Friday, January 19, 2018

How Big Data Will Change Businesses In 2018

Market trends suggest that with an approximate growth of about $7.3 billion in 2018, the big data market size will be bound to break the $40 billion mark by the end of the year. The demanding growth in big data analytics has induced various industries to begin implementing and updating their big data systems to adapt to the higher workloads.

Structured and unstructured data has cracked the world of computational data and analytics into a divide. While algorithms and tools have enabled the easy categorization of structured data, unstructured data is left unsorted due to its complexity beyond the comprehension of simple tools. Unstructured data has been left out of most databases and wasted simply due to the sheer impossibility to classify or structure it into simpler forms.
Increased integration of business intelligence tools:
The implementation of machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and neural networks into the working processes of industries have begun to rapidly shrink the gap between structured and unstructured data. The intensive research in the fields of business intelligence is ensuring that all unstructured forms of data are analyzed, organized, scaled, and even used to predict trends which will not just generate viable data but also offer the required advantage for businesses to tap into unforeseen patterns to dramatically improve their key processes. Forrester has predicted that, with more than 70% of businesses integrating AI modules, businesses will have to be quicker and “think on their feet” to quickly tap into the upcoming trends and beat the competition.
The structuring of dark data:
Dark data that has constantly been discarded as unusable and left literally in the dark due to the unavailability of resources or appropriate tools will be streamlined into usable data with the use of these business intelligence tools. By processing and analyzing the old databases as well as that which will be acquired in the future, these business intelligence tools will help detect the often unaware or neglected quality anomalies. This enhancement will not just enable a correction in the business process but also augment the success of many businesses that have lost out on the competition.
Increased impact of IoT:
Further, Internet of Things (IoT), which has thus far proved to have a great impact on big data, will create a greater wave in the transfer of data through sensor technology. Many businesses are benefiting better by cashing in on the benefits of IoT enabled networks as compared to those businesses that are still hooked to outdated forms. An apparent benefactor of IoT would be retail businesses as they would be able to analyze their customer behaviors and other trends in real time through the data generated from their equipped smart stores. A simple sensor on a rack can help with real-time inventory management.
The greater shift from remote servers to cloud storage:
Another component that business will have to adapt to without fail for the success of the integration of these business intelligence tools would be cloud storage. These business intelligence components would cease to exist if businesses fail to utilize either or both cloud storage and cloud computing platforms to effectively collect, analyze or process any data. Accessibility to real-time data without the constraint of limited storage, like that of remote servers, is crucial not just for in-house data but also for the overall smooth management of every component of business intelligence tools.
Checking and updating security protocol:
Most importantly, or rather more obviously, another component that businesses cannot afford to lose out on is security protocol. With the extensive use of cloud technology, security risks are higher, and therefore require the constant upgradation of cutting-edge security measures to fight against cloud security threats. A simple breach could cause loss of sensitive data and repeated damaging attacks that could devastate the business. Business intelligence tools like AI have dedicated protective platforms that could avert a crisis even before occurrence that could otherwise be impossible for a human workforce to even control after a hack.
The need for big data and its smooth integration has been happening at a rapid pace in the past few years, and the current need of the hour is maximum utilization of these resources for a successful and disaster-free future for businesses. With a lot of businesses changing the current from the traditional to technological cores, the constant revision of algorithms is required to gain the edge over competitors. This year is all prepped for data-driven – innovation, discovery, and inventions.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Why you need to consider building on React.js

So what is React?
React is a JavaScript library for building User Interfaces. It is often misinterpreted as language, tool, or a framework. To put it simply, React ensures the developers can create large web applications which use data that can change over time, without the need to reload the page. The main goal is to be fast, simple and scalable. React processes only user interface in applications.

