytics is to be able to learn about the efficacy of your marketing efforts. For example, marketers can determine which sort of content has been most effective at moving leads through a marketing and sales funnel. Similarly, they can also deduce what’s not working for them. Therefore, business managers can devise marketing strategies based on what’s most likely to become propitious for them and boost ROI.

Small businesses can also see how popular their brand is becoming among customers and keep on improving their products or services to keep growing the list of loyal customers. One of the major reasons cited by most businesses to use big data analytics is to improve business operations. If there’s an operational problem, a real-time insight into errors will help take quick actions to fix it, thereby not allowing the operation to fail or force your customers to go somewhere else.

Reduces Business Costs

Big data analytics also helps businesses save significant costs. By putting big data analytics into use, the supermarket chain Tesco successfully brought down its annual refrigeration cost by 20% across 3,000 stores in the UK and Ireland. With the help of IBM's research laboratories in Dublin, Tesco got useful insights into gigabytes of refrigeration data, which helped the company uncover that refrigerators in many of their stores in Ireland were running at lower temperatures than needed.

Niall Brady, IBM's research engineer for intelligent buildings and energy analytics, said, “We developed a set of key performance indicators [KPIs] that looked at data aggregated every month over a year. Without knowing anything about how the refrigerators should perform, we could identify when they were behaving in an anomalous way.”

In a nutshell, big data analytics has enough potential to serve the purpose of automated decision systems to let managers know any cost-cutting opportunity and swiftly act on it.

Helps Improve Risk Management

Big data analytics enables to not just offer better products and reduce costs, but manage operational, technical and financial risks as well. Hacks, frauds, policy breach, etc. are some of the risks that could be taken care of by putting big data analytics into use. Unlike previously when it was difficult to analyze fraud patterns, identify unscrupulous traders, etc, it’s now possible to have highly effective risk management programs by using big data analytics.

Financial institutions are at the highest risk of frauds, which is one of the major reasons why most banks now use big data analytics to monitor all transactions in real time and preempt suspicious activities. CFOs across many sectors now rely on big data analytics for efficient risk monitoring and prepare for worst-case scenarios. Palantir Technologies, a data analytics company which has clients including the FBI and CIA, is also helping Wall Street firms to detect frauds. The crux is the fact that big data analytics could definitely provide you a competitive edge by allowing you to manage risks and prevent money loss in a much better way.

For big data analytics, there are many tools available in the tech market. You can choose the one that best fits your requirements. To ease your quest, you can click here to check out “7 Tools for Successful Big Data Analytics.

Considering all the virtues of big data analytics mentioned above, it’s worth saying that businesses can reap many benefits that were not possible before. Data is like currency, but it’s only useful when you can make sense out of it and incorporate the wisdom earned into your business processes, marketing campaigns, customer service strategies, they way you react to changing trends, etc. It’s no hyperbole to say that big data analytics is the key to outperform competition and cash in on new opportunities of growth.

What are your thoughts on the potential of big data analytics to help businesses get a competitive edge? Have you ever used big data analytics before to give a boost to your business? Your views are highly welcome, please share them in the comment box below.

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Managing a project and taking it to fruition is one of the toughest challenges for project managers (PMs), regardless of business size. But the current digital arena is powerful enough to help PMs cover all sort of necessary project management paraphernalia. A good project management tool helps PMs keep project aspects in sync and meet project goals. Some standard functions of a project management tool are task management, collaboration, overview dashboards, tools to communicate with team members, scheduler, and administrative controls.

However, it often becomes perplexing for PMs to choose a highly efficient project management tool as the tech market is flooded with them. That said, I am offering an insight into 5 project management tools along with feature comparison so that you can choose a project management tool that best fits your project requirements.

5 Project Task Management Tools List - Free Online Feature Comparison

#1 Wrike

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Wrike, a winner of FinancesOnline Best Project Management Software Award for 2016, is known for both high speed and efficiency of work. Multi functional group collaboration and effective management from a single location make Wrike a top choice for an online project management tool. A Wrike user can also view tasks, activities, and updates across projects or down the subtasks in real time using the mobile app. Wrike analytics offers insights from real-time data to help you anticipate and find swift fixes for future delays and problems. It is best suited to small and large organizations, and it’s free up to five users.

Some Excellent Features of Wrike are as follows:

  • 3-pane layout provides important data on one screen

  • Allows to share view and share project data with Tags and Folders

  • Task management tools to monitor individual and overall progress

  • Activity Stream pane to track team activities and use of @mention to engage team

  • Drag and drop to share task priorities with your team

  • Time-tracking to know the exact number of hours spent on a particular task

  • Real time updates

  • Easy reporting via excellent analytics

  • Document collaboration

  • Workload management

  • Email integration

#2 Active Collab

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Active Collab is one of the most popular project management tools for users who have to juggle between multiple projects. It provides a dashboard to track updates and figure out what tasks you need to take up next. Active Collab’s all-in-one calendar allows you to set your own custom dates and events. Be it team collaboration or meeting deadlines, Active Colloab has all you need to flawlessly and effectively manage a project. The project management tool comes free for the first month and then charges $25 per month for 5 members with 5GB space. You can upgrade for more members and storage as well.

Check out Active Collab’s Top Features

  • Generates reports on open tasks, the team's workload, or the estimated time for completion.

  • Allows to organize tasks into lists and sort them using filters for people, labels, or due dates.

  • Project collaboration.

  • Provides each user a dashboard to see their tasks and deadlines.

  • Dropbox integration allows to share Dropbox files on projects and with your team.

  • Multiple language option breaks regional language barriers and gives rise to ease of use.

  • Invoice management.

  • Time tracking and desktop timer app.

  • Email notification and advanced time report.

  • Trello importer allows to copy Trello projects into Active Collab.

#3 FindNerd

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FindNerd, a product of Evon Technologies, is a free-to-use and awesome project management tool for efficient project management, collaboration, task tracking and resource management. The stand alone PM tool features minute-by-minute resource tracking and automatic status alerts. The PM tool is mobile friendly and allows to plan and monitor project tasks and milestones from any place. You can use FindNerd for free, and get access to all the excellent features that make the backbone of a high-efficacy project management tool.

Exciting and In-demand Project Management Features of FindNerd

  • Resource management allows to plan and allocate resources based on availability and load.

  • Time tracking.

  • FindNerd emphasizes collaboration by allowing to share queries, documents, information, etc.

  • Analytics allows to generate reports on hours logged, activities performed and resource utilization.

  • Enables efficient workflow by paving the way for setting and agreeing on terms, billings and approval hierarchies.

  • Task and bug management allows to prioritize, monitor, filter and move with easy drag and drop feature.

  • Keeps you updated with status alerts.

  • Add quick sprints, timelines, members in no-time.

  • Easy setup allows to set up a project in seconds with minimum details and scale as you go.

  • Invoicing feature enables to prepare and keep track of invoices and transactions with in-built workflows.

#4 Jira

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Jira is another popular project management tool, especially among agile teams for project planning, tracking, releasing, and reporting. Jira allows PMs to gather insight into important matters by collating user stories and case studies. The project management tools enhances team performance by providing access to real-time, visual data. Jira comes at $10 per month for up to 10 users. For on-premise solution, Linux and Windows installers are available, though you can also opt for the hassle-free JIRA OnDemand.

Have a Look at Important Features of Jira

  • Agile development.

  • Project time tracking.

  • Jira also offers cloud-hosted version, which is painless to set up.

  • Jira’s flexible dashboard helps create a personalized view. Besides, you can share the dashboards to keep a track on team wallboards and generate custom reports, and track project status.

  • GitHub integration.

  • JIRA’s Query Language (JQL) allows to develop advanced queries.

  • Sprint planning.

  • More than 800 add-ons and plugins.

  • Customizable workflows help you easily create the process that fits your team.

  • Planning tools.

  • Portfolio management and automatic notifications.

#5 Asana

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Asana is popular among PMs for communication and collaboration, though it’s not as fast as Wrike is. Fast-growing local businesses mostly use Asana, but some big players, like TED, Uber, The New Yorker, and Salesforce, have also tried their hands on it. Asana allows clear communication where there is a need to deal with remote teams. Asana is compatible with multiple devices and free to use for up to 15 people. Whereas, Asana Premium comes for $ 9.99 per member per month.

