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Archive for category: curiosity

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HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR FIRST MOBILE APP?

Your first mobile app

Mobile applications are like a sort of golden rush: the media are full of articles about some team that developed an incredibly successful app, that may be the reason that trigger people start developing their own application. Sometimes they really succeed. And sometimes don´t. Unfortunately the second option is more frequent.

But when they succeed … it can be something like Pokemon GO!

Monday, just days after the game was released, Nintendo’s stock jumped 36 percent to the tune of $7.5 billion. It’s been downloaded over 15 million times in less than a week, and is already more popular in the U.S. than Twitter.

 

You realise that it is really scary how the success of some apps influences your personal life when your mom calls you and she asks: “How do I play the new Pokémon game?” (she started to use her first smart phone one month ago!). A true sign of an app phenomenon.

WHY ARE MOBILE APPS SO POPULAR?

The fact that mobile users are using 90% of their time on mobile devices only for applications is a huge reason why apps rule the mobile word. The main reason for that data is user experience! Mobile apps, compared to standard web pages, are adapted and customized for mobile devices. Scrolling through the app is easily, downloading new content is quick and visual design is much better than on normal web pages. The second reason why apps rule the word of mobile devices are various options that they offer. The mobile app can in fact easily access all the mobile device sensors and also other sources of information – to which a normal web site can not.

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Here is a short guide to get you started, but note it may not work for everyone. Take from it what suits your strategy best, or follow it to the hilt. The important part is to get started. The sooner the better!

1. MARKET RESEARCH

If you don´t know your competition yet, you have to do a research right now! Let me tell you, that you are lucky – the analysis of the mobile app market is much easier than for all the other industries. In the App Store and Google play, you can find tones of very useful information, but they are not the only place to search. You can also use App Annie, which offers you an inside view to the historical ranks and reviews of an app. It is probably no necessary to stress, that the mentioned apps are not the only ones for the market research analysis. There are a lot of other useful information on the web that can be crucial for your research.

2. CHOOSE THE PLATFORM

There are two operating systems that dominate the smart devices market: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Gartner says that in the Q1 2016 these two platforms had an amazing 98.9 % market share! Android convincingly leading with 84.1 % against 14.8 % of Apple. Windows, Blackberry and others (together) are achieving only 1,1% of market share. So it is quite obvious on which two platforms you should start.

Some companies decide to start developing both platforms at the same time. That is usually not a very smart idea. Those are two completely different programming languages, which requires different groups of developers.

There is no doubt that the final version of the app will be a different app than the one you predicted at the begging. Why? In the development and testing phase, you will encounter problems and shortcomings, that will require searching for new solutions, adding new functions, changing existing functions, … All that changes will transform the final version of your app. In the case of development for both platforms all that work will double in volume (and in costs)!

The fact that Facebook, Microsoft and Google start offering their apps first only on one platform is no coincidence! The sooner your app will be on the market, the sooner you will get the needed feedback from the consumers.

http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3323017

So the question is obvious: Android or iOS? It depends on your market strategy. With the Android platform development you will certainly be able to reach a greater market range. But with iOS development, on the other side, you will reach users that will pay 4x more that the Android users!

3. USER EXPERIENCE

User experience is the key to your apps success! Unfortunately, in the whole developing process, user experience is the less known concept! A nicely designed app does not mean a good user experience – and what is even more overlooked – it does not mean a simple and understandable use of the app. That is why it is crucial to attract qualified staff, who can help you in UX developing! You have to determine at least the next parameters: the whole user interface, color palette, typography and information structure of the app, …

ux-in-real-life

4. START PROGRAMMING

Programming is one of the crucial parts in developing a new app, that is why a lot of people thing it is needed to be done first. Wrong. Maybe you will be surprised, but there are a few tools that can help you test your app on consumers, before you even start coding! You can start with using Invision or Proto.io. My advice: do not use friends and family in testing the prototype. You may not get the most credible and impartial opinion.

