Mobile Application Development, Open source software, Web development
| Posted: May 16th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: Android development, Google Glass, Google I/O, Google Now, Key Lime Pie, mobile development trends, Project Butter, web app development
Another great event for Android developers, web development enthusiasts, and those looking forward to juicy Google news has come —annual Google I/O, which is held May 15-17 in San Francisco. There has already been a lot of fuss about the event as people as usual expect Google to show some latest developments both in software and hardware sectors.
Key Lime Pie is going to be announced; at least Android latest iteration, which is to start from K is rumored to have that odd name. In comparison to its early versions Android is a mobile platform that is neither a toddler, nor a child any more. It provides both welcoming functionality and steady and qualitative performance rates. However, there is still room to develop and grow. Apart from some trivial things like a longer battery life and several productivity increasing issues, the rumors keep going about improving Google Now, oiling Project Butter and some other staff, which should provide a bit of room for Google Glass that we are hoping to get in 2014. However, that’s not all we are expecting from the event in San Francisco. Google iterations keep on being released each year. So, just another one coming is quite a predictable piece of news.
Most users are eagerly anticipating the event to learn the very truth about Nexus. Is it going to be released? If yes, what Nexus will it be? The same opinion is shared by those who are looking forward to new portables from Motorola. In one of his interviews Larry Page did spill some news on what ideal phones should be like — a better battery and higher durability, faster and easier. All that is what millions of phone holders have been craving for so long and Motorola has a chance to implement all those dreams in an armored never-dying gadget. At least, let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Yet, another thing to think over during Google I/O is Google TV. Google has been keeping silent on the topic for quite a while. The market niche already seems to be overcrowded — Apple TV, Roku, Kinect. They all want a piece or several pieces of the pie at the same time providing better services than Google can offer. However, Google is not known for breaking promises or giving up intentions so this year we are anticipating some hot fights at the market.
In general, this year Google has been quite tight-lipped. So, we can expect there’s something up its sleeve, the proverbial rabbit from a hat. The audience is already thrilled and awed. Beware! Too many emotions can be harmful for people’s hearts!
Mobile Application Development
| Posted: April 10th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: Apple, iOS, Mobile app development, patents, Ping, social networking apps
Social networking has been booming for about 5 years. At first it used to be just a stylish trend, later — an absolute must to have an account at some of the top-notch social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Now it is an ordinary media channel with hardly anything new about it. Marketers are aware of it and target them in their campaigns, web app developers and development companies make sure to integrate social networking features in all the web projects they are engaged in. Users just take for granted that mixture of a personal psychiatrist and Speaker’s Corner to share their views on virtually any subject.
Apple’s Initiative in Social Networking Domain
Despite being a success in almost any field the Apple company is engaged in and turning into gold virtually anything it promotes, there are still areas where Apple’s position seems doubtful and uncertain. Social networking is surely one of such activities. Ping turned out to be a rather painful failure, which gives ground to note that the company’s specialists have a rather vague idea what users need to have in that social channel.
SN Integration – Way to Stay on the Edge
Aware of that the company is paying more attention to deeper integration of apps meant for Apple portables with those networks that definitely know what a user seeks in the social field: Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. Though, some people doubt it to be the end of Apple’s ambitious plans to be the One in all activities it is engaged in. Is Apple plotting anything behind the scene and preparing to unveil it once it is firmly supported by a range of legally valid patents?
Plans and Plots for Future?
Most would agree that it would be quite Apple-like to keep a low profile, developing a new functionality and preparing for an assault without any haste. That would remain just a web buzz if not for the latest news that Apple gained a patent last week meant to cover certain functionality to efficiently manage data in social networks and optimize friend searching mechanisms. Moreover, iOS apps development specialists are said to pay special attention to spammers and stalkers protecting users from high-volume messages which they regard as suspicious.
So, there are grounds to hope that Apple will hit the market with the superb product as it often does. The only thing which blackens the picture is that it might provide reasons for another surge of patent scandals that the company is that notorious about.
