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web-ios-development-trends 2016

Review of Popular Trends and Tools for Developers in 2016

The software technology is constantly evolving, and internet users as well as people creating digital products expect innovations and progress in this field. To provide high-quality development services for clients and final users being competitive on the market, it’s highly advisable for designers and programmers to keep an eye on mainstreams in the professional sphere and try the latest and greatest advances. Although it doesn’t always mean that new tools and trends will immediately replace the current, still the strategy of setting up the sails for every wind usually provides higher level of professional flexibility and growth.

 

The year 2016, which is quickly leaving day by day, has brought a lot of news as well as established some already known tools, trends and techniques even more solidly via practice and updates. Web and app developers have got new frameworks, updating technology and powerful development tools. We have discussed what Tubik Studio developers find popular and important to mention in the domain in 2016 and today want to share the ideas with our readers. So, here is the list of broadly used programming languages, frameworks and tools as well as updates which quickly won their place in the process. As usual, this year development trends and popular choices are driven by greater efficiency, increased customization and ease of use. Let’s check what has been found essential in iOS and web development.

 

iOS development

 

The constantly changing world of mobile phones, tablets and other devices means that businesses keep app developers busy all the time requiring high professional level and flexibility. Every latest version and update of iOS operating system brings new facilities, opportunities and challenges for developers. The following stuff was widely used in creating great variety of iOS apps this year.

 

ios development glossary

 

Alamofire

 

Alamofire is a Swift-based HTTP library for iOS and Mac OS X. It uses NSURLSession and the Foundation URL loading system to provide first-class networking capabilities in a convenient Swift interface that simplifies a number of common tasks for the developers. Alamofire offers chainable response and request methods, JSON parameter and response serialization, authentication, network reachability, Unit and Integration test coverage and many other features. It was initially written in Swift and did not inherit anything from Objective-C.

 

ReSwift

 

ReSwift is Redux implementation of the unidirectional data flow architecture in Swift. The ReSwift library allows everybody to dive into the code, understand every line and contribute. It also supports Swift 2.2 through to Swift 3. ReSwift is quickly growing beyond the core library, providing experimental extensions for routing and time traveling through past app states. It provides separating app components into three important concerns: State, Views and State Changes.

 

Firebase

 

Firebase is a BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service) that started as YC11 startup and grew up into a next generation app development platform on Google Cloud Platform. It supports the web, iOS, OS X, and Android platforms. Traditionally configuration of a server requires fetching data via some API that is written in order to retrieve data from the server. Firebase simplifies storing and retrieving the data via a third party service and comes with its own API. The platform was acquired by Google in October 2014 and received a significant number of new features in May 2016. In the new version, Firebase takes many of Google’s existing developer tools, like Google Cloud Messaging and combines them with new and current Firebase services, among which app indexing, crash reporting, hosting, cloud messaging, AdWords, AdMob, storage, real-time database and others.

 

Swift

 

Before Swift came into play, Objective-C had been the main programming language used by developers for OS X and iOS operating systems and their APIs. Swift, introduced at Apple’s 2014 WWDC, brought its own dose of revolution. In general description, Swift is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language broadening the previous scope of operating systems as it was developed for iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. The latest version Swift 3 got improvements which made code-writing more natural and consistent. By downloading Xcode 8 developers can easily use this new version and move automatically from previous to latest Swift 3 syntax.

 

Tubik Studio iOS development

 

Front-end development

 

Front-end developers also mention dynamic progress in the domain of tools and software, mostly based on the updates of already established platforms and programming languages. JavaScript holds its leading positions because the language is usually used to make web pages more interactive, create games, animations, dropdown menus and take extensive control over the web interface. A large number of web development frameworks have come into JavaScript recently and many of them have already established huge communities such as Angular, Meteor, React and Backbone. Let’s look through the most popular JS frameworks and libraries essential to remember as effective and broadly used in 2016.

 

web developer tubik studio

 

Angular.js

 

Angular.js is a complete, JavaScript-based, open-source, front-end web app framework maintained by Google. It is a common technology to provide a solid base foundation for developers working with the latest industry standards and requirements. The framework provides a set of modern features for rapid app development. New version of Angular.js is called “AngularJS 2” and has been provided with the improved structure and development features. Now it enables to get improved and simple form of validation, two-way data binding, routing and animations. The second version is totally different from previous one, requiring ES6 and TypeScript knowledge.

