Archive for the ‘Apps’ Category

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 spent over £120 billion on apps – subscriptions and in-app purchases, all in the past year according to 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 £5000 to £500.000. It’s hard to estimate the cost of app development costs for Android and iOS apps, but no worries, we are here to help you with a mobile app estimation of essential expenses for your mobile app development – in order for you to understand how we quote app development, you must know our process.

 Our mobile app development process

With over 13 years of experience and countless projects under our belt, we had the opportunity to work on a large variety of apps.

Our entire development flow is broken down into defined work phases, we use them to plan, design, build, test, and deliver the final product to our clients.

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

This process involves time and preparation – we need to ensure that the product will meet our client’s expectations. This thorough planning process helps to understand where you are now and how to get to the desired point.

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

We will need you to specify the functional requirements of the app in detail to help us define the idea for your software solution – this involves determining all the project features and what kind of operating systems and devices you want in order to build the app.

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

What 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.

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

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. It usually takes about 4 weeks before we get UI that can be tested and on which we can build on.

Back-end development involves building the framework that supports all the functionalities of the app – it can be tricky sometimes as things get complicated pretty fast.

Testing and Quality Assurance

This means that we test every part of the product manually and automatically at every stage of development. There we look to see if the app meets our standards– we make sure that all the bugs are ironed out and our QA engineers check to see if the UX of the app is up to par and that users will understand how it works.

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

At 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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How can you turn your app idea into reality

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

Many of us would like to become an entrepreneur and start an online business – we’ve all had that moment when we thought that we have a good idea for an app that could make us rich but then it never got anywhere. So what can you do with your idea of an app? How can you turn your app idea into reality?

As the number of mobile users increases year after year, there are more and more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs who have an app idea. Mobile apps are strongly connected to the service offered by a business, they can help drive more sales that can translate into more revenue.

Whether you want to reach out to new customers or have strong retention over your existing ones, here are a couple of tips when it comes to understanding how to develop your application.

Make a list of all the features that you want your app to have

writing down your app ideasIt is essential that you put your points down on paper – absolutely everything that comes to your mind should be on paper. Mobile apps do not have any practical value if they only stay in your head – that’s why it is essential for you to move away from that “I have an app idea” phase as soon as you can.

By writing down all the features you’d like your mobile app to have, you’ll adhere to those ideas and add more to them later on. This refines your idea to a point where you will have a clear vision of how to turn your app idea into reality.

You will also have to remember that this feature list will have to contain unique features – that are essential for differentiating your product from apps that are already available on the market.

 

 

Analyze the Market

market analysisAfter you have written down the list of features you’d like your app to have, you will have a rough understanding of how to develop your app idea.

The next step before turning your app idea into reality is to get an idea of the apps that are already out there, trends, and specific requirements of the market. Firstly you should look at apps that serve a similar purpose when compared to your app and then keep track of their reviews, feedback, and ratings – this will allow you to get an idea of their weak points.

Once done with the market research, add those features that are capable of making your app unique and more attention-grabbing to your feature list.

 

Know your audience

The success of your app depends on your audience. Their type range may include particular industry orientations, region, gender, age group, income group and so on.  Now that you know your audience, you need to know something specific or special that your audience or users desire to have.

The better you know the needs of your audience, the better you can tailor your app to suit their needs. After all, the only reason why you said to yourself that your app idea would work is that there was something you knew that hasn’t been done before – and it’s something that a specific audience desires.

 

Find a way to make money with your app

Find out how you can collect the fruit of all your labor – you can make money off of your app using the following ideas:

Now that you have the ideas – you just need to know which one is more suitable for your app, audience, and market.

A popular way of making money using applications is by following the Freemium model – this involves making your app free with an in-app purchases option for extra perks.

In-app ads are getting out of date – it’s because nowadays it’s more up to the user experience, which gets ruined if users experience pop-up ads when they are having fun using your app. However, keeping used data ( of course, with the consent of the user) can help you refine the in-app experience for users and help you use it in various other ways to serve the user’s needs.

