Archive for February, 2020

Top mobile app development trends 2020

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

The mobile app industry is constantly changing – regardless if you are a digital product development company or a mobile app developer, you have to keep up with the latest trends to stay on top.

What are these trends?

mobile app development trends 2020Well, trends have a way of making their presence felt – humans, in general, easily gravitate to something that is becoming popular. First, it excites our imaginations, and the next minute, we are already experiencing them.

When it comes to mobile apps, what we experience is always better than our expectations – if you look at them from a business perspective, they are highly productive and functionally they are highly advantageous.

App development companies bring these trends to users via mobile apps – making our lives a lot easier, and as the app becomes more popular, more and more users jump on the bandwagon.

 

The first major trend that we would like to start with is the Internet of Things or IoT

Internet of thingsNobody ever thought that the internet would crawl its way into our livelihood to this extent – nobody could have predicted that one day it will have full control over our homes and environment.

Let’s say you take a couple of days off from work and go on a short holiday. After arriving at the hotel, you’re not sure that you have locked the back door. If you have an IoT powered lock system and an app that is compatible with it, you can just connect to the hotel’s wifi and check on the app and if needed, lock the house from your current location- it’s that simple!

 

IoT products such as the Philips lighting system, Google Home Doorbell, robot vacuum cleaners are already winning users over. Soon your fridge will be able to write a shopping list for you based on the products that are in short supply.

IoT is a vast field that has different branches that are still in development, such as Smart homes and cities, Ai-powered IoT devices, Smart self-driving cars and IoT in healthcare

The second major trend is the use of AI and machine learning

the use of AI in app developmentWe’ve heard these terms hundreds of times so far, but what really comes to our mind when we hear about artificial intelligence on smartphones?

You’ll probably say: well, there are AI-based photo filters available on Instagram and Facebook already, or there are the virtual assistants on our phones ( Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby )

In 2020 AI will play a more active role in our lives – besides the existing features that it offers, we will also have active voice translators, user predictions and activity-based battery savers will find a new home in our smartphones.

A combination of AI and Machine Learning can be useful in complex activities such as building mobile apps. We can teach the program the development process and it will be able to detect problems and fix them in real-time – all we need to do is to feed it data from the previous process.

AI can even learn our behavior patterns through our regular usage and optimize the operating system on our smartphones for optimal battery usage.

Next in line is Virtual and Augmented Reality

augmented reality appsWe have talked about Virtual reality and Augmented Reality before, now let’s see how they will be used in 2020.

We can expect AR-based app ideas turning into reality this year, they will offer many features like motion tracking, people occlusion, environmental understanding, and light estimation. These apps will be very beneficial for industries like healthcare, tourism, education, retail, marketing, etc.

By using gadgets and VR/AR, doctors will be able to perform surgeries from different regions – without being in the same room as the patient.

 

Blockchain technology

Remember the cryptocurrency craze of 2018? That gave us the first taste of blockchain technology.

Blockchain offers complete security for all our sensitive information, whether it is our transactions, data exchanges or documents – nobody can track it.

If Bitcoin gave us a taste of cryptocurrency, then Etherium showed us the real potential of blockchain technology. The scope of decentralized apps and how it widened opportunities for app developers is a great example of that.

Decentralized apps don’t need mediators to function or to manage information – they can connect users directly, without the need to store the data on a mediator platform.

Summary

Integrating these trends into our smartphones is a big leap – you need a professional mobile app development company for that. These technologies – since they are at their infancy, are hard to implement in current frameworks, so that’s why you need an app development company with the right knowledge and expertise to implement your ideas the right way. We will be continuing this article with part 2 where we will have a look at another set of technology trends for 2020.

 

 

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Chrome vs Safari – Which browser should you use?