It is simply a JavaScript runtime. Lightweight, modern and fast way to execute code
Let’s see why some of the biggest names use react
Interestingly, Facebook created ReactJS library, which is why it is obvious they would use it for the Facebook app. Facebook has recently opened a beta of its completely rewritten ReactJS, called React Fiber.
Instagram is completely based on the ReactJS library with its users completely adapting to its amazing features.The use of ReactJS within Instagram is huge with various features including the Google Maps APIs, geo locations, search engine accuracy as well as tags that pop out without hashtags.
The React version works with Netflix too – specifically on their platform called Gibbon which is used for low-performance TV devices instead of the DOM used in web browsers. There is also an official blog post by Netflix explaining how the ReactJS library helps their runtime performance, startup speed, modularity and various other advantages.
New York Times
A couple of months ago, New York Times has designed a great new project that simulates different looks of stars on Oscar red carpet. This project’s interface was built in React and allows the users to filter the gallery of different photos from 19 years in a fast and nice way. The re-rendering on this project is one of the impressive features of React
WhatsApp too uses ReactJS for building user interfaces, like the way it uses Underscore.js and Velocity.js as some of its most efficient engines. The newly launched WhatsApp Web app has also been using React.
Let’s look at what makes React this amazing
1. The Virtual DOM
Imagine a page has a button that changes the color of some text when clicked. It doesn’t make much sense to re-render the entire page for that. React plays smartly here and re-render only the text that changed color and leaves the rest of the page untouched. React keeps a virtual representation of an application’s page structure in memory while comparing it to any incoming changes. Anytime a render is required, React compares the incoming changes to the previous page and only updates the parts that were actually manipulated. This allows React to perform very efficiently and is its most impressive feature.
2. Reusable Components
React strongly encourages the use of components, a huge time-saver when it comes to development. A component could be anything a button, a navigation bar, a registration form, whatever an application needs. Once a component is built, it can be used over and over again throughout an app. Smaller components can be used together to create more complex components and different data can be passed into components to create unique instances. Not only does this save you time but it makes it easy to keep a consistent look and feel across your application.
3. JSX
JSX allows developers to write HTML-like code right into their JavaScript. React takes care of the heavy lifting by transforming the JSX into React compatible code. Most developers are familiar with HTML syntax and it allows them to picture the structure of the component or page they are building more easily.
4. Community Support
React is maintained by Facebook and Instagram but also has a great open-source community. There are a ton of React-specific solutions for any problem you may face. There are numerous component libraries that offer different buttons, modals, progress bars and more.
5. Learning Curve
Frameworks like Angular are much more complex and come pre-loaded with many other features. React is flexible in this regard and many times you’ll want to pair React with routing, state management, and other libraries to create a robust application. Even after adding additional packages to a project, React is still extremely intuitive to use.
React has its pitfalls as well, but the pros far outweigh the cons. The virtual DOM makes it extremely fast, component use cuts development time, JSX helps make coding with React feel more familiar, and it’s easy to pick up and get started with quickly.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Going headless with Magento

The Headless CMS architecture is steadily rising in popularity. This model allows completely custom user experiences while providing developers the great flexibility to innovate. It also helps website owners to future-proof their builds by allowing them to update the design without re-implementing the whole CMS. With all this upside, it’s no wonder this type of build has gained serious traction in Magento community off late.

