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Open Source Vs Proprietary Web Platforms

September 25th, 2018

In the fast growing industry of online software, web platforms are considered the foundation and more often than not, the success factor behind the most prominent creative service companies and their clients.

The major differences between all web platforms are the two key types, Open Source and Proprietary.

Any business which is reviewing which web platform to use for their new website or to upgrade their existing should wisely weigh up the differences between these two types.

Why do we say be wise in choice? The answer is simple, if you decide on (or are sold) a web platform without assessing its features and power to be expanded or modified according to your business requirements now and in the future, you could be setting yourself up for serious loss or ongoing expenditure.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPEN SOURCE AND PROPRIETARY WEB PLATFORMS?

The difference between the two types of web platform is simple…

OPEN SOURCE

Open Source as a type of web platform, is primarily free software which is made available to the general public under a GNU (General Public License). Open Source platforms are very popular with many developers and development companies, this is due to the flexibility, power and future proof benefits of Open Source.

Some of the most well known and used Open Source web platforms are Joomla!, WordPress and Drupal.

The most popular and widely used web platform by web developers to create websites and all sorts of web applications is Joomla! which is a Content Management System.

Open Source web platforms range in their focus from Content management systems, eCommerce and even multimedia delivery.

One thing to remember about Open Source which is a common misconception is that even thought it is free software, it is not poor quality. In fact it is very much the opposite, you will find with minimal research that Open Source is secure, reliable, flexible and has plenty of power to drive future enhancements for many years.

PROPRIETARY

Proprietary systems are completely opposite to the basic structure of Open Source. That structure being that most if not all proprietary platforms have ongoing license fees which the user / client is expected to pay.

The license fees may not necessarily be paid by the end user or client but will be covered inside the cost of the company supplying the platform to develop and implement it. License fees are normally included in the support or hosting fee and treated as normal.

Some website design businesses even have their own proprietary web platform which they use for all their services, this is perfectly fine as long as you stay with them and the working relationship goes without a hitch.

Any business/forward thinking person would recognize the faults with this. If said person did not want to be supported by that particular company/platform any more it would mean redevelopment into an alternative, which involves more cost and is essentially starting from scratch.

Proprietary software in a lot of instances can be very good, there are a lot of powerful and feature rich proprietary web platforms out there which will fit the bill in a lot of customer cases, proprietary platforms range with focuses on CMS, eCommerce or multimedia.

Some Open Source web platforms are also proprietary; in this instance you get all the benefits of Open Source but pay license fees to use the software. Some of these solutions are similar to your SaaS web applications or products.

GREAT, BUT WHICH TYPE OF PLATFORM DO I NEED, OPEN SOURCE OR PROPRIETARY?

So after touching on both types of platform, the real question is, what do you need in a website and a web platform? Do you fit into the Open or Proprietary category as a business and as a customer?

The easiest thing for you as a customer would be to speak with a web design and development company that either supplies an Open Source platform, or Proprietary and choose accordingly.

Obviously either company will try to sell you their particular solution, so you need to identify your needs and ensure the solution on offer will meet those and potential future requirements.

10 Useful Tools to Develop, Monitor, Evaluate, Or Debug Web Pages

September 24th, 2018

When it comes to developing websites and pages we could all use a little help now and then when it comes down to the real detail. Fortunately there’s a wide variety of tools on offer to developers that can be of use when it comes to developing, monitoring, evaluating and debugging web pages. Here are 10 which I’ve found useful over the years.

Web developer toolbar

The Web Developer Extension adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser. For anyone who uses Firefox that’s interested in accessibility and CSS web development, this is an essential must-have for testing web pages!

Web accessibility toolbar

The web accessibility toolbar is available for Internet Explorer. It can perform virtually any accessibility test on a web page, such as HTML and CSS validation, colour checking, HTML structure analysis, and much, much more!

Firebug

Firebug is an extension to the Firefox web browser and is an indispensable tool to any web developer. It allows to view, inspect and edit HTML, CSS and JavaScript live on any web page as well helping to debug a large number of potential problems.

