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Remedial Design Tips for Web Development
If you are a developer or a web development agency and you’ve just built a web development prototype, you might often find yourself in a bit of a pickle – your users might find it ugly or your web development demo might look very bad. Here are a few "golden" design tips for web development, guidelines on how to make your web development demos look as good as they deserve.   Keep your cool, By Far One of The Most Valuable Design Tips for Web Development One way of putting it is like this: “Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice it.”. Jared Spool’s quote is spot on for all design work but it’s especially true when it comes to web development and demos. If you are building a web development demo users shouldn’t really pay attention to the design aspects of it, but its functionality and purpose. If you’re trying to make your demo more stylistic, you’re actually moving away from your ultimate goal – keep it simple and focus on its functionality. If it doesn’t look as good as you’d want it to be, try removing some web development design elements such as effects, borders or shadows.   Try to avoid complex color palettes Poor color choices can make or break a design – your color picks should be made during the UI design process, even if it can be tempting to make bold color choices early in the project. When making the UI wireframe, you’ll begin using monochrome rudimentary lines and shapes. Once you finished that part, you can start adding more details until you reach the color aspects of your project. Here are a few tips when picking your colors: It’s a good idea to keep your demos monochrome with plenty of greys until you’re ready to color it up properly. Another tip is to avoid fully saturated colors, especially when your demo will be viewed on an illuminated screen as this can lead to discomfort for your users. In the same time, you should avoid black and white due to the same reasons as previously stated – sticking to shades of color will make your users less tired and improve UX. Add color to your monochrome design but do it just one at a time – each color can be a distraction to your users. Pro tip: you can use a range of saturations of just one color – this will offer plenty of variety and you basically can’t go wrong.   Simple typography works best If you’re building a web development prototype or a demo there’s no need to for fancy fonts but here are a few pointers on typography: If you don’t know what to pick, sans-serif works best in all situations. Serif fonts usually have details where strokes terminate. These fonts can help you bring a little bit of personality to your design and at the same time make your text easier to read. While serif fonts have some advantages, they’re not usually used for UI design since at smaller sizes they display varied stroke weights. Other fonts you should take a look at are humanist droid sans, used by Google in their Android interface, noto, and roboto. If you’re an Apple fan you can go for San Francisco or Neue Helvetica. Firefox OS uses Fira Sans. All these are sans-serif fonts which you can use for your project. Sometimes characters can be difficult to distinguish – combinations such as 9g, 6b, 2Z, 5S, I11 or 8B can be very confusing for users, depending on the font chosen. It’s best to first test them out in order to see readability and if that’s fine keep using it, if not, do some changes.   White space works wonders Functional space or white space helps web development designers in many different ways – this space reduces your visitor eye strain, can help draw attention to particular areas of your page and creates a general sense of balance. Cramped UI will make users tired and uncomfortable but keep in mind that “less is more” works perfectly at this stage. More breathing space will offer your users a breather as well – boosting line heights, margins and plenty of padding works great. And this is one of those priceless design tips for web development to put on top of your "must-do" list.Spread everything out on your design and it will look much better. Spacing needs to be consistent throughout your design – consistency is the key to harmony and rhythm.   Improve your web development workflow Foundation and Bootstrap can be a great help to developers even though they receive criticism for making websites look too generic – these tools are perfect for prototypes. Foundation and Bootstrap actually make the right choices on your behalf, leaving you with ample time to focus on other aspects of your project. Spare yourself the extra work and just grab templates from Foundation or Bootstrap which you can customize to fit your style. Most of these templates are very comprehensive, so you’ll definitely have all the pieces you need to get going.   Conclusions By following these design tips for web development you’ll smooth any problems you may encounter when building a prototype or demo. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 31'2016
Introducing Hyperdev: A New Tool for Building Full-Stack Web Applications