Exciting Features of Asana are as Follows:

  • Task tools allow to break work into manageable pieces and plan a day with a prioritized to-do list.

  • With Subtask feature, you can also break up a task into smaller parts.

  • For communication, Asana enables team members to comment directly on a task and mention team mates.

  • Automatic status updates.

  • Team pages feature helps PMs to see team’s projects in one place.

  • Calendar feature allows to have the correct idea of when work is due.

  • The hearts feature allows team members to give their approval to new ideas about what to work on next.

  • Time tracking.

  • Enhances team collaboration, even for geographically separated teams.

  • Bug tracking.

Having a project management tool in place has become the need of the hour for many businesses, especially when the competition is so high. I hope the free feature comparison of the five project management tools above will help you decide on a tool that suits your goals and project requirements the best.

Have you ever used a project management tool before? If yes, how was your experience and what extra feature/features would you like to have in your favorite project management tool? Please share in the comment box below.

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The long wait for Node.js Version 8.0 release finally ended on May 30 (12 PM PST), after a delay of almost a month. The new Node.js release brings a lot of new features and fixes for developers in order to significantly improve debugging and developer workflow. Carbon is the codename of the new Node.js release, which removes version 7 from the Node.js current release line. Node.js Version 8.0 will also become the current LTS version from October 2017 and will be maintained till December 31, 2019. Read this blog to gain insight into why this release of Node.js is big for Node.js users.

Important Features of Node.js Version 8.0 Release

TurboFan & Ignition

The introduction of TurboFan and Ignition is the the biggest change Node.js users will see in the latest release. TurboFan is the optimizing compiler and Ignition is V8’s interpreter. Daniel Clifford and the V8 team say, “The combined Ignition and TurboFan pipeline has been in development for almost 3½ years. It represents the culmination of the collective insight that the V8 team has gleaned from measuring real-world JavaScript performance and carefully considering the shortcomings of Full-codegen and Crankshaft. It is a foundation with which we will be able to continue to optimize the entirety of the JavaScript language for years to come.”

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The addition of V8 5.8 in the latest release is another advantage for developers. V8 5.9 is also scheduled to be released in early June.

Note: V8 5.8 is ABI (Application Binary Interface ) compatible to 5.9.

Node.js 8.0 Comes With npm 5

With Node.js 8.0, users will also get access to npm 5.0.0, which will save by default now. In npm 5, package-lock.json will be automatically created unless an npm-shrinkwrap.json exists. Besides, when there is no internet connectivity, there’s no need to retry network requests. Another important change is that npm 5 will install the packages from the latest registry you have switched to. For example, if you generated your package lock against registry A, and switch to Registry B, npm will pick Registry B to install the packages, not Registry A.

Click here to check out highlights of the new npm release

Node.js API (N-API)

The Node Foundation says that Node.js API (N-API) will be added in the new release as an experimental feature. The top reason behind adding N-API in the Node.js 8.0 is to ensure that addons are not influenced by changes in the underlying JavaScript engine. As a result, there will be no hassle of recompilation while running native add-ons with different Node.js versions. Not only this, native addons can also work with Microsoft's Chakra-Core runtime as well.

The New URL Implementation

With Node.js 8.0, the WHATWG URL implementation is now a fully supported, non-experimental API within Node.js. The advantage of the new URL implementation is that it matches the URL implementation and API available in modern Web Browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. So, code consisting of URLs can be easily shared across environments.

New Tracing and Async Features

Node.js 8.0 comes with upgraded experimental async_hooks module (formerly async_wrap). With the help of this diagnostics API, developers will now be able to effectively track the operation of the Node.js event loop and keep a check on asynchronous requests.

Significant Changes to Buffer API within Node.js

One of the most important changes to the Buffer API within Node.js is the return of a zero-filled Buffer instance whenever the deprecated Buffer(num) constructor (with or without the new keyword) is called. The problem with previous Node.js versions was the return of uninitialized memory, which was likely to contain potentially sensitive data.

Console Changes

Previously, writing console output to the underlying stream often resulted in Node.js application crash. But that’s not the case with Node.js 8.0 as it ignores such errors. So, the use of console.log and the other APIs will be much safer now.

Debugger changes

Node.js 8.0 comes without the legacy command line debugger. The direct integration of node-inspect into the Node.js runtime is meant for command line replacement. Besides, the V8 Inspector debugger (first introduced in Node.js 6.0 as an experimental feature) has been upgraded to a fully supported feature.

New JavaScript API for Inspector Protocol

Node.js 8.0 also sees the introduction of a new experimental JavaScript API for the Inspector protocol. This feature will pave the way for developers to make better use of the debug protocol to inspect running Node.js processes.

Above are the most important features and fixes that are going to be introduced in Node.js 8.0. I will explain the features in more details once the latest release is out for sometime. I hope the blog helps you understand what Node.js 8.0 has in store for you.

Would you like to give Node.js 8.0 a try? Do you really think that the new features of Node.js 8.0 will be a welcome change for developers? Please share your views in the comment box below.

Sources: nodejs.org

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JavaScript, the most commonly used language around the globe, continues to rise in popularity, making it essential for JavaScript developers to stay abreast of top frameworks available for it. However, the stint to pick the best JavaScript framework for your web development or app development project is not easy. You first need to assess your project needs and see how suitable the functionality of a particular framework is for your development project. Read this blog to know and understand top 6 JavaScript frameworks/libraries you may like to consider for your future development project.

A key to remember here is that every framework/library has its pros and cons. So, based on specific requirements of your development project, you could also find one, other than these five, the best fit for your project.

Top Seven JavaScript Frameworks/Libraries to Look For

#1 Angular.JS

Angular.JS, an open source framework supported by Google, is a structural framework for dynamic web apps. Angular paves the way to use HTML as a template language. It also enables developers to extend HTML's syntax, which in turn allows to express your application's components in a clear and succinct manner.

Angular is an MVC-type framework and offers two-way data binding between models and views. By the virtue of this data binding, it becomes possible to get automated updates on both the sides in an event of data change. Thus, Angular rids the need of performing the painstaking task of writing manual code for DOM manipulation.

The modern app world calls for stability, security and innovation. And this is what Angular ensures by allowing developers to combine the modern day development features with design elements. There are different versions of Angular you can use for your development project. However, the latest version, i.e. AngularJS 2.0, has gained a lot traction in quick time. The final version of Angular 2.0 was released on September 14, 2016, and is written entirely in Typescript and meets the ECMAScript 6 specification.

Angular has the biggest community of developers and is the most used JavaScript framework for developing Single Page Web Applications.

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Some of the popular AngularJS websites are Google, Youtube (PS3), Sky Store, Nike, General Motors, Guardian, and Huffington Post. You can pick Angular.JS for easy code integration, readiness for unit testing and fast development pace. AngularJS also becomes a good choice when it comes to building a complex web front-end application and using a single modular framework to take care of everything.

#2 React.JS (A JavaScript Library)

React.JS, an open-source JavaScript library first released in 2013 under BSD license for building user interfaces, is maintained by Facebook, Instagram and a community of individual developers and corporations. Since React is about user interfaces, it’s mainly the V in MVC. With React.JS, developers get a component layer to ease the process of creating UI elements and combining them together. React.JS was used to build the user interface of Facebook and Instagram, which proves the efficacy of ReactJS for building dynamic & high traffic applications.

One of the greatest advantages of React.JS is virtual DOM. The library can render a virtual DOM at client side or server side and communicate back and forth. As a result, it saves expensive DOM operations and makes updates in a very client manner. React also brings the re-usability in the form of reactive components. You can also create component libraries and use across applications. Another virtue of React is JSX, which allows developers to mix HTML with Javascript.

When compared to Angular, React lacks testing simplicity and component structure. However, unlike large AngularJS applications, debugging of self-contained components of large ReactJS apps is much easier. React is an ideal framework for JavaScript developers who want a powerful View layer, and not an elaborate framework for the rest of their application.

Click here to learn about top editors for React Native Mobile App Development

#3 Node.JS (Not a JavaScript Framework, then What Is It?)

Node.JS is not a JavaScript framework, but JavaScript has been put into use for writing many of its basic modules. We can say that Node.JS is an open source, cross-platform runtime environment for server-side and networking applications. Node.JS is popular for non-blocking, event-driven I/O for data-intensive real-time apps that run across distributed devices.