5. USE ANALYTICS

Analytical tools represent a key support in determining the behaviour of users of your app. You should take care of your analytics before your app goes live on App Store or Google Play! General info such as number of existing / new users, most visited app content, …, are not enough for taking the right decisions – that is why you should determine what you will measure before starting programming. Let´s take registration process as an example. With analytics, you can find out if the process of registration is clear and user friendly for the end consumer. It takes just a small mistake in the registration process to dissuade the client to stop and leave your app! That is not what you want! So roll up your sleeves and start using analytics. Here are few free tools you can use for analytics – the most popular are: Google Analytics and Flurry.

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Once you’re ready to start, you must also know that building a mobile app is the easiest part. Getting customers is where the challenge lies.

If you are not sure if starting developing your own app is a good idea, you can CONTACT US ANY TIME. We might help you in building the new “Pokemon GO” app!

 

Špela Mermolja

Business Assistant

Enkronos d.o.o.

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Celebrating 1st year in business

They say that time flies when you’re having fun, and boy are they right. Enkronos is celebrating its first full year as an independent company, and what a year it was!

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Thanks to our great Clients, Partners, Colleagues, Family and Friends, we’re celebrating the completion of our first year in business. We’ve built a lot of great relationships already, and we’re looking forward to strengthening them even further.

Today, we want to share a bit of perspective on what we’ve done over the past twelve months:

  • We have established a brand new headquarters office in the International Business Center in Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenija
  • We are now a team of 6 extraordinary people and still looking for new colleagues
  • In the first 8 months, we made 43% of net profit
  • We helped in hosting 1 startup conference: www.coinvest.com
  • We got a new product web page: www.contestdream.com
  • We developed a new platform engine that let us create a vast selection of Solutions, Application and Integrations.

Thank you for helping make Enkronos a fantastic company now and for decades to come.

 

 

Špela Mermolja
Business Assistant
Enkronos d.o.o.

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WELCOME TO OUR NEW WEBSITE!

New-launch

 

Something important is happening today!

We are very excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website. Visit us at our new web address www.enkronos.com. The site’s homepage features bright colors and an uncluttered design. We wanted to make the new website faster, easier to navigate, and more  user-friendly. Take a look around and let us know what you think.

Our goal is to provide visitors with clear and accurate product and service information, show our expertise through business and technology solutions, and to help them navigate in this confusing world of digital technologies.

Amongst the new features the site contains integrated social media buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to foster improved communication with the clients. We will be constantly updating our content with helpful information, articles, blogs, newsletters, company announcements and client successes. We hope you find the new website with a fresh look and easy to access information.

Are you interested in working for a fun and innovative company like Enkronos? Then, continue to check the About page where you can now apply for positions posted.

Hopefully, you find the site easy to use, clean, and informative. If you have experienced any problems, please go easy on us. For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please E-mail us or leave a comment.

Thank you!

Enkronos team

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CODING IN SCHOOLS

“Today, 90% of all jobs are expected to require at least a basic level of ICT skills, said Marianne Thyssen, the EU Commissioner in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.”

Coding at EU schools

In October 2015 15 EU countries have coding in their curricula: Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and the UK. For specific levels of education coding is even compulsory in some countries (mainly as a part of computer courses). In Denmark, for example, basic coding  knowledge is a compulsory part of physics, chemistry and maths curricula. Slovakia went a srep further and they have integrated programming at all levels of school as compulsory element!

“In five years’ time, 825.000 jobs may be  unfilled,  simply  because  employers cannot find people with the right digital  skills,” said Günther Oettinger, the EU  Commissioner in charge of the Digital  Economy & Societ

 

Why introducing coding in schools?

40% of the EU population has insufficient digital skills and that is a real problem, says Andrus Ansip, a former Prime Minister  of  Estonia  who  assumed  office for almost ten years – from 2005 to 2014. Most modern jobs has the requirement of at least basic ICT knowledge, including coding.

