Monday, June 30, 2008

CSS Tutorial: Style Sheet Types

Over the past few weeks, we’ve added some high level CSS tutorials to our forum. Our forum is used by people with a wide variety of skill levels in a wide variety of areas. That being said, I’ve recently received a few requests for some more basic CSS tutorials.

Over the next few weeks, we intend to take a step back and examine the basic principles of CSS. Please check out our forum for the first of these tutorials entitled, “CSS Tutorial: Style Sheet Types”.

Friday, June 27, 2008

5 Things You Should Never Tell Your Boss

Do you find yourself often telling your boss things like, “That’s impossible” or “There’s only one way”? Do you regularly surprise him/her with bad news? Well, your boss doesn’t want to hear it, according to this recent Computerworld article entitled, “5 Things You Should Never Tell Your Boss”.

While I liked the article, and thought it had some good advice, I think it just takes a little common sense to figure out what your boss doesn’t want to hear. Just try to put yourself in your manager’s shoes, and ask, “Would I want to hear this if I was in his/her position”?

For those of you who found the first article interesting, you would probably enjoy the follow-up article entitled, “5 Things You Should Always Tell Your Boss”.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Positioning with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Before Cascading Style Sheets, a web developers tool for layout was the table. With CSS comes more layout options, which provide for easier positioning, neater code, and more versatility. However, positioning is one of the most misunderstood parts of CSS.

The two extra layout tools made possible with CSS are called "positioning" and "floats". However, before you learn about these tools, you must first understand the box model. But before you can learn any of these concepts, you should understand why they're important. We have written up a few handy tutorials explaining these concepts, which can be found in our forum.

To learn why CSS is better than tables for layout, click here.>>

To learn more about the box model, click here.>>

To learn more about CSS positioning, click here.>>

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The BI Market Is Shrinking?

According to Gartner Research quoted in this article, the Business Intelligence (BI) market grew 13% internationally in 2007. In the US, however, it grew only 5%. Considering the growing importance being placed on BI, that’s a little surprising. Analysts say the weakened US economy is the main factor, which will continue to have a negative impact on BI in the US.

Gartner's research leads me to the conclusion that many companies don’t see business intelligence as being worth the cost. If a company truly thought that the benefits of a BI tool would pay for itself and more, they would buy it. However, when you have to drop 6 figures on a BI solution, that’s a hard concept to grasp.

Good business intelligence doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn't take much research to find that there are affordable options that have all the power at a fraction of the price. A weak economy doesn’t have to be a reason to avoid BI.

If you’re curious to see what an affordable BI solution can do, check out our Crazybikes demo site, which was built using m-Power. If you would like to see what m-Power can do for you, we will build a live custom web application over your own files, absolutely free and without obligation. Simply fill out this short form to get started!

Friday, June 20, 2008

How to: Do more cool things with AJAX and your web 2.0 servlets

This post will show you how to:

1. Make asynchronous servlet calls in your web 2.0 servlets,

2. Fill input fields with information obtained through an asynchronous call,

3. Fill an area of the screen with information from an asynchronous call.

That sure sounds onerous. What this post really does, for those of you who will stick through a little tech talk, is show you how to make your web 2.0 servlets behave as if the information is coming from a locally attached PC.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

15 Turning Points in Tech History

In your opinion, what are a few of the greatest turning points in tech history? Just for fun, try to come up with a few, and then read this InfoWorld article entitled, “15 turning points in tech history” to see if any of yours are mentioned. I personally found the article to be fascinating, though I would have made a few changes.

For example, the lithium-ion battery was a seemingly small breakthrough with huge implications. It helped make the cell phone revolution possible over the last decade, which in turn affected countless aspects of our lives, from the way we communicate to the way we do business. Do you really think that the cell phone would have had such a huge impact if they had large clunky batteries that couldn’t hold a charge all day?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What would you have added or removed from this list? Feel free to comment to this post with your ideas.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Your Bug. Your Problem?

If you were contacted by a previous employer and asked to fix a bug in code that you had written, what would you do? That’s the question recently posed in this article.

Personally, I found the reader's comments to this article just as interesting as the article itself. Some commented that they would in fact help out, while others cited potential legal problems and possibilities of recurring requests for help as reasons not to.

Of course, this situation could be completely avoided simply by writing flawless code 100% of the time. Impossible? You should try using m-Power. It generates error- and syntax-free java code through a simple point-and-click interface, eliminating the possibility of bugs altogether. m-Power allows you to spend your time programming and being productive, without wasting time finding and fixing bugs. That is why we have had so many customers tell us, “m-Power makes programming fun again”!

