Monday, 25 December 2017

A Quick Guide To Optimizing Code Sharing & Reusability With Xamarin

An enterprise needs to focus on a myriad of factors when planning their cross-platform app development. From exploring simple ways to creating multiple versions of their app to making it unique and more usable, many enterprises consider Xamarin as the best cross-platform app development framework.



Not only does it help to build multiple versions of an app through a single codebase but also leverages C# to enable programmers to share the code across various cross-platform apps using three different techniques:

1. Shared Projects – This method uses the Shared Asset Project type to organize the source code alongside using #if compiler devices to manage platform-specific requirement when required.

2. Portable Class Libraries – In this method, you can create a Portable Class Library (PCL) to target the platform you want your app to support and use interfaces that provide platform-specific functionality.

3. .NET Standard Libraries – The .NET Standard Libraries work just like PCLs do. It uses interfaces to inject platform-specific functionality.

In this article, we will review all the alternative techniques for sharing code between cross-platform mobile apps while pursuing Xamarin mobile application development services. The goal is to help you choose the right project type for your cross-platform mobile apps. So, let’s get started.

Shared Projects:
Shared Project is the easiest approach to sharing code files. The picture below shows a solution file that contains three mobile app projects, each for Android, iOS, and Windows as well as a shared project that includes common C# codebase.




The following diagram shows the conceptual architecture where each project comprises all the shared source code files.




Advantages:
• Shared Project makes source code shareable across multiple app projects
• Shared code files can be branched depending on the platform using compiler directives
• App projects can contain platform-specific references that the shared code can utilize

Disadvantages:
• Shared Project doesn’t have an ‘output’ assembly, unlike other project types. At the time of compilation, the files are considered to be a part of the referencing project and compiled within that assembly. If you desire to share code as an assembly then PCL or .NET Standard Library is a better option.
• Refactoring operations that affect code within ‘inactive’ compiler directives do not update your code.

Portable Class Libraries:



Advantages:
• PCLs let you share code across multiple app projects
• Refactorings update all the affected references regularly

Disadvantages:
• PCLs do not use compiler directives
• You can only use a subset of the .NET framework determined by the profile selected

.NET Standard Libraries:


Advantages:
• .NET Standard Libraries enable you to share code across multiple app projects
• Refactorings update all the affected references regularly
• A massive surface area of .NET BCL (Base Class Library) is available in place of PCL profiles

Disadvantages:
• .NET Standard Libraries do not use compiler directives

Conclusion
The code sharing strategy you implement must be driven by the mobile platforms you wish to target. Choose the right method and ensure that it works best for your cross-platform app project. PCL and .NET Standard Libraries are best suited for building sharable code libraries while Shared Projects are ideal app developers planning to use a lot of platform-specific functionalities in their hybrid mobile apps. In case of any queries pertaining to this tutorial, reach out to us using the comment box below. 

5 Reasons You Must Choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM Over Salesforce

When it comes to choosing the right customer relationship management solution, enterprises are often conflicted between the two best options – Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce. Although both these CRM platforms are powerful and popular around the globe, it is important to opt for the one that offers a wide range of features and functionalities to cater to your diverse business requirements. In this article, we have discussed five key reasons that make Microsoft Dynamics CRM a better option than Salesforce.

Dynamics 365 Vs Salesforce
Dynamics 365 Vs Salesforce


1. User Experience:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers extensive marketing, reporting, analysis, and client data management capabilities. It provides functionalities for customer service and partner channel management, however, falls short due to inadequate eCommerce and field service functionalities. Dynamics 365 also comes with event-driven workflow to enable consistent process executions and notifications. 

It also offers a great mobile option for iOS, Android, and Windows applications while Salesforce doesn’t. The gamification features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM pushes all the right buttons whereas with Salesforce you are required to buy external add-ons to leverage such functionality. 

2. Productivity:
Dynamics CRM users get Outlook alongside OWA experience with complete CRM online and offline access. It even includes Office 365 experiences such as Skype, SharePoint, Yammer, OneNote, and OneDrive. It enables department and organization-wide collaboration via Office 365 Groups to exchange emails, documents, calendars, etc. Salesforce doesn’t offer these features but lets you buy add-ons for using it.

3. Flexibility:
Certainly, features are important. But what matters more is the ability to configure the CRM system in a way that it fits your unique business requirements. Since the requirements are your competitive differentiators, you wouldn’t want to forgo them and accommodate the software accordingly. As a result, in this category, Dynamics CRM is a winner as you can leverage Microsoft Dynamics CRM development and customize the system according to your needs.

