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How to Develop Mobile Business Apps on a Budget

 
How to Develop Mobile Business Apps on a Budget resized 600

October 31, 2014

Developing a mobile business app is a significant investment. A survey conducted by AnyPresence in 2013 showed that more than half of the IT professionals surveyed spent, on average, $50,000 and at least 3 months developing one mobile app. Almost a quarter of the respondents reported that their average cost for developing one mobile application was more than $100,000. 

What makes apps so expensive? Professional app developers will tell you that any kind of customization significantly increases the cost of an app. Developing an app that provides users with a high quality, unique, and secure experience is costly. App performance, data integration, and adding other features such as the ability to scale the user experience according to users’ various devices will increase development time and cost.

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What an Offline Mobile Solution Can Do for IBM Notes Organizations

 
Offline Mobile Solution for IBM Notes Organizations resized 600

October 29, 2014 

Satellites cover the sky; antennae cover the mountaintops; wireless broadcasting abounds. Everyone is plugged in, and almost every business depends on around-the-clock mobile accessibility to stay up to the minute with employees, customers, and suppliers. But what happens when there's not enough bandwidth to get the message through? How do you stay up to date while driving on a scenic stretch of highway, riding in an elevator, visiting a museum, or any other "cold" spot that blocks wireless digital transmissions?

 

A Solution

When employees are on the go and need to stay productive, they would benefit from an offline mobile solution. Native mobile applications act as an interface between a user and their files and data. Typically, a native app with offline capability stores both the mobile app software and app data locally on the mobile device. When the device is connected to the network, this locally stored data is synced with the main database on a remote server.

 

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XControls v1.1: XPages Controls for IBM Domino Developers Released

 
XControls v1.1: XPages Controls Released

October 24, 2014 

Releasing a "dot zero" project is always a fun time, and as sure as dot zero arrives we have to immediately think about dot one. And so today we’re pleased to announce we've released XControls v1.1 to OpenNTF. It's really much more of a bug release version than adding new features. You can see the full release notes in GitHub, but the main issues we've fixed have to do with orientation changes on tablets, a couple of issues with Firefox on the desktop, and alignment of images. 

You can download the controls from OpenNTF and documentation is always available here.

A Design Pattern to Solve a Mobile Safari Issue for XControls XPages Apps

 
XPages Architecture 1

October 22, 2014

The following is a guest blog post from Rich Sharpe.

 

I was excited to start a project using the new XControls (a new framework for XPages developers that provides drag and drop controls for a truly progressive UI across PC/Laptop browsers and mobile devices), when I stumbled across one of those annoying “this works on a desktop browser and some devices, but not others” UI issue. 

I had created some XPages that had the following architecture:

  1. Display a list of items - tap one to display some details
  2. Detailed info - tap on an area within the details to display further content
  3. Display the content selected in a “modal”* (from another XPage)

All these calls are AJAX based for a smoother user experience.

Setting up the IBM Notes Application Testing Environment

 
IBM Notes Application Testing Environment

October 17, 2014 

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, Tips for IBM Notes and Domino Application Testing, testing IBM Notes applications is important to verify that applications function as designed and bugs don’t make it into production. Testing ensures the level of quality for an application falls within the acceptable range for your organization, and guarantees the ultimate success of the application once it’s deployed to the user community.

Before you start testing, you should understand the different application testing types. The testing activities themselves should be broken down into at least two distinct phases of testing.

  • Smoke Testing: The goal of smoke testing is to ensure the application is ready for testing. It’s a limited form of testing that can cover things that could normally break or be done incorrectly during the build process. For example, the agents not being signed correctly would prevent any testing from taking place.
  • Regression Testing: Regression testing is a more in-depth testing procedure that ensures previously working code has not broken.

Tips for IBM Notes and Domino Application Testing

 
IBM Notes and Domino Application Testing

October 15, 2014

To verify that IBM Notes and Domino applications function as designed, some level of testing is required. Without a concise policy defining what level of testing is required, there’s a much greater risk that bugs will make it into production. When bugs start impacting the end users of software, to any degree, you’ll quickly start to erode user confidence in the application as well as affect the ROI of the IBM Notes investment.

An important point to remember is that all software has bugs. It’s impossible to find and fix every possible bug in an application. Attempting to do so will mean you’ll never release the application. The goal of testing is to ensure that the number of bugs falls to a level that’s considered acceptable for a particular application.

