Boost Your App Rankings with Proper ASO

Boost Your App Rankings with Proper ASO

ASO or App Store Optimization is the process of upgrading the visibility of a mobile app in an app store. Just like websites are optimized by search engine optimization (SEO), mobile apps are optimized by App Store Optimization (ASO). Precisely, app store optimization is the process of ranking an app highly in an app store’s search results and top charts rankings.

Various mobile marketing companies and ASO marketers agree that higher ranks and top chart rankings can drive downloads for an app. But how can apps be optimized?

Here are some effective, proven and result-oriented tips that are used by the SEO marketers for an effective ASO:

Name Your App Appropriately

A unique name for the app is not just a matter of branding. For best results for ASO, it is important to include relevant keywords in your title, as it affects the app store search results severely.

The titles in the app store are limited to 255 characters, allowing the use of plenty of keywords and phrases. However, this doesn’t mean that you stuff all the possible keywords. The title of an app is its first impression to the potential customer. The longer a title, more are its chances to get truncated from the search results.

Titles are usually truncated after the 30th character (including spaces) in Google Play and 23rd character in the App Store. And for the installed apps, they truncate after 11 and 14 characters for a device’s navigation menu and for the home screen, respectively.

To ensure that an app is clearly identified, the name should be short and sweet. To associate the app with selected keywords, all the non-essential keywords can then be added after the name, preceded by a vertical bar or a hyphen.

Know Your Customer and Your Competition

Do you know your customers and your competition? A well-shaped ASO strategy focuses on understanding how the customers use the app, together with a profound view of the competitive landscape. When starting, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What would be the top reasons for downloading and using your app?
  • What is your competitive advantage?
  • What language do your customers use?
  • How would they describe your app?
  • What keywords are targeted by your competitors?
  • How easily can you compete against these same keywords?
  • Should you target the obvious keywords or the less obvious keywords that speak better of your unique offerings and the points of variation?

An effective ASO strategy starts when you put yourself in your customer’s shoes. The goal is to improve the visibility in the app store searches and for that those keywords need to be targeted that drives the most traffic. The best way to identify the optimal keywords is by consumer research i.e. finding out what search queries are bringing customers to your app and the language they used to describe it.

Make the Most of Your Keywords

Different app stores have different keyword strategies. Below are the respective approaches of the App Store and Google Play Store.

The keyword field in App Store is limited to 100 characters. These 100 characters determine which search strings your app shall show up for. Keeping this in mind, it is important to use all the allotted characters and sensibly research your keywords to maximize the organic traffic.

Google Play, on the other hand, takes an approach similar to the modern SEO. It scans the description of the app to extract relevant keywords. For this, it provides 4000 characters field to describe the app in a normal, customer-facing language. Rather than jamming the keywords into the text, try and sprinkle them where they logically make sense.

Bring in a Unique Logo

The logo is responsible for the first impression of the app. Your potential customers would browse infinite apps; it is the logo of your app that would make it stand out of the rest.

It’s important to make it count!

When designing the logo, it is important to note that the App Store and Google Play vary in their approach and representation of the app logos. Both of them have predetermined standards for the ideal size, color scheme and geometry, all designed to match the rest of the operating systems.

For iOS, the logo should be sized to at least 1024*1024 pixels. From here, iOS resizes the logo for other applications, including app icons (180*180), tab bar icons (75*75) and navigation icons (66*66). It is also necessary to keep up the simplicity that can be reduced to the smallest size.

For Android, the size of the logo should be 512*512 pixels. It is recommended by Google that the designing of the app logo is done in accordance with the material design guidelines, which details everything from logo anatomy to shading and lighting.

Create a Convincing Description

You have already convinced the app store that your app is relevant to a specific list of keywords, now it’s the time to convince your potential customers that it meets their needs.

The description of the app should be targeted towards the customer base rather than search engine index. It should be viewed as call-to-action for the potential customers. The app description should be able to define itself in simple and crisp language, list the inimitable benefits it offers, and encourages the reader to download it.

It is recommended to focus the bulk of the energy in the first three lines of the description to grab immediate attention of the readers. Make the decision easy by immediately communicating what your app does and why they should use it.

The app description along with the rest of your product page should be treated as a breathing document. Every time an update is submitted, the changes should be portrayed in the product page’s description and screenshots of the new call out features.

Incorporate Videos and Screenshots

Screenshots in the description may not have a straight effect on search rankings, but they do exert downloads. Images convey more about what the app actually is about and by bringing the descriptive text to life, it allows the potential customers to envision your app before they download in real.

Though you can upload up to five screenshots for iOS apps and up to eight for Android apps, only the first 2-3 screenshots will be shown in the page load gallery. Be careful in ensuring that these screenshots show your app’s most pivotal features and are strong enough to influence the reader to browse other screenshots and download the app.

Increase Traffic with External Advertisings

It is vital to remember that on-page optimization is just one part of the mobile marketing kit. And this is where the role of your SEO knowledge comes in. It is extensively believed that both Android and Apple influence your app’s total page visits and product page backlinks when defining your search and overall ranks.

In simple words, the more traffic you drive to your listings, the higher it will rank in the search results. To drive traffic, you can build an online presence around your app with social media content, inviting reviews and investing in online advertising.

For many issuers, app indexing has proven to be the most effective strategy for driving traffic to an app’s product page. App Indexing basically is the process of making the app content searchable and linkable from searches.

App Indexing helps you get your app found in App Stores. As soon as your app is indexed, mobile users who search for keywords related to your app can see your app and install it accordingly. It helps in increasing downloads and app store traffic directly from a search engine results page.

