Every Web developer needs to be armed with a set of tools that aid and assist in building better and more complex websites. From the wide range of Web development tools available, we present a set of 10 that in the author’s opinion are a must for any Web development tool kit.
At a time when websites are getting more complex, we need more sophisticated and advanced Web development tools. There are plenty of tools available and new ones are constantly being introduced. It’s up to you to choose the best options to meet your requirements.
This article lists 10 open source Web development tools that I feel every Web developer should be aware of.
GitHub repository: https://github.com/nodejs/node
GitHub repository: https://github.com/twbs/bootstrap
GitHub repository: https://github.com/angular/angular.js
GitHub repository: https://github.com/adobe/brackets
Bower is an open source package manager for Web applications. We need to install a lot of packages while building a website, which Bower helps in automatically fetching and installing. The main objective of Bower is not to minimise code, but to install the right version of the packages and their dependencies required for a project.
GitHub repository: https://github.com/bower/bower
GitHub repository: https://github.com/gulpjs/gulp
MongoDB is a free and open source database written in C++. It is a document-oriented database that stores documents in a collection. It is one of the leading NoSQL databases and uses JSON-like documents. It is an open format, schema less database, ideal for object-oriented programming. MongoDB was designed by a company called 10gen in 2007.
GitHub repository: https://github.com/mongodb/mongo
8. Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets (Sass)
Sass is a CSS pre-processor that helps in writing reusable, extensible and maintainable code. Sass contains features that include variables, mixins, and nesting of selectors, functions and expressions. Using Sass, we can make large and complex style sheets easier to understand and maintain. It is an open source style sheet language designed by Hampton Catlin.
GitHub repository: https://github.com/sass/sass
GitLab is an open source, Web based Git repository manager. It provides features like code reviews, access controls, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. GitLab has continuous integration and deployment built in, to help you test, build and deploy code. GitLab was originally developed by GitLab Inc. It was written by Dmitry Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov.
GitHub repository: https://github.com/facebook/react
Web application testing helps ensure that the apps conform to certain set standards. It is a means to check for any bugs in the application before the latter goes live or the code is released on the Internet. Various aspects of the application and its behaviour under different conditions are checked. Here’s a brief introduction to five popular open source tools you can use for this job.
The term ‘Web application’ or ‘Web app’ is often confused with ‘website’. So let’s get that doubt cleared —a Web application is a computer app that is hosted on a website. A website has some fixed content while a Web application performs various definite actions based on the users’ inputs and actions.
Web application testing
Web application testing involves all those activities that software testers perform to certify a Web app. This testing has its own set of criteria and checkpoints, based on the development model, to decide whether the actions are part of expected behaviour or not.
Types of testing
- Functional testing:Functional testing is a superset validating all those features and functionalities that the application is meant to perform. It includes testing the business logic around the set rules. Listed below are some of the common checkpoints:
- Tests links to a page from external pages.
- Validates the response to a form submission.
- Checks, creates, reads, updates, deletes (CRUD) tasks.
- Verifies that the data retrieved is correct.
- Identifies database connectivity and query errors.
- Browser compatibility testing: Because of the availability of cross-platform browser versions, it has become necessary to validate if the application is supported on other browser versions without compatibility issues. If the application is not behaving properly on certain browsers, it is good to mention the supported versions to avoid customer complaints. Below are some of the common checkpoints:
- Checks browser rendering of your application’s user interface.
- Checks the browser’s security settings for cross-domain access and hacks.
- Verifies consistent functioning of the app across multiple versions of a browser.
- Checks user interface rendering on different-sized mobile device screens, including screen rotation.
- Verifies that the application operates correctly when the device moves in and out of the range of network services.
- Performance testing:Performance testing focuses on checking how an application behaves under extra load, which refers to the number of users accessing the application simultaneously. It is good to see which particular feature is breaking down under the given load. Listed below are some of the common checkpoints:
- Checks the server’s response to the browser form submit requests.
- Identifies changes in performance over a period of time.
- Tests for functions that stop working at higher loads.
- Identifies how an application functions after a system crash or component failure.
- Identifies forms and links that operate differently under higher loads.
