All posts by clouds

Build Mobile Apps for Your Business Easily

If you already have a website now a days it is best to have a mobile app as well. More and more people use web through mobile and hand held devices and reaching out to these people will boost visitors to your website.

There are many frameworks for mobile app development. Some are best suited for complex native apps and some are best for simple static informative type of apps. One of the frameworks that allow you turn your website into a mobile app is PhoneGap. You can do much more with it but since it uses WebView or UIWebView which is essentially a browser in a mobile device, you can easily display your website through a PhoneGap built application. PhoneGap is also totally free. It is better to make your website mobile friendly such as easy to use and navigate in small phones and tablets.

If you need to access native features, you can do that as well through javascript bridges that connects with the native plugins. Native features such as Taking Pictures, Uploading, GPS, Geo Fencing, Storing Files can be easily accomplished. You can also use Google Analytics for tracking visitors.

Placing Google Maps on your Contact Page without iframe

In a chaotic web world full of websites, it is a very good idea and a trend to show the Google Maps location to your business on the contact page, homepage or somewhere on the website. Local business can greatly benefit from it.

If picture is worth a thousand words, Google maps is certainly worth a million words. Now, as this seems a fairly good idea, it may seem as easy as copy and pasting Google maps screen shot and cutting it out on Photoshop.

Someone said, “If you want to make a person do something, sometimes it is only necessary to make that thing difficult” and trust me Google maps is not cut and paste easy as it seems and this only makes it interesting enough for us to pursue. (well if you don’t use iframe; which I am not a big fan of)

Here’s the JavaScript Google Code that you can paste it into your webpage that currently will show 99 Dollar Webmaster location.

%MINIFYHTMLf3e79408ebee03ec8cb67a1d3e877b3b3%%MINIFYHTMLf3e79408ebee03ec8cb67a1d3e877b3b4%

Now, all you need to do is to change the latitude, longitude field in the line var center = new GLatLng(41.229636877216485, -96.1358642578125); and keep your own latitude and longitude.

Now how do you find your latitude longitude?

Visit this website of Steve Morse and convert your physical address into latitude and longitude and replace it on the above line.

Joomla integration with Moodle

This is my experience while integrating Joomla with Moodle. Just need to make sure that we are using the right version of Joomla compatible with the right version of Moodle. This type of integration is generally used for online learning courses, systems or for even small universities.

There aren’t many online learning web applications and those which are there, require some heavy fees so Moodle is perfect as it is an open source application and requires no investment in licensing fees like Blackboard and others. It has an ugly user interface so to give a better look and feel, Joomla is a great CMS that can be used in the front end. I do not know of any other cms with which Moodle integrates easily.

Anyway, I used Joomla version 1.5.23 and Moodle 1.6. Please make sure that your web server has XML-RPC installed. Godaddy and 1and1 both created problems for me and you will find that many other hosting providers do not have XML-RPC installed and blame their security concerns for the flaws.

I had my client choose Bluehost. I find it better than most and far better than Godaddy.

So, after appropriate versions of Joomla and Moodle is installed, Joomdle needs to be installed for both the systems. If you search for Joomdle in Google you will find many articles and resources. You can download Joomdle from www.joomdle.com and there is a Joomdle wiki at http://www.joomdle.com/wiki/Main_Page . This is probably your best resource for Joomdle and walks you through all the process of integration. The process is step by step and tedious but in end if everything done correctly it will work perfectly.

So if you have an excellent course that you think you can teach and gather some students by making them pay for the course before they can participate, Moodle and Joomla can be your best and most affordable solution.

Believe on facts, not your guess

Back in the days, entrepreneurs and businessmen thought that if they would come up with a creative idea for a product or service, then it will sell. This way they tried their luck again and again until finally they discovered or created something that people really liked. What were the odds that they failed back in the days doing this? probably just a few and it worked for them.

Well it worked for them because, there were much fewer products and services compared to what it is today. If we tried the same technique today chances are that we will fail 99 times before making a safe landing hypothetically. In reality we’d already have been bankrupt before attempting 99 times or exhausted all our thoughts.

Though big businesses these days rely on reverse technique by studying the market first before attempting to sky dive, many search engine marketers, web masters and web designers still make the mistake of guessing their own keywords which they think will get traffic to their website. Most of the times this guessing is wrong.

Even though keywords selected are excellent and relevant to a business model, they have no way of knowing how much competition there is for that keywords.

For example put website development in keywords and search engine may pull list of books from amazon or meaning of website development from a dictionary or website development article from Wikipedia and your website seems to be found no where as competing with giants is impossible.

Put tour in your keywords and your tour agency will never be found anywhere. Chances are better that we target niche keywords like tour someplace but yet we don’t know how many people look for it.

Therefore it is imperative to rely on facts that will tell the competition versus searches, carefully analyse those according how relevant it is to your business and how you want to use those to drive traffic.

99 Dollar Webmaster can tell you exactly the facts; competitions vs searches. We can analyse those data to bring in people that really want to buy your service or product instead of typing for another keyword on Google.

Agile Project Management and Rally

I know this is just out of the blue. It is not a project or anything. Just today I was explaining our developer how Agile works and it has become almost the de-facto methodology replacing waterfall. He seemed to buy into what I was saying. I told him how we need to embrace change rather that fight change and how you add value to your product if you identify what works and what does not, ultimately create a product that meets what the customer may not have envisioned in the first place, but in fact exceeds that. Basically I was explaining him how you start to work on version 1.0 and at the end of it, you might actually have a version 2.0.

I saw that we don’t have any mention of Agile in our corporate website. The designer found an image that actually had a mention of it, among other things. I just liked that image so much. 🙂 Our client seemed to be interested in how we plan our products. I think Agile works for smaller projects also. Basically, if we have the mindset of change is acceptable and re-work is actually refactoring (making better) and we can make clients understand that as well (because more hours also mean better product and little more money as well) we could do Agile for small projects as well.

As far as a tool to do this, there is rally. Community version is free to use for 10 people. But we can manage only 1 project in community edition. It is hosted on rally’s on server. Another tool is JIRA with greenhopper plugin. It is one of Atlassian tools. Other good tools from Atlassian family are Cruicible for peer review and bamboo for continuous integration. These other tools make sense only for Enterprise Level application. I am sure most of us are familiar with these and other tools as well.

I am just suggesting that we can have a mention of Agile in the corporate site and our practices in creating software. While we may not do this immediately and this may seem like something to resist at first because of the load it puts on us, on a longer term, it should have a lot of benefits. I can spread the word like we do all this in our office. You can come and join us. Young people here just love to be doing something smart so that they can market themselves later. Just one example.

I will stop writing here. Gotta do some work.

Thanks.