Monthly Archives: March 2014

Working With JSON: A Beginner’s Guide

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Since 2006, the popularity of JSON has steadily risen among programmers, data analysts, app developers (mobile and web) and other techies around the world. A preliminary overview of some key features of JSON has been presented here.

When JSON services were launched in the final quarter of 2006, few people had envisaged that it would emerge as a viable alternative to XML – within a relatively short span of time. For storing information via programming, and to facilitate data-transfer between the client and server sides, XML still remains the first choice – although JSON is catching up fast. In particular, it has been found that one out of every four mobile app developers prefer using JSON over the relatively more complicated XML. If you too wish to start using JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), the following would serve as a handy guide:

  1. What types of data can be stored on JSON? – Two alternative structures – arrays and objects – can be built on JSON. The total number of data types supported on the information-storing system is five. You can store strings, objects, numbers, arrays and Boolean (i.e., true vs false) information on it.

  2. How is information stored in JSON? – All data, values and attributes in JSON are have to be stored by creating separate objects for them. You can declare any number of properties inside an object. Multiple property pairings have to be comma-separated. Most professional web app and mobile app developers feel that this systematic manner of storing information is one of the key advantages of the framework.

  3. How can you check for code errors? – Program debugging becomes a rather straightforward task, when you use JSON API (preferably, integrated with Google Analytics). Functions can be called to check all probable errors in the XHR responses that are generated. You can even keep track of the frequency of same/similar errors, with the help of customized reports. Not surprisingly, JSON is rapidly becoming a favorite among app testers too!

  4. Using nested objects – Apart from multiple properties within one object, JSON supports the creation of nested objects as well. The same property pairings have to be declared for each of the nested items – and an alert () function is required to access and display any particular property. Remember to close all the second brackets/curly brackets at the end of each nested object.

  5. How to load JSON on application codes? – This is most easily done via AJAX, by creating an $ajax() method. All the feed items would get stored in the JavaScript Object Notation format, and you can export them on your web browser as well (not recommended though). The dataType you select should be ‘jasonp’. Provided that the method is error-free, getting and retrieving data from external files can be done in a seamless manner indeed. The getJSON() method is used for calling data in the right format from the server.

  6. All response codes are not similar – The XHR response codes, obtained through the jQuery.get method vary with the type of values and properties you use in the objects and arrays. There might even be random variations in the responses, in certain cases. For instance, if a string is passed without any value, it would probably not be shown in the XHR file. The broad framework of JSON responses are same, but you need to note down the differences across projects.

  7. What is the eval() function? – Javascript coders from mobile app development companies in India and abroad need to be familiar with the eval () function. It is used to process JSON codes in JavaScript – which ensures that they are interpreted in the correct manner (and not treated as simple text lines). However, a flipside of using this function is that it slows down the overall loading process. Developers have to be wary about hacker attacks on the converted JavaScript codes too.

  8. Do you need an XHTML page? – JSON cannot be used without a XHTML page. You need to make a ‘doctype’ declaration at the very start of the code. In addition, you will also require Javascript file and jQuery. For best coding results, make sure that the jQuery you are using is of the latest version.

  9. Cross-domain usage – Technicians from mobile app companies also highlight the ‘jsonp’ function as yet another high point about JSON. This method basically initiates a systematic callback function – helping programmers get back the codes on the domain(s) of their choice. Most of the alternatives of JSON do not have this user-friendly feature.

  10. Presence of the server is critical for receiving JSON – Just as APACHE does, JSON also throws up a 503 Error code, in case the server has not been called in program. You need to be particularly careful while working with proxy servers. Remember, the response need not necessarily contain JSON – the server-side has to be properly checked to ensure that.

  11. Is JSON tough to learn? – When you are in charge of coding for web, Android or iPhone app development, you can hardly expect any aspect to be ridiculously easy. However, JSON has a relatively short learning curve, and is almost universally referred to be extremely user-friendly. Apart from JavaScript, it is compatible with multiple program languages too.

  12. You can use the JSON Lightbox – JSON is one information storing and parsing tool which helps in adding to the style of the final output as well. After the processing stage, and above the dataType declaration, you need to call the addLB() function, to add a nice lightbox effect to your code. It is not a necessary part of the code – but is often used by professional developers.