If we look further on in statistics, only 25% of students are taught by digitally confident and supportive teachers with access to ICT, and 40% of businesses encounter difficulties in recruiting ICT professionals. This is a real cause for concern, and things are getting worse, as we see that education systems are currently slow to react to increased market demand for people with digital skills (more …).

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Doing a career in for example architecture, engineering, accountancy and medicine, will soon require basic knowledge of coding skills. European Commission stats that 120.000 new jobs are created each year. If the whole system fails to fill this gap, Europe can face the shortage of more than 800.000 skilled ICT workers by 2020. Coding is becoming a part of the mainstream, not just a realm of some computer geeks.

The answer is simple, says Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy & Society, Europe needs to get serious about digital skills, for each and every person, and each and every business to thrive in our digital economy and society (more …).

Leaving the employment gap aside, there is another view of learning to code in schools. Maybe more important. Learning to code also develops many other useful skills like: problem solving, critical thinking, logical reasoning, … Read more about coding benefits in a previous blog: “Why you should learn to code”. Schools are a very important player in introducing coding to children and students in a friendly way and trying to break down all the stereotypes about “programming is only for geeks”.

Also we at Enkronos are trying to contribute to the system! So if you are a student searching for experience or just a coding geek willing to explore new things you can write us and we can discuss about possible options. Maybe YOU can teach us something new. Why not?

Špela Mermolja
Business Assistant
Enkronos d.o.o.

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DO YOU PREFER SPAGHETTI, LASAGNA OR MAYBE RAVIOLI?

 

Pasta is one of my great food weaknesses. In my world, there are few dishes that can compete with a good plate of thin spaghetti with a home made tomato sauce. That’s why I was so happy to hear my coworkers talking about spaghetti … code!

Typical software development follows a brute force development strategy, where the functionality of the software is expected to be proportional to the amount of development effort.

Managers are usually anxious to see results as soon as possible. They expect to see ongoing progress to justify their investment. As the software increases in complexity, continued development will gradually become more difficult and also more expensive.

Functionality of the software is expected to be proportional to the amount of development effort.

When a section of code has problems or bugs, rather than rewriting the entire section, a developer will often add some kind of workaround. Over time, these workarounds (or hacks), start building up on top of each other. Eventually the code becomes incomprehensible – it starts to resemble spaghetti.

Developers who have the “fortune” to deal with legacy code know very well the term spaghetti. It’s long. It´s pretzled. If you pull one part of spaghetti, half of what’s on your plate moves. There can be many unexpected tastes, in terms of what can be mixed in. Read more about dealing with legacy code and pasta …

As the source code continues to spaghettify, the amount of time and effort required to add new features becomes greater and greater until eventually it reaches the spaghetti limit.

Spaghetti limit

The common solution to spaghetti code is also well known: object oriented programming (OOP). Of course, in practice this is more an ideal than reality. Still, OOP can help a lot to separate large code bases into smaller, more maintainable chunks.

Especially programmers who are relatively new to OOP often overreact to its benefits by creating way too many classes. In other words this is code that has too many layers – Lasagna code.

In terms of pasta coding I would like to mention one more metaphor: Ravioli code. Ravioli code specifically uses the analogy of the small squares of filled pasta pieces to describe a large number of small, separate code modules that work together to accomplish a greater objective in a program’s source code. Overall, a great number of coders feel that ravioli code is neither innately good or bad, and should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Conclusion: It doesn´t matter if it is spaghetti, lasagna or ravioli; just call some good friends or family, prepare a nice home made sauce and have a good time!

Špela Mermolja
Business Assistant
Enkronos d.o.o.

 

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WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN TO CODE?

Working with programmers it´s a special experience. If you don´t know how to code it´s like you moved to northeast China and you don´t know a word in Mandarin. Jokes apart. Learning how to code isn´t just about knowing C#, PHP and Python, but rather changing the way we think! So maybe you won´t  be Neo, but creative people are always looking to change their perspectives or figure out new ways to think outside the box.