- Security testing: Securing user data is a critical task and Web apps should not leak data. Testing ensures that the app works only with a valid login, and that after logout, the data remains secure and pressing the ‘back’ key does not resume the session. Given below are some of the common checkpoints:
- Checks whether the app operates on certain URLs without logging.
- Tests basic authentication using false user names and password credentials.
- Tests if the app functions correctly upon invalid URL attribute values.
- Checks how the app functions with invalid input fields, including text fields.
- Tests CAPTCHA fields for Web forms and logins.
- Usability testing:Any Web app is considered user friendly if accessibility is easy and navigation is smooth. If there are ambiguities in representations, then these should be corrected. Users want clear descriptions and representations. Shown below are some of the common checkpoints:
- Tests that the content is logically arranged and easy for users to understand.
- Checks for spelling errors.
- Checks that pages adhere to colour and pattern style guidelines, including fonts, frames and borders.
- Checks that images load correctly and in their proper size.
With the increasing need to analyse the performance of your Web app, it is a good idea to evaluate some of the popular open source performance testing tools.
Why choose open source performance test tools?
- No licensing costs – a commercial load testing tool can really burn a hole in your pocket when you want to test with a large number of virtual users.
- Generates (almost) an infinite amount of load on the Web app without charging users any additional licensing costs. The only limitation would be the resources available.
- Enables you to create your own plugins to extend the analysis and reporting capabilities.
- Integrates with other open source and commercial tools to drive end-to-end test cycles.
Popular open source Web application test tools
Licensed tools have their own benefits but open source always stands out because of the ease of use. Here are some popular open source Web app test tools that are easily available and simple to use as well.
1. JMeter: Load and performance tester
JMeter is a pure Java desktop application designed to load-test functional behaviour and measure performance. It can be used to test performance both on static and dynamic resources (files, Servlets, Perl scripts, Java objects, databases and queries, FTP servers and more). It can be used to simulate a heavy load on a server, network or object to test its strength or to analyse the overall performance under different load types. JMeter was originally used for testing Web and FTP applications. Nowadays, it is used for functional tests, database server tests, etc.
The pros of JMeter
- A very lightweight tool that can be installed easily.
- As it is an open source tool, you need not be worried about the licence.
- There are multiple plugins that are available in the market and can be installed easily, according to requirements.
- Offers caching and offline analysis/replaying of test results.
The cons of JMeter
- It can be used only on Web applications.
- Consumption of memory is high in GUI mode, and load, stress and endurance testing with high user loads should preferably be run in non-GUI mode.
- Complex scenarios cannot be checked using JMeter thread group.
- Recording is complex, as we need to set up the proxy manually.
- It supports only Java for custom coding.
2. Capybara: Acceptance test framework for Web applications
Capybara is a Web based automation framework used for creating functional tests that simulate how users interact with your application. It is a library built to be used on top of an underlying Web based driver. It offers a user friendly DSL (domain specific language), which is used to describe actions that are executed by the underlying Web driver. When the page is loaded using the DSL (and underlying Web driver), Capybara will try to locate the relevant element in the DOM (Document Object Model) and execute the action, such as click a button, link, etc.
The pros of Capybara
- No set-up necessary for Rails and Rack applications. It works out-of-the-box.
- Intuitive API, which mimics the language an actual user would use.
- Powerful synchronisation features mean you never have to manually wait for asynchronous processes to complete.
- Capybara uses the same DSL to drive a variety of browsers and headless drivers.
The cons of Capybara
- The only con of this tool is that its framework adds a layer on top of the actual implementation which makes it tough to debug what is actually happening.
3. Selenium: Web app testing tool
Selenium is a suite of tools such as Selenium IDE, Selenium Remote Control and Selenium Grid to test the Web application. Selenium IDE is an integrated development environment for Selenium scripts. It is implemented as a Firefox extension, and allows you to record, edit, and debug tests. It supports record and playback.
The pros of Selenium
- It is a low cost tool.
- It can carry out browser compatibility testing.
- It offers a choice of languages.
- It has multiple testing frameworks.
- It is easy to integrate with the testing ecosystem.
- It is open for enhancement.
- It has test-driven development.
- It’s useful for comprehensive testing.
The cons of Selenium
- There are a few problems while testing.