It may be a tad hard to understand why this is needed or what it actually involves. Let’s get little deeper into figuring what and how. The headless Magento will run on original Magento application, but the application is not outputting anything to the browser.
Let’s take a product listing example. In the HTML page, you could create placeholders for the products so that every product looks similar. Then each product would be fetched one-by-one by JavaScript remotely and replace the placeholder. Applying the same principle to the checkout or customer pages would also require a push of data back to the Magento server.
Why go headless with Magento?
One of the benefits is that JavaScript is loosely coupled with Magento backend and which JavaScript framework to use would become a frontend developers choice, instead of KnockoutJS being now a solid requirement for developing in Magento.
Also, this would mean that there is no need for Magento developer’s to worry about designing on Magento. Instead, the focus can be on a REST API that simply offers everything that needs to be loaded. Magento provides a flexible framework that can be used to build custom logic on pricing, logins, checkout, etc. However, this contains a lot of additional stuff that is not needed. Building your own pricing rules might be easier than trying to extend and modify the Magento pricing rule system. It might require effort. But you will be dumping a lot of complex logic, in favor of code that simply works the way you want it to work.
Challenges of going headless on Magento
Cost of implementing headless approach with Magento
One of the biggest challenges of headless Magento applications is replacing the full presentation stack of Magento is not a trivial task. One of the strategies is to only replace key pages of a site such as home page, product navigation, and browsing, basically focusing on the navigation and discovery experience. In such strategies, other pages such as checkout or order history are left untouched. Another strategy is to replace the whole presentation tier. The cost of the two approaches is very different.
So a key decision is a value of replacing the Magento presentation tier. Each merchant needs to consider that trade-off. A part of the value of the Adobe and Acquia partnerships is that much of this integration effort is being solved up front, removing that overhead per site. But in general, headless strategies at present will be a higher cost than using the native Magento presentation tier
Using extensions with Magento
In Magento, extensions can plug themselves into the default Magento pages using the Magento layout engine. A key design goal of Magento is that you can purchase an extension and have it “just work”.
Extensions can be back-end oriented (e.g. a different tax calculation engine, a different promotions engine, etc). These extensions have minimal or no change in the consumer experience (presentation tier) and so are easy to add to a headless Magento installation.
The problem occurs for the extensions that enhance the presentation tier. Address verification, smarter merchandising, a search extension with auto-complete – extensions frequently inject additional JavaScript into a site to provide a better consumer experience. Injecting JavaScript into the Magento presentation tier does not help a headless deployment. If a headless Magento installation manually merges JavaScript from extensions into its code base, care must be taken to correctly apply future patches provided with that extension.
In Conclusion
By shifting responsibility for the user experience completely to the browser, the headless model provides a number of benefits such as:
  1.  It allows the site owner to redesign the site without re-implementing the CMS
  2. It gives frontend specialists full control over the user experience using their native tools.
  3. Speeds up the site by shifting display logic to the client-side and streamlining the backend. An application focused on delivering content can be much more responsive than one that assembles completely formatted responses based on complex rules.
  4. Builds true interactive experiences for users by using the website to powerfully function in-browser applications. The backend becomes the system of record and “state machine”, but back-and-forth interaction happens real-time in the browser.
  5. Headless website development has the potential to unleash the creative power of frontend developers to deliver richer, faster, and more responsive user experiences.
Is “headless Magento” a major strategic direction for the future? That would be overstating it. But it is a valid use case that Magento will continue to support.

Friday, December 15, 2017

How inevitable is SEO for your business?

Research has shown that about 68% of the world’s population relies on internet searches for almost everything. The use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tested strategy for helping business to be front-runners in search engine results through the use of a good architecture website that contains the right content. Investing in this SEO strategy ensures that a customer reaches out to your business over your competitors due to the traffic generated strategically on your website.  Google receives over 57,000 searches per second on any given day, and almost 93% of Google users do not step beyond the first page of search as they deem all other content immaterial. The use of SEO strategies ensures visibility, branding, credibility, traffic generation, exposure, cost-effective mode of marketing, demographics based targeting, ROI, customer trend analysis, and the edge over competitors.
According to Sam McRoberts, CEO of VUDU Marketing and a widely published expert in the SEO field, “SEO is far from dead. It’s changed so drastically that people really need to learn to think of it as less of a marketing tactic, and more of a branding play.” An SEO optimized web infrastructure that is mapped as search-engine friendly, ensures the existence of any business which might otherwise become obsolete in the technologically fast-paced world.
Two main reasons why SEO is crucial to businesses are:
  1. SEO is evolving: Although there have been changes regarding organic traffic in the recent years, SEO strategies are progressing towards focus exclusively on optimal user experience by generating higher positioning on search engines. Even video and audio files relevance on the search engine results are based on keyword searches. Having SEO strategies in place ensures that a business’s website is built soundly on rich content with tactical keyword placements without which the business could end up on an irrelevant page. Moreover, mobile optimization is on the rise as customers have started relying on smartphone searches for their immediate needs. This has paved the way for local search optimization techniques via SEO to ensure that the business’s relevance in its own locality is secure. This technique also helps with specific placement and positioning of the business’s brand on social media platforms, which in turn increases organic traffic on the main website. All these advantages need the proper installation, use, and regular updating of SEO stratagems to ensure maximum ROI.
  2. SEO in the long term: Most common reason for the failure of businesses that employed SEO strategy is the expectation of results overnight. The employment of SEO tools helps to prepare for the adaptation and placement of the changing algorithms of search engines. Having a dedicated module towards SEO along with regular updating of website content and maintenance of website infrastructure generates the results eventually. To quicken the process, the website should be focused better in terms of content, and also be regularly cross-checked with market trends since online algorithms are constantly evolving. It is also important to have an update of competitor strategies for better placement. Proper maintenance ensures that the current customer base expands and also passively accrue traffic by being listed in the business’s top 5 search words online.
All these strategies will only pan out if the right SEO tools are employed for prime results. The tools employed should include analytics review, keyword research, competitive analysis, on-page analysis, content and link audit, and technical site analysis. Some of the top rated SEO tools available in the market are: Reload SEO, Magento SEO Suite Pro extension v4.4.0, Advanced SEO Suite by Mirasvit, Free Magento SEO Extension by Creare, Ultimate SEO Suite by AheadWorks v1.3.8, SEO Suite, SEOSpace Ultimate Magento Extension, etc. The use of these tools helps to analyze the on-page factors, generate content words, identify structural mistakes on the webpage, study traffic trends on the website, among other functions. Using professional help may go a long way towards successful use of SEO.

