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Linux Php Vs Windows Asp Web Hosting Comparison

One of the first decisions to make while choosing web hosting is – what platform to opt for? Windows or Linux? PHP or ASP?

First of all, note that sites with static pages such as blogs can run on either Windows or Linux hosting platforms. These only use HTML and CSS, which are supported equally well by both operating systems.

When you require dynamic content on your website, such as eCommerce facilities, forums or other forms of scripting, then you need to pay attention to your hosting platform.

Traditionally, Linux servers are used for scripts based on PHP or Perl. These scripts include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and many other blogging or content management systems. Windows servers, on the contrary, are used with scripts written in ASP, ASP(dot)Net or Access. MySQL works equally well with both Windows and Linux. Today, cross-platform scripting – that is, scripting with PHP/Perl on Windows or with ASP/ASP(dot)NET/Access on Linux – is permitted by some ISPs. However, cross-platform scripting will never give the smooth performance that a program does when run on its native platform – it is a bit like using emulators to run programs that are not native to the OS. There is one exception here, though – PHP runs equally well on Windows and Linux, so Linux-based hosting is no longer essential to run PHP-based scripts and applications.

Most computer geeks will advise you to go for Linux hosting, as Unix – on which Linux is based – is a far more secure and stable platform than Windows’ alternative. While this is demonstrably true – think of the millions of viruses for Windows systems, and the rare bug that crops up in Linux – it is also true that efficient server administration can render a Windows system as secure as a Linux one.

Speedwise, there is no clear winner between Windows and Linux. Some things work faster on Windows, while others work faster on Linux. So to choose between operating systems, cost and security would have to be the deciding factors. Linux here is substantially cheaper, as it is an open-source system, and most of its applications are also under GNU public licenses – in other words, free. Windows hosting comes with the added cost of the OS, and certain applications that the hosting company has to continually pay for.

As for the ASP-PHP comparison, ASP is almost universally the winner where speed is concerned. However, the learning curve in ASP or ASP(dot)NET is much steeper than in PHP – something that can backfire for advanced users looking for greater control and freedom. PHP, however, is still one of the most popular scripts around thanks to its versatility and the solid, useful applications being written using it.

In the end, choosing between Windows ASP and Linux PHP as hosting platforms becomes a matter of individual preference and contingent need. Depending on your budget, security concerns and familiarity with the computer language, you can pick either of them and successfully run a dynamic website for a long time to come.

Managed Dedicated Server Vs Colocation Hosting

Web hosting can be done in a variety of ways, offering different levels of control and expense for the end user. For users who are well versed in web hosting theory and require a good deal of control, the choices finally get narrowed down to managed dedicated servers, and colocation hosting.

Managed dedicated servers allow a client to lease out an entire server for himself. The client gets full control over this server, and is responsible for every change made to it – administrative, pertaining to security, hardware, software, OS and so on. Some dedicated server hosting providers offer support for the operating system and applications, but this is rare.

Colocation services, on the other hand, provide external maintenance and upkeep for a server, but the server has to be bought by the client. The hardware and software configurations are decided by the client, and the colocation host merely provides the space to keep it, a steady Internet connection, power and cooling supplies, fire protection and such facilities. Clearly, this gives the client total control over the server. However, it is also the most expensive.

Here is a point-by-point comparison of the relative merits and disadvantages of dedicated servers and colocation hosting:

1. Control. A dedicated server is owned by the hosting company, and the entirety of the hardware is controlled by them. By contrast, the server in colocation hosting is owned by the client. This gives the client full control over hardware and software, leaving only maintenance and upkeep in the hands of the colocation host.

2. Initial investment. A colocation server needs to be bought. This is a much larger upfront cost than the down payment made to a dedicated server host.

3. Recurring cost. A colocation server can be left as it is for a few years after purchase. However, upgrading the colocation server will automatically raise its cost far above that of any dedicated server lease.

4. Availability of hosting. These days, colocation hosts are increasingly switching to dedicated servers, as these are much more profitable for them.

Colocation hosting, thanks to its high installation cost but relatively low upkeep, is most popular among companies who need huge databases.