Many newbies tend to make mistakes while creating AJAX requests and/or calling functions (e.g., loadFlickr() ) – and it would not be advisable to try to rush through these stages. Combined with JavaScript (after the string verification), JSON is a very powerful and yet simple data storage and calling method for programming and app development. If the recent trends are anything to go by, it is probably well on its way to overtake XML in terms of popularity among developers.

 

The ‘Tasty’ Code Names Of Android OS Versions: What You Need To Know

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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The name of which dessert will be chosen as the code name of Android 5.0? As debates and discussions on this topic heats up among techies, we take a look back at the previous versions of the Android mobile OS. All of them, of course, had ‘tasty’ code names!

Eclair, Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread, Cupcake…no, we are not talking about a big upcoming dessert party! All of these are the names of the different Android OS versions – which have invariably been named after a ‘tasty treat’ by Google. While the reason behind this naming strategy is not known, it can easily be seen that they follow an alphabetical chronology. With phone software experts, analysts and mobile app developers already starting to guess what the name of the Android 5.0 platform would be, a sneak peek at the timeline of the earlier Android versions would be in order:

  1. Launch of the Google Phone – Google presented the first Android-powered smartphone in the second half of 2007. The first OS version of the platform was simply called Android 1.0, and did not have any code name.

  2. What is the Petit Four? – Even many experienced developers of Android apps are not aware of the Petit Four. This was the name internally given to Android 1.1. It was a small-scale upgrade over version 1.0 – and general public, understandably, did not get a chance to get familiar with the Petit Four name.

  3. The number convention – The manner in which the succeeding Android versions are numbered is pretty simple. Every major release (complete with new developer APIs) are assigned a whole number. Minor bug-fixes and upgrades are released as decimal points. Most of these minor upgrades do not have code names.

  4. The first popular Android code name – ‘Cupcake’ was the name of Android 1.5, which was officially released in April 2009. Initially, the in-house Google personnel toyed with the idea of calling it Android 1.2 – but they later went ahead with 1.5 and the first-ever ‘tasty treat’ code name. After all, this was a major upgrade!

  5. Getting rid of the rebooting bugs – Android Cupcake was revolutionary enough, but the reviews from mobile app development companies and software developers were not uniformly positive. The main bone of contention was the rebooting error in the operating system. To do away the problem, Google released Android 1.6 (based on API 4) – which also had superior imaging and video capabilities. This version was named ‘Donut’.

  6. Android code-names have a broad similarity with those of Apple OS platforms – Google loves dessert names, just like Apple has a fondness for the names of the various species of wild cats. The Mac OS X Lion was preceded by version codenames like Leopard, Panther, Cheetah and Puma. According to both Android and Apple experts, such distinctive names add to the brand personality of their OS software.

  7. Arrival of the Eclair – In October 2009 (not much of an interval between the releases at all), the Android 2.0 SDK hit the markets. It was named ‘Eclair’, and boasted of excellent multi-touch options and Bluetooth 2.1 support. The camera zooming features were also taken up by a few notches. A small bug-fix upgrade, Android 2.0.1, came along two months later. Keeping with the naming convention, it did not have a separate codename.

  8. Android API 7 was not separately named either – Instead, it was released as Android 2.1X. Certain mobile app developers and technicians refer to this update as Eclair MR1 as well. This 2010 release was mostly a corrective one, for fixing the bugs on API 6.

  9. Did Android violate the norm of dessert names with version 2.2? – ‘Froyo’, at first, might not seem to be the name of a dessert. A closer study would make one release that Google had simply chosen a shorter, catchier form of ‘frozen yogurt’ as the codename for this OS version. Google Chrome and Flash compatibility, and just-in-time (JIT) compilation were among the high points of Android Froyo.

  10. And then, there was Gingerbread – Not only as the code name of the Android 2.3, released at the end of 2010. A tall Gingerbread man was built at the time, on the Mountain View headquarters of Google as well (the height being almost 15 feet!). In fact, the California campus has interesting statues of all the desserts that have been used as Android OS codenames.

  11. Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich – Android Gingerbread ended its run with version 2.3.7 (API 10), and it was succeeded by the Honeycomb OS. The latter covered 3 API levels (11-13), and was the name for Android versions 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3. The code name ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ debuted with Android 4.0.1, in October 2011. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was one of the first phones to implement this OS platform. The technical specs of Ice Cream Sandwich were appreciated by experts from Android app development companies from all over. API 14 and API 15 (Android 4.0.3 and 4.0.4) shared the same codename.

