Introducing Laravel – PHP web Application framework

All software application builders agree on one thing, which is: building these software applications are a complex and time consuming procedure, however these builders usually do not have the privilege of excessive time. That’s when the use of frameworks came into play. People where able to use these frameworks to develop their projects at greater speeds and in much more accurate / stable manner. This was thanks to the framework’s use of generic contents and a common structure as foundation.

Web application framework
Use of the framework allowed for scalability of these projects which facilitated in long term maintenance as well. This was possible due to the standards used through the development process which helped keep the codes organized and accessible for future improvements or amendments.

Having drastically reduced the time constrains from the equation, developers were able to focus more on dedicated tasks such as functionality, quality and sustainability of their programs. One such top of the line PHP framework is Laravel. Let’s have a look at it now.

Laravel – A Brief Intro

This is one of the best PHP web application frameworks of the new generation available out there. It is an expressive elegant syntax, which is aimed at bringing comfort to web developers by making the common tasks easy, which includes caching, sessions, routing as well as authentication. It gives access to powerful tools such as expressive migration system, inversion control container and integrated unit testing support. All of which are needed for the development of applications that are large, complex and robust. From complex applications to simple ones, Laravel is apt for all type or size of projects. This framework is built over many Symfony components that helps it provide a strong & tested code as the foundation. Its composer grants you the ability to manage all the 3rd party packages of your applications. This also works extremely well with SQLite, SQL Server, Postgres and MySQL.

Laravel combines the best of all that is offered through other frameworks on the web which includes implementations from different languages like ASP.NET MVC, Sinatra and Ruby on Rails.

Now, let’s take a much deeper look into the features of this framework.

Features of Laravel

The most prominent features of Laravel, that’s keeping developers’ on the edge of their seats.

•    Bundles – The bundles are typically simple packages that offer added functionalities that helps you save a lot of time and coding when used. They usually contain some of the most commonly used functionalities.
•    Class Autoloading – The auto-load feature assures that all the components are loaded at the right time, saving the developers a lot on tedious and menial works.
•    View Composer – These are specific codes that run while the “view” is on load.
•    Unit Testing – The framework allows for the users to create the unit test very easily and then run them using Artisan utility. And, one of the important aspect is that it supports number of test by itself, thus, ensuring the application’s greater stability.
•    The Eloquent ORM – This is by default one of the most sophisticated PHP Active-Record implementations that’s available, making it apt at applying constrains to nested eager loading as well as relationships. By doing that it grants you complete control on the data, with convenience.
•    Application Logic – This can either be applied to your application directly or by using the controllers.
•    Reverse Routing – Reverse routing allows the creation of links directly to named routes, thus, when the developers are creating new links, they just need to use the route’s names, which will get the right URLs inserted automatically. Also, future updates or changes to the routes are as effective as well.
•    Restful Controllers – This is an alternate way of separating the “GET” & “POST” request logic.
•    Inversion of Control (IoC) Container – With IoC the developers can create optional instants or new objects, etc without the need to bootstrapping external libraries. It also grants you the freedom to access those objects anywhere and not get bothered by inflexible structures.

With all these features, Laravel is one of kind PHP web application framework that’s here to take advantage of the developers’ potential and boost their effectiveness in building new applications. As the web development technologies undergo rapid changes, you can count on our team to keep your web apps up to date!

What are the most popular magento ecommerce plugins?

Magento eCommerce is an open source web application used mainly for eCommerce websites. Users prefer Magento for their websites because Magento eCommerce platforms provide flexibility, scalability and features for their online business growth.
Magento-PluginsAs Magento provides feature-rich eCommerce platforms, it provides merchants with a complete flexibility and control over the presentation, content as well as functionality of their online channel. Hence, around 2, 00,000 merchants are reported to be using the Magento platform now. Also, there are more than 5000 plugins available to extend the merchants’ eCommerce experience.

