The usage statistics posted on a number of websites clearly depict the popularity and relevance of PHP as a server-side programming language in 2018. There are a number of programming languages that enable developers to build custom web applications with concise, readable, and maintainable code base. But PHP, unlike other programming languages, accelerates custom web application development by providing built-in web development features.

Also, PHP has been evolving consistently to simplify and accelerate development of modern web applications. As an open source programming language, PHP enables small businesses and start-ups to reduce web development cost significantly. Also the same time, the micro and full-stack web frameworks for PHP makes it easier for programmers to build custom web applications rapidly according to varied business needs. There are also a number of reasons why PHP will remain one of the top server-side programming languages in 2018.

Features and Benefits that Make PHP Relevant for Web Developers in 2018

Open Source and Free

Many enterprises nowadays opt for open source technologies to reduce web application development cost. An enterprise can use PHP for developing a variety of websites and web applications. But the open source nature of PHP helps enterprises to curtail overall web development cost. At the same time, the developers can further accelerate web application development by taking advantage of several open source web frameworks and content management systems without increasing project overheads. At the same time, they can make changes to PHP as an open source technology to meet precise project needs.

Supports Major Operating Systems, Web Servers, and Databases

PHP is one of the mature web programming languages. It supports major operating systems like Windows, Linux, macOS and Solaris. Likewise, it supports major web servers like Apache, IIS and iPlanet. At the same time, the drivers provided by the server-side programming language enable developers to work with widely used databases like MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL Server and PostgreSQL. The compatibility further enables programmers to build and deploy web applications with their preferred operating systems, web servers, and databases. At the same time, PHP makes the web application communicate seamlessly with external applications and services by supporting popular web protocols like HTTP, SNMP, POP3, LDAP and COM.

Multiple Options to Execute PHP Code

A web programmer can execute PHP code in a number of ways. While developing a small or simple web application, he can embed PHP code seamlessly into HTML code through the <script> tag. At the same time, he can get the PHP code executed more efficiently through various web frameworks and content management systems to accelerate development of large and complex web applications. There are also a number of PHP micro web frameworks that help developers to build simple web applications without putting extra time and effort. The themes and plug-ins provided by various PHP-based content management systems even enable developers to build websites without writing additional code.

Options to Extend and Maintain Web Applications

Unlike other programming language, PHP does not help developers to keep the source code of web applications readable and maintainable. But PHP is more flexible than several widely used programming languages. It allows programmers to make changes to the source code of a web application throughout the development process. The developers can even make changes to the existing code base quickly to add new functionality to the web application. PHP further allows developers to add new functionality to a web application without writing fresh code. The programmers can extend the functionality of the website simply by modifying the command functions.

A Component of LAMP Stack

Many web developers prefer using PHP as a component of LAMP stack. As a component of LAMP stack, PHP accelerates custom web application development by allowing developers to take advantage of Linux operating system, Apache web server and MySQL. The open source components of LAMP stack help enterprises to build and deploy custom web applications without incurring additional expenses. At the same time, the four interchangeable components of LAMP stack further helps developers to build custom web applications rapidly by customizing the software stack according to precise needs of each project.

A Wide Range of Web Frameworks

At present, a web developer has option to choose from a wide range of PHP frameworks according to precise project needs. The full-stack PHP web frameworks like Laravel, Yii, CakePHP, Zend, Phalcon Aura, FlightPHP and FuelPHP simplifies development of large and complex web applications by providing robust features and tools. At the same time, the micro PHP web frameworks like Lumen, Slim, Silex, Wave and Flight enable programmers to write small and simple web applications without putting extra time and effort. A developer even has option to extend these PHP frameworks according to precise project needs.  The web frameworks contribute immensely towards keeping PHP popular and relevant in the long run.

Used by Several High Traffic Websites

At present, many developers use PHP as a general purpose programming language. But PHP is still being used by over 80% of websites as a server-side programming language. Also, it is currently being used by a number of high-traffic and popular websites like Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Tumblr and Flickr. Many enterprises even make changes to PHP to run high-traffic websites without any interruptions or disruptions. For instance, Facebook accelerated PHP application development by adopting a just-in-time compilation approach called HHMV. The developers also have option to improve the performance of PHP applications by implementing several best practices.

Evolves to Meet Emerging Web Development Trends

PHP, like other open source technologies, is being supported by a large and active community. The members of the community keep PHP popular and relevant in the long run. Also, PHP has been evolving consistently to help developers to build better and faster web applications. For instance, PHP 7.x is about two times faster than its predecessor. Also, it comes with a built-in JIT compiler to compile PHP code into machine language quickly and efficiently. The developers can further write web applications in PHP 7 to reduce memory usage and consumption significantly. The next version of PHP is expected to release in 2018. The upcoming version of PHP will contribute towards keeping the relevance and popularity of PHP intact as a server-side programming language.

On the whole, PHP will remain one of the most popular server-side programming languages in 2018. PHP developers have to put extra time and effort to build applications by using PHP as a general-purpose programming language. They also have to use robust PHP frameworks to build custom web applications according to varied business requirements. PHP will be used widely by developers for building a variety of websites and web applications in 2018.

A number of studies suggest a consistent increase in the number of people accessing social networks regularly as well as the amount of time people spend on social media daily. With an average user spending about two hours on social media each day, you cannot popular your mobile app without promoting it aggressively on popular social networking platforms. Most social networking platforms allow mobile app makers to connect with audience and promote their mobile apps in two distinct ways – organic marketing and paid advertising

You can opt for organic marketing options – Facebook page, Instagram profile and Twitter handle – connect with the target audience and share information about the app without spending money. On the other hand, the paid advertisement options – Facebook ads and Pinterest ads – provided by popular social networks will help you to connect with more relevant users and enhance app discoverability through ad click-through rates. However, the social media promotion strategy for the mobile app must focus on a number of factors to boost app downloads within a short amount of time.

