Hybrid Mobile app development - Xamarin or Telerik AppBuilder

What is Hybrid App development? Do you ever realize the difference between hybrid app and native app

Software outsourcing companies India

 

What is Hybrid App development?

Do you ever realize the difference between hybrid app and native app when you download, install and use any app from app store? Visually and aesthetically, it is difficult to separate mobile apps in two baskets – Hybrid and Native.

Native apps are developed considering specific platform like iOS, Android etc. Web apps are primarily apps that run on browsers. Hybrid app is combination of web app and native app. Hybrid apps are developed using web technologies like JavaScripts, HTML and CSS by mobile application development companies. In addition to web technologies, it also contains some native code to make it portable and compatible with all mobile devices.

Hybrid app is a good choice for mobile application development companies as it requires developing one application that is portable and compatible with all mobile device platforms like iOS, Android and Windows. This reduces overall time and cost of mobile app development making it more lucrative option over Native app development.

Ionic, Xamarin, Telerik AppBuilder, React Native are some of the platforms to use for Hybrid app development. Xamarin has been taken over by Microsoft recently. Telerik AppBuilder is in market since long.  

Xamarin Hybrid App development

Xamarin is a .NET based mobile app development platform recently acquired by Microsoft.  It is claimed that no other platform enables businesses to all device platforms like iOS, Android, Mac and Windows with greater reusability, scalability and compatibility than Xamarin.

Mobile application development companies use same data structures, language and APIs for different platforms. Complete app is written using C# and code is shared between platforms. C# is the language covering features of Java, Swift and Objective C making it suitable programming language to create native apps with cross-platform compatibility.

Reasons to use Xamarin

  • There are 20,000+ NuGet .Net libraries and Xamarin components available
  • User friendly IDE, Xamarin Studio for Visual Studio, Windows, or Mac
  • Multi-platform testing on 1000+ real devices online
  • Efficient error handling and reporting
  • Add data synchronization with external devices through integration

Telerik AppBuilder

Telerik AppBuilder is another popular hybrid mobile app development platform that allows developing, testing, debugging, building and publishing cross-platform mobile applications with Apache Cordova or NativeScript. Mobile application companies can enjoy developing mobile apps using Telerik AppBuilder extension for Microsoft Visual Studio.

Reasons to use Telerik AppBuilder

  • Using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, mobile developers can write once and build native-running hybrid mobile apps.
  • jQuery Mobile and Kendo UI Mobile for AppBuilder mobile projects
  • Realistic simulation, powerful debugging and real-time device updates
  • Easy app publishing using “publish to app store” wizards
  • Integrated cloud backend services for managing and storing app data
  • Enjoy your favorite Visual Studio features, such as:
    • Advanced code editing features such as built-in code snippets and IntelliSense.
    • JavaScript and CSS minifying and obfuscation.
    • Work offline mode capability
    • TFS, SVN and other source control system integration

Comparative analysis of Xamarin and Telerik AppBuilder        

  Xamarin Telerik AppBuilder
Platform requirements Visual Studio , Xamarin Studio Telerik AppBuilder extension for Visual Studio
Development cost Low High
Deployment cost Low Moderate
Development time Less More
Portability Yes No
Development speed High (still depend on the native browser) Slow
Maintenance cost Low High
Skills needed to reach Android and iOS HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Mobile Development Framework Objective-C, iOS SDK, Java, Android SDK
Performance High Low
Graphical performance High Moderate
Cross-Platform Yes No
Distribution App Store/Market App Store/Market
Universal Windows Platform Supported Not Supported
Source Open Source Paid
App performance Moderate Fast
Better Previews Better UI Moderate UI
Example Instragram  

 

Device Access and features
  Xamarin Telerik AppBuilder
Camera Yes Yes
Push Notifications Yes Yes
Contacts Yes Yes
Offline access Yes Yes
File upload Yes Yes
Geolocation Yes Yes

Conclusion:

Hybrid and Native app have its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Mobile application development companies should consider customer’s requirement and decide the approach. Telerik AppBuilder and Xamarin also offer unique advantages and disadvantages and we discussed based on various parameters. Consider customer requirements and map them both platforms and decide the best platform.

Office add-in development: VSTO Add-ins vs JavaScript API

Microsoft office is one of the most successful and pioneer softwares that enabled and accelerated di

VSTO addin development companies India

 

Microsoft office is one of the most successful and pioneer softwares that enabled and accelerated digital revolution. Office Add-ins are used for functionality extension and alteration of office clients like Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Office 365. Microsoft supports creation of new features and modification of existing features using available APIs and Tools to VSTO software development companies in India.