Fog Creek Software is a New York based company best known for Trello and Stack Overflow. They recently announced the release of HyperDev, an online playground used for developing and deploying web apps. The open beta service is currently available to anyone willing to try it out. HyperDev is in Open Beta Previously users had to ask Fog Creek for permission to access HyperDev’s private beta. HyperDev is interesting because it can handle many of the steps necessary to get a Web app live and update it. Simply go on to HyperDev’s website and you can get your app live and complete with a proper URL as well as an environment for editing server and client side code. You can also invite other people to work on the code with you and if your project is worth implementing, you can save the code to your GitHub account.   Hyperdev automatically makes all changes to your app – there is no “deploy” button. You can see any code your team members are adding live just like in Google Docs. If a user is looking at the app through the URL, they will see it change live without needing to refresh. The Google Docs of App Development Fog Creek co-founder Joel Spolsky states “Literally as you type each keystroke, it can be rebooting, the whole server gets deployed,” - “We hope to get it down to like 100 milliseconds, ultimately.”   Keep in mind that HyperDev is not a full flexible cloud infrastructure or a standalone platform as a service or PaaS. This means that it won’t be the ideal hosting for every application but it will be ideal if you want to try small bits of code to see if they work properly. HyperDev is currently free for publically visible projects. In time the service will most likely offer a service to keep projects private for a fee, just like GitHub. JSFiddle is a service very similar to HyperDev – it allows users to edit and deploy code. Other similar services also include Stack Snippet. But neither of these services allow users to run live websites.   HyperDev only works with JavaScript in its current build. Python support as well as other languages will be added in the future. Fog Creek co-founder Joel Spolsky is a software development wizard but he’s not above googling for bits and pieces of code. Recently he built a podcast feed during a 5 hour plane trip from New York to San Francisco – the project was built in HyperDev. The for-loop portion in the app “was the most cut-and-pastey code I had ever done in my life,” Spolsky said. HyperDev is perfect for this type of quick programming.     ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 30'2016
Mobile App Development in 2016: Useful Tips and Best Practices
Since the early 2000s mobile app development began to gain a lot of attention from app development companies as well as programmers. Here are a few tips for mobile app development companies and app developers.   Mobile app development and web development Almost all mobile apps intract with an API. Mobile app development companies are very familiar with these concepts. Developers will handle all data and tech requirements necessary for mobile app development but the bottom line is that generally speaking there’s no difference between building a mobile app and building a web application. In certain cases both will use the same code base. That being said, there are a few differences worth noting – these can make the transition from web development to mobile app development much smoother. One of the most important things to take into consideration when dealing with mobile app development is the fact that web apps can be updated very quickly, whenever needed while mobile apps can take many weeks to update. Also, some mobile app users can simply opt not to update their apps.   What this means is that the API will automatically have to support multiple versions of your app. This is not a big problem as there are plenty of solutions you can implement but it’s better to keep it in mind when designing the API itself.   Another problem you can encounter with mobile app development is authentication – more and more websites are switching to token based authentication instead of cookies. Most mobile app development projects will benefit greatly from using the token-based approach.   Here is a list of pointers you should follow when building an app API: Keep in mind that users may own multiple devices and try to build your app accordingly Mobile devices tend to have slower internet so response objects should be designed accordingly Test every API updates with all supported app versions When dealing with mobile app development there are many small details you need to consider but the basics are the same with web development.   Technology for mobile app development Several frameworks can be used in order to enable certain technologies such as Javascript, CSS, HTML for mobile app development. These are called hybrid apps – most of them are written using Ionic, Phone Gap, Cordova and others. By using frameworks you’ll be able to write the app in familiar programming languages and they are also cross-platform. This is a great advantage for web developers as well as web development companies – instead of having to build an Android app and an iOS app separately, you can share the code between the two platforms, thus saving time and money in the process. That being said, hybrid apps do have some disadvantages – this is why React Native is essential. React Native was built and is currently maintained by a team from Facebook – this technology is very similar to the React framework so if you are familiar with React then you should definitely check out React Native. This technology has all the cross platform benefits of hybrid apps and runs natively, making it a top choice for mobile app developers. Also, the UX/UI can be platform specific or shared, according to the needs of the developer. This is a very powerful tool which can handle both small as well as larger projects.   Specialized web development Mobile app development is getting more popular nowadays and there’s a lot of money and interest in it but it doesn’t mean that every company needs a mobile app – having a mobile responsive website is much more important than having an app.   