Teamwork

by Luca Baldini on 11/20/2014

I have always thought of programmers as people who solve complex problems, translating them into sequences of operations that a computer can execute. However, and especially recently, we need to handle a lot more than that.

I started programming in the mid ’80s, and things were relatively simple at that time. The ecosystem we were working in was limited, and it changed very slowly. There were no browsers then (Netscape came out in ’94, while Internet Explorer didn’t show up until ’95), and the operating systems hardly ever changed.

Today however, everything changes, and quite often at that. Browsers update every 2-3 months, operating systems for mobile devices change multiple times a year, and given that they are developed by human beings who make decisions as well as errors, if I want my applications to keep working, I have to stay up to date, pore over all the new changes, understand what is different, and anticipate and correct errors (that others have made).

I’ll tell you about a few things that happened to me recently. As you know, Chrome updates every 5 to 6 weeks on average. And every “major” version contains fixes, changes, and sometimes, malfunctions. The latest version (39) had two “problems”: support for SQL databases (such as SQLite, I mean) had been removed from the web workers, and a regression was introduced, the effect of which was to display incorrectly the value of input fields in certain special cases. In version 13.5 we tackled both “problems”. In the first case, we decided to launch Safari to allow programmers to test applications offline on their computers. For the second case, I reported the problem to the developers. Fortunately, I had noticed the problem on Chrome BETA (which I use all the time precisely in order to find problems in advance that your users would see when their browsers update), and my report was analyzed and corrected, and the problem is not found in the current version of Chrome.

Last month, iOS8 came out too, and the Apple developers have made many changes. But they also introduced a bug, which, despite the fact that I reported it immediately, has not yet been corrected: if you load an XML text larger than 6-7 MB with the NSXMLParser native class, the application crashes! That’s why I’ve had to release a new version of Caravel that uses a third-party library as its XML parser.

I’ve described just a few cases, but there have been many others. Simply consider Lollipop and Windows 10 for some certainty that there will be others in the next few months.

In this sort of environment, the effort required to stay up to date grows larger every day. For people who produce software, today more than ever it’s important to find a way to eliminate this issue, and be able to focus on solving “real” problems – on the implementation of your applications – and not on volatile technological elements.

Instant Developer was created in part for this reason, and from this point of view, one of our goals is to give you a tool that is always in step with new technologies, taking on the task of handling changes and bugs in the new browsers, new operating systems, and new databases. And we’re always watching carefully for big changes that are yet to come.

Basically, we’re something of a team, you and us.

Image: applenapps.com

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As Stefano has already mentioned in his post presenting the new Instant Developer website, Customer stories is definitely one of the most interesting areas. In fact, beyond presenting the features of the product, this particular part of the site may be useful to you if you:

  • are choosing Instant Developer as your development platform, because here you can read stories about what has been accomplished using it, and especially about the advantages it offers. The examples given are all in production. Otherwise this would all be just talk.
  • don’t want to reinvent the wheel, because the customer area is also useful for finding out whether other software houses have already developed solutions in any given area, and for seeking opportunities to join forces, both commercially or technically, to best meet the needs of your customers.
  • want to expand your market by showcasing the solutions you’ve developed, because your expertise and professionalism have a greater impact when presented somewhere other than your own website.

I think that the Customer stories area is another significant element in developing the community of Instant Developer users, because it allows us to get to know each other based on the skills each of us has to offer. There are a lot of us who find this idea interesting, and I found it fascinating to collect more than twenty software development stories, for both web and mobile. For me, it was a wonderful surprise to see the outstanding solutions that have been created, and all the needs that our customers have been able to meet thanks in part to Instant Developer. That’s why I think it’s so important for all of you to get the chance to tell each other your stories, and soon, to become Instant Developer Solution Providers. Personally, I’d like to present at least two new stories each month. Who’s next in line?

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Today I have the pleasure of using this space – which we dedicate to talking with you about Instant Developer and technology – for something we consider to be a very important event: the arrival of our new website.

I want to tell you how we got here and why we made certain choices, in a process inspired by the idea of delivering benefits not just for ourselves, but also for everyone who has already chosen or will choose Instant Developer.

Pro Gamma is an Italian company that feels that expanding beyond its own borders is one of its primary objectives. This is one of the reasons we decided to build ourselves a new home, and we decided to do it with an international scope. So, we turned to web design and technology marketing professionals based in London, a strategically important city in global IT, in direct contact with the latest updates on the evolution and trends in our industry.

But this first step is just the foundation to get us started off on the right foot.

The second crucial step was deciding to make a space for our customers where they can tell their stories. Because we can only truly convey the real value of Instant Developer to people who haven’t chosen us yet, or even to people who still wonder if they’ve made the right choice, by presenting the successes of our customers.