4. Deployment & Support:
When it comes to deploying the CRM software, Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers an on-premises, a cloud, and a hybrid option. While Salesforce is available as a cloud only application. Dynamics CRM even offers a wide array of licensing options to accommodate different enterprises with varying budgets and requirements. It has 99.9 percent SLAs (Service Level Agreements) while Salesforce has none. So, Dynamics CRM is a clear winner, hands down. 

5. Analytics:
With Salesforce, you can ‘Export Static Reports’ to Excel only but without any list views through Analytics Cloud. This can be quite expensive. On the other hand, MS Dynamics CRM provides interactive Excel experiences embedded within the list views and immersive report exports. It also provides Power BI apps for Sales alongside pre-built and shareable analytics templates. Dynamics CRM further lets you export from CRM to Excel for your mobile phones and tablets.

To conclude, making a well-informed, precise decision for employing a CRM software should not only be based on the range of features, responsiveness, and cost. You must also determine what is well-suited for business growth, change, and expansion. Which CRM solution do you use for your organization? Tell us about it using the comment section below. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Java vs JavaScript – Which Is A Better Programming Language?

People often confuse Java for JavaScript and vice versa. Though most programmers would roll their eyes at this confusion, history had these two languages intersect for a while during early Netscape days. However, since then, both these languages have evolved in completely different ways.

A highly famed web developer, Jeremy Keith once said, “Java is to JavaScript as ham is to a hamster.” If this still doesn’t help you clear your confusion, here’s a brief comparison on Java and JavaScript.


What is Java?


Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that runs on WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) philosophy. Enterprises leverage Java application development services to build applications that are compiled into bytecode which runs on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) implementations. Java is a preferred choice of programming language among developers for web and server-side application development. It is used in Android mobile app development as a default programming language for the OS.

What is JavaScript?


Standardized as ECMAScript, JavaScript along with HTML and CSS is considered one of the most important core elements of web development. It is a scripting language that runs in the browsers to makes web pages interactive and dynamic. A majority of enterprises employ JavaScript to build websites that work well across multiple browsers. Besides web development, JavaScript is also getting popular as a service-side technology with the release of Node.js.

3 Major Differences Between Java and JavaScript:


Comparison
Java
JavaScript
Compiled vs Interpreted It is considered to be a compiled programming language as it is compiled into bytecode that runs on a JVM. You require a specialized software to make changes in the Java application environment. It is considered as an interpreted scripting language. A browser can interpret JavaScript directly in the syntax in which it is coded. Changes in JavaScript can be done even with a simple text editor.
Static vs Dynamic Type Checking It uses static type checking, where the variable type is checked at compile-time. Developers must specify the variable type they create such as string, integer, double, etc. The benefit of static type checking is that it catches type error early in development as the compiler knows the exact data types being used, resulting in faster code execution or less memory consumption. Just like other scripting languages, it uses dynamic typing, where type safety is verified at runtime. Developers don’t need to specify any type of variable they create. The primary benefit of dynamic checking is developer productivity – they can free assign types at leisure.
Class-based vs Prototype-based It depends on class-based inheritance – a hierarchical, class-based relationship. The objects are defined in a class and inherited through an instance of that class. To accomplish the hierarchy, an object is assigned as a prototype with a constructor function. It follows prototypal inheritance wherein all objects can be directly inherited from other objects.

Conclusion:

Whether it’s Java vs JavaScript or any other programming language, the decision ultimately boils down to the requirements of your business and project. Java is a general-purpose language that can be used to build anything like Android apps, enterprise software, server-side applications, Big Data analytics, and more. While JavaScript is still a web technology for creating dynamic single page applications (SPAs), front-end and server-side technologies. It can be used for developing cross-platform mobile apps through platforms like PhoneGap, React Native, etc. Which programming language suits your project needs the best? Let us know in the comments below.

Friday, 23 December 2016

5 Of The Best To-Do List Apps For Personal & Professional Use

The current generation has to juggle with a lot of roles and tasks in their day-to-day life. There are countless activities we need to perform in a day. Though our minds are well equipped when it comes to storing and recalling the daily tasks, we often tend to forget one or a few important activities amidst the hectic schedule. That’s when a to-do list mobile app can come to our rescue.

There's a multitude of to-do mobile apps available in Google Play and App Store. Whether you are an entrepreneur, employee, or a household manager, you can easily find your kind of to-do application with a simple interface, multiple tasks tracking categories with different color codes and other additional features. You can even leverage help of a Xamarin application development firm to create a customized to-do app of your own.

Meanwhile, take a look at some of the best cross-platform to-do applications we have listed below to help you stay organized on-the-go and never miss out on any important task in the future.

