Tag Archives: Development Tools

What to look for in a development platform

EducationDriven in large part by the rise of mobile devices and the increased use of consumer-focused software, more and more companies are turning towards web application development platforms. Development platforms help these companies address a few growing problems, such as:

1. Device/platform fragmentation: Companies must now develop applications for multiple platforms, like PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Development platforms simplify this process, and let these companies develop cross-platforms applications using their current staff and skills.

2. Align IT with the business: With the rise of cloud-based software, end users can now bypass IT altogether if the IT department isn’t meeting their needs. A development platform addresses this issue: It gives end users the tools they need to create their own applications and reports, and lets the IT department control the data and user access.

3. Bridge the skills gap: Technology is evolving faster than ever, and companies are struggling to keep up. They need their current skills to maintain their current software, but also need modern skills to build modern solutions. A development platform lets these companies build modern solutions without constantly bringing in new skills.

If your company is looking around for a development tool or platform, we’ve put together something that might help. It’s a quick checklist that outlines 7 essential elements of a good development platform. I hope you find it useful.

Why development projects fail (and what can IT do about it?)

EducationDepending on the survey you read, anywhere from 25% – 68% of IT projects fail. These failures often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, waste months (or years) of time, and usually lead to people losing their jobs.

The big question: Why do projects fail so regularly?

Today, I’d like to examine IT project failure, but focus specifically on development projects. Why do development projects fail? Perhaps a better question: What can your IT department do to make them succeed?

To help shed some light on why development projects fail, we posed the question to a few experts on the subject. I’ve listed their advice below, as well as a short “take-away” from each point that briefly explains how IT can avoid each problem. I hope you find it useful: Continue reading

Weekly recap: HTML5 features you didn’t know existed, BI adoption, and more…

EducationEvery week, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles focus on HTML5 features, BI adoption, and more. I hope you find them useful:

How well do you know your ide/development tool
Some developers worry that if they start using a tool or an IDE, they’ll become dependent on that tool and turn into a worthless developer. This article explains why you should stop worrying, and love your development tools. Continue reading

5 most common IT money-wasters

Save MoneyTell me, is your IT department wasting your company’s money? That’s a tricky question to answer. Nobody wants to waste money, yet despite best efforts to the contrary, many IT departments unwittingly waste money every day.

How so? While I couldn’t possibly cover every way in one blog post, I’ve put together a list of some of the most common ways that IT departments waste money. If you’re looking for ways your company can save money, start by investigating these 5 areas: Continue reading

How development tools can help fix the “Shadow IT” problem

ProductivityTell me, does your IT staff keep up with your business needs? Do they deliver necessary applications and capabilities when the business needs them? If so, congratulations! You’re in the minority.

For most companies, the answer to both of those questions is a resounding “No”. The IT staff feels overwhelmed with business demands. Users feel like the IT staff is too slow, and can’t keep up with the business.

In the past, that’s where the story ended. Users had no choice but to (begrudgingly) rely on the IT department.

That’s no longer the case, as evidenced by a growing practice called “Shadow IT”. What does that mean? Well, thanks to the rise of cloud-based software and services, users have other options. These days, users are bypassing the IT department to get the applications and capabilities they need.

Now, this could obviously cause serious security problems and needs to be addressed. But, I don’t think the answer lies in new policies, or even necessarily trying to stop it. Instead, focus on the root of the problem: Your IT department must find a way to better meet your user’s needs.

How can you possibly do that?

Here’s one idea: If you’re not already using one, a good web application development tool can make a huge impact. It lets your IT department deliver essential applications quickly, when the users need them. It also gives users a way to create their own web applications, eliminating the need to go out and find their own.

How do you find a good tool?

Just like anything, there are good development tools and there are bad development tools. How can you differentiate between the two before you buy? To help you find the good tools and avoid the bad tools, we’ve created a handy little guide entitled “7 essential elements of a good web application development tool.” I hope you find it useful.

7 things to look for in a web application development tool or IDE

EducationThe difference between good and bad development tools/IDEs is like night and day. A good development tool will reduce development time and turn anyone into a web developer. A bad development tool will cause headaches, restrict your options, and even harm the company.

With so many options, how can you distinguish the good from the bad before you buy?

The key to success is finding the development tool or IDE that provides the most options and the fewest limitations. While that decision is largely based on your company’s needs, here are 7 essential elements that you should look for in any development tool or IDE: Continue reading

Weekly recap: 7 habits of highly effective developers, how to select KPIs, and more…

EducationEvery Friday, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles cover a wide range of topics, from mobile in the enterprise to traits of effective developers and much more. I hope you find them useful:

10 myths of BYOD in the enterprise
As with any big tech trend, many misconceptions surround the rise of consumer technology in the enterprise. You may be surprised to learn that most companies are not only allowing consumer tech, they are embracing it. Continue reading

Weekly recap: 2012’s hottest IT jobs, best tablets for business, and more…

EducationEvery Friday, I share the most interesting and useful tech articles that I’ve found over the past week. This week’s top articles cover a wide range of topics, from tablets to BI to programmer’s personality traits and much more. I hope you find them useful:

2012’s hottest IT jobs by industry (itbusinessedge.com)
These IT job lists are really helpful, both for IT professionals and business leaders. How so? Well, do you want to know which tech trends other companies in your industry are focusing on this year? Check out which tech skills are in the highest demand.

Business Intelligence: What’s in a name? (information-management.com)
Business intelligence has picked up a number of different names over the years, like operational BI, real-time BI, embedded BI, and more. But, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of what Business Intelligence is all about: Making better business decisions.

Today’s CIO: Where business strategy meets IT (forbes.com)
In the past, the IT department kept the company’s technology running smoothly and supported the users. That’s all changing now. The IT department should be a vital part of the business strategy, and it all starts with the CIO.

Programmer personality types: 13 profiles in code (infoworld.com)
A humorous take on the various personalities commonly displayed by programmers. However, it brings up a serious question: Which type is most valuable to a business? My answer: Whichever one solves the most business problems in the shortest amount of time. Very often, that’s the programmer that uses a development tool to improve productivity.

Best tablets for business (informationweek.com)
Tablets are quickly proving that they can provide plenty of benefits to businesses. If your company is considering tablets, this short slideshow outlines a few tablets to consider.

How one small IT staff became internally productive

ProductivityWhat does “internal productivity” mean? It means your IT staff is productive without relying on outside help. It means that you develop your apps and complete your projects quickly using your current staff and skills. It means you no longer rely on outsourcing companies or consultants.

This is a great goal for any IT department, but it’s much easier said than done. How can you accomplish everything you want to accomplish, using your current IT staff? Rather than explain it to you, I have a great example of a small IT staff that had some urgent projects, but couldn’t bring in outside help. What did they do? They found a way to become internally productive, and managed to fix everything themselves. You can read the whole story here.

Do you believe these 3 development tool myths?

Education*This post is from Brian Crowley, mrc’s Director of Development*

While at a recent tech conference, I had an interesting conversation with a long-time programmer. The programmer had apparently had some bad experiences with development tools, based on his views on the subject.

Frankly, nothing he said surprised me. I’d heard it all before. Most “anti-development tool” programmers usually cite the same reasons, and to be honest, I understand where they’re coming from. They’ve run into enough bad development tools in the past to form a pretty negative opinion of the whole lot. Their criticisms aren’t always accurate, and certainly don’t apply to ALL development tools, but I get why they feel that way. Continue reading