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

chrome vs safari

No, the purpose of this article is not adding extra fuel to the fire between the dedicated Apple fans and Windows supporters – as we all know, Chrome and Safari are the most popular web browsers in the world. Chrome dominates the numbers when it comes to desktop users – but when it comes to mobile use, both browsers are neck-and-neck. In this article we’ll see what separates the two browsers and why is there such a fierce battle for supremacy when it comes to mobile use. When comparing these two browsers we will be taking into consideration the following parts of the browser experience:

Let’s start with the available features on both browsers

When talking about features, we’ll see how you can customize the look and feel of the browser, what extensions are available, cross-device synchronization and some other features such as PDF conversion tools and so on.

There is not much to say about Safari when it comes to features –especially when comparing it to Chrome. Safari has a very limited extensions library – thanks to Apple’s philosophy of limiting user control, but Chrome, on the other hand, has thousands of available extensions that are built to make your browsing experience more enjoyable.

Safari’s cross-device synchronization isn’t that great either – instead of doing it directly through the browser, your data needs to be synced via iCloud – for bookmarks and browsing history and via Keychain – for passwords. When it comes to Chrome – well, it allows you to sync pretty much everything across devices, including history, settings, autofill content, open tabs and more. The process is very quick and easy to set up, the browser automatically syncs with your Google profile once you log in to a new device.

Chrome vs Safari – Ease of use

This is by far the most subjective category on our list – Why?  Because it focuses on how easy and pleasant the browser feels to use. Interface design is as important as convenience – this means little things like tab management, layout and minor quality of life features also play a big part.

Thanks to its dominance on the browser market, Chrome has somewhat become a standard when it comes to the browsing experience, and when comparing Safari to it…well, Safari feels a bit more clunky. Why? – because it’s burdened with unnecessary and cumbersome animations for even the simplest of actions, the tab bar is completely hidden when you only one tab open and it always seems a bit confusing, as you’re never quite sure if you disabled the tab bar by accident.

When it comes to convenience, it loses points again – because the settings are located outside of the browser – it’s an international standard that Apple tries to encourage, but this is generally ignored by all other browsers that keep most of their settings located inside the app itself, which we think is a much better approach.

Performance

What will we focus on here? – Speed, resource consumption and bandwidth load to determine which browser deserves to win this round of our Chrome vs Safari comparison.

We can say without any doubt that performance is arguably Safari’s greatest strength. Thanks to all the wizards over at Apple, the browser has been optimized to use minimal resources while still being considered as fast as any other browser on the market – and when it comes toit’s easily the fastest browser we tested.

When compared to Chrome, it uses far less RAM – Chrome is notorious for taking up a lot of resources – in some cases, it uses as little as half the RAM that Chrome does to achieve the same results.

Security

Security is often overlooked but it is an incredibly important aspect of web browsers – what we’ll be looking here is content blocking, update frequency and warning for unsecure connections, so let’s continue with our Chrome vs Safari standoff.

Both browsers use Google’s Safe Browsing database to protect users from sites containing malware or any other fraudulent schemes, but when comparing the two browsers…we can say that Chrome is one of the most secure web browsers – and it should come as no surprise. It comes with more frequent security updates ( it’s where Safari falls short – sometimes it takes months for updates to come out) and pop-ups are blocked by default – and if you want to block ads- you can use the Ad-Blocker extensions available to download from Chrome’s extensions library.
When it comes to letting users know if they are browsing unsecure website, Safari simply does not display a padlock, whilst Chrome displays a warning that contains both a symbol and text “not secure”, making it hard to not be aware of unsecure browsing experience.

 

Final thoughts

When comparing the stats, it seems like Chrome seems to be the better option- the only clear win that Safari had was when we took into consideration the use of resources. There is a reason why Chrome is the gold standard when it comes to browsers  and it’s no surprise – after all, Google is the most popular search engine, it would have been a shame if they wouldn’t have come up with a browser that offers the safest and best experience for its users.

 

 

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Remote access tools – what are they?

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

Remote access tools – what are they?

A remote access tool is an application (or software) that is used to remotely control another computer or system. This tool can be used legitimately by system administrators for accessing the client computers. They are very useful for a vast majority of users – from system administrators, to knowledgeable teenagers helping fix their mom’s computer from thousands of miles away.

remote access tool

Admit it, we’ve all been there, a member of our family calls and asks us to fix/install something on their computer. But instead of going all the way to their house, you just get them to install a remote access tool and do everything from far away. How nice is that?

