Category Archives: General

How to keep up with Web technology? Overcoming the challenges with learning

It is a challenge for the Web developers always, since they need to read, practice and deliver all the time. You may say life if full of learning, and everyone has to learn. But, what you learn today becomes out dated within a year, or sometimes even within few months in web technology and this becomes a real challenge.

In this Presentation Chris Coyier is trying to arrive for a decent answer. We thought it should be shared in our blog too.
 

You can see Chris shared some useful links at the end, unfortunately, they aren’t clickable. But Don’t worry, we have given them below as links that you can enjoy.

CSS, HTML and Web programming resources: 

CSS-Tricks
http://www.css-tricks.com

CSS Wizardry
http://www.csswizardry.com

Smashing Magazine
http://www.smashingmagazine.com

BRICSS
http://www.bricss.net

Cognition
http://cognition.happycog.com

24 Ways
http://www.24ways.org

NetTuts+
http://net.tutsplus.com

Codrops
http://www.tympanus.com/codrops

Web Platform
http://blog.webplatform.org

Individual who share their thoughts and learning:  

Paul Irish
http://www.paulirish.com

Zoe Gillenwater
http://www.zomigi.com

Jeremy Keith
http://www.adactio.com

Estelle Weyl
http://estelle.github.com

Nicolas Zakas
http://www.nczonline.net

Ryan Seddon
http://www.thecssninja.com

Nicole Sullivan
http://www.stubbornella.org/

Rebecca Murphey
http://blog.rebeccamurphey.com

Dave Rupert
http://www.daverupert.com

Tab Atkins
http://www.xanthir.com

Christian Heilman
http://www.christianheilmann.com

ShopTalk
http://www.shoptalkshow.com

Rails Casts
http://www.railscasts.com

The Web Ahead
http://www.5by5.tv/webahead

The Industry
http://www.theindustry.cc

Non Breaking Space
http://www.nonbreakingspace.tv

This Developer’s Life
http://www.thisdeveloperslife.com

The Big Web Show
http://www.5by5.tv/bigwebshow

The East Wing
http://www.theeastwing.net

Build Podcast
http://www.build-podcast.com

BizCraft
http://www.unmatchedstyle.com/bizcraft

Tech Twitters: 

Elijah Manor
@elijahmanor

Lea Verou
@leaverou

Mike Taylor
@miketaylr

Divya Manian
@divya

Ethan Marcotte
@rwd

Ben Alman
@cowboy

David Walsh
@davidwalshblog

Scott Jehl
@scottjehl

Jeff Starr
@perishable

Mat Marquis
@wilto

Simon
@simurai

Hakim El Hattab
@hakimel

What  we recommend:

Cat The code

@catswhocode 

Not but not least:

@macronimous :-)

Weekly doses: 

Web Design Weekly
http://www.web-design-weekly.com

CSS Weekly
http://www.css-weekly.com

JavaScript Weekly
http://www.javascriptweekly.com

HTML5 Weekly
http://www.html5weekly.com

RWD Weekly
http://www.responsivedesignweekly.com

Flat design + Less framework + WordPress = Our new responsive Blog design

After few years we had decided to give a new look and feel. As you aware 2013 was year of Responsive Web Design and we are no exception to this. So, RWD was in priority for the blog design. Why not applying new trends in our own blog ?  So, we added Flat design too.

Tablet browser view

Tablet browser view

Flat design:

Design trends change over the years. Now, people like to get rid of curved edges, gradients, reflections or shadow effects. Sharp edges become a favorite, along with minimalism.

If you like to start, you must first get inspired by some designs, take them as inspirations and practice yourself. You can see a lot of Flat UI designs at Flat Design. Also, I recommend Flat UI Colors to choose your colors and for more inspirations take a look at Dribbble’s Flat collections.