Tips to Use Social Media Effectively to Increase App Downloads

Promote the App on Multiple Social Media Time

Nowadays, an average user spends over two hours on social media each day. But the choice of social network differs from one user to another. For instance, Facebook is currently more popular than other social media sites. But the users who prefer photos and visuals spend more time on Instagram or Pinterest than Facebook. Hence, you cannot boost app downloads by promoting it only on popular social media sites. Your social media promotion plan must identify the relevant social media sites and understand their capabilities based on the mobile app’s nature, usage, and target audience.

Post Valuable and Engaging Content

The social media sites allow you to promote the mobile app through a variety of content – information, photos, videos, jokes and contests. You can leverage these options to make the potential users aware about the mobile app and engage the existing users. It is always important to leverage the content sharing options provided by various social media sites to highlight various aspects the mobile app. But you cannot keep the user interested and engaged simply by sharing information about the mobile app. You have to complement the textual content with appealing images and video, while organizing contests and posting jokes occasionally.

Connect and Interact with the Users Regularly

You cannot boost app downloads without communicating with social media users in a human and personal tone. You can easily accelerate mobile app promotion by encouraging users to share their feedback and experience. But it is also important to respond to the comments and suggestions posted by users on various social media sites proactively. You can even bond with both existing and potential users by conveying your passion for the mobile app as a developer. The constant interaction and personal tone will help you to boost app downloads by leveraging the massive popularity of social media platforms.

Automate Common Social Media Promotion Tasks

If you are not a digital marketing professional, there are always chances that you may lack the time and skills required to promote the mobile app aggressively on multiple social networks. For instance, your core business activities will not allow you to post content on targeted social media sites regularly and interact with the target audience proactively. Hence, you must automate common social media marketing tasks and activities to increase app downloads without diverting attention from your core business process. You must take advantage of the robust social media marketing tools to post content in advance and schedule social media posts.

Consider Implementing a Reward Program

In addition to connecting and interacting with social media users regularly, you must consider implementing a reward program. The reward program will help you to stay connected with existing users and reach out to more potential users. The increase in user base will further contribute towards increasing app downloads. You can attract new users by distributing digital rewards and virtual currencies as reward. It is also a great idea to increase audience base by organizing weekly contents and events.

Create an Appealing Trailer for the App

Several studies suggest that videos receive a much higher organic reach than textual content and photos on social media platforms. You can easily attract and impress potential users by creating an appealing and engaging trailer for the mobile app. The trailer will make potential users aware about the mobile app in a quick and engaging way. You can even allow users to down the mobile app directly by including a call to action in the video description. The same trailer can be shared across multiple social media site and used for varying digital marketing campaigns.

Invest in Paid Social Media Marketing

You can easily save money by opting for organic social media marketing. But you have to put extra time and effort to boost app downloads through organic marketing. In addition to implementing a robust organic marketing strategy, you also need to monitor the campaign results consistently. The paid advertisement options provided by popular social media sites make it easier for you reach out to more relevant users and increase app downloads. You even have option to promote the mobile app by investing in paid advertisement option provided by relevant social media sites.

Avail Assistance of Influencers

You can make the mobile app popular in a short amount of time by availing assistance of influencers – people with large and active social media following across social networks. The influencers can easily make your app popular by sharing information with their followers. But most influencers expect monetary compensation to promote mobile apps. Also, some influencer many ask you to promote their mobile apps to your social media followers. You still need to opt for an influencer who has already contributed towards boosting download of similar apps.

However, mobile app developers cannot boost app downloads by focusing exclusively on social media marketing. In addition to promoting the mobile app aggressively on popular social networking platforms, you also need to focus on app store optimization, email marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing. These marketing channels will complement your social media marketing strategy and increase app downloads in a short amount of time.

With consumers spending more and more digital media time on mobile apps, it becomes essential for websites to deliver optimal user experience.  The trends in website and web application development keep changing from time to time. Your business website must meet the latest trends and customer expectations to accomplish higher conversion rate and drive online sales. The website also needs to deliver optimal user experience across various devices – computers, smartphones and tablets – to keep visitors engaged and convert them into customers. You must consider redesigning the website to make it user-friendly and deliver user experience across varying devices. Also, website redesign will help your business to acquire new customers and drive sales.

7 Reasons Why You Must Redesign Your Business Website without Any Delay

1) Customers spend more digital media time on apps

A large percentage of web traffic nowadays comes from mobile devices. Most customers nowadays access websites and web stores on their smartphones and tablets. But they spend most of their digital media time on mobile apps. Hence, it becomes essential for you to make the website deliver richer user experience across computers and mobile devices. Your website redesign strategy can focus on responsive web design to make the website accessible and look good on varying devices with a single code base. Also, you can test the redesigned websites across browsers, devices, platforms, and networks to determine the measures required for improving its user experience and engagement.

2) Customers abandon slow websites

While ranking websites, Google uses loading speed as a key search engine. Also, most visitors nowadays abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. Hence, the loading speed of your business website will impact its user experience as well as search engine ranking. You can opt for website redesign to make the website load faster and prevent user abandonment. While redesigning the website, developers will increase its loading speed by implementing caching, optimizing images, compressing website resources, reducing number of server requests, and using content delivery networks (CDNs). Also, they will use a number of tools to measure the website’s loading speed across devices.