Telecommunication companies, corporate giants and eCommerce enterprises are the most likely to avail of these services. For them, the dollars in rent saved add up to a substantial sum.

For most home users and small business owners, dedicated servers become the route of choice in web hosting. Dedicated servers come with the added advantage that the hosting company is in charge of maintaining the hardware. Yet, one gets to have the complete machine to oneself – which prevents virus or malware attacks on other users from impacting the system. This is one of the biggest advantages a dedicated server has over shared hosting or Virtual Private Servers.

From here, it is clear that managed dedicated servers and colocation hosting both have advantages and disadvantages – there is no winner or loser between the two. The choices should be made based on requirements and budgets – whichever you choose, you cannot go too far wrong.

Amadeus Consulting Discusses Android App Development QA Testing and Fragmentation

One of the big challenges to developing Android apps is the number of Android devices on the market. In fact, with almost 100 unique Android devices available there is a severe challenge with quality assurance and ensuring compatibility on all devices. The different sizes and capabilities of each device create a fragmented platform that makes quality app development more challenging. Although fragmentation has been a longtime issue for Android, Google is taking steps to help alleviate the problem with future devices.

The Problem: Android Fragmentation

In the PC market, every piece of software comes with “system requirements” printed clearly on the box. These state the basic requirements for properly running software, including operating system, disk space, and memory requirements. Compatibility isnt usually a big issue with most commercial PC software, but the system requirements help the user judge whether or not their computer can run it.

For smartphone app development, there is no “system requirements” listing, and consumers mostly assume that all Android phones and devices should be able to run all Android apps. The truth is that there is not universal compatibility among all Android devices.

Compatibility problems can be caused by:

Hardware differences, including different processors, various screen sizes and available memory (This is reportedly why the Netflix Android app is initially only launching on five devices).

Different OS versions, which may be due to different hardware abilities. Newer versions of the OS provide different capabilities and capacities which an app may need to run.

Different Carrier Software. Many carriers create or sell devices that use software built on top of the standard Android operating system. This may be different interfaces, or other software that changes how the OS acts. This can make it challenging to update the underlying OS which creates compatibility problems, or it may actually directly interfere with the app.

In the past Google has only loosely controlled hardware requirements for a handset to use the Android operating system, which has led to a very broad range of devices and device capabilities. Compatibility for apps was controlled through the licensing of the Android Market, which let manufacturers provide access to the 200,000+ Android apps.

Unfortunately with so many devices and so many unique differences (not to mention the sheer number of devices), it has become challenging as an Android app developer to properly test an app before launch.

The Current Solution

The common strategy for launching an app on Android is pretty straightforward: you test on a few devices and then work with the community to identify problems on other devices and resolve them as best you can.

Many major brands do this and state that their app is only compatible with specific devices. Of course it may work or may partially work with other devices as well, but that helps defer some of the bad press if the app has problems. For example, when the popular app Angry Birds was released in Android it came with a disclaimer which listed 21 specific devices that were “not officially supported by Angry Birds” at the time, as well as any devices running certain older versions of Android.

Choosing those initial devices to test with also takes a bit of background knowledge. You need to balance having a good representation of different types of devices with a representation of the most popular devices. In other words, your list of testing devices will change every few months and then you may need to update your testing process and purchase new units.

For example, when TweetDeck was creating an Android version of its immensely popular Twitter client, it ran into extreme fragmentation issues which the company summed up nicely in a chart and explanation on their blog. In this case TweetDeck used it as a point of pride to show how well the app worked across hundreds of different devices, customizations, roms, and what can best be described as hacks.

At Amadeus Consulting, we generally have a select list of representative devices that we use when developing Android apps for clients, but it is very hard to guarantee compatibility beyond that. For our clients, we find that it is most cost efficient to test on the “representative” devices, and then work out a support agreement to address issues that arise on less popular devices.

The other challenge is what to do when you have launched an app and it doesnt work on a particular handset. With the exception of a tiny handful of app developers (most of whom receive sponsored handsets anyways since manufacturers want to ensure that the apps work on their devices), most developers do not have $3+ million to spend buying every available Android device and then spend the time fully testing it on every one.

