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Be it a website, app or any other form of software, the toughest challenge that most businesses face is to find right talent, hire them and retain them in-house. Startups, especially, have a limited budget and can’t bear the high cost of hiring experienced developers for specific requirements and managing their IT requirements. These are the major reasons why many businesses, regardless of business size, go for offshore software development - A panacea for all software development woes.

Offshore development is synonymous to outsourcing your development project to a company or freelancers located in some foreign country, like India, Ukraine, etc. The best part though is you still control everything from within your organization, that too with reduced costs and more time at your disposal to focus on other core activity of your business. Also, there are many project management tools available in the tech market, like FindNerd and Trello, to help monitor development process and collaborate with offshore developers for the best outcome.

You may have a great business idea for an app or website, but without access to wide skill-set professionals, it’s very difficult take your idea to fruition. This is one of the major reasons why offshoring has become very popular in countries like US and UK. Software talent in these countries is very expensive and the cost of training and retaining them is also too high. Let’s take one by one the benefits of offshore software development that largely outweigh the benefits of having an in-house development team.

#1 Significant Cost Savings

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In Western Europe or North America, the cost of hiring software developers is approximately 90% higher than the cost of hiring offshore developers. It’s no secret that outsourcing your project to a software development company saves 20 to 40% of your total expenditure on your production cost.

You need not to bear the high expense of paying fixed salaries. Outsourcing allows you to hire professionals and pay them based on the task they have performed and the number of hours they have spent on it. By deploying a good project management tool, you can keep complete track of resources that have been assigned and their activities towards the completion of your project.

Another cost advantage of outsourcing is that you free yourself from buying expensive IT infrastructure and set-ups. Thus, you can use your capital for other important business investments.

#2 Improved Focus on Business and Customer Base

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Having outsourced your IT requirements to an offshore software development company, you find ample of time to focus on other core areas of your business, like marketing and branding of your business. You can devise new ways to boost your marketing and sales effort so that you have a good user base after your software enters the market. Being able to focus on other core areas of your business, you get a competitive advantage in the technological race.

#3 Hire Talented Professionals You Can’t have In-House

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Technology has become very diverse, and so as software development project requirements. And, it’s not only expensive to hire wide skill-set professionals, but finding them and roping them in is the toughest call in the first place. Offshoring comes as rescuer here by paving the way for you to hire nothing less than the best for your software development project.

Most of the offshore software development firms have a large pool of resources and technical expertise readily available to fit even the toughest software development and testing requirements. It’s just one time investment after analyzing your specific requirements and project size. Besides, there is no headache of recruiting, hiring, training, and housing employees for short-term projects.

#4 High Quality

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Since your project is being taken care by expert designers and developers who use latest tools and technologies, the quality of the project is always on a par with international standards. If you are not satisfied with something, you can always ask the offshore development company to redo so that it precisely meets end user requirements. By outsourcing your project, you can ensure that your software delivers accurate results and is in line with current market demands.

#5 Infrastructure and Environment

For developers, it’s very essential to have right IT infrastructure and environment to give their best. Most offshore software development companies are serious about their job and have sophisticated infrastructure and favorable business environment. As a result, productivity and efficiency rise by many folds.

#6 Highly Secured

Another advantage is the fact that most offshore software development companies offer high-tech security. They provide complete security to your confidential data and property.

#7 Timely Delivery

Software project requirements are often very complex and may require dozens of people working on different parts. Therefore, it becomes very difficult at times to figure out the accurate number of people you need to hire for timely completion of your software project. Besides, if some of them leaves in between, the team size shrinks, resulting into low productivity and pushing the deadline further. However, same is not the case with outsourcing. A good offshore software development firm provides you the actual number of people your project requires for timely completion.

To ensure timely delivery, you should choose a firm that has a good project management system, like FindNerd, as it helps track resources and keep a check on productivity on day-to-day basis. Besides, you would only pay for the number of people who actually worked on your development project.

Offshore software development has emerged as a very lucrative option for businesses to reduce overhead costs and get a quality product developed, that too on time. There is no need to have an in-house development team when an offshore firm can arrange everything your project needs at economical prices. If you are also looking forward to get a quality product developed through an offshore software development company, let us know in the comment box below or click here.
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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 Six 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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A plethora of tools is available in the tech market for automated testing of Java/J2EE applications. However, for this blog, I have winnowed down the long list of Java testing tools to the most used and popular ones, based on the reviews of some Java developers I recently talked to. So, don’t feel offended if I miss out on your favorite Java testing tool, as there is no perfect tool in this world. The 8 Java testing tools/frameworks I am going to discuss in this blog are meant for unit testing or functional testing or for specific types of Java components such as view, logic and validation components.

8 Useful Tools/Frameworks for Java Testing

#1 JUnit

Without a doubt, JUnit is the most popular Java testing framework out there. The framework is open source and is widely used by Java developers for writing & executing unit test cases. JUnit has also been one of the major forces behind the adoption of test-driven development methodologies. JUnit comes as a packaged JAR (Java ARchive) library, and you can download junit.jar and hamcrest-core.jar files from GitHub before placing them in your test class path.

The Java testing framework is very simple to use, and provides annotations for test method identifications. Assertion is another exciting feature of JUnit which it uses to test the expected results. With JUnit, Java developers can quickly run unit tests and get instant results via red/green progress bar.

Although JUnit is a popular unit testing framework, it can also be used for integration and acceptance tests. So, you can easily integrate JUnit with standard IDEs, like eclipse and netbeans.

#2 JWalk

JWalk is a Java testing tool that relies on Lazy, Systematic Unit Testing. The tool performs bounded exhaustive testing of any compiled Java class, supplied by the programmer.

Although JUnit enables to frequently retest the modified code, the manually created test scripts often remain incomplete. But that’s not the case with JWalk, which operates directly on the compiled code for Java classes and uses a new lazy method for inducing the changing design of a class on the fly. Besides, fully automated checking gradually takes over manual inspection of the test report.

For systematic testing, JWalk performs exhaustive testing of the whole state-space of the object to ensure compliance with the specification. The tool is smart enough to infer the specification from hints supplied by the programmer during the testing process, and from smart assumptions made about the intended design of the code.

#3 Mockito

Image source: SlideShare

Mockito, an open source framework under MIT license, is one of the most famous mocking frameworks for Java. The reason why mocking frameworks have become popular is that they improve unit tests by removing the outside dependencies, thereby giving rise to better, faster, independent unit tests. Unlike other mocking frameworks, Mockito makes it possible to verify the behavior of the system under test (SUT) without setting up expectations in advance.

The existence of a robust coupling between the test code and the SUT often makes it difficult to deal with mock objects. However, Mockito minimizes the coupling by removing the expect-run-verify pattern through elimination of the expectations specification. Therefore, Mockito paves the way for simpler test code that is easier to read and modify.

#4 TestNG

Image source: Software Testing Class

TestNG is a testing framework inspired from JUnit and NUnit, but it has more powerful and easy-to-use functionalities. TestNG was designed keeping in mind a broad testing spectrum: Unit, functional, end-to-end, integration, etc. Testers prefer TestNG over JUnit for mainly three reasons:

  • Easier understanding of annotations

  • Easier grouping of test cases

  • Enables parallel testing

Besides, various tools and plugins, like Eclipse, IDEA, Maven, etc, support TestNG. The NG means next generation. Other virtues of TestNG are flexible test configuration, support for data-driven testing, JDK functions for runtime and logging (without dependencies), code testing in a multi thread safe, etc.

#5 JwebUnit

JwebUnit is a Java framework used for functional, Regression and Integration testing of web applications. The framework provides a simple interface for writing test cases, and is a good choice for screen navigation testing.

JwebUnit uses testing frameworks like HtmlUnit and Selenium to provide a unified, simple testing interface, thereby making it possible for you to quickly test the correctness of your web applications. If you want to use the latest version of JwebUnit, i.e. 3.3, you need to have the knowledge of Java 1.7.