3) The website needs latest tools, plugins and APIs

Often developers use web frameworks to simplify and accelerate custom website development. Also, they use various plugins and application programming interfaces (APIs) to enhance the website’s functionality, performance, and interoperability. But tech companies and communities keep upgrading these plug-ins and APIs regularly. Likewise, certain open source plugins and extensions become obsolete due to lack of constant support. Hence, your website must use the most recent version of third-party tools and get rid of the obsolete tools to remain functional and deliver richer user experience. While redesigning the business website, developers will upgrade the third-party tools and replace the obsolete tools.

4) Persuade customers to share the website on social networks

Many enterprises nowadays measure the popularity of their websites based on social media share. Several businesses even launch digital marketing campaign to persuade users to share website content and links on popular social networking platforms. When you decide to website redesign, it becomes easier to make the website content and links more appealing.  Also, you can accentuate the social media shares by including presentable titles, descriptions, and thumbnails in each web page. The social media share will further help you to divert more visitors to the website and increase conversion rate.

5) Add new functionality to the existing website

The website redesign strategy gives you adequate scope to add new features and functionality to the website. You can even consider customizing the website redesign strategy according to your present and future business requirements. For instance, you can convert your existing website or blog into a web store by incorporating eCommerce functionalities at the time of redesigning. Likewise, you can add a blog to the existing website to provide fresh content and updated information to customers. Hence, you can consider redesigning the website to keep it up-to-date and meet your long-term business needs.

6) Simplify website content publication and promotion

The quality of website content impacts its user experience and search engine ranking. You can update the website content regularly to divert search engine traffic and engage the visitors. The content management systems (CMS) make it easier for entrepreneurs to create, publish, and promote website content without putting extra time and effort. You can take advantage of a robust CMS to implement a robust content marketing plan and overcome impact of frequent search engine algorithm updates. While redesigning your business website, the web application developers can integrate a CMS into it to facilitate content creation and distribution by targeting customers and search engines.

7) Reduce bounce rate and increase conversion rate

The web analytics tools and services make it easier for business owners to collect, measure, and analyze website data. You can use web analytics to monitor the behaviour, preferences, and interests of visitors. Also, web analytics will help your to measure bounce rates and conversion rates. But you need to explore ways to reduce bounce rate and increase conversion rate to generate more sales revenue. While redesigning the website, you can easily reduce bounce rate by improving the website’s layout, navigation, content, and performance. Likewise, you can prevent user abandonment and improve conversion rate by making the website accessible on varying device and load faster.

On the whole, website redesign will help your to keep the website relevant and up-to-date. While redesigning the website, you can add new functionalities to improve customer experience and meet long-term business requirements. Also, the redesigned website will help you to keep the visitors engaged and convert them into customers. Hence, you can always invest in website redesign to get higher returns over a longer period of time.

In 2016, massive denial-of-service attacks made a number of high-traffic websites – Twitter, PayPal and Netflix – unreachable for several hours. Likewise, large tech companies like Uber and Yahoo came under a lot of fire in 2017 by revealing their efforts to cover massive security breaches. The evolving nature of cyber crimes makes each website and web application vulnerable to targeted malware and ransomware attacks.

You have to focus extensively on the security of your website during the development, testing, and deployment process to prevent targeted malware and ransomware attacks. It is also important to implement a robust web application security strategy and monitor the security of your web application consistently. You can always consider implementing a number of web application security best practices to protect business data and prevent new cyber attacks.

7 Best Practices to Protect Your Website from Malware and Ransomware Attacks

1) Identify Vulnerabilities in Each Web Application

You cannot prevent emerging security attacks without implementing a strong security program. The security program must consider the number of web applications, current and future use of each web application, and when the application was last updated to get the vulnerabilities identified and fixed quickly. However, there are always chances that your enterprise may lack the skills and resources required to test and update a number of web applications simultaneously. Hence, the security program must sort the web applications in a number of priority buckets – critical, serious, normal, and idle.

The applications dealing with sensitive customer data and facilitating financial transactions must be considered as critical web applications and the vulnerabilities found in these apps must be fixed immediately. Likewise, the vulnerabilities found in serious internal and external web applications also need to fixed to keep the customer and corporate data secure. On the other hand, the vulnerabilities found in normal web applications can be identified and fixed later. However, it is also important include the web applications which are no longer necessary or about to retire in the idle bucket.

2) Prioritize Vulnerabilities Found in Each App

After putting all your web applications in appropriate buckets, you have to perform elaborate security and penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities in each application. However, you will find it difficult to fix the vulnerabilities found in each web application immediately. Hence, it becomes essential to divide the vulnerabilities found in each application into various categories – critical, high priority and low priority – based on business impact and risk. The critical and high priority vulnerabilities must be fixed at once to protect the web applications from targeted malware and ransomware attacks. At the same, the low priority vulnerabilities also need to be fixed during subsequent iterations.

3) Deploy Robust Web Application Protection

You can always accelerate web application security testing by using robust security and penetration testing tools. But the programmers will still need some time to fix the vulnerabilities found during web application testing. You must deploy a robust protection mechanism to prevent targeted malware and ransomware attacks till the critical vulnerabilities are fixed. You can easily block malicious visitors and cyber criminals by routing the website traffic through a strong Web Application Firewall (WAF). Some WAF providers even allow users to prevent security attacks by implementing custom security rules. At the same time, you must restrict the app functionality to prevent cyber criminals from exploiting the vulnerabilities. It is always important to restrict app functionality by imposing restrictions like session timeout and limited access to user database.