Some of the most popular Magento eCommerce plugins are as follows:

•    Canonical URLs for Magento: It is a free module for Magento that  not only allows you to add ”rel” canonical URL to the head of your website pages, but also enables you to manually set custom canonical links for products or services.
•     Yoast MetaRobots: This plugin allows you to easily add the appropriate meta tags to your web pages, disable unused archives, and nofollows unnecessary links.
•    Remerce CMS Meta Robots:  This module adds the option to set the Robots Meta for CMS web pages.
•    MailChimp ECommerce360 Reporting: This plugin helps you to measure the rate of return of email campaigns that you have created. It aggregates the information and display the information on your campaign report.
•    Auto CrossSell Products: By using this plugin, you can automate your product cross sell maintenance. Suppose, if a customer checks out, all the products that are chosen are linked as cross sell products.
•    Lazzymonks Twitter: This plugin displays Twitter updates in the menu. It also allows updates from within the admin panel, whereas the number of updates is also adjustable.
•    Product Gallery Importer: This plugin enables you to import more than one product images from a CSV file.
•    Lazzymonks Google Ads: If unnecessary ads need to be blocked for better viewing, then the Lazzymonks Google Ads is the right plugin to use. Using this plugin, you can able to add the Google Ads blocker.
•    Auctionmaid Matrxrate: Suppose, if your operations are global, then it would be useful to add the plugin “Auctionmaid Matrxrate”. This plugin enhances shipping fee details specifically for international shipping.
•    Category admin product tab: edit product link: Another useful plugin is the Category admin product tab. This plugin helps you to add a product edit link in the category tab.
•    Change Attribute Set : This plugin gives you the ability to change or modify products attributes after your product registration is done.
•    Fontis WYSISYG: This is a Magento plugin that ensures that the features or descriptions of your product match the product received, i.e., ads what you see is what exactly you get feature in the product description.
•    Mass Product Relater : This is a useful plugin for registering connected products and to up-sell and cross-sell products.
•    Fooman Google Analytics Plus:  This plugin is useful for tracking every individual page as well as the details about the keywords typed by the users.
•    Advanced Sitemap: This plugin helps in listing the products in the current store.
•    Post Affiliate Pro Connector: This Magento eCommerce plugin helps in managing the click and sale affiliate details automatically. It also helps in tracking them by using either PHP API or JavaScript.
•    IW PayPal Standard Currencies: This plugin lets you choose the currencies supported by PayPal, and also directly adds them to your shops admin panel.
•    J2T Points & Rewards: This plugin is useful for customers to gather points on products they purchased. Subsequently, these points can be used for discounts on their other purchases.
•    Fontis SecurePay: This plugin is primarily a payment module, mainly used for processing of payments through SecureXML gateway.
•    Checkout Newsletter: This plugin helps you to send newsletters to registered customers about your latest promotional offers, sales, products, etc.
•    Events Calendar: This Magento plugin is used to display your events on your website.
•    Exploded Menu: This plugin helps in replacing the standard menu with a multi-column drop down menu system.
•    Magento EasyLightbox: This plugin is used for displaying the images of your products as a lightbox.
•    Teaserbox: This Magento plugin shows the teasers of your products if they are available.
•    Magento EasyTabs: This Magento plugin adds extra information tabs on your product page in your website.
•    MostViewed module: This plugin automatically generates a list that shows the most viewed products in your website, and also displays the list at the homepage in the customer area.

What important technical details should a programmer consider before making the website live?

As a web developer or programmer, you need to concentrate on some vital technical information before making your website live. The foremost thing that you need to concentrate on is using an appropriate platform for your web development.
Programmer-think
You need to make sure that the platform you’re going to use for developing the website must be stable, secure, high-performing and scalable. Also, it must meet all kinds of business goals such as less cost, quick development time, high Google ranking, and so on.

Next, you need to be more specific about using web standards for your website development. As a professional web developer, you need to have specific consideration on HTML, JavaScript and CSS over HTTP.

Before using any web standards, ensure that which web standards you are going to use, and also ensure that in what circumstances and why you are going to use those standards.

So, what important technical details you should consider before make your website live?