  12. Nexus 7 came with with Android Jellybean – Android 4.1 was easily the Google mobile OS with the best user-interface (UI). Internally referred to as ‘Project Butter’, Jellybean was released in mid-2012, and went to on to cover API levels 16, 17 and 18. The last of them, Android 4.3, came with the punchline – ‘an even sweeter Jellybean’. Users, on the most part, agreed!

  13. Kitkat is the latest – We have already reached the letter ‘K’ in the English alphabet, and Google chose the name ‘Kitkat’ for the Android 4.4 platform. It has API level 19, and offers compatibility with a much larger range of devices (including low-RAM ones) than Jellybean. There was some conjecture that Kitkat would be the name of Android 5.0 – but the plan was finally shelved.

 

The date when Google indeed announces the next major version of the Android OS cannot be too far now. General researchers and techies from mobile app companies feel that ‘Lemon Meringue Pie’ or ‘Lollipop’ would be the codename of Android 5.0. Google might face a problem once it reaches the letter ‘Z’ – but for now, it’s fun trying to guess the name of every succeeding Android version!

 

The Sad Tale Of iPhone 5c: Where Did Apple Mess Up?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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A comparative study of the market performance of the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s would show up stark contrasts. While the latter is currently nearing the iPhone 4s in terms of market share, the response towards the 5c has been, at best, lackluster.

The first attempt of Apple Inc. to develop and market a ‘cheaper’ handset has not been the raging success that it was hyped to be. Company CEO Tim Cook has already admitted this, along with a vague announcement that the sales are picking up. However, the truth remains that – after about six months of its release, the ‘low-cost’ iPhone 5c is still stuck with a market share of just a bit over 6%. This is in stark contrast with the burgeoning popularity of the simultaneously-released iPhone 5s, which have zoomed past iPhone 4 in terms of sales. So, what exactly ails the iPhone 5c? Let’s take a look:

  1. Competition from the way better iPhone 5s – Even a mobile apps company would shy away from releasing similar applications simultaneously – so it’s hard to understand why a bigshot like Apple allowed the iPhone 5c to face the competition from iPhone 5s. The absence of Touch ID was perhaps the most important factor that made the former seem not worth buying, even for many Apple fans. For a few more bucks, they could get the much more advanced 5s.

  2. Contrary to the company image – Microsoft focuses on competitively-priced products, while Apple has always been into making premium computers, mobiles and other gadgets that serve as status symbols – even if they are pricey. iPhone 5c was projected as a ‘cheap’ phone, and that directly went against the long-standing operational policies of the company. More people opted to stay safe, and went for the more expensive models that offered quality-assurance.

  3. Is the iPhone 5c really a low-cost handset? – The price range for the ‘C’ range of iPhones starts from $99, with the 16-GB model bearing a price tag of $549. On average, these figures are only about $100-$130 lower than the prices of iPhone 5s. Since iPhone 5c was supposed to target the lower-end customer segment, the price difference needed to be higher. Of course, whether the amount of $549 is ‘cheap’ is also subjective!

  4. Dwindling interest among buyers – A sample survey conducted by Apple last December revealed that around 9% of all potential buyers were actually interested in purchasing the iPhone 5c. Within the next three months, this figure had dropped to 6%. Clearly people are not too eager to get the low-cost phone model. That, in turn, indicates that iPhone 5c won’t be able to recover from its slow start.

  5. Nothing new on offer – According to experts from the field of iPhone app development in India, a repackaged product has precious little chances of being successful – and the flop show of iPhone 5c indeed bears this out. The device looked more colorful than the original iPhone 5, and that’s about all it offered in terms of newness (along with, maybe, the retina display). In effect, the ‘me-too’ feel about the 5c was too great.

  6. The plastic build of the phone backfired – Jonathan Ive might keep boasting that the iPhone 5c is ‘unapologetically plastic’ – but there’s no denying that this ad strategy has, in fact, been counter-productive. Even if we do not consider the many negative connotations of the word ‘plastic’ (unoriginal, anyone?), Apple should have realized that it was basically making a handset that was too similar to the Samsung Galaxy phones. The plastic structure of the latter has been negatively reviewed, and most people were not even expecting a plastic phone from Apple too.