Yslow

Yslow is a plug-in which is integrated with the Firebug web extension for Firefox. It’s a great tool to help reduce the number of HTTP requests needed to render a page. It analyses the web page and summarises the page’s components, displays statistics and suggests ways to improve its performance.

Fangs

Fangs is an extension to the Firefox web browser. It renders a text version of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. It also provides a list of headings and links that are on the page. It helps to quickly find out if there are any accessibility issues on a web page for screen reader users.

Aardvark

Aardvark is an add-on for Firefox browser. It outlines any elements over which you hover your cursor and displays the HTML tags and the CSS styles of the elements selected. It also has one fantastic feature that makes it worth installing – a page clean-up prior to printing. Simply select the area of the page you want to print (usually the main content area) and it’ll ensure that only this gets printed, resizing it perfectly on to the paper.

IE tester

IETester is a free web browser that contains different versions of Internet Explorer, from 5.5 through to 8. Now you can test websites in multiple versions of Internet Explorer all through just one browser!

Windows magnifier

It’s essentially just a very basic screen magnifier bundled in with Windows XP. It is great if you want to quickly check how your site looks through a screen magnifier. Check out this program on your PC at Start > Programs > Accessories > Accessibility > Magnifier.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Xenu is a handy freeware tool that checks for any broken links on a site. Simply type in a URL and it will check the links on every single page of the website. Dead links can come about due to links on external websites going down, a file being moved or someone typing in the wrong URL. Whatever the reason, Xenu will find those dead links for you and tell you on which pages they are on. Isn’t that great!?

Dust-Me selectors

The Dust-Me Selectors is an extension for Firefox web browser. It lists all the used/unused CSS selectors from all the stylesheets on a web site. It’s a handy tool when times come to tidy up and reduce files size.

Conclusion

It can be difficult to decide on which plug-ins and extensions to use as a developer, but this list should point you in the direction of some really helpful tools. Having these programs in your arsenal could help you out no end when it comes to developing, monitoring, evaluating and debugging web pages.

A Step Wise Guide For Developing Your Website

September 23rd, 2018

Avoiding web solutions is not an option for businesses anymore as web and informational technology are very deeply rooted into our life today. However, organizations are usually clueless about the development methodology required for creating web solutions. Having a proper plan which includes all the necessary aspects in a step-wise manner is very important for acquiring proper and effective web solutions.

Mentioned below is a step wise guide that will help businesses in collecting all the requirements and right resources for developing their websites.

What Do You Intend To Achieve From The Website: The very first thing that you need to focus on is the purpose of the website. Your requirements would determine the features, design and functionality of the web solution. The web development company that you hire would also ask about the purpose of the website and the specific goals that you want to achieve through it.

Think Of Your Visitors: Remember you are making this website for visitors who would com e on the site and take the desired actions. It is not important that you like the website of that the website has everything that you want. Find out the things that your potential visitors like and include features that would be useful for them. Further, the kind of expected visitors will have a huge impact on the type of design required for your business.

The Marketing Strategy: Every business has a marketing strategy and so would you. You need to determine the role and place of your new website into this strategy. Websites are very effective in promotional activities but you need to take the help of a professional online marketing firm to so for you. Initially, you should find out the most relevant keywords for your website and try to include those keywords in your web content.

Get A Team: Developing a website is a little complex. The various aspects of a website include design, development, web content, web hosting and online marketing. Gather a team of expert professionals who are highly skilled in various web technologies. The best option would be to outsource your web development requirements to an offshore vendor having proven capabilities and provides web application development services. They would assign a professional team to work on your project.

What’s the Competition: Knowing your competition is also very important. Go through the websites of your competitors and browse them properly. You might find something that you missed in your site and could have a positive effect on your ventures. Make a list of your key competitors and browse their sites one by one.

These steps would help you in gathering enough information for the web development company to start working on the website. However, it is very important that you partner with the right development firm as their capabilities are going to determine the success or failure of your online venture. It is strongly suggested that you conduct proper research and investigation into the service providers past and present projects before you hire them for your requirements.