Why would anyone even use a Remote access tool?

The digital era has made remote connectivity a necessity for companies that want to maintain or increase their competitiveness. This is done by offering services that are available at any time and without geographical limitations.

In short, here are some advantages of using a remote access tool:

-The ability to get unrestricted remote access at any time.

-Cost reduction.

-Agility in managing a wide variety of devices.

-Simplicity in the collaboration between the different members of the company.

A short list of remote access tools

You’ve all heard about it at some point, but one of the best-regarded tools is TeamViewer. TeamViewer is a comprehensive remote access application of easy deployment and simple operation.

Once TeamViewer has been downloaded the both devices, the user will be able to navigate in an easy-to-use interface where he will have access to the various functions of the application. Each TeamViewer installation will provide a unique 9-digit ID number linked to that device. As a security measure, in order to access other computers, it will be necessary for the user to share that number with the device he or she wants to access.

 Here are some of TeamViewer’s advantages:

-It has an intuitive interface.

-Allows remote printing.

-Easy to document

-It integrates a function that allows you to start online meetings.

-Supports file transfer.

But there are other alternatives to TeamViewer, such as AnyDesk.

AnyDesk?

AnyDesk is a remote connection software that stands out mainly for its speed. To use it, the user must install a portable file that must then run; then to access another device, the device must share the ID of its PC. Once a session is started, users can perform various functions such as sharing mouse and keyboard control, desktop screenshots, and more.

One of the main advantages of AnyDesk is the fact that it is light, has easy to remember identification numbers and offers a “portable” version as well.

RATs

Not actual rats, but Remote Access Trojans (RATs). They can be used by a malicious user to control the system without the knowledge of the victim. Most of the popular RATs are capable of performing key logging, screen and camera capture, file access, code execution, registry management, password sniffing etc.

RAT can also be called as a synonym for backdoor, which includes a client and server program. The server or the stub program, if installed in the compromised system unknowingly by the owner of that system, then it is called as a Remote Access Trojan. So yes, unfortunately, remote access tools can be also used by malicious users.

How could you ever get infected with a RAT? Hackers can attach a RAT to a document in an email, or within a large software package, like a video game. Advertisements and nefarious webpages can also contain RATs, but most browsers prevent automatic downloads from websites or notify you when a site is unsafe.

RATs work best when they are unnoticed

Most computer viruses are made for a singular purpose. Keyloggers automatically record everything that you type, ransomware restricts access to your computer or its files until you pay a fee, and adware dumps dubious ads onto your computer for profit.

They give hackers complete, anonymous control over infected computers. As you can imagine, a hacker with a RAT can do just about anything.

As such, our recommendation would be to STAY AWAY from sketchy websites that offer you a free iPhone, Amazon voucher, or anything of that sort. Try to not click on any random clicks throughout the web, and be wary of which websites you visit. Also, be very wary of sketchy emails that you receive, containing links or attached files (never open these).

To sum up

We can say that there are two types of remote access tools – good ones and bad ones. The good ones such as TeamViewer or AnyDesk are extremely useful and can be very helpful to a multitude of users. But try to steer clear of suspicious emails and websites, to avoid getting infected by the other type of remote access tool – a RAT.

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Swift – Apple’s own programming language

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Swift?

Swift

I won’t blame you if you’ve never heard about Swift before. It’s a programming language just like C++, Java or Python. So why did Apple reinvent the wheel when there are so many alternatives to it?

Simplicity. Just like everything made by Apple, Swift is simple, elegant and very easy to understand and work with.

What is it?

Swift is a compiled programming language for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux applications.

It’s safe because its syntax encourages you to write clean and consistent code. It also provides safeguards to prevent errors and improve readability.

And more importantly, it’s fast. Very fast. Swift was built with performance in mind. Not only does its simple syntax and hand-holding help you develop faster, it also lives up to its name. And keep in mind, it is 2.6x faster than Objective-C and 8x faster than Python.

