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Tuesday, 08 November 2016 11:05

Attaining Efficiency Through Computerization

 

         If there’s one thing that business operations seek nowadays, that would be one thing and only one thing… “efficiency”.  Yes, it is! In the vicious cycle of how a business works, efficiency has become the main determinant and driving force in achieving success.

After all, being efficient encapsulates everything!

In this fast-changing world, not only business operations should be fast but even employees are expected to be efficient in performing daily tasks. But what does it really mean to be efficient? Well, this entails doing a lot things over a short period of time, attaining certain business goals and objectives. For some, you are efficient if you’ve accomplished your goals and reached your targets faster and earlier as expected. How can you actually attain efficiency in business?

Actually, there are a lot of ways to attain efficiency in business operations. But one of the most proven and sought after way to do it is through “computerization”.  From the word itself, this entails the use of computers or software programs in controlling, processing or storing your data. It can also be through a computerized system which can facilitate the processing and delivery of your products and services.

Indeed, it is undeniable that “computerization” has been the latest trend in almost every institution and agency worldwide. Almost every business transaction can now be easily facilitated and managed through the use of computers. Here are some the reasons why computerization is the best way to go for your business.

  • Computerization helps in storing and protecting your data.

                 Computer programs, applications and systems can easily store as much information as you want. By using a computerized system, you can easily store information with user level access which can protect confidential information that you want to be secured. Unlike writing all the information manually on paper, this is much easier and convenient for any business enterprise. Formal records and confidential files are now easily and conveniently stored thought computerization.

  • Computerization yields a faster service through automation

                  Computerization yields a faster service as compared to the manual method of doing things. Instead of manually inputting your payroll or sales on a paper, why not have an automated machine which can store your data and can print the reports/receipts that you need.  Moreover, in the manual method, you need a lot of manpower to be able to accomplish a task while in computerization, a workload that a number of employees can do for 5 days can be done by an automated machine for 1 hour or so. Imagine how incredible and fast is that! After all, customers today preferred to avail the services of a business with faster service as compared to the others.

  • Computerization gives you the privilege to access your information anytime and anywhere.

                  One of the most important benefits of computerization is how it helps in accessing information about your business anytime and anywhere. With the use of a computerized system you can now view your data even on your mobile phone or with your laptop. You can also work remotely even if you are not in the office. Communication is much easier and access to information is not limited on your desktop computer alone. Having a computerized system allows you to monitor your data and back track the history of the transactions that transpired in your business even if you are not in the office.

  • Computerization saves more time and money.

                    Software programs or computerized system can help businesses to save more time and money. Instead of manually searching for the client’s records through the stacks of paper in your office why not use a system which can store your customer information? In just a click, you can have access to your data which saves more time. Instead of manually searching through the pile of folders, your employees or even you can do other things. This eliminates idle time on the part of your employees and save the cost of buying a lot papers for your office which may not stand the test of time. After all, having a system is a onetime big time investment that can benefit your business in many ways.  It can be on your operations, marketing, accounting or human resources.                   

  • Computerization allows you to customize, organize and manage your data for your future needs

                   Having a computerized system in your business gives you the avenue to customize it according to your business needs. A reputable software company can allow you to develop a system that will specifically stand for the operations of your business. It can help you to organize and manage your data. It is future proof because, even you- can actually edit the information and update what reports would you be needing in the future. Unlike the manual method, computerization allows you to customize the information and align it to your needs and operations.

  • Computerization gives a high sense of accuracy and reliability.

                    Businesses that deal with a lot of figures or numbers in terms of sales, stocks, taxes and other computations are more likely to rely on a computerized system. This is for the reason that, having a system yields more accurate results. Human errors and other risks can be reduced with the use of a system. It can also give you the report that you need in just a snap.

  • Computerization increases productivity

                   Using a computerized system or software increases the overall productivity of the business and even the employees. This is for the reason that computerization is self-sufficient, it means that it is very easy to use sometimes it can even function without or with minimal human intervention. Biometrics, Ordering System, Scheduling System are a few examples of computerized systems that are helpful for businesses. It can work and run your business even without having an actual person who will manually get and input the orders or schedule your customers. Thus, it also allows you to do other things while the system runs for itself, reaching a lot of customers given a certain period of time.  

 

             These are just some of the reasons justifying how a business can attain efficiency through computerization. After all, technology and computerization will materialize if used well, given the right purpose. Don’t be afraid to try and invest on something that will give your business pragmatic benefits in the long run. Computerization might be the lost key that will fill in the gaps to support your business operations.

 

 Image Source: 

 http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/workplace-in-top-view_788440.htm#term=computer&page=1&position=12

Published in Software Development

   

         According to Rick Cook, “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better-idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to build bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.”

Programming is indeed a breakthrough towards technological advancement. The marvelous works of computers, programs, applications and software have transformed the world. In this race of creating, developing, unfolding and transforming something extraordinary out of the ordinary, how can you actually win?

Well, for a programmer to win, he or she must overcome all the daily struggles of their job to achieve a certain set of goals. They need to embroil and submerge themselves into the nitty-gritty of everything. This includes the entire process of software development plus the agonizing struggles and challenges that may come along the way.

