LATEST FROM OUR BLOG

Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

Pagekit 1.0
If you’ve been following web development over the past few years, you will have noticed how fast it has evolved. The understanding of PHP and JavaScript has shifted, new frameworks have emerged, and the package manager Composer provides an easy way to integrate different components into applications. All this has lead to a new generation of content management systems that are built on modern principles, shed old ballast and simplify the lives of both developers and end users. One of them is Pagekit, an outstanding new CMS developed by YOOtheme, a company that has been creating themes and extensions for Joomla and WordPress since 2007. Pagekit is a modular and lightweight CMS built with Vue.js and Symfony components. Its focus lies on being intuitive for end-users on the one hand and a modern codebase that provides powerful tools for developers on the other. Apart from menus, pages, and widgets, Pagekit features a powerful user and permission system as well as a blogging extension, including a sophisticated comment function. Since the release of its first Alpha version in 2014, Pagekit has been supported by a rapidly growing community on Github, so that in spring 2016 it finally leaves its beta phase and hits the screens. Pagekit’s User Interface Pagekit’s simple user interface lets even beginners start their first website without any struggles. The administration is inspired by Google’s Material Design guidelines and provides a clean, intuitive and mobile-friendly experience for end users, featuring link and media pickers and a lot of one-click functionalities. It is limited to the essentials without compromising features that CMS users have come to expect. When logging into your Pagekit website, the first thing you’ll see is the Dashboard. It provides access to all areas of the administration and allows you to install useful widgets, like Google Analytics, to get an overview of your site’s activity and visitor data. The Dashboard leads you to the hierarchical Site Tree view. Here you can organize all your pages, menus, and widgets in a unified drag and drop interface. It is the central place to manage content in Pagekit and drastically simplifies creating websites. You can write the content of static pages, widgets and the built-in blog extension using a wonderful HTML & Markdown editor. It features syntax highlighting as well as real-time preview and has access to Pagekit’s file manager to upload media right into your content. The Pagekit Marketplace Pagekit features a built-in Marketplace. Users can install themes and extensions in one click without having to leave the administration area while developers have the chance to distribute their products to a global community. Since extensibility is one of the core ideas of Pagekit, its modular architecture makes it such a great base for interested developers. Right now, four official themes are at hand, including One, Pagekit’s default theme. The Marketplace also delivers a handful of in-house extensions: Google Analytics, a syntax highlighter, TinyMCE and the pre-bundled Blog. A number of third party themes and extensions are already available as well, for example, a form builder, a portfolio, and social media extensions. To help developers create their products, the Marketplace offers blueprints for themes and extensions. The idea is for the Marketplace to become a thriving theme and extension ecosystem. The Modern Architecture of Pagekit Pagekit is best friends with Vue.js, the new hot JavaScript framework you may already have heard of. Vue offers functionalities to easily build interactive interfaces. It takes care of updating models and views on the client via its two-way data binding. But there is more to it than having nice interactive views. By utilizing Vue’s concept of web components, we can build a client library for reusable components, like the media picker that can be used from any extension. What looks good on the interface level, should also extend to a strong foundation. Since extensibility is one of the core ideas of Pagekit, the team explored what “modularity” really means. On the code level, nearly everything is a Module object: a theme, an extension, a widget and the core functionality itself. This keeps code complexity to a minimum, as developers can work with the same concept in many different places. Pagekit is extended through themes and extensions. They can make a small or big change to Pagekit’s functionality as well as make it look beautiful. The CMS manages them using the power of Composer. Install packages right from the browser, using the command line or by requiring them in your project definition. No need to distribute the package dependencies with your extensions. Pagekit will get and share the required libraries during the package’s installation. Pagekit Community and Resources Pagekit is an open source project and published under MIT license. So if you want to get your hands dirty, head over to Github and take a look under Pagekit’s hood. Everyone is invited to contribute. A number of useful resources are already available to help you find your way around Pagekit and even to start developing your themes and extensions. There are a lot of CMSes out there that suit different needs. But we suggest you give the new kid on the block a try. Its lightness, simplicity, and beautiful Material Deign user interface make working with Pagekit a true delight. It provides great tools for developers, and its modular architecture will make you itch to start creating cool extensions. We see a bright future ahead for Pagekit. Source: https://speckyboy.com... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 21'2016