4) Set up and Use Secure Cookies

Many cyber criminals execute malware and ransomware attacks by exploiting cookie vulnerabilities. You can easily enhance web application security by blocking unauthorized access to cookies. Also, you must avoid using cookies to store sensitive customer data and financial information. It is also important to store the information in cookies in an encrypted format. Often cookie vulnerabilities increase when the cookies do not expire in a short amount of time. You must configure the cookies securely with a reasonable expiry date. You can even prevent cookie-theft attacks by making the cookies available only to the web server and inaccessible to client-side code.

5) Improve Connection Security

You need to ensure that the users access your web application only through secured internet connections to prevent targeted security attacks. You can improve connection security by activating HTTPS protocol. Unlike HTTP, HTTPS establishes secure connection between the browsers and web server. Likewise, you can prevent cyber criminals from tapping and recording interaction between the web application and web server by using robust communication protocols like SSH or TSL. At the same time, you need to implement an elaborate content security policy to make sensitive corporate and customer data accessible only to legitimate and authorized users.

6) Keep the Web Server Impregnable

Your web application security program must explore ways to host the web applications in a secure server environment. It is always advisable to host the web applications on a dedicated web server. Also, you must update the server to the latest version of the operating system to take advantage of security patches. You also need to ensure that the server is accessed only by authorized users by using ssh key. At the same time, you must install advanced firewalls to make the web applications interact with the web server only through secured ports. However, it is also important to use robust tools to monitor unauthorized login attempts and similar suspicious activities on a regular basis.

7) Monitor and Assess Web Application Security Consistently

While making the web application security program, you must focus on both existing and emerging security threats. With cyber criminals writing new malware regularly, you need to monitor the security of your web applications consistently to identify the vulnerabilities immediately and protect both corporate and customer data. You can easily monitor the security of your web applications by investing in a robust website security monitoring tool or service. There are certain website monitoring tools that scan web applications and their resources regularly to identify vulnerabilities.  Also, they convey detailed information about the vulnerabilities and malware found in a web application by generating elaborate reports. The website monitoring tools and services will help you to fix the vulnerabilities in a web application before the cyber criminals exploit them.

The evolving nature of cyber crimes makes it essential for you to monitor and evaluate the security of web application consistently. Your web application security strategy must be flexible enough to adopt new security mechanisms and latest cyber security protocols. Also, you need to explore ways to eliminate impact of targeted malware and ransomware attacks by implementing new web application security best practices.

Often small enterprises and start-ups lack the skills and resources required to build and maintain custom web applications. The full-stack developers make it easier for these businesses to reduce development cost and time by building both frontend and backend of web applications. In addition to being proficient in widely used client-side and server-side technologies, a full stack developer must understand databases, web servers, networks, and hosting environments. Also, he must understand how to make the web application interact with external services and applications by using APIs. Hence, enterprises must know the important full stack developer skills required to accelerate custom web application development.

Essential Skills to Look for While Hiring a Full Stack Developer

Frontend Technologies

Each full stack developer must be proficient in building blocks of a website – HTML, CSS and JavaScript. He must know how to add content to the website using HTML and styling the website content using CSS. At the same time, he also needs to the language features and functions of a widely used client-side programming language like JavaScript. However, it is also important for the developer to know how make the website look good on varying devices by combining HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. He must use responsive web design to make the website accessible on both computers and mobile devices with a single code base.

Backend Technologies

Like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, server-side programming languages are also an integral part of full stack web application development. The developer has option to write the backend of a web application in a number of server-side programming languages – PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, C# and JavaScript. The full stack developer must know the pros and cons of each server-side technology to choose the right server-side programming language. Also, he must be proficient in multiple back-end language to handle application logic, database operations, and user authentication efficiently. However, no enterprise should expect the developer to have proficiency in several back-end programming languages.

Databases

Many enterprises nowadays use their web application to collect, store, and share a wide range of customer and business data. Hence, each enterprise uses a robust database to store the data securely and access the data conveniently. But some enterprises opt for relational database management systems (RDBMS), whereas others prefer non-relational database management systems. An enterprise also has option to choose from several SQL and NoSQL databases. The full stack developer must understand the pros and cons of individual SQL and NoSQL databases to meet business needs. Also, he must know how to connect the database to the specific server-side programming language, use in-memory data stores, and scale databases. At the same time, the full stack developer also needs to know to how to store user data – sessions, cookies and cached information – in the web browser through web storage.

Hosting Environment

Nowadays, full stack developers must focus on development, testing, and deployment to accelerate custom web application delivery. In addition to building frontend and backend of a web application, the developer also needs to know website deployment process and web server management. He must know how to create a robust development environment, and deploy the web application on a physical or virtual server. To deploy the web application properly, the full stack developer has to focus on connecting the application to remote web servers, managing server programs, managing users or user groups, and managing firewall or access permissions. At the same time, he also needs to use robust version control systems to backup, update, and share the code efficiently.

Web Frameworks  

Many enterprises nowadays opt for full stack development to overcome resource constraints. But each enterprise requires the full stack developer to deliver custom web applications quickly. No developer can simplify and accelerate custom website development without using web frameworks and development tools. The libraries, code snippets, and tools provided by web frameworks help developers to add functionality to the website without writing additional code. A developer has option to choose from a wide range of web frameworks according to the server-side programming language. Hence, he must be familiar with several widely used web frameworks, in addition to understanding the pros and cons of each framework. The web application developer must choose the right web framework to build custom websites rapidly according to varying business needs.