- There are issues with finding locators.
- There are limitations in browser support.
- Manual scripts are not allowed.
- The performance is slow.
4. Sahi: An automation and testing tool
The pros of Sahi
- Sahi can achieve most of the automation with the available functions and variables. It has all the inbuilt APIs required for complex tasks. Sahi also has multi-browser support.
- It does not require additional tools to run and execute the tests. All the tests run from the inbuilt Sahi Controller.
The cons of Sahi
- Compared to Selenium, Sahi is difficult to start as it involves a complex installation process. It also has a very confusing interface.
- It does not provide the same visibility that Selenium does, is less popular and has the smallest and least developed community.
5. WebLOAD: The best load-runner alternative
WebLOAD is an enterprise-scale load testing tool which features a comprehensive IDE, a load generation console, and a sophisticated analytics dashboard. WebLOAD has built-in flexibility, allowing QA and DevOps teams to create complex load testing scenarios thanks to native Java scripting. WebLOAD supports hundreds of technologies – from Web protocols and enterprise applications to network and server technologies.
The pros of WebLOAD
- UI wizards enhance the script.
- It supports many technologies.
- It offers easy-to-reach customer support.
The cons of WebLOAD
- It does not support Citrix.
- It does not support the SAP GUI.
- It does not support RDP and RTE.
Table 1 compares the merits of all the testing solutions.
What if Facebook had never integrated its updates and we still were using its original interface the Social Media Network began with? Sounds pretty dull, right? Would you like to return to the newsfeed of 2009 or prefer the profile layout before the timeline was introduced in 2011?
The decade since the mighty social media network went live, is a saga of enormous makeovers and its transformation from a cluttered catch-all news feed to a sophisticated and personalized timeline as we know today. The Facebook’s evolution story is a clear demonstration of why it is important to change, evolve and stay at the top of the trends, otherwise; you will probably be wiped out as thousands of new websites are pouring into the internet every day.
Why it is important to follow the latest web design trends?
The web development industry is growing at an incredible speed. Every year, the industry goes through numerous changes and new features are being explored helping the webs to stay relevant and inspiring. From functionality to typography to new visual concepts, it’s now mandatory for designers to stay up-to-date as there is no other option than to keep up.
As a web developer or a digital marketer, it’s sometimes hard to navigate and explore the latest trends as the industry is constantly moving forward. Trends that are famous this year will probably be considered archaic in the next year.
We have made our predictions on the web development trends that would rule the last quarter of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
- Artificial intelligenceAI is getting more and more ingrained in our daily lives. The basic purpose of artificial intelligence in the web and mobile apps is to help the users with small and intellectual chores, like finding out the best dog breed for tropical regions or where the nearest Sushi restaurant is located.Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook successfully used AI in web development, and now it is permeating more and more into the digital realm. Facebook uses the AI for face recognition, translation of text between the languages and more.Here are some of the AI objectives that make it a must-have feature for website,
Better Customer Experience
The significant purpose of AI is to predict the mood of customers and understand his priorities. With the help of statistical analysis and experimentation, AI can help a website provide a better user experience. It also helps the marketers to minimize the errors from customer’s perspective and process and execute large amounts of data efficiently.
Better Reply Predictions
No one likes to interact with Bots. We, humans, are emotional beings and wish to be treated that way. With artificial intelligence, it is now possible to understand customer’ emotions and communicate with them more efficiently. The purpose of chatbots is to make the customer’s interaction more natural and remove all the communication barriers.
The popularity of Voice Search
The internet user today is far less patient than it was like 10 years ago. The user today wants to get information faster and easier. The main purpose is to enhance the user experience and provide him with multiple search options. Voice search is becoming increasingly popular among the cool kids of the tech industry and now is an integral part of website development service.
- SSL & HTTPSSSL (Secure Socket Layer) is the backbone of a website’s security, and it protects all the sensitive information traveling across is the internet. According to Digicert, 43% of the users abandon a site when they receive a security alert message. SSL is an essential feature for every website, even if it doesn’t involve the use of sensitive information like bank details or credit cards.The primary purpose of SSL is to provide critical security, privacy and data integrity for your website as well as increase the customer’s trust. Here are some of the further objectives of SSL & HTTPS,
- When an SSL certificate is used, the data transferred is encrypted, and the information is unreadable to everyone except the destination servers. This protects sensitive data from hackers and imposters trying to steal information.