#6 TagUnit

Similar to JUnit, TagUnit also has test cases, test suites and tests that are written as assertions. An important distinction to JUnit is that tests are written as JSP pages, not Java classes. JSP tags are either built-in or user-defined tag elements that remove a huge burden from JSP to separate reusable components.

Java classes are used to write the functionality of Tags. If you think that using JUnit is enough to test them directly, you’re wrong. Since they are not standalone classes, a JSP needs to be converted into Servlet to call the tag classes. This is another reason why TagUnit is also called a tag library for testing custom tags within JSP pages.

# 7 HTMLUnit

HTMLUnit, an open source library and a headless browser, is written in Java and is widely used for Integration testing. JSPs are designed to run inside the web container. However, HTMLUnit is well capable of testing the View part even without the container. Using Jasper, JSPs are first manually converted to Servlet class. And since the container is not running, simulation of the request and response behavior needs to be done. For this, one needs to create Mock objects of JSPWriter, PageContext, HTTPServletRequest and HTTPServletResponse.

It won’t be right to call HtmlUnit a generic unit testing framework. It simply provides a way to simulate a browser for testing purposes.

#8 Arquillian

Image source: Geek On Java

Arquillian is an integration testing framework for Integration and Functional testing of Java. Without any exaggeration, it’s a highly innovative and extendable testing platform for JVM. Arquillian offers testers the-much-needed ease in creating automated integration, functional and acceptance tests for Java.

The tool also rids the need of creating mock objects and removes the hassles of dealing with container lifecycle and deployment. Arquillian also integrates with other testing frameworks, like JUnit 4, TestNG 5, and launches tests using existing existing IDE.

The tech market is flooded with numerous Java testing tools. However, for this blog, I have picked the ones that are mostly used by Java developers and testers. I hope the list above helps you choose a Java testing tool that best fits your needs. Always remember, there is no good or bad tool. Based on functionalities and varied requirements, a Java testing framework that is good for someone may not be so good for you. So, make your decision after assessing your project requirements and acquainting yourself with all that’s on offer by a Java testing tool.

Have you ever used a Java testing framework before? Do you want to discuss a tool that you previously used for Java testing, but it’s not being listed in the blog? Your views are vital for all our readers, 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

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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

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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

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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

Vuejs.org

Valuecoders.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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HTML, an abbreviation of Hyper Text Markup Language, first came into existence in late 80s to help describe a document’s structure and to allow cross-linking of documents. HTML has evolved multiple times since then, and many developers worldwide use it to provide better, faster, more consistent user experiences for desktop and mobile visitors. HTML now enjoys the close association with two allies - CSS and JavaScript. CSS enhances the appearance of HTML by describing the way the document is supposed to look. JavaScript, on the other hand, makes HTML more interactive. However, in this blog we will focus on the benefits of using the latest versions of HTML standard and CSS for business purpose.

As more and more people now prefer smartphones or tablets over PCs to surf the internet, mobile friendly sites with good user experience have become the need of the hour. Paying heed to the current demands of rich media, cross device and mobile internet access requirements, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in October 2014 published HTML 5, the fifth and the latest version of the HTML standard.

A Brief Introduction to HTML5

One of the biggest differences between HTML5 and previous versions of the HTML standard is that it provides one common interface to load elements in multiple browsers. Since the older versions of HTML require proprietary plugins and APIs, a web page that was built and tested in one browser may not load correctly in another browser. But same is not the case with HTML5, which completely obviates the need of installing a Flash plugin by allowing the element to run by itself.

HTML5 was designed keeping in mind cross-platform mobile application development. Besides, new syntactic features in HTML5, like video, audio and canvas tags, were specifically introduced to support multimedia on mobile devices. Offline storage is also one of the virtues of HTML5.

Unlike native applications, HTML5 applications do not link themselves to the underlying operating system while running within a web browser. Therefore, developers who use HTML5 don’t face the hassles of dealing with the time-consuming and complex development processes that native applications based on the internal operating system require. With capabilities to create visually appealing websites and interactive web applications, HTML 5 is likely to see continuous rise in its popularity.

A Brief Introduction to CSS

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets and has become a popular language for implementing front-end web design. The style sheet language describes the presentation of a document written in a markup language. When CSS was first designed, the primary intention was to enable distinction between the document content and the presentation of the document, including aspects such as the layout, colors, and fonts.

The capability of CSS to separate formatting and content makes it possible to correctly display the web page on different screen sizes and browsers. CSS3 is the latest version of CSS and has gained a lot of traction for contributing greatly to the popularity, ease of use and accessibility of the internet. The combination of HTML5 and CSS3 offers a lot of benefits, which is the next and most important section of this blog. Let’s take a walk through.

Why to Use HTML5 and CSS3 for Your Business?

#1 Saves Cost of Multi-Platform Development

With HTML5 and CSS3, there is no need to write multiple codes for different mobile platforms (like Android, iOS, Windows, etc). A single batch of code is good enough with HTML5 and CSS3 to run across multiple platforms. We call it an advantage because having to write one code for multiple platforms saves significant development and maintenance cost.

#2 Boosts Digital Marketing and SEO Efforts

To attain a good rank on search engines, the web page needs to be semantically accurate, and this is one of the best strengths of HTML5. It’s a known fact that a well-structured HTML page is easily read by search engines, which increases the possibility of bringing more organic traffic to your site. Content is the king but without an SEO-friendly web page, it’s highly unlikely for your site to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Specific mark-up features of HTML5 helps search engines easily find items like images, videos, scripts, style sheets, and more. The semantic elements of HTML5, on the other hand, allow developers to define different parts of web pages with ease.

img_sem_elements.gif

#3 Compatibility with All Browsers and Devices

Many browsers are not compatible with all types of web pages, but HTML5 and CSS3 offer multi-browser and device support. With HTML5 and CSS3, developers can use many coding techniques to ensure that their sites run hassle-free on all browsers and devices.

#4 Offline Web Experience

You must have come across apps that can be used offline. Similar to that, HTML5 also allows to locally store web application code and content. The offline application cache allows HTML5 to support the storage of the code locally. It’s a boon to many businesses, like publishing, as allows access to the site even when the users are offline or have no internet connection.

#5 Geolocation

Geolocation is another brilliant feature of using HTML5, giving developers the-much-needed freedom to build apps that are location specific. Food and ecommerce sites are good examples of location-based apps. Every place has its own culture and buying habits. So, if you know the location of your users, you can offer them products that are popular there and figure out choices they are likely to make.

#6 Multimedia Support

HTML5 comes with audio and video elements to embed and allow the manipulation of new multimedia content. WebRTC makes it possible to connect to other people and control video conferencing directly in the browser. The Camera API in HTML5 provides a way to use, manipulate, and store an image from the computer’s camera. HTML5 offers a gamut of multimedia features to enhance user experience.

#7 Responsive Design

CSS3 helps developers create a webpage that is both responsive and aesthetic. Since users are likely to access your site or app via desktops, tablets or smartphones, it’s important that your web page looks good on all devices. Compared to the older versions of CSS and HTML, the latests ones (CSS3 and HTML5) help in a better way to resize, shrink, enlarge, hide, or move the content to make it look good on various screen sizes. CSS3 also sports features, like fancy borders, animation, typography enhancement, background styling features and additional presentational layouts, to add visual appeal to the web page. CSS3 is flexible, therefore you can make desirable changes to the web design process by tweaking the CSS3 code.

#8 Improved User Experience and Business Intelligence

The mix of HTML5 and CSS3 gives rise to the creation of web sites and web applications that are user-friendly and easily accessible. Every digital marketer knows that good user-experience ramps up conversion rates, which is why many web pages have already been built using the two languages in question. Besides, HTML5 allows to collect important data about customer behavior and run analytics on that to make right business decisions.