Prepare the wireframe of your app idea

wireframe- turning your mobile app idea into realityPut all of your notes to use and start building a wireframe of your app. This wireframe will allow you to define the concept much better- it will also help you refine the needs of your product.

You can start off by simply drawing a rough sketch with a pencil and paper –and use online tools to create a wireframe. After finishing the wireframe you can have a look at the way your concept functions and you can polish off the rough edges.  There is no technical skill involved, you just need to use your common sense to come up with an idea of how in-app navigation works.

Using this wireframe and ideas, it will be easier to get estimations from developers.

Get an estimation from app development companies

You have come very far in your journey – now that you have a wireframe and a rough idea of how your app works – it’s time to seek the help of app development companies to take care of the technical part.

For this, you can use Google to search for the best app development companies nearby – and it’s time to get in contact with them. After the initial contact, it’s best to get them to sign an NDA with you, so you can give them the project details.

An experienced app development company will then bombard you with questions – it would be best to answer them – then they will give you suggestions to make your idea better.

Getting a proposal from vendors is wise – with cost and time estimations for development and comparing them properly, you can choose the app development company to go ahead with.

The app development company will build your app and test it for you – obviously, you will have to do some testing yourself, to make sure that everything works as specified.

The final step is Launching your app

Before the launch, you should consider investing in marketing and branding – so your app has a pre-launch hype already built up. Use Twitter and Facebook to spread awareness – these are also the most efficient ways to get new people to use your app.

Now that you’ve read this blog post, what’s stopping you from turning your app idea into reality? An idea is just the start – it’s knowing what to do with the idea is what gets you to jump-start a profitable venture.

 

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Submitting your app to the iOS App Store – how does it work?

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Submitting your app to the iOS App Store – how does it work?

 

So, you’re just launching your brand new app. Submitting an app to the App Store isn’t as simple as pushing a launch button, but it’s not as complicated as it may seem either.

Assuming that you are already enrolled in the Apple Developer Program, your app follows Apple’s App Review and Human Interface Guidelines, these are the steps that you need to follow. As previously mentioned, even though it seems a bit complicated, it really isn’t.

  1. Code signing

 

iOS apps on an iPhone
The development provisioning profile and development certificate that you’ve been using are only for specific devices. Now, in order to distribute your app to beta testers or to users through the App Store, you’ll need a separate distribution provisioning profile and distribution certificate.

 

Our recommendation and the easiest way to do this is through Xcode. If automatic signing is enabled, Xcode will create and manage certificates, signing identities, and handle device registration for you. In some cases, you might prefer manual signing. Honestly, we would just recommend leaving automatic signing on and Xcode should take care of the rest.

  1. Create an iTunes Connect account

app store - iTunes connect

 

Simple, just sign in with the Apple ID you used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program. Now let’s add a new app to it:

-In the iTunes Connect dashboard, select My Apps.

 

-Click on the + sign in the upper left-hand corner, then New App.

-To create a new iTunes Connect record, you’ll need these details: platform, app name, default language, bundle ID, and SKU. You can’t really change these details later, so be sure of what you enter.

-Use keywords in your app name to optimize for discovery.

-The bundle ID must be an exact match of the bundle identifier in your Xcode project Info.plist file (in the target’s General > Identity section).

-The SKU is not visible to users and is up to you to set. It can be an identifier you use in your company or something else that is meaningful for you. Acceptable characters include letters, numbers, hyphens, periods, and underscores, and it must begin with a letter or number.

  1. Archive and upload your app using Xcode

app store - app submission

Now, before you can submit your app for review through iTunes Connect, you need to upload the build through Xcode. You can do this by following these steps:

-In Xcode, select Generic iOS Device as the deployment target.

-Choose Product from the top menu and click on Archive.

-The Xcode Organizer will launch, displaying any archives you’ve created in the past.

-Make sure the current build is selected and click on Upload to App Store in the right-hand panel.

-Select your credentials and click Choose.

-In the next window that appears, click on Upload in the bottom right-hand corner.

-A message will appear when the upload has completed. Click Done.