  1. PROBLEM-SOLVING

A real programmer knows how to handle real problems. There are many different problem-solving skills that can make your daily life more efficient: abstraction, pattern recognition, sorting, … You can also use some techniques like R-mode or L-mode thinking … or just use a special feature called “Ask someone else”. Seriously. Your biggest resource can be the person sitting next to you. Often you’ll work it out as you verbalise it.

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”

John Foster Dules, Former US Secretary of State

  1. ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

einsteinProgrammers ask questions to ensure that they fully understand the problem. Learn how to observe details and do not be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid question – the only stupid question is the one that you don’t ask.

As Einstein put it: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” – http://mentalfloss.com/

  1. LOOKING FOR INEFFICIENCIES

It is said that programmers are the laziest people on the planet. They tend to always find an easier and more efficient way to do things. My coworker Jure (yes, he is like Neo) likes to cite Bill Gates quote: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

  1. ABSTRACT THINKING

Abstraction means reducing a complex problem to its important components. Some programmers can see the whole picture of the problem and they can simulate (in their mind) how the program will work. However, not everyone is capable of abstract thinking. In any case, you have to first defrag the project into smaller, digestible chunks and then determine what the smallest chunk is.

Do I know how to code? No. Not yet. But I learned some fancy new words like Encapsulation and Polymorphism.

Špela Mermolja
Business Assistant
Enkronos d.o.o.

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TRUST, BUT VERIFY

Suzanne Massie, a writer on Russia, met with USA President Ronald Reagan many times between 1984 and 1987. She taught him the Russian proverb, “doveryai no proveryai” (trust, but verify). The proverb was adopted as a signature phrase by Reagan, who subsequently used it frequently when discussing U.S. relations with the Soviet Union.

Since 2009 Volkswagen has been cheating on the testing for its diesel cars. The cars’ computers were able to detect when they were being tested, and temporarily alter how their engines worked so they looked much cleaner than they actually were. When they weren’t being tested, they belched out 40 times the pollutants. Their CEO has resigned, and the company will face an expensive recall, enormous fines and maybe worse (CNN).

Trust
Without trust, our working environments are a lot less fun and a lot less motivating! (Photo by: National Geographic)

Electronic components and computers allow people to cheat in a million ways.  Because the cheating is encapsulated in software, the malicious actions can happen at a far remove from the testing itself. Because the software is “smart” in ways that normal objects are not, the cheating can be harder to detect.

In 2013 we had examples of smartphone manufacturers cheating on processor benchmark testing: detecting when they are being tested and artificially increasing their performance. We are going to see this in other industries.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming. Experts from Gartner estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 25 Billion connected objects by 2020. Many industries are moving to add computers to their devices, and that will bring with it new opportunities for manufacturers to cheat. Light bulbs could fool regulators into appearing more energy efficient than they are. Voting machines could appear to work perfectly – except maybe when it switches a few percent of votes from one party’s candidates to another’s. We need better verification of the software that controls our lives, and that means more – and more (public) – transparency.

Without transparency, facts are blurred and hard to come by, and we all know how it works when we make decisions based on assumptions or lack of data. The ultimate goal of transparency is not just better decision making through, it is to help build trust. Because without trust we cannot build teams and programs, and also build the confidence, we need to make and meet reasonable commitments. Moreover – without trust, our working environments are a lot less fun and a lot less motivating!

In summary, transparency is a must have for trust. At Enkronos we always strive to achieve more transparency and trust:

  • Equal access to information at all levels is critical,
  • All our developers are devoted to higher ethical standards and moral code,
  • We work diligently to safeguard our clients IP (Intellectual Property) and ensure proper and complete knowledge transfer back to them at project end,
  • We know that we will be working with our clients for the long term. So we create solutions for our clients’ business like it was our own business,
  • We have a wide range of satisfied clients, from startups to big companies – across many industries.

After all I feel quite happy and secure with my “Made in Italy” car. For now I have problems only with that special USB port (powered by MS), which refuses to read almost all the music files … luckily the optical drive is still working.

Špela Mermolja
Business Assistant
Enkronos d.o.o.