Quality Assurance

Modern project management methodologies do not consider software development and software testing as two separate processes. They emphasize on testing the software continuously throughout the software development lifecycle. The full stack developers nowadays have to perform a variety of tests to assess the web application’s user experience. Also, they have to repeat the tests across devices, platforms, browsers, and networks to produce more accurate test results. Hence, a full stack developer must know various types of web application testing and widely used web application testing tools. He needs to perform and repeat the tests required to evaluate the web application according to predefined business needs.

UI and UX

The trends in web application development keep changing from time to time. The full stack developer must track and implement the latest web application development trends to optimize the website’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). He has to combine HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to make the website’s UI responsive and appealing. At the same time, he also needs to focus on the factors affecting the website’s UX – slow website speed, complex navigation, and lack of in-built security features. The full stack developer can work on various factors affecting UX to improve the website’s search engine ranking and keep the website visitors engaged.

Mobile Optimization

Several studies suggest that consumers spend more time on mobile apps than mobile web. Hence, each website nowadays needs to deliver optimal mobile user experience to keep the visitors engaged and convert them into customers. While developing a new website, the full stack developer must explore ways to make it accessible on both computers and mobile devices. Also, he needs to test the website with varying devices, platforms, and browsers to identify and repair the issues affecting its mobile user experience. Hence, it becomes essential for the full stack developer to know how to make the website deliver richer user experience across devices.

On the whole, a full stack developer must possess a wide range of technical and non-technical skills to build custom web applications according to precise business needs. In addition to being proficient in web technologies and web frameworks, the web application developers also needs to understand business needs clearly, create technical specification, and meet project deadlines. Hence, an enterprise must focus on both technical and non-technical skills of the full stack developers to build custom web applications rapidly according to its precise needs and objectives.

Recently, Apple released Swift 4 with several new features and enhancements. Despite being compatible with Swift 3, Swift 4 comes with several new and improved APIs. For instance, Swift 4 requires developers to use redesigned APIs for strings, dictionary, set, archival and serialization. Also, it enables developers to create multi-string literals using simple syntax. Swift 4 further introduces a new codable protocol that makes it easier for programmers to serialize and deserialize custom data types while writing complex code.

At the same time, Xcode 9 adds a number of new functionalities to the latest version of Swift. The new language features and improved APIs will persuade many developers to migrate their apps from Swift 3 to Swift 4. Apple keeps the Swift 3 to Swift 4 migration process simple and fast. Also, it allows developers to migrate their apps to Swift 4 smoothly by taking advantage of the migration tool provided by Xcode 9. But the developers still need to keep in mind some important factors when they migrate to Swift 4.

Important Factors a Developer Must Know to Migrate to Swift 4 Smoothly

Know the New Features and SDK Changes

When a developer decides to migrate to swift 4, it becomes essential for him to know the new language features and SDK changes. For instance, he has to adopt major SDK changes like converting string constants into Swift enumeration cases and moving global constants into static type properties. Likewise, he needs to understand various aspects of new and improved APIs for strings, dictionary, set, archival and serialization.

Choose the Right Language Mode

Swift 4 is fully compatible with Swift 3. But Swift 4 compiler supports two language modes – Swift 3.2 and Sift 4.0. A developer can opt for Swift 4.0 mode to take advantage of all new language features and APIs provided by the latest version of the programming language after migrating to Swift 4. On the other hand, Swift 3.2 mode makes the compiler accept the existing source code of an app built with earlier version of the compiler. Also, it will not update the APIs used by the app to maintain source code compatibility. But the mode still allows developers to avail the features of Swift 4.

Understand the Migration Process

As noted earlier, Swift 4 compiler supports two distinct language modes. A developer can easily accelerate the migration process by building the existing project in Swift 3.2. If the app is written in earlier versions of Swift, the developer has to rebuild the project in Swift 3.2 successfully to keep the migration process smooth. However, there are always chances that a developer has to manage a number of changes and address a number of issues while migrating the project to Swift 3.2 from earlier versions of the programming language.

Manage the Project under Source Control

Apple recommends developers to manage the project under source control when migrating to Swift 4. The source control makes it easier for the developer to monitor and review the changes being implemented by the Swift Migration Assistant. Also, he has option to discard certain changes that are unnecessary or irrelevant for the specific project. When the project is managed under source control, it becomes easier for the developer to restart the migration process without putting extra time and effort.

Take Advantage of Swift Migration Assistant

Xcode 9 makes it easier for developers to migrate to Swift 4 by providing the Swift Migration Assistant. A developer can access the Swift Migration Assistant as an item under the Issue Navigation. After invoking the migration tool, the developer has option to choose from a list of targets. He must choose a target that contains Swift code to start the migration process. Also, he has to follow a single migration workflow to migrate to Swift 4 smoothly. However, he still needs to address a number of issues immediately to process the targets properly and continue the migration process.

Implement Mechanical Changes Manually

The Swift Migration Assistant makes it easier for developers to upgrade their apps to Swift 4. But the developer still needs to resolve a number of changes and issues manually after completion of the migration process. The developer can easily identify the error or issues by filing a bug report through the Swift Migration Assistant. He must implement the required mechanical changes manually to keep the app’s functionality and performance intact after migrating to the latest version of Swift. After implementing the mechanical changes and resolving migration issues, the developer can rebuild the app in Swift 4 successfully.

On the whole, an iOS app developer can migrate to Swift 4 to take advantage of several new language features and improved APIs.  But he must understand the migration process clearly to migrate to Swift 4 seamlessly. Also, he needs to use the migration tool to migrate the app to Swift 4 without putting extra time and effort.