Node.JS runs on the V8 JavaScript Engine, which is developed by Google and and operates at a super speed. The framework obviates the need of forming separate threads by using a single thread or event loop to handle all the asynchronous I/O operations. With this suite, it becomes a cakewalk to perform major actions in web applications, like reading or writing to the database, network connections or file system.

You can go for Node.JS if your project requires the creation of fast, robust network application that is capable of dealing with parallel connections with increased productivity. LinkedIn used Node.js to take care of mobile traffic and saw a reduction in number of servers from 30 to 3. Not only this, the response time of the applications increased by 20 folds. One of the most popular Node.JS applications is Socket.io, which is designed to handle constant communication between the client and the server, and allows the server to push real-time updates to clients.

#4 Vue.JS

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, an MIT-licensed open source project, is a lightweight and easy-to-learn JavaScript library for building web interfaces. It comes with facilities like two way data binding and virtual DOM. Unlike Angular and React that often inundate developers with myriad things to develop a web app, Vue.js is simple and only calls for things that you need for effective completion of the task. Besides, Vue.js is relatively new, therefore obviates the need of acquainting yourself with its history before starting using it.

The library was first released in 2013, but not many developers took cognizance of it in web framework technology for the next two years. It was 2016 when Vue.js rose to fame and gained so much traction that it’s now seen as an alternative for even well established JavaScript libraries, such as Angular and React.

Vue.js Achievements in 2016

  • 1,531,217 NPM downloads

  • 26,000 Github Stars

  • 100,696,367 pageviews on Vuejs.org page

  • Vue.js version 2.0 launched in September 2016

  • Vue.js was 3rd most starred project in 2016 on GitHub

Vue.js team is working towards making documentations better in 2017. There will also be improvements in APIs and on-boarding experience in the Native Rendering. Testing is another area Vue team is focussing on. So, there will be more guidance in the docs and official testing utilities to allow developers to test Vue.js components at ease. Besides, Vue is likely to see better discoverability in 2017. The reason many developers are turning to Vue is that it addresses the issues of React and Angular. And, provides a way to code in a much simpler and easier manner.

#5 Meteor.JS

Meteor.JS is an open-source, full-stack, MVC-style JavaScript framework for building end to end mobile and web applications at breakneck pace. Meteor offers numerous integrations, support and features right out of the box, including frontend rendering, backend development, business logic and database management. There has been no looking back for Meteor after the first release in 2012 as an open source JavaScript framework under MIT license.

Developers recognize JavaScript as the universal scripting language in browsers on the client-side. However, with Meteor.JS, JavaScript can be used on the back-end as well, which saves a lot of time and improves efficiency. So, Meteor saves developers from the hassle of learning two different languages for frontend and backend. The official JavaScript of the Meteor platform is ECMAScript 2015 and every new Meteor project now uses it by default.

The best advantage of using Meteor.JS is that it enables development of real-time applications. No page refreshes or specific callback logic is required for Meteor apps to react to changes. Any changes in the database related to UI elements get updated on the app’s UI in real time. Meteor uses Distributed Data Protocol (or DDP) for querying and updating a server-side database.

Click here to learn more about Meteor.JS

#6 Ember.JS

Ember.JS, an open-source JavaScript web framework, is based on the Model–view–viewmodel (MVVM) pattern. Ember.JS is a nice alternative for Angular.JS and React.JS for building interactive frontend user interfaces and a single-page application (SPA). Similar to Angular, Ember also performs two way data binding. Ember’s Fastboot.js module opens doors to server side rendering of DOM.

Ember’s Router enables developers to stop breaking the web, a big problem earlier with JavaScript-based applications as they put the entire application under one URL. With Ember, URLs and a working back button are generated by default with every route you create. Besides, it’s easy to use the API.

Developers can also combine Ember with Ruby to build richer and more interactive web apps. Another advantage of using Ember is its CLI (Command Line), which provides a nice gamut of tools to remove the hassles of organizing code into modules, setting up build tools, creating mock servers for the frontend and writing common functionality in the app. Ember could be a good pick for large application ecosystems.

#7 Aurelia.io

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Aurelia.io, an open-source framework under MIT license, is also a new framework, officially announced January 26th, 2015, two years ago. The stable release of Aurelia.io came out in mid-2016 and it’s popularity has been on a significant rise ever since. Aurelia.io is fast and lightweight. Aurelia supports one-way data-binding and two-way data-binding. It even allows custom data binding with Angular syntax.

The reactive system of Aurelia delivers top notch performance which is much better than DOM-diffing, a major reason behind blazingly fast speed of Aurelia. The size of Aurelia is small and it also allows developers to further reduce its size by removing modules, lazy loading bundles, code splitting and more.

Aurelia enables developers to build applications using Javascript (ES5, ES2015), TypeScript or even something like CoffeeScript. Since Aurelia leans on ECMAScript 2016, it provides developers access to native modules, classes, decorators and many more. What makes Aurelia unique is the capability to build components using plain JavaScript, making your code clean and easy to evolve over time. Aurelia is highly modular and designed keeping in mind extensibility so that developers feel less burdened.

Aurelia can integrate with many third party libraries or frameworks as well, including jQuery, React, Polymer, Bootstrap, MaterializeCSS. Besides, the framework supports ES5, ES2015, ES2016 and Typescript, paving the way for high flexibility. Aurelia also has a very large community to keep it making better, with the support of numerous contributors and a big core team.

JavaScript Frameworks are important as they play a key role in streamlining the whole development process by removing the complexities of code structure, maintenance and design. Apart from the five that I have discussed above, there are a few other popular frameworks as well, including JQuery Mobile, Backbone.JS, Knockout.JS, Polymer.JS, and many more., that could also turn out to be a good fit for your development project. However, as I mentioned earlier, it’s paramount to assess your project needs and understand all the pros and cons before finally deciding on a JavaScript framework.

Have you ever used a JavaScript framework before? Do you want to add more to what’s already being discussed? As always, your comments are vital for all our readers, please add them in the comment box below.


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Linux, a freely distributable, cross-platform operating system based on Unix, was first launched in 1991, after a Finnish student Linus Torvalds felt the need for a new free operating system kernel. Although the earlier versions of Linux were not user-friendly, its open-source aspect allowed it to become robust and popular over the years. After more than 25 years of its launch, Linux Kernel has now reached a point where it’s enjoying popularity at its prime.

Linux Kernel attracted the attention of many programmers world over as it allowed them to design their own custom operating systems. This ensued the emergence of a wide range of operating systems based on Linux Kernel. The operating systems based on Linux Kernel are known as Linux Distributions, often abbreviated as “Distros”.

That the tech market is now flooded with various Linux Distributions, programmers often find it difficult to determine as to which Linux distro to go for. Having said that, I have compiled a list below comprising of 5 distros being used the most by developers across the globe.

Note: There is an abundance of distros out there, so don’t feel offended if I miss out on your favorite one.

Top 5 Linux Distributions for Developers

#1 Linux Mint 18.1

Linux Mint is a stable, robust, and elegant derivative of Ubuntu. Linux Mint particularly gained a lot of traction in developers’ community for providing out of the box software, like multimedia codecs. However, starting from Linux Mint 18.1, which is the latest release of Mint and is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Mint has stopped the practice of shipping codecs.

The three major reasons behind this move were: High cost, too much work for the Mint team to ship ISO images both with and without codecs, and the failure of shipping codecs to significantly improve the distribution.

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So, if you want to use Linux Mint 18.1, you need to install the relevant multimedia codecs yourself. To install multimedia codecs, you can either check out a box during installation, or click a button on the Welcome screen, or install them via Menu>Sound and Video>Install Multimedia Codecs.

Linux Mint offers familiarity and ease-of-use to the novice or Windows user. Linux Mint is also available with its own flagship desktop environment, called Cinnamon, which makes it suitable for modern PCs. With Cinnamon, Mint allows users to access a suite of distro specific tools and features that make it stand out. For lower spec PCs, Mint can be used with the MATE desktop environments. KDE and XFCE desktop environments also work with Mint.

#2 Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Ubuntu, a product of Canonical and built on Debian's architecture and infrastructure, is one of the most popular and reliable Linux distros for developers. The kind of professionalism it delivers in the form of Long-term Support (LTS) for five years after the release date, availability for both desktop and server editions, etc., makes Ubuntu a stand out choice for developers. Its latest version is Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and similar to previous versions, it’s also based on debian.

