Using Docker to Increase Developer Efficiency

Docker is a cross-platform program for building and deploying containerized software. It enables faster, more efficient development while reducing maintenance complexity in the long run.

As technology – especially enterprise technology- races forward at breakneck speed, it’s both a good and a bad time to be in the software business.

On one hand, there’s plenty of work for skilled developers. On the other, there may be too much work.

The enterprise software market is expected to grow 8.3% this year, and experts suggest it would grow faster if there were enough developers to meet the demand.

Faced with this pressure to produce more and better software, developers’ toolkits are expanding.

The priority now is technology that improves development speed and efficiency- tools like Docker.

What is Docker?

Docker is a cross-platform virtualization program used to create containers: lightweight, portable, self-contained environments where software runs independently of other software installed on the host machine.

Containers are largely isolated from each other and communicate through specific channels.

They contain their own application, tools, libraries and configuration files, but they’re still more lightweight than virtual machines.

Though container technology has been around since 2008, Docker’s release in late 2013 boosted their popularity. The program featured simple tooling that created an easy path for adoption.

Now, it’s a favorite DevOps tool which facilitates the work of developers and system administrators alike.

The Power of Containers

Containerization provides a workaround for some irritating development hurdles. For instance, running several different applications in a single environment causes complexity.

The individual components don’t always work well together, and managing updates gets complicated fast.

Containers solve these problems by separating applications into independent modules.

They feed into the enterprise-oriented microservice architecture style, letting developers work on different parts of an application simultaneously.

This increases the speed and efficiency of development while making applications that are easier to maintain and update.

Taken as a whole, it’s obvious why both software developers and IT teams like containers.

The technology enables the rapid, iterative development and testing cycles which lie at the core of Agile methodologies.

It also takes the burden of dependency management off system administrators, who can then focus on runtime tasks (such as logging, monitoring, lifecycle management and resource utilization).

Why Docker Is the Right Choice

Docker isn’t the only containerization software around, but it is the industry standard.

It’s a robust, easy-to-use API and ecosystem that makes using containers more approachable to developers and more enterprise-ready.

The program has an edge on previous solutions when it comes to portability and flexibility.

Using Docker simplifies the process of coordinating and chaining together container actions, and it can be done faster than on virtual machines.

Docker removes dependencies and allows code to interact with the container instead of the server (Docker handles server interactions).

Plus, there’s a large repository of images available:

Getting up to speed with Docker doesn’t take long. The documentation is thorough, and there are plenty of tutorials online for self-taught developers.

Docker In Action: The Financial Times

The Financial Times is a London newspaper founded in 1888. Their online portal, FT.com, provides current business and economic news to an international audience.

The media outlet was one of the earlier adopters of Docker back in 2015. Docker containers helped cut their server costs by 80%.

Additionally, they were able to increase their productivity from 12 releases per year to 2,200.

Looking Forward

Last year, the median container density per host rose 50% from the previous year.

In fact, the application container market is poised to explode over the next five years.  Experts predict that annual revenue will quadruple, rising from $749 million in 2016 to over $3.4 billion by 2021.

Docker specifically still leads the pack despite the niche popularity of emerging tools.

83% of developers use Docker. CoreOS trails well behind it at 12% with Mesos Containerizer at 4%.

Overall, Docker Containers is a highly enterprise-oriented solution.

Other tools are emerging to add functionality (like container orchestration platform Kubernetes), so there’s no reason it shouldn’t continue growing in popularity.

Concepta focuses on enterprise-ready tools like Docker that let us target our clients’ specific needs. To explore solutions for your own business goals, set up a complimentary appointment today!

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Should You Choose Titanium vs Xamarin vs Native for Your Next Mobile Application?

titanium-vs-xamarin-vs-native

When it comes to mobile app development, there are as many opinions as there are developers. And while no universal “best choice” can be determined in a cross-platform framework comparison, there are several factors that can guide you to the decision that’s right for you.

Here, we’ll address the Titanium vs Xamarin vs Native debate — laying out the pros, cons and subtle differences between each method.

Using Titanium

Titanium is a popular open source tool for cross-platform mobile development in iOS or Android, utilized by new and experienced developers around the world. Known for its rapid prototyping, Titanium assists you in testing and demonstrating the basic idea behind your application.

This is ideal for those working in teams that must collaborate. It is also effective for apps that interact with a web service. However, Titanium is best suited for smaller projects and is not the best choice for complex apps with many features.

Utilizing JavaScript, Titanium makes for a smooth and simple transition from web development to app development.

While your apps will be hybrid, Titanium works to attain a UI that is as close to native as possible.

Using Xamarin

Xamarin has been touted as the go-to tool for those looking to optimize app performance, utilizing its own IDE for development.