 

Backbone.js

 

Backbone.js is a framework with a RESTful JSON interface and based on the model–view–presenter (MVP) architectural pattern. The main concept of the framework is that all server-side functions should flow through an API, minimizing the amount of code that needs to be composed for achieving the same powerful functionality of more sophisticated web frameworks. Backbone is a popular web development framework for JavaScript developers because its usability modules are easy to understand, and also it presents a straightforward learning curve. For example, Trello is built using Backbone.js for all the models, views, and routes. Backbone.js 1.3.3 was released in April 5, 2016. The bugs of 1.3.0 — 1.3.2 versions were fixed in the 1.3.3 and it also provided new methods and improvements.

 

MeteorJS

 

MeteorJS is a free and open-source JavaScript web framework written using Node.js. It simplifies the development of real-time mobile and web app that can be built with a singular development interface. Any web app built with Meteor is also automatically compatible with mobile devices. The developers can convert the existing web apps into mobile apps and release them in the most popular mobile app stores. Meteor is also full-stack framework supporting native JavaScript language for building modern and scalable web and mobile apps. The public package repository Atmosphere has thousands of published packages that let to create multiplex apps. The latest versions of MeteorJS are 1.4.2.3 — 1.4.3-beta.1. The main feature is enhanced rebuild performance focusing on the complex apps development. The framework has become more modular with parts that can be packaged, maintained and evolved independently.

 

React.js

 

React.js is an open-source JavaScript library for data rendered as HTML. It is maintained by Facebook and the main area of expertise is supporting implementation of a Virtual DOM. The Virtual DOM is compared with the current state of the DOM generating a list of operations that make the current DOM look like the new one. Those operations are applied quickly in a batch. React.js v15.4.0. was released in November 16, 2016. In the new version, React DOM implementation was moved to the React DOM package.The upgrade solves a few problems such as errors of React DOM import in the same file as the snapshot testing renderer. The version can visualize React components in the Chrome Timeline allowing to see which components are mounted, updated and unmounted.

 

CSS frameworks

 

CSS processors emerged in web development many years ago having quite limited set of features in their early version. Yet, nowadays they are the key points for CSS development. The processors extend CSS with variables, operators, interpolations, functions, mixins and many other usable assets. At the moment, Less and SASS are mentioned among the most popular preprocessors with the large feature sets. However, the news that Bootstrap 4 is migrating over to SASS gives it a slight edge over Less in 2016.

 

programming languages fron-end

 

Bootstrap

 

Bootstrap has become even more popular over the last years. Like any effective front-end framework, Bootstrap includes CSS, HTML and JavaScript components. It adheres to responsive web design standards allowing to develop flexible websites of all complexities and sizes. The framework typically includes the latest and best features because it is continually updated. For example, Bootstrap added themes that met Google material design guidelines shortly after they were published and it was also upgraded to use SASS as a CSS preprocessor.

 

Foundation

 

Foundation is a highly advanced front-end framework useful for designing responsive and flexible websites. The framework supports GPU acceleration for smooth animations and has Fastclick.js for fast rendering on mobile devices. It runs on the SASS preprocessor and includes the Foundation-developed data interchange attribute, which allows loading lightweight HTML sections for mobile and bigger HTML sections for larger screens. Foundation is used by Facebook, eBay and Mozilla, but it is quite complex and may not be suitable for beginners. The version 6.3.0-rc3 was released in December 9, 2016. It has a number of the improvements such as the updates of components and fixed errors of previous version.

 

Back-end development

 

Nowadays lots of programming languages and their frameworks, such as PHP, Java, Ruby and the like, are used for efficient back-end development. Let’s check out the list of popular languages and frameworks often chosen for web projects.

 

web development and programming

 

PHP

 

PHP is an HTML-embedded programming language. The main aim of the language is to allow creating dynamically generated pages quickly. Its frameworks are used for back-end development and widely used for the complex web services. One of the main PHP development concepts is to reuse generic components and modules for faster creation and better performance of the projects. The frameworks allow keeping the codes organized, facilitating scalability and ensuring long-term maintenance.