In August, Microsoft released .NET Core 2.0 and ASP.NET Core 2.0. The updated version of .NET Core comes with several new APIs. It even enables developers to port these APIs to .NET Standard Library without writing additional code. The developers even have option to port .NET Core 2.0 across devices and platforms. Likewise, ASP.NET Core 2.0 comes with a new coding paradigm called Razor Views. The developers can use Razor View as a lightweight version of MVC to create simple web pages with a single file containing models and controllers.

Microsoft complements .NET Core 2.0 and ASP.NET Core 2.0 with an updated version of Visual Studio. Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3 provides a set of new APIs for the updated versions of .NET Core and ASP.NET Core. At the same time, it comes with an array of new features to facilitate development of smarter ops, help enterprises to adopt DevOps, and improve application testing and debugging. Hence, it becomes essential for developers to understand the new features and enhancements provided by the latest version of Visual Studio 2017.

New Features and Enhancements in the Latest Version of Visual Studio 2017

.NET Framework 4.7

The updated version of Visual Studio supports .NET Framework 4.7. It also provides several new tools for platforms supporting .NET 4.7 runtime. The development tools help programmers to avail improvements related to ASP.NET, BCL, CLR, ClickOnce, SQL, networking, workflow, Windows Forms, and WPF. The developers can even run their existing applications seamlessly on the latest version of .NET Framework.

C# 7.1

The latest version of Visual Studio 2017 supports C++ language services and comes with Visual C++ toolset and libraries. At the same time, it supports C# 7.1 and its new language features. The programmers can use the latest version of Visual Studio to take advantage of several new language features provided by C# 7.1 including default expressions, async main methods, pattern-matching with Generics and default literals. They can further use the development tools provided by the IDE to write high quality C# code.

Azure Functions and Sign-in

The updated version of Visual Studio 2017 comes with several features to simplify Azure development. The tools provided by the IDE makes it easier for programmers to write C# Azure functions. The developers can even use the tools to create pre-compiled C# Azure functions that start faster than conventional script-based functions. The developers can also use Azure sign-in to access a variety of Azure services.

Built-in Continuous Delivery Tools

The updated version of Visual Studio does not require developers to use continuous delivery tools as extensions. The programmers can now avail continuous delivery tools as an integral part of Visual Studio. They can use the tools provided by the IDE to configure continuous integration builds and deployment of the build to Azure App Service. At the same time, they have option to configure continuous delivery for ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core projects by targeting Azure App Service.

Improved Container Support

The developers can now use Visual Studio 2017 to develop containers across many platforms. The attest version of Visual Studio supports content development on .NET Core with Windows and Linux. Also, it allows developer to build containers for .NET Framework apps with Windows Containers. At the same time, the developers can use robust tools provided by the IDE to debug .NET applications more efficiently in containers.

Improved IDEs

While using the latest version of Visual Studio 2017, the developers can use an improved version of Visual Studio Editor and .NET Editor. The new keyboard accessibility menu included in the Visual Studio Editor enables developers to access the accessibility tips and tricks documentation through a shortcut. Likewise, the users can use the dedicated UI to select the desired debugger in open folder scenarios.

Visual Studio 2017 further reduces solution load to make it easier for programmers to increase build stability and speed. At the same time, the updated version of .NET IDE comes with a number of new code fixes and refactoring. The developers can further name the variables easily based on the variable names suggested by IntelliSense.

Redesigned Editor

The updated version of Visual Studio Editor comes with several improvements and fixes. The developer can use the updated editor to scroll and navigate manually while adding a large number of errors. Likewise, they have option to switch from high contrast themes to a new variant of the Blue theme. The editor even allows developers to navigate between adornments smoothly while using a screen reader. They can see line annotations and navigate through multiple annotations simply through shortcuts.

Debugging and Diagnostic Tools

The latest version of Visual Studio 2017 allows developers to download symbols for Visual Studio Team Services Symbol Server and set the symbol paths to the development environment. The developers can even keep pressing the Ctrl key to resume application debugging each time debugging stops at an endpoint. They can even use the new templates for Open Folder to choose from three distinct types of debuggers – native, managed and mixed. Visual Studio 2017 even allows developers to use live unit testing feature for .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, and .NET Standard projects.

SQL Server Data Tools

Visual Studio 2017 comes with features to make SQL Server a cross-platform RDBMS. The SQL Server Data tools provided by the IDE make it easier for developers to work with various versions of SQL Server, SQLDB, and DW on Azure. Also, Microsoft has fixed a number of issues found in Redgate Data Tools, SQL Prompt, and SQL search.

Improved Python and R Tools

The latest version of Visual Studio comes with a number of new features for Python and R programming languages. While working with Python, programmers can avail features like improved localization, and improved accessibility in keyboard navigation, screen readers, and high contrast. Likewise, the R programmers can avail features like improved IntelliSense experience, better Azure connectivity, and improved accessibility.

Microsoft has already released the first preview of Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3. The upcoming version of Visual Studio 2017 will support .NET Standard 2.0 and come with features to accelerate development of Windows Universal Apps. Hence, the dot net developers need to monitor each new features provided by each upcoming version of Visual Studio 2017.

In 2016, Microsoft released .NET Core 1.0 as an open source, cross-platform, and modular platform for developing a variety of modern software applications.  It has been updating .NET Core regularly to meet the emerging trends in software development. The company recently made two beta preview versions of .NET Core 2.0 for Windows, Linux, and MacOS available to developers for testing and evaluation. Based on the first and second preview of .NET Core 2.0, we can identify the important new features and changes.

Important .NET Core 2.0 Changes and Enhancements

Optimized Code Reuse

.NET Core 2.0 aims to make programmers more productive and enable them to use code more efficiently. The new APIs provided by the platform will make it easier for programmers to reuse their existing .NET Framework code. At the same time, .NET Core 2.0 also allows developers to refer to .NET Framework libraries and NuGet packages through .NET Standard.

