Posts tagged applications
While much of the discussion around HTML5 and its ability to deliver compelling mobile applications centers on client-side performance, a potentially bigger problem resides on the network. Two trends in technology are on a collision course and threaten to make the web experience a growing digital bog for users on their mobile devices. Websites and applications today are increasingly complex and large in size, and at the same time a growing number of people are accessing the web over wireless networks.
As a result, browsing through websites on your mobile device can be like slogging through a marsh.
Basically, bigger applications are being jammed down increasingly congested wireless networks for display on mobile devices. While telcos have scrambled to make more and faster pipe available – 4G, for example – they haven’t been able to keep up.
Something has to give. Until now, the user experience was sacrificed. And while it may seem like an insignificant First World Problem if users have to wait a few seconds for an app or web site to load, even a few seconds delay negatively impacts top-line revenue for web publishers and corporations that rely on the web, as Tracelytics has pointed out.
I recently spoke with Manav Mital, CEO of Instart Logic a stealth company founded by a team of big data engineers from Aster Data. I asked Mital to talk some more about Instart Logic and its plans. And while Mital wasn’t yet ready to reveal details on how Instart Logic significantly improves web performance, he did give some insight into how the company has approached the problem.
ReadWrite: Your founders have Big Data analytics backgrounds. And since then you’ve hired some networking, virtualization, CDNs and large scale web services gurus from companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, VMware, Citrix, Akamai, Adobe and Mozilla. It’s an unusual, diverse team. What are you doing differently?
Mital: That wide variety of backgrounds is critical to helping us think differently about the “Last Mile Bottleneck.” The basic challenge we gave ourselves was how do we radically speed up the Internet over the last mile without asking a publisher to change anything on their web infrastructure or an end user to change anything on their device? Could we not only dramatically improve user experiences for the current generation of rich web sites and applications, but also make possible an entirely new class of web experiences?
That’s what we are building at Instart Logic. We all saw the same problem and felt the need for a better solution, one that we could develop by drawing upon concepts from our different backgrounds and unifying those ideas. It’s not a problem that any one approach could solve, be it CDN or Big Data or any other technology. We needed to start from scratch using shared learning from different technological approaches.
ReadWrite: What is this “Last Mile Bottleneck?”
Mital: In the past, the delivery bottleneck existed between the servers hosting the web application and the access points on the edge of the Internet. Legacy approaches to speed up the web focused on solving this bottleneck in the core of the Internet. In the age of the mobile and wireless Internet, these legacy technologies fail to address the biggest source of problem today – the Last Mile, which is the part between the edge of the network and the user’s device.
ReadWrite: So you’re saying the biggest bottleneck has shifted to the edge of the network. What happened?
Mital: Two converging trends are exacerbating the Last Mile Bottleneck. On one hand, web applications have grown more complex, more interactive and more data intensive. On the other hand, users are increasingly connecting to the Internet over some sort of a mobile or wireless network, causing a huge congestion in the last mile.
How’d we get here? Publishers and companies have replaced static websites with complex web applications that provide immersive visual experiences and encourage higher levels of interactivity, oftentimes tapping into social media data sources to make sites more personalized. These applications have to be far more intelligent and context-aware. User identity, location, previous behavior, social graph, time of day, and probable intent are all now key components factored into what is displayed by sophisticated web applications.
At the same time, more and more users are accessing web applications from tablets, smartphones and laptops through WiFi and wireless networks. Corporations, too, are moving hosted and on-premise software into the cloud. That means their workforces must access these applications via the public Internet. While carriers and providers of WiFi connectivity are moving quickly to expand the size of the wireless pipe (4G LTE is the most prominent example), they simply can’t keep up with the exploding volume of data coming over those pipes.
So you have two trends – richer web applications that are bandwidth hogs, and a wireless pipe that is increasingly congested – that combine to increase application load times and diminish end-user experience on any device.
ReadWrite: So what have web publishers and companies done in the past to deal with the Last Mile problem?
Mital: Publishers and businesses tried to overcome the bottleneck by compressing images to reduce the data footprint of a web application. Too often, those images appear washed-out. Some publishers and businesses have reacted by dumbing down their mobile and tablet sites, stripping out complexity.
Neither of these approaches help get applications to the mobile device. Worse, they provide a much less engaging user experience.
Alternatively, companies have resorted to what I would call extreme measures. Often major online e-commerce sites actually keep 20 different versions of product images to better handle the huge variation in network conditions and devices accessing his site.