App indexing has rapidly shaken up the world of searches, with 40% of searches now recurring as app indexed results. The world is going mobile, and those apps advancing the curve in ASO and app indexing trends will be those that steal the market share from the web-dominated search results.

The various platforms used for advertisings are Facebook, Google Adwords, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and more.

Confine Your App Listing

If your audience is beyond the English-speaking world, consider adjusting your language and brand communication to the needs and wants of the audience segment.

To start with, you can speak to your customers in a language they use at home. There are innumerable solutions for low-cost translation services that can convert your app’s title, description, keywords, and screenshots to the languages of the largest segments.

Both the Google Play Store and the App Store allow localization of the app listings to make them easily discoverable and readable for customers in different countries. This increases both, the adoption and the conversion rates, as more customers find your app using keywords in their language and as more customers download it after seeing a welcoming product page in their language. Together, these two effects collectively can add up to as much as a 767% increase in downloads.

Regular Updates

Mobile customers look for apps that improve constantly, with updates based on feedbacks by customers. The frequently updated apps are more customer-centric and have a higher value. Subsequently, app updates correspond highly to better reviews as each improved version of the app should naturally receive higher ratings that the version before.

Apparently, releasing an update is just half the scuffle. The next step is to inspire existing customers to download the update.  The following three strategies can help you sell your next update:

  • Keep the customers busy within your app such as notifying them about the latest update and what improvements they can look forward to.
  • Regularly renew the app description and the ‘What’s New’ field in the product page of the app store to highlight the new and improved features with a convincing call-to-action.
  • Uphold a hefty volume of five-star reviews for your app, and specifically for the latest version. According to stats, one-third of the existing customers check the ratings before downloading an update. Uphold a positive rating for that easy win.

It is recommended to maintain the update frequency between 30 to 40 days. However, always remember that each time you update an iOS app, the ratings reset and with this, the ranking drops temporarily. As a result, frequently updated iOS apps experience higher app store rank instability, while the frequently updates Android apps experience stability.

Stimulate Feedback and Ratings

Despite being mentioned at the end, it is really important to maintain a steady flow of positive reviews as it serves as the utmost possible validation of your app’s quality and is one of the best determinants of rank. This rule is applicable to all the app stores; apps with a large volume of positive ratings lead the top charts.

As per studies, the rating volume outplays the rating sentiment, when it comes to determine the ranks.

The app stores are always in the wait to recognize apps with the biggest fan community and the best standby for determine that is the rating count.

The apps with the maximum ratings usually are the ones which keep their customers busy and dynamically ask for customer feedbacks to contour their product roadmap and upcoming updates. It is important to remember that app store ratings provide just a myopic view of customer satisfaction.

With smart rating prompts, one can easily boost the ratings and eventually, the rank by thought-provoking only those customers who are most likely to give a 5-star review.

Concluding It Up:

Assisted with an understanding of the science and data regarding app store ranking algorithms and these top tips for App Store Optimization, you are well on the way to an unfailing ASO strategy. With vigilant measurement and a little trial and error, you can win-over your competitors in the app store top charts.

However, App Store Optimization is an ongoing process, thanks to both, the ever-progressing ranking algorithms and to the modest nature of the app stores. A successful ASO strategy requires a keen eye, a taste for the analytics and steady check-ins. Succeed these and your investment will pay-off many times over.

OWIN

OWIN

OWIN stands for Open Web Interface for .Net .OWIN defines a standard interface between .NET web servers and web applications. The main goal of the OWIN interface is to decouple server and application. OWIN specification is an open source community effort independent of Microsoft.

Java 9 expected in early 2017

Java 9 expected in early 2017

Highlights:
The new version will include following features:

Java + REPL = jshell

Microbenchmarks are coming

Will G1 be the new default garbage collector?

HTTP 2.0 is the future

The process API just got a huge boost

Debugging in Production

Improve Test-Failure Troubleshooting

Indify String Concatenation

PHP7 THE NEXT MAJOR THING

PHP7 THE NEXT MAJOR THING

PHP 7

PHP 7 was recently released. The 7.0.0 major release contains so many cool features that we decided to dedicate a whole post to it.
1. The Brand Spanking New Zend Engine

The Zend engine has been powering PHP since 1999 when it was introduced with the then new PHP 4 release. Zend – not to confuse with the Zend Framework – is an open-source execution engine written in C that interprets the PHP language. The current PHP 5.X series use Zend Engine II that enhanced the functionality of the initial engine and adds an extensible object model and asignificant performance enhancement to the language.
PHP 7 receives a brand new version of the engine, the code name of PHP#NG (Next Generation).
2. Twice the Speed
The most easily recognizable advantage of the new PHPNG engine is the significant performance improvement. The development team of PHPNG refactored the Zend Engine, and remarkably optimized memory usage.
The results? You can see the performance benchmarks provided by the Zend Performance Team below. By using PHP 7 not only your code will be executed faster but you will also need fewer servers to serve the same amount of users.

3. Facilitates Error Handling
To say the least, handling fatal and catchable fatal errors have never been an easy task for PHP coders. The new Engine Exceptions will allow you to replace these kind of errors with exceptions. If the exception is not caught, PHP will continue to return the same fatal errors as it does in the current 5.X series.
The new \EngineException objects don’t extend the \Exception Base Class. This ensures backward compatibility and results in two different kinds of exceptions in error handling: traditional and engine exceptions.
To enable programmers to catch both, PHP 7 introduces a new shared Parent Class under the name of \BaseException.
try {

nonExistentFunction();

} catch (\EngineException $e) {

var_dump($e);

}
4. 64-Bit Windows Systems Support
PHP is a prominent member of the LAMP stack which means its native environment is Linux – but it’s also possible to run it on a Windows system. The 5.X series don’t yet provide 64-bit integer or large file support, so until now x64 builds have been considered experimental.
PHP 7 will change this as it introduces consistent 64-bit support which means both native 64-bit integers and large files will be supported, allowing you to confidently run the language on your 64-bit Windows system in the future.