Putting HTML5 and CSS3 into use in the right manner opens new avenues for developers to build websites and web applications that are user-friendly, easily accessible and visually appealing. Apart from reducing cross-platform development cost, the two languages give a significant boost to your content marketing and SEO efforts. Being able to do so increases the visibility of your business, creates brand value and brings more loyal customers, which is the key to high ROI. So, you can use HTML5 and CSS3 for your business to increase your reach and optimize web experience.

Have you ever used HTML5 and CSS3? What you think about the future of HTML5 and CSS3? Do you want to add more to what’s already being discussed? Please share your views in the comment box below.

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According to PYPL Index (PopularitY of Programming Language) and TIOBE Index (The Importance of Being Earnest), Java is the most popular programming language world over. Since Java was introduced 20 years ago, several libraries, utilities, and programs are already available in the tech market that tout to be the best for Java development. However, before you choose a tool for your Java project, it’s paramount to know about its functionality, simplicity, flexibility, effectiveness and how suitable it is for your project. That said, I am discussing 7 popular Java tools you may find worth using to remove the complexity of your Java development project in 2017.

7 Tools for Java Developers to Add to Their Toolkit in 2017

#1 Eclipse

Eclipse, an open-source integrated development environment (IDE) and sponsored by IBM, continues to be one of the top choices among Java developers. Eclipse offers constant assistance while coding. So, instead of digging through documentation, you can complete your code through methods with ease and in quick time. Eclipse also offers tool-assisted refactoring and syntax checking, which ensures that developers write correct code while they type.

Eclipse also offers Java Development Tools (JDT) project that provides a set of plugins to empower the Eclipse platform with a full-featured Java IDE. Easy access to a wide range of plugins helps developers build all kinds of Java applications.

Besides Java, Eclipse offers support for languages, like C/C++ and PHP. Neon, the eleventh named release of Eclipse software and the latest version of Eclipse, includes content from eighty-five Eclipse projects. It brings support for high DPI monitors on Windows and Linux. Neon also provides improved editing tools, improved JavaScript and JSON tools, and support for PHP 7.

#2 NetBeans

NetBeans, an open source project and sponsored by Oracle, provides developers robust software development products (the NetBeans IDE and the NetBeans Platform) to make optimum use of Java platform for quick, easy and efficient Java development. NetBeans is recokned as the original free Java IDE. Similar to Eclipse, NetBeans also offers cross-platform support and support for various languages, like PHP, JavaFX, C/C++, JavaScript, etc. However, unlike Eclipse which is a plugin based IDE, Netbeans is a tool-based IDE and has many projects. With NetBeans, developers get the freedom of incorporating many platforms using tooling support.

Although NetBeans is not as flexible, simple and fast as Eclipse is, its default support of AWT or Swing makes it an interesting choice over Eclipse. This IDE allows developers to implement the latest Java technologies in their applications by using a gamut of features like converters, editors and code analyzers.

#3 IntelliJ IDEA 13.1

IntelliJ IDEA 13.1, a product of JetBrains, is very popular for being the most intelligent and user friendly Java IDE. The smart code completion feature of IntelliJ IDEA helps developers quickly navigate through their code. Besides, error analysis and swift fixes make the life of Java developers easy. Although features like code completion, refactoring and navigation are available with many other IDEs too, none makes coding assistance as intelligent and efficient as IntelliJ IDEA does.

IntelliJ IDEA comes to the rescue when you don’t remember class name with a static method or a constant. All you need is to type the constant name and call code completion twice. After you do that, IntelliJ IDEA brings you a list of classes containing members with the name you’re looking for. Not only this, the IDE automatically adds required import statements after you decide to use one of the variants. Owing to accessible interface and the deep code intelligence feature, IntelliJ IDEA surpassed Eclipse in popularity in 2016.

IntelliJ IDEA is available under two editions - the free Community Edition, and the subscription-based Ultimate Edition. It’s worth noting that Android Studio, an open source IDE for Android apps, is based on the open source community edition of IntelliJ IDEA. The Community Edition offers support for several Java-based languages, but not for as many languages as The Ultimate Edition does.

Languages

IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition

IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition

Java

Yes

Yes

Clojure (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

Dart (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

Erlang (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

Go (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

Groovy

Yes

Yes

Haxe (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

Perl (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

Scala (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

XML/XSL

Yes

Yes

Kotlin

Yes

Yes

ActionScript/MXML

No

Yes

CoffeeScript

No

Yes

Haskell (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

HTML/XHTML/CSS

No

Yes

JavaScript

No

Yes

Lua (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

PHP (via separate plugin)

No

Yes

Python (via separate plugin)

Yes

Yes

Ruby/JRuby

No

Yes

SQL

No

Yes

TypeScript (via separate plugin)

No

Yes

Source: Wikipedia

For Java developers, IntelliJ IDEA is a means of advanced support for web and mobile development. The IDE supports all platforms and top frameworks, including Java EE, Spring, Android, GWT, Vaadin, Play, Grails, Hibernate, Thymeleaf, AngularJS, React, Velocity, Freemarker, Struts, Guice, JavaFX, Swing.

#4 JUnit

JUnit, an open-source framework, is the go-to tool of choice for unit testing of Java apps. Instead of writing special method name, JUnit calls for using annotations, like @Before in the place of setup method. There are many frameworks that also enable developers to write and run tests, but JUnit has become the most popular choice for unit testing as it allows to test one block of code at a time. So, there is no need to wait for the module to finish before you run a test. The ability to test and then code increases productivity and stability of program code and reduces the time for debugging.

JUnit can also integrate with build tools, like Maven and Ant, and third party extensions, like xmlUnit. JUnit also provides AWT based and Swing based graphical test reporting mechanism. Besides, the implementation of JUnitEE test framework enables JUnit tests within the application server’s container.

#5 Apache Maven


Maven, a project hosted by Apache Software Foundation, is a build automation tool, used mainly for Java projects. Maven also supports languages other than Java, such as C#, Ruby, Scala, etc. Dependency management is the best feature of Maven. Compared to its predecessor Apache Ant, Maven is far better when it comes to build actions, debugging and collaboration. However, Ant should be your preferred choice when your development project requires you to write complex, customized build scripts, since Maven mostly takes care of dependency management.

#6 Clover

Clover, bought and further developed by Atlassian, is a Java Code Coverage Analysis application. Clover is popular among Java developers for providing a way to identify untested areas in order to avoid risks to the quality of the application. Clover offers test automation functionality to streamline testing and identifies the most complex code for proper testing.

Clover also offers Test Optimization to reduce the testing time. It runs only those tests that cover the application code that was modified since the previous build. Clover provides Java and Groovy code coverage and you can integrate it with other testing frameworks too, like JUnit, TestNG and Spock.

#7 VisualVM

VisualVM is a tool for monitoring and reviewing the performance of Java applications while they are running on a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). VisualVM first organizes the JVM data and then presents data on multiple Java applications in such a way that it can be quickly viewed. It also integrates functionality from a wide range of command line tools, including JConsole, jstack, jmap, jinfo, and jstat. VisualVM makes it possible for developers to see all running java processes and analyze CPU and memory performance.

Every tool has its pros and cons, which is why it's important for Java developers to first assess their project requirements, and then choose a tool that best fits their needs. The 7 tools I have discussed above are very popular among Java developers, but based on your project requirements, other tools like Gradle, FindBugs, Mockito, JRat, etc., could also become a significant part of your Java toolkit. I hope this blog helps add improved efficiency, simplicity, speed and quality to your Java development task in 2017.

Which is your favorite Java development tool? Which feature you like the most in the Java development tool of your choice? Please share your views in the comment box below.
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Cloud computing has become a mainstay in IT departments. According to a research by cloud solutions provider RightScale, 95% of businesses use cloud technology in some way or the other. Without a doubt, cloud computing has emerged as the most cost-effective solution for businesses to access IT infrastructure and software on the Internet on pay-per-use basis.