So, you better get ready and brace yourself! Here are some compelling reasons why the struggle is real for programmers.

1). Exhausting Relationship with Coding

                                                                                                   

A programmer must have a certain long-term relationship with coding. It is actually the backbone of any system so you need to to bear the agony of this process no matter how tiring it can be. You must be willing to code and code and code up to the point, wherein you can no longer open your eyes. Coding is never easy and it will consume a lot of your time. Sometimes it feels like its never-ending! It is truly wearisome not just physically but mentally.

2).  Enduring the Hassle of Debugging

 

                                                                        

  The process of debugging is actually the greatest struggle of a developer. This is much more difficult than coding because some bugs are not easy to find and fix. Thus, this is definitely a pain in the ass.

3). Updating and Refactoring Can Kill You Sometimes

    

                                                                                             

       As much as overthinking about the codes and functionalities may stress you out, sometimes updating and refactoring can kill and turn your work into a mess. Yes, imagine those moments wherein you’ve think of another way of doing something and you’ve changed and refactored and deployed it. But in the end, it doesn’t work? Thus, with full of regrets you just decided to start over again and delete everything. How awful and saddening, right?

4). Puzzling Moments of “Why and How” Codes Work

                                                                                               

 Who says that existential questions are not applicable to coding. Indeed, programmers are also faced with a lot of questions especially why a code is not working or how it functions? Maybe, how the problem started or where the error is coming from? You know, mind-boggling questions might actually sprout during the process of development and even testing. Thus, it is really a struggle for any programmer to have a clear grasp of designing and analyzing techniques.

5). Customizing Requires Additional Effort

                                                                                              

     Customizing requires a lot of effort from a programmer especially if you’ve already finished the system or the application itself. Thus, in the beginning of a project it is important to customize the system or program based on the needs of a client or establishment. Plan ahead for the features in need to be customized. Nonetheless, if will be a disaster.

6). Fixing Errors and Understanding Syntax Format

                 

                                                                                                         

     Fixing errors is also a struggle especially for the newbies. Thus, it is important that you are equipped with technical knowledge and skills. Familiarize yourself with basic programming languages and understand the format and syntax upon it. Remember syntax is very important and strict adherence to it must be observed!

7). Ensuring Compatibility of the Software

                                                                                                               

    Compatibility should always be a priority for a programmer or developer. From time to time, it is important to check if the software is compatible with a specific Internet browser or device. Imagine how tiring and time consuming it can be. Checking the security is also an additional factor to be considered.

These are just some of the daily struggles that a programmer of software developer might actually come across with. At the end of the day, nothing comes easy! Every day is a good fight and it is up to you if you’ll take the challenge.

For it is only through these daily struggles, where you can actually see what you are capable of as a programmer. Understanding your struggles might give you a hundred more reasons to love your job and strive harder. Keep on believing and never cease to grow. Now you can finally say that “The struggle is real!”.

 Image Sources:

Image 1 Link: http://giphy.com/search/programmer

Image 2 Link: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php/archive/tellafriend.php?comicid=673

Image 3 Link: http://www.streamoverlaypro.com/development-blog/

Image 4 Link: http://gifsec.com/funny/why-gifs-2/

Image 5 Link: http://giphy.com/search/hard-work

Image 6 Link: https://giphy.com/gifs/3o85xn8b6TuGGTnSOk

Image 7 Link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/889302467

 

            

 

Published in Software Development

 

Enduring the rigorous process of System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is never that easy and it will never be!  Why? It is because it doesn’t just stop there. As a matter of fact, after the testing phase, you are still one step away into having that dream system of yours.

Do you even know what’s the last phase? Well, it’s no other than the production phase where the real challenge begins!  This stage entails the actual creation or migration of of the system from testing and staging environments based on the standards and specifications identified during the previous stages.

Relatively, this is the real deal before reaping the fruits of your labor. But how can you be sure that you are now 100% prepared to launch that system for production? Have you seen the green light telling you to go on or have you seen that red light or the red flags waving you to stop?

Given such, it is important to remember and consider some things before putting a newly developed system in production environment. Doing such things might help you to avoid poor execution and project failure.

Thus, why not try to do these things before production?

  • Identify and review all the requirements, specifications, resources, people needed before production. 

It is important that all the requirements are clearly defined and the resources are allocated before production. Conducting the testing and staging phase might have given you the idea on what are the issues that may transpire during the actual production. It can give you the edge to review and to plan ahead.

  • Verify the approach to be used and if adheres with the standards, needs and goals of the project

In software development, the model and the approach used to create the project is very vital. Thus, during the testing, the team should be able to verify if they are using the right model and approach. This should be done to avoid huge errors and too much costs during production. Hence, it is wise to know during the testing part if the mechanisms used were efficient and in line with the needs and goals of the business. During the testing, the team can also evaluate if there is still the need to do other approaches if the previous ones which were used were not effective.