Java programming, Mobile Application Development, Open source software
| Posted: April 3rd, 2013 | sirex
Tags: Apple, Application Development Framework Mobile, Codename One, iOS, Java, Mobile app development, Oracle, Vaadin
While common users are still preoccupied with security issues and threats that Java usage can expose them to, Oracle and Java developers are more interested in tools, which ensure their joining the crowd of iOS developers.
Despite the renowned Apple’s ban to run Java apps and applets on iOS devices, there has always been a range of tools which helped port Java applications to the iOS gadgets. The list of such tools, which include third-party open source frameworks as well as Oracle’s ADF (Application Development Framework) Mobile, has been expanded by another Oracle release.
Google offers open source J2ObjC translator for Java code to be translated into Objective-C source code, which Apple desires to see on its devices.
Other services which allow Java developers to see their masterpieces on Apple devices are Codename One and Vaadin. Codename uses cloud services for building apps for an Apple device, while Java development and debugging takes place locally. Vaadin is at hand to build apps for the iPad, mainly web apps to be precise. Although the functionality of the service might seem a bit limited, it was quite handy at the launch of the iPad when everybody was crazy about having an app on the device. That array of tools more or less filled the gap and allowed Java developers to join the development whirlpool for Apple mobile devices.
However, the time has come for Oracle to care for its followers once again. New Java Native Interface Proposal was created last month and meant to modify the JDK and provide Java developers with a possibility to pack a Java runtime, native application code, and Java application code without shared libraries. Many Java experts view the release as a kind of an advantage, which will expand Java developers’ abilities within the iOS environment though at the expense of some prior releases such as Java Micro Edition.
The new advances prove that despite security breaches of which Oracle was blamed just a month ago, the company is determined to guarantee its Java developers a comfortable place in the iOS development community. Apple, though not particularly happy with Java apps on its portable devices, so far kept silent on the issue.
IT outsourcing, Money in IT, Project management in IT
| Posted: March 20th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: Belarusian IT community, IT Spring Conference, Money in IT, Xavier
The second annual IT Spring conference is over. What are the outcomes and feelings left after the event?…
IT Spring proved that Belarusian IT get-togethers are the events that are really longed for by the community and worth the time spent. IT guys are ready to meet to share and socialize on their topics of interest with the like-minded folks.
We expect quality presentations and bright presenters – and this year the conference gave the floor to many of them. We would no longer tolerate just see-through self-promotion speeches – we’d like to get value. And this value for us is hands-on experience and relevant advice from people who are there in the IT, and who are a success, who know that there is no road to the top without failures, but who are able to play their flops to their own advantage.
Some would say that there were plenty of no-brainers featured in presentations, but come on guys, we are not laymen in the niche and know what turns IT gears. After all, several good no-brainers can be easily converted into one or two brilliant ideas after being reminded of and when given a slightly different perspective to.
The coffee-breaks in-between the speeches oozed a friendly atmosphere and created favourable conditions for networking, and every here and there you would hear the latest IT rumours. The participants were able to continue their conversations and weave business connections.
The overall mood remained responsive and amicable both due to soft skills of the speakers who showed understanding despite all BUTs and TRICKs of Belarusian weather, and the efforts of Oxagile team that hosted the conference in the Spartan conditions.
In general, the event wasn’t all perfect and there is always room for perfection – the lessons were learnt. What we can say for sure is that the conference left us uplifted as we realized that the COLLECTIVE IT BRAIN really rocks!
Looking forward to IT Sring 2014!
.Net programming, IT outsourcing, Money in IT, Project management in IT, Startup Trends
| Posted: March 20th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: budgeting and money, effective management, IT Spring Conference, outsourcing, startups, Xavier
So, what were we up to at IT Spring?
Where money is in the mobile and how to monetize your apps: myths and reality
Yuri Gursky, Alex Krakovetskyi and Maxim Babich showed us some nice figures and warned that all that glitters is not gold.
• Cross-platform mobile development is often not worth the pain;
• Focus on UX, it’s that very KING in the mobile;
• The mobile is used as a powerful branding tool for consumer companies;
• It’s difficult for a small fish to get noticed by users unlike for brand-name clients;
• Mobile business has a major obstacle these days – marketing costs are getting too high to leverage traditional monetization models;
• Options to get your ROI from mobile apps: freemium, in-app purchasing, in-app ads, paid apps, but better…
• Start working on the backend of your apps and switch to B2B market (as Y.Gursky advised).