Less framework:

We have written couple of blogs on Responsive Web Design months ago when it was catching, one was about the CSS frameworks that we liked and used. But, recently with few projects we got an opportunity to explore Less framework. It’s quite impressive

The layout will be made to 992pixels and add CSS media queries within the child layouts. Child layouts will be 768pixels, 480 pixels and 320 pixels to make the ready for different browsers.

If the browser isn’t supporting CSS media queries such as Internet Ex­plorer 6–8 and most old mobile devices, the default layout will be served and for other browsers which support media queries, child layouts will be served based on the screen resolutions.

Less Framework is MIT licensed, so we can even modify it. However, the learning curve is little steep, a designer who is strong in HTML5 and CSS3 will require at least a weeks’ time to learn and master it.

 

Mobile browser view

Mobile browser view

WordPress:

Finally we decided to retain our blog with WordPress, through the new blogging platform Ghost looks promising. May be we should try that in next years.

We used WP Touch WordPress plugin for years. Thanks to this wonderful plugin by Bravenewcode.

In order to see our new RWD, we had to disable WP Touch.

Now the final design is ready for different browsers and Feel free to give our feedback on our new design.

Help The Victims of Earthquake in Japan

We have decided to make a special post to call for support through the American RedCross society for the victims of Japan.

Help The Victims of the 8.9 Earthquake in Japan by Spreading Awareness and Aid. Visit https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=0&5052.donation=form1&df_id=5052 to donate and provide your generous support.

God Bless.

11 things we improved in 2010 for a better 2011

Like any other year for a web development company, 2010 went with lot of learning. Not even a single day left without the impact of technology advancements and new techniques to learn. At Macronimous, we always try to let our clients know what we learnt: jQuery/HTML 5 instead of Flash, Ajax driven forms, Mobile and Tablet interfaces for websites, Security for WordPress blogs & sites and social networking integration are some of the key considerations for improving the deliverables. Few things were challenging and few attempts didn’t turned up well. At the end of the year, it’s a summary of things will help any business to focus or rethink to make 2011 better for us and most importantly for our clients.



1. Social Marketing:
Facebook and twitter will rule next year (or next few years too). Every SEO company which helps their client to succeed online, should help them by letting them to consider these technology giants, which might take them to next level. Social media optimization will not replace Search Engine Optimization, but social media optimization should go in parallel with SEO.

2. Cloud applications and hosting:
We started using invoice applications first (Freshbooks) and it ended up with cloud hosting. We moved our sites to cloud. Also helped clients to taste the flour of clouds. Web hosting with Amazon web services was a very different service we offered to our clients. Setting up their sites and web applications with EC2 were initially needed some learning with Amazon, but it became an expert service at the year end. In 2011 we will be providing setting up applications in cloud as a key service.

3. Social Media integration:
We learnt FBML, Facebook SDK with PHP and started offering business pages and applications with Facebook , which will continue next year. Marketing those pages is another fruit to reap. Similarly Facebook Like button integration and Twitter API integrations are two important promotional services clients will require in 2011.

4. Blogging:
Is blogging dead? No, it has come out in different format. Twits and Facebook status updates are micro blogging and People who do not want to write much, or those who like to share instantly use them. But, still business blogging isn’t dead. Macronimous helped serveral clients to start blogging. WordPress helped us much. We provide SEO friendly WordPress blogs by adding SEO plugins and basic SEO readiness setup as a mandatory feature along with every blogs.

5. Search Engine friendly coding:
SEO readiness is no more a value addition. Every site we develop should be ready to for Search Engines. It begins with light weight coding and ends with Keyword setup. Making dynamic sites such as CMS driven content, ECommerce sites and Flash sites with PHP and .NET are offered by us as an expert SEO service.

6. HTML5 for Flash:
We started offering HTML5 based presentations and sites. Flash was replaced by jQuery for many clients and they were happy too. By 2011, HTML 5 should be the standard, and Flash will move for interactive applications. The test results made at RWW in March 2010 was an eye opener. With full fledged CSS3 and HTML5, easy to create interactive web applications without Flash should be feasible.