  • Conduct thorough testing

Before production, it is important to conduct thorough testing, as much as possible close to the production environment. Every system has its own procedures when it comes to this stage so better follow such and do this seriously and exhaustively. This will be done to prevent and predict issues and threats that may arise during the actual production phase.

  • Fix bugs efficiently 

In creating any system, bugs are also inevitable so the QA team should be able to find the bugs efficiently. Fix and solve it with minimal time and effort. You can also strategize and focus on bugs that needs urgency and may pose bigger threat with the system that you are going to create. Be efficient, focus on issues that are important.

  • Ensure server and system security and its performance

Security is very vital especially if you are using (Software-as-a-Service) SaaS or open source codes. Thus, before production it is important to impose security measures and evaluation on the server and the system itself. This is required especially if the system will be hosted by using the Cloud. Relatively, system performance should also be evaluated at all cost during the testing so that during the production you can assure that optimal performance can be achieved. Performance risks should also be identified.

  • Simulate the testing environment and the data used for the production environment

It is very crucial to produce the same environment that you’ve used during testing including the data or the information. The very purpose of testing is to copy the production environment in order to validate if all the elements work. But before production, it is also necessary to remember that since you’ve already conducted testing, the elements that were efficient during the testing, should be simulated and copied to the production phase. The same pipeline should be used for both phases. 

  • Review the processes for every element of the project and implement Quality Control procedures

The team should be accountable for reviewing and checking every element of the project/ system. They should review every step to ensure that everything is working and every element is compatible with each other. Make sure that you are following your timeline without compromising the quality of your output. You should not put the quality at stake so make realistic deadlines and put your best foot forward.

  • Validate the system/product by running a regression cycle

The process of regression cycle is also known as the final phase to stabilize the system/product. It is presented by using a hierarchy with several branches. Normally, this has components that will make the client/customer to understand the system/product on their own perspective. This gives the team the opportunity to validate and impose some changes if it is deemed necessary. If the system passes all the tests, you can now see that green light which tells you to “Go” and proceed to the production phase.

  • Test if the system works by running a sanity test

In order to test if everything works, a sanity test is conducted. The results matter for it also evaluates if the third-party system works. It can also say if there are compatibility issues. Project success should be seen at this phase.

  • Document, Document and Document

All changes and configurations made from the test environment to the production environment as well as changes to the programs, the databases and any auxiliiary applications should be properly documented.

  • Provide and assign the right people to do the tasks

Choosing and assigning the right people for the development team is integral to attain access. Having the right people with the right skills can help you to avoid pitfalls and failure in developing a system. Just make sure that their tasks are clearly defined and they are designated properly. Sometimes due to the current trends, much more are expected for developers and the QA team. More often than not, they have to break the traditional ways and learn the contemporary methods of software development. 

These are just some of the few considerations that you need to remember before you put that newly developed system in production. These might be some ordinary guidelines for you but you’ll never know, extraordinary results might come out of these!

 

References:

TechBeacon Online Website. (September 29,2016). Retrieved from http://techbeacon.com/10-best-practices-qa-teams-deliver-quality-software-fast

 Image Source: (Freepik Online Website) http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/businessman-in-front-of-a-choice_765208.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Software Development

 

In one of our previous blogs before, we’ve talked about SDLC or also known as “Software Development Life Cycle”.

Just to refresh our minds, SDLC is a model framework that describes the stages of project development. Speaking of these stages, one of the most notorious, challenging and mind-boggling is the “Analysis” stage.

This stage is very crucial for it allows you to set up the pace in defining the functional and non functional requirements for system development. This also gives you the leeway to scrutinize not only the business needs but also the system/program to be developed.

Did you know that in SDLC, you can actually conduct analysis in two ways? Yes, just like a coin with two sides, analysis can be done through what we call as “Business Analysis” or “System Analysis”. But, the million-dollar question would be, how do they differ from one another?

The Process

Business Analysis is known as a process of understanding and identifying business needs and problems. It puts prior on examining the overall business structure, resources, strategies or even the issues comprising the organization. It involves documentation and gathering of information to thoroughly examine what solution would be best to address the needs.

This is normally performed by a business analyst who ensures that the IT solution which is system development coincides with the goals and requirements of the business.

On the other hand, System Analysis is known as a process of identifying the solution given the problem. More often than not, basic system needs are verified. Thus, this process requires the system analyst to probe and identify the system requirements needed, the system design to be implemented, the programming language to be used for the project and other technical specifications related to the system.

Nowadays, we also have what we call as Business System Analyst which can do both roles.

The Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

  • Assessment of business needs and problems
  • Understanding the structure of the organization, issues and its inadequacies
  • Management of business requirements in coordination with the management, stakeholders and end-users
  • Documentation and gathering of information about the business process
  • Preparation of the recommended IT solutions for the business needs.
  • Participation within the whole SDLC process to ensure that the system/solutions provided will be compatible to the needs and goals of the business.

The Responsibilities of a System Analyst

  • Coordination with the business analyst or the management for the system requirements
  • Administration in creating the system, testing and checking the performance of the system.
  • Identification of the system design and the techniques to be used to make the system efficient for the users.
  • Discussion and coordination with the management and end-users to ensure that the system can address their needs when the system is already developed.
  • Creation of flowcharts and model to be used by the developers
  • Configuration and monitoring of the system creation.

