Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Final blow for Flash? Youtube now with HTML5 by default

There's a extensive letter by Steve Jobs in the official Apple site where he explains the reasons why he didn't want to back Flash in the first place.  I've always been a big Steve Jobs' fan, but also I always had some doubts about this point. I mean, if you read his official biography you'll immediately notice that the most important motivators for Apple and all the other technology companies is not exactly technology itself, or innovation. It's money. As simple as that. And I think Jobs had his own business reasons to begin a "war" on Flash.

However, as the time went by, Flash lost a lot of territory, especially in the mobile field. I can't tell if Steve Jobs was right with the technical reason he gave, but I'm sure he always won at the end. And maybe now we could be certain about it.

Youtube has announced in its official Engineering and Developers Blog that they'll use HTML5 as default for its videos.

This may be the end for Flash, since they had Youtube as one of their biggest (if not the biggest) clients. Flash has been consistently loosing market share during the last months, as you can see in the following chart:

You can consult some other related charts here.

The fall of Flash begun as soon as the iPhone was released for the first time.  A long time ago, Apple lost against Microsoft but not because of bad technology choices, but for business moves that gave Microsoft and edge. Right now, I'm not in the position to say if Flash was really a bad choice for mobile devices, but I'm sure that the business decisions dig the grave for Flash back when the true Smartphone market was raising.

On the other hand, we could evaluate the technical reason given by Steve Jobs in his own words:

As a conclusion, and given the circumstances, maybe it's time to bury Flash once and for all...

How to execute functions in a linked server (SQL Server 2012)

Linked servers are very useful.  They are often used in work environments for different reasons. As you may know, there's a well known method to query tables in a linked server:

Check the linked servers and databases:

- Open SQL Server Management Studio
- Expand the instance > Server Objects > Linked Servers. There you can see the servers linked to your own server. For example, in my case:

- That was to illustrate the where you can check the linked servers. To query a table in a linked server, you can use the following "template":


For example:

SELECT * from SERVER2.testDB.dbo.actresses where firstName = 'Jennifer'

That's OK, but what if you want to execute a function in a linked server? Let's try that with the same formula:

SELECT * from SERVER2.testDB.dbo.fn_getInitialsById(1)

That is meant to run a simple function to get the initial from a celebrity (in this case, I want to get the initials 'J' and 'L' from Jennifer Lawrence, with the ID 1):

We get the following error:

Msg 4122, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
Remote table-valued function calls are not allowed.

But there is another way to query a function in a linked server. Use the following example:

EXEC SERVER2.testDB.dbo.sp_executesql N'SELECT * FROM testDB.dbo.fn_getInitialsById (1)'

It worked! The detail here is this stored procedure: sp_executesql. You can find more information about it here.

Of course, you'll need to adapt that query to your necessities, but that's the general way to run a function in a linked server. I hope this is useful!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Solution to problem when installing SQL Server 2012 on Windows Server 2012

There's an annoying problem when you try to install SQL Server 2012 in Windows Server 2012. In the final installation step, almost at the beginning of the configurations, an error message is displayed:

With this particular message:

Error while enabling Windows feature : NetFx3, Error Code : –2146498298 , Please try enabling Windows Feature : NetFx3 from Windows management tools and then run setup again.

This is a feature for Windows Server 2012 that is not installed by default, so you won't find it in the list of features in the Control Panel. So, you'll need the Windows Server 2012 installation disc. With that at hand, follow these steps:

1. Open a command line as administrator.

2. Enter this command:

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:netfx3 /all /source:<drive with the installation disk>:\sources\sxs

For example, if you have the disk in the e: drive, enter:

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:netfx3 /all /source:e:\sources\sxs

3. Press enter and you'll see a confirmation message:

4. If you were installing SQL Server and this problem stopped it, cancel the installation and start over again. If you don't, the installation will be completed with several errors.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Windows 10 and why Microsoft is getting better

A couple of days ago Windows 10 was presented. It is interesting to think that Microsoft is getting better with the time. Actually, my impression was that Windows 10 is one of the checkpoints of the path of innovation that Microsoft has taken over the last few years. Whether we like it or not, this company is taking important steps and sometimes is even leading the innovation in the industry. I don't say Apple is not the king of the sector, but I think that since Satya Nadella is in charge, some things have changed for the better. But let's take a look at the highlights of yesterday's presentation:

Microsoft HoloLens: This was the most impressive part of the presentation. And maybe it's a step forward to the wide use of holograms.