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Although Ubuntu’s default desktop environment is Unity, other flavors, including Gnome, KDE, LxQt, MATE and other community supported desktop environments, are also available. Ubuntu is a good choice for developers who have just started trying out their hands in web development. Ubuntu Make, a command line tool, is a special feature for developers to install with ease the entire development stack, tools, and various IDEs for Node.js, Dart, Rust, Swift, Go, Scala, Android, etc.. In short, Ubuntu users need to use one command to get the system ready to develop with.

And, not only established IDEs, like Eclipse, NetBeans, and MonoDevelop, are available via Canonical’s repositories, but lesser-known ones like Ninja, Anjuta, and Geany as well.

However, there have been controversies too with Ubuntu, like Amazon-based affiliate results within the Unity search results and creation of their own display server and init system. Nevertheless, Ubuntu still is a top choice for developers for providing a very capable and user friendly alternative to Microsoft Windows.

Click here to learn “7 Major Reasons Why You Should Upgrade To Ubuntu 16.04”

#3 Fedora 25

Fedora operating system is based on Linux kernel and GNU programs. It’s supported by Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). What makes Fedora an operating system worth using is its ability to integrate new package versions and technologies into the distribution. Two versions of Fedora were released in 2016: Fedora 24 and Fedora 25. Release types for Fedora are: Desktop, server and cloud. However, our area of concern in the blog is desktop.

Robust security is one of the top virtues of Fedora, thanks to default firewall and SELinux settings. Bleeding edge software availability, a solid GNOME desktop experience and a predictable release cycle are other advantages of using Fedora.

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GNOME 3 is the default desktop of Fedora, making the operating system free of complexity and easy to navigate. However, if you wish to use other desktop environment, you have several choices available, including KDE Plasma, XFCE, LXDE, Mate-Compiz, Cinnamon and the OLPC SOAS. Fedora also provides pedantic notes for each new release to help developers swiftly acquaint with the new version.

With Fedora, developers get to use the most recent versions of the bundled languages and runtimes for production. To cite an example, Ruby on Rails 5.0 and Go 1.7 can be used with Fedora 25. The latest Fedora also includes Mozilla’s Rust, multiple editions of Python and Docker. As far as development tools are concerned, Fedora’s software repositories give access to Eclipse, Vim, MonoDevelop, Code::Blocks and Geany. IDEs are also available for Arduino and MCU 8501 hardware boards.

However, the hassle with Fedora is the need to go for full upgrade at least once a year to continue getting support. Also, there are no long-term support releases. That apart, Fedora is a good choice for developers.

#4 CentOS7

CentOS is the abbreviation for Community ENTerprise Operating System. Although many developers may say that CentOS7 is not an apt choice for development, the reason for choosing it is the the efforts it’s been continuously making to improve the desktop experience for developers. CentOS is reliable, fast and stable.

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One of the top advantages of using CentOS is that it provides RHEL’s stability and long support lifecycle, but doesn’t force you to pay RHEL’s branding or support. The collaboration between CentOS project and Red Hat in 2014 led to significant rise in the popularity of CentOS. Though, CentOS is an independent project and scores good points by allowing developers to use a few nice versions of the RHEL code.

CentOS also provides long term support, but for specific editions. For instance, CentOS 7 is set for updates until 2024. However, its major disadvantages are: Not providing many common components by default that are usually found in a desktop build. So, if you are looking for MP3 playback support in any of the default CentOS repositories, you won’t find that. Another drawback is unavailability of popular IDEs. Here pops up a question, Why to use CentOS for development ?

Actually, the Red Hat Software Collections acts as the elixir by providing access to the desired third-party repository for CentOS. So, you can download tools that fit your specific needs. Moreover, it brings you the latest versions of many languages and platforms along with support. CentOS also significantly cuts down the risk of crashes and errors as it runs only on the most stable versions of packaged software. Firewall, the SELinux policy mechanism and many other security features make CentOS highly secured.

#5 openSUSE Leap

Before jumping on to openSUSE Leap, I am shedding light on openSUSE, which is a Linux-based project and distribution sponsored by SUSE Linux GmbH and other companies. OpenSUSE comes with YaST, which allows you to control the entire OS from one place, like network management, software update, etc.

You can easily install third party apps by visiting the online portal the software.opensuse.org, which works very similar to app stores. openSUSE offers packages that you can use to turn openSUSE into the type of installation you want. Open Build Service (OBS) also makes openSUSE stand out by paving the way for developers to package their applications not only for openSUSE, but for other popular distributions as well, like Fedora and Ubuntu.

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openSUSE Leap, on the other hand, is a novel way of building openSUSE and is new type of hybrid Linux distribution. Sources that are used by Leap come from SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). As a result, Leap provides stability way higher than other Linux distributions. openSUSE Leap 42.1 was the first hybrid distro in the history of Linux.

The developer-friendly advantages of using openSUSE Leap include formatting of root partition with BtrFS for enhanced system protection. In order to provide flexibility, a separate partition is formatted with XFS. BtrFS allows you to take snapshots of the file system. Also, it allows you to use subvolumes, which handles a subdirectory like its own file system. Several application-specific subvolumes you can configure using Leap are MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, the spooler, logs, and Mailman. You can also add your own subvolumes during setup. The environment options you get at setup time are Xfce, LXDE, Minimal X, Enlightenment, and plain old text mode, in addition to GNOME and KDE.

There are many other popular distributions, like Arch, Debian, Puppy Linux, Manjaro, etc. as well, but I have listed the ones that are popular the most. Before you go for a Linux distro, it’s recommended to have good knowledge of their advantages and disadvantages. I hope this blog helps you make a wise decision.

Have you ever used a Linux distribution before? If yes, please let us know what you liked or disliked the most about it. And, if you want to add something to what’s already being discussed above, please share your views in the comment box below.
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It often happens that a game-changing technology enters the tech market with a boom, but passes into extinction later. However, that’s certainly not the case with Node.js, which is an open source, cross-platform built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime. Node.js was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009, and the platform has now become an exceptional choice for real-time web application development that boosts ROI by providing a highly interactive user experience.

The best advantage of using Node.js is that developers can write JavaScript on both the client side and the server side. It’s worth mentioning that enterprises like PayPal, Yahoo, eBay, Netflix, The Mail Online, and Walmart have taken their respective businesses to fruition using Node.js. Read further to gain insight into 10 major reasons why most businesses are jumping on the Node.js-powered web app bandwagon.

Click here to learn about top JavaScript Frameworks/Libraries

10 Reasons behind Skyrocketing Popularity of Node.js for Web App Development

Image Source: CronJ

#1 Expedites the Development Process

Node.js uses the V8 engine developed by Google which allows compilation of JavaScript into native machine code and fast execution. Since Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, it’s very efficient and lightweight for in-memory usage and data dense real-time web applications that work on multiple devices.


With Node.js, you can execute common web application tasks very fast, like reading or writing to the database, reading and writing to network connections and reading or writing to the file system. Node.js is a blessing for developers who want to build quick, robust web applications that can effectively deal with parallel connections with increased throughput.


After LinkedIn opted for Node.js, it recorded a significant rise in its mobile traffic and also the reduction in the number of servers from 30 to 3. PayPal is another example that benefitted from Node.js. After using Node.js, PayPal saw a 35% downfall in their response time and doubled requests per second. You can run Node.js applications on multiple servers including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Unix.

#2 Excellent for Real-Time App Development

Image Source: agriyaservices.blogspot.com

You will agree that almost every company now looks for customer information in real time. For a simple reason, a reliable access to customer information as it’s being generated paves the way for significant boost in business sales by offering users what they are actually looking for, not something random that does not interest them. And over the past few years, having a real-time web app built using Node.js has emerged as the best way to notch that up.

With Node.js, all your worries related to low-level sockets and protocols go for a walk to the moon. Using Node.js, you can build a real-time web application as fast as making a simple blog in PHP. Node.js is a good fit for multi-user real-time web apps as in games and chat apps. The multi-user function is tackled by the event loop via websocket protocol which works on TCP. It also prevents the overhead of HTTP for web development.

#3 Data Streaming

Image Source: Quora

Although HTTP request and response are thought to be two isolated events, they are data streams in real. The beauty of Node.js is that it enables file processing while uploading. As a result, it saves a lot of time that goes waste in overall processing in the event of data coming in the form of streams. The same remains the case with real-time video or audio recording.