Key Tools used in SEO Strategy

Search engine optimization (SEO) is highly dependent on the employment of an effective strategy to ensure that a businesses’ website is crawled on and ranked for by search engines in order to enable maximum visibility to users and potential clientele. One of the primary requirements of SEO success is to employ effective tools that are updated in real time because otherwise, not only the tool, the effect of the business website starts to tend towards a negative spiral.
Some of the best tools that have proven to be assets are:
1) Research and analytics tools: The main purpose of these tools is to provide keyword ranking and content alerts. Ahrefs and SEMrush are tools that have been rocking the SEO strata because they
  • Provide the most effective keyword research in the market
  • Provide comparative competitive intelligence
  • Analyze and strategize both traffic and content
  • Identify new keyword opportunities
  • Track both past and current rankings
  • Enables effective traffic management
  • Suggest available advertising opportunities
  • Help create an effective guest blogging strategy
  • Handle timely panda updates, and
  • Perform real-time backlink analysis. The Google Keyword Planner is an operative keyword research tool that exclusively generates daily search volumes and price estimates.
2) Monitoring tools: Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an effective analysis tool equipped to analyze several on-site elements, such as page titles, meta descriptions, URL structure, response codes, images, etc. This tool is a must-have for any web designer/marketer as it helps to not only optimize a website but also boost its performance in search result pages. Google page speed insights is another handy tool which evaluates a businesses’ front-end performance as well as offer page performance optimization suggestions. It offers a more thorough analysis of server configuration and checks the HTML structure of a page and the use of external resources such as images, Javascript and CSS. The use of these tools helps understand the gaping holes in technical architecture which may have otherwise been ignored.
3) Webmaster tools: Both Google and Bing webmaster tools are designed for constant web analysis and the generation of error reports to spot out any anomalies on the page. The main benefits of employing these tools help with the disavowal of spam links, filter out negative SEO, evaluate sitemap and URL parameters, explore Geo targets and inbound links, and run crawl information. Google Analytics helps to study statistics of search insights by providing customer related interests towards the path of the business website, frequent choice in the business webpage, and visitor segmentation that will help to fine tune the business needs. Similar Web is another application that details out website domain information. SEO site checkup is an audit and score checker tool that helps keep tabs on the functionality of the businesses’’ website on the search engines.
4) Important extras: Copyscape is a plagiarism checker tool that checks and ensures the originality of the content as well as help avoid unwarranted repetition and such. Schema Creator is a structured tool to enable pass effectively through crawling’s semantic intelligence.
The tactical employment of these tools in any operative combination enables the success of any SEO strategy as they rely heavily on real-time updates given the fast expiration of data on the internet.