 

Laravel

 

Laravel is an open-source web framework intended for the development of web apps following the model–view–controller (MVC) architectural pattern. The framework has a lot of fresh features and lightweight templating engine that helps developers complete the most frequent tasks like authentication, sessions, queuing and caching. Laravel has a micro-framework Lumen focusing on lean management. It helps to develop sub-projects and micro-projects and allows programmers to put them into the main framework by just copying the code into the particular project. Laravel 5.3 was released in August 23, 2016. The new features are focused on speeding up developer’s performance by adding the set of extra improvements for common tasks, for instance Laravel Scout (a driver based full-text search engine for Eloquent), Laravel Passport (the technology deploying OAuth2 server), Laravel Mailable, Laravel Notifications, Laravel Echo (an improvement to the existing event broadcasting system), a new $loop variable of Laravel Blade and a huge overhaul of documentation.

 

Yii

 

Yii is an open source, object-oriented, component-based, MVC framework, easy to use for developing web apps and APIs. It has a reliable code generator allowing to save time writing code to connect to the database and also it uses the ActiveRecord pattern for object-relational mapping which means less SQL code to write. The main benefit of the framework is the ability to decrease the complexity of developer’s work. Products created with the Yii framework are characterized as efficient, extensible and easy to maintain. The latest version of Yii was released on October 20, 2016 presenting a complete rewrite of Yii on top of PHP 5.4.0.

 

Symfony

 

Symfony is an open-source web framework built on top of components such as Drupal, Ez Publish, and phpBB. These components are reusable PHP libraries used to complete tasks like creation, routing, object configuration, authentication, templating, etc. Symfony APIs also enable easy integration with third-party apps and Symfony can be used with popular front-end frameworks such as AngularJS. The latest version of Symfony was released on December 13, 2016 with enhanced performance and fixed bugs for providing the reliable workflow.

 

Node.js

 

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, JavaScript runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript code on the server, outside a browser. It is built on top of Google Chrome’s V8 VM engine supporting JavaScript in the chrome browser. Node.js wins high popularity because it enables to build large scale, real-time and scalable mobile and web apps with only JavaScript. As the Node.js ecosystem grew, the frameworks also started to showing progress and speeding up the development workflow. There are many Node.js frameworks that simplify building real-time web apps, among them the following:

 

Node.js Express — a minimalist and flexible framework built on top of node.js and has taken node.js to the next level by providing high-level wrappers around node.js APIs. The framework offers all the features required for developing high-quality web apps, mobile apps and APIs. Express also qualifies as Node.js rest API framework.

 

KOA — a lightweight framework for developing web apps and APIs. KOA requests flow through middleware in a stack-like manner allowing developers to perform actions downstream then filter and manipulate the response upstream. KOA generators also greatly increase readability and robustness of the app.

 

Sails.js. — a web framework that sets platform for easy building custom, enterprise-grade Node.js apps. The framework is designed to resemble the MVC architecture from frameworks like Ruby on Rails but it has more modern, data-oriented style of web app development. Sails.js has all the features required for building anything from a small scale chat client to an enterprise-grade web app.

 

Ruby

 

Ruby is dynamic, object-oriented, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. Moreover, Ruby has framework which supports high level of flexibility for developer in the process of creating code for particular aims. Ruby on Rails is a development tool to give web developers libraries providing structure for all the code they write. Actually, it is a server-side web app framework that extends Ruby programming language. This framework uses Ruby to dynamically assemble HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. Rails helps developers to build websites and web apps abstracting and simplifying common repetitive tasks. Rails 5.0 was released on June 30, 2016, introducing Action Cable, API mode, and Turbolinks 5.

 

ruby-on-rails web development

 

Java EE

 

Java EE is a platform for creating large-scale apps and software in the Java programming language. It includes a runtime development environment as well as an API and has additional features in comparison with the standard edition, including web services, distributed architectures, multi-tier architectures and object-relational mapping.

 

.NET Framework

 

.NET Framework is a technology that supports building and running the next generation apps and web services. The framework consists of the common language runtime and the .NET Framework class library. The common language runtime is the foundation of the .NET Framework. The technology provides language interoperability across several programming languages (each language can use code written in other languages).