#4 Node.js is Omnipresent

JavaScript exists in both the browser and the server, thanks to Node.js for making it possible. If a company feel the need of changing the logic built for the browser to be shifted to the server, developers can do it with ease by using Node.js code migration. Though, there is not much difference in how the code written for either the browser or server runs.

#5 Allows to Use a Single Code Base for Web Applications

With Node.js, developers can automatically send and synchronize data between server and the client side as it allows developers to write JavaScript for both the server and client. Meteor, a web app framework created on top of Node.js, offers support to the same codebase for the client and the server. Any data change in the server is immediately visible on the client-side.

“Node.js is not a silver-bullet new platform that will dominate the web development world. Instead, it’s a platform that fills a particular need. Where Node really shines is in building fast, scalable network applications”, according to the web engineering company Toptal.

#6 Serves the Purpose of Proxy Server

One of the top advantages of using Node.js is that it serves as a proxy server for services with different response times or for collecting data from multiple source points.

To better understand consider this example: An enterprise has a server side application that is meant to communicate with third party resources, collect data from different sources, or store images and videos to third-party cloud services. Now, although the enterprise can use dedicated servers, Node.js is a better option in the event of non-existent infrastructure or when a solution is needed for local development.

#7 Robust Node.js Package Manager (NPM)

Node.js has a dynamic repository of dynamic tools and modules that programmers can share for app development. Node.js has thousands of thousands of modules one can use for various tasks, like files upload management, connectivity to MySQL databases or to Redis, via frameworks, template systems, and management of real-time communication with visitors.

Image Source: HostOnNet.com

Node.js package manager or NPM is a savior for many programmers who need to reuse a code some JavaScript developer from outside has created to solve a particular problem. NPM also allows JavaScript developers to download updates that are made to a particular code they have previously used in their applications. Even if you don’t want to reuse a code created by a JavaScript developer from outside of your organization, you can adopt the module based approach to improve synergy between your team members.

After using NPM, PayPal saw a significant rise in developer productivity. Besides, the Internet payment giant didn’t require as many developer to build an application as it required prior to using Node.js.

#8 Node.js is Excellent with Database Queries

For database queries, Node.js has an upper hand since JavaScript is used to write database queries for new NoSQL databases like MongoDB, CouchDB. It’s a big relief for developers as they don’t need to remember the syntax differences while performing the task of combining Node.js and NoSQL databases. Node.js is really a boon to real-time web apps, given the fact that the JSON stored data format allows smooth functioning without any obstacles in data conversion or mismatches.

#9 Node.js Hosting has Gone to a New Level

As Node.js has become very popular among developers, it’s hosting has gone a long way to become a big success. PaaS (Platform as a Service) service providers such as Heroku and Modulus offer support to node deployments to a single command. With Node.js hosting, you can reduce page load time by up to 50% and bring down the number of servers required to host the application.

CLick here to learn about “Cloud Computing Service Models”

#10 Flourished Open Source Community

Node.js is very community friendly. Having an open-source community, Node.js offers many outstanding modules to add a lot more amazing features to your web applications. For instance, Socket.io allows to deal with constant communication between the client and the server, thereby making it possible for the server to send real-time updates at the client-end side. Express.js, Koa.js, Hapi.js, Sails.js, Meteor and Derby are some other top-notch frameworks developed by the Node.js community to expedite the application development process.

The IoT community is also welcoming Node.js for embedded devices and robotics, like Cylon and Nodebots. Moreover, it has emerged as a giant player in the real-time web app development world. All the virtues of Node.js mentioned above are the major reasons why many companies now consider Node.js as a good technology for running heavy load web applications and allowing teams to move much faster in bringing their designs to life.

If you have ever used Node.js before for web app development, please tell us about your experience. Do you agree that Node.js is really a boon to web app development? As usual, your views are vital for us, please share them in the comment box below.

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For Internet users, form filling on many websites and mobile applications has become a common exercise to provide information, like email ID, name, product delivery address, etc, in order to use the services. After putting the required information, the form validates the information and allows you to use the services. However, form validation often frustrated many Internet users in the past as any wrong or incomplete information resulted in the page reload, forcing them to enter the whole correct information again.

But, problems don’t last forever in the technology world. That said, I am unveiling 10 useful JavaScript form validation libraries that show instant alert whenever an Internet user enters any wrong information, thereby saving the time of entering the whole information again. These JavaScript form validation libraries check the veracity of the information entered before sending it to the server. As a result, an invalid info dialog instantly appears in front of the info tab in which wrong information was entered, which saves the time and hassles of putting the whole correct information again.

10 Useful JavaScript Form Validation Libraries

#1. jQuery Validation Plugin

jQuery Validation Plugin.pngjQuery Validation, an MIT licensed plugin and created by jQuery mega creator Jörn Zaefferer, is one of the most popular choices of JavaScript developers. The plugin is tested with jQuery 1.6.4, 1.7.2, 1.8.3, 1.9.0.

jQuery Validation plugin makes it possible for web developers to address the most important functions and the issues pertinent to form validation. jQuery Validation plugin includes important contents, like errors container, file uploads, dynamics forms, etc. However, as nothing is perfect in this world, jQuery Validation Plugin also has a disadvantage, and that is its jQuery dependency. The plugin has got excellent documentation, which is being used by many developers world over. English is the main language for default error messages, though translation option is available for as many as 37 languages.

Click here to know “6 JavaScript Frameworks/Libraries to Look for in 2017”

#2. Validate.js

Validate.js also obtains licence from MIT, and is popular among web developers for being lightweight. When gzipped, Validate.js weighs in at around 2kb. Validate.js opens gates to validate JavaScript object in a declarative manner. Since Validate.js is unit tested with 100% code coverage,  developers can use it for production.

Unlike many other validation libraries that are very tightly coupled to a language or framework, Validate.js provides a cross framework and cross language way of validating data. Besides, the library is free of any required external dependencies and offers easy documentation.

#3. Parsley.js

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Parsley.js, an MIT licensed JavaScript form validation library, is powerful and easy to use. The library allows automatic detection of form modifications, and adapts the validations accordingly. Parsley is UX focussed and meets your exact requirements by allowing you to override almost every Parsley default behavior. Parsley is strongly tested and  is fit for every browser, including IE8. Using Parsley, you enable your users to get feedback on their form submission before sending it to the server. Parsley also comes with numerous predefined constraints, type constraints and extra validators.

#4. Verify.js


Verify.js, another MIT licensed form validation library, is fully customizable, easily extendable, unobtrusive, and includes grouped validations as well as asynchronous validations. However, before choosing it as a form validation tool, give a thought over its documentation which is currently in progress. There is a note on the top of its documentation, saying, “As this library and corresponding documentation is a work in progress, this API is subject to change.”

#5. GValidator

GValidator is LGPL licensed and is one of the most lightweight javascript form validation libraries. As GValidator is an automatic program, it frees you from the need of using even a single line of written command. Paying heed to high demand of browser applications, developers have made it compatible with most of the operating systems.


The goals behind GValidator development are as follows:

  • A user-friendly experience

  • Code flexibility and extensibility

  • A reusable and lightweight library

  • Promote adoption via ease of use

  • Cross browser compatibility

  • Semantically clean code

  • Standards compliant code

#6. Garlic.js

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Many Internet users feel annoyed when they are filling a huge web form and the tab closes due to browser crash or power failure or back button press. This often forces them to leave your website. If you don’t want this to happen with your users, you could give a try to Garlic.js, an MIT licensed JavaScript form validation library. The library saves precious data in event of accidental closure of the tab or browser crash. Some of its other useful features are custom javascript or ajax validation, auto expiration and infinite persistency.

#7. jQuery Ketchup Plugin

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jQuery Ketchup Plugin obtains license from GPL MIT and sports features like drag and drop. It’s API is inline and written with data-attributes. The plugin is very lightweight and comes packed with 18 basic validations to help you for future programming.

#8. Bootstrap Validator

Bootstrap-Validator.png

Bootstrap Validator is MIT licensed and used as a jQuery plugin for bootstrap, semantic UI, UI kit, pure and foundation. It supports HTML 5 and works with many other plugins too. Bootstrap Validator comes with 51 validators and 38 language packs. However, the library does not support Internet Explorer 9 and older as it depends on the HTML5 Constraint Validation API.