 The Skillls

There you go! The two processes may require different set of skills, knowledge and expertise. More often than not, business analysts should have a good background when it comes to business and marketing while systems analysts are required to have higher technical skills.

Conclusion

      As you can see both of the two processes are different but they are complimentary. Don’t worry doing both of these process is definitely worthwhile.

Think of the analysis stage as a stone, which can hit two major goals 1) address certain business needs; 2) create a system to solve the needs and achieve further corporate targets (either maximizing productivity or increasing profit via the system)

At the end of the day, no matter how different they are what is important is how both processes complement and support each other to achieve a common goal!

 

Image Source: http://www.freepik.com/free-photo/web-design-concept-with-drawings_902906.htm#term=business analysis&page=1&position=3

 

References:

Business Analyst Learning Official Website. (September 21,2016). Duties of a Business Analyst. Retrieved from: http://businessanalystlearnings.com/business-analyst-career/2015/11/7/what-is-the-difference-between-business-analysis-and-systems-analysis

Villanoavu Online Website. (September 21,2016). Duties of a System Analyst. Retrieved from http://www.villanovau.com/resources/business-analysis/business-analyst-vs-system-analyst/#.V-IwJih97IU

 

Published in Software Development

 

 

             Across all business strata, the concept of “database” has been a crucial aspect of Systems Development. Indeed, it is tantamount to say that, nowadays, almost all business establishments are investing to venture upon it, after all the database is the lifeblood of business operations aside from Sales and Marketing. Name all of those from the big corporations, institutions, government agencies down to the Small-Medium Enterprises (SME’s).

Apparently, this is no surprising because before you drive that line towards the concept of Above-the-Line (ABL) advertising or marketing, a company needs to establish itself first and manage its own knowledge bank.

One better way to do this, is to have an organized and established database. Take note, not just a database but a good and well-structured one!

Talking About the Database

The heart of a database is the data itself. It contains all the quantitative or qualitative information about a company, its customers, their people, its services, products, sales, etc. These pieces of information are collated inside the database; which is an integral part of systems development. It serves as the content and meat of any system or application. Hence, it is indispensable to know what type of data should you use in creating a database.

Unstructured data is a set of information that lacks categorization and arrangement. One simple example would be having too many email messages with a different subject and sender. Imagine how chaotic it may appear, right? But once you categorized it into folders, your life will be much easier. This is where structured data will come into play.

Structured data is a set of information that has a fixed format and arrangement. It has a high-degree of organization and flexibility rather than the previous one. It is arranged in a manner that can easily be accessed by anyone either by order, name, location, gender etc. It follows a data model which depends on the type of business data available and how they are stored, processed and accessed. Thus, it is important to define the values first to organize your data in a database. (Webopedia, 2016). 

Companies and SME’s with a growing number of clients and employees might have been facing a lot of issues due to unstructured and cluttered data. Imagine how much information they need to compile? Or how much information that they need to collate using voluminous and multiple sources of data just to create a report?  This is the very reason why having a database became the most sought after solution for data management problems.

Knowing the Importance of a well-structured database

According to Global Industry Development Network (GIDN), a well-structured database is paramount to the success of a business. Keeping all  information into a one secured place to be accessed anytime by any business. Here are some of the top reasons why there is a need for a well-structured database.

  • Accessibility and Availability of Data

A well-structured database can make information easily accessible anytime and anywhere. Any information in a database can also be searchable due to its categorization and fixed arrangement of values. You can now eliminate the hassle of manually going through a lot of papers or multiple sources before finding the right piece of information that you need.

 

  • Sharing of Data/ Multi-User Scheme

  A well-structured database is beneficial for the sharing of data. A database is designed for processing transactions, storing these transactions and sharing data with a lot of users. Yes, it follows a multi-user mode where anyone can access the information at the same time. If you are a developer, normally structured data is done by using Structured Query Language (SQL) a programming language used in data management systems. 

  • System Performance

   A well structured database allows systems or applications accessing such information to perform much better by just going through a structure piece of source, instead of an application or system to browse several sources just to get or acquire specific values.

  • Security and Authorized Access to Information

A well-structured database is better on how it sis being controlled and managed. . User-level access mode is used to verify a number of people who can use and access the database. Security measures are also included to limit the access to some information which should not be for everyone. By having a database, you can ensure that information is stored safely and efficiently. Database Administrators are the only people allowed to change or revise the database according to their needs as well as perform the necessary optimization of these structured databases for it to perform efficiently.

  • Easier and Simpler Storage & Backup

A well- structured database requires less effort for storage and backup. It helps in preventing data loss and storing important files for monitoring and growth tracking. With the available technology right now, you can even store your database by using Cloud.

  • Analysis and Verification of Data

 A well-structured database is also important and helpful in analyzing data. Since information is structured and categorized, analyzing data won’t be that difficult. You can easily get all the figures and details that you want and turn it into a report. The database can also verify if the data is valid, you can set up some values or verification codes to test the integrity of data.

