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Welcoming 2014

The lack of updates in this blog throughout the 2013 confirms: we’ve been incredibly busy. While we continue designing and developing corporate database driven websites – and remaining loyal to our old clients – we’ve been shifting our focus towards web and mobile application development with emphasis on PHP/MySQL, jQuery, HTML5 and other mobile application frameworks.

Most part of the year 2013, we have worked exclusively for a client in Dallas developing web and mobile applications with social networking and content publishing features. Due to the ongoing nature of the work, we cannot reference this work on our site but would be pleased to walk through some of the features should your company be interested in considering us for custom web and mobile application development work.

In November 2013 we signed up a full time software engineer to our team, Pyry Kuusi, who works from Helsinki, Finland as an exclusive team member of Interaria. As many of you know, we are a family based company with James Shields in web development and project management, his Finnish wife Meri Kuusi-Shields in user experience design and brand positioning, and now Meri’s brother and James’ brother-in-law Pyry in a full time position for software & web application development.

Over the years, we have realized that our clients care about one-on-one agile approach to project development which means ability to comprehend complex business models and organize them in a make-sense manner, willingness to embrace the organic process of new ideas and the ability to shift the direction for development when needed. For us, working with a small core team has meant this: ability to be flexible and less bureaucratic, all while holding a higher quality control with each deliverable.

The year 2014 will mark our 10 years in business, all with the same team. We are quite excited about the web and mobile application development for multi-platform media where users have more power to customize their content and interaction experiences and choose their device for user interaction. The concept of ‘interactivity’ will carry more meanings and make us more demands as we continue our years.

Custom Web Application Development Using a Model-View-Controller (MVC) Framework

In this blog post we discuss the use of a Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework in the context of custom web application development. What exactly is a Model-View-Controller (MVC)? Wikipedia gives the following insight and definition:

MVC (Model-View-Controller) is an architectural design pattern that encourages improved application organization through a separation of concerns. It enforces the isolation of business data (Models) from user interfaces (Views), with a third component (Controllers) (traditionally) managing logic, user-input and coordinating both the models and views. The pattern was originally designed by Trygve Reenskaug during his time working on Smalltalk-80 (1979) where it was initially called Model-View-Controller-Editor. MVC went on to be described in depth in “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software” (The “GoF” or “Gang of Four” book) in 1994, which played a role in popularizing its use.

Although a Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern was originally formulated in the late 1970’s, it has more recently gained increased relevancy as a software modeling development system due to recent efficiency requirements when building web applications. Separating the View (presentation layer) from the applications inner workings (Control and Model) allows independent development of each element. The benefits of the separation are several:

  1. Web application development in the MVC framework allows for the design to be maintained and independently updated from the codebase. It is not uncommon that over time the design sensibilities may seem outdated, new design considerations become available, or new devices with different UI requirements become available. Separating the design and code make it easier for the developer to update the designs without affecting the established code.
  2. Web application development in the MVC framework allows for the Web applications features to grow over time. It may be the case with a web application that with new users, new features need to be added that weren’t originally anticipated. When new web application systems are developed they can be modeled according to already established graphical user interfaces.
  3. Web application development in the MVC framework allows for new representations or presentations of the same data, such as showing a chart of data as a pie chart or as a bar chart.
  4. Web application development in the MVC framework allows for new formatting of text or image content, such as a styling of a user interactive slideshow.
  5. Web application development in the MVC framework allows for the division of labor in the development process: one developer can work on the core logic and data structure (Controller / Model) while another can simultaneously work on its presentation to the user (graphical user interface or View).
  6. Web application development in the MVC framework allows for a web application’s functionality to be repurposed based on adjustments to a configuration file, independent of its GUI elements.
  7. Web application development in the MVC framework allows for scalability by centralizing re-usable building blocks of code. When new features are added to the web application, those new features can re-use the existing web application’s foundation code elements.

Web applications are sometimes a one-off for a specific purpose, but often times their functionality requirements grow over time as more users begin using the system. It is not uncommon to build out a system with a certain feature set and then soon after launch find that some features are more appreciated than other features, requiring further enhancements.

Interaria’s custom Web Application Development utilizing the Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework takes into account that the web applications’ user interface designs and graphical components will likely need to be updated over time and that a continued development of the web applications functionality will likely expand over time. Web applications developed in the the Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework allow for development flexibility, scalability and growth of visual design, user interfaces designs and the code base.

Contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 to discuss your company’s custom web application development needs.

New Winds For Cross-Device Compatible Interactivity

Mobile and tablet devices not supporting the Flash player plugin have contributed to the overall decline of development of interactive web animations during the past few years.