  1. Configure your app’s metadata in iTunes Connect

Under the “App Store” tab in iTunes Connect, in the “App Information” page you can add additional languages, categories, and your app’s Privacy Policy URL.

Under the “Features” tab, you can add configurations to any App Store technologies in your app, like Game Center and in-app purchases.

At this stage, your app is marked with a yellow dot and the status “Prepare for Submission” in the left-hand panel under “App Store”. Select the build you want to configure. This is where you will add the information for your product page on the App Store.

  1. Submit your app for review

-Scroll to the “Build” section in your app’s iTunes Connect record.

-Click on “Select a build before you submit your app.”

-Choose the build that you uploaded through Xcode. Click Done in the bottom right-hand corner, then

-Finally, answer the Export Compliance, Content Rights, and Advertising Identifier questions and click Submit.

So, how long does it take in order to get the app approved?

app store app upload success

In most cases, it should take about 1 to 3 days to receive approval, and it can take up to 24 hours for your app to appear in the App Store after approval. Also, you’ll receive e-mail notifications at each stage.

If your app is rejected, you’ll have to make the necessary fixes before submitting your app for review again. You can use the Resolution Center in iTunes Connect to communicate with Apple if you have any sort of questions. You can also submit an appeal if you think your app was wrongly rejected.

If your app gets approved – Congratulations! You’re now on the App Store. You can view downloads, sales, ratings, and reviews directly in iTunes Connect.

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Why Mobile Apps are better than Mobile Websites

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

The number of people using mobile devices is growing year after year – it is projected that the number of mobile phone users worldwide will reach 6.95 billion by the end of this year. This means that the number of mobile users is far greater than the number of desktop users

Many business owners have thought about ways to win this audience – and the strategies they need to apply: whether to build a mobile website or an application. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question, because the options really depend on a number of factors, including the business plans, required features, resources and the web properties they might need.

Some studies have shown that users generally prefer mobile apps more than mobile websites – this makes for a strong enough reason to create mobile apps to attract potential customers.

Let’s have a look at a couple of reasons why mobile apps are better than mobile websites:

First of all, mobile apps offer better personalization

With mobile apps, the users have the option to set up their preferences at the start, based on this information, users can then be served with customized content. Mobile apps can also track and observe user engagement, and use their behavioral patterns to offer custom recommendations and updates to the users.

These apps also have the ability to track the user’s location – this allows the apps to provide geography-specific content.

These personalization options not only improve the user experience, but they also help to improve the conversion rate. When users are pampered with personalized content, they have a higher chance of making a conversion.

Easily send notifications and offers

 

mobile appsFor the last couple of decades, emails have been the main form of communication used to keep in touch with customers – businesses have extensively used emails to reach out to their customers, sometimes spamming their customers with daily emails. As a result, email has lost its effectiveness, this means that open rates and click rates have significantly dropped.

Now, there’s a new way for companies to communicate with their customers – Mobile apps

Mobile apps have two types of notifications built-in: Push notifications and in-app notifications – both of them are exciting new ways for communicating with users in a less intrusive manner.

This ability to send instant and non-intrusive notifications to users is so desired, that this is one of the main reasons why many businesses want to have mobile apps in the first place.

In-app notifications are the notifications that the users receive when opening the app and pop-up notifications are the ones that users receive regardless of any activity they are doing on their mobile device.

Users spend more time on Apps

Mobile users spend about 86% of their time on mobile apps, and just 14% of their time on mobile websites – and to add on top of this, the average time a user spends on mobile apps is also increasing.

Another advantage would be making use of the mobile device features

Mobile phone cameraMobile apps have the advantage of using the features available on a mobile device such as the camera, contact list, GPS, accelerometer, etc.

These features, when paired with an app, can make the user experience a lot more interactive and fun – they can also help reduce the efforts users would have to make otherwise. For example, when accessing their bank account, users can use the built-in face ID or fingerprint scanner to quickly access their banking app – if they would have to do this on a web browser, they would have to type in their passwords, wait for the 2-factor authentication message to arrive, type that in the textbox and then they would be able to do whatever operation they want.