Agile and Scrum are in the spotlight
We were ready to roll up our sleeves to pick up the best practices from Agile and Scrum experts, who mentored the audience on how-tos of effective project management. Tatiana Belova, Vladimir Dobrov, Alexey Minkevich, Vladimir Ivanov gave their views of the right project process and management.
While Maxim Dorofeev and Dmitry Maleev threw into the traditional approach some fresh ideas and food for thought.
• If more than 400 000 Chinese make business by earning virtual gold and selling it for real money to gamers, then gamification can work well for managing and motivating IT teams (by Dmitry Maleev);
• Try on the shoes of both a client and an IT team on the contractor’s side to spot where these shoes are tight – do care about the end-users of your software and create Green IT peace, create value (double-sided view of closing IT deals and contracts by Maxim Dorofeev).
How to get money in Outsourcing? Or is it better to go and build your own product
We have witnessed panel discussions with successful outsourcers and product owners (Arkadiy Dobkin, Pavel Obod, Viktar Khamianok), listened to several presentations on how to make money in outsourcing and software product development tips and tricks (Pavel Obod, Steve Mezak, Pavel Kravchenko, Tim Evgrashin, Dmitry Zavalishin).
• You can be successful both as an outsourcer and a product owner, the only thing you need is passion for what you do – interesting projects are hidden within both of these business models.
Be your own boss: startups and freelancing
This topic was elaborated in a session of presentations (Ivan Semizhon, Aleksandr Sorokoumov, Alexey Meandrov, Stas Davydov, Denis Shavruk, Aleksandr Orlov and Slava Pankratov, Serhiy Berezhnyy, and Tom Herman), in hands-on tips from foreign investors (Seth Elliot and John Ason) and a round of startup pitches from Belarusian entrepreneurs and guys, who try to kick-start their own projects (Tripmate, Orderino, Cliqus, Survey 3.0). The round was hosted by a successful Belarusian entrepreneur Mikita Mikado, owner of Quote Roller, and assessed and advised by experienced venture capitalists and angels from the USA.
• Accept the idea that you may fail;
• Focus on a narrow niche – it’s better to be successful with one project than fail with many projects;
• Investors seek for good people: money would rather go to a great team with a mediocre idea than to a bad team with a great idea;
• Do your homework! Show investors that you’ve done research, realized the pain of your users and you are convinced that this pain is not scarce (comprises about 2 users around the world), analyzed your competitors and, in general, paid due attention to the business side of the project;
• Practice, practice and practice! (by Seth Elliot)
Startups Mixer has demonstrated that Belarusian IT scene has a lot of guys with great ideas, but, for now, they often fail to polish the business side of their projects to make them look lucrative and promising for investors. American venture capitalists and angels – experts at Startups Mixer – again have proved that there are major differences in our cultures, regarding our business mindset. Americans have innate dealer’s eye and practical business approach since they are born and raised in the culture of the American dream pursuit and believe that everyone can be an architect of their own fortune, whereas here in Belarus we tend to get enthusiastic about an idea and plunge into the project straight away, discarding such down-to-earth issues as money. Keep it in mind if you want to deep-dive into your own venture.
Budgeting: how to treat your money right
Another round of presentations during our IT hangout was dedicated to the budgeting process with Kirill Golub, Mihail Sorokin, Sergey Dmitriev giving their view on this point.
• Good budgeting is not only about calculations on your side, it’s an art to make your clients believe that they will have a real bargain and value for their money.
We even talked a little bit about our IT dreams with Katherine Lazarevich and Maxim Dorofeev.
• Let’s make our IT world uncluttered, vote for Green IT peace!