  7. Was iPhone 5c believed to be the next iPod? – People love to own (and flaunt) a colorful iPod – but buyer behavior cannot be expected to be similar for the much more expensive iPhones. The iPhone 5c was launched in five alternative colors, none of which managed to make quite the splash the company that hoped for. The common practice among iPhone-owners is to keep their device in a proper smartphone case – which makes the color of the phone no longer viewable. A bit of additional market research would have helped Apple to avoid this mistake.

  8. Lack of sober colors – Looking for a black or a sober grey-colored iPhone 5c? You won’t find it! Apart from the white version, the 5C is currently available in green, pink, blue, and yellow(!). Given that black phone models almost invariably have high sales figures, it seems strange that the iPhone 5c did not give that option to customers. Probably a red model would have helped too.

  9. The older processor and device speed – Even if the metal body of iPhone 5s had not killed off the plastic build of iPhone 5c, the latter’s outdated A6 chip was always likely to keep its popularity stunted. The A7/M7 (motion co-processor) of the 5S was way more preferable, particularly due to the much higher device speed it ensured. Als already stated, it did not cost too much extra either!

  10. It was not a flagship device from Apple – iPhone 5 was a flagship device, and it was hugely successful. iPhone 5c is not a similarly featured Apple product, and neither does it pack in the punch in its features and functionality as the iPhone 5s does. Buying the 5c was akin to settling for the second-best alternative for many buyers across the globe, and the poor word-of-mouth publicity pushed it back further.

 

On top of all these factors, iPhone 5c also had to contend with the competition from Android handsets (which, in any case, have an edge over Apple). Remarkably, employees from even dedicated iPhone application development companies are not too eager to start using the 5c anytime in future. Apple might yet manage a remarkable recovery for the iPhone 5c (the recent price-cuts might be the start of such a strategy). With the iPhone 6 looming on the horizon, it is more likely that the 5c would simply be scrapped!

Get Set For Cortana – The High-End Digital Assistant On Windows Phone!

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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The pre-release buzz about Windows Phone 8.1 is pretty high among general mobile-users, as well as professionals from mobile app companies. Cortana – an all-new mobile virtual assistant – will be making its debut on the platform. It is expected to mount a serious challenge to the popularity of Google Now and Siri.

Android handsets have the efficient Google Now, iPhones have the helpful, witty Siri – and the two voice assistants have been instrumental in enhancing the user-friendliness of the respective mobile platforms. In a bid to keep up, Microsoft has finally decided to implement a similar virtual assistant application (named Cortana) in Windows Phone 8.1 – which is likely to be unveiled within a month or two. Going by the rumors, leaked videos and buzz amongst mobile app developers across the world, the following points about Cortana can be jotted down:

  1. The name – Windows Phone’s much-hyped new voice-assistant shares its name with the central character of Halo – a wildly popular video gaming series. In the game, Cortana has a high level of artificial intelligence, and this would probably be replicated in her mobile version too.

  2. The promise – According to information obtained from The Verge network as well as online videos, Cortana promises to make ‘life a bit easier’ for users. Whether its features indeed manage to rival that of Siri in particular, and iPhone app development in general, remains to be seen though.

  3. The look – Cortana on Windows Phone is expected to carry quite a bit of visual oomph. The digital assistant would take on the figure of a simmering blue female, and there would be a blue ring too – which would get activated whenever Cortana speaks, or even thinks. If you have played Halo 4 before, you probably already have an idea on how Cortana on your smartphone would look like!

  4. Activation – The mobile app designing and features of Cortana have been laid out in a way that, no extra button-presses or screen taps are necessary to activate it. In fact, Cortana will remain active even when the Windows Phone 8.1 is locked. You only have to talk to her, to start getting her responses. Trying to go one up on Siri? Probably!

  5. The first words – After getting the customary ‘Hi, I’m Cortana’ and the promise to make life easier out of the way, the mobile assistant app would proceed to tell users that the latter need to create separate Microsoft accounts. Oh, and she will be able to address mobile-users by their names, nicknames, or even as ‘Master Chief’-s.