7. Rich Internet Application
– Flex was used much in few projects this year. We look forward to work on RIA based frameworks, such as Sencha.

8. PHP Frameworks:
We used Codeigniter very much. But MVC is still not very popular, and framework based applications are relatively lower then non MVC based solutions like WordPress etc.

9. Smartphone and Tablet applications:
We did much with iPhones this year (including 2011 World Cup Cricket app), moving to iPads. Android development for Smartphones and tablets will be our important strategy for 2011. By the end of this year, we see more Tablets, and thanks to iPad, which regenerated the new platform of business. Building portable applications for the mobile and tablet browsers is another channel. By providing mobile friendly websites we help clients become accessible everywhere. Sencha Touch nd dhtmlx’s JavaScript mobile UI APIs will be a part of the development in 2011.

10. Security for Opensource applications
: Many of us believe that Opensource application based development cost is almost nil. This is a lie. The initial cost of a WordPress or Joomla based application/site development might be relatively lower than a closed, custom application development. But the real cost of ownership is affected by the security issues that comes with the Open standards, mainly when they are affected by Security attacks. We will work hardly on providing secure web applications when we develop them with open source in 2011. Even at this year end we have an important announcement with a  major security fix from WordPress.

11. Remote project management:
Managing projects across the globe was a real challenge a decade ago. Using standards and web based project management tools we provide hassle free project management. Tools like Basecamp, dotproject and Eventum helped us much, and we are working with few cloud based PM and collaboration tools, github etc. Apart from this our agile based PM methods have had some customization. Part of that is a project closure questionnaire.

Overall, many easy and hard ways of learning helped our team to build the next year strategy very much. Leave your comments if you had such learnings to share with others. Looking forward to another technologically challenging year which helps us to help our clients.

Dilbert stripe: © Dilbert.com

Frameworks we like: 4. Codeigniter, and Why?

Codeigniter is an open source web application framework for building dynamic websites with programming language PHP. Its main aim is to facilitate the developers to develop projects much faster than writing code from the scratch. If you are a developer who want to meet the clients’ deadline and tired of tediously large and painstakingly undocumented frameworks, Codeigniter is the way to go. When compared to other PHP frameworks, Codeigniter is often distinguished for its speed.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter

Now is the real time to know about the power of Codeigniter. So ignite yourself and initiate reading to know why you want to choose Codeigniter. It will suit if:

  • You require a framework which can be set up very quickly and efficiently.
  • You need an outstanding performance.
  • You are a developer who needs methodical and clear documentation.
  • You need a framework that does not call for sticking on to restrictive coding rules.
  • You want a framework that needs nearly zero configuration.
  • You need a framework which is compatible with many environments

Some of our developers always prefer to use  CodeIgniter, write me if you want to see some samples and know why they used CodeIgniter. If you want to start using CodeIgniter start right here at: http://codeigniter.com/

3. Frameworks we like: 2. CakePHP and why?

2. PHP Frameworks we like 1. Zend and why?

1. PHP Frameworks we like

PHP Best practices and worst mistakes

Months back, I made a post similar to this, But I believe another post emphasizing on the best practices is not considered bad. :-)

Working with PHP is something you enjoy everyday!. You always wanted to do your best to your clients. But when the deadlines are pressing and when the clients are on your shoulders people start doing messy codings, and the standards got ignored. But you practice the best ways of programming everyday, it becomes your style and you have no alternate choice of doing quick and dirty work. Here are some simple best practices discussed by Matthew Weier of Zend technologies. Use them when you get an opportunity, and they will become your style of programming.

If you are hiring freshers they need to know or learn PHP programming, learn your own standard way of programming which should be derived from the best practices. Its good to introduce the best practices from the day one, and not after you loosing clients because of the messy procedures and codings you follow. It would be easy to adapt them before you start doing serious coding.
Now, some mistakes you make and how to avoid the:
Learn this serious mistakes and do not DO them!
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2009/01/top-25-most-dangerous-programming-mistakes.html
Learn this general programming mistakes which you should not repeat
http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/03/Top-25-Programming-Errors
Learn this serious mistakes and do not DO them! 25 most Dangerous programming mistakes.
Learn this general programming mistakes which you should not repeat them:  25 programming errors.

