Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • How do developers feel about the latest web standard?

    There has been much talk about HTML%. From tech blogs to thought leaders, the new Web standard is inspiring debate and further proving that the internet has changed a lot since the late ‘90s. A 2012 Kendo UI survey, “HTML 5 Adoption Fact or Fiction: Developers Wade Through the Hype”, asked developers – those who are working directly with and are closest to all new software developments – what they thought about it. Here’s how they weighed in.

    Quick Primer: New and useful HTML5 features

    • Web Workers – Especially useful for Web apps that use heavy scripts, Web workers use multiple and separate background threads for complex processing such as mathematical calculations and network requests. It does not affect the performance of a webpage.
    • Local Storage – Websites can store more information locally on the visitor’s computer via scripting, usually using JavaScript. Although it works similar to cookies, this feature is more robust and designed for more information.
    • Video – Videos can be embedded without third-party plug-ins or codec (e.g. Apple QuickTime or Adobe Flash)
    • Canvas – Rendering 2D graphics can be done on the fly, without needing a plug-in.
    • Form Controls – New Web form inputs are now available – from placeholder text to email fields.

    Market Growth

    According to a Forrester report: Nearly 75% of North American Internet users are running on browsers that are mostly HTML5 compatible. That is nearly 32% growth from the same time last year.

    Adopt in or out

    Most developers are getting in while it’s hot and are already actively developing with HTML5.

    • 6% don’t plan to use HTML5 next year
    • 31% plan to start using HTML5
    • 63% actively developing with HTML5

    What’s the appeal?

    Most developers cite the familiarity of languages and cross-platform support to be the main draws of working in HTML5.

    • Familiarity of languages (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) – 72%
    • Reach/cross-platform support – 62%
    • Performance – 34%
    • Availability of tools/libraries – 28%
    • Productivity – 27%
    • Based on open standards – 24%
    • Cost of development – 20%
    • Community – 9%
    • Other – 1%

    What about browser fragmentation?

    Currently, the feature support varies across all browsers for HTML5. Safari may support some features, while Google Chrome doesn’t. Most developers acknowledge that browser fragmentation as a valid concern.

    How concerned are you about browser fragmentation?

    • Not concerned – 5%
    • Mild to moderately concerned – 10%
    • Highly concerned – 14%
    • Concerned – 71%

    Predicting HTML5’s impact

    82% of surveyed developers believe that HTML5 will be important to their jobs within the next year, and more than half of those believe it will be important immediately. Even developers reporting that they won’t use HTML5 this year acknowledge its importance within the next 12 to 24 months.

    When do you think HTML5 will be important for your job?

    • Immediately – 51%
    • Within the next 12 months – 31%
    • In 1 to 2 years – 12%
    • Never – 1%
    • Not sure – 4%

    html5-app-titutde-infographic

  • A Staging Server is a second, non-live server that is used to test changes.
    If changes are made on a live server one runs the risk that the change will break some something.
    By making the changes on a staging server first, such errors can be worked out prior to deploying on a live site.
    As such errors can be harder to fix, a staging server reduces the overall cost of deploying new code.

    Magento e-commerce Platform

    Setting up a Staging Server

    The most important thing is to replicate the live environment. The staging server should diverge from the live server only in the ways you want to test. This ensures that when you apply the change to the live server, no hidden differences come out to bite you.

    The simplest backup would involve a copy of the File System and a Database export. Commonly used for this purpose are two common Unix utilities, tar/gzip and mysqldump. Tar/Gzip allows you to group a collection of files and folders into one file, and then gzip can compress the file for faster download and easier storage. Mysqldump allows you to export your database as a collection of SQL statements. These statements can be used to recreate the database for your staging server. Once you have the Staging Server set up you can test changes in relative safety.

    Other considerations regarding a staging server

    It is helpful to use version control along with the staging server. Proper use of version control can ease some of the pains associated with keeping track of the various changes that have been made.

    Similarly, the ability to reset a staging server to the live version at the push of a button can be useful future to have. Version control will often provide this future, another good reason to use it.

    Finally it is important to understand what changes are actually saved in the Database versus those that are saved as a file. Complex online systems often save changes that you make somewhere in the database. It is possible but slightly harder to migrate these types of changes. A plan should be implemented, before starting work, concerning the method that will be used to track and export these changes.

    Let us know if you find this helpful and if you have any questions.

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