For certain companies, having an app might be a fad but having a fully-responsive website is a necessity. As a developer, if you’re not building mobile apps you’ll most likely still have to build mobile websites. Considering the growth and popularity of services such as Squarespace and Wix, companies need to focus more on building web applications rather than simple websites. Here is a list of tips you can implement in order to stand out in the crowd: Focus on building complex web applications rather than simple websites Try to build websites within a certain niche that has not yet been commoditized. This can include websites that provide highly customized user experience or sites focused on performance Offer other services as well – search engine optimization is best done when building the actual website Help your clients migrate content from the old website to the new one   Conclusions When dealing with mobile app development it’s always a good idea to start off small, maybe with a tiny hybrid app for testing purposes. Implementing your web development skills onto the mobile app development stage is a huge benefit for all parties involved, including the clients. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 27'2016
What Tools Do Most Web Developers Use? Top 14
They say that the difference between a beginner and a pro is the tools they use. We tend to agree with this saying so we decided to come up with 14 of our favourite web development tools we use here at OPTASY. SHRINKTHEWEB.COM If you’re interested in promoting and administrating a website, ShrinkTheWeb.com is the way to go. This little tool will help you take automated screenshots of your website for free! (Restrictions and limitations may apply to size for example) Shrinktheweb.com provides the fastest capture time possible even with their free plans. For less than $10 a month you can get other interesting features as well: inside page analysis, full length previews and custom sizes. You can also schedule automated captures with any plugin you use and test responsive websites whenever you need it. Shrinktheweb.com is a great tool for beginners and pros alike! MUFFINGROUP.COM Muffin Group’s BeTheme is an elegant, easy to use and extremely versatile wordpress theme library which you can use to customize your website in any way you want. With BeTheme you get unlimited backgrounds for each section, 7 different header versions, a layout generator, 4 grid layouts and 12 predefined skins. BeTheme works with all available browsers including Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer – it’s 100% fully responsive and it looks awesome on any mobile device. BeTheme also features video backgrounds and parallax effects – you can upload images, text and videos in your backgrounds for awesome looking sections. BeTheme’s powerful admin panel will guide you through the designing stages, making it extremely easy to use. All themes featured on BeTheme are fully optimised, making your site very fast and easy to load. FLYZOO.CO Flyzoo features a Responsive Chat system on Mobile, meaning that the layouts used will adapt for mobile devices as well. You have 4 different mobile modes to choose from when adapting your website for smartphones. You can also create a custom page on the site and build a dedicated page for the mobile version – after that you can add custom stuff like images, text, video and menus. The best part about Flyzoo is that you don’t have to start from scratch – this tool provides you plenty of customizable templates which should help you build your page in minutes! SIMBLA.COM Simbla.com is a free website maker platform which requires no downloads or installs. You can get your website up and running in just a couple of minutes – all you have to do is sign in, choose a template you like, purchase a domain and then start writing your content. Simbla’s intuitive interface and the drag and drop system allows you to create new pages easily. ICONFINDER.COM IconFinder.com is the largest icon marketplace – here you can find material icons, flat icons, glyphs and a lot of other goodies. You can also opt for customized or personalized icons if you decide to work with a designer from Iconfinder.com. In order to get a personalized icon set, all you need to do is fill out a design brief which includes a presentation for your company, a presentation for your product and your target audience – this will help the designer build an accurate image of your needs. After finishing this step, all you need to do is set a deadline and price quotes from different designers will start pouring in. All designers on IconFinder.com are handpicked by the team so it’s a good idea to give them ample time to do their work. Payment for the designers on iconfinder is also mediated by the platform, ensuring safe and easy transactions. ACTITIME.COM ActiTime is a time tracking system designed for companies. This software counts the minutes spent on work and compiles reports, which can be very helpful to properly manage your time and budget. Actitime also provides reports on employee performance and the progress of your current project. THEMIFY.ME Themify is another great wordpress page designer with an intuitive interface. With Themify you can create multiple editable layouts while in the same time benefit from its ample features which can enhance your website’s appearance and functionality. The Live Preview mode allows you to see any changes done to your website in real time – other add ons and features include infinite background, slider pro, image pro and many others. OPTINMONSTER.COM