These device features can significantly decrease the time it takes to perform certain tasks and can even boost conversions.

Mobile Apps can be used as powerful eCommerce tools

Mobile App buildingIn the eCommerce sector, mobile apps are blowing websites out of the water – they are much more superior when it comes to closing deals with prospects and leads, pushing them faster through the purchasing funnel.  It is estimated that mobile apps have a 3 times higher conversion rate than mobile websites and 1.5 times higher conversion rate than desktop versions. In total, more than 40% of people that download an eCommerce app make a purchase afterward.

Why do eCommerce apps have such a dramatic effect on conversions?

It’s because they save users data and spare people the ordeal of filling out credentials every time The in-app environment allows effortless, once click checkouts and fast loading times.

 

Final thoughts

Developing both a mobile website and mobile app for your business can prove to be a costly affair, depending on the size of your business, budget,and goals, you might have to choose one of the two channels. While both channels have their pros and cons, mobile apps can help you get higher conversion rates. Mobile apps offer greater personalization and operational efficiency, along with multiple other exclusive features.

 

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iOS apps are coming to the Mac!

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

iOS apps are coming to the Mac!

Great news, as your Mac is about to get a whole lot more powerful. Alongside macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple unveiled a new way to design apps across all of its platforms. Called Project Catalyst, the new initiative builds on the News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps Apple launched in macOS 10.14 Mojave, and it has the potential to transform the entire app ecosystem.

Project Catalyst is designed so a team of developers can easily make a single app that runs on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac without needing to spend months on each.

apps coming to mac

This is a massive accomplishment for a process that normally takes months and tons of resources. Recently, many developers have understandably shifted their focus away from the Mac, but Project Catalyst should make it as easy to bring an iOS app to the Mac as it is to turn on iPhone app into an iPad one, completely with drag-and-drop functionality and a full-screen experience.

What do we mean by this?

Well, if you’ve used a Mac in the past couple of years, you’ll know that they have their own App Store, which looks shockingly similar to the iOS App Store (found on iPhones and iPads). However, beyond the similar look, the macOS App Store is very poor, it has very few useful apps, and almost none of the great apps that you can find on iOS (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Revolut and many, many more).

I remember the first time when I purchased my brand new Mac, I took it home, unboxed it, and the first thing is that I wanted to do was to install some apps from the App Store. I was a bit surprised to find out that almost none of the great iOS apps work on the Mac. But now, with Project Catalyst, they should start working on macOS as well soon.

apps coming to mac

How will it work?

Optimizing apps for Mac means building in different mechanisms, like keyboard and mouse support, and considering how a larger screen changes the content. 

Well, they’ll be more than super-sized iOS apps. Apple is respecting the Mac’s menus and interface so apps will look as native as they can. Developers will be able to add unique features as well. Atlassian said it was able to use Project Catalyst to “put the finishing touches that make (Jira Cloud) perfect for the desktop” and Twitter was able to add “native Mac features” without spending weeks designing and testing.

Apple describes Catalyst as: “Also available with macOS Catalina is Mac Catalyst, a new technology that lets app developers easily build Mac versions of their shipping iPad apps. The iPad ecosystem comprises over a million iPad apps, and now users will see more of their favorite titles come to Mac than ever before.”

Games will be coming to the Mac as well

Oh yes, that’s right! Games such as Asphalt 9, a hugely popular free-to-play racing game, was delayed until later this year so its developers can further polish the experience. Once it’s ready, the game’s Mac version will allow players to sign into a single account across their Apple devices, to more easily switch between them and continue playing the same game, according to the technical director at Gameloft Barcelona, the development studio behind Asphalt 9. The Mac setup also allows the game developers to push all of the details further while running at 60 frames per second without worrying about battery life.

And there will be many, many more great games that you’re used to playing on your iPhone coming to the Mac in the near future. This is exciting news!