A brief history about Swift

First introduced at Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Swift programming language has generated considerable debate ever since. Chris Lattner, Apple’s Senior Director, Developer Tools Department, started designing the basic concepts of the new language back in 2010.

It wasn’t until 2013 that the team was able to solve a strategic question about how the new language would fit in with the existing Objective-C ecosystem. Forcing all iOS developers to move to a new language could have had a major disruptive effect on the community. So, the company decided to continue investing in Objective-C while also committing to the development of a new “safe programming language.”

But in 2015, there was a major turning point for Swift – it became open-source. Ever since then, it’s growth has been huge, being adopted and loved by millions around the world.

Swift 5.0

In March 2019, Swift 5.0 was officially released by Apple. The current version of Swift now contains a stable version of the application binary interface (ABI) across Apple’s platforms. This is a giant step toward helping developers use Swift on dedicated OSs like iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Needless to say, Apple is building a solid ecosystem, as now standard Swift libraries are included in OS releases.

SwiftUI was introduced in the release, which is basically a library of controls, graphic elements, and layouts for Swift applications that can be used to design user interface. The update also brought renewed documentation, updated CLI Xcode 10.2, and binaries for Ubuntu. Swift also became backward compatible with its previous versions. The list of languages that it is interoperable with now includes Ruby, Python, and JavaScript.

Since the release version 5.0, standard Swift libraries are integrated into every macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS release. That means any app built on those platforms will be smaller, because these libraries are included. With this advancement, stable application binary interface (ABI) was also released. This allows Apple to provide support of Swift across its platforms.

Why you would want to use Swift over other alternatives

Swift

An example of how simple Swift can be

Well, first of all – the development process is extremely fast. Swift is very easy to write and read, being very concise, which means less code is required to perform the same task, as compared to Objective-C. Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) does all the work tracking and managing the app’s memory usage, so developers don’t need to spend time and effort doing that manually. Accordingly, it usually takes less time to build iOS apps with Swift.

In addition to faster development time, we can say that Swift is future-proof and can be extended with new features as needed. Thus, Swift projects are typically easier to scale. The fact that Apple is more likely to support Swift than Objective-C should also get serious consideration for long-term investment.

Additionally, Swift allows you to add more developers to your team if needed: The on-boarding is relatively fast due to the simplicity and conciseness of the code-base. The syntax of Swift is considered near to natural English, thus it offers easy readability for new team members.

Static vs. dynamic libraries

Usually, when you build an app, you use a lot of third-party code – reusable and often open source frameworks or libraries compiled into your app’s code. These libraries can be static and dynamic (or shared). Swift first introduced dynamic libraries to iOS when it launched. Usually, static libraries become the part of your executable file, thus increasing its size and load time. They also can’t be automatically updated since they’re stuck in the version you compiled at. Dynamic libraries, on the other hand, exist outside of your code and are uploaded only when needed. Static libraries need to have copies in all files of your program while dynamic ones do not.

Even though it takes more time to reach for the dynamic code from the outside than call to it when it’s already included, you have a choice to keep using static libraries when you want to isolate apps that aren’t meant to be shared.

ARC – Automatic Memory Counting

Swift uses Automatic Memory Counting (ARC) – a technology aimed to add a garbage collector function that wasn’t introduced to iOS before. Languages like Java, C#, and Go use garbage collectors to delete class instances that are no longer used. They are useful to decrease your memory footprint but can add a lot of extra unnecessary CPU usage.

Before ARC, iOS developers had to manage memory manually and constantly manage retain counts of every class. Swift’s ARC determines which instances are no longer in use and gets rid of them on your behalf. It allows you to increase your app’s performance without lagging your memory or CPU.

To sum up

For such a young programming language, Swift surely has an great variety of resources to help developers accelerate adoption. Apart from official e-books, there are tons of community guidelines, podcasts, online and even real-life courses and even third-party apps.