OptinMonster’s form builder is one of the best in the industry – it’s very intuitive and easy to use, plus heavily customizable. You can change the images, colours, messages background and other things as well. OptinMonster also allows page level targeting, which can help you by segmenting your email lists into different categories which are able to see different forms on your website. OptinMonster users report a whopping 200-600% increase in email signups! PIDOCO.COM Pidoco is one of the world’s best prototyping tools. It features a library with over 400 UI shapes, project archiving, web and mobile projects, enterprise grade security, unlimited reviewers, unlimited users and unlimited screens. A subscription will set you back $12 a month for two active projects. If you need more than that you can upgrade your monthly plan for more perks. XFIVE.CO Xfive is a service made up of a team of experts from different fields such as graphic design, copywriters, content writers and programmers. They will take your ideas turn them into reality. 48HOURSLOGO.COM As the name states, this website provides users with custom logo designs in 48 hours or less. Users can even launch logo design contests to see which designer best fits their needs. BOWTIE.IO Bowtie.io is a service designed to be used by developers and programmers. Here you’ll find a wide set of integrations which can help you reduce loading time and security risks. You can also use Bowtie to build custom interfaces for your clients or for your projects. H-CODE RESPONSIVE & MULTIPURPOSE WORDPRESS THEME Themezaa offers plenty of WordPress templates to build your site. It’s pretty easy to use and fully customizable, with plenty of other useful features. With Themezaa you can change layouts, colours, fonts or build your website from scratch with the visual composer. You can also use shortcodes to make your website really stand out in the crowd. THESQUID.INK Squid Ink offers users pixel perfect icons that stand out through their clean and flat design. There are three main types of icons: solid, line and flat. The site is pretty well categorized so you shouldn’t have any problem in finding the icons you need. Feel free to write your own reviews of different tools in the comments section. Which ones are really worth the money?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 26'2016
Our Favorite Thing About Brave Browser? It Blocks Ads and Trackers... by Default
Brendan Eich is one of Firefox’s key figures and a web pioneer, but that’s not all he’s known for – he is the man behind a new start-up called Brave Software. Brave Software recently released a beta version of the Brave browser – this new software can work on OS X, Windows, Android or iOS. The idea behind this browser is to shield users from intrusive ads, effectively allowing it to run much faster than its rivals. Brendan Eich is known for bold and exciting ideas – He invented the JavaScript programming language and co-founded Mozilla which built the Firefox browser – one of the most popular browsers in the world. He left Mozilla in 2014 and started working from his new start-up, Brave Software with a team of 10, hand-picked specialists. The San Francisco-based company wants to rid the world of intrusive ads or harmful advertising all together.   The idea behind it Brendan Eich states: "We have to disconnect the bad system, I talk about putting chlorine in the pool”. Apart from the huge speed boost Eich promises privacy protection as well. The new browser should load pages two to four times faster than rival smartphone browsers and 1.4 times faster than PC browsers. But it’s not all smooth sailing - the Brave browser faces huge challenges such as gaining publishers support and convincing users to change their browsers. If Eich succeeds in his bold move, it could mean the end of ad blockers and improved privacy for consumers. Currently, online ads support a huge number of free services such as Yahoo mail, Facebook and Google searches but this situation creates a problem since publishers have reasons to intrude in your personal life – their ads sell much better when publishers know details about you – or as Apple’s CEO Tim Cook states “When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product”. The Brave browser strips out ads and in the future it plans to allow a certain ads with a limited amount of personal data shared with advertisers. The browser also removes online tracking elements which slow down browsing speed. In the end, the Brave browser wants to achieve a balance between fast browsing speed and keeping a handful of actually useful ads.   How is that possible? It sounds like a good idea but how can it be done? The browser uses your history to see what you’re interested in and shares industry standard categories with publishers which in turn can place appropriate ads without knowing any personal information about you. Brave Software states it doesn’t want to know any information from its users. Currently the Brave browser is ads free, with a few empty patches where ads will be placed in the future. Once it has a large number of people using it, publishers will start supplying ads based on the information Brave shares. This will be Brave’s revenue source for the time being – "We're going to have to prove ourselves to get that payment," Eich says.   Get some profit as well Once the Brave browser has over 10 million clients, Brave Software plans to offer its consumers some revenue in return for using the product. The revenue can be used for subscriptions to pay publishers in order to remove certain or all ads. Eich and his team built their browser in Chromium – the base of Google Chrome, meaning all the security support and development will be done by Google. But why not use Firefox as a base for the Brave browser? Eich explains "Chromium is the safe bet for us," – Chrome is much more popular among developers who want to test websites, it’s a better tested and safer choice. It remains to be seen if the Brave browser becomes a big player like Firefox and Chrome. Currently it seems that it has all the assets necessary to do so and the revenue sharing scheme is brilliant. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 25'2016