In some cases developers can find (or borrow) that particular device for testing, or in other cases it may be most practical to create and foster a community that can help each other address these kinds of problems.

Googles New Solution

At the Google I/O developer conference last week, Google announced important changes to how it will be managing new Android devices. First, Google will begin requiring that all new handsets be able to handle OS updates for at least the next 18 months following their launch.

This will increase the minimum capability of hardware devices as well as make it easier to provide upgrades to all devices at once. Currently some new devices are incompatible with newer versions, or must wait several months to receive the OS.

Along with this will be the launch of a new version of Android (version 3.1 presumably) called Ice Cream Sandwich. This will upgrade the current versions 2.2 (Froyo) and 2.3 (Gingerbread) as well as version 3.0 (Honeycomb). And in case you havent caught on, Googles naming scheme for Android versions is alphabetical with a dessert themed acronym.

The biggest benefit and feature of Ice Cream Sandwich is that it is specifically designed to be a cross platform OS and will combine tablets, smartphones, and other devices into a single cross-compatible OS.
This helps resolve incompatibility problems in two ways. First, it ensures that all new devices will be able to run the same OS, which helps reduce hardware compatibility problems. And since all devices are all running the same base OS, it will help reduce compatibility problems there too.

Starting in June, Google will also give developers more control on the Android Market and let them filter out incompatible devices. This is a positive move that gives developers the ability to offer quality, tested apps to the market, but it also has the potential to exclude devices that would otherwise work fine.

These changes will help solve some of the larger issues with Android fragmentation, but it will not reduce problems with custom ROMs or other carrier-specific customizations. Even so, these changes will make life much easier for developers during QA testing and will be extremely important as Android expands outside of just smartphones and powers tablets, TVs, and possibly everything in your house via Android@Home.

Mobile Commerce Platforms – Facts to Consider

With mobile commerce becoming advanced each day, retailers are becoming eager to branch out into the mobile web scenario. To make their products and services more reachable, new mobile commerce platforms need to be developed. There are numerous players in the market who provide platforms like Magneto, ATG, Marketlive, Escalate Retail, and Demandware. Platforms are being offered within the app through the mobile web combining browser detection and CSS, through services that allow mobile app usage, and through partnerships with third parties.

However, there are some factors that need to be kept in mind while retailers are looking to provide this mobile ecommerce solution:
Attention must be paid to the cost. Although the forum is expanding, the ROI will be significantly less due to lack of direct mobile transactions. M-commerce will surely be beneficial to the multichannel customer experience, but there is no parameter against which we can measure the benefits.
The management of the mobile site has to be integrated into the management tools and existing site merchandising. Adequate support must be available for content management, product content, category management, and order management.
Any mobile website needs to be maintained on a regular basis. The inventory, price, and production information must be up-to-date, but it also needs to include brand assets, product data, and assortment taxonomy. A constant synchronization needs to be maintained with the platform provider. Agencies and firms are cashing in on marketplace feeds or retailers affiliate to power the mobile websites but this has a drawback too. The feeds are often a part of the total assortment and may not have catalog management features.
The payment options must be made extremely easy. Users should be able to conduct transactions quickly using secure and PCI compliant webservices. That is why Apple has tasted success with their iPhone or iPod Touches.
The foundation of the operating systems of phones frequently undergoes changes with OS versions, new devices, and ecosystems. The management needs to be done pro-actively and the providers must help their customers to navigate easily.
Order management and customer care needs to be effectively coordinated. If this is not done, then the rate of customer satisfaction will start to drop and they will be roped in by the other players. Ideally, a constant and portable cart should be present that allows customers to shop via mobile and web and to be able to access via the other channel makes the entire procedure simple and easy for them. With the help of a consistent customer authentication capability, the multichannel effect of mobile commerce can be easily measured.

Mobile commerce platforms
have been developed and tested successfully but they still have a long way to go in terms of performance. Industry experts say that the current infrastructure of m-commerce platforms is not suitable to keep up with the demands that are increasing each day. A lot of evaluation and upgrading needs to be done immediately so that the implementation can be done in the proper way.

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