We don’t think web publishers and companies should have to compromise on the user experience. That’s why we founded Instart Logic.
ReadWrite: Instart Logic has been in stealth. Do you have any customers actually using your product?
Mital: Yes. We’ve been running a private beta program for some time, and completed it in December 2012. The vast majority of Instart Logic’s beta customers – including a Fortune 500 company – are now using our service in production for mission-critical applications. These are paid customers, and they’re using our service to drive conversions and increase user engagement across a broad set of industries including retail, travel and hospitality, enterprise SaaS, online gaming, and media – sectors where immersive and interactive experiences are essential.
Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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To casual observers, that makes sense. HTML5 is roaring to the forefront of development far faster than industry predictions. We even saw some commercial proof of the platform’s “Write Once, Run Anywhere” promise in 2012. To seasoned Windows developers, though – particularly those building enterprise apps in dedicated Microsoft shops – it crushed their world. After spending decades learning to use different languages and development environments – most recently Microsoft’s proprietary but feature-rich WPF and Silverlight – the thought of jumping ship for HTML5 was devastating.
Microsoft has backpedaled in a number of forums since then, assuring developers that while HTML5 is the new standard for cross-platform apps, other tools will continue to work for Windows-only development. But the writing is on the wall. HTML5 is the future, so if you develop enterprise Windows applications, should you bite the bullet and make the move?
Will HTML5 Save Enterprises Money?
“Serious Coders” vs. “Script Kiddies”
His biggest problem so far is a reluctance to embrace change. “I have a couple 28-year-olds who act like grumpy old men, afraid that the ‘script kiddies’ without any real computer science knowledge are moving in on their turf. To them, HTML5 cheapens the application, dumbs down their resumes, and opens the door to a whole lot of bad coding from people who know how to make Web pages, but don’t have any formal experience with structured coding.”
What Do Developers Want?
One long-time C++ and (more recently) C# developer wasn’t excited about the rise of HTMLt5: “Eh. I get what they’re doing. It’s all about the portability of UI. They’ve been on that path for a long time, but whatever. The thing is, developers don’t want to learn a new markup when Microsoft has already forced them to learn one recently. WPF / Silverlight is crap, but so was Winforms. If they’d skipped WPF, they’d probably have more success trying to get people to shift to HTML5… I’ll go where the money is, though.”
That last point is telling. Developers will follow the work, they really don’t have a choice. And that it won’t be long before everyone will be doing at least some work in HTML5. Smart enterprises will be begin mixing in some of that work now makes sense, but there’s not yet good reasons for a complete shift.
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Search Engine Optimization Tricks for iPhone Applications Developers
Business 2 Community
Developing applications for sale on apples store is a great idea that delivers monetary values and much more. But development stage is just the first part, the next and most important part is getting people to know about your application through mobile …
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Aereo, the controversial Barry Diller-backed service that is streaming live and pre-recorded TV over the airwaves in New York City, is celebrating its recent preliminary court victory against 18 broadcasters by offering a free hour of service and new pricing options. But the real key for the viability of this high-flying IPTV startup in court might well be revealed in four patent applications filed earlier this year.
In March, ABC and 17 other New York City broadcasters filed a copyright infringement suit against Aero, claiming the service was essentially stealing and rebroadcasting its over-the-air (OTA) programming for its $8 to $12 a month Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service.
Now in beta, Aereo lets Apple iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Roku users access round-the-clock live and prerecorded over-the-air (OTA) TV channels on their screens. The company defeated a preliminary injunction demandedy by ABC et al in July that would’ve shuttered its service. As a result, the four patent applications it’s filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark and Office (USPTO) are increasingly relevant to Aereo’s futre and this particularly nasty copyright infringement case.
“Typically, patents or patent applications have no relevance in a copyright infringement case,” said Tom Ewing, an IP expert who trains attorneys for the United Nations on IP matters. “But after this July 11 ruling, the case is becoming a different bird. That’s because the judge expressly signaled her interest in the technologies employed by Aereo, saying the details will decide the case.
“If in fact the four patent applications Aereo filed four months before the suit hit it accurately describe Aereo’s deployed technology in New York City,” he added, “then these patent apps could give Aereo a leg up.”
Aereo representitve Virginia Lam told ReadWriteWeb that they do. “On your question of whether or not our technology works as we have described, the answer is a resounding, yes,” Lam said. “In fact, the recent decision by Federal Judge Alison J. Nathan in favor of Aereo (denying a preliminary injunction that had been filed against the company) bears this out.”