- The SSL certificate provides authentication. This means you can recheck if you are sending the information to the right sever, especially when you require sending the information to various computers.
- Google and all other search engines prefer the sites that are more secure. This means that HTTPS has the upper hand over HTTP because it provides the secure and private user experience.
- Gifs and AnimationThe use of GIFS and animation is currently a popular trend in web design. Every day we see hundreds of GIFs in our messenger and conversations. Smart web designers have utilized this as a feature in web apps for better engagement with users. Gifs make the user happy and giggle and also enrich the design layout. Moreover, visual information is far more appealing than plain text and user finds it more interesting to watch the videos as compared to text. Animations, GIFS, and sophisticated visual elements keep the user’s interest intact and help you to tell a better brand story.
- Mobile Responsive DesignSince 2012 we have seen a major shift of internet users moving from desktop to mobile phones. 60% of the website traffic in the United States comes from mobile phones, and by each passing day, mobile usage continues to grow. It is very crucial for a site to set a design layout that is mobile friendly.In past couple of years, we have seen a lot of websites having two versions of their site. One is the primary site for the desktop, and the other is a mobile version of their site. However, this practice is gradually coming to an end as responsive web development in the first place is a preferred method. Mobile responsive web design is not an option anymore, it’s a must have and if your website is not mobile friendly, start thinking about it today.
- Internet of ThingsInternet of things and artificial intelligence go hand in hand as the fundamental purpose is to make the devices better and enable them to communicate with each other. We have stepped in the next generation digital world where users demand internet to allow them to control every facet of their lives.Now the job of web developer is to produce apps that would allow the users to remotely control all the household devices through internet devices and also help them in better device communication and data analysis.Amazon echo’s voice assistant, Alexa is a perfect example of IoT. The virtual assistant performs various functions like play music, provide a weather report, and get sports scores, order an Uber and more. (Reminds me of Samantha from the movie “Her”)
We can clearly observe that the web development is quickly moving towards the possible user needs where the sites should be interactive, personal and relevant. Staying updated with the recent trends is now an integral and crucial part of website development. The above-mentioned web-development trends are guaranteed to help you create a website that your client, as well as the end user, will adore.
There is a number of ready-to-use solutions that can save developers’ time and help create fine-quality products. Especially when you are on a deadline, and looking to build a software package at a fast pace, it may be a brilliant decision to opt for GitHub open source libraries. In this article, we are reviewing top ten Android open source libraries on GitHub that can ease your work greatly. So, let’s start!
Regular open-source Android libraries
Retrofit is a REST client for Android and Java created by Square, which is also a well-known entity for some other great and popular libraries. The latest available version is 2.3.0 with an Apache 2.0 license and a GitHub rating of 22,552 stars.
Some features which make the Retrofit library helpful and easy to use:
- Work in asynchronous mode, which eliminates unnecessary code
- Provides you with a robust infrastructure for authentication
- Comes with a list of ready-to-use convectors and a possibility to create your own one by implementing an interface based on the abstract class Converter.Factory
- And, furnishes users with error processing and the ability to transfer files
Pros: Lightweight and relatively easy to use, along with clear and exhaustive documentation
Cons: Poor loading images support
Glide is an open source library which allows you to download and display images, videos and animated GIFs from multiple sources. The library takes care of caching, decoding, connection maintenance, threads, exceptions handling, and much more. Further, its current version is 4.0.0 that is based on license Apache 2.0 and come with a rating of 16,605 stars.
We advise changing default preferences from RGB-555 to ARGB-8888 to get the balance between quality and memory usage.
Pros: Easy-to-use, well-planned, well-documented, excellent memory management, thoroughly tested, animated GIF support, various configurations and customisations options
Cons: Volume comes at 430 kb
Butter Knife is an open source view injection library which comes in handy to avoid so-called boilerplate code related to the ‘View’ items section in your activities, snippets and holders. This library makes your code uncluttered and readable in a smooth way. The latest version is 8.7.0 along with a GitHub rating of 17,125 stars and the Apache 2.0 license.