However, many businesses find managing the general cloud usage and costs a very challenging task, especially when running across multiple cloud platforms. To better their plight, many companies, including some tech giants, have developed special tools for cloud management. That said, I am listing 7 cloud management tools you may like to choose from for your business in 2017.

Note: There is no denying that a cloud management tool, apart from these 7, could also prove to be the best fit for your business based on features and functionalities you need. So, don’t feel offended if I miss out on your favorite cloud management tool.

7 Tools to Manage Cloud Computing Usage and Cost

#1 Cloudability

Cloudability is an easy-to-use SaaS product, specifically designed for cost management by monitoring and optimizing cloud expenses. It helps provide better, faster and comprehensive access to data that consists information about your cloud spend and usage. Not only this, the software generates budget alerts and daily reports to keep you updated on finance. Cloudability supports multiple public, private, and hybrid cloud service providers.

With Cloudability, it’s easy to identify the resources you’re paying for but not using, and see spending breakdowns to know which services and accounts are costing you the most. Besides, it offers Reserved Instance (RI) planner for effective provisioning of Amazon reserved instances. Cloudability currently supports Amazon AWS, HP Cloud, New Relic, IBM/SoftLayer, Rackspace, Heroku, etc.

#2 Cloudyn

Cloudyn, a SaaS solution, offers various functionalities to provide unprecedented insights into usage, performance and cost of public and hybrid cloud deployments. Besides, the tool offers actionable recommendations and generates customized alerts to help managers improve performance and streamline cloud consumption and spend for increased growth. With Cloudyn, managers can access detailed information about cloud resources, governance, and reporting through a single dashboard and email alerts.

Cloudyn supports AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, and OpenStack deployments. As far as accountability is concerned, Cloudyn ensures that through accurate chargeback and hierarchical cost allocation management. Cloudyn has more than 2,400 customers across all major verticals, including some Fortune 500 leaders too.

Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS: Comparison Between Two Cloud Computing Giants

#3 Rightscale

Rightscale is a cloud management tool that enables users to see and manage applications across all clouds and servers. Be it public, private or hybrid clouds, Rightscale offers a single console for designing, deploying, operating and governing infrastructure and applications. Administrators can easily define service catalogs across public and private clouds with the help of RightScale ServerTemplates. Besides, they can configure and manage their IaaS resources, keep a track on performance and control user access.

The tool provides a single multi-cloud management interface and application programming interface (API) for private and public IaaS environments, including Amazon Web Services, Google, HP, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure, IBM Softlayer, CloudStack, OpenStack, and VMware vSphere. For cloud analytics, Rightscale offers a dashboard to monitor, forecast and optimize costs across public and private clouds.

Rightscale also reduces downtime via assisted failover, automated backups, and disaster recovery environments. The tool is a good pick for avoiding risks and optimizing cost.

#4 VMware’s vRealize Business

VMware's vRealize Business, formerly known as VMware IT Business Management Suite, is a tool for cloud costing, consumption, comparison and planning. The tool enables managers to keep a check on the cost of virtual machines and get insight into how the shared resources running in the cloud are being utilized. As a result, it becomes possible for the user to manage budgets and resources. vRealize Business makes cloud infrastructure management simple by offering detailed information about capacity and efficiencies. It helps track costs of private cloud or public cloud from one console.

You can integrate vRealize Business with various public, private, and hybrid clouds. With vRealize Business, managers can also hold comparison between actual, planned and estimated spending to identify top spenders and consumers of all IT services. It allows to automatically collect data from vSphere and public clouds, and reference a database of virtual infrastructure expenses.

#5 CSC Agility Platform

CSC Agility Platform helps managers manage consumption, release, and operation of cloud-based services. The platform offers supports for various public, private, and hybrid cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft System Center, OpenStack, Rackspace, Amazon EC2, CloudStack, CSC, Eucalyptus, HP Cloud, VMware vCenter, VMware vCloud Director, and many more. With CSC, a user can also automate workflow and firewall configuration over both private and public clouds. The release of Agility Platform 9.2 has brought enhanced API and Cloud SDK to simplify integration with third-party systems.

The motive behind CSC Agility Platform was to provide a cloud management tool that increases business agility, speed application delivery, and reduces costs. The platform also offers Application Release Automation to help users manage software releases and application delivery lifecycles.

#6 Microsoft Operations Management Suite

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS), formerly known as Azure Operational Insights, is a SaaS platform to manage cloud IT assets from a single pane of glass. OMS offers support for various public, private, and hybrid cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure, AWS, VMware, OpenStack, and many more. Operational insights, site recovery, backup, and automation are some of the amazing capabilities of Microsoft OMS.

OMS also offers real-time operational insights via custom dashboards, integrated search, and solution gallery. So, OMS makes it simple and quick to analyze even millions of records across all workloads and servers, regardless of their locations.

Runbooks and graphical workflow-authoring tools enable automation of manual and repeated tasks. OMS also rids the risk of security breach through Security and Compliance, and also ensures backup and site recovery. With OMS, you can extend existing management investments into the cloud via integration with System Center components, such as System Center Operations Manager.

#7 IBM Cloud Orchestrator

IBM Cloud Orchestrator is a cloud management tool that automates provisioning of cloud services using policy-based tools. The tool speeds up the service delivery time by 90% and reduces time to provision cloud services from weeks to minutes. It helps speed configuration, provisioning and deployment by providing access to ready-to-use patterns and content packs. Cloud Orchestrator also allows integration of management tools like metering, usage, accounting, monitoring and capacity management into your cloud services.

The cloud management tool reduces cost by letting you know the management tools not in use so that you can remove them. It gives rise to the implementation of common processes and fully automates error-prone manual workloads. IBM SmartCloud Cost Management and IBM SmartCloud Patch Management are two additional products of IBM to manage cloud services, usage and cost.

With the rise in adoption of cloud services, a cloud management tool has become the need of the hour to ensure reduced costs and effective management. There are many other popular and effective cloud management tools too, like Dell Cloud Manager v11, BMC Cloud Management, HP Hybrid Cloud Management, etc., that could turn out to be the best fit for your business as well. So, before you choose a cloud management tool, have a thorough assessment of your business requirements, and understand the functionality and offerings of the tool you want to pick for your business.

Have you ever used a cloud management tool before? Which is your favorite cloud management tool? Do you want to add something you think I have missed out in the blog? Please share your views in the comment box below.

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Posted by on in PHP Development

PHP (Hypertext Pre Processor) is one of the most popular scripting languages in use on the Internet today. The trick to ensure from the very beginning that the PHP code works properly is to write the test code before the application code. Writing a code in PHP is simple, but writing the test code manually is often a tedious and time-consuming task. So, what could be done to obviate the need of manually writing the test code which involves many repetitive tasks? Well, one way is to go for an automated PHP testing framework.

An automated PHP testing framework is a software that is especially designed to do the tiresome work of PHP testing for you, that too in an effective manner. Automated testing frameworks mostly use two approaches - Test-Driven Development (TDD) and Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD). The distinction between TDD and BDD is the syntax of the testing code. TDD is about using the the PHP code in testing files, whereas BDD uses human-readable sentences. Human-readable sentences describe the behavior of each feature, and even non-technical people can understand them.

Click here to learn more about the distinction between TDD and BDD

Coming back to the main topic, I am offering an insight into seven powerful automated PHP testing frameworks that developers may find worth using to test their PHP code in 2017.

7 Automated PHP Testing Frameworks

#1 PHPUnit

PHPUnit, a programmer-oriented testing framework, is popular for writing Unit Tests for PHP apps. This automated testing framework for PHP allows to conduct test-driven development. As far as Unit Testing is concerned, it involves taking small portions of code and testing them individually for proper operation.