Mobile applications: Browser based or Native or Hybrid?

In late 1990s, and also during the initial few years in the last decade, developers (and users as well) were confused. If they needed a solution, say an invoice management system, how did they get it?  Two choices – (1) An installable PC based software or (2) a Web application. (By the way, why don’t we ever call it Web software??? – that’s what it is!). Web applications (AKA Web software) was the unpopular choice for a few reasons – among them, Bandwidth limitations and a general insecurity about how safe using a software on internet would be.

But as the years passed by, the requirements too changed. When people started working collaboratively, (which was made much easier with the internet and with bandwidth growth) people slowly started moving into web based applications. Web based Emails are possibly the first web applications we used. Software companies started developing cross-browser compatible web applications. At a point, We stopped application development with Visual Basic and started focusing only on ASP and then ASP.NET. Now Web 2.0 has changed the perspective of ’software’ totally. And Hybrid applications became possible with APIs etc.

Likewise, in Mobile development, there are two ways to create  applications. (1) Mobile browser based applications – which are websites optimized for Mobile browsers and (2) Installable (or Native) Mobile applications.

They both have advantages and disadvantages.

Why Mobile Browser based applications and why not?

Mobile Brower based applications are slow due to the bandwidth limitations and will eat up your data usage in your phone plan. Also, the user needs to remember the URLs and type it, which every cell phone user knows is just plain  hard. One advantage is that the development cost is low since the developer only needs to consider how to make it compatible with most mobile browsers, and not each type of cell phone. Also, now that many Mobile browsers support HTML and smart phones come with bigger screens to see full sized websites, and users can zoom in and out. We have keyboards too to manage this. But, if you want to browse websites, you can do that in your tiny Netbook, which you always carry with you, right?

So, in short: The advantage of a mobile browser based application is the low development cost, and the disadvantage is the bandwidth limitations and the limitations of Mobile websites, which does not access your Phone’s components like your Address book, Camera, etc.
Mobile Brower based applications are slow due to the bandwidth limitations and will eat up your data usage in your phone plan. Also, the user needs to remember the URLs and type it, which every cell phone user knows is just plain  hard. One advantage is that the development cost is low since the developer only needs to consider how to make it compatible with most mobile browsers, and not each type of cell phone. Also, now that many Mobile browsers support HTML and smart phones come with bigger screens to see full sized websites, and users can zoom in and out. We have keyboards too to manage this. But, if you want to browse websites, you can do that in your tiny Netbook, which you always carry with you, right?

So, in short: The advantage of a mobile browser based application is the low development cost, and the disadvantage is the bandwidth limitations and the limitations of Mobile websites, which does not access your Phone’s components like your Address book, Camera, etc.

Why Native mobile applications and why not?
Native (installable) applications resides in your cell phone, and you  launch it directly from there, with whatever search parameters  are stored within your mobile (Eg. The names of the 50 states in the USA, your favorite locations, daily weather, etc). Except for free text search, all of  the search parameters can be stored in the mobile – OR they can be updated just one time.  The communication between the Data/Web server and the mobile phone could be drastically reduced. An application like a stock portfolio can be created within your Phone and stored. Every day you just need to update the stock prices. You need not download the entire portfolio each day. Also, the application resides within the phone, and can access your phone’s features such as your camera, phone book /contacts, etc.

It has also quickly become clear that another  hidden advantage of native applications is brand loyalty. If a customer installs a mobile application which you supply, he or she will rely on your application and trust it. For Example, I use Viigo for regular information updates (News, weather, etc) but a site called Justdial.com or Google local for local address research. If Justdial comes with a Blackberry solution, they captured me as their user.

