Apps

Improving Life Through Databases {11}

We have discussed as a class the many uses of databases in regards to business purposes, but databases are useful on a personal level as well. In fact, there are many people that utilize databases every day without even realizing it. According to Levent Orman, “Database application systems are designed to collect, store, retrieve, process, and present large quantities of information.” While this definitely applies to business applications, it can also be applied for personal usage as well. We deal with “large quantities of information” all the time, so why not use databases to organize it all and help us improve ourselves? This idea is the principal behind many of today’s technology and applications that we take for granted every day.

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Client/Server Architecture on the Mobile Platform {1}

When it comes to creating mobile apps for smartphones, such as for Apple iOS or for Google’s Android, such apps need to be created based on the client/server architecture. Many of today’s apps require the use of internet or cellular data to access information requested by the users. Each command or query initiated by the user is then sent back to a web server, then to a database for processing, and finally the information is sent to the user. In an article written by Anthony Kosner from Forbes, he talks about how the speed of Siri and Google’s Voice Search relies on the client/server architecture. Apparently both Siri and Google’s Voice Search relies on a server architecture to send data back for processing. The way Siri works is by saving the spoken command to a compressed audio file and is sent to Apple’s servers for processing. From there, Apple’s servers do the major processing and the results are then sent back to the user a compressed zlib binary plist (simply a binary/text file). Google’s Voice Search uses a similar method as well. Since the requests are processed on the server, it is important for database designers to efficiency design the server and database to handle a plethora of requests. Not only does the performance is affected by the server, so is the type of cellular connections used on smartphones. As a result, the client/server architecture is a very important consideration when designing web-based databases. Speed and efficiency are what customers look for and if it’s not there, several competitor apps are available.

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What is the Cloud? {2}

In an article that I have read from PC Magazine Online, cloud computing is the next big thing coming to consumers and businesses. Cloud computing allows people to have complete access to their personal data as well as data from other users as well. This is called Personal Cloud Computing. An example of one of the many benefits of the personal cloud is automatic sync. If a user searches for music using their mobile device, purchases a piece of music from their favorite artist, the mp3 file downloads not only on their mobile device but also downloads automatically to their home computer and other devices that are linked that cloud account. Other items include the user’s address book, email and documents.  Having access to the cloud is fairly cheap and this is attracts business. Businesses can use the cloud to do some serious data mining on the fly. Having access to information coming from their users. A way that a cloud can be distinguished is from key attributes such as it being from a third party vendor that is usually off site, accessed over the internet, minimal IT knowledge are a few attributes. Cloud computing is very useful for a connected consumer and for the success of a business. As an owner of an Apple iPhone, I am a user of their cloud service named iCloud. I find this service to be very useful. Just like my example from earlier, anything i do on my mobile smartphone is sync automatically to cloud servers and then pushed to my laptop and other devices that are connected to the iCloud service. I have personally realized the benefits of this service and its been great since the start. I rely on it almost everyday to make sure I get what i need from anywhere I am connected.

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Server apps made easier {1}

At the time this article was released they show cased some of the new features of Azure, Windows Server 8 , Azure, and Visual Studio. This was more a tech conference where they demoed out some of the nifty new features of each of these products. One of the features worth mentioning was the ability to make a website using some ASP.NET that would work on any and all web browsers. Another fun feature being introduced was, being able to find blocks of code that are “clones”, which essentially means that they are exactly the same piece of code. There were also more templates to help with the familiarization of these new features. On the Windows Server 8 side they added features that will allow for it to manage data storage even easier. The virtual machines can now be moved (to deal with storage situations), and data storage can also be moved to outside file sharing services. Azure added features to make coding within it easier, such as a data sync option that makes data available through out data centers.

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Chrome Forges Forward {Comments Off on Chrome Forges Forward}

While this is a fairly old article talking about some updates to Chrome, it talks about the initial release of the Chrome app store, and some people in class seemed rather confused when I was talking about it a few weeks ago. Not to be confused with the Google’s Android Market, Chrome’s Web Store offers the same type of applications that users are accustomed to purchasing on their phones with the exception that they run on the Chrome browser. They are available in a similar fashion to phones: users can download apps, either free or paid. Paid apps are registered to your Google account so that you do not have to pay for them again should you choose to stop using them, change computers, and so forth. Many of the applications available will be instantly recognizable to Apple Store and Android Market users, such as blockbuster hits “Angry Birds” and “Plants vs. Zombies.” The article also talks about some other things Google had in the works, although they are rather old now. Chrome’s JavaScript engine was redone, leading to significantly increased loading speeds. Google also announced that they were beginning very early tests on a Chrome operating system to be run on laptops, not tablets. The article also mentions that Chrome was trailing Firefox in terms of users; however, about a year after this article was written, Chrome overtook Firefox in market share in December 2011.