Best To-Do Applications For Millennials:

1. Wunderlist: Wunderlist is a powerful to-do app acquired by Microsoft last year. It boosts your productivity by allowing you to create your task list and share it with your co-workers and friends who will have the capability of altering the lists on their own. The best part of using Wunderlist is that it provides the user experience that doesn’t get messy even when multiple people are working on a list at the same time. It is a user-friendly app with a very sleek design. Adding and checking off your tasks on Wunderlist is not just fun but also easy and intuitive.
Price – Free
Available on: Android / iOS / Windows / WP / OSX / Web


2. Trello: Trello is a popular online project management application. It is built around the concept of “Kanban”, a scheduling platform that lets you shift your tasks from one state to another. It allows you to drag, drop, color-code, and manipulate items in your to-do list. It arranges larger projects into “Task Boards” wherein you can create a list of sub-tasks. In each list, you can add a “Card” where you can list all your items of the task. To each card, you can add a checklist, a due date, color-code labels, attachments, and also drag and drop the cards between boards and lists.
Price – Free
Available on: Android / iOS / Windows / Web


3. Todoist: Todoist is another powerful application that provides lots of great features to organize your professional and personal lives. It is well-designed and user-friendly. It allows you to add projects, sub-projects, and sub-tasks. You can prioritize the tasks by adding due dates, color-code, and assigning various categories. Todoist also integrates with other services such as Google Drive, IFTTT, and Sunrise Calendar.
Price – Free
Available on: Android / iOS / Windows / Web


4. Google Keep: Google Keep has been around for a while and is an amazing tool to quickly create and save lists or notes. The app automatically syncs your notes and lists across Google Drive and on the cloud enabling you to access it on any device anytime. You can easily add and store your text notes, checklists, voice notes, web links, and photos on Google Keep.
Price – Free
Available on: Android / iOS / Chrome / Web


5. Any.do: Any.do is one of the most beautifully designed to-do apps that focuses on achievement whether personally or professionally. It is highly collaborative as it syncs your tasks across multiple devices allowing you to easily share the tasks, reminders, checklists, and more. It includes all the features you would expect from a to-do app including drag-drop, swipe-to-complete, and voice entry. One of the coolest features in Any.do is the ability to shake your device to clear completed tasks.
Price – Free
Available on: Android / iOS / Chrome / Web


Which is your favorite to-do list app? What are best features you find in it? Drop your answers in the comments below.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Why Xamarin Is the Go-to Cross Development Platform For Enterprises

Xamarin is a popular cross-platform app development tool to deliver applications across multiple mobile operating systems - Android, iOS, and Windows in one go. It is an excellent platform that brings .NET/C# to iOS and Android while letting you make apps complaint to both Google Play and the iOS App Store.

The budget-friendly enterprises count on Xamarin for its ability to develop multiple mobile app versions and give them a native look and feel. Moreover, high-end performance, better UI/UX designs, and high functionality features are some Xamarin benefits that lure app developers towards it.

Xamarin in partnership with Microsoft recently made its integration with Visual Studio deeper. It now enables you to produce portable class libraries fully complaint to .NET. If this still doesn't build your interest in hiring a Xamarin application specialist, here's an infographic that gives six more reasons to use Xamarin as your cross-platform development tool. Take a look:



Friday, 20 May 2016

WooCommmerce Vs OpenCart – Which Platform Is Better For Your New eCommerce Store?

Ecommerce is one uber buzzword. More and more businesses can be seen venturing into eCommerce solutions from brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers are making serious efforts to cater to their customers’ sophisticated demands. But creating a successful eCommerce store takes a lot from choosing the right platform to customizing it and delivering a unique customer experience.

If you’re a newly minted business searching for the right eCommerce solution, you may have come across various comparisons like OpenCart vs Shopify or PrestaShop vs OpenCart. But one must have a practical approach and understanding of tools and key skills required to kick-off their online venture. Putting it in a simple way, one needs to identify the best eCommerce platform that not only suits the business requirements but also includes all the features and functionalities that help to monetize the website. 

The eCommerce market offers a galore of platforms to choose from. But if you’re looking for something straight out-of-the-box, then here are two choices you must consider – WooCommerce vs OpenCart. Let us first understand the background of each platform before moving onto their comparison.

WooCommerce:
WooCommerce was launched by WooThemes in 2011. It is a plugin designed for WordPress (WP) websites. With WooCommerce, an existing WordPress website can be converted into a fully-functional online store. It is a highly successful plugin partly because of the reliable company’s support, and its robust set of features that helps to deliver an engaging shopping experience to the customers.

