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August 20th, 2015
OS X 10.10 comes bundled with PHP 5.5.24 and Apache 2.4.10, and the only additional thing you would need to get a nice *AMP stack running is MySQL. For a web developer, those are the three basic requirements to get started with developing applications.
It’s not always ideal to start development at this stage although it is certainly possible. Applications require you to tweak configuration files – that’s change you need to keep track of. Some require you to add/remove additional modules for PHP/Apache, thus increasing entropy of your system state a notch. When working on multiple applications that have their own dependencies and requirements, sometimes switching development between applications would need configuration changes of base services. This continuous tweaking of configuration inherently introduces chances to break your environment and a lot of time is spent figuring out why.
August 18th, 2015
You have just been told you will be managing a project using Team Foundation Server (TFS), which includes the utilization of CMMI Templates and SCRUM elements, like burndown charts, velocity, etc.; however, no one, including yourself and the team, has used TFS before.
If the scenario above sounds familiar, you are in the right place. I am going to cover, in a series of articles, what will serve as a survival kit to ensure you not only have TFS well structured, but also to ensure that you have all the crucial elements established and know TFS limitations when managing web projects.
August 13th, 2015
Before the internet, taxonomy– the study of general principles of scientific classification– was mainly used for scientific purposes, a concept we all vaguely remember learning about in school (remember species, classes, geneses and orders?)
August 12th, 2015
A few weeks ago I developed a hook into the httpRequestBegin pipeline that resolved items stored within an Item Bucket by the Item Name, first match only by template. However, as we are dealing with Item Buckets, a problem will exist if multiple Items are stored within the Item Bucket with the same name. Given how the pipeline was built to match by the first match found, some items within the indexed would never be matched.
August 6th, 2015
In today’s analytics-driven business processes more companies are incorporating analytics into their daily decision making. In most cases the decision makers are 2 to 3 organizational layers from the data and more often than not they do not have the skillset to work with the data in its raw form. This raises the need for an efficient mode of aggregating and presenting the data in such a way that reveals the greatest amount of insights. This is where dashboard design becomes so important. Utilizing data dashboards to make these conclusions is nothing new; however, the dashboards in use today are far more complex than the dashboards of 10-15 years ago.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic questions you need to address before designing the dashboard.
August 5th, 2015
There are plenty of Agile websites that will describe what and how to write user stories so I’m not going to repeat that here. Instead what I’ll be going over is how I construct user stories in JIRA for my projects. A user story is essentially a sentence written to succinctly tell what a user specifically wants to do. An example:
“As runner I want to run in the best pair of running shoes that fit me.”
July 30th, 2015
Faceted search as a technique for organizing content is still a tried and true method used in modern web design. Implementing faceted search allows companies to fully expose their offerings and website content. Due to advances in front-end technologies, there are some new techniques and experiences that have taken faceted search to the next level.
This is an updated version of a previous blog we posted on faceted search a little while back; if you’re interested in viewing those examples you can find them here.
July 28th, 2015
The digital era has forced financial services to focus on customer relationships and personalized service more than ever before. The modern financial services consumer expects to interact with a brand that is personal, approachable, and useful. Today clients are far more likely to interact with a financial service provider through its online services rather than in person; as a result, financial services must better their digital presence and provide clients with all of the information and tools that they need. We’ve compiled a list of the strategies and best practices that many financial services are implementing to increase their brand equity and better their relations with customers.
July 22nd, 2015
As regulations continue to tighten on the industry and margins remain slim, the financial sector’s saving grace comes in the form of digital innovation. Like most other sectors, financial services is experiencing the user-led revolution of brand interaction and companies that are embracing innovation are experiencing success. Those that are slow to the game, however, will shortly be left behind.
Below are 4 companies who are taking the lead in digital innovation and succeeding:
July 21st, 2015
This blog provides a brief overview of segmentation, discusses some best practices and provides tangible examples. We’ve kept things tool agnostic so we can focus on the fundamentals.
Segmentation is a systematic process of creating meaningful subsets of the total population based on predefined Factors or Attributes. Segmentation allows marketers or the leaders in the decision chain to parse the data on a more granular level. Doing so provides a much better insight on how each of these segments is interacting with the digital asset, be it a website or an application. For the ease of reference we will only discuss segmentation in context of website performance but the underlying fundamentals are the same.
July 16th, 2015
As browsing the web with mobile devices becomes the new normal, developers are continuously evaluating how to make websites better, faster, stronger, and more mobile friendly. One area that can yield huge gains in performance is delivering the right sized image. A full-width image that looks sharp and clear on a large desktop monitor will bog down a mobile user’s bandwidth with unnecessarily large file sizes. Content providers end up providing multiple cuts of an image for desktop, tablet, and mobile in order to ensure that their layout is preserved and performance isn’t impacted. Luckily, new HTML5 elements can help developers serve the correct image size on any device, and Sitecore can provide a range of sizes with no additional effort to the content provider.
July 14th, 2015
Evolving consumer behavior and digital marketing are creating seismic change in the financial services marketplace. As a result, many financial service providers are finding that they need a new approach to remain competitive.
The marketplace for financial products and services has undergone profound changes since the meltdown crisis of 2007. Many firms today stress their rigorous analysis, independent thinking, and disciplined approach to money management as pathways to sustainable investment opportunities with greater long-term value for clients. But standing out in this crowded field becomes ever more difficult as the volume and intensity of outbound financial services marketing activity increases.
July 9th, 2015
We often guide our clients in selecting the right Content Management System (CMS) for their digital platform. We ensure that the tool will form the right foundation to deliver an optimal user experience by assessing their system requirements, integration requirements, and budget.
However, we occasionally come across situations in which a CMS might not be the optimal approach. I’ve personally managed a number of CMS implementations with Sitecore and Drupal but have also guided projects where a CMS was not part of the implementation plan. What I’ve learned is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for clients.
July 7th, 2015
One of the most interesting trends in the rapidly evolving healthcare market is the idea that regional and national healthcare systems are consolidating through mergers and acquisitions at a considerable rate according to Modern Healthcare’s annual survey of hospital systems. Such consolidation includes independent hospitals, specialty care providers, physician groups, clinics, and outpatient-care centers. These consolidation activities underscore the jockeying among health systems as public policy and market forces expand insurance coverage for millions of Americans, push providers to manage the health of enrolled populations and shift payment to new models that introduce greater financial risks for hospitals and doctors.
While some believe that these mergers could lead to increased healthcare costs, we see some interesting opportunities to serve patients better – starting with digital of course.
June 29th, 2015
This blog post explains an approach to adding commands to the Experience Editor, enhancing the Content Author experience, for the Sitecore ASP.NET Web Content Management System (CMS) and Experience Platform (XP).