5. New Spaceship and Null Coalescing Operators
The Spaceship operator runs under the official name of Combined Comparison Operator. The notation of the new operator looks like this: <=> (kind of like a simplified spaceship, if you imagine it right).
The spacehip operator returns 0 if both operands are equal, 1 if the left is greater, and -1 if the right is greater. It’s also called a three-way comparison operator, and it already exists in other popular programming languages like Perl and Ruby.
// Integers
echo 1 <=> 1; // 0
echo 1 <=> 2; // -1
echo 2 <=> 1; // 1

// Floats
echo 1.5 <=> 1.5; // 0
echo 1.5 <=> 2.5; // -1
echo 2.5 <=> 1.5; // 1

// Strings
echo “a” <=> “a”; // 0
echo “a” <=> “b”; // -1
echo “b” <=> “a”; // 1

echo “a” <=> “aa”; // -1
echo “zz” <=> “aa”; // 1

// Arrays
echo [] <=> []; // 0
echo [1, 2, 3] <=> [1, 2, 3]; // 0
echo [1, 2, 3] <=> []; // 1
echo [1, 2, 3] <=> [1, 2, 1]; // 1
echo [1, 2, 3] <=> [1, 2, 4]; // -1

// Objects
$a = (object) [“a” => “b”];
$b = (object) [“a” => “b”];
echo $a <=> $b; // 0

$a = (object) [“a” => “b”];
$b = (object) [“a” => “c”];
echo $a <=> $b; // -1

$a = (object) [“a” => “c”];
$b = (object) [“a” => “b”];
echo $a <=> $b; // 1

$a = (object) [“a” => “b”];
$b = (object) [“b” => “b”];
echo $a <=> $b; // 0

The Null Coalescing operator is denoted with two question marks ( ?? ). You can use it when you want to check if something exists and return a default value, in case it doesn’t. The coalesce operator returns the result of its first operand if it exists and is not null, and the second operand in any other cases.
Here’s how the new operator reduces the time spent with basic declarations:
// Fetches the request parameter user and results in ‘nobody’ if it doesn’t exist
$username = $_GET[‘user’] ?? ‘nobody’;
// equivalent to: $username = isset($_GET[‘user’]) ? $_GET[‘user’] : ‘nobody’;

// Calls a hypothetical model-getting function, and uses the provided default if it fails
$model = Model::get($id) ?? $default_model;
// equivalent to: if (($model = Model::get($id)) === NULL) { $model = $default_model; }

// Parse JSON image metadata, and if the width is missing, assume 100
$imageData = json_decode(file_get_contents(‘php://input’));
$width = $imageData[‘width’] ?? 100;
// equivalent to: $width = isset($imageData[‘width’]) ? $imageData[‘width’] : 100;

6. Enables Accurate Type Declarations
Have you ever wanted to prevent unintended return values by declaring the return type of a function? Well, the new PHP 7 enables developers to enhance the quality of their code with the help of return type declarations.
The image below depicts a very simple use case where the foo() function is supposed to return an array. Check out more complicated examples here.
function foo(): array {
return [];
}

To enhance the feature even more, PHP 7 introduces 4 new type declarations for scalar types: int, float, string and bool. The new scalar types allow developers to denote that they are expecting integers, floats, strings, or booleans to be returned. The new scalar types introduced by PHP 7 will also be supported by argument Type Hints that enables developers to force the type of parameters since the PHP 5.X series.

7. Adds Anonymous Classes
PHP 7 enables you to use anonymous classes, already a well-established practice in other object-oriented languages like C# and Java. An anonymous class is a class without a name. The object it instantiates has the same functionality as an object of a named class.
The syntax is the same as what we are used to in traditional PHP classes, only the name is missing. If anonymous classes are used well, they can speed up coding as well execution time. Anonymous classes are excellent when a class is used only once during execution and in cases when a class doesn’t need to be documented.
var_dump(new class($i) {
public function __construct($i) {
$this->i = $i;
}
});

8. Facilitates Imports From the Same Namespace
The new Group Use Declarations feature will be godsent to those of you who want to import many classes from the same namespace. The new syntax cuts verbosity, makes your code tidier and easier on the eyes, and saves you a lot of typing time.
It will also be easier to read through and debug codes, as group use declarations help you identify the imports that belong to the same module.
use FooLibrary\Bar\Baz\{ ClassA, ClassB, ClassC, ClassD as Fizbo };

// Compared to current use syntax:

use FooLibrary\Bar\Baz\ClassA;
use FooLibrary\Bar\Baz\ClassB;
use FooLibrary\Bar\Baz\ClassC;
use FooLibrary\Bar\Baz\ClassD as Fizbo;

Group use declarations are used to cut verbosity when importing multiple entities from a common namespace. Using common PHP library examples, the following use declarations are equivalents:

// Current use syntax:

use Doctrine\Common\Collections\Expr\Comparison;
use Doctrine\Common\Collections\Expr\Value;
use Doctrine\Common\Collections\Expr\CompositeExpression;