  • Time, Effort and Cost Efficient

A well structured database minimizes the effort of browsing all the locations at your library to look for some details about the client. More importantly, this is cost efficient especially if you have a daily operation where the transactions need information from a database.

These are just some of the benefits why it is viable to have a well-structured database. On a pragmatic level, having a good database is also used to complement with certain marketing strategies and business approaches. Some companies can also use this to bridge the gap between the company and its clients or even an organization and its members. This is also a reason why having a good database is becoming not only a solution but more of a necessity and business philosophy.

 

 

References:

Global Industry Development Netowork. (September 14, 2016). Importance of Structured Databases. Retrieved from http://gidn.co/news/the-importance-of-structured-databases.html

Bright Planet Online Website (September 14, 2016. Structured & Unstructured Database. Retrieved from https://brightplanet.com/2012/06/structured-vs-unstructured-data/

Webopedia Online Website. (September 14, 2016) Structured Data Retrieved from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/structured_data.html

Image Source: Freepik.com 

 

Published in Software Development

In my previous article we’ve talked about test-environment. Don’t you worry; if you missed it feel free to read it here in the blog section of this page.

But don’t get stuck there, learning about test-environment might not suffice.

Actually, there’s still another phase after testing and it is no other than “staging” which uses the so called “stage environment”.

As you know, creating an amazing application or system is not as easy as ABC. You still need to undergo the tedious process of development, testing/QA and staging before going to production. Thus, it is important to understand each step and delve deeper into it.

What is a Staging Environment?

According to Chris Lema a staging environment is defined as “an environment that duplicates production (hardware, software and settings) that any evaluation of code can be tested before being placed into production.” The process encapsulating this environment is called staging.

Let’s make it simple and concise. The server that you use is called the staging server and the clone version of the production database is called staging database. Since this is the final testing before production, it is a must that everything is replicated.

What sets it apart from the Test-Environment?

From the word itself, a test-environment is conducted in the process called testing or Quality Assurance (QA).  On the other hand, a stage-environment is facilitated within the process of staging. Relatively, both environments have the capacity to mimic and replicate the actual production process. 

The only difference is that; the test-environment is constantly changing. Yes, being in the first line of testing, several issues may be evaluated on this phase. Thus, developers are entitled to correct and solve such. This entails correcting the codes, adding features and reducing bugs. Meanwhile, the stage-environment is the almost final testing phase for it has the close to the final version output before production. This means that it will not undergo too many changes just like the testing phase.

If you have a company and you have asked someone to make a payroll system for you mostly likely, they will not allow you to try it when it is still half-finished or under the testing phase.

But if they already have the stage-environment, they can now ask some of your employees to try and explore the available features of the system before final production. This is the reason why stage-environment is also called the demo/training environment.

Again, this is circumstantial and it varies depending on 1) the kind of your development team and 2) the availability of your resources.

What are some of the benefits Staging Prior to Production?

1) It maximizes productivity.

2) It saves more time and effort by identifying issues and reducing bugs prior production.

3) It ensures good quality output and performanc.e

4) It helps in verifying if the applications, modules and databases are compatible to the hosting, platform etc.

5) It promotes collaboration among developers and users.

Is the staging environment important?

If you are going to ask me, I’ll give you a resounding yes! Common development standards require that a system be tested as close to possible to production environment to eliminate the possibility of errors. While indeed, some of the companies have this environment as optional, it is always that necessary.

In the mish mash of such stages, it is important how each step works. Nowadays, companies are investing so much into testing to ensure efficient operations and production. Therefore, knowledge about these steps can give you a heads up when it comes to software or application development.

Yes, behind every incredible application is a multitude of codes, steps and processes. Maybe, at this point you probably have an idea how challenging and mind-boggling the process is. Take note, we’ve only tackled staging, there’s more to learn in the future.

Now you know! Before you can enjoy that favorite application of yours, some people have shed their tears and sweat to make it happen. Isn’t it worth it?

After all, as the saying goes “Nothing worth having in this world comes easy!”. 

 

 

References:

Chris Lema Online Blog. (September 13,2016). Stage Environment Retrieved from http://chrislema.com/staging-environment/

Programmer Interview Online Website. (September 13,2016) Retrieved from http://www.programmerinterview.com/index.php/technical-vocabulary/what-is-a-staging-environment/

Image: freepik.com

Link: http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/e-business-cards-with-electronic-devices_757579.htm#term=developer&page=1&position=17

Published in Software Development
Monday, 05 September 2016 11:01

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 101

                            

               

             Do you love to use different kinds of software that you do not store (or partially store) in your device, whether it be paid or on a free basis?  Chances are you may have used a Software-as-a-Service or SaaS.

Before, we always perceive software as a “product” or something that we can buy in the form of a CD and install in our computers. But now, with the concept of SaaS, it is also considered as a service or subscribed software.

Apparently, this is very different from our normal notion looking at software as a product that we normally purchase. Do you still remember the days when you asked your mom to buy you a CD of Sims? Maybe, a CD of Encarta Encyclopedia or Jumpstart which you happily installed on your computer?