  6. Gathering user-information – To compete with Apple’s Siri and Android’s Google Now, Cortana needs to have an intuitive interface and database – and the mobile application development experts at Microsoft have focused on this issue. After you get on the main screen, the assistant will ask you quite a few questions (mostly in multiple-choice formats), about your data-requirements, behavioral traits, and other general topics. Providing customized help is surely the objective of such preliminary questioning.

  7. Privacy concerns – On Windows Phone 8.1, people would have complete freedom of choice about the nature and extent of data they wish to share with Cortana. Prior approvals would be sought by the virtual assistant, before it collects information from your emails, calendars, mobile web history and other sources. It’s up to you to decide how close you will let the blue lady on the phone screen come to your important information databases.

  8. Ability to monitor wi-fi and Bluetooth functions – A common complaint against Siri, received by iPhone application development companies in India and overseas, is that it cannot turn mobile wi-fi and Bluetooth settings on and off. Cortana would probably address this issue (although we can’t be totally certain before the digital assistant makes her debut). It would function in sync with most other controls and functionalities of Windows Phone too.

  9. The search box – The leaked screenshots of Microsoft’s new mobile assistant show a small search box near the bottom of the Cortana screen, with a mic right beside it. People would, in all likelihood, have to speak to that microphone – to spring Cortana into action. Let’s just hope Cortana does not have problems in understanding different accents!

  10. The range of information available – Representatives from mobile application development companies who have caught a sneak peek of Cortana in action, have only positive things to say about its functions. The range of stuff that the Windows Phone assistant can help you with seems impressive enough – ranging right from stock market updates and note-taking, to real-time traffic updates, reminders, and task and appointment-scheduling. There is a small weather widget on the Cortana screen as well.

  11. The Quiet Hours Mode – In Cortana’s final form, this might also be known as the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. If you are in an important meeting, or rushing to finish up an assignment – you can activate this mode, and let the virtual assistant take care of all the voice calls and messages for the required time-span. You can even sort the communication modes to be left active under the Quiet Hours mode.

  12. Turning off notifications and suggestions – Much like Google Now, Cortana would focus on providing only relevant, contextual information to users. You would be able to turn off push-notifications, email alerts and/or flight-information – whenever you do not need them. Its purpose is not to disturb you with a deluge of push-notifications – you will get only what you want from the assistant.

The current voice search mechanism on Windows Phone has not been favorably reviewed by most users, and Cortana is almost sure to be a vast improvement. Nokia Moneypenny and Nokia Goldfinger are the devices on which the new mobile OS (and the digital assistant) are expected to make its debut. Provided that it does not botch up things as the initial version of Siri did, and that it remains uniformly user-friendly, Cortana does seem to have the potential to compete with its already established rivals.

 

Let’s just wait and see whether Cortana sizzles or fizzles out, what say?

 

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights: What Mobile App Developers Need To Know

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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A smartly designed, engaging mobile app is an intellectual property that is owned by its developer company (unless, of course, it is created by an individual). Professional app developers need to be aware of these tips to protect the intellectual property rights of their applications.

Professional mobile app developers cannot afford to ignore the importance of protecting the intellectual rights of the applications they create. A couple of months back, a case of copyright infringement of Android apps was brought to light by the US authorities, with charges being brought against the four alleged criminals. Unless you get all the legal rights on your app concepts and designs, a competitor might simply plagiarize your idea – and eat into your potential clientele. Apart from the creative and technical perspectives, mobile application development has a legal side, and we will give an overview of it here:

  1. Settle ownership issues from the very outset – If you own a mobile apps company, this is something you need to look into at the very start of app development processes. While brainstorming for viable ideas and concepts, make it clear to others that the final rights on the app would remain with the company – and not to any individual developer. The IP address of the standalone PC/computer network would also be a company asset. There should never be any disputes over personal claims.

  2. Be wary while using open source codes – Thanks to the availability of well-stacked open-source program codes and libraries, mobile apps can now be developed quickly and relatively easily. However, indiscriminate usage of open source resources would not be advisable. Often, such open source software comes with certain stipulations and user-restrictions. These, in turn, can compromise the privacy of your apps’ intellectual property rights.

  3. Get a trademark for the name of your apps – To prevent other Android and iPhone application development companies in India or overseas piggyback the popularity of your applications, a registered trademark is essential. It would keep your competitors from choosing identical (or overtly similar) names for their apps. What’s more, the trademark would protect your app icons and logos from being randomly copied as well.