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AT&T Promotes HTML 5 Apps {Comments Off on AT&T Promotes HTML 5 Apps}

HTML 5 is the fifth revision of the HTML standard (created in 1990 and standardized as HTML4 as of 1997) and as of January 2012 is still under development, and it has lot of potentials. Thus, to encourage developers to use HTML 5, AT&T releases a  new API(application programming interface) platform.  David Christopher, chief marketing officer at AT&T says “It’s essentially a rich set of APIs and tools aimed at furthering the HTML 5 appeal as an app development choice.” Furthermore, it also has the potential to address fragmentation.  HTML 5 simplifies things for developers by letting them build apps that are able to run in a browser accessible by any smartphone rather than different native apps for different smartphones. With this new API, Christopher hopes that 85 percent of smartphones will have browsers capable of running HTML 5 by 2016. Currently, the new APIs are hosted on cloud services including Heroku and Microsoft’s Azure. Developers must pay a US$99 registration fee to start using the APIs.

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HTML 5 now and HTML 5 forever {1}

AT&T is in overdrive to push HTML 5 out since the release of the new API’s that were released. They are really pushing App developers to use HTML 5. “‘It’s essentially a rich set of APIs and tools aimed at furthering the HTML 5 appeal as an app development choice,’ said David Christopher, chief marketing officer at AT&T.’ Why are we focusing on HTML 5? We think it has the potential to address fragmentation.’” (Gohring, 2012) They hope by using HTML 5 as a defining standard among App Developers that it will make future app development easier. As it stands now apps that run on iPhones, Androids, Windows Phones, and Black Berries is a mess because developers need to rewrite applications to run on each phone and by writing apps in HTML 5 it will let developers make apps that run in the browser, which any Smartphone has. The new HTML5 API library offers API’s for some useful features like SMS, MMS, and it would allow users to be able to make payments in app that can be applied to the user’s bill. So for example, I am playing Angry Birds Lite in my HTML 5 Browser, I enjoy it so I purchase the full version, and it will then appear in say my monthly AT&T Bill. The API Library is hosted on select cloud services like MS Azure and Heroku, and to access these new API’s a person must be willing to shell out $99 for registration.

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Adobe abandons mobile Flash development, report says {1}

“Adobe flash on the way out”

A statement released by Adobe announced that they will no longer continue to develop their Flash Player plug-in for mobile browsers; Adobe added that “end of the Flash era on the web is coming soon.” Adobe is now focusing on the development of a different application packaging

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Will Google TV 2.0 Be Any Good? {Comments Off on Will Google TV 2.0 Be Any Good?}

Last year, Google announced Google TV which in theory was supposed to stream videos from the net, allow you to view photos, and listen to your music collection.  They have however been greatly outshone by Apple’s product, Apple TV, which is already expanding and can be found in many homes already.  Now that Google has got its act together and added some extra features to GTV, they have a chance to gain a customer base before its too late.  The biggest new feature GTV users will notice is the addition of Google Apps.  This means Netflix, Pandora, Skype and many other apps available on the Android platform will be available on Google TV.  They have also added Android Honeycomb so the TV will actually have the operating system Google designed for it’s tablets, meaning your TV will be more like a computer than it was before and who wouldn’t like that.  One final thing Google has added is the better search engine for shows and movies.  The new search will actually show you what time the next airing of the specific TV show or movie will be, but will also show the users what other services the program can be found on for instant viewing.

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It’s About Time to Take JavaScript (More) Seriously {Comments Off on It’s About Time to Take JavaScript (More) Seriously}

“JavaScript”

The rise of Web 2.0 has brought with it ever more sophisticated user interfaces and client-side browser functionality. As a result, JavaScript has become a crucial tool for both browser vendors and Web app developers. Although, JavaScript is usually done by programmers, there is an increase of very sophisticated tools that are generating client-site JavaScript, such as Google Web Toolkit. As an added bonus, GWT tries to mitigate browser incompatibilities, this being a major issue for web apps; other applications supporting JavaScript include Adobe products,

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