// Proposed group use syntax:

use Doctrine\Common\Collections\Expr\{ Comparison, Value, CompositeExpression };

// Current use syntax:

use Symfony\Component\Console\Helper\Table;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Input\ArrayInput;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Output\NullOutput;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Question\Question;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Input\InputInterface;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Output\OutputInterface;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Question\ChoiceQuestion as Choice;
use Symfony\Component\Console\Question\ConfirmationQuestion;

// Proposed group use syntax:

use Symfony\Component\Console\{
Helper\Table,
Input\ArrayInput,
Input\InputInterface,
Output\NullOutput,
Output\OutputInterface,
Question\Question,
Question\ChoiceQuestion as Choice,
Question\ConfirmationQuestion,
};
9. Cleans Up the Room
The goal of PHP 7 was to free up the space to enable improvement, so it was necessary to get rid of many deprecated functionalities and old and unsupported Server APIs and extensions.
All the removed items have been deprecated for a while in PHP 5 so most likely you haven’t used them for a long time. However please note if you have a legacy app running on older PHP versions the new PHP 7 can potentially break the code.

Build Cross Platform Mobile App-Xamarin

Build Cross Platform Mobile App-Xamarin

Launched in 2011, Xamarin is a platform used to develop cross-platform mobile apps. It works with the Mono framework to connect with the Application Program Interface (API) of common mobile device functions including camera, contacts and geo-location for Android, iOS and Windows operating systems. It helps the developers to build robust applications using the C# encoding language that runs on the .NET Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). Considered as a “write once, run everywhere” podium, Xamarin as mobile application framework has its negatives and positives.

How Does Xamarin Work?

Xamarin has two commercial products: Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS. They both are built on top of Mono, an open-source variant of the .NET Framework based on the accessible .NET ECMA principles. Mono has been around almost as long as the .NET framework itself, and runs on nearly all possible platforms including Linux, FreeBSD, Unix, and Mac OS X.

On Android, Xamarin’s compiler assembles down to Intermediate Language (IL), which is then Just-in-Time (JIT) gathered to native assembly when the application takes-off. On iOS, Xamarin’s Ahead-of-Time (AOT) Compiler assembles Xamarin.iOS applications straight to native ARM assembly code.

In both frameworks, Xamarin applications utilize a runtime that inevitably handles things such as garbage collection, underlying platform interop, memory allocation, etc.

Mono.Android.dll and MonoTouch.dll

Xamarin applications are constructed against a subsection of the .NET BCL known as the Xamarin Mobile Profile. This profile has been created explicitly for mobile applications and packed in the Mono.Android.dll and MonoTouch.dll (for Android and iOS respectively). This is much like the way Silverlight (and Moonlight) applications are built averse the Silverlight/Moonlight .NET Profile. In actual fact, the Xamarin Mobile profile is same as the Silverlight 4.0 profile with a group of BCL classes added back.

In addition to the BCL, these .dlls include wrappings for almost the entire Android SDK and iOS SDK that permits you to raise the essential SDK APIs straight from C#.

Application Output

When Xamarin applications are assembled, the result is an Application Package, either .apk file in Android or an .app file in iOS. These files are identical from application packages built with the platform’s defaulting IDEs and are deployable in the exact same way.

Pros:
  • A single language is used to code for all platforms.
  • Performance: Xamarin performs speed. It is much faster to the existing cross-platforms.
  • It allows customization for users to create native look and feel for each platform.
  • It also provides full support to the hardware features like GPS, Camera, Accelerometer.
  • Coding for any platform can be done on one IDE: Xamarin IDE or Visual Studio.
Cons:
  • It is a costly affair, a few hundred dollars per platform/ per developer.
  • There is a learning bent involved in using Xamarin. The developer needs to know C# and .net and also the platform framework / UI / Lifecycles that they are developing for. Also they need to learn the Xamarin Framework/ IDE.
  • It does not create Windows xp+ (desktop application). Though the desktop app can still be coded in .Net / C# normally.
  • Xamarin cannot use open source libraries that are prevalent on Android/ iOS. Though .Net has its stake of open source support
  • Since it is a paid product, it is hard to find support issues in a smaller ecosystem. Xamarin support can be relied on if developer issues/ bugs could come up with their tools.
The Predecessors:

PhoneGap is a framework which allows cross platform mobile development by using web technologies, HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS, as a substitute of native languages such as Objective-C and Java. The resultant applications are hybrid.

These cross-platform apps run inside a “container” (WebView on Android and UIWebView on iOS) and influence the device’s browser to reduce the HTML and process the JavaScript in the vicinity. Webkit is the browser engine that is used on Android, iOS and BlackBerry.

There were two constituents to PhoneGap:

  • A JavaScript API which is the interface between the HTML5/CSS code and the native functionality, such as camera, contacts and gps.
  • Native code which is entreated by the JavaScript APIs.
Compared Performances:

Native Performance: PhoneGap is a slow and value performing framework that works well on older Android devices and iPhone4. While Xamarin performs steadily on Android, iOS and Win phone devices.

Native UI: The PhoneGap platform has a general UI and does not have innate look for dissimilar platforms. Xamarin on the other hand offers the ability to create individual UI for different platforms.

Data Amount: In PhoneGap, it is challenging to display big amounts of data in the lists while in Xamarin, any amount of data can be displayed.

Launch Time: PhoneGap usually takes longer time to launch an app on a device whereas Xamarin provides option of high speed induction.

What’s Firebase?