Uniform Naming Scheme

.NET Core 2.0 supports three major platforms – Windows, Linux, and MacOS. It even provides a uniform naming scheme for packages and installers across these platforms. The developers now have option to name filenames for various runtimes by adding the prefix dotnet-runtime. Likewise, they can add the prefix dotnet-sdk while creating SDKs for various platforms.

New Programming Language Support

.NET Core 1.0 supports two programming languages – C# and F#. The upcoming version of the platform will support Visual Basic in addition to C# and F#. Hence, the developers will have option to write applications and libraries for .NET Core 2.0 in C#, F#, or VB.

WCF Support

Many .NET programmers use Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to build various service-oriented applications. The developers now have option to use WCF for .NET Core 2.0. The upgraded version of WCF is designed based on .NET Standard 2.0. It further comes with several new features and APIs, while supporting SOAP header. The developers can even use the upcoming version of ECF to implement Windows authentication on Linux and MacOS through Http transport.

.NET Core Tools

While developing applications with .NET Core 2.0, programmers can take advantage of .NET Core Tools. These tools make it easier for developers to use .NET Core 2.0 on command-line. Also, they can avail these tools as built-in components of Visual Studio 2017. These tools will help programmers to create custom software applications rapidly with .NET Core 2.0.

Cloud Support

.NET Core 2.0 will make it easier for developers to build, test, and deploy software applications in the cloud. It now supports Azure App Services extensively. Microsoft has already rolled out .NET Core 2.0 to Azure App Services. The developers can avail Azure App Services to troubleshoot various cloud-based development and deployment issues.

Faster Runtime

Microsoft has simplified algorithm and rewritten many operators to make .NET Core 2.0 the fastest application runtime. Hence, the developers can use the upcoming version of .NET Core to speed up applications without implementing various performance optimization techniques. The faster runtime will further contribute towards making .NET Core more popular.

.NET Standard 2.0

.NET Core 2.0 enables programmers to share code, binaries, and skills across a number of platforms through .NET Standard 2.0. The developers can use .NET Standard 2.0 to share resources across .NET Framework, .NET Core, Xamarin, and Universal Windows Platform (UWP). .NET Standard 2.0 further comes with over 20000 new APIs and NuGet packages, while allowing programmers to refer to .NET framework libraries.

Visual Studio 2017

The programmers can use Visual Studio 2017 to build and run .NET Core 2.0 applications efficiently. Hence, they can use Visual Studio 2017 to build and run both .NET Core 1.0 and 2.0 applications. Also, the robust IDE helps programmers to retarget their existing .NET Core 1.0 application to .NET Core 2.0 by following some simple steps.

Microsoft is expected to release .NET Core 2.0 officially in Q4 2017. The dot net developers must remember that .NET Core 2.0 is not a stable release. They must not install the beta preview editions of NET Core 2.0 on a production machine. But they can still evaluate the latest preview version and provide their feedback to enhance .NET Core 2.0.  Also, the programmers can use Visual Studio 2017 Preview version 15.3 to evaluate the apps developed with the beta preview versions of .NET Core 2.0.

You have option to choose from a myriad of frameworks according to precise needs of individual web development projects. The usage statistics posted on several websites depict that CakePHP is one of most widely used PHP frameworks. Like other PHP frameworks, CakePHP is also written in PHP. But it is designed based on core concepts of Ruby on Rails (RoR). As an open source framework, CakePHP helps you to reduce web application development cost significantly. Also, it accelerates development of custom web applications by providing a variety of built-in functionalities.

Why You Must Consider CakePHP for Your Next Website Development Project?

Supports PHP 7  

CakePHP enables you to write web applications in PHP 7. You can write web application in PHP 7 to avail a number of new language features, along with improved speed and reduced resource consumption. PHP 7 further helps you to prevent user abandonment and increase search engine visibility by making the website load faster.

Keeps the Codebase Concise

CakePHP does not require you to write additional code. It comes with features to keep the source code of websites concise and maintainable. It accelerates web application prototype creation by providing code generation and scaffolding features. At the same time, CakePHP also allows you to reuse the existing code across different projects.

Supports MVC Programming Paradigm

Like other modern web frameworks, CakePHP also supports model-view-controller (MVC) pattern. You can take advantage of MVC architecture to simplify and speed up development of large websites by keeping their user interface and business logic layers separates. Also, you can access, insert, and update data in the database seamlessly without affecting content display and presentation.

Keeps the Configuration Simple and Minimalist

Unlike other PHP frameworks, CakePHP has a simple installation and configuration process. It has the capability to detect and configure the required setting automatically. Hence, you can start developing websites with CakePHP without dealing with complex configuration. However, you need to configure and set up the database before writing code. Once the database is configured, CakePHP will configure the required setting automatically.

Provides a Flexible ORM System

The latest version of CakePHP comes with an object-relational mapper (ORM) system. Despite borrowing features from similar tools, the ORM is simple and flexible. It accelerates query building by providing a fluent interface. Also, it supports composite primary key, data post-processing, and eager loading strategies. The ORM system makes it easier for you to work with various databases and perform database operations.

Improves Routing Performance

CakePHP 3 improves routing performance significantly using reverse routing technique. You can take advantage of reverse routing technique to convert a set of parameters into a single URL string. Also, you can use the URL string to refactor and implement the URL structure without modifying the code. The ORM system further uses advanced routing techniques to parse and dispatch routes quickly without impacting the routing performance.