In her July 11 order Federal District Court Judge Alison Nathan was explicit that the case is all about the technology: Is Aereo simply copying and redistributing copyrighted over-the-air broadcasts as ABC et al claims. Or is Aereo just providing people the equivalent of virtual rabbit ears to grab freely available material on the airwaves, as it claims. In her opinion, she indicated that the merits of the case will lie on whether the Aereo system can be considered “one” or “many” antennae.
According to the USPTO, patent examiners have yet to take a look at the applications. So it may be too soon to party. But early indications from Judge Nathan’s order signal that Aereo’s use of a tiny and separate antenna in NYC for each user “reinforce(s) … that the copies (of broadcasts) are unique and accessible only to a particular user, as they indicate that the copies are created using wholly distinct paths.”
The patent applications appear to support this provided, as Ewing noted, that Aereo is doing exactly what the patent applications say it is doing: Providing an antenna per user, ala rabbit years, just 21st century remote style.
The four filed patent applications show how the company would use a rooftop array of tiny, dime-sized antennae at its New York City building – and assigniing each one per user as his or her own remote antenna.
The system, at least according to the patents, is essentially designed to provide each user with his or her own remote antenna – one of the tiny ones in Aereo’s rooftop array of millions of them.
Here are the four applications Aereo has filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office:
Its application (20120129479)called “Method and System for Processing Antenna Feeds Using Separate Processing Pipelines” supports the idea that the system’s intent is to assign an antenna per user as opposed to just stealing, recording and rebroadcasting, as ABC and the other broadcasters claim.
Its application (20120127374) “System and Method for Providing Network Access to Antenna Feeds” describes how Internet users get access to live antenna feeds, which appearst to be consistent with what Aereo reps have described about the system in its PR materials and in court.
The same goes for its application (20120127363) “Antenna System with Individually Addressable Elements in Dense Array,” which describes in detail how the system assigns users to individual antennas.
Accessing the recordings users make with their Roku, Apple TV or other DVR is the heart of application 20120131621, titled a “System and Method for Providing Network Access to Individually Recorded Content.”
In New York City, Aereo currently offers 28 broadcast channels available over-the-air, including WABC, WCBS, WNBC WNYW-FOX, WPIX-11, WNET-PBS, Telemundo Univision and other special interest and foreign channels.
Aereo plans to extend the service to PC and Android users in New York City later this quarter, and enter other markets in the United States in 2013.
This should be be an interesting case. It is a rare copyright infringement case that hinges on technology, much less patents. And the stakes are high.
Barry Diller photo courtesy of James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc.
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A new wave of change is coming to the Internet. It is not the subtle change caused by the rise of the mobile application ecosystem or the cloud redefining the nature of data. It is more practical than that, and it will affect everyone who uses the Internet on a daily basis. Early next year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will release the first batch of new generic top-level domains. In addition to .com or .net or .org, and a plethora of national designations, users will find hundreds of new abbreviations after the dot. Some observers have called the shift a gold rush, while others herald it as the Net’s next evolutionary step.
Law firm Loeb & Loeb issued an infographic that gives a good overview of the results of ICANN’s application process for new generic top-level domains, or gTLDs. The organization received more than 1,900 applications for new domains. Of those applications, 40% were redundant as companies vied for domains such as .app (13 applications), .blog (nine applications) and .art (10 applications).
About 40% of applications were for specific brands such as .Amazon or .Volkswagen. This is a testament to two factors within the gTLD process: the need for brands to protect their high-level domain names from cybersquatters and the marketing benefits of owning a gTLD.
Several companies applied for a significant number of domains. Google (under the name Charleston Road Registry) applied for 101 generic domains while Amazon applied for 76.
Despite some early hiccups, ICANN’s review has commenced. It will be interesting to see how and why certain domains will be awarded. From a high-level perspective, what is the difference between Google or Amazon owning a particular domain? Both are huge companies that have ample funding to develop such domains.
A bigger question is, how will companies created solely for the purpose of applying to gTLDs fare? These companies, such as Donuts Inc. and Top Level Domain Holdings Limited (TLDHL), help their clients handle the work involved in applying for a gTLD. Donuts Inc. had the most applications for gTLDs with 307 (106 more than second-place Google). The company has been overlooked by people analyzing the review process because each application listing is under a different name and email address. Donuts Inc. utilizes a Colombian (.co) top-level domain and each application uses a different email address. The co-founder for Donuts Inc. is Daniel Schindler and the company operates out of Bellevue, Washington. It has raised $100 million to administer gTLDs (which it will operate through registrars like GoDaddy). Donuts Inc. spent $56.8 million in ICANN fees to lodge its 307 applications.