News Alert: You Can Now Install and Use Bash Shell on Windows 10
Here’s something new: Microsoft Build announced that it is bringing GNU project’s Bash shell to Windows. Bash or Bourne Again Shell has been a standard OS X on many Linux distribution systems but the default terminal for Windows developers is PowerShell, produced by Microsoft itself. This means that developers will be able to write their .sh Bash scripts on Windows as well. The new system will work through a Linux subsystem in Windows 10 that Microsoft worked on with Canonical. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth states: “The native availability of a full Ubuntu environment on Windows, without virtualization or emulation, is a milestone that defies convention and a gateway to fascinatingly unfamiliar territory,” “In our journey to bring free software to the widest possible audience, this is not a moment we could have predicted. Nevertheless we are delighted to stand behind Ubuntu for Windows, committed to addressing the needs of Windows developers exploring Linux in this amazing new way, and excited at the possibilities heralded by this unexpected turn of events.”, he adds. It gets better The idea behind moving the Bash shell to Windows 10 is to make Windows a better operating system for developers who want to target other platforms than Microsoft’s. Satya Nadella, the new CEO of Microsoft is actively pushing for projects that target all platforms and developers, not just Windows. A few years ago it was unthinkable for Microsoft to work together with a rival operating system such as Linux but now the company offers Linux support on Azure and plans to bring SQL Server to Linux in the near future as well. Bash will become available with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update but Windows Insiders can try it out before that. Microsoft is planning to bring other shells to Windows as well, which is a great thing for developers worldwide.   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 19'2016
Cocycles: Main Reasons to Use the New Search Engine for Open Source Code
Up until now, finding open source code has been a real hassle for professional developers and beginners alike – Cocycles is here to fix that issue with a simple solution. Cocycles launched its very own code search engine specifically built to help developers find open source code sorted by functionality. Open source code is being sorted and neatly organized according to functionality – all you need to do is describe what you want the code to do and Ocycles will find it for you. The vast sea of open source code GitHub reports that the amount of open source code being written doubles itself yearly, with over 31 million different repositories currently in existence. Unfortunately enough, 98% of the code written becomes obsolete within a year from being written. Until now it was impossible to know exactly what open source code was already written and where to find it. Developers had the arduous task of searching for packages of code and then looking through libraries to find the bits and pieces they needed for their projects. But what happens when a developer just needs a single piece of code that does something – a simple JavaScript function that swaps two elements in an array? It was impossible to search through and sort the vast sea of open source code. Searching for open source code made easy Cocycles is a search engine specifically designed for code. Not only text or libraries but code. Users need to describe the desired functionality and with just a click of the button matching bits and pieces from open source code will appear like magic. The code itself is stored and organized by functionality, so the search engine understands what every piece of code does. NLP algorithms enable Cocycles to understand the developers’ natural language and translate these queries into code functionality. After that, the described functionality is matched to the code pieces’ from across the open source. For example, if you search for code that swaps two elements in an array, you just need to search for „swap elements” and you’ll find different open source code bits that do precisely that. Cocycles does not only provide interactive views of the full code implementation but it will also provide the original documents plus real usage examples and meta-data. Cocycles is able to generate a snippet containing all functions and dependencies within one line of code – this allows devs to use it as it is. Another feature of this code search engine includes „Cocycles Immediate” which is similar to Google’s „I’m feeling lucky” – it will instantly provide a view of the data related to your search. Cocycles currently supports JavaScript but the developers are planning to enable it to support other languages as well. Cocycles is and always be free or all developers. We hope it will have a good influence in the world of open source development.     ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 11'2016
Swift - „first class” language for Android?