  4. Respect the clauses of license agreements – According to an OpenLogic survey sometime back, it was found that over 70% apps flouted the basic license agreements of the software they were developed with. Remember, you cannot claim the rights on any portion of the code – that has been already published as open-source. Never use any programming code/IDE online, without going through the license documents first.

  5. Keep a written copy of the property rights document – It would be too naive to assume that, just because a you have developed a mobile app – you automatically get all the rights on it. Such intellectual property agreements always have to be finalized in writing. In case you are planning to hire a third-party mobile app developer, make sure that (s)he is prepared to provide the necessary non-competing agreements.

  6. Get your app copyrighted – You need to be on your guard about your original app ideas getting blatantly copied by rival mobile app companies. This is precisely where the importance of copyright protection comes into the picture. Of course, you have to start working on the idea, before applying for a copyright. The entire process of acquiring a copyright on an app does not take long, and is not associated with big expenses either. Of course, you can’t get a copyright on an idea you have only just thought of – there has to be something more substantial!

  7. Do a thorough research before naming your app – Both Google Play Store and Apple iTunes have well over a million apps each. Leading mobile application development companies invariably have a research team, which goes through the trademarks of each of the products at the app store. This, in turn, ensures that the name you choose for your application is not ‘too similar’ with that of an already existing app. In addition, you also need to stay away from names that might hamper the chances of your app getting approved (on iTunes). The recent controversy over the word ‘Flappy’, after the Flappy Bird app was taken down, is a classic example in this regard.

  8. Get your app codes registered – If you do not bother registering the original software codes used at your mobile apps agency, you are basically inviting trouble. In the absence of registration documents, you cannot sue a rival firm – even if it wilfully plagiarizes your app designs/features. You should also find out about the extent of statutory damages you can claim, in case such violations do come to your notice.

  9. Get your best apps patented – Given the rather high costs involved in getting patents, it is neither necessary nor feasible to get such protection for all your applications. Go for patents only for the apps that you genuinely believe would be able to generate (and sustain) high download figures. To keep the expenses under wraps, you can hire a qualified attorney for acquiring the required patents. Copying patented apps is not something fraudulent companies look forward to doing – for the penalties and monetary compensations can be huge. Your best apps would remain well-protected!

  10. Implementing company-wide trade secrets policy – What about the apps for which you have not got patents? The intellectual rights on them (particularly during the early stages of app development) can be protected via company-wide trade secret agreements. The trade secrets should be framed in a manner that, all types of unauthorized public disclosures about the app under production are banned. Promotional pitches, issued by the company, should not fall under the trade secrets policy, however.

Mobile application developers may also have to provide non-competing agreements on apps designed for third-party clients. Make sure that you have taken proper protective measures for the intellectual property rights of apps – before submitting them to the online stores. Developing unique and engaging mobile apps call for considerable creativity and expertise – don’t just let anyone steal your concepts and get away with it!

 

Samsung Galaxy S5 – The Features We Liked

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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Along with the Sony Experia Z2, the launch of the much-awaited Samsung Galaxy S5 was the most talked-about event at the Mobile World Congress this year (at Barcelona, Spain). Let us here take you through some of the best features of the new smartphone model from the house of Samsung.

Putting an end to weeks of speculation amongst gadget-lovers, Galaxy S5, the latest flagship mobile handset from Samsung, was finally unveiled at the recently-concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC). While there have been murmurs of disappointment over the slightly tacky design features of the new phone model, the overall initial reviews of the latest Samsung device has been mostly positive. We will here list the features of Samsung Galaxy S5 that really come across as impressive:

  1. The improved fingerprint sensor – The Samsung Galaxy phones are not the best when it comes to security features – but the Galaxy S5 does have the potential to turn things around. The high-end sensor of the device can be used to authorize fingerprint validations for mobile transactions. Logging in to mobile apps is also likely to become easier with the sensor. On the phone, fingerprint id can never be removed/duplicated.

  2. The Heart Rate monitor – Rumors have been doing the rounds that iOS 8 would have an exclusive Healthbook app – and Samsung Galaxy S5 is already up for the competition. Just like external medical apps created by mobile application development companies, the Heart Rate Sensor of the phone would allow people to keep track of their heartbeat rate, at all times. More concern for the health of phone-owners currently seem to be what the smartphone biggies are fighting to provide!