The purpose of an IBM Notes application testing policy is to outline the process for measuring the quality of developed applications. By ensuring the level of quality for an application falls within the acceptable range for your organization, you can ensure the ultimate success of the application once it’s deployed to the user community.

Unplugged Developer Assistance Program for IBM Notes App Mobilization

 
Unplugged Developer Assistance Program for IBM Notes App Mobilization

October 10, 2014

At Teamstudio, we like to keep things fair and honest. That’s what you’ll find when you learn about our new Unplugged Developer Assistance Program (UDAP) for IBM Notes app mobilization.

We know that lots of organizations like to develop and mobilize their own IBM Notes and Domino applications. We get that it may be cheaper for them to use their own personnel, and not hire someone from a rent-a-developer shop or even Teamstudio. But everyone also knows that developing any kind of application can be tricky or even difficult at times. Wouldn’t it be much easier if you had a team of experts on-call to help with that nasty little bit of code that just will not work for you? Of course it would! We can and want to be there to help.

Our team of skilled IBM Notes developers is available to you for any coding issues that you may face when developing your Teamstudio Unplugged application. Developing an Unplugged application isn’t hard, but knowing that, should you run into an issue, you have the attention of someone who has already done what you are trying to do, is willing to help, share their skills, and give you advice along the way should be worth its weight in gold.

Like I said earlier, we like to be fair and honest. That’s why the entry cost to this program is really, really low. The way it works is designed with you in mind, too. Let me explain that for you in a little bit more detail.

4 Business Continuity Lessons Learned from the H1N1 Pandemic

 
Business Continuity Lessons from H1N1

October 8, 2014 

In April of 2009, the H1N1 virus was detected in a 10-year old in California. With direct lineage from Eurasian and North American swine (pigs), the virus is known as influenza Type A H1N1, or Swine Flu. After the virus was resistant to two of the more popular treatments, the U.S. was put on alert and the virus was deemed to be a public health emergency. Immediately, the Center for Disease Control took several business continuity measures in the face of the pandemic. 

In the end, the CDC estimated the H1N1 virus resulted in 12,469 deaths from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010 in the United States. While the H1N1 pandemic caused thousands of deaths, it also taught several important business continuity management (BCM) lessons that can be used in preparation for new pandemics. The following business continuity lessons from the H1N1 pandemic can be applied to today’s current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and future pandemics to come. Some of the things we learned from H1N1 include:

XControls: Cards-based UI for Mobile and Desktop XPages Apps Released

 
Desktop view of a sample XControls application

October 7, 2014

This week we have released a new project on OpenNTF called XControls. If you’ve seen our previous project, the Unplugged Custom Controls, then hopefully the problems we’re trying to solve will be familiar, but with this new project we’re expanding the scope of what we cover. The XControls project allows you to quickly create XPages applications by dragging and dropping custom controls into your XPages, but now when you do that, the applications you create will work on desktop browsers, mobile browsers, and Teamstudio Unplugged.

Depending on how you view the application, the layout will automatically reconfigure itself to best fit the device. In the screen shots below, you can see the same page being viewed in the desktop, iOS, and Android:

How to Deliver Quality IBM Notes Apps with an Automated Build Process

 
How to Deliver Quality IBM Notes Apps with an Automated Build Process

October 3, 2014

To stay ahead of the competition and fine-tune your operation to meet customer needs, you must continually improve business critical applications and the processes that support them. Whether it’s enhancements to existing applications or new product applications, one of the primary and most error prone processes in the IBM Notes application development lifecycle is the process for deploying applications to the end user community.

To minimize the costs and risks associated with putting applications into production, the ideal solution is to automate the deployment process as much as possible.

The purpose of this blog post is to focus the development and administration teams’ efforts in delivering a stable application every time a new release is built. By employing a repeatable, documented, effective, and potentially automated build process, these teams can ensure that high quality applications are delivered to their users. 

A policy for application delivery should address all new applications and application enhancements that are moved into a new environment, i.e. test, staging or production. Applications should be moved via a documented and approved process that encompasses all required procedures to properly prepare the application for the next environment. The process requires at least two members of the deployment team to perform two different stages of the process. This will ensure segregation of duties and completion of all tasks.

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