Pros: Extremely useful for big and middle-sized projects, helps to write an elegant and clean code
Cons: No support for Pojo Injection
Praceler is one more open-source library which can assist you with bulky, repetitive code. Its current version is 1.1.8 along with a Github rating of 2,932 and Apache 2.0 license.
Parcelables are a fast way to serialise and deserialise objects, but as a result, we get a ton of boilerplate code. To avoid that, just use Parceler library, and you will get a clean code without the necessity to implement the Parcelable interface.
Pros: Creates parcelable code automatically
Cons: No possibility to implement RealmList by default
One more effective instrument created by Square to detect and handle with memory leaks in your code. It currently comes in version 1.5.1 with a rating of 16,013 stars and Apache 2.0 license.
One single line of the LeakCanary code is enough to detect a memory leakage! It is really astonishing the library is able to lessen memory loss up to 94 percent!
Pros: Detects and prevents memory leakages greatly and easy to use
Cons: False positives sometimes occur
The Robolectric framework allows you to write and run tests for Android applications on a local JVM, with the help of the Android API. Yes, that’s right, you do not have to wait until apk is loaded and installed, and the application on the phone starts. Just press “start” and JVM will run all the tests quickly. The Android environment is emulated, and there is access to all the core functionality. We advise using this open-source library to test business objects, application logic, data storage and processing.
Pros: No need for emulators or devices to run tests and quick performance
Cons: A device or an emulator is needed to perform UI testing
Advanced level Android open-source libraries
Now let’s see which libraries are popular among sophisticated developers. We bet many of them will become your favorite too!
The more extensive your project is, the more dependencies it may have. Dragger 2 is the best when it comes to handling with dependencies in a massive project. Its fundamental merit is that it works on the principle of code generation without reflection. Therefore, any errors related to the construction of the dependency graphs will be found during the project compilation.
By implementing DI (Dependency Injection) in our project, you can beautifully get rid of the strong connectivity between the various modules of your application. Also, you can remove most singletons, which usage was unjustified. The library allows to write and edit code faster and more efficiently. Also, it simplifies the Unit and UI tests, which guarantees a higher stability of your application.
The current Dragger 2 version is 2.11 along with the GitHub rating of 7,825 stars and Apache 2.0 license.
Pros: Generate qualitative code faster, handle multiple dependencies easily and comes in lightweight
RxJava library will be of great help in compilation and processing event sequences in reactive programming. The library may be a bit complicated for those who are used to the imperative programming, but you will appreciate Rx programming and the library after you clear it up.
The latest RxJava version is 2.1.1 with a GitHub rating of 25,885 stars and Apache 2.0 license.
Pros: Helps to deal with asynchronous operations, different types of threads and cuts down the number of state variables which makes your code much more comprehensible
Cons: Hard for beginners
EventBus can assist to simplify communication between different parts of your Android app. For instance, you can send something from an activity to the running service. Comparing to other tools for this task, the library can send any data in any volume without its serialisation. And EventBus also deals with async threads.
The current version of EventBus is 3.0.0, while its GitHub rating is 15,311. The project is licensed under Apache 2.0.
Pros: Lightweight, efficient and deals greatly with its main task
Cons: Can make your code incomprehensible
Retrolambda is an open-source repository that allows shortening the amount of code associated with the creation of anonymous internal classes, using the laconic lambda syntax. The library applies to Java 6, 5 and 7 and is currently available in version 3.7.0. It comes with a rating of 4,893 stars on GitHub and is licensed under Apache 2.0.
Pros: Provides with the backporting support and includes Gradle plugin
Cons: Does not allow to backport the new Java 8 APIs
How to choose the right GitHub open source library for your needs?
If you are new to open-source repositories, you still will not be lost because the Internet is full of articles, blogs and communities to follow and get some accurate directions. You can access repository platforms such as GitHub, Programmer Fellow, and StackOverflow to begin with your development.
Handpicked Node.js frameworks just for you
The opportunity is increasing by leaps and bounds with many valuable contributions, from the community of developers to technology specialists. We have seen many performance driven frameworks utilising primary principles as well as approaches of Node.js. Here, we are discussing some of the rated Node.js frameworks that have extended its core functionality and have built latest features.