Beyond that, little is known about companies like Donuts Inc. or Top Level Domain Holdings Limited. In many cases, the companies are working on behalf of third parties. But with so many applications between the two (TLDHL submitted 70 applications, fourth behind Donuts, Google and Amazon), each company likely will be awarded several, perhaps dozens, of domains. It is reasonable to trust companies that are well known to administer gTLDs, such as Google and Amazon, but it is curious to see these shadowy corporations applying for so many domain names.
Donuts, TLDHL and their ilk make many pundits think that ICANN’s new gTLDs will cause a gold-rush land grab for premium property on the Internet. It is understandable for Amazon and Google to be heavily invested in gTLDs, and there are reasonable expectations of what each company would do with its allotted share of domains. On the other hand, it is difficult to ascertain exactly what will come if the mysterious newcomers win a significant number of domains.
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Googler Killer, Cuil, which launched in June 2008 and went defunct in September 2010, have had their patent applications acquired by Google. Bill Slawski spotted the transfer of ownership of these patent applications this morning. The patents transfer to Google from Cuil include 20090240672,…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
The Chrome folks have put together a Field Guide for Web Applications that is almost as notable for its design as the content itself. The field guide is a short resource with four chapters on Web apps, and one devoted to “Bert Appward” – the fictitious author of the guide.
The guide is laid out as a book, and works as an offline application. For example, you can give the app permission to store itself on your mobile device and read it even if you’re away from a data connection.
If you’re just getting started with creating Web applications, this makes a good overview. The guide provides a number of links to resources and tutorials that will help developers with things like using Webfonts, CSS3 keyframe animations, and so on. The guide would also serve as a good executive summary for other folks outside the developer team that might need to learn a bit more about what a Web app should be.
The design of the app is great, and it looks good in Chrome and Mobile Safari. The fonts look a bit fuzzy in Firefox Aurora, though. However, the book design gets a bit old after about five minutes. The information is worthwhile, but slogging through a “book” app gets tiresome.
Despite that, it’s worth checking out if you’re new to creating Web apps or just want to see what Google recommends as best practices. Have any other resources that developers ought to check out? I’d love to hear about them.
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Slingshot SEO Names John Lawrence VP of Applications Development
MarketWatch (press release)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, Feb 06, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Slingshot SEO, the innovative firm delivering digital relevance to deserving brands, has announced that John Lawrence has joined its growing team as VP of Applications Development.
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Combine PHP & Ajax as a Powerful Platform for Web Applications with Packt’s … – San Francisco Chronicle (press release)
Combine PHP & Ajax as a Powerful Platform for Web Applications with Packt's …
San Francisco Chronicle (press release)
Packt is delighted to announce the release of PHP Ajax Cookbook, a collection of over 60 recipes with step-by-step directions to build SEO-friendly websites using standard Ajax tools. Written by Milan Sedliak, R. Rajesh Jeba Anbiah, Roshan Bhattarai, …
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For the last few years, many everyday folks who’ve been asked in surveys, “What is a cloud application?” have either guessed wrong or said they don’t know. Folks don’t know what “the cloud” is, and for the most part, that’s not their fault. Unlike the Internet, which truly is a single network of interconnected resources, “the cloud” is more of a concept, one which can be leveraged by marketing departments to mean just about anything.
For this year’s ReadWriteWeb list of the most important and influential consumer-grade cloud computing apps of the year 2011, we focused our gaze on services that truly fit the formal definition: specifically, services that 1) utilize a remote resource of 2) variable capacity 3) which the user can provision for herself, 4) which is mostly or totally independent of programs installed on the user’s devices or PCs, and 5) which is not just a Web site with a big server. You may have seen Facebook on some publications’ Top Cloud lists already; by our definition, Facebook is not a cloud service. But we did look for providers that perform innovative, discrete functions built around their services.
Not every entry on our list is new this year, but they have all done something innovative within 2011. Keep in mind also, these are consumer cloud apps – things that an individual would use for her personal work or livelihood. We’ll have a separate list later on for enterprise cloud innovations of the year. The functionality needs to be delivered from the cloud app, as opposed to installing an application on a PC or smartphone that just happens to borrow cloud storage.