Major challenges ahead

While Catalyst opens the door to the Mac ecosystem for many iOS developers, it remains an imperfect passageway. 

mac

Beyond beta issues, there is currently no way to share purchases between the App Store and the Mac App Store, so users have to buy the same app twice to use it on both their iPad and Mac, which is confusing and inconvenient

Of course, Catalyst isn’t the only option for developers who want to build a Mac app. They can still do so from scratch using AppKit, or build one for multiple Apple platforms using the new SwiftUI. 

To sum up

Apple’s efforts to bring iPad apps to the Mac are beginning to pay off, but there’s still a long way to go before Mac users are able to find many of their favorite apps on their desktop the same way they do their iPhone or iPad.

Nonetheless, we can say that the future is looking great for macOS and Mac users. We can’t wait to see what great apps will be brought over to the Mac!

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Which programming language should you learn in 2020?

Friday, December 27th, 2019

If you are a complete beginner to the field of software development – the very first question you might ask yourself is “Where do I begin?”

There are hundreds of programming languages to choose from – that’s why you will need to find out which one is the most suitable for you. One of the easiest ways to pick the best programming language for you is to listen to what the market says.

In this blog post we will explore some of the best and most demanding programming languages for web, mobile and game development. After reading this blog, we hope that you will have a clear picture of which programming language should you learn to start your career in web development.

JavaScript programming language logoJavaScript

 

We can’t talk about software development without mentioning JavaScript – it’s impossible to be a software developer these days without using any elements of JavaScript. Looking at Stack Overflow’s developer survey, it seems like JS is the most popular language among developers successively for 7 years and around 67% of them have used this language in the past year.

Why is JavaScript so popular?

Mainly because JavaScript is light weighed, interpreted and plays a major role in front-end development. It’s also compatible with all the major browsers and it’s really flexible with the syntax it holds. JavaScript – being a front-end language – is also used on the server-side through Node.js.

 

 

Python logo

Python

Python is one of the most user-friendly general-purpose programming languages on this list. Like Java, Python syntax is very clear, intuitive and very similar to the English language. It’s “object-based” subset is similar to JavaScript.

If you are interested in making a career in back-end development, for example, Django – which is an open-source framework written in python. This makes learning Django very easy, and it offers a wide array of features making it one of the most popular back-end languages out there.

Python has a wide variety of applications that make it a versatile and powerful language – it can be used in scientific computing, machine learning, and engineering. Python supports a programming style that uses simple functions and variables without much interrogating in class definitions.

 

 

Ruby programming language logo

Ruby

Ruby is an open-source, dynamic programming language, focused on simplicity and productivity. It was developed in 1990 in Japan and was designed with a themed environment, which simplified programming – making it more fun.

Ruby became popular thanks to the Ruby on Rails framework, which is used as a full-stack development framework. Ruby has a dynamically typed language, it does not have hard rules and it is a high-level language that resembles the English language to a great extent. You can use Ruby to build an application with fewer lines of code than with any other language, but it’s not easy to maintain its flexibility.

 

 

 

Java programming languageJava

Java has been the ruling programming language for the past 20 years. This programming language is 99% object-oriented and simpler than C++ ( because it uses automatic memory allocation and garbage collection).

Java is one of the most cross-platform compatible languages out there, it’s virtually independent of any platforms. You can code anywhere – almost all devices – you can simply compile into low-level machine code and run it on basically any platform, using Java Virtual Machine.

Java makes up the base of the Android operating system and is used by up to 90% of fortune 500 companies for making a variety of backend applications.  It is being used in Apache Hadoop processing, run by Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure.

With a huge range of applicability and a wide range of business applications, possessing immense flexibility, java is the all-time beginner’s favorite.

 

 

PHP logoPHP

PHP was created for the purpose of maintaining a Personal Home Page (PHP) for Rasmus and soon got to spread globally – now being used by 83% of all websites around the world. PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and it’s used as a general-purpose programming language – it is run on a server and it’s being used to create web pages written in HTML. It has gained popularity because it’s free, easy to set up and simple to use for new programmers. PHP is a strong option for web developers around the world – it’s used to create dynamic web pages such as WordPress and Magento websites.