I invite you to read all these stories, because many of them describe the three main advantages you get from using Instant Developer instead of traditional development tools, and they’re backed up with facts:

  • The reduction in TCO – total cost of ownership – for software projects.
  • The increase in how swiftly solutions get to market, a crucial requirement for staying one step ahead of the competition.
  • The creation of projects that would not otherwise be possible to execute due to a lack of money, time, adequate resources, know-how, or the right tools, resulting in losing the job or the client.

The customers sharing their stories with you are all Italian, but from this point of view Instant Developer is already international. Just look at how steadily our forum in English is growing and how lively it has become. Supporting and facilitating the development of this Community is one of the reasons why we’ve dreamed up a completely new offering for you. We’re convinced that the larger this Community is, including internationally, the greater the advantages will be for people working with Instant Developer.

 

The third step, and an essential reason for creating the new website, was working on the message, once again with a very precise goal in our sights: to convey the value of Instant Developer by describing why you should choose it over other tools on the same market:

  • Because we offer our clients a full range of training and support options.
  • Because extremely quickly you can truly handle any level of complexity, without needing to turn to other, outside tools.
  • Because yes, the fact that we’ve been on the market for 15 years and that we’ve always kept our promise to keep our clients in step with technology demonstrates that we’ll continue to do just that.

But we don’t stop there. I welcome you to look around our pages, even from your tablet or smartphone, because there’s plenty that’s new to see.

The doors of our new home are wide open – please come in!

If you had the chance to choose just one marketing tool, which would you go for?

  •    Website supported by AdWords campaign
  •    Social media management
  •    Telemarketing
  •    Advertising in traditional/online newspapers and magazines
  •    Blogging

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The new version of Instant Developer has just been released, and it’s ready for you to use in all your projects.

As usual, the fall version wraps up the release cycle for the current year, delivering more new features and improvements. Here are the top items:

  1. Compatibility with iOS8 and the latest versions of browsers. It might seem obvious, but it’s always a lot of work to stay compatible, and we’re pleased to have it all up to date.
  2. Mobile applications offline on Windows Phone 8.1 as well.
  3. Completion of OpenData support. Now the format used by SAP is also included, so it will be easier to connect your apps to this system, when the services you want to use are available via OpenData.
  4. Completion of the IDVoice module for Apple, Android, and Windows Phone offline mobile devices as well.
  5. Various improvements to the data synchronization system, including a performance measurement system.

The new version contains more than 60 fixes, working from reports received by the support service and our internal quality team.

We’re very pleased about this milestone, but we’re still hungry for innovation.

We’re already at work to prepare next year’s version, and once again we’re starting with the items that are most important to you, that you’ve reported in the roadmap. This time we’ll be focusing on the customization of graphic aspects and methods for writing relational code.

In my next article, in about a month, I’ll tell you more. In the meantime, I hope you’ll have the chance to capitalize on what Instant Developer 13.5 can do for you.

The release notes are available here.

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Caravel, the universal browser

16.10.2014

One of the new features in Instant Developer 13.5 is support for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, and today I am happy to report that the new version of Caravel is already available on the Windows Phone Store and will soon be available on the Windows Store as well. If you’ve just started following [...]

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SAP integration is on the way

09.10.2014

In today’s post I can finally reveal the mysterious feature that Andrea mentioned to you a while ago. It has to be said though, that saying “We also want to connect another popular ERP. Want to know which one? The name has three letters and starts with S.” didn’t leave much to the imagination. It’s [...]

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The time factor

03.10.2014

Autumn began about ten days ago, and once again it’s time for us to turn our attention to the Instant Developer technical support service. I’ll get the formalities out of the way by mentioning that last quarter the average score rose again from 4.28 to 4.38, and that 58% of sessions received a score. These [...]

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Tips & Tricks: document lock in a few steps

26.09.2014

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting this kind of success, but it appears that the Tips & Tricks post was hugely popular with many readers. That’s why once again today I’m writing to answer a question I get asked a lot, and one that many of you voted for: is there a practical [...]

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Infinite report and beyond

19.09.2014

One of the functionalities of Instant Developer 13.1 we haven’t talked about yet is that now you can create reports of infinite length. I’d like to dedicate this post to describing it to you. It’s not the first time I’ve talked to you about the InDe reporting system. As many of you know, this module [...]

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Still in the clouds

12.09.2014

About a year ago I wrote my first post on this blog to announce the release of IDCloud, the Instant Developer component designed to integrate cloud-based services like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Dropbox into your applications, as well as web functionalities like PayPal payments and logins using Facebook/Google. There are many projects in which IDCloud [...]

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