The disadvantage is obviously the development cost. No two mobile platforms can share the same mobile application, and there are too many Mobile operating systems (or platforms) existing in the market. If you develop a mobile application to market it widely, you need to develop that in J2ME (for phones that support only Java with no loaded OS), Symbian, Mac iPhone, Android, RIM, WebOS( for Palm pre), LinMo and Windows mobile. Though J2ME (or Java ME) is widely used, it has  severe graphic limitations, and I am sure it won’t be pretty  in my Blackberry Bold! If a developer does not have expertise in more than one technology, then you need to use various mobile developers, and finding them all under one roof would be difficult.

So, in short: The advantage of native mobile applications is quick access and less data transaction, and the disadvantage is the cost of development.

Hybrid mobile applications?

No, “Hybrid” applications are not ways of  ‘going Green’ or developing applications to be ‘environment friendly!’ :-)

They are Applications that use BOTH browser interfaces and native mobile components. With HTML5 and JavaScripts, now the browsers are becoming capable of accessing a phone’s built in features like contacts, camera etc. We started developing applications using PhoneGap and I believe solutions like this should, hence the name, fill-in this gap.  Platform free mobile solutions are what we need now and the gap between the browser based applications and native mobile applications is getting narrower.

Finally, what would be the disadvantages of  hybrid mobile applications? Two things comes to my mind…(1) Application security, and (2) the learning curve for the developers. Mobile developers need to know HTML and Web developers need to know mobile phone APIs. Right? Let us see how these obstacles are overcome.

Proof reading courtesy: Anthony Passeri, NYC Data Systems. USA

Web application testing – 12 simple strategies for developers

We learn from the projects we do and time teaches us too. The following simple 12 rules for the developers are we learnt from the customers over a period of time. I hope they will help us to be better to the customers who teaches us, and improve the deliverables that justifies our experience.

1. Test, Test and Test your applications before you send it to QA team

2. Fix all the bugs which you find

3. Remember this: If you forget to include QA in the project schedule and swallow QA time by extending your development time, you are doing injustice to the client, your employer and the worst is to yourself.

3. Fix all the bugs which QA team finds

4. Assure yourself that you leave no faults in your application before sending it to the client

5. Do NOT expect the customer to test your application for yourself. The customer need not be a Testing professional.

6. Make the list of changes and bugs reported by the customer.

7. Schedule them – and Let the customer know the turnaround time to fix them all.

8. Fix them and let the QA check them.

9. Make sure that you make the customer happy, and let him prefer him as your favorite developer.

10. Learn from the bugs; By not repeating them you can become a super developer.

11. If a project has strict deadlines, it needs strict QA.

12. Avoid reporting the known bugs to the client – instead fix them!

As I said learning never ends. So, I welcome if your valuable rules or strategies or comments could extend this list are welcome. Shoot them them as your comments.

My Love Vault – Our new iPhone app. launched

We have our iPhone application successfully approved by apple and available in iTunes.  The application’s purpose is to bring different love tools under one roof. With our first version, we have included four different modules and we are planning to bring more features in our future releases.
Our first tool is “Love Chart” where you can check the relationship you might have with your partner(s). Our Next tool is “Compatibility Chart” which helps a person to find their compatible, incompatible and neutral partners, using their moon sign. We believe this might help you in zeroing in on your mate. The next tool is “My Partners” using which you can preserve memories with whom you have spent time together. Our final tool is “Gender prediction” which helps a couple to predict gender of their baby they are going to have, using mothers age and month of conceive. The couple can also decide the month the mother has to conceive, to have baby of their own preference.
We developed the application using XCode 3.1 IDE tool to program our logic and interface Builder to design our interface. Since this was our first application, we went through almost all the video tutorials available from Apple’s Developer Site which taught us what is iPhone application development all about. We then started with learning Objective C programming. Finally we went through the Human Interface Guidelines, which is essential when you develop any iPhone application. With this base knowledge, we dived directly into our first application and successfully got it approved by apple without any problem.
We are working on our next application and it will be available soon in iTunes store and you can check this site for more information.