Up until very recently, Web designers and developers have had very limited options to create cross-device compatible interactivity, typically relying on AJAX based components. Today we are closing the gap as new emerging technology and web programs are opening doors for new types of ‘Flash free’ interactive ‘animations’.

Adobe has brought in two new software products to the market, Adobe Edge, and CreateJS Toolkit built for Adobe Flash Pro CS6, that both offer promising steps towards more quickly produced code based HTML5 interactivity. Google has also developed a program called Google Swiffy which will convert Flash animations to HTML5.

Adobe Edge, currently in beta/preview mode, uses CSS to draw objects, javascript to animate objects, and HTML div’s to place these objects on the page. This is an intriguing solution for making web pages more interactive but is visually somewhat limited due to CSS code not being able to render complex vector drawings such as hexagons.

Complex vector graphic animations can be created using Flash Pro CS6 which can then be exported as web friendly SVG’s (scalable vector graphics), and animated on HTML5 canvas using either the new built-in CreateJS Toolkit or by using the Google .swf to HTML5 conversion tool Swiffy.

Adobe’s CreateJS Toolkit allows a developer to export Flash animations to HTML5 format so where one can then program the further interactivity of the vector graphics with javascript. Google Swiffy on the other hand allows the developer to program the interactivity of scalable vector graphics in Flash, and then converts the rendered .swf file to HTML5.

With the new interactive tools available, there are now ways for web designers and web developers to increase cross-device compatible interactive creativity both economically and efficiently. A designer/developer can now put together an interactive experience where the exported code renders on all modern browsers and devices without the use of the Flash Player Plugin.

Contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 to discuss your company’s cross-platform compatible HTML5 animation needs.

Adobe Edge for Cross-Device Friendly HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript code based Interactivity

Adobe has just launched a new animation program, Adobe Edge, that takes promising steps towards the world of mobile media animations and interactivity. Adobe Edge functions in many ways like a Flash program with the key difference that the created animations are not exported as a swf movie but they are actually converted into a mathematical HTML5 code along with CSS and javascript that can be further developed in HTML mode. Animations and interactivity designed by Adobe Edge are compatible with mobile devices that do not support the Flash player. Interaria is following and testing the developments of Adobe Edge program closely, and providing the most current motion and interactivity solutions to our clients.

Official product page:

Watch a video by Adobe about Adobe Edge:

The Challenge of Fighting Computer Viruses

Computer security expert Mikko Hyppönen takes a vivid look into the work of detecting and tracing computer viruses in an international map that doesn’t respect borders or specific jurisdictions. Hyppönen sees protecting the Internet from viruses as the greatest challenge of our time. He reminds us of a scary scenario: productivity without computers.

Empowered Online Shoppers In A Modern Walled Garden?

First, before going further, what is a walled garden, exactly? Wiki states that “a walled garden refers to a carrier’s or service provider’s control over applications, content, and media on platforms (such as mobile devices) and restriction of convenient access to non-approved applications or content.” Continue reading Empowered Online Shoppers In A Modern Walled Garden?

Apple Approves: HTML5 is Here!

HTML5 doesn’t perhaps sound all that fancy but it is a new developing programming language that is the next major revision of the HTML standard. HTML5 incorporates new features such as a video playback and a drag-and-drop technology that have been previously dependent on third-party browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight. HTML5 video player especially will be useful for incorporating video to Apple iPhone and iPad that currently do not support Adobe Flash Player. Apple describes HTML5 as “open, reliable, highly secure, and efficient”. This Apple’s endorsement doesn’t sound so sweet for Adobe, the maker of the Flash Player at the moment.

Interaria is efficient in HTML5 code language, and follows the developments closely. Please contact Interaria at 214-909-3900 (Dallas) or 512-300-9286 (Austin) for discussing web technologies further and what they mean to your business.

Google Caffeine for More Relevant Search Results

Google has announced its new method to rank and search web content. Google Caffeine is an update to how Google indexes web sites and web pages for search results. In the past Google’s method of indexing web sites by sending their Googlebots out around mapping sites took time. It could take up to two weeks if not longer for new content to be indexed and appear in search results. The new Google indexing system (Google Caffeine) is intended to make the search results show more current information faster, drawn from blogs and Twitter and the rest of the social media ecosystem.

Google Caffeine also attempts to better measure the relevancy of backlinks. In the old system many old web sites with high number of links have been ranking in higher positions than more recently launched sites with current and updated information. In this age of fast media postings 24/7, and users’ needs for relevant sources and information, Google needed to make these adjustments to its search engine and play catch up.

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