#9. xtypejs

xtype.png

Xtypejs, an MIT licensed library, is popular for being elegant, highly efficient data validation for JavaScript. It provides nearly 40 highly efficient, data-validating pseudo types. Using xtypejs, you can enhance the efficiency and readability of your application as it allows you to unify the most basic but common data and type validations in JavaScript apps, into single, concise, highly optimized operations.

#10. ApproveJs

ApproveJS.png

ApproveJs is an MIT licensed library that allows you to handle all of the validations by yourself. It doesn't automatically attach itself to input change events or form submit events. The library is for you if you want to control every function by your hand, since it does not manipulate the DOM for you by automatically displaying errors. It exposes a single method, value() and leaves you to decide when a value is validated and

how errors are displayed.

These JavaScript form validation libraries saves your site users from entering their information again in the event of accidental closure of their computer tab. Apart from the 10 listed above, there are many other libraries as well you could use for form validation purpose. So, don’t feel offended if I missed your favorite one.

Have you ever used a JavaScript form validation library before. Do you want to add to what’s already being discussed. As always, your views are vital for all our readers, please share them in the comment box below.

Sources: gitbub.com

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Vue.js, an MIT-licensed open source project, is a JavaScript library for building web interfaces. The library was first released in 2013, but not many developers took cognizance of it in web framework technology for the next two years. It was 2016 when Vue.js rose to fame and gained so much traction that it’s now seen as an alternative for even well established JavaScript libraries, such as Angular and React.

Since Angular belongs to search engine giant Google and React comes from social media behemoth Facebook, developers still trust and use those libraries more than Vue.js. However, Vue.js showed enough strength last year to make waves on the internet and emerge as a potential candidate to surpass the reach of Angular and React in many cases. This blog attempts to shed light on why there is a growing belief among developers that Vue.js is set to become the top JavaScript library, leaving behind Angular and React.

Check Out Vue.js Achievements in 2016

  • 1,531,217 NPM downloads

  • 26,000 Github Stars

  • 100,696,367 pageviews on Vuejs.org page

  • Vue.js version 2.0 launched in September 2016

  • Vue.js was 3rd most starred project in 2016 on GitHub

Why is Vue.js considered to be Better than Angular and React?

Vue.js is a lightweight and easy-to-learn library, with facilities like two way data binding and virtual DOM. Unlike Angular and React that often inundate developers with myriad things to develop an app, Vue.js is simple and only calls for things that you need to effectively develop an app. Besides, Vue.js is relatively new, therefore obviates the need of acquainting yourself with its history before starting using it.

Let’s First compare Vue.js to Angular

At present, Angular.js is the top JavaScript library, and with the release of Angular2, it’s growing even bigger. However, Vue.js is also learning from the success of established JavaScript libraries, like Angular, to become big soon. For instance, the release of Vue 2.0 last year was aimed at helping developers to build web apps with more advanced features at utmost ease.

Vue.js v/s Angular 1

#1. When it comes to API and design, Vue is way simpler than Angular 1. Also, Vue does not give rise to complex and tedious learning like Angular 1.

#2. “Vue.js is a more flexible, less opinionated solution than Angular 1. That allows you to structure your app the way you want it to be, instead of being forced to do everything the Angular way. It’s only an interface layer so you can use it as a light feature in pages instead of a full blown SPA”, said Evan You, Founder at Vue Technology LLC.

#3. Similar to Angular 1, Vue also supports two way data binding. But, Vue uses a one-way, parent-to-child data flow between components as default, which makes the flow of data easier to reason about in large apps.

#4. Another important distinction between Angular 1 and Vue.js is the clarity of separation between directives and components. Directives in Vue comprise DOM manipulations only, whereas components are meant for self-contained unit with its own view and data logic. The separation between the two often becomes very confusing for developers who use Angular.

#5. Since Vue does not use dirty checking, it performs better than Angular 1. Performance of Angular 1 goes down in the event of a lot of watchers because any change in the scope requires re-evaluation of all these watchers again. And, if some watchers trigger another update, there may arise the need to run the digest cycle multiple times in order to “stabilize”. To make worse, Angular users sometimes couldn’t find a way to optimize a scope with many watchers.

Vue is free of that, as it puts into use a transparent dependency-tracking observation system with async queueing. As a result, all changes trigger independently, barring the existence of explicit dependency relationships.

Vue.js v/s Angular 2

Angular 2 is not a version upgrade, but a complete rewrite. Angular 2 is faster than Angular 1 and some drastic changes have also been introduced in the API of Angular 2. The design of Angular 2 was created keeping in mind top-notch support for large enterprise applications, which was not possible with Angular 1. In addition to ES5, ES6and Dart, Angular 2 also uses TypeScript, which is a combination of ES 6, Types and Annotations. Angular 2 also brings “Components” as a replacement for “Controllers”.

Angular 2 has certainly become a big player in the JavaScript world. But nevertheless, Vue 2.0 is still a better choice in some cases.

#1. When we talk about performance, Vue 2.0 is faster than Angular 2, according to this 3rd party benchmark. Angular 2 has the capability of shrinking its size with offline compilation and tree-shaking, bur Vue 2 is still lighter. It’s true that tree shaking helps an Angular 2 app reduce its size by removing the codes that are not being used. However, the app grows back to its actual size when you start importing and using more features from the framework.

#2. Vue is less opinionated than Angular 2, so you get official support for numerous build systems. Besides, you enjoy the freedom of structuring your app the way you want.

#3. It’s easier to learn Vue than Angular2. Any developer who is familiar with HTML and ES5 JavaScript can use Vue.js, and start building at least non-trivial applications in quick time.

To understand from a developer’s perspective let’s look at the following lines of code

Credits: fadeit.dk

Areas where Vue gets the Edge Over React

Without a doubt, React has taken the JavaScript world by storm. But as it’s often said that no framework is popular forever, Vue has already started to give the social media giant’s product a run for its money. There are also many similarities between Vue and React, like a virtual DOM, reactive and composable view components, etc. But, here we intend to talk about the differences.

#1. Vue 2.0 comes with a faster and lighter Virtual DOM implementation than React, which reduces more number of overheads than React’s. Mainstream virtual DOM implementations are known to cause performance issues like re-rendering, requiring optimizations, etc. “Vue 2.0 tackles this problem by combining virtual DOM with its reactive dependency tracking system, so that the system can automatically and efficiently determine when and what to re-render, freeing the developer from unnecessary optimization work”, said Vue principal developer Evan You. The improved render performance also gives rise to faster updates in unoptimized Vue than unoptimized React.

Vue also performs better in production. There have been cases when Vue has handled 10 frames per second in development while prototyping high frame-rate data visualizations or animations, whereas React managed about 1 frame per second only. The major reason behind that was React’s invariant checks in development mode.

Check out a benchmark test that was published on vuejs.org and shows that Vue’s rendering system is faster than React.

 

Vue


React

Fastest

23ms

63ms

Median

42ms

81ms

Average

51ms

94ms

95th Perc.

73ms

164ms

Slowest

343ms

453ms


#2. React is all about JavaScript, often making reinvention of HTML and CSS within JavaScript a painstaking task. Also, the render function in React (or JSX) often involves a lot of logic and does not provide a visual representation of the interface. But same is not the case with Vue, which offers both template-based syntax and programmatic rendering with JSX or hyperscript.

With a template, it becomes easier for developers to think visually about the design and CSS. Also, a template will always be declarative, and any valid HTML will be valid in a template. There is also no need of advanced versions of JavaScript to increase readability.

#3. Vue is much easier to learn than React as it does not involve the learning of JSX, ES2015, or build systems. Since Vue.js can scale up, you can also begin learning the updated tools and best practices. However, an important point to note here is that React Native is popular for being a library that allows development of native mobile applications using Javascript. So, if your project is about developing a native mobile app, you must go for React.

#4. Vue’s two way data binding is simpler than React’s.

How React does it:

How Vue does it:

Credits: rlafranchi.github.io

What to expect from Vue in 2017

Vue.js team is working towards making documentations better in 2017. There will also be improvements in APIs and on-boarding experience in the Native Rendering. Testing is another area Vue team is focussing on. So, there will be more guidance in the docs and official testing utilities to allow developers to test Vue.js components at ease. Besides, Vue is likely to see better discoverability in 2017.