 

copywriting for digital products

 

Even this review, briefly describing popular tools and software, shows that the sphere is constantly growing and offering new opportunities for both developers and users. Whatever broad and diverse the list of tools will be, in practice developers choose what is better for them only by taking their own steps and breathing life in digital products via code. The best tool, software and technique is the one that enables to provide the final product which is effective, user-friendly and solid in performance. That’s the biggest intention we had compiling this list: providing developers with food for thought on trying something new and reviewing which important things the year has brought. No doubt, the next year will be even more powerful in innovation for app and web development sphere so let’s look forward to them together!


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ruby-on-rails-web-development

Ruby on Rails Development: Benefits and Pitfalls.

As a web developer, it’s important to understand the interconnectedness of the various parts of digital design and development. Like a bridge, each pillar supports the span, and if any one of them fails, the whole thing collapses. Bad design can ruin well-written code as well as badly written code can bury the most sophisticated design solutions. Every part plays a role in the desired outcome — a user-friendly product.

 

In earlier posts, we have given you some insight into the vocabulary, processes, and tools of web development. This post is going to continue that theme. We’re going to talk about one of the popular tools for web development — Ruby on Rails — and share with you some of its benefits and pitfalls.

 

Brief background

 

Let’s start with a bit of history. Ruby is a dynamic, object-oriented, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. Created by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, the original version of the language, Ruby, was first released in the 1990s. Today, it powers well-known websites such as the original version of Twitter, Hulu, Living Social, Basecamp etc. Many companies use Ruby in some capacity — BBW, Cisco, CNET, IBM, JP Morgan, NASA, and Yahoo — because Ruby has a framework which supports a high level of flexibility for developers.

 

 

“Ruby is named after the precious gemstone; it’s not an abbreviation of anything. When I started the language project, I was joking with a friend that the project must be code-named after a gemstone’s name (àla Perl). So my friend came up with «ruby». It’s a short name for a beautiful and highly valued stone. So I picked up that name, and it eventually became the official name of the language.” said Yukihiro «Matz» Matsumoto, the creator of Ruby, in his interview about the roots of the programming language.

 

Ruby on Rails is an open-source web application framework for the Ruby programming language optimized for programmers’ sustainable productivity. David Heinemeier Hansson extracted Ruby on Rails from his work on the project management tool Basecamp at the web application company also called Basecamp. Hansson first released Rails as open source in July 2004. Major brands like Amazon and eBay even have Rails projects.

 

“Rails (Ruby on Rails) was extracted from my work on Basecamp—a project collaboration tool from 37signals. So it was motivated by needs, not predictions. And I believe that’s a big part of why we’re currently enjoying such success. I didn’t try to imagine what some programmers might need for a fantasy job. I just built what I needed to get my work done with a smile.” says another interviewee David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails.

 

ruby on rails web development article

 

What is Ruby on Rails?

 

Ruby on Rails, often just called “Rails”, is a development tool that gives web developers access to libraries, thus providing structure for all the code they write. It is a server-side web app framework that extends the Ruby programming language. Ruby is the operating language for Rails in the same way that PHP runs Symfony and Zend, or Java runs Struts. Rails combines the Ruby programming language with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create a web app. This framework uses Ruby to dynamically assemble HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. Rails helps developers to build websites and web apps by abstracting and simplifying common, repetitive tasks.

 

Rails apps operate on a model–view–controller (MVC) pattern. Many other web frameworks use this pattern, such as AngularJS (JavaScript), Django (Python) and CakePHP (PHP).This means that the apps are divided into three parts: models, views, and controllers. These components have the following roles:

 

Models. Used to represent forms of data used by the app, they contain the logic to manipulate and retrieve that data. In Rails, a model is represented as a class. These forms of data are not low-level like strings or arrays.

 

Views. Templates (typically formed of a mix of HTML and Ruby code) that are used to build the data users of web apps see in their browsers or through other clients. They can be rendered as HTML for web browsers, XML, RSS or other formats.

 

Controllers. Provide the logic that binds together models (their associated data) and views. They process input, call methods and deliver data to the views. In Rails, controllers contain methods known as actions that, generally, represent each action relevant to the controller, such as “show”, “delete”, “view”, etc. The framework can be used with various operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X and Linux; databases such as SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL; and web servers such as Apache and, Nginx.

 

There are a few core principles in web programming that drive developers’ approach to projects. One of the main ones is “convention over configuration” (CoC). In other words, developers don’t have to spend a lot of time configuring files if they follow standard industry norms. Rails comes with a set of conventions which improve development efficiency.