Hosting services are not cloud apps for purposes of this list; and there are plenty of innovative hosts to consider (we gave serious thought to Wistia), but in the end we decided that a hosting service is not really an application unless it provides a discrete function that goes over and above simple storage or sharing. Analytics, which Wistia provides, is right on the edge, but it’s really a measurement of a byproduct of using the service as opposed to a function that users actually perform. That’s not saying Wistia isn’t a great idea; it just belongs on another list.
10. CloudApp. The largest single category of cloud apps for consumers is storage and retrieval, which is understandable because it’s a service that everyone needs to one degree or another. What’s interesting is how certain services innovate on this theme, and especially whether they give themselves room to continue innovating.
CloudApp is for Mac OS and iOS users at the moment, and its innovation is that it’s building a little ecosystem around itself. It utilizes your choice of quick-and-easy gestures for designating a file or object to send to CloudApp’s storage, the most basic of which is dragging and dropping the object to CloudApp’s icon in the taskbar. In exchange for this gesture, CloudApp produces a URI which is copied to the Clipboard. From there, you can paste it into an e-mail, a tweet, or an IM message; when your recipient receives the link, she has instant access to the object.
The way CloudApp innovates is by incrementally enhancing what can be easily uploaded, and how those objects can be utilized in their native context. One example is screenshots: You can designate a key for taking a screenshot and uploading it in one fell swoop; the recipient sees your link, clicks on it, and sees your screen. There’s no exporting or importing necessary here.
But what hoisted CloudApp onto our Top 10 list this year is how well the company is promoting Raindrops. This is an extremely clever, self-promotional idea for enabling developers to build their own tools that utilize CloudApp in similarly contextual ways, with the help of CloudApp’s own API. One example the company created at the time this feature was launched in April 2010 is for Adobe Photoshop; since then, the community has contributed a truckload more, including an intelligent link interpreter for Twitter and a stand-alone CloudApp client for iOS called Stratus.
Here’s an example (above) of another add-on you can’t even see (which is a good thing): The maker of SparrowMail used CloudApp’s API to develop a way to do simple drag-and-drop of attachments into e-mail messages, bypassing Mac OS’ sometimes convoluted series of steps.
Building a community around something as simple as an app is a difficult thing for a small company to achieve, especially when it’s in competition with a plethora of other vendors in the same category. CloudApp is pulling this off brilliantly. (It’s worth noting that the service is built on the open-source Heroku platform from Salesforce, thus answering RWW’s question from last year on whether developers will trust Heroku: Yes.)
- The Consumer Cloud: Your Next Big Home Computing Project
- How to Store Your Files in the Cloud, and Why You’d Want To
- Windows 8 Will Bring Personal Cloud to Billions
- Cloud Drive Comparison
- How to Get Started With Apple’s iCloud (for new users)
- Making the Transition to Apple’s iCloud (for MobileMe users)
- Should You Move Your Files to Amazon’s New Cloud Drive?
9. Waze. What would be nice is if someone hired a few thousand cars to drive around each town looking for traffic incidents, and report on them in real-time. Let’s see, $25 bucks per hour salary times 1,000 reporters times 50 cities… I’ll get back to you on that idea.
Or, what would be brilliant is if someone leveraged the platform that’s already in existence to enable a few thousand folks to do this job passively and voluntarily. Waze is a system that utilizes the GPS information being pinged back from iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian devices. It’s been in existence since 2006, but last October the 3.0 version of the service introduced a fabulous new feature (so far, just for the iPhone users) that integrates with Twitter. This way, people can tweet on what’s happening in their neighborhoods (including the good things, like street fairs) from right where they’re standing.
Okay, maybe there aren’t a thousand Waze users in a city like mine (Indianapolis) just yet, but it’s surprising what you can find. There’s updates on traffic accidents and reported police sightings (which are rarer in some cities than others). What Waze demonstrates is that there are ways of making use of data that can be collected passively from a crowd of users, in ways that do not jeopardize privacy.
8. Box.net. This is one of the services that comes to most folks mind when they know what a cloud app is. What’s kept Box.net in the news, including just this month – and what keeps Box.net on our list this year – is a constant stream of innovations. Customizable synchronization is one example from last fall; and earlier this month, a completely revamped iOS app that enables features like uploading photos and videos to discrete folders. This puts Box.net on a par with dedicated photo-sharing services that simply can’t expand its features list to Box.net’s size. And just this morning, the company launched an enterprise-grade option for unlimited storage.
Next: Playing your own tune…