A simple approach to software development

Development

Setting up your software development for a new application there are quite a few set of software developers that tend to jump on their machine and begin coding.  I would strongly suggest that an application which could be successful needs to start from thought to paper (even electronic) before any new code is typed.

Now as some suggest creating designs or layouts are the best method for them and sometimes that does make sense.  Creating a sketch board  or laying out the screen design is a simple way to visually see what you want to achieve.

Here are the steps that you can use when you are preparing to create a new application.

Sitting at a table or desk
Using white boards do help when you plan to get your thought on to the board for the initial start of the project.  You can quickly put down what your clients (consumers) wish to have or to fulfill their needs.  Simple step is to list all of the pieces in bullet point what you think the client is expecting from your application.

Always remember that developers can write a great application that nobody wants.

Flowcharts
Yes this is one of computer 101 concepts that no software developer wishes to use any longer but if you set up a general flowchart it will show you things you did not think of.

Screen Design
Screen layouts are extremely important, it gives the visual aspect on what the application will look like.  The best thing is that it could be done on paper without using a computer.  Sure it looks like stick men but it does show the layout that you think clients will be happy with.

Data Model
This is essential if you plan on having some sort of database manager that will capture the information entered with your application.  A proper data model will show exactly what you think each table and record size will be.  The database manager is another piece where you must either sell to the client on a robust database or a small foot print.

Know your customer
Sitting with your clients or consumers or customers, you need to understand the business.  You may not be a retail sales guru but you have to understand what the client wants and possibly increase business.  This does not mean as a software developer you need to allow the client overrun the project where your team gets the blame for it falling apart but you have to understand how the client starts and ends the day.

Team work
The biggest and one of the most difficult piece is to have the presentation in front of the software team.  You must be prepared to accept criticism from your peers.  They may see something you did not see or whether there is a market for your application.

Starting a new application for a market can be either a hard task or you can set up a plan that will get you to the end line quickly and successfully.

Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are going to work together

Phone

Amazon and Microsoft announced on Wednesday that they’ve been working on a partnership to allow their respective voice assistants, Alexa and Cortana, to speak to one another.

Starting later this year, owners of Amazon Echos and other Alexa-powered devices will be able to say: “Alexa, open Cortana” to start querying Microsoft’s voice assistant. Owners of devices running Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system will be able to summon Alexa via Cortana in a similar manner.

Why would customers want that — especially with the relatively clunky nature of the necessary voice command? The companies say that each voice assistant has its strengths — features like Microsoft Outlook and Exchange email integration for Cortana and smart-home controls or shopping for Alexa — and that customers of both companies would benefit from an integration.

It’s not clear if the two assistants will share voice data in an effort to make each digital assistant smarter. But there is the hope that someday these artificial agents will be intelligent enough to route requests to the best virtual assistant for the task without a specific “Alexa” or “Cortana” command.

What about Apple ?

The new partnership throws a wrinkle into the narrative of the emerging world of voice assistants, where Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple have been competing to build the operating system of the future. Google, of course, has Google Assistant built into the Google Home speaker as well as select Android phones. Apple’s Siri has been the digital assistant inside iPhones for years and will power the forthcoming HomePod.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft chief Satya Nadella told the New York Times they would welcome such cooperation. But, as the Times notes, such a future may be unlikely since Google and Apple see their AIs as key differentiators for their mobile phone operating systems.

As Windows always wanted was to have a house completely working with their OS so now that you have Alexa involved or linked that dream may come true.

NYPD dropping Window Phone for iPhone

Phone

A New York Post report that one of Microsoft’s more celebrated U.S. business customers for Windows Phone is dumping the platform raises some interesting questions about Redmond’s future mobility plans.

The Post reported on August 28 that the New York Police Department (NYPD) is going to scrap the 36,000 Nokia phonesrunning the Windows Phone OS that it has been rolling out for the past two years.

Microsoft dropped support for Windows Mobile 8.1 in July 2017. But the two handset models the NYPD purchased, the Lumia 640XL and Lumia 830, both were among the Windows Phones that were upgradable to Windows 10 Mobile. (Of these two, only the newer 640XL will also be eligible for the coming Fall Windows 10 Mobile update, however.)

As of October 2016, the NYPD was planning ot migrate to Windows Phones running Windows 10 Mobile. But the New York Post is reporting that the NYPD, instead, is likely to move to iPhones by the end of this calendar year.