Hapi.js is one of the most powerful Node.js web frameworks for creating or building the application program interfaces, shortly known as APIs. It is also good for building other software applications. The framework has a strong plugin system and different features, some of them are, input validation, configuration based functionality, logging and error handling among various others.
Hapi.js is widely used by thousands of developers for designing useful applications. Also, it is preferable to use for giving technology solutions by many large-scale websites such as PayPal and Walmart.
Features of Hapi.js:
- Especially good for passing around a DB connection
- Known as go-to-technology for both startups and enterprises
- Works as a stable, secure solution as well as helps deploying application
- Good structure to work in a team
This framework not only allows real-time concurrency for the sake of document collaboration but also exchange the key features, like asynchronous input or output processing and binary streaming.
Features of Socket.io:
- Enables interaction between a browser and a node.js server
- Good for the purpose of http
- Wonderful real-time web application
- Works well as a client-side library that runs in the browser as well as a server-side library for the purpose of Node.js
Express.js is among the most popular and important web frameworks for Node.js developments. Many developers say it is a useful minimalist framework for creating or building a web host as well as mobile applications and helpful for building application programming interfaces, shortly known as APIs. Many applications are there have used express.js, some of them are MySpace, Segment.io and Geekli.st.
This Node.js framework offers a wide range of features such as temple engines and database integration.
Features of Express.js:
- Powerful and useful minimalist framework to create a web host and mobile application
- Good for temple engines and database integration
- Affective standard server framework for Node.js
The best part of using Mojito is that it runs on both client- and server-side, browser and Node.js. Many developers use this framework because client as well as server components both are written in JS and Mojito is good for them. It is a powerful model-view controller framework, offering a range of features.
Features of Mojito:
- Good for convenient data fetching
- Perfect for the purpose of local development environment as well as tools
- Designed for integrated unit testing
- Suitable for simplifying library internationalisation and localisation
Meteor is a very useful open source MVC (model view controller) Node.js framework used for building websites, web and mobile applications. The majority of developers these days use this Node.js framework for various purposes including web application development.
Features of Meteor:
- Good for rapid prototyping and produces cross-platform code
- Can be used with any JS UI
- Supports OS X, Linux and Windows
- Quickly integrated with MongoDB
Web and application development landscape is changing rapidly. Developers in different parts of the world are shifting to Node.js frameworks for easy, clean and quick project delivery.
One of the biggest advantages of using Node.js frameworks is the high-level output and structure. You can easily focus on scaling your application instead of spending efforts in creating and defining the basics.
There are many facets of mobile app development, and one of the most important ones that largely contributes to the success of a mobile app is User Interface (UI). UI means the look of your app and how it interacts with users.
If your app has a complex UI that doesn’t let users interact and navigate easily, chances become every high for the users to abandon your app before it even makes a mark in the market. However, you can stop users from jumping onto the apps of your competitors because of UI issues in your app by using a good, reliable UI design kit. A good UI design kit renders a mobile app to have a slick UI that looks attractive and gives rise to good user experience (UX).
That said, I am presenting a list of top 10 UI design kits for iOS and Android Mobile developers.
In case, you need an app for your business, but don’t have expertise to develop it or can’t afford to have a team of expert developers, you can find a saviour in outsourcing. For instance, many software/app development firms have become very popular in the past recent years, providing top-notch solutions for complex app/website development requirements.
Top 10 UI Design Kits for iOS and Android Mobile Developers
Phoenix UI: Vol 1 (for iOS only)
Phoenix UI is an awesome UI kit for iOS mobile app developers. The kit offers twelve individual screens that allow you to harness the full potential of Photoshop and Sketch. Those who love Instagram could use the first screen for community sharing, including photos, tags, comments, etc. Other screens include a user profile screen, allowing users to check messages in inbox and customise their profile preferences. There is also a screen for fitness applications and a calendar lets team members to tag themselves in the events. You get two screen options with Phoenix UI: Minimal light and Minimal Dark.
Android Material Design (for Android only)
Most Android designers use Android Material Design to build interfaces for tablets and smartphones. PSDs makes Android Material Design a popular choice in addition to individual screen for each element. The kit enables designers to use Android system for creating user-friendly apps with material design.