What’s Firebase

Firebase is a powerful product that gives you the tools to develop robust applications which enables us to increase our user base and use AdMob to earn money. It allows us to use its key features like Realtime Database, User Authentication, and Hosting for free and is very reliable. One of the main problems that developers usually face is that they have to build complex structures and logics to manage data and flow of the application. This takes a lot of their time and efforts. Now with the help of Firebase, one can now get work done much more efficiently and with minimum efforts as it manages all the complex data structures by itself.
Realtime database is a unique feature provided by Firebase as it does not require user to refresh the web page or the application screen to get the updated data. Data will be updated as soon as it has been modified on any other connected system. Firebase has its own SDK which manages these tasks all by itself and user does not have to do anything manually for that. Thus, whenever a Firebase database updates, all connected users receive updates in realtime. This also eliminates the requirement for ‘pull-to-refresh’ in the applications as the data will be updated all by itself. This saves time and enables developer to focus on the functionality.
Firebase is time efficient and is rich of very helpful tools which are easy to use for entry level developers and experienced developers both.
Some of the key features provided by Firebase for Mobile Development are as following:

  • Analytics
  • Cloud Messaging
  • Authentication
  • Realtime Database
  • Storage
  • Hosting
  • Remote Configuration
  • Test Lab
  • Crash Reporting

Analytics:
Google Analytics is set to be replaced by Firebase Analytics. Firebase Analytics allows us to use all the features of Google Analytics and in addition to that it allows us to link different sets of users with different sets of rules i.e. we can decide what a user can see in our application.
Firebase Analytics is an application measurement tool. It is totally free to use and there is no quota. It provides insight on application usage and user engagement. It allows us to define custom users which can help us to manage different type of demographics. We can use these different categories to target specific set of users. That can be done by using different Firebase features such as notifications. It also helps you figure out how everyone is using the application on different platforms (i.e. Android, iOS and web). If you need to perform custom analysis or join your data with other sources you can link your analytics data to ‘BigQuery’, which allows more complex analysis like querying large data sets and joining multiple data sources. It also keeps logs events for each crash so you can get a sense of the rate of crashes for different versions or regions, allowing you to gain insight into which users are impacted. You can also create a custom set of audiences for users who have experienced multiple crashes and communicate with them via FCM. It manages the version of OS and devices getting the most crashes on and it can help us to figure out what the issue might be.

Cloud Messaging:
Firebase is set to replace the well-known GCM (Google Cloud Messaging) with its FCM (Firebase Cloud Messaging). FCM is free, reliable and easy to implement as compared to GCM. Using FCM, you can notify a client application at any time and about anything. We can send notifications to specific set of users or to everyone at once. It also allows us to set a specific time at which we went to send the message to the user.

Key features of FCM:

  • Send notification messages or data messages
  • Versatile message targeting
  • Send messages from client apps

Authentication:
This is one of the basic features provided by Firebase. This allows user to save and sync the data over the cloud with ease. Firebase securely saves the user data and takes privacy seriously which makes it more reliable and trustworthy. Firebase provides several methods for user to sign up/sign in. User can simply use traditional Email Id and password to sign up or can use Facebook, Google, Twitter and GitHub accounts to sign up. Firebase provides very easy to understand SDKs for all of these. Read more about it: https://firebase.google.com/docs/auth/android/manage-users
Apart from this, it also provides Anonymous sign in. This creates a temporary account for the user so that he can use the application. We can limit the temporary user to what he/she can view in our application. This helps undeceive users to get an idea about what to expect from the application before creating an account. And if the temporary user decides to make an account then we can link his temporary account to the actual account so that he does not lose his/her data.

Realtime Database:
As mentioned above, realtime database is one of the most interesting features provided by Firebase. We can add, update or remove data from one device and the changes will reflect on all the linked devices instantly and without any user interaction. The data is also available even if the user gets offline. The data can be updated while being offline and the changes will reflect as soon as the user is again connected to the network. The data stored is in the form of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) which is very easy to manage.

Implementation (Android):
Implementing Firebase is quick and easy. With intuitive APIs packaged into a single SDK, you can focus on solving your customer’s problems and not waste time building complex infrastructures. Currently Firebase gives support to build applications on Android, iOS and Web.
Prerequisites for building an app in Android:

  • A device running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or newer, and Google Play services 9.2.1 or newer.
  • The Google Play services SDK from the Android SDK Manager.
  • Android Studio 1.5 or higher.
  • An Android Studio project and its package name.

Now, after setting up an Android project you need to add rules to your root-level build.gradle file, to include the google-services plugin:
buildscript {
dependencies {
classpath ‘com.google.gms:google-services:3.0.0’
}
}
Then, in your module Gradle file (usually the app/build.gradle), add the apply plugin line at the bottom of the file to enable the Gradle plugin:
apply plugin: ‘com.android.application’

android {
// …
}

dependencies {
// …
compile ‘com.google.firebase:firebase-core:9.2.1’
}

// ADD THIS AT THE BOTTOM
apply plugin: ‘com.google.gms.google-services’

After doing that we will be able to use Firebase with your application. For more information regarding the same, kindly visit https://firebase.google.com/docs/

Conclusion:
Firebase is very powerful and easy to use. This certainly makes life of a developer less painful and he can think less about logics related to data management as Firebase does that with ease and with limited lines of code. Firebase is free to use unless you want features like Test Labs (which runs custom test scripts on hundreds of device configurations and gives you feedback) or increase cloud storage space, which is not usually required if you do not have a huge user base. Firebase is now very important part of development and will be with us for a long time to come.