Microsoft has been working to get out of the phone business for the past couple of years. The company is not currently manufacturing any new Windows Phones. And Windows Phones that are still being used won’t get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update coming out later this year. Instead, some subset of existing models will only get something internally known as “Feature 2,” which is believed to be a dead-end branch of Windows 10 Mobile.

So if NYPD does not share Microsoft’s mobile productivity as well as the other features, is there any point in keeping the Windows Phone alive and compete against Android and iPhone ?

At the moment the Windows Phone user base sold since 2016 is less than .5 percent while 99.6 percent are purchasing Android and iPhones.  Maybe the writing is on the wall that this is a dead product and time to put it to rest.

Amazon considering to offer office suite

Amazon Web Services

Amazon is planning a possible coup to offer free office suite products to gain market share from Google and Microsoft.  Amazon wishes to utilize the power of their AWS platform and in turn that would possible create additional sales.  The initial stage is to build on their WorkMail calendar application and the WorkDocs file storage.   The two apps, in conjunction with others reportedly currently in development by Amazon may be packaged at some point soon to fight the Microsoft Office 365 and Google G suites.

AWS had an update in 2016 to the AWS AppStream service that allows compatible desktop apps to be run through AWS from any HTML5 compliant device.  The AWS suite provides high profits for Amazon which generated roughly 3.5 billion dollars just in the last quarter.

As always you can create a free account with AWS to use their WorkDocs or WorkMail products until you or the company’s storage hits the limitations where a nominal charge is implemented.  The cloud application war has begun and will not complete for another year or two especially who is the winner in all of this.  Microsoft and Apple have placed storage limitations due to the cost of giving it away.  Usually a plan like this is to gain people who will join for free and then issue limitations.  Once the people are enjoying the product they usually do not leave and it seems that AWS is looking to do the similar thing.

As always the idea of placing documents on a secured server is one thing but placing it on a cloud could lead to security risks.  You can view any Yahoo history for the past few years of hackers gaining access to personal information.

Possible Topics at Apple WWDC 2017

Apple

Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference is moving to San Jose, Calif. in 2017 where the company will likely introduce new versions of iOS and macOS Sierra as well as a peek at the next generation iPhone.  As it has always been it is a love fest for all Apple fans watching and hopefully seeing something inventive that will change the way we live.

  1. Possible iOS 11 Update – Apple is expected to showcase some improvements in iOS 11, including design tweaks, better handling of notifications and perhaps even multi-user support. Bundled apps also should get updates
  2. New macOS edition – a new version of Apple’s desktop operating system, macOS. Details on Apple’s plans for macOS are slim, but they could include a slight design update, enhancements to built-in apps such as Safari and Mail and faster performance.
  3. Apple Music upgrades.  Possible better content search and other new features to make it much easier to locate a song.
  4. Apple new direction into original content.  It is possible that Apple TV may get it’s own channel ?  Apple already has its first series in the pipeline, “Planet of the Apps,” and is expected to unveil more programming at WWDC.
  5. Apple Carplay – Since most of us are living in cars traveling to different destinations, Apple knows by putting something into the car that works with their iTunes would be a real big event.  They have to quickly get this into play since Android is not in the immediate picture so Apple has a chance to take a major step.
  6.  Apple Smart-Home push – Will homekit get better to allow an iPhone to control the devices as well as your oven ?  At the moment Amazon Alexa is a pretty good product at doing things like that with voice control and Apple does have Siri, so we’ll see.
  7. Health Care – the problem with this will be the HIPPA laws which medical records on a unsecured device will never happen, this is most likely is a nice idea but will take time to implement.
  8. Apple TV – Apple is dying to get this in everyone’s home but content as well as HD / HDR support is very important.
  9.  Iphone 8 – what can they possibly do to the iphone to make it better and not lose any more market to the Android ?  A new design, bigger screen and better battery would be the key features one would think.

Apple has given the world some of the greatest tools to use while away from home and now they want to start getting more integrated into your daily activities.  There are only 2 smart phones as previously discussed the Android and Iphone, so Apple knows that they can take the iPhone only up to a certain point.  They must start blocking Amazon from taking market from other areas.  This will be one of the biggest Apple conferences on what direction they are going towards.