Provides Built-in Batteries

The built-in batteries provided by CakePHP enable you to accomplish common web development tasks without writing additional code. You have option to choose from a variety of built-in batteries according to your precise needs. These batteries are also embedded seamlessly into the PHP framework. You can use specific batteries to accomplish common web development tasks like database access, caching implementation, translation, authentication and validation. The batteries included approach further makes it easier for you to deploy the website without putting extra time and effort.

Provides Built-in Security Tools

Each website nowadays is vulnerable to a variety of targeted security attacks. Often developers use third-party security tools to keep the website functional and prevent various security attacks. But CakePHP helps you to protect the website from common security threats like cross site scripting (XSS) attacks and SQL injection by providing built-in security tools. You can even use the security tools provided by CakePHP to validate input submitted by various users, and prevent web form tampering and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).

Facilitates Unit Testing

CakePHP accelerates web application testing by using PHPUnit as the default testing framework. You can take advantage of PHPUnit to test specific components and functionality of the website throughout the development process. However, the PHP framework requires you to use CakePHP either as a PHAR package or through composer. You can still use CakePHP to evaluate the components of the website consistently.

Open Source

As mentioned earlier, CakePHP is an open source framework. You can use PHP framework without paying any monthly fees. Also, you can customize and extend CakePHP by making changes to its PHP source code. CakePHP is also supported by a large and active community of CakePHP developers. You can avail assistance of the community to resolve web development issues and accelerate custom website development.

Keeps Evolving

Despite being an open source PHP framework, CakePHP has been evolving consistently. CakePHP 3 came with improved performance, components, helpers, session management, and ORM. Also, it simplified web application development by unifying themes and plug-ins. Likewise, CakePHP 3.5.0 comes with new middleware, new cookie objects, and improved console environment. Hence, you can always accelerate custom web application development using the latest version of CakePHP.

On the whole, you can take advantage of the built-in functionality provided by CakePHP to create websites according to varying business requirements. But you must remember that the web framework has its own pros and cons. For instance, you must be proficient in PHP to use and customize the web framework efficiently. But CakePHP has been evolving consistently to meet the emerging trends in web application development.

As collection of template files, WordPress themes make it easier for developers to create graphical user interfaces for websites without writing longer lines of code. Each developer also has option to choose from a large collection of free and paid WordPress themes according to the precise needs of individual websites. But many developers prefer creating custom themes to make the web applications looks different and deliver richer user experience.

As code libraries, WordPress theme frameworks make it easier for developers to create custom themes. The features and functions provided by these frameworks make it easier for theme developers to avoid writing additional code. Also, the developers can follow a set of standards for theme to build WordPress themes according to prevailing industry standards. At the same time, the developers can also curtail theme development cost significantly by using a number of open source WordPress theme frameworks.

Understanding Various Aspects of WordPress Theme Frameworks

Parent Theme Template

The developers can use WordPress theme frameworks as parent theme templates. The frameworks contain the required functionality and packages into a single folder. The developers can load the framework simply by dropping the framework folder into the new parent theme. Also, they can add custom styling by creating child themes based on the parent theme. The framework allows programmers to store customizations in the child theme, while hosting all functions in a centralized location. The separation makes it easier for developers to make changes to the theme without modifying the child template.

Core Functionality

As noted earlier, the developers have option to choose from a wide range of free and paid WordPress theme frameworks. The features and functionality provided by individual frameworks differ. But each framework accelerates custom WordPress theme development by providing pre-defined code like custom functions, custom action hooks and custom filter hooks. The custom functions can be used in themes, custom actions hooks are used in theme template, and custom filter hooks are used for generating theme content. At the same time, the theme frameworks also include custom callbacks for core WordPress action and filter hooks, script library integration, and theme options page integration.

Advantages

The widgets, functions, and pre-defined code provided by WordPress theme frameworks enable developers to develop custom themes according to varying requirements. Also, the frameworks make it easier for programmers to enhance code quality and create themes according to latest industry standards. The developers can even use the frameworks to modify or upgrade the custom themes without altering the styling functionality of the child themes. Most popular theme frameworks are supported by large communities. The community will help developers to resolve new issues and problems efficiently. Hence, the developers can use WordPress theme frameworks to create, maintain, and upgrade custom themes without putting extra time and effort.

Disadvantages

Each WordPress theme framework comes with loads of functionalities. Also, the features provided by individual frameworks differ. Hence, the developers must choose the right framework based on the functionalities required by each project. Also, they need to invest both time and efforts initially to learn the hooks and filters of individual frameworks. They even need to ensure that the core files remain unaltered while customizing the themes. Many developers opt for free frameworks to curtail custom WordPress theme development cost significantly. But the free frameworks often lack some of the robust features provided by paid frameworks.

Popular WordPress Theme Frameworks

Each developer has option to choose from a wide range of WordPress theme frameworks according to his precise needs and objective. Some of these themes are open source and free, whereas others are licensed and paid. Also, the popularity of individual frameworks differs. The developer can always consider using one of the widely used WordPress theme frameworks like Cherry Framework, Hybrid Core, Runway, Gantry, Genesis, Divi, Headway and Themify.  Each framework comes with an array of features to accelerate custom WordPress theme development. But the paid frameworks come with robust features like sliders, search engine optimization (SEO) widgets and drag-and-drop functionality.

On the whole, the developers can use WordPress theme frameworks to accelerate custom WordPress theme development. They also have option to choose from a wide range of WordPress theme frameworks. But the features provided by individual frameworks vary. Likewise, the learning curve of individual theme frameworks also differs. Hence, the developers must evaluate various WordPress theme frameworks according to precise needs and objectives of each project.

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