Closing the gap between PC and mobile devices: Microsoft is working very hard on this. Windows 8 was the first approach and I think it was not the best. The return of the Start button is a plus. They shouldn't have gotten rid of it in the first place. Also, the features to switch from Desktop to Mobile almost instantly are what you would have expected from Windows 8 in the first place, but we'll have to see how it works in our hands.

Universal apps: Microsoft dominates the PC market almost completely. The problem is that they can't take all that huge community experience to the mobile world. This might be the beginning of that process, but I must admit I'm a little skeptic. However, the decision of opening .NET and Visual Studio Community Edition are big steps towards the cross-platform development.

Spartan: Internet Explorer is bad. It's so bad that they needed desperately to kill it. At last, they understood it. This is one of the things I'm waiting for. I want to try Spartan!

I didn't mention Cortana, the gaming capacities and much more that was presented by Microsoft, but I think these are the key features that will give Microsoft an edge against the competitors. I never though I would say this, but Microsoft may be taking the leadership in the innovation race if they deliver all they are promising. And if you want to try Windows 10 by yourself, download the Technical Preview. It doesn't have some features yet, like the new browser Spartan, but at least you'll get an idea of what's coming.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Mobile Web will ignite its best in 2015

Over the past few years an enormous shift has been observed in consumer behavior and the way they are using mobile phones. For a while, it was a very common practice to think that mobile web experience is secondary to having an app. As the world of rich mobile applications gained momentum, the majority of online players rushed toward creating enthralling apps, believing that they will help them earn a larger legion of fans. Although, there are apps which performed amazingly well in the market to make customers lives better, but it's the mobile web which is always with people with no extra work ( as you don't need to download anything). It's native to Smartphones, which isn't the case with mobile apps.

Not too surprisingly, the growth of mobile web is prominent and it will become bigger and bigger. According to the People's Web Report, 25% of the customers spend around more than 6 hours each day on the mobile web, while 7% spend for more than 12 hours. These are clear indications of how people around the world seek information by pursuing mobile web only. This increase in time and the fundamental shift in the user behavior are the biggest driving sources behind the needs for online companies to preserve their strong online presence.

Mobile Web usage has become more prominent from the past few years

It is quite interesting to know how content consumption has been changed from the past few years. Smartphones media has gradually increased as compared to the desktop and will become greater in the near future.  Most of the visitors search websites through mobile, so it's important to make the mobile web as a part of business strategy. Not only this, but marketers also need to continuously develop their understanding of the consumer behavior and optimize the website accordingly.

“Mobile First” philosophy can have several dimensions to the retailers, but the general idea is to get the hold on where searches and visitors are, businesses must also be there. This highlights the idea of having a reliable cross-platform strategy from the very beginning.

While there are millions of apps floating in the ocean of Google Play Store, the reports generated by Google's Our Mobile Planet Data, an average Smartphone user only downloads 26 apps, so from where does the traffic coming from?  The data generated by around 5 million business websites highlights that the amount of traffic has been increasing continuously on a per site basis. Further, as per the reports generated by Quantcast Data 24% of the mobile views is coming from in-app browsers running Facebook or Tweeter, while 76% is coming from mobile browsers.

Now what does this mean for app-based startups? Is a single mobile app is all enough to garner the attention of your customers? To answer this question we can better analyze the data provided by SimilarWeb  from June 2014 to November 2014, highlighting the significance of mobile web in the year 2015. The results clearly show that mobile websites will remain important and the release of apps might result in the reduction of traffic, for better or worse. The research also points out some crucial differences between the user engagement between websites browsed through mobile and desktop.

First of all, the traffic data shown by top search engines in the US show that a substantial amount of their traffic comes only through mobile devices. According to Google, almost half of their traffic came from mobile from June to November 2014, 52% comprised of desktop and 48% of mobile. However, by the end of November, mobile traffic leapfrogged desktop, clearly specifying the turning point on the way mobile dominates Google.

However, for Bing, there aren't significant differences in the way mobile visits are done, with 33% of mobile visits against 67% coming from desktop. But for Google, the share of mobile access has remained quite impressive and it is all set to increase in the near future.

Owing to the steady growth of mobile web and the way it influences the user engagement, it can be said that- mobile websites are great in the way they help businesses to connect with their customers in a quick and focused way. For this, it needs to be to-the-point optimized, and lucid.

As a company, you need to go all out to reach where your customers are. Sometimes, it's through a native app, but most often you've got to connect with customers through email, text messages, or through any other social media channel. To do this you need the mobile web. Otherwise, you'll be left with only an app- with no certainties.

About the author: Lucie Kruger is an app developer working with Mobiers  Ltd. You can contact her in order to hire Android app programmers to avail the highly functional mobile app solutions.
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