The only drawback of using PHP is that it downgrades website performance and affects the loading time.

 Summary

Because of the forever changing nature of the software industry, it’s hard to predict which would be the best programming language for the future, but if you want to start your career in software development, you definitely have to choose one of these languages to start with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Android vs iOS

Friday, December 20th, 2019

The smartphone market has grown to become one of the largest markets when it comes to tech. As manufacturing processes have improved over the past decade, smartphones have become a pinnacle of modern technology. But without the proper software to power them, these phones would be high-priced pieces of glass and metal – or plastic sandwiches.

If you’re buying a new smartphone today, the chances are that it will run on one of the two main operating systems, Android or iOS. These two operating systems have been used in all of all new smartphones shipped this year – according to IDC. After Microsoft and Blackberry threw in the towel, Android and iOS are the only mainstream operating systems left – the good news is that both smartphone operating systems are excellent. These two operating systems have their similarities, but there are some important differences that you’ll have to consider when buying a new phone.

To compare Android vs iOS, we have selected a couple of categories and we will compare each one – but the final decision depends on you. Only you know which features/categories are most important for your day to day use.

First, let’s talk about the first thing what comes to our mind when we decide on buying a smartphone – The Price

Android vs iOS

Apple has always been known for being at the higher end of the market in terms of pricing. This year they’ve launched their iPhone 11 Pro with a starting price of £1049 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max with a starting price of £1149. If you are looking for the iOS experience, but you aren’t prepared to give out a ton of cash, you can grab the iPhone 8 for £479 – this is as cheap as it gets unless you want to buy a second-hand phone.

Android, on the other hand, is unbeatable when it comes to the sheer scale and variety. You can spend a lot if you want to on top tier flagships such as the Galaxy note 10+ or the Google Pixel 4 XL – their prices almost match Apple’s iPhone pricing. You can also go for mid-range devices that are a lot cheaper than the flagships and yet offer almost the same experience when it comes to UI and software – these manufacturers have deliberately optimized Android to run on low-end hardware.

Applications

Android leads the field of free apps- should make it the natural choice for budget-conscious users.

Let’s have a look at how many apps exist on the Google Play Store and on the App Store

Numbers aren’t really the best metric in this case – the most popular apps usually have versions on both app stores. Traditionally, iOS has been a more lucrative platform for developers, so there is a tendency for new apps to appear on iOS first.  Usually, the latest and greatest apps first come to iOS and later get listed on the Google Play store.

 

Battery life and charging speeds

Battery life is an important factor when it comes to choosing your smartphone – it’s difficult to compare Android and iOS because of the lack of common hardware. iOS is optimized to squeeze the most out of the battery per mAh rating, but you can find Android devices with much larger batteries that can outlast an iPhone easily. Both platforms offer battery saver modes that can extend the battery life by limiting the power consumption of the devices.

When it comes to charging speed, there is no question that Android devices are faster. The Oppo Reno Ace, for example, is capable of fully loading its 4,000mAh battery in just 31 minutes. Whereas the iOS devices, like the iPhone 11 Pro can take about one and a half hours to fully charge.

Comparing similarly priced Android phones with iPhones, they tend to have longer battery life and they always have fast chargers included in the box with and Android phone.

Updates – can be an important factor when it comes to features and security

Android vs iOS updates

Apple’s iOS offers consistent and timely software updates and security patches for all of its newer devices. If you want the same experience on Android devices, then you will have to buy Google’s Pixel devices. According to statistics, almost 90% of all iOS devices are now running the latest version of iOS. By contrast, only around 10% of Android devices are running the latest version of Android 10.

If you want the latest features and security updates, then you should choose iOS.

Voice assistants – Android vs iOS

Google Assistant vs Siri

Both Siri and Google Assistant offer almost the same features, Siri is more like a straightforward helper for setting up calendar appointments, searching the web or making calls. Google Assistant on the other hand, has an extra layer – it can preemptively offer useful suggestions, plus it has a more conversational side that offers entertaining games and contextual information based on what you are doing.