Indeed, with the emergence of the Internet, things have really changed. We can now even watch and stream our favorite movies online or listen to our music playlist online. We don’t really need to buy a CD just to have that software. If you want, you can still do it but if you know about the idea of free download or even SaaS, I bet you’ll think twice!

What is SaaS?

SaaS is also known as an “on-demand software” or a a delivery model for software usage. SaaS is defined as “a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. SaaS is one of three main categories of cloud computing, alongside infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).” (Techtarget, 2016) The idea is that users can access software applications over the Internet. Yes, even the apps or games in Facebook, Google, Yahoo are considered as forms of SaaS. Other examples of SaaS are Salesforce, Evernote, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and even some variants of Microsoft Office 365.

This is also commonly used by a lot of companies and institutions especially if they need a particular software, application or hosting online. SaaS works with the idea of “renting” or “subscribing” rather than purchasing. Are you familiar with companies online who are offering an Accounting software, Payroll Management System or hosting for a specific period of time with a certain amount of money? That’s exactly an example of SaaS. Sometimes companies are required to pay on a monthly basis and they can just upgrade the version for an additional cost if they wanted to. More likely, the files are saved via the cloud so they can access it with the use of the Internet.

What are the benefits of using SaaS?

  • Justifiable & Flexible Price

Using SaaS can give you the option to subscribe and run an application for a specific period of time. This means that the payment terms are also flexible because you have the option to use it for 2-3 months or more. You can extend it or not so there’s really no harm in trying it. In this way, you will not waste so much money just in case you didn’t like the application or if it is not efficient for your business operations. It’s like just paying for the service that you actually use. There are no hardware costs or initial costs as well. If you want to stop using the software, you just need to stop the subscription and you are done.

  • Compatibility Wise

SaaS is very flexible in terms of the devices where the applications run. Since it works via the Internet, all applications can be accessed through different devices. You can use mobile phones, tablets or an Ipad so it is much easier to use SaaS than buying a CD at the mall and installing it on your laptop. A CD is just compatible to your laptop and specific operating systems and not on your other devices.

  • Upgraded Versions & Customization

One amazing thing about using SaaS is that you can upgrade it anytime for an additional cost as well. Aside from purchasing a CD most of the applications are limited to the version that you purchased. If you want another, you have to buy again. But with SaaS as long as you subscribed with the current version, you can just pay an additional cost to improve it or add other plug ins. Some companies are offering custom-fit solutions so they can adjust the app to suit your needs. Other companies are giving free updates as well.

  • Accessible Any Time & Anywhere Via the Internet

Since most of the data are stored via the cloud, most of the applications as SaaS can be accessed at any location and time as long as there is an Internet connection. This is far different from other software which can just run with a CD or where you have installed it. But in the event that you forgot it, you don’t have the means to access your files.

  • Easy to Use, No Complexities

Most of the people today are tech savvy. In just a snap it feels like they have digital cells in their body. Thus, all the more they want to access things instantly. This is the reason why SaaS is a trend because the applications are easy to use. Just point and click. Using SaaS can minimize hardware and software management issues

These are just some of the few benefits of using SaaS. I might not be surprised if you can even think of a barrel of reasons why you love SaaS or why you want to try it.

In the end, there’s more to unfold behind this concept and what matters most is how it can actually make lives easier. We don’t know what lies ahead so in the future SaaS or another might be the next big thing!

 

References:

Tech Target Online Website.(September 5,3026). Software as a Service Retrieved from: http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Software-as-a-Service

Interoute Online Website. (September 5,2016) Software as a Service Retrived from: http://www.interoute.com/what-saas

Image Source: http://www.freepik.com/free-photo/hands-with-application-icons_928590.htm#term=cloud computing&page=1&position=3

 

                     

Published in Software Development
Tuesday, 30 August 2016 10:06

What is a test-environment?

 

                 According to the World Quality Report (Testing and Quality Assurance Trends and Recommendations, 2015-2016), the impact of IT quality on end-user experience is a primary motivating force to conduct initiatives for digital transformation. Undeniably, with the onset of the Internet of Things, Cloud, business analytics, mobile applications etc., business operations and organizations are more into the use of “testing” as a mechanism to gain remarkable insights when it comes to assurance level and customer satisfaction.

Currently, companies are investing time and money to conduct QA and testing with the goal of delivering a seamless customer experience for the end-users. By 2018, it was predicted that there will be a 40% increase in the proportion of IT budget allocated for testing. Thus, this is a reflection that testing is a matter of importance. Furthermore, it is also deemed necessary to know what are the elements encapsulating this process.

When it comes to testing, one of the most sought after concept is the test-environment. But what does it actually mean?

Knowing what is a test-environment Is

According to Jaideep Khanduja (2008),“a test-environment is defined as a setup of software and hardware where the team is going to perform the simulation or testing of a newly built application or program. This includes the physical setup which consists of the hardware and logical setup which includes the Server Operating System, client operating system, database server, front end running environment, browser (if web application), IIS (version on server side) or any other software components required to run this software product. This testing setup is to be built on both the ends – i.e. the server and client.”