You can use PHPUnit via the command line. Besides, the testing framework comes with a TestCase class, which you can extend as per your needs. With PHPUnit, developers can also make use of pre-written declaration techniques to control the behavior of the application in a specific way.

Click here to learn more about PHPUnit

#2 Codeception

Codeception goes beyond Unit Testing as it provides a way to write Acceptance Tests and Functional Tests, too. It’s a PHP full-stack testing framework and inspired by BDD. The best thing about Codeception is that it comes integrated with PHP development frameworks, like Phalcon, Yii, the Zend Framework, Laravel4, and Symfony2.

Owing to descriptive nature of Codeception tests, you can easily understand what’s being tested and how it is performed. With Codeception, a simple PHP Domain-Specific Language (DSL) is used for writing even complex tests with many assertions.

#3 PHPSpec

PHPSpec also supports BDD approach for writing clean and working PHP code. PHPSpec, inspired from test-first development, requires you to write the specifications first to give directions to your application code to behave in a specific manner. So, with PHPSpec, the behaviour of an object you are about to write has to be described first. The next step is to write enough code to meet that specification and finally refactor this code.

An important point to note here is that PHPSpec is a SpecBDD tool created to help developers write readable and well designed code. TDD/SpecBDD is more about writing specifications for small units of code, not testing all edge cases or doing whole-application-integration testing.

#4 Behat

Behat, an open-sourced behavior-driven framework for PHP, makes you feel as if you are not writing tests, but stories. Behat uses StoryBDD, a behaviour-driven development subtype, for writing human-readable stories that describe the behavior of your application. The inspiration for Behat was drawn from a Ruby testing framework, called Cucumber project.

Even non-programmers can comprehend tests assertions written with Behat as it uses syntax of Gherkin, a special language that is human readable and designed specifically for behavior descriptions.

#5 Peridot

Peridot, a lightweight automated testing framework for PHP, features an event-driven architecture. Peridot is equipped with the reporters and plugins, which paves the way to customize the framework with ease. The describe-it syntax allows to establish a clear and readable testing language in order to clearly describe the application code behavior.

#6 SimpleTest

SimpleTest, a Test-Driven Development framework for PHP testing, boasts about its simplicity. SimpleTest is open source and a good alternative for PHPUnit. SimpleTest also comes with a very simple HTML GUI, which you can extend according to your needs. Also, SimpleTest is easier to set up than PHPUnit. Unlike PHPUnit which runs on a server, SimpleTest runs from a browser. SimpleTest supports SSL, forms, proxies, frames and basic authentication.

#7 StoryPlayer

StoryPlayer helps developers bring stories to life using simple and powerful test automation. StoryPlayer is a full-stack testing framework that supports TDD testing approach. With StoryPlayer, developers can write end-to-end tests for an entire platform. You can use StoryPlayer for creating and destroying test environments on demand as well. Besides, if you want to check the entirety of your application, you can write functional tests with the help of StoryPlayer. The framework rids the need of learning any domain-specific language (DSL) as it ships with an extensive set of modules to save your time.

Since PHP is used by many developers across the globe, it’s important to stay abreast of frameworks that can perform automated testing of the PHP code. The tech market is flooded with many automated PHP testing frameworks, but I have picked only seven for this blog. You can choose the one that best fits your need.

Have you ever used any automated PHP testing framework before? Do you want to add more to what’s already being discussed? Which is you favorite PHP testing framework? As always, your views are vital for all our readers, please share them in the comment box below.

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Django continues to be the pick of libraries for Python developers. However, there are some not-so-well-known libraries that happened to gain traction among Python developers in 2016. In this blog, I am unveiling 7 Python libraries, excluding the established ones like Django, Flask, etc, that Python developers may find worth considering in 2017.

7 Less-Known-Yet-Helpful Python Libraries for 2017

#1 Arrow

Mobile apps are everywhere, and are often meant for global population - be it for games, social media, health monitoring and whatnot. However, the problem with the standard data/time library for Python is that it doesn’t meet the requirements of modern apps that have their target audience living in different regions and countries. Arrow is one of the libraries to battle with this problem. It comes packed with features that simplify creation, formatting, manipulation and conversion of data, time and time stamps.

The library replaces the need for datetime type that supports Python 2 or 3. With Arrow, developers can convert one time zone to another at ease. Besides, Arrow’s date, time and calendar modules open gates to hassle-free internationalization of applications.

#2 TensorFlow

TensorFlow, launched by Google in November 2015, is an open-source software library for numerical computation. It’s been just over a year since TensorFlow was launched, but the library has already witnessed considerable popularity among Python developers. As a matter of fact, TensorFlow is one of the trendiest GitHub Python repositories.

The library uses data flow graphs capable of running over GPUs and CPUs in a desktop, server, or mobile device with a single API. TensorFlow was originally developed by researchers and engineers in Google's Machine Intelligence research organization for machine learning and deep neural networks research. Although TensorFlow has created ripples in the machine learning community, it has proved to be a good fit for production applications as well.

#3 Zappa

The release of AWS Lambda brought serverless architecture to the fore. Zappa is often said to be the next evolution of application deployment for Python web applications. Rich Jones, the principal author of Zappa and the CTO of Gun.io, said in an interview, “I believe that serverless architectures - that is to say, systems without any permanent infrastructure - are the future of network applications”.


With Zappa, deployment of all Python WSGI applications on AWS Lambda + API Gateway becomes a doddle. The library rids the need of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on VPS services like Linode or PaaS services like Heroku. In even simpler words, we can say that Zaapa allows deployment of microservices on the cloud without any hassles of server management. Zappa is faster and scalable, too.

#4 Peewee

Peewee is a simple, expressive ORM for Python and supports SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. A database is often must for applications that use external data. However, it’s a very challenging task to get and set data from a database through ad hoc connection strings. Here comes Peewee to rescue. The library makes it possible for developers and database engineers to use a safe, programmatic approach to access database resources using a set of intuitive Python classes.

Developers who have previously created a database in SQLAlchemy would agree that it’s much easier to create a database in Peewee. Peewee is also a fit for the Flask web framework.

Click here to learn how to create a database in Peewee

#5 Sanic + uvloop

Sanic is a Flask-like, uvloop-based web framework that makes Python fast. Sanik, designed for Python 3.5, allows developers to build on async/await syntax for defining asynchronous functions. Before Sanic, Python had no way to go so fast. Another library, uvloop, serves as a blazingly fast drop-in replacement for asyncio’s default event loop.


Sanik enables developers to write async applications in Python in a way that is very similar to how they would write them in Node.js. However, going by the Sanic author’s benchmark, uvloop is well capable of handling over 33k requests/sec, which is way more than the capability of Node.js. Since Sanic is still new, more improvements and changes are highly likely to be made into it in near future. You can also contribute to its open source repository.

# 6 Bokeh

You may know that Python offers some libraries, like matplotlib and seaborn, for data visualization. However, Bokeh is a library that is specifically designed for interactive visualization that targets modern web browsers for presentation. Developers can use Bokeh for creating top-notch novel graphics in a way that is much similar to the style of D3.js. Besides, you can extend this capability with high-performance interactivity over very large or streaming datasets.

You may like to give Bokeh a try for creating interactive plots, dashboards, and data applications. Developers can also use Bokeh for transforming visualization written in other libraries, like Matplotlib, Seaborn and ggplot. Bokeh also helps in research by nicely integrating with Jupyter Notebooks.

#7 Blaze

Blaze targets database and array technologies used for analytics queries. NumPy and Pandas don’t help when it comes to running analytics over a dataset that is too big to fit in our computer’s memory. In such a case, developers often resort to PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Hadoop, Spark, out-of-disk storage systems (PyTables and BColz), etc.