  3. Dust-resistance and waterproof properties – Not something new for Samsung Galaxy S4 Active users – for all others, this feature is a relief. No longer would people have to remain constantly apprehensive about a drop of water causing serious damage to their new Galaxy phone. The backside of the handset has a dimpled design, which prevents accumulation of dust. Wiping the phone once every week or so should be enough for keeping it clean.

  4. More powerful battery backup – Nopes, the 2800 mAh battery of Samsung Galaxy S5 will not last for a couple of days – but it certainly would last longer than many similar smartphone models. The Battery Saver Mode, in fact, has been implemented to help users derive that extra bit of battery juice. Provided that you are not using too many mobile apps, you can expect the phone battery to last for at least 24 hours.

  5. Camera – Probably the standout feature of the newly-launched phone. Experts from even iPhone app development companies in India and overseas have expressed their appreciation over the high-clarity 16MP camera of the Galaxy S5, which comes with revolutionary Autofocus and Selective Focus options. Snaps of even fast-moving objects can now be captured, without any problems.

  6. Real-time screen display adjustments – Unlike its predecessors, the display screen of the new Samsung phone has automatic brightness, contrast and color-adjustment features. The display style gets adjusted on the fly, depending on the type of content that is displayed on the mobile screen. The built-in light sensor of the handset indeed lends it a sharper, more interactive feel.

  7. Tie-ups with major apps – More Galaxy Gifts (in the form of apps) – that’s what the newly-launched Galaxy S5 promises to buyers. While definite information on this count is not yet available, the phone is likely to have default tie-ups with many top app development companies across the world. Box, PayPal and LinkedIn are some of the apps that would probably be pre-installed on the device.

  8. The Ultra Power Saving Mode – After (and if!) you buy Samsung Galaxy S5, you might find the display turning fully black-and-white, after it is kept idle for a few minutes. Don’t jump to the conclusion that this is a technical glitch – it happens since the Ultra Power Saving Mode gets automatically activated. Unnecessary apps that might have been running in the background are also closed in this mode. The end result is – less strain on the phone battery. We totally #like!

  9. The Touchwiz user-interface – The feedback on the TouchWiz user-interface of Samsung Galaxy phones have been, till date, rather polarized. The response to the customized TouchWiz UI of the Galaxy S5 is likely to earn more uniform approval though. Obtrusive apps with unnecessary calls for action have been done away with, and the phone apparently makes an attempt to provide users with seamless Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat) mobile experience.

  10. Download booster – Mobile data download speeds are all set to become higher than ever before, on the Galaxy S5 device. In the phone, LTE and wireless (Wi-fi) connectivity can be simultaneously activated, to bolster the pace of downloading by as much as 80% (compared to downloads using either of the two alone). The LTE support in the phone is likely to be available on almost all leading mobile carriers.

 

The private mode of the Samsung Galaxy S5 is yet another noteworthy feature of the phone. Although the increase in screen size is not really significant (5-inches to 5.1-inches), the smooth AMOLED display impresses. Samsung also takes a cue from the Windows Phone – putting in a child mode in the Galaxy S5, which would make downloading and launching mobile apps for kids an absolute breeze. The new Samsung phone does not have any stunning hardware upgrades – but there are enough subtle, user-friendly features which can be instrumental in generating a uniformly enthusiastic response from buyers!

 

Are You An Eclipse User? You Will Find These Tips Useful!

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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While there is hardly any need to reiterate the popularity of Eclipse among Android developers, not everyone manages to use the plug-in in an optimal manner. In the following discourse, readers will be acquainted with a few handy features of Eclipse that considerably ease the task of application development.

 

On average, over 65% of Java and Android app developers cite Eclipse as the integrated development environment (IDE) of their choice. While the software does come with a host of high-end features, getting a proper grasp on it takes a bit of time – particularly for newbies in this field. There are instances where wannabe techies end up using Eclipse as only a text editor, while going with Intellij or Netbeans IDE, which are perceived to be ‘easier’. We here offer a few pointers that would help professional developers leverage all the built-in capabilities of Eclipse in an effective manner:

  1. Saving the file – While working with Eclipse, mobile app developers and programmers need not keep clicking on the ‘Save’ tab on the toolbar of the application window, after adding/changing a few lines of code. All that they have to do is make sure that the ‘Save automatically before build’ option (under the Preferences tab) is enabled. This might seem a minor feature – but coders can save quite a bit of time by using the auto-save option.