OpenCart:
OpenCart, launched in 2008, is an open-source shopping cart solution designed to manage the requirements of any eCommerce store, regardless of its size. It is free, feature-rich and includes a wide variety of themes and extensions. It is a complete eCommerce system that supports servers like PHP5, Apache, and MySQL5.

Now, let’s compare the two platforms.

Ease of Installation:
OpenCart installation is easy. There are two ways to install it – one is manual and second is with one-click script installer. Manual installation is a little complicated and tiresome but has better customization options. The one-click installation is the fastest way to install OpenCart and can be done by using two installers: Softaculous and SimpleScripts. For WooCommerce installation, WordPress site is a prerequisite as WooCommerce is a WP plugin. Once the site is set up, you can download and install the plugin directly from WP dashboard. So, in terms of ease of installation, WooCommerce is the hands down winner.

Themes, Extensions, and Add-ons:
OpenCart offers over 2000 templates to choose from. It includes both free and paid themes ranging from $60 to $70. Also, add-ons are available at great deals. The Google Analytics, Facebook and Twitter integration is free but services like Amazon, eBay, and some others come at a price. It comes with some awesome shipping options and SEO specific add-ons. While WooCommerce does not include the basic functionalities like OpenCart. So, you need to pay for extensions and payment gateways you want to use. Further, it provides limited community support. There are both free and paid templates in WooCommerce and the price ranges from $39 to $79. Here, OpenCart wins as it has pretty out-of-the-box collections and options for your store.

Customization:
The template structure in OpenCart is a bit difficult to access. The codes are stored in a database instead of HTML which makes customization tricky. Whereas, WooCommerce offers all the essential administrative tools to revamp the functioning and quality of your store. It provides a greater control while making modifications to the store design. Thus, WooCommerce has better and simpler customization capabilities.

Conclusion:
Since both the platforms are professional, the choice of platform naturally depends on the requirements of your business. If you already have a WordPress website then WooCommerce is certainly a good fit. But if you’re looking to manage multiple sites having basic feature requirements, then go with OpenCart development services as it is highly customizable.

Which eCommerce platform seems to be a good fit for your business – WooCommerce or OpenCart? Let us know in the comments below.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Here's What You Need to Know About The Future Of Mobile Apps

Ever since the growth of mobile phone industry, mobile applications have become a vital tool for organizational success. A statistical study shows that “In 2015, global mobile app turnover amounted to $41.1 billion and by 2020, consumers are expected to spend more than $101 billion on mobile apps. This growth represents that mobile applications will undergo a lot more changes in the years to come.

Today consumers can access any kind of information through the web and perform various day-to-day activities like online shopping, paying bills, tracking expenses and incomes, prepare daily schedules, etc. Moreover, mobile application development services have already covered all major industries and spheres to expand potential opportunities and extend their services while establishing one-on-one consumer relationships.


With all the given opportunities and functionalities mobile apps are already providing, what more can be expected of in future? Let us take a look at the following changes mobile technology is expected to bring about in coming years.

Future Changes in Mobile Apps


Personalization of Apps: With the evolution of geo-targeted notifications, it is predicted that many marketers will soon entail it into their app marketing strategies. A study by Localytics shows that in comparison of generic push blasts, targeted push messages will double the open rates and triple the conversion rates of a mobile app. In addition, the app marketers will be able to access sophisticated tools for collecting & analyzing in-app data quickly to know their customers’ preferences and utilize the power of tailor messages to increase app usage and conversion rates.

Remarketing To Grow Retention: Last year, majority app installs were based on advertisements coming from Facebook, Twitter, and Google. This means that the app marketers will gain more confidence in these advertising platforms and optimize their budget to gain more quality leads. As some of the advertising platforms play a major role in remarketing, marketers will optimize the ad spend to re-target the inactive customers by exploring video-based ads. So, remarketing campaigns on mobile will gain more traction and marketers will be able to retain users leveraging the power of deep linking.

Growth of mCommerce: With the global penetration of smartphones and enhancements in mobile, security, payment and usability, mCommerce is expected to blow up. Marketers who have already embraced mobile are helping customers to research and compare products better by showrooming and creating mobile-ready barcode scanners. But the biggest change will be seen in the mobile payment industry. Some bigger brands like Starbucks, offer their own mobile wallet allowing the customers to add money and scan at the register. Basically, the idea is to link gift or membership cards along with the loyalty programs within the app. A majority of other brands are also expected to adopt the mobile wallet strategy and grow the customer base.

Today’s attention-challenged customers want everything personalized. And as more and more changes evolve in mobile technology, the growth of mobile application is sure to continue. So, whether it is a marketer or a consumer, both have the opportunities to harness the mobile app landscape and make the best out of it.

What do you think is the future of mobile apps? Share your opinions with us in your comments.