However, it’s a very challenging task to understand how each system works and enters data into the proper form. Due to lack of learning about how to mix and migrate data between new technologies, it becomes very difficult to derive effective results from data analytics. Blaze ends this predicament by providing a uniform interface to a variety of database technologies and abstractions for migrating data. Blaze is a good option for expressing computations.


Although there are many other less-known-yet-effective Python libraries, like Gym + Universe, Boto3, Hug, Scrapy, Beautiful Soup and many more, I have picked only seven as the blog could go endless. Python developers can explore these libraries to see if they fit into their needs and choose accordingly.


Have you ever used any of the above seven libraries before? Do you want to add more to what’s already being discussed? Please share your views in the comment box below.
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The term Big Data has created a lot of hype already in the business world. Chief managers know that their marketing strategies are most likely to yield successful results when planned around big data analytics. For simple reasons, use of big data analytics helps improve business intelligence, boost lead generation efforts, provide personalized experiences to customers and turn them into loyal ones. However, it’s a challenging task to make sense of vast amounts of data that exists in multi-structured formats like images, videos, weblogs, sensor data, etc.

In order to store, process and analyze terabytes and even petabytes of such information, one needs to put into use big data frameworks. In this blog, I am offering an insight and analogy between two such very popular big data technologies - Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark.

Let’s First Understand What Hadoop and Spark are?

Hadoop: Hadoop, an Apache.org. Project, was the first big data framework to become popular in the open source community. Being both a software library and a big data framework, Hadoop paves the way for distributed storage and processing of large datasets across computer clusters using simple programming models. Hadoop is a framework composed of modules that allow automated handling of common hardware failure occurrences.


The four primary modules that comprise Hadoop’s core are:



Hadoop is a file system with a two-stage disk-based compute framework MapReduce and a resource manager YARN. Apart from Hadoop’s core modules, there are several others in existence as well, including Hive, Pig, Ambari, Avro, Oozie, Sqoop and Flume. These modules are also well capable of working with big data applications and processing large data sets.

The main motive behind designing Hadoop was to look through billions of pages and collect their information into a database. And, that gave birth to Hadoop’s HDFS and its distributed processing engine, MapReduce. Hadoop is a great help for companies that have no effective solution to deal with large and complex datasets in a reasonable amount of time.


Apache Spark: Spark, also an open-source framework for performing general data analytics on distributed computing cluster, was originally designed at the University of California, and later donated to the Apache Software Foundation. Spark’s real-time data processing capability provides it a substantial lead over Hadoop’s MapReduce.

Spark is a multi-stage RAM-capable compute framework with libraries for machine learning, interactive queries and graph analytics. It can run on a Hadoop cluster with YARN but also Mesos or in standalone mode. Apples and oranges, really. An interesting point to note here is that Spark is devoid of its own distributed filesystem. So, for distributed storage, it has to either use HDFS or other alternatives, such as MapR File System, Cassandra, OpenStack Swift, Amazon S3, Kudu, etc.

Now that we have caught a glimpse of Hadoop and Spark, it’s time to talk about different types of data processing they perform.

What are Different Types of Data Processing?

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There are three types of data processing: Batch Processing, Stream Processing and Hybrid Processing.

Batch Processing: Batch processing has been pivotal to big data world for years now. The simplest way we can define batch processing is operating over high volumes of data collected over a period of time. Since data is first collected, entered and then processed, results are produced at a later stage. Although batch data processing is an efficient way of processing large, static datasets, the time taken to return the result is long as it happens only after the computation is complete.

Nevertheless, batch processing is the best for holistic treatment of datasets. For example, when access to a complete data set is required, like calculating totals and averages, there is no data processing more suitable than batch processing.

Click here to learn more about batch processing

Stream processing: Stream processing has become the current trend in the big data world. The modern business era is about speed and real-time information, which is what steam processing is the most suitable for. Since batch processing does not allow businesses to react to changing business conditions in real time, stream processing has witnessed a rapid rise in demand in past few years.

Although stream processing systems can also handle vast amounts of data, they operate over one or micro batches at a time. According to Mike Gualtieri, an analyst at Forrester Research, “With traditional analytics you gather information, store it and do analytics on it later. We call that at-rest analytics.” However, streaming technologies allow analysis of a series of events that have just happened. “It could be a piece of farm equipment that has a lot of sensors on it emitting data on temperature and pressure. You want to analyze that in real-time to see if there is a risk of the engine blowing up.”

Click here to take a deep-dive into stream processing of big data

Hybrid Processing: Hybrid processing is nothing, but the capability of a processing system to perform both batch processing and stream processing.

Comparison Between Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark

Data Processing

Hadoop: Apache Hadoop provides batch processing. In fact, Hadoop was the first framework that created ripples in the open-source community. Google’s revelation about how they were working with vasts amounts of data helped Hadoop developers a great deal in creating new algorithms and component stack to improve access to large scale batch processing.

MapReduce is Hadoop's native batch processing engine. Several components or layers (like YARN, HDFS etc) in modern versions of Hadoop allow easy processing of batch data. Since MapReduce is about permanent storage, it stores data on disk, which means it can handle large datasets. MapReduce is scalable and has proved its efficacy to deal with tens of thousands of nodes. However, Hadoop’s data processing is slow as MapReduce operates in various sequential steps.

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Spark: Apache Spark is a good fit for both batch processing and stream processing, meaning it’s a hybrid processing framework. Spark speeds up batch processing via in-memory computation and processing optimization. It’s a nice alternative for streaming workloads, interactive queries, and machine-based learning. Spark can also work with Hadoop and its modules. The real-time data processing capability makes Spark a top choice for big data analytics.

Resilient Distributed Dataset (RDD) allows Spark to transparently store data on memory, and send to disk only what’s important or needed. As a result, a lot of time that is spent on the disc read and write is saved.

Ease of Use

Spark is easier to use than Hadoop as it comes with user-friendly APIs for Scala (its native language), Java, Python, and Spark SQL. Hadoop, on the other hand, is written in Java, difficult to program and requires abstractions. Since Spark provides a way to perform streaming, batch processing and machine learning in the same cluster, users find it easy to simplify their infrastructure for data processing.

An interactive REPL (Read–eval–print loop) allows Spark users to get instant feedback for the commands. Although there is no interactive mode available with Hadoop MapReduce, tools like Pig and Hive make it easier for adopters to work with it.

Graph Processing

Hadoop: Most processing algorithms, like PageRank, perform multiple iterations over the same data. MapReduce reads data from the disk and after a particular iteration, it sends results to the HDFS and then again reads the data from the HDFS for next iteration. Such a process increases latency and makes graph processing slow.

In order to evaluate the score of a particular node, message passing needs to contain scores of neighboring nodes. And, these computations require messages from it neighbors, but MapReduce doesn’t have any mechanism for that. Although there are fast and scalable tools, like Pregel and GraphLab, for efficient graph processing algorithms, they are not suitable for complex multi-stage algorithms.

Spark: Spark comes with a graph computation library called GraphX to make things simple. In-memory computation coupled with in-built graph support allows the algorithm to perform much better than traditional MapReduce programs. Netty and Akka make it possible for Spark to distribute messages throughout the executors.

Fault Tolerance

Hadoop: Hadoop achieves fault tolerance through replication. MapReduce uses TaskTracker and JobTracker for fault tolerance. However, TaskTracker and JobTracker have been replaced in second version of MapReduce by Node Manager and ResourceManager/ApplicationMaster, respectively.

Spark: Spark uses RDD and various data storage models for fault tolerance by minimizing network I/O. In the event of partition loss of an RDD, the RDD rebuilds that partition through the information it already has. So, Spark does not use the replication concept for fault tolerance.

Security

Hadoop MapReduce has better security features than Spark. Hadoop supports Kerberos authentication, which is a good security feature but difficult to manage. Hadoop MapReduce can also integrate with Hadoop security projects, like Knox Gateway and Sentry. Third party vendors also allow organizations to use Active Directory Kerberos and LDAP for authentication. Hadoop’s Distributed File System is compatible with access control lists (ACLs) and a traditional file permissions model.