Generally speaking, the test-environment consists of elements that can support the test execution with the configuration of the software, hardware and the network. The overall test-environment setup must copy the actual production environment to uncover issues in need of revision or improvement. (TutorialsPoint,2016).

Understanding the Basics of Software Testing

Before you can design the test-environment there are five essential points to consider when it comes to software testing as suggested by David Brown, Six Sigma Website (2016). First is the test strategy, this tells you what type of testing are you going to use which will be best in probing the software. Technically, a strategy that will be best at finding the issues or loop holes within the system. Second is known as the testing plan this is the framework of the actual testing tasks that the team need to execute the strategy.

Third is the test case, this is very important for it consists of the detailed examples to be used to verify if the software meets its requirements. Fourth is the test data or the database or information that you will use to carry out the test case. Lastly of course is the test-environment which will mimic the actual production process.(Brown, 2016)

Identifying Some Software Testing Types

If you plan to test a custom application or program, it is important to identify what type of software testing are you going to use. Each type is different from the other, depending on what purpose it will serve.

Some of the popular ones are the following: (Software Testing Help, 2016)

  • Black box testing- This is the type of testing that is solely based on the requirements and functionality. It doesn’t put prior on the internal system design.
  • White box testing- This is also called as Glass box testing which focuses on internal logic of an application. The tests are based on code statements, branches, paths, conditions
  • Unit testing- is known as a testing of individual software components or modules. Usually, developers do this for they are familiar with the internal program.
  • System testing- the entire system is tested as per the requirements.
  • Functional testing- this type of testing ignores the internal aspects, it is focused on the output.
  • Sanity testing- type of testing used to determine if a new software version is performing well.

Designing the test-environment

The test-environment may vary from one business to another. It depends to the needs and objectives of the testing process. Here are a few factors to consider if you are planning or preparing to do a test-environment.

Prepare and identify all the requirements that you’ll be needing for the simulation. This includes the following:

  • required operating system, database and other components
  • number of license required (optional)
  • network configuration
  • archive/back-up process
  • versions of applications needed (ex. Apache, PHP, MSQL, Java etc.)

Another thing to consider is what we call as environmental configuration. This is defined as the combination of hardware and software environment which the tests will be conducted. It helps in ensuring that the actual production and test-environment have the same setup. (TutorialsPoint, 2016)

These are just some of the basics when it comes to test-environment. A test-environment varies from one setup to another. There are really a lot to know about testing especially the hierarchy of a test-environment but that’s another story.

References:

World Quality Report (23 August 2016) Retrieved from https://www.capgemini.com/thought-leadership/world-quality-report-2015-16

Test-environment (23 August 2016)  Retrieved from http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/quality-assurance/what-is-a-testing-environment-for-software-testing/

TutorialPoint, (23 August 2016)  Test-Environment Retrieved from   http://www.tutorialspoint.com/software_testing_dictionary/test_environment.htm

Basics of Software Testing, (23 August 2016) Retrieved from http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/types-of-software-testing/

Image from http://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/test-bed-test-environment-management-best-practices/

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Published in Software Development
Thursday, 25 August 2016 10:35

What is an Open-Source Software?

 

Understanding What an Open-Source Software Is

Have you ever wondered what lies behind your amazing applications on your mobile phone or programs on your laptop, desktop or servers? How it was structured and how it was created? Well, more than your eyes can see, these are made up of codes and multiple programs. Yes, this is called as source codes which serve as a framework for the features and functionalities of how the application or the program works.

Normally, these source codes are mutually exclusive to the one who created it or to the company who owned it. This type of software is called proprietary software wherein only the creators can legally inspect, change the codes or alter the designs of the applications.  Examples are Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. This is the reason why it is licensed and not anyone is permitted to access the source code.

This sets as apart from an open-source software, wherein the source code can be publicly accessed, modified, shared and enhanced by other people. Libre Office and Linux are popular examples of this kind of software. Other people can copy the source code of an open-source software, alter it and learn from it. 

Knowing If It’s Free of Charge

More often than not, the common misconception is that an open-source software is free of charge. Actually, in some cases this can be totally free or this can be free but limited. It is actually the prerogative of the developer who created it. Some users can actually donate or offer monetary support if they like what the developer has done. Some companies are even using the open-source way as a marketing strategy to attract more clients. For instance, they can make an open-source software available, but of a limited functionality but should users would require additional features, the client must pay it.

Unravelling Its Benefits

An open-source software makes life easier for programmers and developers. Instead of creating a new set of codes, they can just use an open-source software which save more time, money and effort. This can also help in training students for they can manually edit or change the codes or even play with it. This is also more stable and secure for future projects for developers where they can revise or change anything anytime. They can control the codes and suit it to their needs and requirements. This can also pave way for the creation of other systems and applications in the long run.

Stating Some Popular Licenses

If you are going to use an open-source software you should also consider what license it has to determine how far you can go in revising it. For instance, some licenses may allow you to download an open-source software but you can’t distribute it. Others are available for personal and community use but not for companies. Most of the open-source software have some editable parts but there also some which needs to give due credit to the developer. Thus, it is important to know that these open-source licenses vary from one another. It has different terms and conditions per license.