Office Add-ins types

  • Functionality extension in Excel, PowerPoint and Word
  • New object creation in PowerPoint and Excel
  • Functionality extension in Outlook add-ins

Office add-in development technologies

  • Develop add-in using Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO)
  • Develop add-in using Office JavaScript API

Office JavaScript API Add-in

Office JavaScript API Add-in is used to develop office add-in for functionality extension in office clients like Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook using traditional web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Following architecture depicts how JavaScript API Add-in works.

                                             Software outsourcing companies India

 

Benefits of Office JavaScript Add-in technology

  • Add-in created using this technology is highly portable across different platforms like Windows, iOS, Mobile Phones and Tablets.
  • Hosting and distribution of Add-ins developed using JavaScript API is easy using office store. Office store manages complete licensing process and cycle.
  • Online service hosting is easy in JavaScript Add-in.
  • Easy support to bring data from external sources or third party apps.
  • Supports highly interactive UI using CSS and JavaScript
  • Interactive visualization using Charts, Maps and ClipArt to its own excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

Challenges of Office JavaScript Add-in technology

  • This technology is new and introduced with office 2016 and thus has very limited support available.
  • It offers very limited APIs and functions and thus not suitable to every requirements.
  • All APIs are not supported by all platforms currently. One needs consider the platform while using few APIs in add-in development.
  • This technology is still in development. You may find some issue during development should Microsoft changes any API or support.

Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) Add-in

VSTO is a set of development tools that is available in the form of add-in or extension (project templates) and it allows Office 2013 and later versions of Office applications to host the add-in and to expose their functionality via .NET framework.

 

                           

 

This allows extensions to the Office applications to be written in programming languages as well as to use functionality and user interface constructs from Office applications in .NET applications.

Benefits of Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) Add-in

  • It provides access to complete office object model. So one can nearly perform any operation on office client.
  • Any feature of office client is feasible to improvised or modified.
  • Local machine integration like file systems and other applications are comparatively easy.
  • Good support from Microsoft and other sources available
  • C# or any other CLI programming language can be used to create new office add-in.

Challenges of Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) Add-in

  • VSTO add-ins are not portable as JavaScript Add-ins. These require installation files that can only be used in Windows.
  • Distribution and licensing process need to be handled separately.
  • Integration with third party services using data from different sources is confined to its Microsoft support and compatibility.

Conclusion

We discussed how add-in allows extending office applications per our requirements. Some of the factors that determine the use of technology VSTO vs JavaScript API are following.

  • Purpose and objective of Add-in
  • Data and data source for add-in
  • Host support for add-in
  • Functionalities of add-in

If the requirement for host support is wide, like Windows, OS X, iOS, iPad then it is recommended to use JavaScript API as underlining technology. It is very easy to use and integrate. It also provides easy integration with online services. It can be hosted in office store and also can be distributed very easily. JavaScript API add-in is portable on multiple devices like Tablets, Mobile phones etc.

If the add-in requirement is to use native office functionalities or working with file system, then it is recommend to use Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) as underlining technology for add-in implementation. Timely and useful support is available to VSTO development companies in India from Microsoft and other sources compared to Office JavaScript API. Complete office object model can be accessible using VSTO. Local machine integrations can be done very easily. It is available on Windows since office 2003 so support is also easily available.       

 

Top ten questions to ask to eCommerce service providers

Better prices, convenience and variety are some of the factors to stimulate online shopping revoluti

 

Better prices, convenience and variety are some of the factors to stimulate online shopping revolution. Owning an online store is not only a brand requirement but also an essential element to reach to customers directly. Security, frauds, return policy and personal feel were some of the reasons that were hindering customer behavior to shop online. Technological advancements have curtailed these risks and other benefits are outweighing the drawbacks making it lucrative to shop online.

It is imperative that an online store should be user friendly, safe, secure and mobile responsive to offer unforgettable user experience. Right choice of eCommerce platform is the stepping stone and foundation for great eCommerce portal. Consider below questions to discuss with eCommerce service providers to help you choose the right eCommerce platform for your online store.

 

1. What would be the cost comparison of various eCommerce platforms?

There are three types of eCommerce platforms available namely Licensed Shopping Cart, Hosted Shopping Cart and Custom Shopping Cart.  Each offers varying cost structure. Licensed shopping cart requires one time license fees. Hosted shopping cart offers monthly or yearly recurring charges and some have transaction charges as well. It is good to study the cost comparison of each platform in question.

 

2. What is the development timeline?

Development time is directly proportional to development cost and opportunity loss. Custom eCommerce solution sounds appealing compared to licensed shopping website and hosted shopping websites however it requires longer development time and thus requires higher investment.  This indirectly mean opportunity loss for the period when website is under development. One needs to carefully analyze to strike a balance between investment, opportunity loss and other business parameters.

 

3. Is my website secure?

Security and online fraud were biggest setback for online shopping. Technological advancements has subdued these risks however it has not been completely eliminated. It is apparent that your online store should be safe and secure for online transactions. One should discuss security measures of specific platform in question to build the website to ensure zero tolerance to security breaches.

