Showing posts with label Source Control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Source Control. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The App Train for your Business (InfoGraphic)

The App Train

Top 10 Cloud Apps for your Business introduced apps often used from the cloud. There are several vendors to chose from when implementing these apps. The infographic above shows some of the many options available.  Each vendor has their strengths. Choosing the right vendor depends on your needs and preferences.  Contact AppTrain for help with your cloud solutions.

Document Management
Google Drive
Zoho Docs
Amazon S3

Project Management
Zoho Projects
Salesforce Do

Website Publishing

Zoho Invoice

Customer Relationships
Microsoft Dynamics

Mailing Lists

Version Control

Issue Tracking

Site Monitoring

Monday, August 26, 2013

Top 10 Cloud Apps for your Business

Cloud Computing has graduated from being a technology buzzword to being an essential part of any business or organization. Let's take a look at the main categories off apps that have made the move from shrink wrapped software installed on our local clients, to web based clients that we can run from anywhere. Each of the ten apps covered here are provided by multiple vendors. Example apps are provided. Some of the leading vendors for each category are mentioned, along with a few AppTrain favorites.  Additional cloud apps for your business are listed in The App Train for your Business infographic.

1. Email

Email was the first business app that moved to the cloud. Even legacy organizations that still operate email servers now accommodate employees with web based email clients. In the AppTrain email comparison in March, GMail and Zoho Mail emerged as the front-runners for Email in the cloud.


2. Document Management

Cloud storage offers lower costs, better security, better integration, and improved productivity when compared to legacy office networks. The integration and productivity come from excellent Content Management tools that have evolved. Again Google and Zoho are the favorites in this space.


3. Project Management

Project Management tools will be the subject of a future AppTrain comparison article. BaseCamp is the forefather of the web based project management revolution. But the space is now quite crowed , and some excellent tools like Teambox are emerging.

4. Website Publishing

A clear favorite did not emerge from our Cloud Based Website Builder comparison. The quick site builders fall short when compared to publishing tools like WordPress and Joomla. It seems a Cloud Based Website Publisher Comparison would be more appropriate. Linux for You has an excellent WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla comparison.

5. Accounting

For invoicing The in-house favorite here at AppTrain has been Freshbooks.  Freshbooks is a classic start in your parents basement company that is now an a accounting leader in the Cloud.

6. Customer Relationships

I'm not a big acronym guy. But  Saleforce has put CRM on the map and has branched into one of the leading cloud computing companies. SugarCRM entered this field not long after, and more recently Zoho has joined the game with , you could have guess it,   ZohoCRM. Leadmaster and Microsoft Dynamics certainly deserve consideration just for not using an acronym in their name.

7. Mailing Lists

When a customer wants to do email marketing, We beg them not to, and try to hip them to social media. But if they must, We refer them to MailChimp. It's good to know Monkey's are still finding work since the space program has cut back.

8. Version Control

Version Control is really document management for programmers. When a client starts developing software they're morphing into a competitor of AppTrain. To make the fight fair, we make sure they know about Unfuddle.  Unfuddle is a collaboration suite for programmers and includes project management and issue tracking along with version control.  The version control options are Subversion and Git but it's the integration with the other tools that sets it apart.

9. Issue Tracking

Things that don't work are called issues. When the issue with software it's called a bug. Do you think Unfuddle developers tracked issues in Bugzilla? Or the creators of Fogbuzz logged bugs in BaseCamp? All four of these tools are excellent, so more than likely, they ate their own dogfood.

10. Site Monitoring

Once a web site or product is in production, we want to make sure it stays working. Uptrends can check any site, verify content and perform multiple step transactions from multiple sites around the globe. They then send alerts via email or SMS when a site isn't performing properly. MxToolbox is a great tool for making sure your dns records are in order, and for staying off spam lists.  They also provide email alerts.

By developing an effective cloud strategy, companies can obtain and keep a competitive edge over companies stuck spending money and time maintaining legacy in-house IT Infrastructures. AppTrain migrates existing infrastructures to cloud solutions, and provides training to help maintain productivity through a seamless transition to the cloud.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Creating a Web Application Development Team

What a tangled web we weave

Web Application Development is becoming ubiquitous. Every company, every department, nearly every person is seconds away from creating web content. In addition many of these companies, departments and people are getting into the business of Web Application development. With tools like Google Apps and Blogger users are driving not just the look and feel of site, but their functionality. More sophisticated users are even creating complex content sites using tools like Joomla or Typo.

Many of our clients have Web Application Developers integrated throughout the company. A custom Rails site was built in Accounting for internal use, A blog for high profile clients is hosted on Drupal. Meanwhile a few cubes away, The Marketing department has legacy asp code getting data from a Microsoft Access DB file that was written by a remote developer in Orlando. How can a company manage all these capricious efforts?

Finding Harmony

In the past companies tried to organize Web Application Development as part of the Information Technology department. This rigid structure fails to capitalize on individual efforts and abilities. Recently companies are adapting the organic problem solving approach. Rather than a hierarchical structure, employee's can belong to many organizations in the company, one being the Web Team.

The Web Application Development Team

The modern web team is tied together not by an org chart, but an agreed upon a set of tools and procedures. The web team spans departmental and geographical boundaries using modern collaborative tools. The benefits to standards include quicker start up time for new developers, and minimal knowledge loss from departing developers. Additionally as a company grows these tools and procedures are scalable, and provide additional benefits including better communication within the Web Application Development Teams. Once a web site grows and projects get larger progress is notably slower without good tools and procedures.

The Tools

Key tools we use at AppTrain are
1) Source Control
2) Collaborative Documentation
3) Automated Deployments
4) Issue Tracking
5) Collaborative Project Management

The benefits of Source Control are well documented. Source Control encourages the idea of teamwork. Each line of code is now visible across the Web Team. In addition, redundant efforts are now minimized. The nightmare of supporting three blogging engine's or having five different authentication strategies is finally over.

Collaborative Documentation means getting developers to document things like internal procedures and asset locations (Database Addresses, log ins) in a single shared place such as a Wiki, or even a shared Google Doc called "Procedures" .

Automated Deployments became possible once the Version Control is in place. Not only the deployments can be automated, but any common task in the Version control system. Automation ensures that frequent processes such as test scripts/deployments are run in the same way and under the same conditions every time.

Issue Tracking is simply a shared location for all maintenance and enhancements to be done on a system. The benefits becomes apparent immediately after using, and include quicker issue resolution and the ability to instantly monitor progress.

Collaborative Project Management allows all team members to create goals and report progress and issues. The whole team continuously updates the project plan. Each member has the ability to create and update to milestones, tasks, and shared documentation. As a result, the project plan more accurately represents reality then it would if it were maintained by a single project manager using a desktop tool.

The quickest way to get familiar with the first four of these tools and their benefits is to create free account at Unfuddle. And it's hard to talk about Collaborative Project Management without mentioning the company 37Signals. Their products including BaseCamp have changed the way we think about creating software and working as a team. AppTrain uses a combination of these tools for every project.

Now the exact vendor that a team uses is unimportant. What matters is agreeing on common set tools and solutions that will make the Web Application Team function as a cohesive unit, and improve a company's overall web strategy. Whether your have a small team working together on site, or loosely structured team that traverses several departments and geographic locations, Source Control, Collaborative Documentation, Automated Deployments, Issue Tracking and Collaborative Project Management can drastically improve communication, morale, and overall productivity.

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