Here are some popular licenses which are widely used. 

(OpenSource.Org, 2016)

-Apache License 2.0

-BSD 3-Clause “New” or “Revised” license

-BSD 2-Clause “Simplified: or “FreeBSD” license

-GNU General Public License (GPL)

-GNU Library or “Lesser” General Public License (LGPL)

-MIT License

-Mozilla Public License 2.0

-Common Development and Distribution License

-Eclipse Public License

 At the end of the day, the use of open-source software promotes a culture of sharing for a common purpose towards betterment or improvement and collaboration. This has been a testament that knowledge is better when it is shared through the open-source way!

 

References:

Open-Source.Org Online Website. (22, August 2016). Open-Source Software Licenses Retrieved from: https://opensource.org/licenses

Open Source Online Website. (22,August 2016). Open-Source Software. Retrieved from https://opensource.com/resources/what-open-source

Image source: Freepik.com 

Published in Software Development

 

             In a globally competitive world, no doubt that personal and career development is a must. No wonder why the so called “millennials” are constantly seeking for a barrel of avenues wherein they can grow and unleash their potentials. In a report conducted by Gallup entitled as “How Millennials Work and Live” it has been noted that 87% of millennials rate career development  as an important factor in choosing a job.

Well, this is not surprising considering that technological advancement became an inherent aspect of modernization. The millennials want jobs that are innovative, success-driven and dynamic for growth. Here are some of the reasons, why most millennials may probably want or think of joining the Information Technology (IT) sector.

1. IT Jobs are dynamic and innovative

              Sounds cool right? Most of the generation today are millennials who are digital natives, which means they are accustomed to the use of technology. Most of the millenials today are forced to learn new things and it makes them flexible.  Web developers, programmers, android developers need to keep up with the latest trends in applications, programming language in oder to do certain tasks. Truly, millennials have to adapt with the current technologies. products and solutions that are available within a specific time. As a result, technology paved way for a lot of innovations coming from the new gadgets and applications that are being changed and invented everyday. Thus, it makes IT jobs more fascinating for the millennials.  IT jobs require fresh ideas, skills and innovative people like the millennials. 

2. IT Jobs are challenging

              Coding, developing, programming, reducing bugs and the like are not really easy. You have to be equipped with the knowledge and the skills in order to do such IT tasks. For millennial programmers, MySQL, JQuery, CSS, HTML can be as challenging as it is. They have to painstakingly work overnight just to code and learn other programming languages based on the system requirements of a company. The IT sector is very broad and this serves as challenge and opportunity for millennials to prove themselves. Well, millennials of today love to explore and learn new things. They wanted to challenge their abilities and think out of the box. But take note, millennials are also outgoing who love adventures so given such challenges, this can also lead them to explore other avenues wherein they can grow. This is also the reason why most of them especially the younger ones are into job hunting to the point that they change their jobs frequently. 

3. IT Jobs are interesting and fun

                More often than not, if you are an IT guy, there must be something in the technical world that interest you so much. If you are a programmer, you will not bear the agony of the coding process if you didn’t love and enjoy it in the first place.If you are a web developer, you will not study or take time to learn those certain platforms and applications if you didn’t like it even an ounce of it. Either it is by force or by choice, it still depends on how you view your job. Generally speaking, millennials want jobs that are innovative and fun. IT jobs are pretty fun and serious by nature. You have to take it seriously so that you can achieve fruitful results. This is the reason why most of the technical people think that IT jobs are interesting and fun. At the end of the day, if you love what you are doing you will not think of it as work.  

4. IT jobs are in demand

                  IT jobs are really promising for the millennials. It has been reported that by the year 2025, a larger part of the working sector will be composed of the millennials. It is also expected that a lot of industries and businesses will be improving their systems to adapt with the modern demands of the future. Thus, all the more they will need technological solutions and resources to address their needs. This will open up to a myriad of opportunities for IT people. Some businesses may result to IT staff augmentation or IT project outsourcing to achieve operational efficiency and lessen their cost. On the international level, there has been an increasing demand for IT people. All you have to do is search for that golden opportunity.

5. IT jobs are flexible and have a unique working culture

                   Millennials of today, love to work and play. This has been proven by a lot of IT companies who are making twist in their work culture. Local or international, some IT companies are making an effort to revolutionize the work place atmosphere. This is done to make their employees feel good so as they can work effectively. Even the offices are being designed in a unique manner so as it can be conducive not only for the customers but most importantly for the employees. They even offer free food, provide sleeping quarters, gaming room, gym in order to adjust with the lifestyle of the millennials.

      Isn’t it exciting? Well, these are just some of the captivating reasons why you might want to be part of the IT sector. No doubt, being an IT guy is as cool and as interesting as you may have probably think of! Salute to all the IT guys out there.

 

References:

Gallup Business Journal Online Website (2016, August 22). “How Miilennials Work and Live Report. Retrieved from“ http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/191435/millennials-work-life.aspx

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Published in Software Development

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