• Do not reinvent the bicycle, be honest with your clients, when they ask for another “excel with an extra pair of arms”;
• Eliminate information-for-responsibility exchange chains with a row of god-knows-what-they-are-here-for delegates;
• Be passionate about what you do, because this attitude is contagious and makes you stand out in the crowd when you try to win a project;
• Research the niche of your client since in-depth domain knowledge adds your company extra value in the eyes of your clients;
• Differentiate your client personas and work out custom selling techniques that meet the specific pains of your clients’ profile;
• Use technical knowledge at presell stages if you can;
• Don’t be afraid to be different and invent your own approach to appeal to your clients.
• Small is beautiful
IT Spring 2013 is said to be about money in IT. Honestly, it can be well pronouned to be about Smart IT.
Money in IT, Project management in IT
| Posted: March 18th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: IT conference, IT Spring Conference, Minsk, Money in IT, oxagile, Pancake Day, project management, Xavier
Although, the weekend started with adverse weather conditions as the renowned arctic cyclone Xavier brought to a standstill not only Minsk and the entire region, but also blocked all the driveways to the capital and runways meeting our country guests. For many Belarusian people March 16-17, 2013 has left these imprints in their minds.
Well, not for IT people! For us this weekend was marked with geek fun, aka constructive IT networking,
many charismatic speakers like Maxim Dorofeev and Co, dancing Sirtaki ,
real (!that’s why we were all there) knowledge exchange,
even at the neuron level ,
despite early (for IT people) wake-up weekend hours,
and, of course, don’t forget about pancakes for Pancake Day.
All guests gathered at the venue, despite their intricate round-abouts on the way to Belarusian Spring.
Find more information on how it was on the official IT Spring facebook page and in Oxagile facebook feed.
Get the participants’ feedback, and leave your thoughts and ideas on our official Twitter pages: Oxagile and IT Spring Conference #itspring
Java programming, Software Security, Web development
| Posted: March 13th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: browser-based Java exploits, HTML5 development, Java, security breach
Millions of users all over the world are patiently waiting for Java and Flash to leave the stage. Blamed for a number of issues, the security breach being the main one, the technologies are viewed as the necessary evil, which has to be put up with until anything better arrives. The latest reason for users’ indignation was discoveries of significant browser-based Java exploits. That definitely wasn’t the first time users were warned to disable Java, but this time a new level of security concern has been achieved at a surprisingly rapid pace. US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which makes up part of US Homeland Security Department, broke in with a warning to disable Java. Mozilla and Apple were quick to react and blacklist the technology.
Bad reputation, though, turned out to be the most powerful driving force for Java application development community. The patch curing the mentioned exploits in the Java Security Manager arrived shortly. Besides, Oracle went one step further to eliminate such incidents in future by running the default settings on the high level and asking permission before launching any applet without an official signature. Nevertheless, unsatisfied users need 100 % secure solutions, which will control everything, and wait for HTML5 to arrive to dive into HTML5 app development art.
HTML5 is the most promising successor, though it does not evolve fast enough to elbow the mentioned technologies in the near future. Besides, any software has exploits, which tend to come up as the technology scale increases. No doubt, HTML5 will have its own set of exploits, which will show up when the technology already reigns the market and there is no way out except for putting up with them.
However, while users keep boiling over imperfections of the delivered Java solutions, Java software developers continue their custom software development path upon the request of clients most of whom represent the corporate segment of the market. There are always some people, who are over-preoccupied with security issues. The best way out for them is to get rid of their browser (any), the current OS (any) and the remaining useless hardware and to switch to the web plugging the network cable directly into the brain. There will be just one issue left: their brain must be secure enough and not contain any threatening exploits.
Big data management, Web development
| Posted: February 25th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: Big Data, Data management trends, Hadoop, NoSQL
It’s easy to extract new tendencies, watching what kind of professions are in great demand at the market. From such a perspective, Big Data is a powerful trend altering not only the business skyline but the top managers’ mind as well. Its impact on the job prospects is hard to overestimate as well. In 2013 hiring executives positioned IT skills related to big data and web developers, who have a way with data management, high on their wish lists. Just behind Java web developers, mobile application developers and .NET application development professionals.
The Big Data has been around for several years already in the form of petabytes of data stored by Facebook and Twitter, loads of operation info collected by e-trading resources, web logs, research results in Big Science, genomics, biogeochemical, biological and atmospheric fields, astronomy, etc. The list can be easily extended. According to some estimates, the business data volumes all over the world double every 1.2 years, which also produces tons of info with a value of unknown nature.