When Swift was going open source, representatives for three major brands — Google, Facebook and Uber — were in London discussing the new language. Sources said that Google is considering making Swift a “first class” language for Android, while Facebook and Uber are also considering Swift. Google’s Android operating system now supports Java as its first-class language, and sources say Swift is not meant to replace Java, at least initially. While the ongoing litigation with Oracle is likely cause for concern, sources say Google considers Swift to have a broader “upside” than Java. Swift is open source, which means Google could adopt it for Android without changing its own open source mobile structure. Could Google do it? Born at Apple as a replacement to Objective C, Swift quickly found favor with developers as an easy-to-write language that shed much of the verbosity and clumsy parameters other languages have. Swift can’t be copy-pasted for any platform, though. Specifically, Android would need a runtime for Swift — and that’s just for starters. Google would also have to make its entire standard library Swift-ready, and support the language in APIs and SDKs. Some low-level Android APIs are C++, which Swift can not currently bridge to. Those would have to be re-written. Using Swift for Android is not impossible, though. Late last year, developer Romain Goyet toyed with Swift for Android — and had some success. While that project was completed well ahead of Swift being open source, it nonetheless proved that it can be done. That project used the Android NDK, which allows other languages to be loosely implemented into Android. With an open source Swift and support from Google, Android apps wouldn’t require that toolkit. All told, Google would have to effectively recreate its efforts with Java — for Swift. Facebook and Uber Facebook’s interest in Swift appears to be completely founded in technological advancement. A benefit of Swift is that it can serve as both a forward-facing language as well as a server-side one. For a product like Facebook, that’s beneficial; apps and servers can speak to one another seamlessly, and it potentially gives the company a wider scope to write APIs for services. And work may have already begun. A Github pull request in the Swift repository named ‘Port to Android’ was made by a Facebook employee. It’s not clear if his work was official Facebook business or not, though we have confirmed Facebook is already working with Swift internally — it’s just not known how thoroughly. Uber’s road to Swift is probably a bit cleaner than either Google or Facebook. When could a move to Swift happen? We think that this won’t happen anytime soon, mainly because of Android. But Swift is quickly finding its way. Several studies suggest it’s one of the fastest growing languages around, and has blown up since going open source (GitHubtells The Next Web the language is currently its 11th most popular). Demand for developers who know Swift is also exploding, which could be all the indication these three companies need to at least explore using Swift more thoroughly. Google’s onboarding for Swift would be long; it essentially has to rewrite every Android service, app and API. Google would also have to spearhead Swift support for Android — which is still only being poked and prodded at by clever developers in the Swift community. In a way, Google has already begun moving away from bits of Oracle-flavored Java. It’s now using the Open JDK for Android rather than the proprietary Java API, and may be considering a post-Java life altogether. Talks in London were said to be exploratory; Google is not yet pushing to move on from Java. While it would be a big undertaking, Swift is meant for speed and safety, and Swift’s roadmap suggests it won’t be quite as difficult to use it for other platforms in the future, specifically when it comes to C++. Facebook and Uber face similarly daunting tasks when it comes to using Swift throughout, but can –and should — wait for Google to shoulder the load with Android. If the use of Swift is going to be as deep as our sources indicate (that is, all companies want to be using it for server side and forward-facing use cases), Android support is integral. Moving to Swift for any of the companies also makes little sense unless it’s a thorough re-do, but it’s probably not quite as hard as it sounds. Services like Perfectprove that server-side Swift is ready, and it’s worth considering that Facebook’s engineers (perhaps from the Parse team) may already be working on this. IBM is also working to make Swift ready for server-side functions. But don’t expect Google, Facebook or Uber to announce Swift-y plans anytime soon. Facebook and Google both have developer conferences on the horizon, and there’s no indication that Swift will play a major part at either. Source: http://thenextweb.com ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 08'2016
Twitter Turns 10: Here Is a Look Over the Most Memorable Moments in Its History