The reason many developers are turning to Vue is that it addresses the issues of React and Angular. And, provides a way to code in a much simpler and easier manner. But, one must not forget that Angular and React are still very big names in the JavaScript world, whereas Vue has just begun to rise. There is no good or bad framework. Any framework you choose should be based on how apt it’s functionalities are for your project and how comfortable you are using it.

What do you think about the future of Vue.js? Do you think it is right to compare Vue.js to established frameworks like Angular or React? As usual, your views are important for all our readers, please share them into the comment box below.

Sources: github.com

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Python 3.6, the newest major release of the Python language, has added a new module, called secrets, to help generate cryptographically strong random numbers for managing secrets, like account authentication, tokens and related secrets. Python developers are highly likely to prefer secrets over the default pseudo-random number generator in the random module, since it’s not meant for cryptography or security, but modelling and simulation.

Let’s understand with an example how one can create their own cryptographically strong pseudo-random values and generate tokens using the secrets module.

How to create Cryptographically Strong Pseudo-Random Values using secrets

>>> import secrets
>>> import string
>>> characters = string.ascii_letters + string.digits
>>> secure_password = ''.join(secrets.choice(chNo Records.aracters) for i in range(10))
>>> secure_password
'SRvM54ZAs1'

The first step is to import the secrets and the string modules. Then we create a string of uppercase letters and integers. Now, in order to choose characters randomly to generate a secure password, we need to use the secrets module’s choice() method. The reason it’s being called a secure password is because there’s been a use of mixed case, numbers and symbols in the password, which is highly advised to people to keep their passwords protected from hack attacks.

How to Generate Tokens using secrets

There is not one but several methods to generate tokens using the secrets module. Below are mentioned some examples to ease your learning on token generation using secrets.

>>>: secrets.token_bytes()
b'\xd1Od\xe0\xe4\xf8Rn\xf4G\xdb\x08\xa8\x85\xeb\xba>\x8cO\xa7XV\x1cb\xd6\x11\xa0\xcaK'

>>> secrets.token_bytes(8)
b'\xfc,9y\xbe]\x0e\xfb'

>>> secrets.token_hex(16)
'6cf3baf51c12ebfcbe26d08b6bbe1ac0'

>>> secrets.token_urlsafe(16)
'5t_jLGlV8yp2Q5tolvBesQ'

The token_bytes function here allows to return a random byte string containing nbytes number of bytes. A reasonable default could also be put into use when nbytes is None or not supplied. In the first example, there is no mention of number of bytes, hence Python itself choose a reasonable number there. The token-bytes function was used again, but this time with 8 bytes. The next function used was token_hex, to return a random text string, in hexadecimal. The token_urlsafe function is the last one used there, meant to return a random URL-safe text string. Base64 encoding was also used for text.

Click here to unveil 7 Python libraries to use in 2017

How Many Bytes to Use for Tokens?

You should have sufficient randomness for your tokens to secure them against brute-force attacks. It’s advised that at least 32 bytes (256 bits) of randomness should be used to protect tokens from security breaches.

The Python developer community will see the secrets module as an important addition to Python 3.6. With secrets, Python 3.6 developers now have a reliable way to generate cryptographically strong tokens and passwords.

What’s your view on addition of secrets to Python 3.6? Would you like to give the secrets module a try for generating tokens and passwords? Please share your views in the comment box below.

Source 1: http://www.blog.pythonlibrary.org/

Source 2: https://docs.python.org 


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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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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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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”


Image result for Batteries-Included django

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

Image result for Unique Admin Interface with django

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

Image result for Django’s ORM Takes Care of Databases

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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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

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    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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    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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    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.


    .



    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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    Last updated on: 02/05/2017

    Agile Project Management Methodology has emerged as a great alternative to traditional project management methodology, like Waterfall. Agile is predominant in IT and software projects since it allows to adapt to rapidly changing business environments. Unlike traditional project management, Agile calls for producing and delivering work in short bursts, also called sprints.

    Gathering all the requirements before the development team even starts writing the code puts your software at a great risk of being not in line with current market demands and become a failure. When you decide what your product should be in the very beginning, you tend to ignore important iterations that must be made during the development lifecycle, thereby preventing your final product from being the right fit for the market.

    A plethora of project management methodologies are available in tech market, however, for the success and timely completion of a project, it’s imperative to choose the one that fits your business requirements and empowers the product development to keep the pace with changing client demands.

    Key characteristics of Agile Project Management

    • Empowers developers to self-organize the task

    • Enhances learning, knowledge sharing and communications among team members

    • Emergent behavior to deal with uncertainty

    • No detailed documentation and calls for just enough planning

    • Continuous product refinement via regular iterations

    • Constant feedback, research and creativity

    • Faster completion of projects without compromising on the quality of desired product

    • Maximum ROI

    Agile project management is a boon especially to IT field because time determines the fate of your product. Since IT has become a fast-paced world, months have been reduced to weeks, and weeks have been reduced to days. If you take too long to develop a software, chances are high that the requirements for it change drastically by the time it is finally available for use, which makes Agility a matter of paramount importance. Agile enables the development team to work faster by dividing tasks into different sprints and incorporate innovation and uniqueness in the development process.

    Limited documentation in Agile project management also improves the pace of a product’s development lifecycle. Instead of long documentation that nobody has time to read, Agile calls for increased interaction among team members, customer feedback, imagination, coding, testing and new ideas. These factors result in appropriate response to a change rather than following a plan that has prerequisite measures and no room for dealing with a change. Unlike traditional project management, Agile paves the way to adapt to even last-minute changes.

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    source: http://www.softwareadvice.com/

    The biggest reason for the immense popularity of Agile is its basis - It’s not possible to determine all the tasks going to be required for completion of a software project up-front, design an architecture upfront and get all the requirements upfront. Agile is built upon the belief that constant feedback cycles, research, undisrupted interaction and creativity allows the plan, the requirements and the architecture of a project to gradually emerge. As a result, the end-product meets not only the client’s need, but latest market demands too.

    Although Agile project management has proved to be a great help for IT managers, nearly 48% of US project managers use it for non-IT projects as well.


    b2ap3_thumbnail_Agile-PM-Users-by-Project-Types.png

    source: http://www.adfkickstart.com/agile-methodology

    Since Agile project management is the best fit for businesses that have continuously changing environments and highly complex situations, it is often deployed in ever-evolving software and IT industry. However, non-IT managers have also begun to use Agile for project management as even they find it difficult to articulate requirements without seeing a tangible product first. Agile ensures production of a quality product that flawlessly meets client’s requirements.

    If you have ever used Agile and have additional inputs to add, please share them in the comment box below.

     

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    source: www.manageprojectsonsharepoint.com

     

    Is project management really a conundrum of almost every project manager? Well, experts say not for those who know to bring key project management methodologies to their advantage. A cutting-edge project management methodology is designed to assist project managers in flawlessly dealing with problems and ensuring timely completion.

     

    Moreover, a project management methodology allows project managers to set different tasks to complete a project and manage ad-hoc resources as and when the need arise.

    Usually, there are five processes in a project management methodology

     

    • Initiate
    • Plan
    • Execute
    • Monitor
    • Close
     

     

    An organization that takes the responsibility of completing a project for a customer has to deploy a project manager, right resources and a capable team to ensure the same. Therefore, a project management methodology acts nothing less than a savior for a project manager who is responsible for the entire project in the end. In this blog, I am discussing five most popular project management methodologies: PRINCE2, Scrum, Waterfall, NPI and RAD.

     

    Let’s begin!

     

    PRINCE2 (An acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments)

     

    PRINCE2 is a process-based project management method and is widely used by the UK government and private sector world over. The methodology has become immensely popular for delivering quality results within the stipulated period of time.

     

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                                                                          source: scilsng.com

     

    You must be asking how a project manager meets the end-goal of completing a project in time using PRINCE2. Pay attention to key features of PRINCE2 below:

    • Enables effective product-based planning and communication
    • Fit for any kind of project
    • Defines roles and responsibilities
    • Gives rise to consistency
    • Hassle free monitoring
    • Opens gates for learning
    • Results oriented not task oriented

    PRINCE2 makes it easier to decide who are the right people to take on your project and what tasks they are supposed to perform to complete the project. Besides, the method enhances risk management ability, managing quality and control changes on the project.

    SCRUM

     

    Let’s talk about the second project management methodology called as Scrum. It’s the best methodology that fits for projects free of budget constraints and requires a team that takes one project at one time. A dedicated team means more focus and effective communication. The project manager is called Scrum Master in this process.  