We must admit, however, that quite little time had passed since the concept was first introduced to the public till the moment the top IT players got the idea. IT market leaders like IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, HP have already made their first move enlarging their assets – acquiring software development firms specializing in data management and analytics. Some analysts are sure that the booming growth of the big data technologies can be paramount to the one, induced by the emergence of portable devices, especially smartphones and tablets.
New challenges bring new technologies. Big Data poses exceptional 4V challenges. Big Data is huge (Volume) and variable (Variety) which makes it impossible to process it using conventional relational databases. It is increasing at a rapid pace (Velocity) and the processing results are of great Value. However, some analysts refer the last V to the amount of money spent to receive some comprehensible output. To meet the issues new tools emerge bringing innovation around. Hadoop has recently appeared but it is perfect for data-intensive distributed applications. NoSQL is going to change familiar relational bases while software like InfoSphere Streams from IBM or S4 from Yahoo enables continuous analysis of massive volumes of data-in-motion, providing the results in the real-time mode. New technologies need new custom software development skills and new people.
The mobile era seems to have passed the peak of its popularity and IT specialists with experience in data analysis and analytics may turn to be the next to take their share of the cream from the IT market.
IT outsourcing, Startup Trends
| Posted: February 15th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: New York City startups, Outsourcing trends, Silicon Alley, Silicon Valley, Tech companies
New York’s blossoming startup ecosystem is leveling the US entrepreneurial landscape, becoming another center of tech hangouts. However, NYC startups have a distinguishing characteristic with an air of real-life consumer solutions remaining at the core of their companies. How does this vibrant community relate to the outsourcing trends, when they start the game, seek for investment and pitch their ideas, and then try to hit the market with their startup offspring.
View some really eye-candy infographics with the figures, giving an overview of these 2 phenomena: NYC startups and the future of the outsourcing.
Mobile Application Development, Web development
| Posted: February 7th, 2013 | sirex
Tags: app functionality, mobile developers, mobile development trends, UI requirements
Gadgets to Perform its Primary Role - Serve as Tools
The mobile development is thriving, new apps appear daily. Some are nice and even fabulous, while others add to the pile of useless garbage at app repositories and users’ gadgets. The most prudent iPhone app development experts and Android app developer companies, though satisfied with the present success are casting a cautious look in the future trying to predict the plausible trends in the field and tendencies at the market. Some seers are more experienced than others as, for example, Gartner, one of the leading research agencies, is. Not long ago it issued a report on the future of mobile application development.
The essence of the report can be described in the following way: the best way to develop mobile apps is not to develop mobile apps. At first glance the assumption may seem quite provocative and devoid of any sense. However, nowadays distinctions between different kinds of apps do become rather vague and uncertain proclaiming the new way of mobile and web app development.
The UI seems to be the subject of the greatest alterations, shifting the app from the focus of a user’s attention to its periphery, making it just a provider of a useful function. The main intention of a developer in 3-5 years will be not to provide an app which fully engages users but to deliver the one which mostly serves not entertains. Poor advertisers! Thus, other modes of input, for example, a voice one, will be given a green light, while multiple modes of input as well as an automatic shift between them will be a serious advantage.
Wearables and connectables are also given some attention. So, people seem to turn into living batteries of their favorite gadgets powering them when jogging in the evening, for example. The battery life issue will be solved but it seems terrifyingly close to the Matrix.
Another thing which is worth mentioning is a form-factor. The authors of the report definitely find it disgusting holding the 4-inch device up by the side of the face. They like something refined and tasty, like glasses reflecting all the output data, processed somewhere else in the pocket or case. The idea may seem too innovative but most prototypes of similar devices are already in testing and in 3-4 years they will be definitely ready to hit the market like the iPhone once did.
No doubts, developers will have to adjust to users’ habits. However, we all know that advertising is a most powerful engine. It can promote any device and make it a vital necessity for billions of users all over the world irrelevant of their likes and dislikes.