 

4. Who would host my eCommerce website and what would it cost?

Server response time, uptime, security measures, service level agreement and support are some of the factors to determine best website hosting server. Cost is also an important factor to consider. Website performance is heavily depending on right choice of server. Server choice depends on eCommerce model choice and underpinning technology.

 

5. What would be the recurring cost to maintain the eCommerce platform?

Timely support and maintenance are very important to maintain smoothly running eCommerce platform to manage technical glitches, bugs and other usability issues. This requires continuous and timely support from eCommerce service provider. Other back office operations like inventory management, order management, customer data management and restore would also require technical assistance.  It is imperative to discuss support and maintenance arrangement and its cost.

 

6. Which payment gateway is suitable for the said eCommerce platform?

Every eCommerce platform has compatibility issues with certain payment gateways. It is good to discuss payment gateway of your choice with service provider to ensure safe and secure online payment processing.

 

7. Is my website user friendly and mobile responsive?

Usage of mobile is advancing at very high pace. It is predicted that mobile usage for online shopping would outweigh the normal website usage from computers very soon.  This requires that your website is mobile responsive and users can have uninterrupted shopping experience through mobile.

 

8. What would be the speed of my website?

User experience highly depends on website speed and performance. Many studies and articles have been published emphasizing the importance of website speed for better user experience and its impact on sales. The average online shopper is highly impatient and does not like to wait for information to load.  It is believed that every millisecond can have an impact on purchasing behavior and decision making process of an online shopper.

 

9. Is back office administration of website user friendly?

If you are an end-user, it is very important to understand how back office administration works for your online store. One needs to learn this so that inventory and orders can be managed smoothly without requiring any assistance from vendor every now and then. User friendly back office administration would subdue your headache to manage back office operations.

 

10. Does website / platform offers inline support for marketing/SEO?

Merely online store does not help you to boost product sales. One requires dedicated efforts to market the same to persuade online shoppers to buy your products or services. Online marketing is becoming prominent these days as people search products and services through google and other search engines online. It is evident that it would be a good strategy to discuss your marketing plans with  eCommerce service provider to make sure the website has prerequisites required for your online marketing campaigns.

 

eCommerce website is your lifeline to remain in business. Questions discussed will you help you to choose the right eCommerce service provider and platform though this list is an indicative and unordered list and not an exhaustive one.

 

Very best luck with your online shop!

Blockchain – A forward step to secure transaction

What is Blockchain Security is paramount in financial transactions. Software outsourcing companies h

What is Blockchain

Security is paramount in financial transactions. Software outsourcing companies have witnessed that cyber breaches are advancing at higher rate than technology advancements. Blockchain is seen as a next big thing for safe and secured financial transactions. Blockchain is known as a backbone technology of bitcoin, a digital currency revolution. Blockchain allows making and verifying transactions on network instantaneously without any central authority.

Blockchain is a data structure that maintains growing list of records called blocks and each block contains a link to previous block similar to Linked-list and a timestamp thus creating a digital ledger. Blocks are secured from revision and tampering.  Cryptography is used to allow each participant on the network for ledger manipulation in a secured way without any help from central authority.

A blockchain consists of blocks that hold batches of valid transactions. Each block includes the hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two.  Following diagram is an overview of underlining technology and architecture.

 

 

 

Blockchain not only provides a way for secure transaction but also makes it easy to recover corrupt data as every node inside a blockchain has copy of data/block. Data loss chances are also minimal as every node has copy of data. Blockchain is a technology that can be integrated into multiple areas. Some of areas where Blockchain is useful are payment system and digital currency, cryptocurrency, permission distribution like distributed voting system and share power of voting system.

Security feature in blockchain

There is no centralized “official” block copy that exists. If any person wants to change its own database copy, it will be reflected until it is verified by verifier. This reduces the chances of hacking or security breaches.  

Blockchain uses public key and private for encryption. Private key are known only to user and it is not stored anywhere.  During transaction, only scriptpubkey is shared. Scriptpubkey contains a public key and network address in encrypted format. So sender does not know about public key and network address making it highly secured way of transaction compared to other technologies. Following diagram depicts the transaction flow.

                                                      

 

Workflow Of Blockchain

Let us understand how blockchain technology works with an example. Person A wants to send some bitcoin (digital currency) to person B.  Person A requires wallet account and also should know digital address of Person B. Following are the steps involved in this transaction.

