No Competitive Differentiators For Our Custom Development Practice

No Competitive Differentiators For Our Custom Development Practice

You probably catch yourself saying to your significant other once or twice a day "So, what can Oakwood do for you?"  We don’t have a unique competitive difference for our custom development practice. We’ve been discussing, arguing, debating, brainstorming, and otherwise dissecting the issue for a long time. During our chats we did make a list of things that SHOULD help us stand apart.  We see so many other companies saying the same things.  But they were not exactly competitive differences at all.Choices, Choices, Choices.  So, Why Us?We don’t have a unique competitive difference for our custom development practice. We’ve been discussing, arguing, debating, brainstorming, and otherwise dissecting the issue for a long time. During our chats we did make a list of things that SHOULD help us stand apart.  We see so many other companies saying the same things.  But they were not exactly competitive differences at all.We Found ItWhat makes us different is that NO ONE BUT OAKWOOD...
Read More
The Problem with Infrastructure Operations Managing Applications

The Problem with Infrastructure Operations Managing Applications

For many organizations, infrastructure operations are responsible for running hardware infrastructure associated with the application platform.  The application manager is in charge of managing the application, which includes functional configurations that support all of the underlying business processes.  Most of the time, the application owners are responsible for user management, security, staying on top of the product roadmaps and how they can use their application to drive business value.  In summary, one group provides the “ping”, “power”, “compute” and the other group ensures the application is functional and provides business value. Murky Waters Here is where the delineation of responsibility starts to get murky; the end users productivity is being adversely affected because the application is not performing up to standard.  This can take the form of slow logins, search results being slow or not pull back complete results, uploading or retrieving information that takes forever, timeout errors or reports that take forever to run.  A person can only get coffee so...
Read More
Aspect Oriented Programming In MVC

Aspect Oriented Programming In MVC

Sit back and relax.  We are going to get technical.  Ready?  Much like recursion, Aspect Oriented Programming is a programming paradigm for solving problems from a different perspective. The goal of this approach is to create reusable code which solves solution-wide concerns. The end result of investments in Aspect Oriented Programming are usually large dividends due to the opportunity for code reuse. Let's examine the concept and develop an example. Aspect Oriented Programming 101 By now most developers have already seen an introduction to MVC and during any introduction, you will quickly begin to see the links between Aspect Oriented Programming and ASP.NET MVC. If you haven't had the opportunity to view an intro to MVC I recommend the free introductory training videos on the ASP.NET website.  http://www.asp.net/mvc The first example you will probably notice is data annotations you add to your data model. using System.ComponentModel; using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations; namespace MvcApplication1.Models { public class Product { public int Id {...
Read More
A Mobile Application Brainstorm – Go

A Mobile Application Brainstorm – Go

Do you accept the proposition that every business should have a mobile application?  Part of your acceptance is the acknowledgment that the user community is carrying around hand-sized computers on which they sometimes have telephone conversations.  However, many businesses have not yet made the leap from their particular business model into the mobile application world. Here, therefore, in no particular order, are a few customer-centric areas that mobile applications could address - geared toward some business types that might not traditionally think of the mobile application play. Mobile Application | Solutions If you are selling practically anything - from battleships to bubblegum, a catalog of your wares available in a mobile application - even if only to your own sellers - will likely increase sales, customer service ratings, and overall responsiveness.  Own a trade show floor, or own the elevator conversation, when your seller doesn't have to get out a paper catalog to show what they have to sell. On the mobile catalog front - think...
Read More
Azure Development Team Training

Azure Development Team Training

It’s amazing to us the number of customers over the years who told us they couldn’t dare become an Azure Development Team. They are web or mobile developers.  They could not justify investing the time it takes to retrain their developers to build solutions for the Azure platform.  What's going on here? Becoming Azure We are not the fastest developers in the world.  However, we've learned over and over again how to deploy a solution to Azure.  As a result, anyone can. Over the years we have tested this assumption by training many developers. The time commitment was minimal, and so was the actual usage of the new skills. However, a few customers provided us the ability to truly make Azure a common skill across our development team. This new opportunity provided Oakwood with some very interesting data points. Each of which suggests the same thing: Azure is a pretty easy shift for any development team, both large & small. The Metrics Team One Example 25 person...
Read More
Intelligent Apps Saves On Wasted Service Costs

Intelligent Apps Saves On Wasted Service Costs

Worried about wasted service costs?  Makes sense.  Everyone wants to save money.  It’s the simple things that impact the bottom line, like service costs.  To see this, just follow the paper trail. Understanding how money flows through an organization provides a very clear view into ways to improve the company.  Oakwood pays a lot of attention to these simple but important things. Saving A Company Some Money | Case Study One example of this was recently seen in a company that provides services to consumers. This organization like many professional services organization is equal part service provider & service broker. In today’s economy, services are better when companies partner together. However, following the paper trail in this organization demonstrated that 70% of their outbound expenses were going to third-party service providers. While the services from their third-party partners were seen as mission critical & vital to the success of the organization, they resulted in a cost like any other activity. Where there is cost,...
Read More
Application Development Lessons from the 90’s