Staging Module Significance in Kentico

So you are all set with the content updates for the web page. Great! But are you sure on how the content will be appearing live? That’s where the staging module will come into the picture. Staging module allows you to easily transfer changes made to pages or objects in a Kentico instance on one server to a different instance on another server. You can also perform complete synchronization of all pages and objects. All connected instances must use the same version of Kentico. Staging is particularly useful if you need to synchronize multiple environments during development, for example:
Development  > Testing/Staging  >  Live (production)
Content staging is the practice of deploying changes to one or more servers outside of the development environment, such as content review, quality assurance, security validation or performance testing, before deploying to production. Despite the name, content staging is not just about staging visible content.
Why stage content? Organizations have many reasons for wanting to stage changes prior to deploying to production:
  • Does the content adhere to organizational compliance policies and standards?
  • Is the content grammatically correct?
  • Have accessibility requirements been taken into account?
  • Has a custom component/code been tested?
  • Does a new template or layout adhere to organizational or departmental design guidelines?
  • Does the content duplicate existing content?
● Review All Content Before It Gets Published
The Staging module synchronizes content from your authoring environment to the live server. You can review all changes made to the site on your local server before showing them to the visitors.
● Separate Authoring and Live Environments
Content staging not only adds extra approval and QA steps to your publishing process, but it also separates the authoring and lives environment. It means you can disable the administration interface on the live site and make all changes on your local server to increase security.
Having an internal authoring server also improves the user experience for your content administrators as they access their internal server, instead of making changes on the live server.
● Publish Content to Geographically Distant Servers
Since you can synchronize content to multiple servers at the same time, you can run multiple geographically distant Kentico CMS servers around the world and keep their content synchronized with your authoring server. It’s useful when you need to run servers in Europe, North America, Australia, and China at the same time while providing site visitors with a highly responsive website.
● Deploy New Templates and Other Code Across Servers
As with content, you can also synchronize development objects, such as page templates, CSS stylesheets, transformations, and others, across servers. This makes incremental updates of the website possible with only a few clicks.

Friday, November 24, 2017

5 Digital Marketing Tips for Beginners

With the whole world progressing towards digital consumption, business players are grabbing their tickets to this future marketing form as traditional methods for marketing offline through print media and such has taken a back seat. Digital marketing is not only cheaper in terms of cost, but also yields steady output for businesses to track consumer trends in real time and instantly adapt their marketing strategies to maximize returns through blogs, internet banner ads, websites and SEO content, pay-per-click advertising, online video content, email and social media marketing, and mobile marketing. Businesses that are new as well as those that have thus far relied on the old marketing styles have to move forward and adopt the modern technological methods without which they will go extinct.
According to market research, marketing has undergone a major transformation online in the past two years as compared to the last 50 years. Content Marketing Institute, based on a survey in 2015, pointed out that “55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. To get to the right target customers with the right strategy and to build a strong base for online visibility, here are some of the most productive tips to enhance oneself in the world of digital marketing:
1. Stepping up
One of the most common misconceptions about digital marketing is that brand awareness and lead generation are one and the same and that they work in tandem. While the latter is a fact, the need to know when one should roll out brand awareness or lead generation is critical to determine the success or failure of the company. Ideally, brand awareness is essential to establish the business in the virtual world and from there on work towards expanding the customer base for growing in the global world. This in turn would generate leads that can be effectively converted into fulfilling sales. Nevertheless, both these objectives should be constantly monitored and adapted online without which a business can dwindle down into a spiral collapse.
2. Connecting with the customers
Everyday, online users which is a major portion of the world’s population, have questions that need to be resolved. At most times, the answers to these questions end with a purchase. Given this scenario, each company should focus on connecting with their customers on an emotive level rather than a mere functional purposes because customer bases grow when they find they can find a business that looks out for them and settles all their unease in everyday life. Instead of simply posting an online ad, businesses have to reach out by promoting new content innovatively that leads them to the desired end result.
3. SEO
Having enough traffic to lead to sales is just one functional chapter of SEO. Using content not only puts your business in the competitive run, but having best content ensures that your customers stay with your business definitely. SEO also helps understand the constantly evolving consumer behavior trends and allows for the business to develop its strategy to fit the customer needs.
4. Test and play
One cannot simply generate content and expect that content to be the base of a successful campaign. Having structured campaigns requires intel on the trends, which can be got accurately through SEO. This in turn ensures that your campaign is on the right track. Setting up a dedicated team to monitor the content flow, study trending patterns, build, test, launch, and edit campaigns, etc, are strategies that are effective for the long run.
5. Time
Having a schedule goes a long way to effectively churn out the best results. Decide the timing of your launches, consider the local sales patterns and amp them up in case of any important days like Black Friday, etc. The simple task is to set a calendar for the regular monitoring and content creating activities, and a time for taking it out into the open. Every business has its unique needs. In the digital arena, businesses that stand out are the ones that are able to perform steadily with a strategy from the beginning.
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