In just 10 short years the microblogging platform revolutionized how the world communicates by using just short 140-character snippets. Twitter became practically omnipresent in just 10 short years but it wasn’t a smooth ride. Twitter built a platform that’s useful for everyone – celebrities, politicians, marketers, designers and writers. Let’s take a look at some of Twitter’s key moments in history.   Twitter’s First Tweet Jack Dorsey, the current Twitter CEO sent his first tweet on the 21th of March 2006, back when the company was simply known as “twittr”. Jack’s 2006 tweet started a snowball effect and soon enough twitter became one of the most popular social networks in the entire world, catering to people from all walks of life.   Twitter’s Logo Makeover The Twitter bird is one of Twitter’s most iconic aspects. The simple yet expressive logo is immediately recognized and appreciated by users. That being said, the logo has changed a lot since 2006: Initially the bird used to be blue with a light-blue underbelly and a white patch instead of where the eye should be. The company then decided to make it look more cartoonish, giving the bird eyebrows and feet. Perhaps it was a bit too cartoonish because the company then decided that the feed should be removed and the birds colour should be changed as well. The next change saw the bird losing its eye and gaining a darker blue colour complete with its own little wing shape. Twitter’s current version is also the most minimal: a simple blue bird silhouette with no feet, eyes or hair.   Twitter goes public Success can be measured in many things but success for a small tech company is definitely measured by going public on the NYSE. Twitter went public in 2013 and at the time it was the most hyped tech IPO since Facebook. Since then the company’s stock price went down dramatically and now it’s well under $26 a share – the initial IPO price. Only time will tell if Twitter’s CEO will be able to go back to their glory days.   Twitter’s Homepage Makeover All tech companies undergo many design changes over the years – twitter is no different. Twitter’s current homepage features plenty of white space, card based design and a central column. Back in 2007 the homepage had an aquamarine border and a larger service description. By 2008 the homepage switched to landscape orientation and eliminated random user feed updates entirely. Between 2009 and 2011 the interface became more and more minimalized and forms became more highlighted.   Twitter’s future? What will happen in the next 10 years of Twitter’s life? We don’t know. Most likely it won’t turn into another MySpace even though it’s currently struggling to make a profit and find its own identity in a market dominated by Facebook and Linkedin. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 26'2016
Google is testing password-free logins
Google confirmed this morning it’s now testing a new way to sign into your Google account without having to type in a password. Instead, those who have been invited to try this new method of logging in authenticate by responding to a notification sent to their smartphone. The idea is similar to Yahoo’s recently launched “Account Key,” which also offers a password-free means of signing in involving a push notification sent to your phone that then opens an app where you approve the log-in. Passwords are often the weakest parts when it comes to securing users’ accounts, as many don’t use complex passwords or they reuse the same password across services. Two-factor authentication – like using a USB stick with a secret token or entering in a code sent via text method to your phone – can help to increase security, but many users also find this to be a hassle as it introduces an additional step to the login process. This new password-free login option, on the other hand, is about speeding up logins by offering a different way of signing in altogether. You only have to enter your email address when you’re signing into your Google account. Afterward, a notification will appear on your phone asking you if you’re trying to sign in from another device. Approve the login by tapping “yes,” and you’re in. This would be especially useful for those who always have their phone nearby while using Google services on other devices, like their computer, as well as those who have long and complicated passwords that are difficult to type. It could also help to protect against phishing – something that Google addresses today through its Password Alert tool, too. The test was first reported by a Reddit user Rohit Paul, which was then spotted by the blogAndroid Police. According to Paul, he was sent an email invitation to join a test group being given access to try the new technology on their own devices. The group is called “Sign-In Experiments at Google,” and is found here on Google Groups. While the link to the group is public, you can’t view or participate without a direct invitation. A Google spokesperson confirmed that this is, indeed, a new experiment now underway, noting that: “We’ve invited a small group of users to help test a new way to sign-in to their Google accounts, no password required. ‘Pizza’, ‘password’ and ‘123456’—your days are numbered.” After accepting the invite and joining the group, the email explains that you’re then able to sign in without entering a password but you can continue to use your typed password if you choose. In addition, Google says it may choose to ask for your password as an additional security measure if it notices anything unusual about your current login attempt. (And it’s helpful to be able to use your password in case your phone is dead, or goes missing.) In the case your phone is lost or stolen, your screen lock or Touch ID on your smartphone will protect your private data, as the thief or unknown party will not be able to unlock your phone. Google also advises in the case of a lost device, you should sign into your account from another device and remove account access from the device you no longer have in your possession. Google tells testers they are able to turn off this new means of signing in at any time, and, as the email Paul received notes, testers can leave the trial group if they don’t want to offer Google their feedback about the sign-in process. We understand that only a small number of users are being invited to test this new feature for the time being. Google did not comment on when it plans on expanding access to more testers or the broader public. The password-free sign in process works on both iOS and Android at present. Source: http://techcrunch.com ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 22'2016
Microsoft Edge Is Getting More and More... Tempting: Will It Manage to Compete with Firefox or Chrome?