Fair Mobile UI Kit (for Android only)
Fair Mobile UI Kit makes it easy for designers to create mobile app prototypes with more than 140 individual app screens. You can edit all of them as per your requirements before publishing on your apps. Designers can use the kit, which features 22 signup and login screens, 13 walkthrough screens, and 25 blogging and content reader screens, to create user-friendly and interactive apps.
Music App UI (for iOS only)
Music App UI is a kit for iOS developers who want to create UI of an iOS music app. This kit gives access to beautiful mobile templates and allows to create interfaces that enhance user engagement. It presents no hassles to integrate with the newest iOS design modules. Precise designing is what that makes Music App UI get a place in the list of top 10 UI Design Kits for mobile apps.
AwesomeKit – Mobile Prototyping Kit (for iOS only)
AwesomeKit brings iPhone and iPad designers hundred unique UI and UX elements to prototype their apps. No matter what type your app is, AwesomeKit prototypes all and lets you convert them into a fully functional app. AwesomeKit offers free designs to create a decent prototype, which saves the company both time and money.
Azure UI Kit (for Websites and Mobile Apps)
Azure UI Kit is a perfect fit for those looking for store and content features. Azure UI Kit fulfills not only content-release needs of your app, but provides an e-commerce platform as well. With this kit, designers can easily integrate different styles for e-commerce, blog/magazine, widgets, forms, navigation, headers, footers, etc.
Flat Mobile App UI (for Android and iOS)
Flat Mobile App UI is meant for those mobile apps that deal with food. However, designers can also edit the PSDs to make it a fit for social network. A plethora of screens are available to choose from to find a perfect niche for your food related project. The kit offers customized solutions with clean design and easy coding.
Elegance UI kit (for iOS only)
iOS designers can use Elegance in both Photoshop and Sketch formats. Elegance UI Kit sports 12 individual PSD screens that are suitable for projects related to fashion and apparel. The kit features 750 x 1334 crystal clear screens and gives an option to fully customize the color structure. Elegance is popular for providing awe-inspiring designs for shopping apps.
Ventas Mobile App UI Kit
Ventas Mobile App UI kit is used by designers to create app UI for bloggers and readers who love to share their experiences, especially travel-related ones. The kit comes with 6 fully customizable screens to help create a prototype for your own mobile blog. Using Ventas, you can ensure that content of your app is easy to read, providing nice user experience (UX).
Routes UI kit (for iOS only)
Routes has seven categories, including traveling, online shopping, user profiles, social media, signup and login forms, menu items, and walkthrough forms. The design kit is available in vector design and scales as per requirement. The seven categories of the kit distribute more than 100 high-quality screens among themselves. So, iOS designers can choose a unique style for their app to give it a look and feel that attract users, without having ostentatious colors.
UI design is an inextricable part of app development, which requires not only understanding of designs, but understanding of customer behavior as well. The above mentioned UI kits are being built after taking into account the preferences of mobile users. You can choose one of them after having figured out the requirements of your app and target audience to make it a hit.
Firebase is a Google mobile platform that helps you quickly develop high quality apps and thereby scale your business. This article covers the range of services it offers to the user.
Firebase started off as a real-time database in 2011 and saw some traction in key applications. The real upswing for the platform came about when Google acquired it in 2014, and since then a significant number of features have been developed for this database. It has now become a complete platform that provides services for development, testing, distribution, analytics and more.
Firebase categorises its services into two areas that help you do the following:
- Develop and test your application
- Grow and engage your audience
Multiple services are then provided under each of these areas. You may or may not use all of them but Google has done a good job of explaining the scenarios for which you will need these services. In fact, years of mobile application development experience, coupled with Google engaging with the growing number of mobile users, has resulted in commonly used application development and growth strategies along with the tools that are needed to make a mobile application successful.
Let us look at the two categories of services and see what Firebase has to offer.
Develop and test your application
The key thing, initially, is to develop your mobile application. For this, Firebase provides multiple services and its key module here is the Firebase Realtime Database. This database is fully managed by Google and is akin to a Database-as-a-Service model. It provides SDKs on popular mobile platforms like Android and iOS, and it’s a breeze to integrate the functionality into your application. The Firebase database allows multiple users to update it and also provides synchronisation across multiple users.