We have our iPhone application successfully approved by apple and available in iTunes.  The application’s purpose is to bring different love tools under one roof. With our first version, we have included four different modules and we are planning to bring more features in our future releases.

Our first tool is “Love Chart” where you can check the relationship you might have with your partner(s). Our Next tool is “Compatibility Chart” which helps a person to find their compatible, incompatible and neutral partners, using their moon sign. We believe this might help you in zeroing in on your mate. The next tool is “My Partners” using which you can preserve memories with whom you have spent time together. Our final tool is “Gender prediction” which helps a couple to predict gender of their baby they are going to have, using mothers age and month of conceive. The couple can also decide the month the mother has to conceive, to have baby of their own preference.

We developed the application using XCode 3.1 IDE tool to program our logic and interface Builder to design our interface. Since this was our first application, we went through almost all the video tutorials available from Apple’s Developer Site which taught us what is iPhone application development all about. We then started with learning Objective C programming. Finally we went through the Human Interface Guidelines, which is essential when you develop any iPhone application. With this base knowledge, we dived directly into our first application and successfully got it approved by apple without any problem.

We are working on our next application in the same Lifestyle category and it will be available soon in iTunes store and you can check this site for more information. You can expect more from this before this year end. We will keep them posted.

You can buy My Love Vault from: iphone_app

Why you shouldn’t duplicate website content?

What exactly do we mean by duplicate content? Websites with identical pages and websites identical to another website on the net is considered as content duplication. Writing a content for a website is entirely a different thing to normal writing. It involves plenty of creative ideas and more importantly it should contain related keywords which is most used by the visitor.

Now let us see why you should avoid duplicating the content?

First of all, copying the content brings down the understanding of the concept. If you start understanding, that is only how you grow. The scriptwriter should understand why something is and how it works. If you copy, you are missing out on that. You are just resurfacing the upper layer and not getting into layers underneath when you do that.

If you are not willing to write on your own, you will not know the exact intention and get stuck at one place. You will not know how to take it forward. The originality of the content will be missing.

While it is easier to just copy from someone else, why do you have to create a new one? If you don’t do that, you will not know why it looks like, you cannot feel the way it feels like and you will not be able to read the way it should be read. The final outcome will be an artificial one.

Content Duplication and its impacts on SEO

1. Duplication of content will be considered a spam by all the search engines. There are so many websites with similar products, so the copywriter must be very careful in creating content. Search Engines likes fresh and unique content. It ranks websites depending primarily on the content used in web pages.

2. Changing the phrase of an existing content and rewriting is also considered as content duplication. Search Engines have ways to find out and it is supposed to be spam. This will certainly affect the ranking of a website.

3. When a website is reported to have duplicate content issues, the total number of pages ranked by the search engine will automatically come down. Fewer pages to rank will lessen the rankings and might lead to lower traffic.

4. It is important to make your content unique; otherwise there is absolutely no point in doing all these. The search engines will not bother to feature your website in its result pages.

5. There is a difference between content duplication “penalties” and “filtering”. When we refer to penalty in search engine rankings, we actually talk of points being reduced from your overall score, but the truth is, the pages are just filtered like you filter unwanted particles from a can of liquid. Accidently, this filtering can sometimes filter out your good particles.

Tips to avoid Content Duplication

1. While preparing content, make sure you don’t copy it from somewhere and try to replace the words with exact meanings. The search engines have already come up with a solution to deal with this issue.

2. Before you sit down to write, ask yourself what exactly will create value for your users.

3. Try to get various perspectives, take the good points from them and fill the rest with your own thoughts and creativity. After all, you have to make it happen and move forward.

4. You can be influenced by many, but make sure you don’t copy anything.

So while preparing content, watch out for duplication from search engine’s point of view and as well as loyal customer’s point of view. At the end of the day, it is the search engine and ultimately the customer who are going to “look” at your content, so make sure it is liked by both, otherwise all the efforts you put in for your business to grow will go wasted.