BEACONS

BEACONS

In the modern era, humans spend most of their time indoors. But it is nearly impossible to track the devices via GPS as cell signals are mostly blocked indoors. For this problem, BEACONS are the solution.
Beacons have been generating buzz since 2013 when Apple first introduced iBeacon technology. And while it may have appeared for a time and that this new way of connecting with customers might be slow to catch on, but today it’s on fire!

What is a Beacon?

Beacons are low-cost battery powered Bluetooth devices which are small enough to attach to walls or countertops. Beacons transmit data directly to the smartphones/tablets. They can be used in any business i.e. in shopping centers, in retail stores, in educational institutes etc. Even consumers can use beacons as a part of their home automation systems. Beacons support only one-way communications, it means beacons only transmit signal but don’t receive any information.

Each beacon has a unique identifier that a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone can detect to determine signal strength and access how close in proximity a person’s device is to the beacon. This is so the system can identify which beacon a person is closest to, so it can send the right app notification. If the technology was not precise, app notifications would have been irrelevant.

What can we actually do with beacons?
Beacons can be used in following fields:-

  • Retail Shops: – Beacons can be used in retail shops to provide offers and other products information to the users. This will provide interactive experience to the users via Proximity marketing. Also it will help the owner to manage the resources according to footfall recorded by beacons.
  • Shopping Malls: – By using beacons, malls can attract their users by sending latest ongoing promotions of various stores via proximity messaging. Moreover, beacons can help mall owners to record the user’s shopping history and other interests.
  • Café and restaurants: – Café and restaurant owners can use beacons to record the footfall of customers and to provide them menu and other offers and promotions.
  • Museums: – In museums, beacons can be used to provide information regarding the things in exhibition whenever a user goes near to a specific object in exhibition.
  • Employee location tracking: – Using beacons, employee’s location can be tracked within the office premises. This will help in better resource management.
  • Attendance system: – Beacons can be used to recording In-Time and Out-Time of any person in any organization. This is specifically beneficial for the companies having a very large number of employees where long queues can be avoided by using beacons. This process can also ensure collecting more accurate data in terms of employees going out of the office for breaks during office hours.
  • Travel Industry: – Miami International Airport recently launched an app that uses beacons to help consumers navigate the overwhelming terminals and find the correct gate for departure as the app sends them notifications on their mobile devices for restaurant and retail deals in the airport. Airports aren’t the only ones capitalizing on this trend, airlines are right on their heels. Imagine there is an unexpected flight delay. Beacons can alert passengers of a complementary drink discount at the bar around the corner, creating an inviting experience to ride out their wait. Beacons are taking a typically frustrating situation and introducing customer service technology aimed at averting and appeasing potentially disgruntled passengers. Now isn’t that how every airline passenger wants to be treated?

How to get beacons?

There are currently a number of beacon manufacturers out there, all offering a slightly different range of features, flexibility and reliability and battery life. Estimote and Kontakt are of the more popular beacon manufacturers and they offer a good SDK (software package) which allows you to configure and play around with the beacon, whilst also offering pretty decent battery life. You can get super small beacons, super long life beacons or waterproof/sturdy beacons from a quick search; you can even turn any BLE compatible phone into a beacon itself.

Beacon Protocols

The most popular Beacon implementations are Apple’s iBeacon and Google’s Eddystone.
Apple spelled out its framework for location services with iBeacon, first introduced in 2013 with iOS 7. Apple has kept the protocol proprietary, requiring non-disclosure agreements with third-party implementations such as those built for the Android platform.

Google’s Eddystone, in contrast, offers open source beaconing with cross-platform support. Eddystone, arriving only in July 2015, supports multiple approaches to the basic beacon interaction. Eddystone-URL broadcasts URLs; Eddystone-UID broadcast’s the beacon’s ID; and Eddystone-TLM provides beacon telemetry.

Google Maps has already launched beacon-based transit notifications in Portland. The Google Maps app can now send transit schedules and alerts to transit riders. Google also plans to soon add beacons to Google Now.

Top Beacon manufacturers

Three of the top beacon hardware manufacturers are Estimote, Kontakt.io and Radius Networks.
Estimote offers beacons that are compatible with iBeacon and Eddystone and having a default battery life of about three years, a range of up to 70 meters, and an ARM Cortex-M0 core processor. The company’s beacons offer motion and temperature sensors, as well as UUID rotation mode to improve security.

Kontakt.io offers two standard beacons: the Smart Beacon and Tough Beacon. Both are compatible with iBeacon and Eddystone. Smart Beacons are built on a Nordic Semiconductor chip, contain an ARM Cortext-M0 core, have batteries that last up to two years under default settings, and can scan for BLE packets more than 50 meters away. The Tough Beacon ruggedizes the hardware, combining the capabilities as the Smart Beacon for the elements; it is shatter-resistant, waterproof, and works in extreme temperatures, from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Radius Networks, founded in 2011, offers a variety of proximity beacon hardware, including RadBeacon Dot, RadBeacon USB and RadBeacon X4. Its smallest beacon, RadBeacon Dot, offers an adjustable range of five to 50 meters, battery life of 30 to 285 days depending on usage, and works on a replaceable coin cell battery. Its USB beacon offers a range of five to 30 meters and is powered by any USB charger. The X4 beacon is Radius Networks’ all-weather BLE beacon that offers five to 50 meters range with up to 184 months battery life, in -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conclusion

In this world where consumers are habitual to a personalized and seamless user experience, beacons will provide the large number of opportunities for the developers to build apps with innovative experience. The only key to success is to think about “how and when to provide the content to user”. Random, inappropriate or contextually irrelevant data will be annoying to user and may hinder the users.