In the last few months Microsoft’s Edge browser has gained some popularity along with gains in usage and user share but it has a long way to go before becoming a competitor for Firefox or Chrome. Only a tiny minority of users use Window 10’s default browser for their surfing needs. Is Microsoft Edge Becoming Popular? Edge is the default browser for Windows 10 and interestingly enough it grew its user share in recent months. Net applications is a company that deals with vendor analytics – the company’s results state that Edge recently went up by five points, effectively gaining a share of 30.7% of users running Windows 10. Back in January the percentage was much lower, at 26%.   This is the first time since 2015 that Net Applications reported an increase in Edge’s usage for Windows 10 users. Before this sudden increase, Net Applications reported steady decline in use and usage for Windows 10’s default browser. DAP's Report on Edge DAP or the Digital Analytics Program also reported an increase in Edge’s usage but at a smaller percentage than that reported by Net Applications. DAP reported that only 24.9% of Windows 10 users actually use the Edge browser – this is just a five tenths of a percentage increase as compared to Net Application report of 5%. Digital Analytics Program visits over 4000 websites on over 500 domains from the United States. Their report is based mostly on US users even though some visitors access these websites from other parts of the world.   StatCounter is another metrics company based in Ireland – StartCounter also reported an increase in Edge usage in the previous months. Edge’s share of Windows 10 users was set at 17.1, three tenths of a percentage increase from previous months. In the same time, Edge’s global usage share for Windows 10 users did not increase at all and stayed at 13.3%, data showed. Safari Fares Much Better Edge’s inability to attract Windows 10 users has stunned Microsoft as well – the majority of users usually rely on the OS default browser for their surfing needs but this is not the case for Windows. Mac users for example use the default Safari browser at a much higher percentage – two thirds of all OS X users use Safari on a daily basis.   The reason behind Windows 10’s default browser Edge is its incomplete functionality. Microsoft launched it without support for add ons and its appearance hasn’t improved from the old Internet Explorer which was never popular to begin with.   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 18'2016
W3C looks to secure the Web
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is putting cybersecurity on its radar. It has announced that it is launching a new working group designed to standardize Web authentication and provide a more secure and flexible solution to password-based logins. “Every other week you see news of a password leak or data leak from another major site, and as a user of the Web, every place you go you are asked to log in with a username and password,” said Wendy Seltzer, technology and society domain lead for the W3C. “That is difficult to manage on the user side, and not the best we can do in security.” The new Web Authentication Working Group will work on creating a Web-wide standard that provides strong authentication without relying on a password. According to the organization, even strong passwords are susceptible to phishing attacks, database breaches and other hack attacks. “When strong authentication is easy to deploy, we make the Web safer for daily use, personal and commercial,” said Tim Berners-Lee, director of the W3C. “With the scope and frequency of attacks increasing, it is imperative for W3C to develop new standards and best practices for increased security on the Web.” The W3C’s work will be supplemented with the FIDO Alliance’s FIDO 2.0 Web APIs. According to Seltzer, FIDO has already had success developing its own multi-factor authentication, and its APIs will help the working group ensure standards-based strong authentication across all browsers and related infrastructure. “Our mission is to revolutionize authentication on the Web through the development and global adoption of technical specifications that supplants the world’s dependency on passwords with interoperable strong authentication,” said Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance. “With W3C’s acceptance of the FIDO 2.0 submission, and the chartering of this new Web Authentication Working Group, we are well on our way to accomplishing that mission.” In addition, the working group will complement prior work on the Web Cryptography API and Web application security specifications. “We’ve seen much better authentication methods than passwords, yet too many websites still use password-based logins,” said Seltzer. “Standard Web APIs will make consistent implementations work across the Web ecosystem. The new approach will replace passwords with more secure ways of logging into websites, such as using a USB key or activating a smartphone. Strong authentication is useful to any Web application that wants to maintain an ongoing relationship with users.” The Web Authentication Working Group’s first meeting will take place on March 4 in San Francisco. Source: http://sdtimes.com... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 09'2016