It is unique in that it allows for native app development and sever code sharing. With the same API and UI controllers as those used in iOS and Android-specific platforms, Xamarin-built apps are easy to maintain. An obvious downside to Xamarin is its lack of accessibility — it is not an open-source tool like Titanium.

However in 2016, the company announced that Xamarin would be freely available with Visual Studio. Xamarin works efficiently by compiling C# for Android, iOS, and Windows. While more than 60 percent of code is said to be reusable, some developers may not be familiar with .NET and C# — limiting this tool to a subgroup of developers.

Essentially, Xamarin aims to provide the beautiful look and feel of a native app without the extra work.

Choosing Native

For many developers, native mobile apps are the gold standard. Combine a seamless UX, speed and additional features like multi-touch designed directly integrated for a particular device. This is what native apps typically deliver.

Developers choose to go native, either for iOS or Android, because of the undeniably smooth features and flawless UI that results.

However, native app development limits you to one kind of device, meaning that you’ll need to develop more apps if you wish to reach a larger demographic. While hybrid app development with Titanium dramatically reduces the amount of code you’ll need to write, native app codes are only useful for a single operating system.

Teams developing native apps for both iOS and Android would need to know both Objective C and Java languages. Thus if it is important for you to reach both Android and iOS users, developing native apps for each will likely be more time-consuming and costly.

Conclusion

Enterprise mobile app developers must consider their highest priorities to come to a decision. The platform that will best serve the needs of one business will be different from that which serves the needs of another. Developers must first get clear on their target audience, think from the user’s perspective, and only then select the development that makes sense for their project.

If you’re looking for someone to build an app for you or if you still have questions, contact our team at Concepta and we’ll be able to help.

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How to Build a Mobile Application with Xamarin

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Xamarin is a development software that assists in the creation of native and cross-platform mobile applications.

Users can design and build apps using the tools available in the Xamarin store, which includes both free and paid tools – like full-featured Integrated Development Environment (IDEs) for iOS and Windows computers, and Xamarin SDK. The platform features Git integration and OSS development.

Ideal for those with an understanding of the popular C# language and .Net framework, Xamarin has been touted as a quick and simple tool for embarking on your app-building journey.

Getting Started

Much like Microsoft Visual Studio or Android Studio, Xamarin developers can intuitively navigate the Studio software and begin building their app right after installation. The Studio is where you’ll be able to experiment with language, create algorithms and discover new APIs all from one place. The platform offers a training and tutorial website where you can create a sample to-do application called Tasky.

You can see the anatomy of Tasky as it is separated into layers. Add simple functionality and customize Tasky’s appearance with clear step-by-step instructions. This sample gives developers a taste of what it’s like to delve into Xamarin, and how to share C# code across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8.

The Xamarin team vouches for C#, claiming it is less verbose, simplifying the use of lambdas and asynchronous programming.

Cross-Platform Development

Cross-platform tools are growing in popularity, according to a report by the State of the Developer.

In 2015, estimates showed cross-platform tool usage rising from 23 percent to 30 percent in just six months. And as developers know, building cross-platform applications can be challenging due to the varying requirements and languages used. This is one of the major reasons users decide to try Xamarin, as it dramatically simplifies the process of developing cross-platform mobile apps.

Xamarin mobile application development involves reusing an average of 75 percent of the same code, while achieving the desired effect on each different platform. A process that would have taken hours in the past is now reduced to the time span of one project.

Through the development of native UIs on each platform, apps look and feel the way you want without extensive code change. Xamarin.Forms allows you to build apps with native UI with 100-percent shared code.

Useful Features

IOS developers can use Xamarin’s automatic binding generator to utilize pre-existing Objective-C code.

IOS users can also access any API and send app bundles directly to the app store using the Ahead-of-Time compiler. Xamarin offers similar features to Android developers, like bundle shipping, access to any Android API and the ability to utilize pre-existing Java code. Debugging is streamlined in the Studio, which gives suggestions for improvement as you review your code.

Xamarin development companies can integrate with various backends, such as Salesforce, and create business apps for customers. The platform also features a component store, which you can browse to find components to add to your app before finalizing.

Ideal for small teams, Xamarin allows users to remain flexible, collaborate and switch between platforms easily with just one codebase.

Finally, Xamarin can be used for enterprise mobile app development, a field that is expected to grow dramatically by 2017.

Training and Testing

Aside from its practical design software, “Xamarin University” offers paid unlimited online training for developers as well as a “Xamarin Testing Cloud” for iOS and Android apps. For developers looking for support throughout the entire process of learning, creating and testing, Xamarin features an excellent toolbox to keep the productivity flowing and the confusion at a minimum.

To learn more ways to build mobile apps, read our other post How to Build a Mobile Application with Titanium.

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