The World of Prisma

The World of Prisma

While the world is going crazy about Pokemon Go, there’s another application that is taking the web by storm. Prisma is a new photo application that transforms your regular picture into Picasso paintings. Sounds great, no?

It is a photo effect application whose workflow mimics that of popular photo sharing apps like Facebook and Instagram. At its base, there is a viewfinder that takes square images to which you can apply around 35 filters, many of which are modelled in the style of famous painters like Picasso and Van Gogh.

The app is viral since summer 2016, with over a million daily users in its opening month.

What is so special about this app?

Prisma is absolutely not the ever first app that produces beautiful, fanciful pictures using filters, but the statistics around the web show that it does the best. The secret success recipe is the Artificial Intelligence that processes each photo in a different manner, contingent to the filter. The app allegedly learns and familiarizes the implementation of these filters over time, using the information it gets from each user’s photos.

The Ranking?

As per reports, the app has gained immense popularity within a very short span of time. It is ranked 3rd among all the photo and video apps in the US. The app puts an imprint on the photos, which can be turned off from the settings menu.

The app does not have an internal sharing feed like Instagram, so you can only edit your favorite pictures and save it to your gallery. Users can then share the edited pictures on the various photo sharing apps like Instagram and Facebook.

This app is a unique concept that gives out pictures that are a treat for an eye.

How does it work?

Take or select a photo:

Download and open the Prisma app. Since there is no social or engagement element, the app does not ask its users to create an account.

The main screen is fragmented into two, the top half shows the camera view, and the bottom half shows the capture button, camera rotation button, settings button, and the thumbnail of your camera roll. You can either take a fresh photo or choose one from the existing ones.

Edit the photo:

Applying filters couldn’t be easier than this. All you have to do is scroll through the filters, until one charms your eye. Select it, and the app will work its magic on your photo. This may take a couple of seconds to process, but it’s worth the work being carried out on your photo.

If you think the effect is too strong, it can be easily toned down: just swipe left to reduce the strength until you are pleased with the look.

Share the photo:

Once you’ve settled on a style, you can then share it on Instagram or Facebook (the dedicated options), save to your camera roll (the default is to save an alternate version and not over the original), or share it elsewhere.

Things to dwell upon:

The application has a couple of settings, but the only one you may want to change is the option to include a watermark to your photo. It has a default setting to have a Prisma logo on the right bottom which you might not want on your shots, so you can disable that.

Creative Tip:

Try using images with strong colors and shapes. To get best results, avoid images that are too chaotic. Have fun!

Where to Find:

This App is available at both Google Play Store  and  App Store.

Turn Your App Idea into a Reality

Turn Your App Idea into a Reality

Mobility is the latest trend in the technological sector, and mobile applications are gradually transforming the interactions and equations of work in this industry. Mobile applications have gained popularity because of their utility. They are one of the principal contributing aspects to the success of mobile phones.

Mobile applications have multiplied the attention of the users and have become a budding success in a flash. But, because of lack of essential information and proficiency, people are usually not aware about how to shape their ideas into reality.

So, How Do You Get Started?

Decked are the top tips to be considered to turn your idea into a mobile application:

1.  Write Down Your Feature List:

You may want to turn that one big idea into a mobile application, it is not recommended to isolate your other smaller ideas. Embark them all on paper, it will help you categorize the ideas and focus on it.

2. Pick One That Really Adheres You:

Once you are done with the listing of the ideas, discuss them with your developers, designers and co-founders. This will help you to get an idea about which dreams can be successfully converted into a mobile application.

3. Research Your Market:

Once you are aware of the gist of your idea, conduct a market research to ascertain if it really has some potential. Although your idea should be unique, it is also important to learn if there is any similar application in the market. If existing, study it, review it, check the feedback and analyze what new you can provide to your users. This will help you to understand the market better and you will be able to build an app as per the requirement of the market.

You can also conduct assessments to discover your potential customers. Analyze what are their expectations from a new app and what matches your goal.

4. Identify Your Audience:

When conducting a market research, you will be able to see your potential customers but it is important to identify who would be the actual users of your app.

It is vital to know your audience so you can see what else needs to be fixed in the app. While you may have just the gist, the whole idea will rely on who your customers or audiences are as they will decide on whether your app will be a success or not.

5. The Name Ceremony:

Now is the time to give your app a name. When you are naming your app, you are basically building a brand image. So the name should be unique, and be able to indicate what the app is about. You can get in touch with professional developers who could help you decide the name with their knowledge and skills in their field.

6. The Development:

While most of the organizations have in-house developers to develop apps, others can outsource their work to reputed app development companies or try a cloud-based solution that enables one to create apps without any coding.

Once developed, you need to test it to the potential customers. Show it to them and explain how it works. Always keep them in mind when you test the app or make any changes to it, as it all depends on them whether your app will be well-received or not.

7. Start Pitching Businesses:

Once the initial version is ready, look for businesses and vendors who would want to build your app ahead of this for a more professional outlook. This is where your market research comes in, where you can discover which organization can best fit your app/ idea.

Approach these vendors and create a great pitch, try and convince them to take your app and build it with their inputs to it.

8. Promote It To The Target Groups:

It is now that you can promote your app and have the chance to reach to the potential customers who want to try your app.

Look for different ways to promote your app. Utilize the power of social media to display and promote your product. You can also gain benefits through the App Store Optimization services.

At Seasia Infotech, we believe in your ideas and as always keen to help you to make them live. Whether it’s just a gist you want an app made out of, or have a half made application, we are always available to your rescue.