  • Make sure that your website works reasonably well across all major browsers, because sometimes browsers implement standards inconsistently. Also, consider how browsers render your website in various operating systems, and how people might use the website other than from major browsers.
  • Ensure that you deploy updates on the websites without affecting the users. Have staging environments(one or more tests) available to implement changes on the websites, such as modifying architecture, adding content, changing code, etc., and ensure that they are deployed carefully without affecting anything else in the website. So, always have an automated way of deploying changes to the live website.
  • Never display unfriendly errors straight away to the users of the website. Also, never provide the user’s email ID in plain text as it may get spammed to death.
  • Learn how doing progressive enhancement, which helps you to deliver the best possible experience to the users.
  • Always REDIRECT after a POST if it was done successfully. This helps you to prevent a refresh from submitting again.
  • Make sure that you take accessibility into account without fail. Because, in certain situation, it is a legal requirement.
  • Aware about Injections like SQL injection, and learn how to prevent them. You have to use hash passwords to prevent rainbow attacks.
  • Use SSL/HTTPS for pages like login pages or the pages where sensitive data is entered.
  • Avoid cross site scripting (XSS) and cross site request forgeries (CSRF). Also, prevent session hijacking and Clickjacking.
  • Implement caching if necessary. To do this, you have to use HTTP caching and HTML5 Manifest properly.
  • Learn how to deflate content and optimize images in the website.
  • To reduce the number of browser connections, try to compress duplications among files by improving gzip ability.
  • For performance profiling, use Google page speed with browser extension. This helps to optimize images in the website. You can use CSS Image Sprites for small related images like toolbars.
  • Reduce the number of HTTP requests that are required for a browser to render the web page.
  • Always remember that SEO or Search Engine Optimization plays a greater role in generating traffic to your website. So, make sure that you use search engine friendly URLs in your website.
  • Make sure that you install Google analytics tool or an open source analysis tool right at the start. You can also use Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools to get a detailed report about the visibility of your web pages on Google and Bing.
  • Never forget to have an XML sitemap in the website. This helps you to tell Google about pages on your website.
  • Use XHTML/HTML and CSS according to the W3C specifications and also ensure that they authenticate.
  • Learn how JavaScript is processed in the browser. If you use iframes, then learn how the JavaScript sandbox works. Also, consider using JavaScript frameworks that hide the browser differences when using JavaScript for DOM manipulation.
  • To load frameworks, consider using a service like Google Libraries API. This makes a browser to use a copy of the framework it has already cached instead of downloading a duplicate copy from your website.
  • Always set up a better error reporting solution, and document how the application works. Also, make frequent backups and make sure that the backups are functional.
  • Use a version control system that helps you to store your files. Also, never forget to do your acceptance testing.
  • Ensure that you have enough logging in place using frameworks. When logging, make sure that you capture both handled exceptions as well as unhandled exceptions. And analyze the log output regularly to find out the key issues in your website.

 

What is a framework? Why using frameworks to build Websites and Web Applications?

What is a framework?

A framework is mainly designed to help developers to build unique websites and web applications. It provides core functionality to almost all web applications such as user session management, template systems and data persistence. By using a proper framework, a developer can able to save a significant amount of time when building a website.Web-frameworkWhen should a developer use a framework?

The necessity of using a framework can be measured based two categories. 1) The level of customization you need, and 2) The developers whom you employ.

Suppose, in order to drive innovation in your company, you want to improve social interaction among your employees. However, you don’t want to use the public social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, etc. So, you want to create a custom social network among your employees. Therefore, you will be considered a custom development done for this purpose. As this will be requiring more customization, you will be more likely using a framework.

However, if you are not going to do the website or web application development by yourself, you will be employing a developer to do the work for you. Even thought a huge number of developers use open-source frameworks, some developers prefer to use their own custom-built internal frameworks, and some never uses framework at all.

Like many of the communities that share their opinions, the developer community does so many aspects, such as using the actual language and design pattern, writing the code, and of course, various aspects are also there about using frameworks.

Why using frameworks to build Websites and Web Applications?

  • Most popular frameworks in many languages are open-source or available to use for free. Some frameworks come with licensing, but that is not restrictive and, however, allows developers to create commercial products using such frameworks.
  • A framework has either good documentation or good support or both at the same time. At times, good support will be a subjective issue. Generally, paid support will be faster and more concise; however, this also depends on the activity level within the framework.
  • Efficiency is the main reason why framework exists. If you use a framework to build a website, then you will not be required to write a lot of repetitive code, which you will find being used in various web applications.  Example: Commenting Systems and User-authentication. On average, you can expect to build a website in much less time than would be built writing code without using a framework.
  • Generally, a framework is built and tested by a large number of developers. So, it is extremely likely that various different security risks are addressed and tested when building a framework. Moreover, new security risks can also be addressed and fixed easily and swiftly.
  • Suppose, if you are developing any web application and you want to store some data, then you will be using a database. Similar to database, there are various other tools available to link to web development. While Frameworks make it much easier to link to these tools and also to communicate with them.

Benefits of ASP.NET websites for your company

In the early days of the web, the contents of web pages were largely static. And these web pages must be permanent, but changed manually. Hence, there was an urgent need for the enterprises to build websites that are dynamic and are updated automatically. During that time, Microsoft’s Active Server Pages or ASP was delivered to the market to meet this requirement.