 

 

 

Step 1: Person A initiates a transaction and includes digital signature inside transaction

Step 2: Transaction is sent to miner. Miner is one type of verifier that verifies all transaction of connected nodes

Step 3: Miner broadcasts transaction as block to all connected nodes if transaction is valid

Step 4: Node inside network accepts block if all transaction inside it are valid and not already spent. After ownership of block inside network and transaction is transferred into target account inside block is sent to person B

Step 5: Person B gets money (digital currency)

Disadvantages of Blockchain

There is tradeoff for using Blockchain technology. It does offer additional security however one should consider following disadvantages.

  • Blockchain requires more storage space as it stores all transactions.
  • Complete transaction takes more time compared to other technologies as transaction verification process is longer and we are dependent on Miner for verification. On verification by Miner, transaction is broadcast to all node as Block
  • This is comparatively costly technology. Miner charges per transaction for verification

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is gaining popularity among financial institutions as this is highly secured way of doing transactions. Software outsourcing companies in India are experimenting the usage of Blockchain technologies in various ways through various vendors.

Top ten questions to ask to software outsourcing companies in India

Have you made up your mind to outsource some of your IT operations, functions or projects to softwar

 

Have you made up your mind to outsource some of your IT operations, functions or projects to software outsourcing companies in India to reap the economic and competitive benefits? Beware, your wrong decision can put your organization in trouble. Quantification of process to choose software outsourcing company can help you choose the best organization that fits the best to your requirements.  A set of questions follow to help you in this process.

1. How is your financial health?

Financial stability is vital before outsourcing your projects to software outsourcing companies. Financial stability would induce stability and timely delivery of your projects. It would also ensure that it can cope up with economic fluctuations in the market. Financial health should be given very high importance while quantifying candidate qualification. Organization can use financial rations like Debt-to-Equity Ratio, Current Ratio, Quick Ratio, Return on Equity (ROE) and Net Profit Margin. This is indicative list and not an exhaustive one. There are many other financial parameters that one should consider to determine the financial health of a software outsourcing company.

2. How is your physical health?

Company profile with sound physical statistics like employee count, office locations, running project counts, successful projects executed, year of experience etc. helps you to decide company capabilities and competencies.

3. What is your relevant experience to my domain?

Proven track record of service commitment and delivery is very vital but Industry knowledge is even more important.  A company can be sound technically but if it fails to understand business requirements, it lays the foundation of unsuccessful product or project.  User acceptance heavily depends on this factor. Even if a project is technically good, it may fail if user acceptance is not given due consideration. Industry and subject knowledge play crucial role for successful project.

4. Do you have any quality assurance certifications?

Certification alone cannot help to judge a company in terms of quality and timely delivery. However this provides an organization additional surety that the company follows specific processes that leads to quality and timely service delivery to customers. This also reflects company’s commitment and dedication to service quality.

5. How would you protect our confidential information?

Concepts, ideas and trade secrets are king in business. It floats the organization and misuse of this has ability to sink the organization as well. IP protection and confidential information are the key factors that were hindering revolution in software outsourcing for ages. However software outsourcing companies in India have started respecting the importance of Intellectual property ownership and confidential information. Companies have taken required actions to ensure that IP remains with outsourcing company and confidential information are protected.

6. What is your project management methodology?

The success of project execution is highly dependent on selecting the right software development life cycle and its project management methodologies. Project management methodologies controls the project scope, time and cost creeps. It also puts required checks on project quality and deliverables. Software companies in India have started using AGILE Project management methodologies like SCRUM for better and effective project managmenet. Right project management methodologies provide sustainable benefits at tactical, operation and strategic level.

7. How would you fit to my requirements?

Every organization has different business needs. It is important to ensure that the company that you choose is flexible and scalable enough to meet your needs and service offerings. It should be flexible and ready to go beyond a service call to ensure that your business runs smoothly.

8. How is your business model and contracts structured?

Conflicts are unavoidable and can emerge any time during or after the service delivery.  It can be due to any reason foreseen or unforeseen. Contracts and agreements are vital to mitigate legal and contractual risks. It is important that contracts and agreements are structured considering all software outsourcing risks, business needs and geopolitical boundaries and protects the organization from legal issues and conflicts.

9. What is your SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis would help an organization to understand strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the software outsourcing company in question. A closer frequency match of SWOT analysis, ensures better sync of organizations in terms of company culture, values and work ethics. SWOT analysis also provides other meaningful information about how company is structured and where it is heading. This can help you in company analysis in better way.

10. What is your force majeure?

Natural calamity or any unforeseen event or circumstances can put your business on hold. It is very important to know how company manages and reacts to force majeure like earthquake or any other natural calamity to ensure business continuity. These terms can help to know how soon your business can be expected to resume during force majeure.

A wrong decision of choosing software outsourcing company in India can outweigh the benefits of outsourcing in terms of money, time and skills and right choice can boost your business to next level. Though this list is not exhaustive but indicative to help you choose right software outsourcing partner to reap the competitive and economic benefits of software outsourcing.