We believe in quality of work and customer satisfaction, thus, offering a set of malleable pricing models to our customers. Our clients are authorized to select the best option as per their business requirements.  Our famed strategies and planning work together with our renowned branding and digital design experts has made us one of the best organizations for mobile development in India.

Why Should You Adopt Agile Software Delivery Approach?

Why Should You Adopt Agile Software Delivery Approach

‘Delivering Quality at Speed’ is the success chant in today’s highly-competitive business world. The customary approaches for software development have divided development and testing into two diverse steps- developers build a feature and the QA team tests it for defects.

With the eventual growth of the product, the testing time and efforts also grow exponentially. This welcomes a cold choice for the project managers- either to delay the release or refuse to test. ‘Agile’ was born in need for a better software development approach that allows developers and testers to decrease the number of bugs in the code and to identify bugs early in the code in that order.

The agile approach helps organizations manage predictability while driving alliance and transparency across teams, and adopt a different outlook to be successful. The development cycles, in agile environment, break tasks into small increments. It supports teams to deliver working software more cooperatively and with improved quality.

The agile software development approach offers momentous benefits to the business- better competitive differentiation, accelerated time to market, high-quality software that enhances customer gratification.

The 10th Annual State Agile Survey makes it clear that agile software development has grown progressively over the last decade. The number of organizations, comprising both the startups and large enterprises, accepting agile continues to increase each year.

We here have a quick snapshot of the top 10 reasons (as stated in the 10th Annual State of Agile Survey) to embrace agile software delivery:

1. Speeding Product Delivery – the agile development approach allows the enterprise to deliver high-quality software within fast release cycles that is more in line with the needs of the user.

Shorter sprints in agile development approach are gaining thrust to keep up the speed of the development process constantly with the business goals.

2. Enhance abilities to manage the varying priorities Agile software development not only requires teams to develop and test rapidly but also to deliver developments to the products and services faster to the customers.

Guaranteeing that enhancements and changes required by customers in a reliable and usable manner required to take an agile approach through every step of the project.

3. Increase efficiency Organizations ought to be on a continuous lookout to achieve better business consequences. They require a better way to improve the methodologies and skills that IT staff practices to deliver  software.

The agile methodology allows increased productivity through more effective communication while being highly reactive to the ever-changing demands of the customers.

4. Improve software quality In an agile environment, the development and QA teams work together aiming to develop software rapidly in close collaboration with the customer.  Agile techniques assess and improve the software quality while offering increased customer value.

The development and Testing teams cooperate quite well in an agile environment, and also aim to develop software rapidly in close collaboration with the customer.

5. Enhance delivery expectedness – Something clients usually care the most about is predictability. They want teams to be good at making and keeping promises, reliably deliver work that is efficiently tested, amended codes at the end of each sprint. Stable predictable programs are not possible without predictable and reliable teams, particularly when there are numerous dependencies among the teams.

Using an agile approach for software delivery teams can plan, coordinate and deliver enough predictability along with a release level commitment.

6. Improve business/IT placement Organizations need to mend the business and IT placements to achieve higher value for their business. An organization needs to be effective and efficient to be competitive. The fast changing business environment calls for invention and agility. Organizations need to focus on IT to implement the right systems in the right way to meet the needs of the business. It should step towards business/ IT alignment by aiming on a process to be improved while considering the technology and infrastructure.

An agile approach empowers the association of all the IT operational processes: Change – Problem – Incidents – IT Operations perfectly. Furthermore, it focuses on reduction in time and effort, cost and investments in designing, recording, dis-positioning and testing.

7. Improve Visibility of the Project Visibility is the key to quickly adapt to the needed change. In the lack of project visibility, it is difficult to track and measure improvements in productivity. As much as the top management of an organization needs to know, the teams associated with the development and delivery of software should also know which direction they are heading towards.

Numerous development, testing and operation teams must be aware of the present-day state, the performance and the objective of the project and the organization. Refining the leadership and team visibility through agile approach provides customer value early and often.

8. Decrease project risk – Agile is considered an effective approach for software development that characteristically reduces the risks in software development. Software development in sprints consists of agile techniques such as sprint retrospective, sprint review etc. All these techniques provide continuous feedback which helps prevent deviations between expectations and the completed software.

Using agile, the scrum teams prioritize the highest value and highest risk requirements first. They use current agile artifacts and meanings to manage risk.

9. Improve team optimism – Agile approach emphasizes on better communication and cooperation among different teams. The nature of the agile approach is to keep the team motivated about the challenges in the future. The scrum meetings, retrospectives, prioritization, feedback mechanisms keep the team environment dynamic and up-to-the-minute. The inherent characteristics of the agile approach include Seamless communication, self-organization, high association, project visibility to all the stakeholders etc. which brings a positive change and keeps the team motivated.

Also, the communication through various forums and discussion boards are the basic fundamentals of the agile approach. The approach demands an organization to listen to its employees, communicate its strategies with employees and identify employees for their determinations and accomplishments.

10. Improve engineering discipline Proper adoption and implementation of the principles and practices of the agile approach empower the team members to achieve and enhance the quality of software rather than just completing the work. An important component of the high-quality product is always a good and accessible design and architecture. When an organization plans to adopt the agile principles with a goal of delivering high-quality product, they should also embrace sound engineering discipline.

An impressive design, perfect configuration management and effective testing strategies are crucial to make the best use of the agility approach.

We, at Seasia Infotech work on agile practices for software testing to authorize our clients with better business outcomes. For information about our other services, visit our website.