What Are the Best Types of Navigation Menus? And Which One Best Suits Your Project? Top 10
Let’s talk navigation menus! Navigation menus are a key element of the user interface – without them, there can be no website! Any web page you have ever visited had a group of links somewhere on the page, either in the footer or in the header. Design-wise, navigation menus are very dynamic and change often in order to improve user experience. Interestingly enough, even boring navigation menus will come in handy once in a while. Since 2016 had its own set of preferable types of navigation menus, 2016 is no different – here’s a rundown of 2016’s best navigation menus. Hamburger Menu Buttons This is one of the most popular choices available when you want to gather all the navigation links in the same place. Hamburger menus are dynamic, subtle, mobile-friendly, and stylish. Its form is composed of three lines placed one after the other – this part always remains the same but the inner part which features the actual links can vary from image-based items to lists. Navigation in the fixed centered layout Navigation buttons can be scattered around the welcome section of your website – this will give it a fresh and original look. As a rule of thumb, this type of navigation menu can be found on personal websites or personal portfolios – it can provide the webmaster with plenty of room for innovation. Its only drawback is that it can only be applied for menus consisting of just four items. Full-screen multimedia based navigation menu Videos and images can also be used as supporting devices for your menu items. Modern technologies allow incorporating lots of media elements without damaging productivity, accessibility, or functionality. This type of menu is very dynamic, lavish, and sophisticated. Interactive navigation menu Interactive menus are meant to draw attention – these can include dynamic features, static scenes, virtual walks, or interactive videos. That being said, these types of menus are not always fully compatible with browsers and devices which can create a huge gap in your website’s conversion rate. Slide-out menus Slide-out menus are similar to hamburger buttons – the concept was borrowed from mobile UIs. Slide-out menus became popular due to their compact size and versatility. You can also add certain visual clues in the form of icons or text in order to make it a bit flashier. The menu can slide out from the bottom, right, left, or top side, with the left side being the preferred choice. Static sidebar navigation menu Static sidebars were very popular a few years ago but recently they gave way to more compact solutions. There are still plenty of blogs or online magazines that use these navigation bars and for good reason – these simple bars make users feel more comfortable and improve user experience. Streamlined navigation bars This was one of the most popular types of navigation bars last year, along with the hamburger menu button. It’s a stylish and elegant choice when it comes to presenting the main links of your project. It can include 7 or fewer items and it’s often located in the right corner of the screen. Massive drop-down navigation bars These are huge dropdowns rich in multimedia – these menus are the perfect choice for huge companies such as online newspapers, international e-stores, famous sports brands, and industry leaders. Dropdown menus are multifunctional and highly complex components that extend over the entire width of a web page. Most drop-down menus feature a balance between videos, images, text and some even have extra components such as weather widgets and shopping carts. Footer navigation menus Footer navigation menus are similar to the streamlined navigation bars. You can find these at the bottom of the page. Users tend to usually search for the menu bar in the upper part of the page but the footer navigation menu does have its uses. Navigation menus in websites powered by parallax Projects powered by parallax usually opt for plain graphic-based navigation menus. These menus often feature dashes or circles accompanied by titles that help visitors find the information they need quicker. Conclusions If making hard decisions is not really your thing, there’s one other option you can go for: No navigation menus at all. Yes, it’s possible and it’s definitely doable – one-page websites are gaining popularity around the world, and abandoning the navigation menu is definitely possible. This solution is suitable for smaller projects with minimal layouts.   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 24'2016
Eight Design Tips You Need To Know