Camera

Android vs iOS cameras

Last but not least – the Camera. Some people choose their smartphones based on their camera. It’s difficult to call – in the past, we’ve argued that Apple does a better job at capturing lighting, coloring and other details – but the latest Android devices are casting a lot of doubt on that assertion. Nowadays flagship cameras are very close in terms of picture quality and lighting, mostly it’s up to the final user to decide how do they like their pictures – do you like it with natural colors or with some image processing? Weaker or stronger HDR? – it mostly depends on you.

 

At the end of the day, the final decision mostly depends on you – whether you are already used to one ecosystem – UI, functions, and usability. This Android vs iOS comparison was written to guide you to making your final decision.

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JIRA vs. Trello – which one is best for you?

Sunday, December 15th, 2019

JIRA vs. Trello – what’s the difference?

First of all, what are they? JIRA and Trello are among the best-regarded tools for project management. They are part of a family of products designed to help teams of all types manage work.

Today we’ll take a look into their benefits and drawbacks, and most importantly their main differences. Since Atlassian, the vendor of Jira acquired Trello, both project management tools are basically coming from the same company. But they are still competing over the same target group.

As such, if you’re thinking about making the switch to Jira or Trello, this article might be the right place for you.

trello jira

JIRA

 

For teams who practice agile methodologies, Jira Software provides scrum and kanban boards out-of-the box. Boards are a task management hubs, where tasks are mapped to customizable workflows. Boards provide transparency across team work and visibility into the status of every work item. Time tracking capabilities, and real-time performance reports (charts, sprint reports, velocity charts) enable teams to closely monitor their productivity over time.

Teams can start with a project template or create their own custom workflow. Jira issues, also known as tasks, track each piece of work that needs to pass through the workflow steps to completion. Another feature called “customizable permissions” allow admins to determine who can see and perform which actions. With all project information in place, reports can be generated to track progress, productivity, and ensure nothing gets missed.

Trello

Trello is a task management app that gives you a visual overview of what is being worked on and who is working on it. It used the Kanban system, which was originally developed in Toyota as a system to keep production levels high and maintain flexibility. It is best represented as a whiteboard filled with post-it notes. Each post-it represents different tasks involved in the project.

JIRA or Trello?

Well, while both of them are great project management tools, Jira and Trello have some key differences. Since Jira was designed for software teams, it mainly targets software builders, developers, or project managers working on software projects.

In contrast, Trello has a much broader target audience, as it basically offers any kind of project tracking.

Keep in mind that both tools offer both Android and iOS apps for their users. They also offer integrations with tens of third-party tools and both of them are cloud-hosted. JIRA can be also had on-premises, not in the cloud, so that could be a key-selling factor for some.

Scrum vs. Kanban boards

A project management tool must adapt to these needs and must be customizable enough to fulfill them. Both – Jira and Trello – meet these needs of Scrum or Kanban and offer various board dashboards and card views for managing your team’s tasks.

Also, when it comes to traditional project management features, JIRA seems to be one step ahead. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive time tracking features, management reporting tools, and issue tracking functionality, you’ll probably end up with Jira.

Pricing

The various plans for Jira and Trello depend on a couple of factors. But most importantly, the monthly price depends on the number of users.

As such, the basic pricing of Jira starts at around £10 per month. On the other hand, Trello offers a free account. As a team, we are pretty sure though that you’ll end up choosing better plans, since both Start plans are pretty simple and limited.

Conclusion – which one should I use?

In a nutshell, if you’re looking for comprehensive, fully-adjustable project management and tracking tool for your software team, you might end up using Jira. Jira is the go-to tool for large-scale project and teams. However, you must be aware that onboarding time and costs might be higher with Jira, as not so tech savvy people might have a harder time using it.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use project and task management tool for your small company, Trello might be the better choice. With its simple, yet well-designed user interfaces it offers small teams an easy entry in the world of project management.

Both of them are great, but it depends on the size of your company, your employees, developers, etc. As previously mentioned, for smaller teams – Trello would be great. But for larger teams with more complex needs, JIRA is the way to go.

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