Asp.netBasically, ASP runs on the server-side, and sends its output to the user’s web browser. This enables the server to generate dynamic web pages based on the actions of the users.

Thus, ASP.NET has greatly captured the web development industry, and it is now among the most favored technologies to build dynamic websites, feature-rich web pages and web-centric applications.

Following are the benefits of using ASP.NET websites for your company:

Fast Web Applications:
The two main things that make ASP.NET fast is caching and compiled code. In previous days, whenever a visitor views your web page, the code was interpreted into “machine language”. But with ASP.NET, the code gets complied into “machine language” before a visitor views your web page. On the other hand, caching stores all the data or information that can be used again in future for faster access. Also, ASP.NET allows the caching of the data from a database, therefore, your website is always faster even after frequent visits to the database.

Fixing Crash and Memory Leaks:
ASP.NET automatically recovers from errors and memory leaks. This helps you to ensure that your website never gives an error message to your website visitors, and also ensure that your website is available to them whenever they require.

Stability and Reliability:
It is important for every business to have no downtime, no matter it is just for few minutes or several hours a day. Because even a simple issue may leads to serious losses, and this may impact the reputation of the business. This is the main reason why a huge role in the website plays its reliability and stability. ASP.NET technology increases the degree of resistance to various types of malicious attacks and hacking websites built on it. Therefore, if you use ASP.NET to build your website, then your website will always be secured.

Integration with Other Apps and Information Systems:
Microsoft .NET platform consists of several embedded technologies for the integration of information systems and other applications, such as XML, JSON, WCF, remoting, service web, and so on, with the ASP.NET exists as a part of it. Because of the availability of these multiple solutions, this optimum technology is probably selected for each individual case. This will make sure flawless performance, scalability, and mostly security.

Supporting many languages:
Using ASP.Net, developers can able to write their code on more than twenty-five .NET languages such as C#, VB.NET and Jscript.NET, and this provides the developers ease of use of language that they are expert in. This way the developers can able to build or customize your website based on all your business requirements.

Thus, ASP.NET web development has emerged as the de-facto standard in developing dynamic websites and feature-rich web-based applications on a global basis. This is mainly due to the robust framework of ASP.NET, and also the strong support base that this technology has been able to build over the years.

You may be developing a small enterprise website or a huge corporate web application distributed across various networks, ASP.NET will provide you all the features that you could require for your business, possibly at reasonable costs.

WordPress vs. Magento: Which Ecommerce Platform is Better For Your Website?

If you are having any idea about opening up a new ecommerce website, or if you are advising anyone, who is planning to build an ecommerce website, then the very first step that you need to take is making a wise decision on which ecommerce platform should be used.

wordpress-vs-MagentoBefore choosing a best ecommerce platform for your ecommerce website, there are a few basic things that you need to keep in mind.

As both the ecommerce platforms have same functionality, it is very important for you to keep in mind the background.

WordPress:

WordPress is a free and open source blogging platform created by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It is a hugely popular content management system or CMS based on PHP and MySQL. It is the single largest ecommerce platform used for content creation. When compared to other platforms, more number of blog posts is written on WordPress websites such as WordPress.org and WordPress.com platforms.

Plugin architecture is one of the very popular features that enable developers to extend its abilities beyond the core installation. WordPress has a huge database that consists of more than 26,000 plugins, each plugin offers custom features and functions that enable developers to build websites based on their specific requirements.

Magento:

On the other hand, Magento is also an open source ecommerce web application that is developed by Varien with the help from developers within the open source community. Magento was started as open source software; hence it was relatively very easy to launch and then it grew rapidly to a point that there is actually more money spent on Magento based websites all around the globe. That is definitely part of why eBay bought Magento now.

Similar to WordPress being a blogging platform that moved into ecommerce, Magento is also an ecommerce platform that added blogging as a plug-in.

So, which ecommerce platform is best?

It is a fact that there is never a perfect solution for any problem, but if you understand the background of the two ecommerce platforms, you can able to make the right decision on which one will be the best suitable for your ecommerce website.

You may want to build a website that is going to be strictly an ecommerce play, possibly with a blog attached just to enhance the website for good visibility, search engine optimization and user engagement.

Or, you may want to create a website that is going to be a collection of blogs, posts, customer interactions and so on with an element related to that hoping to sell products that are directly tied to the content that is created.

Based on your requirements, you need to choose the best ecommerce platform. With a pure ecommerce website, Magento may be the best option. If your website is more of a content play, then WordPress may be the way you need to go.