mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

Join us in exploring the world of modern development, evolving technologies, and the art of future-proof software

Month: May 2013

Weekly recap: 5 trends that will drive the future of tech, don’t be fooled by false metrics, 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 tech trends, false metrics, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Don’t be fooled by false metrics
As one of the points made in this recent article on reporting, false metrics are a common problem in the world of reporting and BI. While we certainly have no shortage of data, choosing the right data is often the biggest hurdle faced when building reports or BI apps.

How to create web reports your executives love

EducationTell me: Are you happy with your reporting? Or, perhaps a better question: Are your executives happy with your reporting? If you answered “Yes” to both questions, I applaud you. But, you are in the minority.

Reporting is a perpetual problem. It was a problem 30 years ago. It’s still a problem today. Case in point: We recently attended a conference, and reporting was one of the biggest topics of conversation…but not in a good way. Many of the executives we spoke with voiced their displeasure over their company’s reporting.

The big question: How can you improve your reporting? How can you create web reports that your executives will love? While I’ve frequently written about reporting in the past, today I’m taking a new approach. To help answer that question, we’ve solicited input from other experts in the field, and have compiled their advice (as well as some of my own) below. I hope you find it useful:

What is n-Tier architecture, and how does it help you?

EducationHave you ever wondered why your business applications don’t integrate well with other systems or applications? Have you ever wondered why your applications don’t adapt to changing technology? Have you wondered why it takes so long to add new features to your applications?

Chances are, the problem lies in your application architecture.

While often ignored, architecture is the most important aspect of business applications. Applications built on bad architecture will have all sorts of problems. They won’t grow with your company. They’re less secure. They’re difficult to maintain. I could go on, but you can read more about the benefits of good architecture in this article.

So, what makes good application architecture? How can you build applications on architecture that will grow with your business and adapt to future technology? While you have multiple application architecture options, we prefer the n-Tier approach. Rather than list every reason right here, we’ve created a short video that explains n-Tier architecture and how it helps your business.

Weekly recap: How developers can stand out at work, bad mobile apps, 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 helping developers stand out at work, social BI, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Social Intelligence: The new frontier for BI
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, Business Intelligence is moving beyond your database. Social sites, forums, and blogs often contain a wealth of information about your company. The next big push in BI will involve harvesting this social data.

7 common mobile mistakes that drive users crazy

EducationAs more and more businesses venture into the mobile app world, there’s bound to be some growing pains. That happens with every new trend. Do you remember how bad websites looked when the internet was gaining popularity? Yikes!

Mobile applications provide an amazing opportunity for business, but also represent uncharted waters. How do you build mobile apps that help your business? How can you avoid the mistakes that alienate your users? If your business is building, or considering mobile apps, I’d like to help you avoid these mistakes.

Now, before I elaborate on the most common mobile mistakes, I’d like to quickly clarify the term “mobile app.” Many associate that term with native apps, when in reality, mobile apps can refer to any of three different app types: Native apps, hybrid apps, or mobile web apps (Here’s a table that explains the differences). When I say “mobile app”, I’m referring to mobile apps in general, not simply native apps.

Okay, let’s get into it. If you’re building mobile apps, here’s a list of the most common mistakes that will drive your users absolutely crazy. Am I missing anything? If so, please share in the comments.

Business advantages of Java

EducationIf your company needs to build new web apps or just bring your current apps to the web, you have plenty of languages to choose from. Which one is best for your company?

Now, I realize this is a controversial topic, and I’m certainly not interested in starting a big war over programming language superiority. I’ve seen those arguments, and let me tell you…nobody wins.

That being said, I will gladly tell you why we chose Java, and why we believe it is such a great option for business. Rather than write it all in a blog post, however, we created this short video that quickly explains the business benefits of Java. I hope you find it useful.

Weekly recap: A strategy to improve application development, web accessibility, 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 improving application development, web accessibility, and more. I hope you find them useful:

Most data isn’t “big,” and businesses are wasting money pretending it is
It’s all over the tech sites. You’ve heard the hype. “Big Data” is the next big thing. Quick! Buy expensive software to manage all of your big data! Of course, I’m joking. The fact is, most companies don’t actually have “big data.” Unless you’re dealing with absolutely massive amounts of data, you don’t need “big data” software. You need BI software that will let you quickly analyze your data and run reports. If you’re looking for good BI software, here’s a handy guide that will help you choose the best option.

5 common IT practices that waste your time

Save TimeHow much time do you waste at work? It might be more than you think. No, I’m not referring to blatant wastes of time like talking on the phone all day, surfing the web, or even sleeping. I’m referring to work-related practices that keep IT professionals busy, yet ultimately unproductive.

Here’s the tricky part: They aren’t easy to identify. They look like work, they feel like work, but they keep your IT department from accomplishing important tasks.

So, how can you avoid these time-wasting practices and focus your efforts on essential tasks? The first step: Identify the culprits. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most common, yet unnecessary IT practices that waste your time. If you can think of any others, feel free to share in the comments.

If you could start over…

Education“Why can’t our applications do (fill in the blank)?”

How many times have you asked that (or a similar) question? How many times have you wished that your old business applications were more capable, or included modern features?

Let me ask you a question: If you could start over, and build your applications for today’s world, what would you include? Mobile apps? Maybe email and sms messaging integration? Better reporting, BI, or workflow features? The list could go on and on.

Of course, all of this wishful thinking doesn’t do you any good. You can’t throw out your old apps and systems and build new ones from the ground up. That’s an expensive, time-consuming, and risky project. That’s something most companies just can’t do.

But, here’s something you can do: You can bring these modern features to your old apps and systems. No need to replace it. You can have all of the modern features you want, today! To learn more, this guide explains how m-Power lets you build modern features over your existing system, and even gives you a glimpse of what’s possible.

Weekly recap: 7 traits of effective programmers, most common mobile development trap, 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 traits of effective programmers, the most common mobile development trap, and more. I hope you find them useful:

The most common mobile development trap
Are you considering creating mobile versions of your apps or site for your users? That’s a good idea. But, be careful: This article explains one such solution that often seems like the easiest approach…but it’s actually the worst option.