Now, let us understand what more we need from a mobile development perspective. Here are some of the requirements, other than the core business functionality that you are going to build into your application:
- Collaboration across devices
- Centralised crash reporting in case of mobile application errors
- Authentication via multiple Auth providers
- Use of optional cloud storage and long running back-end processes for some of your mobile app’s functionality
- Test your app on multiple phone models before release
- Performance monitoring of your app while it is in the field
Each of the above requirements has a matching service that is provided as part of the Firebase platform, and these are covered below.
Firebase Realtime Database:As mentioned earlier, this is a fully managed real-time database that helps in collaboration by sharing the updates across all the devices that use the database. You can integrate the mobile SDKs into your applications and can get notified of database updates via subscriptions, e.g., write a few lines of Android code and you have a real-time collaboration facility in your application.
Crash reporting:Your mobile applications can report errors via Firebase crash reporting APIs that are available on both iOS and Android. The errors can be viewed in a centralised error console and it even categorises the error reports on the basis of the devices, application versions, OS versions and more.
Firebase Performance Monitoring:Mobile users are very particular about an application’s performance and expect it to perform optimally. Firebase Performance Monitoring is a service that helps you track your app’s performance in multiple areas of network, latency, memory consumption, app start-up time and more. The key is to proactively monitor these attributes and react well before your users report the issue to you. The performance monitoring SDKs are available for both Android and iOS.
Firebase Test Lab:Procuring multiple phones to test your application is a challenge. It is almost impossible to keep up to speed with multiple OS versions, devices and other characteristics. Firebase Test Lab is a service that allows you to test out your application on multiple devices and ensure that it works well before its release to a wider audience. It integrates with Android Studio, Web Browser and Continuous Integration tools. The Firebase Test Lab is currently available for Android only.
Firebase cloud functions and storage:Modern applications deal with multiple kinds of data. It is not always structured information and often you might have media formats like files, videos, images, audio and more. This is where Firebase cloud storage comes in, which provides economies of scale and cost, apart from ease of use. There are scenarios in which you might want to test some long running processes or back-end functionality as part of your mobile app but you do not want this to affect the user. Firebase cloud functions allow the user to initiate operations on the app while you can run the functionality in the back-end.
Let’s consider a use case for cloud functions. Say you are developing an imaging mobile app that allows people to upload their pictures. As part of the final image, you might need to generate thumbnails of the images. Instead of doing all this as part of the mobile app and making the user wait, you can simply upload the image into cloud storage. Once the file is uploaded, it can kick off a cloud function that will process the image data and generate multiple thumbnails. All this is done in the background and the user need not wait for it.
Firebase authentication:Mobile apps today need to offer multiple authentication providers so people can use one or more of their online identities for authentication purposes. They might want to use Google, Facebook and other accounts to sign in to your application. Without an easy-to-use SDK that provides simple connectivity to all these authentication providers, it is a challenge to build this into the app. Firebase authentication is the end-to-end identity solution that supports email/password accounts, phone Auth, Google, Twitter, Facebook, GitHub login and more.
Grow and engage your audience
The previous section touched upon the multiple services in Firebase that help you develop and test your application. These services are available both during the development phase and even later, when people are using your mobile application.
To grow and enable your mobile audience, you need multiple features like notifying your users of important events or any subscriptions that they might have in the application. In addition, analytics and advertising is a way that you can potentially understand your audience’s demographics and behaviour in order to release targeted advertisements, which could be a monetisation strategy for you. Some other features include how users can search for your mobile applications, how you can push remote configurations back to the mobile devices and more. The Firebase umbrella provides multiple such services, including bringing within its ambit services like AdMob, Adwords and Google Analytics that have been around for several years.
Firebase has come a long way and has taken centrestage at the last two Google I/Os, the flagship developer conference of the company, with multiple announcements being made. It provides a complete suite of services for your mobile application needs, with SDKs available on popular mobile platforms to help you build, test, measure, distribute and analyse your mobile applications. If it has been a while since you looked at Firebase, it would be worth checking it out now.