Swift has become an even more mature language with the latest update, but there are still a few things that need fixing. Apple is creating its own ecosystem with a stable ABI over its platforms, but it still lacks tooling and support for earlier versions. As such, Swift adoption will continue to grow, which soon might lead to a complete displacement of Objective-C as the leading first-class language for iOS mobile application development.

For business owners, it is important to be ready for any changes the market might impose. Thus, being prepared to switch to the new language with minimum effort and at a reasonable cost should be one of the key strategies for the near future.

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The steps of quoting a mobile app development project

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

In 2019 the total number of global mobile app downloads amounted to 204 billion and users (IOS and Android combined) spent over £120 billion on apps – subscriptions and in-app purchases.  This research was gathered by Techcrunch. Apps have become a central piece of the user experience on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Many companies invest in customer-facing apps and internal apps to address the growing demand for mobility.

With timelines, costs, features, and platforms, there is a lot to consider when quoting a mobile app development project. Gone are the days where you could write a scope of work for a website project and then tailor that to be used to quote an app development project. As mobile apps moved to the forefront of smartphone usage, we had to adapt our methodology when it comes to quoting a mobile app.

Mobile app development has many variables and its price can range from 5K to 500K. It can be hard to estimate the cost. However, we are here to help you as we don’t charge anything to give you that initial estimation enabling you to get a good idea of the project size and cost of development.

 Our mobile app development process

With over 14 years of experience and many software projects under our belt, we’ve been fortunate to work with some very large companies. Many of the most used apps in use today have been accredited to our developers.

Our entire development flow is broken down into defined work phases. Using them to plan, design, build, test, and deliver the final product to our clients in time and within budget.

Let’s start with the first and most important step: Planning & Business Analysis

Planning in quoting a mobile app

This process involves time and preparation.  Research & Development – We need to ensure that the product we develop will meet our client’s expectations. This thorough planning process helps us to understand the functionality of what is required to identify any unknowns and begin sketching the User Interface.

We carry out meticulous market research to understand if there is any demand for the app idea and to see what your possible competitors are up to.  We use a SWOT analysis to identify all your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses so we can make sure that we can make your app that much better.

The second step is all about the Technical Specifications

With your help, we will outline the functional requirements of the app in detail to help us storyboard the idea and then run this past you to ensure it is meeting your requirements.  Outlining the coding language, we will use it.

The third step is letting us do all the work – Prototyping and Designing the app

Prototyping and developing the appWhat is a prototype? – you might ask

A prototype is a rudimentary working model of your app. A prototype can help with testing the viability of the idea and can help save a decent amount of time and money in the overall development.

Prototyping an app involves the following process:

During this stage there are multiple sketches and wireframes done, with each step of the creative process we help to develop the idea, even more, simplifying some processes to make the app more user-friendly and easier to use.

Development stage

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At this stage, we divide the app into two parts: front-end and back-end.

Front-end development involves building the visual part of the app – the user interface UX. Depending on the size of the project we like to get this done in 4-6 weeks so that it can be tested.

Back-end development involves building the framework that supports all the functionalities of the App – this can involve connecting to other frameworks through API’s and often requires an understanding of how the third-party frameworks.

Testing and Quality Assurance

We test every part of the App’s functionality.  Ensuring its simple to use and intuitive.  The speed of delivery is tested at every stage of the development.  Ensuring the coding meets our rigorous standards.  We make sure that all the bugs are ironed out and our QA engineers pass it before presenting it to the Client for acceptance.

The final stage of app development involves Publishing the app

At this stage, your app is ready to be submitted to the app store by yourself – you can ask us to help you by guiding you through the steps.

The work on an app is never-ending after its release. Every app needs updates – note that post-release maintenance isn’t included in the initial cost of the mobile app estimate.

Final thoughts

quoting a mobile appAt the end of the day, the cost of app development depends on the app’s complexity, number of integrations and the platforms you want it to run on. To receive a precise price estimate we need to know all about the app’s proposed functions and business goals. Now that you know all about what quoting a mobile app development involves, it will make it easier for you to know what costs it might involve before asking a development company.

 

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