Application Development Lessons from the 90’s

Who is ready to party like it's 1999 and who remembers anything from the 90's, especially application development lessons?  What about user experience?  No one was talking about that back then, right?  It’s the simple things that make us better.  Let's talk about the days of outdated technology, shall we? Remember Outdated Technology? 20 years ago the cutting firms of the world were standing up the first ERPs at lightening paces. High powered iSeries or AS400 solutions that could solve all of the problems in the world by automating business processes were changing the way our forefathers conducted business. Green screens were changing the world. Cell phones were for drug dealers & power brokers, so they were safely mounted in your BMW. Memories Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to write code to run on a server with 8 MB of memory. Or for a screen that only had 2 colors. However, its’ amazing the number of clients who have & still do profitably...
Read More
A Faster Website In 4 Lines Of Code

A Faster Website In 4 Lines Of Code

Want a faster website?  Studies show that slow websites can drive traffic away from your website and directly to your competitors. Performance tweaks are available for every application in varying degrees of ROI. Fortunately, there is an easy way to improve the speed of your ASP.NET website in just 4 lines of code.A Faster WebsiteAccording to Yahoo's 13 Simple Rules for Speeding Up Your Website two of the most important changes you can make to your site are "Gzip Components" and "Add an Expires Header". While there are numerous changes you can make, these two are the low hanging fruit targeted by the code outlined below.The urlCompression element will allow IIS to perform Gzip compression of your static components. This is a feature supported by all popular web browsers and allows the web server to send HTML, CSS, and JavaScript content to a web browser in zipped format. The browser will then automatically unzip the file before trying to read the content resulting in reduced bandwidth usage at the cost of...
Read More
The State of the Developer Nation: Mobile Platform Wars

The State of the Developer Nation: Mobile Platform Wars

Who is ready for mobile platform wars?  A report conducted by Vision Mobile features the latest trends in platforms, languages, and tools that app developers are using and how much money they’re making. The report includes responses to an initial survey of more than 10,000 app developers in 137 countries. Highlights Android and iOS remain the leaders in the mobile platform war, however there is significant competition between platform providers for developer mind share. The mobile computing market is so much bigger than any before it, that even a tiny share of market represents an installed base that is too large for developers with global ambitions to ignore. Apps with an advertising-supported business models, or social apps depending on network effects target any platform with almost unlimited reach. However, apps on the global scale are now a table stake for new platforms. Platforms that don’t include apps like WhatsApp and Instagram will struggle to gain acceptance on the global level. The mobile computing market...
Read More
Xamarin Raises $54 Million in Funding For Its Mobile Application Development Tools

Xamarin Raises $54 Million in Funding For Its Mobile Application Development Tools

Xamarin Inc. announced last week that it raised a $54 million Series C round. The funds will be allocated to its mobile application development tool offerings, as well as towards expanding its sales and marketing teams. Great enterprise uptake and a strong partnership with investors, including Charles River Ventures, Floodgate and Ignition Partner, have brought their total funding to nearly $82 million to date. Some industry analysts have suggested it is the largest round ever raised by a mobile app development platform. Xamarin Game Plan Xamarin offers cross-platform development software used to build and design mobile apps. It markets its software as quick and easy-to-use with a suite of tools for developing apps for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows platforms in Visual Studio and C#. Xamarin boasts that its platform is used by 20% of the Fortune 500 companies and deployed across some 120 countries. Xamarin's CEO and co-founder Nat Friedman is quoted in a TechCrunch article saying that the company decided to raise a new round...
Read More
Beginner’s Guide To AngularJS

Beginner’s Guide To AngularJS

Welcome to a Beginner's Guide To AngularJs.  AngularJS, commonly referred to as simply Angular, is a structural framework, developed by Google, to create highly dynamic web applications. Angular hooks directly into HTML's syntax to allow your application's components, making it extremely easy to add Angular to an existing website or template. Using data binding and dependency injection, Angular is able to drastically eliminate the amount of code you need to write and maintain. On top of that, Angular comes with the ability to perform both Unit Tests, and End-To-End Tests to help ensure every aspect of your application is running as intended. What Is AngularJS This blog post will cover the basics of getting an Angular application up and running, along with several other current "best practices". This blog post is written with respect to the Angular 1.3.x branch: https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.3.3/angular.min.js Table of Contents Your First Creation Expressions Controllers Manipulating the $scope Directives, Directives, Directives The $http Service Your First Creation First things first. Before we can build...
Read More
Using External Authentication Providers to Secure Your Apps

Using External Authentication Providers to Secure Your Apps

A struggle that many web developers face is how to secure your apps. While it is pretty straightforward to develop some sort of username/password authentication, it becomes much more complex when considering self-service account maintenance. Things like registering, changing or resetting passwords, maintaining names, email addresses, etc. can all ramp up the complexity. Secure Your Apps I realize the Microsoft MVC template delivered with Visual Studio implements quite a bit of this functionality when creating a new MVC application. But, depending upon the industry or the level of security required, there is another way to authenticate users while pushing the responsibility of user maintenance onto other developers, external authentication providers. What I've Learned By using the OAuthWebSecurity class in the Microsoft.Web.WebPages.OAuth namespace, applications can leverage OAuth providers such as Facebook, Live, and Twitter or OpenID providers like Google and Yahoo to authenticate users. Adding providers is relatively simple, requiring some configuration on the provider and registering the provider in the application. Getting Started First, start with...
Read More