 

 

Another important principle of software development in Rails is “don’t repeat yourself” (DRY). Developers should always look to avoid duplication in their code, and rather isolate functionality in small functions or files. This principle promotes the use of modular code, which is easier to understand, read and debug. When code is duplicated, the outcome becomes more complex, making it more difficult to maintain, and more vulnerable to bugs.

 

Ruby on Rails uses Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture that governs the relationship between the client and the server. This architecture helps create logic in the app, and produces code that developers find highly intuitive and functional.

 

Another great Ruby extension is RubyGems, a package manager that makes it easy to create and share software libraries (“gems”). RubyGems provides a reliable and simple system to install “gems”. Anyone can upload them to the central RubyGems website, making the “gem” immediately available for installation by others. The RubyGems website is where developers obtain the most recent version of Rails.

 

ruby on rails web development

 

Benefits and pitfalls of Rails

 

Just like any tool or software, Ruby on Rails has its pros and cons that you need to consider before choosing it as your development architecture. Let’s take a look at those based on feedback from our developers.

 

Benefits for developers of Ruby on Rails

 

Large Community. Rails is more than a development tool; it is a large community of dedicated developers. Members share their work, often use the same tools, and support each other. The informal community provides a diversity of jobs, recruiters, meetups, conferences, examples of businesses building websites with Rails, and clients funding startups. It is no surprise that Rails is popular on the social coding resource Github, which is a great source of support for beginners.

 

Availability of gems. A “gem” is a software package that contains a Ruby app or library. Commonly it is used to extend or modify functionality in Ruby apps. Some “gems” provide command line utilities to help automate tasks and speed up the developer`s work. They are all publicly available at RubyGems.

 

Cost-effective. The process of building functionality with Rails is fast because it has a collection of open source code available within the community as well as a set of existing conventions. Ruby on Rails also runs on a free operating system and works with most free databases and web servers. These features mean fewer development hours, faster development process, and a lower overall cost.

 

Code Quality. Rails uses the Ruby programming language, which has a high level of readability. This aspect increases productivity and reduces the need to write separate documentation or comments, which makes it easier for other developers to pick up existing projects.

 

Testing. Rails was developed with a focus on testing and has good built-in testing frameworks.

 

Diversity of tools. Rails provides a tremendous variety of tools that help developers deliver more features in less time. For example, there are built-in templates for common functions and solutions.

 

Flexibility. One of the biggest benefits of using Ruby on Rails is that it is highly flexible and interacts easily with technologies and frameworks like AngularJS. This factor offers developers the opportunity to separate layers of the app and use multiple technologies.

 

web development ruby on rails

 

Potential Ruby on Rails pitfalls

 

Performance. While Rails apps are often not as fast as Java or C apps, for the majority of them, Rails is fast enough. In general, Rails web apps slow down as a result of bloat, and a highly-skilled programmer can tune the code to improve performance. There is also the option of running the app under JRuby, which has the same performance characteristics as Java.

 

Hosting Issues. Not all web hosts support Rails because it can be more resource intensive than PHP-based sites. However, there are a number of hosts (Virtual Private Servers) such as Amazon EC2, EngineYard, Linode or Rackspace, which will fulfill Rails developers’ needs.

 

Popularity. The number of Rails developers is growing year by year as more people switch to it from other programming languages. Yet, Rails is still not as popular as Java and PHP, in all likelihood because the language is relatively difficult to learn, especially compared to PHP. However, one of the main differences between Rails and other languages is the large amount of open source code (“gems”) which is publicly available. “Gems” are helpful for beginners as they simplify the process of web development.

 

Lack of documentation. It can be hard to find good documentation for the less popular “gems”, and for libraries which make heavy use of mixins. Developers often end up finding the test suite playing the role of documentation and they have to rely on it to understand the behavior of the written code. This aspect isn’t bad in its essence, as the test suite should be the most up-to-date representation of the system; however, it can still be frustrating having to dive into code, when sometimes written documentation would have been much quicker.

 

 

web development

 

To sum up, Rails is a huge web app framework with a large number of built-in features. It can be used to create either small or large apps, but it tends to use more memory and resources than the other frameworks and performance can be a bit slower. In the majority of cases, Rails apps will be composed of dozens of files tight structure of models, views, and controllers. The framework is becoming increasingly popular because it is powerful, standardized, and well-established.


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