Working as a developer you might sometimes find yourself in a situation where you’re dissatisfied with your work but you simply can’t figure out why. Even if you research and read design theory books, it’s very though to create seamless design work at the snap of a finger. Luckily enough, there are ways to improve your work with very little effort. Here are 8 tips on creating great design. Font weight Thin fonts are all the rage in 2016 but they are risky to use simply because they can cause eye strain. Eye strain occurs when users have a hard time reading text or they must focus more in order to be able to read it. This can quickly exhaust anyone and force them to exit your website. Thin fonts are usually quite hard to read, especially on certain backgrounds, so it’s a good idea to make changes whenever necessary. The optimal font weight is around 400 as this will create the least amount of eye strain – try to be more receptive when you get feedback regarding the readability of your text and fonts, it will pay off in the long run. Colour contrast When entering a website, the first thing a user does is to quickly scan all the content and search for information regarding their problem. If they can’t find a solution to their problem, they’ll most likely bounce. When designing a page, any page…you need to keep the user’s needs in mind. Let’s say you are designing a services page – your visitors need to be able to find the “next” button or a contact button fairly quickly or else they will just leave. Contrast is an excellent way to help your visitors discover all nooks and crannies of your website. Using rich and vibrant colours for links and buttons is highly recommended. Icons will give you some personality Let’s start off by saying Font Awesome really is awesome. Make use of icons whenever and wherever appropriate – your visitors will thank you for it. We live in a world ruled by signs – red is danger, green is safe and blue is comforting. Use it to your advantage! Spare your visitors the effort of reading every little bit of text on your website by simply adding an icon next to it – it will help clarify your text and make it a bit more user friendly. Clarity is the key to good content When writing content for your website or pages, it can get pretty confusing. Your average user will spend less than 10 seconds on a website to try and find the information they need before they search for another one. It’s a good idea to always have simple ~5 word headers over any block of text. This will help your user know if the information is of any value to him or her – time’s expensive! Clickable elements need to be obvious If you want someone to click on a link or button, you’d better make it obvious that it’s clickable! Menu items, buttons and links are common clickable items on a website. That being said, make sure that your buttons have a high colour contrast compared to the rest of the page and that your menu items have an icon next to them. You can also play around in CSS to change their colour when the user hovers over them. Links should always be in blue – having some call to action text next to the link can also help. Colour your website properly Colours should bring order and clarity to your website. You should never use too many similar colours as this can cause eye strain for your user. Colours can also clash with each other, making the user’s brain work harder to figure out what is what. Colour balance needs to be attained through careful and patient testing! Keep information consistent Every piece of content on your website should have the same layout and approximately the same size. Your information’s colour, format and proximity to other links or related pieces of information should be consistent throughout the whole website. Different portions of content that are different but fill the same role should also be consistent. For example, if you offer a basic, medium and premium offer all information regarding these offers should have the same size and the same font. You can get creative, but keep it consistent! Text alignment If you want your user to feast on all the information provided on your website, you should make each and every piece of information as digestible as possible. Alignment can help you do that easily. Alignment should be where the user’s eye begins – either left or centre-aligned.  Conclusions When coding, you can make mistakes and you’ll get error messages. But with design, mistakes or errors can be difficult to spot. Think about these tips when building up your project or go through them when you’re in a pickle and soon enough these principles will be imbedded in your workflow! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 23'2016
What Are the Cross Browser Testing Tools Worth Taking for a “Test Drive”? Hint: Start with Browsershots
Most developers nowadays are plagued by cross-browser issues and considering the fact that there are tons of popular browsers and operating systems available, it’s impossible to manually test your website on all of them. That’s why we came up with a list of our favourite ten cross-browser testing tools, including Browsershots. These tools are both free and paid so take your time to check trough each of them. Browsershots Browsershots is a very simple yet useful free tool with plenty of functionality to go along. Browsershots’ list of supported browsers is huge. You can select your screen’s depth, colour, size and whether to check for issues or not by using Flash, Java and JavaScript. The free service offered by Browsershots doesn’t include features that handle navigation testing or scripting and in our experience, it also takes a long time to see the results. All in all, it’s still a pretty good tool for showcasing pages to clients – the paid version of Browsershots with priority testing and tons of features will set you back just under $30 a month. Browser Sandbox Browser Sandbox is next on our list, featuring a good list of browsers which you can use for testing. Unfortunately, Browser Sandbox is only available for