     

    Key features of Scrum:

     

    • Gives rise to high visibility of project
    • Cross-functional, self-organising teams
    • Early identification of problems
    • High productivity
    • Timely response to change
    • Enhanced communication
    • Easy project assessment
    • Predictable schedule to ensure timely delivery of project

     

    Waterfall

     

    Waterfall is a popular project management methodology in most industries in general, construction in particular. Waterfall is simple to understand and use. It requires completion of one phase before going ahead with the second one. After each phase a review is conducted to ensure that the project is on the right path, which helps remove discrepancies and take necessary actions.

     

    Benefits of Waterfall:

    • Simple and easy to use
    • Management ease due to review process and specific deliverables in each phase
    • One phase at one time
    • Ideal for projects that involve physical objects, like buildings or computers
    • Easy to replicate project plans for future use
    • Allows to visually see and communicate a target delivery
    • Easy forward and back planning to ensure timely completion of a project

    NPI (New Product Introduction)

     

    NPI is a process that businesses and companies use for products. NPI helps managers figure out effective ways to develop products as per customer requirements and bring them in the market. NPI is highly useful for companies that are looking forward to respond to customer requirements and market demands.

     

    images.png

    source: www.almengineeringsolutions.co.uk

    Advantages of using NPI:

    • Automates task
    • Removes performance bottlenecks
    • Gives rise to consistent execution and continuous improvement
    • Gives management visibility
    • Allows to introduce products on time
    • Standardize format and attributes for different deliverables
    • Initiates company specific new product introduction process

     

    RAD (RAPID Application Development)

     

    RAD is often referred to the conventional Waterfall and is used for rapid development of products. RAD is mostly used for software development and has very less to do with planning tasks since entire focus is on development. RAD allows to make subsequent improvements and adjustments as a project progresses.   

     

    Advantages of RAD:

     

    • Faster delivery time
    • High quality
    • Improves flexibility and adaptability to changes
    • Highly efficient to handle big-size projects
    • Reduces project risk
    • Helps incorporate short development cycles
    • Low cost
    • Low maintenance

     

    All the above discussed project management methodologies have their own advantages. Before you choose a project management methodology, you must have a clear understanding of your business requirements and functioning of various project management methodologies.

     

    If you have ever used a project management methodology and have additional inputs about project management and techniques, please add them in the comment box below.















     

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    Cloud computing is a boon to every business, irrespective of the size. However, small or medium sized businesses (SMBs) can make the best of them since they can effectively run their business operations without making hefty investments. Unlike cash-strapped businesses, large businesses can afford expensive hardware, software, infrastructure and human resources for streamlined business functioning, thus cloud computing proves the be the kind of panacea for SMBs.

    Nearly 37% of small businesses in the US are currently using cloud services and the figure is likely to surge to 80% in coming 4 years. “The cloud is transforming how small businesses operate and the way companies like ours serve the needs of entrepreneurs," said Joshua Reeves, CEO and co-founder of ZenPayroll, a simple, cloud-based payroll service for accountants and bookkeepers. Reeves adds that his cloud-based payroll service helps businesses get rid of the hours of frustration of dealing with complex tax calculations, countless forms etc. Besides, business owners get time to work on their relationships with employees to appreciate and motivate them. Cloud computing services can be divided into three broad categories:  Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

    Let’s talk about as to how cloud computing helps SMBs grow

    • Reduction of business costs: Small businesses can go for cloud-hosted servers to get access to robust and scalable computing. Cloud computing services also minimize IT requirements and physical storage, which helps small businesses cut significant business costs.  When a small business starts growing and witnesses a rapid rise in number of customers, cloud service provider automatically allocated as many servers as requires to effectively handle high traffic. Cloud services can be both scaled up and down based on the business requirement, thus saves the costs of buying and installing new hardware and software. 
    • Top-notch Functionality: A small business has to deal with the conundrum of matching the top class functionality of a large, established business. Since resources to create the custom functionality are expensive, it becomes difficult for small business owners to effectively manage their businesses. But all such business woes are eliminated by cloud computing. A cloud service provider will provide enough flexibility to your business to enhance development, improve maintenance and enable upgrades. 
    • Special services for back-office operations: In future, small businesses can integrate cloud-based plug-in players into their back-office operations to rid the need of spending time and energy on menials tasks related to finance, marketing and human resources. Thus, more small businesses will begin availing cloud services to save both money and effort at their end, which in turn will help other important areas of business.Acloud-computing1 (1).gifsource: www.technewbrand.com 
    • Easy collaboration and no time constraint: When all business related files and documents are saved in cloud, anyone with permission from administrator can access them at any point of time. Such a service gives significant rise to collaboration and removes time-constraint, an important factor to bring success for a new startup or a business  
    • Opportunity to become big: Growing number of platforms and plug-in services will enable small businesses to establish themselves in market that were previously dominated only by large companies. For example, AirBnb, a website that enables people to rent their homes and uses cloud services from AWS, helps individuals expand their reach to mass market via community infrastructure.  
    • High security: Cloud service providers always keep a backup of your important business data. Since the data is also stored offline, chances of hacking, viruses, and other cyber-security issues go out of the equation. 
    • Improved efficiency: Small businesses can improve efficiency to a big extent by adopting cloud computing services. Via cloud computing, operations of a small business do not get hampered because of power requirements, small space and software updates.  

    Cloud computing helps SMBs set up a robust, scalable infrastructure on cloud to ensure smooth functioning of business operations and reduction of costs. Cloud computing offers tremendous opportunities to SMBs to grow without making huge investments. 

    Please give your additional inputs about how cloud computing could help SMBs in the comment box below.

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                                                source: parthiansystems.com

                                               

     

    What business decisions you make determines the fate of your business. It’s makes enough sense to say that decision making for a business no longer have a reliance only on gut-feeling, past experiences etc since we are now living in a digital-enriched world wherein a huge piles of data is present to make informed decisions. According to Chris Jordan, President, iOLAP, Inc, “Success of any business has a lot to do with unlocking the value of data and convert it into trusted information for critical decision making.”

     

    Since massive amount of data from disparate sources exists in structured, semi-structured and unstructured form,  data integration plays an imperative role to turn it into trusted information.  

    Why Data Integration Holds Significant Importance for Businesses

     

    Data integration helps in converting data from different sources into a structured set of information to make it usable for end-users without complex coding. It allows chief managers to gain insight into customer’s behavior and devise effective marketing strategies.

    Benefits of Data Integration

     

    • Creates value for your business
    • Improves business intelligence
    • Allows timely access to business data
    • Allows integration of diverse businesses and their processes through shared data
    • Enables chief managers to meet business goals
    • Helps in creating valuable database
    • High ROI                                      Data_Integration_Acceleration.png

                                                           source: superdevelop.com

                                       

     

    Data lake is a term referred to a gigantic amount of data which has not been transformed into meaningful information yet, thus brings no benefit for the holder. However, data integration tools, like Pentaho, help convert it into streamlined data refinery with ease to enable chief managers to make informed decisions. Data integration software hold the key for business managers to make predictions, improve business operations and offer products to customer that fit in their interest areas.

     

    Data integration tools enable ETL (extraction-transform-load) to process big data sources in familiar ways. Moreover, data integration tools give you access to their big library of pre-built components, which make it easier for you transform data from a full spectrum of sources. Sub-areas of data integration comprise of data warehousing, data migration, enterprise application and master data management.

    Below is the list of 10 popular data integration tools  

     

    • Astera

    • IBM’s Agile Data Integration
    • Pentaho
    • SAP
    • Jitterbit
    • Oracle Data Integration
    • Informatica
    • HVR Software
    • Information Builders
    • Adeptia

     

    Data integration also gives rise to Predictive personalization, which is the new mantra for businesses to increase their sales numbers and keep on adding new customers to the list of loyal customers. It helps you create a good brand value in the market as invokes a feeling among customers that you pay heed to their individual preferences and deliver tailor-made solutions. CRMs, social media, websites, news feeds etc. generate a lot of data about customers, but without data integration, it’s not possible to make sense of it and figure out what sort of personalized experience your prospective customers are demanding from you. Data integration tools do not cost much and take less time to provide you vital information to transform your business into a big success.

     

    Exploring highly interactive and high-performance information via data integration opens gates to take informed business decisions and take your business to new heights.

     

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