2014 in Retrospect

Trending in 2014…

Cloud Computing, NoSQL, Responsive, SPA [Single Page Web Application], Parallax design, Flat style versus Realistic, Cross-platform Mobile Development, Xamarin, MBaaS – Mobile Backend-as-a-Service, Smart watch, Wearable technology, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality [VR], Wearable Fitness Trackers, iBeacons, Google Cardboard, Near Field Communication.

 

The YEAR END is probably the best time for an organization to retrospect as well as plan ahead!

Synsoft Global has glided through 2014 riding over crests of new technologies! The upsurge in the number of new mobile and web technologies and the surprisingly rapid engagement on them has proven beneficial for Synsoft.

 

The new feathers of technology worn in the Synsoft cap are:

Xamarin

A cross-platform mobile development tool using C#. In the past year, we observed a sharp rise in the demand for cross-platform development, and understandably so, because not only do Clients expect it to be a huge effort saver, but it also seems to have now grown out of its infancy. Xamarin has now become much more stable and more productive. We have started and completed several mobile application projects in Xamarin, and it’s an ever growing team here at Synsoft!

 

Node.js

“JavaScript everywhere” is the new mantra for the web! And so we have JavaScript for building a server! We used various frameworks; Sails being the latest we started working within 2014. Synsoft also conducted an exhaustive training session involving Node.js with Mongo DB. This training helped the existing team in enhancing their strengths in Node.js and we found ourselves taking on projects of considerable size almost immediately. One of the major projects we are working on since a few months is a multi-Brand e-commerce application based on the SaaS model.

 

Angular.js, Backbone.js

The most powerful client-side JavaScript MVC frameworks for the Web. Perfect for SPAs, [Single Page Web Applications] and for parallax design. Although we did start working on these technologies in 2013 and 2012 respectively, yet, the boost they received in 2014 was credible, maybe due to the rising popularity of SPAs and parallax design.

 

Mongo DB

The leading NoSQL database for high-performance applications. Synsoft held an avid training session on Mongo DB before embarking upon practical work. The session was a complete sensation amongst the team who was hitherto working on SQL databases. The tabled, structured, data was a compulsive habit amongst database designers. But now this NoSQL DB, exhibiting a complete out-of-the-box idea, came as an unexpectedly smooth concept! One that we could immediately relate to, due to its inherent Json data. We have since been working on most Node.js projects using Mongo DB. In fact we have even used it on a PHP backend called Step-in, which is an Offer-discovery mobile app which is expected to retrieve heavy data.

 

New Frameworks used by our developers:

MBaaS – Parse.com

Mobile Backend-as-a-Service is an option fast gaining ground for mobile applications that are looking for a short time-to-market. This is a very common ask on mobile application development as competition on the app stores rises, and while the application itself can be pretty small and simple. But Synsoft had the good fortune of using Parse.com with a considerably complex and vast mobile application much similar to Instagram. In this mobile application we have integrated with Parse.com using its iOS SDK. Although using Parse.com did avoid writing a complete backend for this, I do see a few disadvantages in this. Firstly, Parse is not much suitable for very complex data as it allows simple querying and storage. For example JOINS, the very important requirement of dB access is pretty much nonexistent, and has to be achieved with some work around. Secondly, while developing the same mobile app on a different platform the entire integration of Parse will have to be repeated with a different SDK. The effort repetition will be considerable.

 

Simperium

This is a data service layer for developers to move Json data everywhere it’s needed, instantly and automatically. It may be confused with a Backend-as-a-Service, but it is not. It moves data between your mobile, web and backend applications, seamlessly, with a few lines of code. The service keeps in sync, the data between all the connected apps, and manages the issues that go hand in hand with distributed data access, like persistence, security, conflicts, etc. So, as an app reads and writes data, Simperium circulates that data everywhere it’s needed. We had a wonderful first-hand experience with Simperium as a project demanded this auto-sync feature between its iOS mobile apps and its Node.js backend. We not only built the Node.js backend, but also integrated the Simperium services to keep these in sync. Though it was our first, I am happy to say, that we did great, and received a wonderful feedback for our work on the project.

 

Sails

This is a popular MVC framework for Node.js applications, built upon Express. Synsoft’s Node.js team was happy to use this framework for developing the SaaS application referred to above as a Multi-brand e-commerce application, more so because it gave what we required most – Ease of generating REST APIs to support the demand of service-oriented architecture for its web and mobile user interfaces. Also, the easy WebSocket Support built into Sails, helped in building chat support and real-time dashboard.

 

Microsoft Azure for Mobile backend and Push Notifications Server

We leveraged the Microsoft Azure platform for deploying a bunch of mobile services, and a push notification system. It was a small but successful project and we hope to do more work on this platform.

Now, continue with our Retrospect part -2, New Kind of Work Experiences…

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