Spark’s security is currently in its infancy, offering only authentication support through shared secret (password authentication). However, organizations can run Spark on HDFS to take advantage of HDFS ACLs and file-level permissions.

Costs

Both Hadoop and Spark are open-source projects, therefore come for free. However, Spark uses large amounts of RAM to run everything in memory, and RAM is more expensive than harddisks. Hadoop is disk-bound, so saves the costs of buying expensive RAM, but requires more systems to distribute the disk I/O over multiple systems.

As far as costs are concerned, organizations need to look at their requirements. If it’s about processing large amounts of big data, Hadoop will be cheaper since hard disk space comes at a much lower rate than memory space.

Compatibility

Both Hadoop and Spark are compatible with each other. Spark can integrate with all the data sources and file formats that are supported by Hadoop. So, it’s not wrong to say that Spark’s compatibility to data types and data sources is similar to that of Hadoop MapReduce.

Both Hadoop and Spark are scalable. One may think of Spark as a better choice than Hadoop. However, MapReduce turns out to be a good choice for businesses that need huge datasets brought under control by commodity systems. Both frameworks are good in their own sense. Hadoop has its own file system that Spark lacks. And, Spark provides a way for real-time analytics that Hadoop does not posses.

Have you ever got a chance to use any of the two frameworks for big data applications? Do you think Spark can replace Hadoop in the future? As always, your views are vital for all our readers, please share them in the comment box below.
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Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS are two big names in the cloud computing world. Given the several benefits offered by the cloud - on-demand scalability, reduced costs, effective operations - many businesses, regardless of their sizes, have already started moving towards it. If you are also planning to move your business to the cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS are certainly two big players to choose from. Below, I am offering a detailed comparison between the two heavyweights of cloud services, so that it becomes easier for you to choose your niche.

Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS: Cloud Comparison

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Before we begin understanding the distinction between Azure and AWS, let’s take a glimpse into their history.


AWS: Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, was launched in 2006, with the aim of providing an array of cloud computing services to help companies benefit from on-demand computing platform. AWS is currently located in 15 geographical regions, and plans are afoot for three more regions in India, China and United Kingdom by 2017.


With more than 70 services on offer, including compute, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, mobile, developer tools and tools for the Internet of things, AWS holds a substantial lead over Azure.


Azure: Microsoft launched Azure in 2010, originally with the name Windows Azure, to provide businesses a cloud computing platform. It was renamed in 2014 as Microsoft Azure, which offers around 50 cloud services today, including compute, analytics, storage, networking and features targeted at the Internet of Things. Microsoft Azure enables building, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. As of now, Azure is located in 30 regions around the world and is gearing up to be available at 8 more geographical regions.

Let’s Compare the Features and Services of these Two Giants of Cloud Computing

#1 Compute


AWS: For compute, AWS offers Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which is an IaaS service and provides scalable computing on-demand. AWS also offers Elastic Beanstalk, a PaaS service, for app deployment. Other related services you can avail from AWS are EC2 Container service, AWS Lambda and Autoscaling.


Azure: Virtual machines are pivotal to Azure’s compute offering, which mainly involves IaaS. Azure also offers Cloud Services for PaaS to deploy highly-available, infinitely-scalable applications and APIs.


Azure’s Resource Manager helps manage and visualize resources in your app, whereas Web Apps enables customers to create and deploy scalable web apps that are supported by Windows and Linux platforms. With Azure, developers can build sites using PHP, ASP.NET, Node.js, or Python, or select from several open source applications from a gallery to deploy.

#2 Networking

Both Azure and AWS are excellent choices as far as their networking capabilities are concerned. Amazon’s Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and Azure’s Virtual Network (VNET) let users to group VMs into isolated networks in the cloud. Besides, a user can define a network topology, create subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways.


With Azure, users can connect VNETs to on-premises data centers via site-to-site VPN networks or Azure ExpressRoute. AWS also allows to establish a VPN connection between your corporate datacenter and your VPC. Both Azure and AWS are equally good for their networking capabilities and allow to extend your on-premise data center into the public (or hybrid) cloud.

#3 Storage

AWS: Storage is an inextricable part of cloud services. Amazon offers Simple Storage Service (S3) for storage. AWS gets edge over Azure Storage service due to extensive documentation, including free webinars, tons of sample code and libraries, articles and tutorials. Besides, its discussion forums are very active and help users seek benefits from useful feedback provided by Amazon developers on a regular basis.


Other storage services offered by AWS include Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Elastic File System (EFS), Import/Export large volume data transfer service, Glacier archive backup and Storage Gateway, which integrates with on-premise environments.


Azure: Azure also offers Block Storage and Object Storage through blob storage, which includes page blobs and block blobs. Azure competes with Amazon’s EBS by offering page blobs that provide persistent block storage. On the other hand, Azure’s block blobs provide object storage, much similar to Amazon’s S3 service. Azure uses a flat architecture to store all the data in a single container with tags and metadata that allow identification, retrieval and manipulation of data.


Azure’s File Storage is an answer to Amazon’s EFS as it also provides a continuous availability storage option. With Azure, you can share File Storage among multiple VMs so that there is no hassle in running critical cloud applications. Also, it allows to share data between local and cloud servers.

Storage Options

Azure Storage

(Blobs, Tables, Queues Files)

Amazon Simple Storage (S3)

Block Storage

Azure Blob Storage

Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS)

Hybrid Cloud Storage

StorSimple

AWS Storage Gateway

Backup Options

Azure Backup

Amazon Glacier

Storage Services

Azure Import Export

Azure File Storage

Azure Site Recovery

Amazon Import/Export

AWS Storage Gateway


#4 Databases


Both AWS and Azure support relational and NoSQL databases.


AWS: A wide range of managed databases, including SQL Server, MySQL, ProgreSQL, Oracle and MariaDB, are available from Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) and Redshift. AWS also offers Database Migration Service, which allows customers to move on-premise relational data to the cloud. For NoSQl databases, AWS offers DynamoDB, which offers high scale, low cost document and key-value storage.


Azure: Azure’s SQL Database supports relational database based on SQL Server. A very few changes are sometimes required to migrate from on-premise SQL Server to SQL Database. Recent addition of Elastic database pools allows customers to save costs by running multiple databases against the same set of resources.


For NoSQL, Azure offers DocumentDB, which is a high performance, highly available document database.

#5 Big Data and Analytics

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AWS: AWS allows processing of vast amounts of data they store. AWS Elastic MapReduce (EMR), a managed Hadoop, Spark and Presto solution, is indispensable to Amazon’s analytics offerings. EMR allows integration with various AWS services, including S3 and DynamoDB. AWS Data Pipeline makes it possible to move, copy, transform and enrich data.


Data Pipeline is well capable of reading and writing data from most AWS storage services. For data processing activities, it supports EMR, Hive and Pig. AWS offers Kinesis Streams for real-time analytics and QuickSight for making sense of data through dashboards and data visualisations.


Azure: Azure offers Cortana Intelligence and HDInsight, which comes with Hadoop, Spark, Storm or HBase. HDInsight also works well with blob storage or Data Lake Store. For data processing pipelines, Azure offers a data orchestration service Data Factory.


Azure Data Lake Analytics is a serverless hyper-scale data storage and analytical platform. It performs analytical jobs without the need of provisioning or managing computer clusters, and is also designed to access data in Blob Storage, SQL Database and SQL Data Warehouse. Azure offers Streamline Analytics for real-time data processing and Power BI for dashboards and visualisations.

#6 Internet of Things (IoT)

For IoT, there is a need of platform that allows communication between devices over the internet. Also, it’s essential to handle large pileup of data without security breaches.


