Siamack Yousofi

I was trained as a conductor of symphonic orchestras but now I spend most of my time as a captain of square rigged tall ships! A lot happened in between but it was mostly computing.

Will Flex go down with Flash?

Adobe Flash has featured prominently in recent blogs and press, and it is not all good news for this ubiquitous technology. With the native support for video content in HTML5, Google’s initiative to offer video content through the YouTube HTML5 Video Player and Apple’s open criticism of Flash, to the extent of refusing to support it (so far) on iPhone and iPad, dark clouds are gathering over Adobe.

It is still too early to write-off Flash and there are many arguments for and against its future.  In a recent blog John Gruber makes the interesting observation that “Flash is the only web standard based on a proprietary technology” and points out the advantages of adopting an open standard for video content on the Web.  Steve Jobs did not mince words either and had this to say about Flash and Adobe.

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The seven ordeals of the web application developer – Part 7

Developers who seek their fortune in the web business applications market must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

1. The First Ordeal: User experience

2. The Second Ordeal: Compatibility

3. The Third Ordeal: Time to market

4. The Fourth Ordeal: Finding the right tool

5. The Fifth Ordeal: Integration

6. The Sixth Ordeal: JavaScript

7. The Seventh Ordeal: Deployment

After surviving many ordeals and completing the web application, the developer must then face the ordeal of deployment.  If you thought it was as easy as uploading the elements of the application onto a web server and configuring the IP address, think again.

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We need your help

We would like to ask you to share with us, by responding through comments to this blog, the main keywords and key phrases that you and your colleagues and developer friends, who are in the market for a tool like Morfik, are likely to use in a search engine. To find the right keyword we have had much brainstorming at Morfik only to realise that as insiders we think differently about Morfik, and our keywords may or may not be those used by the public at large.  The unique nature of Morfik and its technology also makes it difficult to define it in a few words.

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The seven ordeals of the web application developer – Part 6

Developers who seek their fortune in the web business applications market must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

1. The First Ordeal: User experience

2. The Second Ordeal: Compatibility

3. The Third Ordeal: Time to market

4. The Fourth Ordeal: Finding the right tool

5. The Fifth Ordeal: Integration

6. The Sixth Ordeal: JavaScript

The race is over.  JavaScript is the only native programming option on the browser and it is unlikely that this will change.  Some love this language - others hate it.  Attempts to circumvent it have failed.  Ajax applications and Chrome Experiments have demonstrated its power and promise of wonderful things to come.

JavaScript presents the web developer with further challenges.  It is yet another language that must be learned and mastered.  Designed as an interpreted scripting language, it lacks the rigors of compilers hence it is more difficult to use when developing large and complex systems.  For the same reason it is hardly used on the server-side, requiring the developer to think in multiple languages across platforms.

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Entropy in software systems – managing complexity

In the science of thermodynamics, the concept of Entropy represents a “measure of disorder”. According to this concept “Systems evolve toward a state of maximum entropy”.

This notion has a parallel in software engineering, “Software systems evolve toward a state of maximum complexity”.

Desktop computing started in a simple way. The platform consisted of a simple processor, a simple single-tasking single-user operating system and a number of simple programming languages. As software applications evolved things became increasingly complex, slowing down the progress. So something had to be done.

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The seven ordeals of the web application developer – Part 5

Developers who seek their fortune in the web business applications market must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

1. The First Ordeal: User experience

2. The Second Ordeal: Compatibility

3. The Third Ordeal: Time to market

4. The Fourth Ordeal: Finding the right tool

5. The Fifth Ordeal: Integration

For developers who plan to make a transition from desktop to the web, the distributed nature of Cloud Computing presents the greatest challenge. The past experience has shown that initial reaction of most desktop developers is to retreat to the server and avoid browser side computing at all cost. Many vendors went along with this and focused their emphasis on the server-side. As a result, many promising projects ended up as mediocre implementations with poor user experience and lack of scalability.

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The role of florists in web application development

Did you know that florists play a major role in your life? In fact they have been involved in your life since before you were even born. It started when your parents proudly announced to the world that they were expecting a new baby. There were flowers. Then came the big day when you graced this world with your existence. There were more flowers. As the days turned into months and months into years, your birthdays brought more flowers. Sometimes you were ill. You received flowers. Then there was first love. More flowers. Graduation, first job, engagement, promotion, marriage, and your own babies all brought their flower moments - you get the picture! Unless like me you plan to live forever, one day there will be flowers for your funeral, and even for some years after you start programming the big computer in the sky, there will be the occasional flower on your resting place.

Before you jump to the conclusion that being a florist is a fantastic occupation because you cannot lose, come rain, hail or shine, and you give up information technology to open a flower shop, let me tell you why I said all the nonsense I just said.

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The importance of Rapid Application Development tools for Custom Software Development

No two businesses are the same! Market differentiation is the single most important factor in success and indeed survival of any business, big or small. In a crowded free-enterprise market, a competitive advantage results from those business processes that help uniquely differentiate a business from other players.

Businesses spend substantial amounts of money on IT infrastructure and computer applications. Some business processes such as word-processing can be handled by packaged software and still remain unique. Others can make use of highly customisable off-the-shelf packages such as accounting software. The exceptions are those unique processes that give any business its competitive advantage and are best served by custom-software development.

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Form and Function

For more than a decade form has been favoured over function on the web. As the business community recognised the imperative of a web presence, graphic designers usurped the website development opportunities while desktop developers took a back seat.

The static nature of web pages and the initial limitations of browser scripting, coupled with the stateless nature of the medium, obscured the true potential of the web. Even some of the most visionary of commentators dismissed the web as a passing fad and ushered the confused developers back around the desktop.

Initially, graphic designers simply transferred their clients’ printed glossy brochures onto the web. Using their photographic design tools, they pushed the envelope for web page design to its absolute limit, producing spectacular visual results while underneath lurked messy hacks and awkward workarounds.

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The seven ordeals of the web application developer – Part 4

Developers who seek their fortune in the web business applications market must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

1. The First Ordeal: User experience

2. The Second Ordeal: Compatibility

3. The Third Ordeal: Time to market

4. The Fourth Ordeal: Finding the right tool

Developing the equivalent of a Visual Basic or Delphi class IDE for the web is easier said than done.  Many have tried yet failed to deliver.  The main challenges have been the fluid presentation of content within the browser, a shortage of effective debugging tools for JavaScript, browser incompatibilities, the photographic nature of visual elements, the use of different languages on the server and browser, database connectivity and over-reliance on plug-in browser extensions.

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