Windows Users but the developers are planning to release a Mac version soon. The list of browsers supported by Browser Sandbox includes Firefox Nightly, Opera, Safari, Firefox Mobile, Chromium Canary, Chrome, Firefox and the ever popular Internet Explorer. If you go for their free service, the only limitation you’ll have is that Browser Sandbox will only test your page with the latest version of each browser. If you need access to older versions of these browsers you can get started with just a little under $5 a month. That’s quite a bargain! BrowserStack Browser Stack is number 3 on our list of cross-browser testing tools – it’s also one of the most popular products by the way. Browser stack is a great tool for mobile testing and it also supports over 700 desktop browsers. Other features include quick screenshots, local testing and resolutions from 800x600 up to 2048x1536. Browser Stack will set you back between $12.50 to $29 a month, depending on your needs and the type of your organization. Open source projects can get this tool for free. This tool offers a nice mix of both free and paid services but not all of the paid services are that necessary so you might get the job done with only the free ones. IE Testers If you want to test your page on IE, here’s a list of free Internet explorer testers you might want to check out: Netrenderer Net Renderer allows you to test websites in IE 5.5 up to IE 11. It’s a pretty simple tool without too many features – it’s free so get testing! Microsoft Edge Microsoft Edge offers testing in other browsers as well, not just IE. Microsoft Edge will show screenshots of your website in the browsers you select and on mobile devices as well. The Azure Remote App also allows you to test in IE remotely. My Debugbar My Debugbar which is also known as IETester is another tool web developers can use if they want to test in IE. This tool requires a 60MB download and can only work on Windows. Unfortunately, My Debugbar has plenty of limitations and bugs so it’s better to do some research before installing it. Browsera Browsera will set you back between $39 and $99 a month, depending on the features you need. Although it might seem a bit expensive at first, you are getting quite a lot for your money. Browsera can test password protected pages, dynamic pages, layout and JavaScript so it’s definitely worth taking a look through it. Mobile Ready’s Webshot Webshot is a free tool which you can use to test mobile cross-browser compatibility. All you need to do is register and then you can get started. CrossBrowserTesting Interestingly enough, CrossBrowserTesting uses real devices to run the browsers and tests. Emulators do a good job indeed but nothing beats the real thing. CrossBrowserTesting’s features list is extensive and definitely worth its money. CrossBrowserTesting’s list of supported browsers and operating systems is possibly the largest in the industry – it’s over 900! CBT also supports over 40 operating systems including Mac, Windows, Android and iOS. Developers can also use its “live testing feature” – it allows you to test pages in a real environment. You can test Flash, JavaScript, HTML forms and AJAX. Other features include screenshot comparisons, Selenium tests and local testing. CrossBrowserTesting will set you back $29 a month, with a 7 days free trial. Conclusion Generally speaking, paid services are well worth the effort and there’s really no way of saying which tool is best – it strictly depends on your needs and the type of project you’re working on.   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 20'2016
Breaking News: Microsoft’s Planning on Storing Data on DNA
Just one single gram of DNA can store 1.000.000.000 Terabytes of data for over a thousand years. Microsoft has purchased 10 million strands of synthetic DNA – these DNA molecules are called Oligonucleotides. The biology-focused company Twist supplied the strands of synthetic DNA and researchers from the University of Washington started exploring the idea of using DNA for data storage. If Microsoft’s plan works, it will revolutionize data storage technology as we know it today. The current rate and volume of data being stored and produced every day is so fast that hard drives and servers are having a hard time coping with it – they need periodical replacement or upgrades and this in turn increases the risk of data loss or corruption. Statistics show that by 2015, 5.4 zettabytes or 4.4 trillion gigabytes of digital data has been created and this number’s set to increase tenfold by 2020. How are we going to store 10 times the amount of data in the next 4 years? This is the question that Microsoft is planning to answer. Microsoft wants to store data on DNA DNA offers an enormously higher data storage density than conventional hard drives or systems – one gram of DNA can store up to 1 billion terabytes of data. DNA is also very robust meaning that any data stored on it can be readable or intact for up to 10.000 years. - That’s a bit more than your average hard drive’s life expectancy. Twist states that all the data that exists today can be stored on as little as 20 grams of DNA. Although this may sound great, the technology is far from being ready to support our daily data and storage needs. Initial tests have gotten great results – one test demonstrated that all of the data encoded on DNA can be recovered with ease. The American Chemical Society also recently released a statement that supports Microsoft’s finds – Data stored on DNA molecules could last up to 2000 years without being deteriorated in any way. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 19'2016