AWS: AWS IoT allows building complete IoT solutions. So, devices can communicate with applications that run in the cloud over HTTP, MQTT and WebSockets. A declarative rules engine allows AWS IoT to transform and send IoT traffic to S3 bucket or Lambda function. Besides, AWS IoT can route data to Kinesis Streams in order to run real-time analytics via applications written using the Kinesis Client Library.


Azure: Azure offers IoT Hub that supports AMQP, MQTT, and HTTP. Though, Event Hubs scores higher when it comes to basic large scale device telemetry ingestion. It can consume a huge volumes of messages over AMQP and HTTP.


For real-time analysis of device data, you can use Event Hubs with Azure Stream Analytics. What separates Azure from AWS and others is data streaming to Apache Storm, a popular open source streaming analytics platform. Microsoft has also announced Windows 10 IoT core, a concise version of Windows 10, to run specifically on IoT devices.

#7 Mobile Services

Since People are now spending more time on smartphones to access the internet than PCs, the cloud could play an important role in empowering developers to build and operate modern mobile apps.


AWS: AWS offers Mobile Hub to allow mobile development for Android and iOS. AWS also offers a wide range of services required to create mobile applications, including authentication (Cognito), content delivery (CloudFront and S3), push notifications (SNS), data storage and synchronisation (S3), analytics (Mobile Analytics) and access to backend compute such as Lambda. AWS Mobile SDK allows developers to build apps from scratch and is compatible with iOS, Android, Fire OS, .NET and Xamarin.


Azure: Azure offers Mobile Apps to support backend solution. Mobile Apps is a client SDK that opens doors for developers to build rich mobile solutions. Users can use Functions for serverless mobile backends and Notification Hubs for push notifications. You can also set up and sync to a SQL Database without writing any server side code, thanks to Azure Easy Tables. DevOps for Mobile application development is also available through Azure HockeyApp.

#8 Open Source

Azure was not available for open source shops until recently as Microsoft didn't have the history of having a good relationship with the open source community. However, Microsoft has finally made a big strategy shift to allow users to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Apache Hadoop clusters. Amazon, on the other hand, has never had problems with the open source community, and has been Linux-friendly from the beginning, a factor that has helped AWS get a significant lead over Azure.

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AWS has become popular for the flexibility it offers to its customers, allowing them to pick and choose and build the cloud services they need. With AWS, customers get a plethora of product choices, but they sometimes find it hard to navigate through AWS complex features.


Microsoft Azure, on the other hand, has adopted an approach that is slightly different from AWS. It offers customers a stack of products that are simple to use. Their products are easier to navigate when compared to that of AWS, for an obvious reason - Azure does not offer as many products as AWS does.


Both AWS and Azure offer almost similar services when it comes to compute, storage, networking and databases. Pricing is not a big factor to taken into account when choosing between the two as both offer competitive pricing. So, you better decide your vendor based on your company requirements. It’s true that most cloud services are available from Amazon, but Microsoft Azure seems to be a better choice for a hybrid approach. Amazon is a veteran player in the game and offers a nice suite of cloud computing services. But Microsoft Azure can’t be completely ruled out as it continues to come up with new developments to not only match but surpass the pace of all the big players in the market, including Google.

What you think about the future of cloud computing? Which among the two cloud giants is your favorite? Please share your views in the comment box below.

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Front-end developers are responsible for implementing visual elements that users of a site or app see and interact with. In simple words, we can say front-end development is all about what’s visible to users, from text and colors to buttons, images, and navigation menus. For the success of a site or app, it’s important that their interfaces are engaging and pleasing to the eyes of users. Besides, the design has to be immaculate too.


Front-end developers need to understand users and their behaviors to ensure top-notch front-end functioning of their site or app. However, there are some common coding mistakes that front-end developers often make. Through this blog, I am shedding light on 6 common coding mistakes that front-end developers should avoid to ensure a good user base and high ROI.

1. Coding with Older HTML Standards

Many front-end developers stopped the practice of coding with old HTML elements after HTML5 came into existence as the newest form of HTML. HTML5 allowed making a lot of changes in standard page design. As a matter of fact, front-end development has a heavy reliance on browser support. And, some browsers don’t get support from older HTML, which can become a bane of your site in a long run.


With older HTML, the front-end of your site could also go devoid of many modern and secure features that HTML5 is capable of bringing to your site. Therefore, coding with older HTML could put your site at risk of security attacks.

2. Not Testing Code with Major Browsers

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If you miss out on testing your code for all the major browsers, your site could lose users who still like to use the same older browsers. JavaScript and client-side scripting are intrinsic part of front-end development. Therefore, it’s important to test your code in all the major browsers. Front-end developers can put into use their sites’ browsing analytics data to identify common browsers they would like to support. It’s also a good idea to use an external source for the same.

3. Not Creating Responsive Mobile Design

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We have entered an era where people like to browse the web on mobile phones more than desktops. The rising trend of internet surfing on mobile phones makes it important to create a front-end design that is responsive and mobile-friendly. Modern front-end coding entails responsive design as default. Developers can also join the bandwagon of mobile apps or web apps to avoid having any loose ends.


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If users are unable to access your site on their smartphones, they become likely to move to your competitors whose sites are easily accessible via their smartphones. Google has also stated many times earlier that responsive design is their preferred mobile configuration. It means responsive sites and separate mobile sites get ranking boost in search results way higher than those sites that are unresponsive or not mobile-friendly.


Since mobile devices have varied screen sizes, it’s worth writing code that supports all possible breakpoints. Developers can use emulators for testing to avoid the hassle of dealing with several devices.


Click here to learn about “Responsive Web Design: Benefits, Challenges and Fixes

4. Using Obsolete JavaScript Libraries

JavaScript libraries that will not be supported or maintained years later could inflict adverse impacts on your site. If support is no longer available for a JavaScript library that you used to build the front-end of your site, you will find yourself in a difficult situation. You may eventually have a dependency that is no longer functional.


So, it’s good for you to choose JavaScript libraries with active support, documentation, and consistent updates by their developers. It’s also important to ensure that the popular libraries you choose will be maintained for years to come. AngularJS and KnockoutJS are two of various examples of the worldwide famous libraries that are supported by big brands.

5. Not Using CSS and Div containers to Place Elements

The practice of using tables for HTML element placement has become the thing of past. Tables are a good fit for displaying information on charts, but certainly not for layout creation. Tables can be very complex and could cause flaws in design and misplacements in different browsers. Div containers and CSS are much better than tables when it comes to element placement and layout creation.

6. No Focus on Site Speed

Site speed directly affects bounce rates, conversion rates, revenue and user satisfaction. Site speed depends on various factors. For example, client side can become slow due to “Spaghetti” JavaScript code, whereas large images can slow down page loading speed.


Slow sites frustrate users, thus it’s beneficial to put into use site speed testers that identify design elements responsible for slowing down your site. Good site speed is also important from SEO perspective as it is one of the factors search engines take into account for rankings. Therefore, it’s a good practice to keep on testing your site and keep a track over its performance.


A front-end developer could easily avoid these common mistakes and ensure that their site is easy to use and loads fast. Moreover, good JavaScript libraries and supported code help design a responsive and mobile friendly site, which has become the need of the hour.


Have you ever been a part of front-end development team? If yes, please share your vital experience with us in the comment box below.

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


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


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


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

7 Tools for Big Data Analytics

#1 Hadoop

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


Click here to learn more about Hadoop

#2 Storm

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


Click here to learn more about Storm

#3 Hadoop MapReduce

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


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


Click here to learn more about MapReduce

#4 Cassandra

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


Click here to learn more about Cassandra

#5 OpenRefine

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


Click here to learn more about OpenRefine

#6 Rapidminer

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


Click here to learn more about Rapidminer

#7 MongoDB

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


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

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

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


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

Let’s Begin with Agile Planning

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


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


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


Agile Planning Life Cycle

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


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


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


Five Key Areas Agile Planning is Based On:

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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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