  2. Managing .jar files – Eclipse is by far the best IDE for coders who need to create and maintain multiple .jar files in their JEE or app development programs. The files can be categorized according to their types – and systematically saved under separate User Libraries. For calling the .jar files, these libraries only have to be added to a build path. In a complex, lengthy code, this keeps things from getting cluttered.

  3. Files on split screen – Most leading mobile app development companies in India prefer the usage of Eclipse over, say, Netbeans – precisely due to this feature. On Eclipse, two separate code files can be viewed simultaneously, doing away with the need for toggling between different windows. Once you select ‘New Editor’ (present under ‘Windows’), you can make changes in two locations within the same file.

  4. Common launch configuration option – Yet another easy and time-saving feature for developers. Under Menu, the ‘Launch Configuration Tab’ is present – which allows coders to initiate the configuration stage of their programs in a quick, glitch-free manner. What’s more – they can select their permanent launch option and debugging menu as per their preferences. Eclipse definitely bags high marks in terms of offering user-flexibility.

  5. Assistance to code-typing – Eclipse is much more than a standalone text editor for Android application development experts. However, the holistic typing support it offers deserves a special mention as well. Right from Quick Fix, Refactoring and Assign Parameter, to the Code Completion option – the plug-in makes sure that users do not have to do much of manual typing on their own. That, in turn, lowers the probability of errors creeping into the built codes.

  6. The Ecore tools – The Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) project and the standout Ecore tools available in it have received a big thumbs-up from programmers all over. Ecore includes a streamlined visual editor for diagrams, which makes the task of code-modification and/or new file creation (as required under various modeling techniques) rather straightforward. For keeping the program designing and its implementation in sync, using Ecore is a way more convenient option than having to grapple with external UML diagrams.

  7. Managing several projects within a single workspace – The last thing any developer (even an experienced one!) wants while working with multiple Spring and AspectJ environment workspaces is having to memorize the name of the workspace every individual project is stored in. Eclipse offers an easy way out, via the ‘Working Sets’ option (this one is available under Package Explorer, on the top right side of the window). Customized groupings of the various projects can be created – and after that’s done, developers only need to check the ‘Working Sets’ option under the ‘Show’ menu.

  8. Memory space management – The default memory space of an workspace in Eclipse is not always effectively utilized by novice J2EE developers. This generally happens owing to their ignorance about the Permanent Generation (PermGen) memory allocation option, that is available in the plugin. To avoid getting repeated memory error messages, a ‘XX:MaxPermSize’ has to be defined. As codes get lengthier, and using third-party code plugins become essential, this makes sure that developers do not face the ‘Out Of Memory’ problem.

  9. Support for cross-platform application development – Most popular IDE tools offer custom tools for the different operating systems (OS) developers might be working on. Eclipse, however, stands out – thanks to its top-notch support for cross-platform mobile application development coding. From the Preferences menu, the UTF-8 encoding option has to be selected, for creating programs that would run smoothly on all platforms. Coders no longer have to worry about special characters creating a problem.

  10. Keeping imports organized – Many Java programmers stay away from importing files on Eclipse – simply because they feel that making edits in such imported files would render the latter useless. The truth, however, is Eclipse has built-in options to automatically organize all data imports on save (the ‘Organize imports on save’ feature has to be enabled for that). Alternatively, developers can opt for the Shift-Cmd-O (Mac) or Shift-Ctrl-O (Windows), to manually organize the imported files.

  11. Using Step Filters – Be it for Java program testing or a mobile app testing, a focused approach is essential. Eclipse IDE allows users just that – through its well-thought out Step Filtering option. During the debugging phase, step filters make sure that only the actual source codes are displayed – keeping other underlying program techniques hidden. Error-detection and fixing becomes a lot easier, as a result.

 

Eclipse comes with a built-in Perspectives feature (allowing users easy toggling options), which adds to the convenience of app developers. Since Classpath Variables can be defined with ease, individual projects and workspaces can be seamlessly shared with other users as well. There’s no doubting that the learning curve of Eclipse is a slightly steep one – but if one invests enough time to get a hang of it, Eclipse can easily prove its worth as by far the best Android development IDE.