If you would like to see what they are talking about, check out our online lab where you can create a couple error free java applications in under one hour.

Friday, June 13, 2008

5 Free Open-Source Blackberry Applications

The Blackberry is an extremely useful device right out of the box, but it's quite a bit more useful with additional applications. While I love the fact that most of the applications are free, there is one thing I like better: free open-source applications.

I recently ran across 5 free open-source applications for your Blackberry that I’m sure you’ll find useful. You can read about and access them here>>.

I am certain you've heard about Apple's announcements this week. One in particular - a common development environment for both their iPhone and Leopard (read computer) applications which should set them apart from RIM and the BlackBerry.

Well, I don't think so. Although they may present it as they're taking the lead in this area, m-Power has provided that to customers for years now. And,I'm willing to bet that our development environment has some serious advantages over Apple's. For server based business applications that also deploy to handhelds, like the BlackBerry, you can't beat m-Power.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Does the IT Industry Really Matter?

That's a question you don’t hear every day, yet it is one that was asked of a columnist. After reading the article and the comments, I am still left with my original reaction: "What?!"

Here’s my short answer on why that is a ridiculous question. We live in a “right now” world. If your company does business at a speed that is anything less than instant, you are at an extreme disadvantage. Why? There are two reasons:

  1. Everyone is trying to be faster, including your competition.
  2. The consumers expect it. If you can't meet their expectations, they'll find someone who can.
It is more important than ever to stay current from a technology standpoint. How will a company stay current from a technology standpoint without the IT industry?

I'm happy to say that we've helped many companies move at the speed of "right now" thanks to m-Power. For example, this stairlift manufacturer was able to develop a whole new suite of web applications in just two weeks using m-Power.

If you would like to see it for yourself, visit our online lab, where you will be able to create two web under an hour.

Monday, June 09, 2008

How To: Bring AJAX suggest functionality to your servlets

This new forum post will show you how to bring AJAX suggest functionality to servlets you write using the magic of javascript and our web 2.0 templates.

Not certain what I'm talking about. Click here, erase the vendor number and start typing it starting with a '1'. You'll quickly see what I'm talking about.

If you choose to try this in your servlets, I hope you'll share your experiences with me by commenting in the forum post.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Secrets of Successful IT Teams

What makes a successful IT team? I recently read a very interesting article in that illustrates just how valuable socially connected employees are to an IT team.

Using only a 4 question survey, a VP of IT Operations was able to identify which employees were central to his organization, and which areas needed improvement. Using this particular VP as an example, the article lays out good advice for management, as well as members of an IT team.

You can read the entire article here>>.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mobile Security?

Mobile devices and applications have taken over many functions previously carried out by the PC. As a result, we now have new, transportable security risks. For instance, if a mobile device loaded with confidential information is lost or stolen, two potential problems arise:

  1. Confidential company information could be stolen.

  2. Confidential customer or employee information, such as social security numbers, could be stolen.

Companies are required to notify anyone, customer or employee, whose personal information may be at risk should a security breach occur. Besides being an expensive process, it's also a PR nightmare.

With all these potential risks looming, one would assume that companies have a mobile device management strategy in place.

Surprisingly, that isn’t the case. According to this Information Week article, not only are most companies without a mobile device management strategy, but most don’t even plan on implementing one in the near future. Perceived lack of need, cost, and complexity are three main reasons that many companies don’t deal with this problem.

One way to completely avoid mobile security issues is by using web applications. Rather than placing confidential information on a mobile device, keep it securely stored on your servers. Then, create secure web applications to access the information with your mobile device.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Is the economy affecting IT budgets?

Those in IT won’t be surprised to hear this, but according to this ITJungle article, a recent Gartner survey found that IT managers are under increased pressure to cut costs. Also, more than half of those surveyed said that the poor economy was having a negative impact on their budgets.

Despite the budget crunch, most of the organizations were involved in legacy application modernization. However, many of the applications being modernized were coded in an older language with very industry-specific features, so it's hard to just start over. Besides these problems, IT Managers are also having a difficult time finding good .NET and Java programmers.

If you're looking to modernize applications but still use your own logic, and use java without hiring java programmers, m-Power can help. As a demonstration, we will build you a live custom app over your own files, absolutely free. Just fill out this short form for a no obligation demonstration.

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