This article lists 5 handy open source tools that businesses can use for business intelligence and reporting purposes. Generally, companies rely on firms that provide open source development services to develop custom open source solutions to serve such purposes. But with the rapid growth of big data, there is also a rising demand for tools that could come in handy for enterprises – that which complement their existing enterprise solutions.

The tools mentioned in this article are all open source, providing solutions to having business data analyzed and presented in a readable format. The following list comprises of both business intelligence and reporting tools.
 

JasperReport

 
One of the most widely used open source technologies in the business world, JasperReport finds its use mostly in production environments. Community and commercially-supported versions are available.

The key components include JasperReport Library, JasperReport Studio, and JasperReport Server. The JasperReport Library includes all APIs and Java classes that power the tool. The tool licensed under AGPL also makes it easier to integrate with existing IT architecture of organizations. It features praiseworthy documentation support, a wiki, and other useful resources.
 

SpagoBI

 
SpagoBI is a full business intelligence suite providing many features from reporting to data mining and ETL. What makes SpagoBI unique is the fact that it supports integration with other tools including KeyRock identity manager, CKAN, Orion Context Broker etc. It’s written in Java and licensed under the Mozilla Public License version 2.0.
 

BIRT

 
The open source Eclipse project was the source of origin for BIRT which was released in 2004. The open source platform sponsored by IBM, OpenText, and Innovent Solutions was designed to help create data visualizations and reports.

Its key components include BIRT runtime and report designer, chart engine, chart designer, and chart viewer. It’s also written in Java, licensed under the Eclipse Public License. BIRT runs on all popular platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac.
 

Seal Report

 
Seal Report allows one to generate reports and produce dashboards from any open database. Some of its many features also come with support for Dynamic SQL sources, HTML5 charts, native pivot tables etc. It’s written in C#.

The open source framework requires a recent version of Microsoft Windows to run, along with .NET framework. It’s licensed under the Apache License Version 2.0.
 

KNIME

 
KNIME is an open source analytics platform originally developed to serve pharmaceutical research. Now it’s a widely popular tool across many sectors including banking, automobile manufacturing, and telecommunication.

KNIME provides many features including a web portal and collaboration extensions, and also includes machine learning and WEKA support. The platform, licensed under the GPL, is written in Java and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac.
 

Conclusion

 
Open source technologies generally have great importance when it comes to software development in the business realm. But it could be just as useful, if not more, in serving other purposes of enterprises especially in data analytics, business intelligence, and reporting.

All the tools mentioned above come with powerful features fit for enterprise use. However, the smarter approach to selecting a tool would be to compare them with respect to the business needs and goals. Because they are open source tools, it’s also possible to seek help from an open source development company to tweak the tool to adapt and align perfectly with your business.

Written by: verbat

Not every business has a budget big enough to complement their search engine marketing efforts. Many of them instead leverage free tools for the job, though there are only a few tools that are completely worth it. Many of these tools still seem to be underutilized, particularly Google Trends.

Google Trends can make search engine optimization interesting as well as efficient. However, the catch is that you’d need to understand Google Trends from the inside out to leverage it effectively.

Here are 5 effective ways to leverage the tool for better SEO results.
 

Explore topics first before narrowing it down

 
A while back, you could just enter the parameters you have in mind on Google Trends. Now the dashboard is much simpler and can give a greater overview of the topic at hand. The new dashboard prompts you to ‘Explore More’ before narrowing it down.

To do this, you can enter a big time keyword that’s associated with your topic first. From there you can narrow it down using the various filters including ‘Worldwide’, time selection, category, and search type.
 

Always add context

 
The results you get from Google Trends is relative i.e. today’s results can’t be compared to the overall popularity of the trends but with the former heights of the keywords you entered into the tool.

For instance, your keyword’s popularity might have gone down in the past 6 months which would appear in the results. But if you change the filters to past 2 years, the results could be completely different. So essentially, the context matters when using Google Trends. Use filters, and the ‘+Compare’ tool to add new keywords and subsequently add context.
 

Liberally use advanced, specific search options

 
Google Trend users generally don’t use most search options available in the tool. These options can actually provide them with advanced insights. The options include:

  • Web Search
  • Image Search
  • News Search
  • Google Shopping
  • YouTube Search

Each option yields different results based on the various segments of the user’s potential target market.

It only gets better as the tool will then offer even more options to sort popular queries. The results and insights from advanced search options in Google Trends can inspire search engine optimizers to come up with new content that embraces new trends.
 

Use long-tail keywords

 
It’s not easy to rank high in search engine result pages for a particular keyword, even if you seek the help of an expert SEO services company. Getting good results organically takes time. However, if you are using long-tail key phrases, getting to the top of Google SERPs would be comparatively faster.

If you are planning to write content for an upcoming event, you can use Google Trends to learn what’s trending – related questions that people Googled on the subject, the attendees of the event or information regarding the event host etc. Use advanced search options to identify associated queries. Cross-reference the queries you have to piece together a context. The resulting insight would help you understand what piques people’s interests regarding that event.
 

Optimize your videos with data from Google Trends

 
To get a deeper understanding of what people expect to see and learn from your videos, you can enter your search term in the tool and select ‘YouTube Search’ option instead of the default ‘Web Search’. You can then sort the queries as required, use filters, and cross-reference them to identify what people expect to find and how they search.

This knowledge can help you tailor and optimize your videos accordingly engaging users better, and driving more traffic.
 

Conclusion

 
Google Trends has been around for a while, and has had many changes over the years. But it still serves as one of the best free tools out there for a search engine optimizer who is willing to look beyond a basic search. The insights may not always be obvious. But stick with your queries long enough, and you will start to make sense of it all. The insights can then prepare you to do SEO better.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

Java has long been a favorite when it comes to mobile application development. But now it seems that there’s a successor to Java, and a very good one at that.
 

Introducing Kotlin

 
Kotlin, a statically-typed object oriented programming language that runs on Java virtual machine is the brainchild of JetBrains, the people behind popular IDEs namely IntelliJ and ReSharper. It can be compiled to JavaScript source code or be used with LLVM infrastructure.

Despite incompatible syntax with Java, Kotlin still relies on Java code from the existing Java Class Library, and is interoperable with the same. Project Kotlin was first brought out in July 2011 by JetBrains as a new language for JVM with a faster compile time as quickly as Java. Unlike most other languages then, Kotlin came with many useful features.

The project was open sourced the following year, and v1.0 (the first official stable release) was released by 2016. Another feather in the cap for Kotlin was from Google itself. At Google I/O 2017, the tech giant announced first class support for the language on Android, thus making it the third language in the list following C++ and Java. Several major developers – Expedia, Pinterest, and Square etc. have now started using Kotlin for their Android production apps.
 

Features & Benefits

 
Less coding, faster development:The open source development platform makes development much faster for developers, with approximately 20% less coding compared to Java. The compile time is also faster and much more efficient.

  • Short learning curve: The language is quite easy to pick up, even for beginners. Its intuitive syntax borrows traits from many languages including Scala and Apache Groovy. In addition to object-oriented programming, Kotlin also supports procedural programming using functions, which makes it quite interesting as well.
  • Java interoperability: One of the biggest highlights of Kotlin is its exceptional interoperability with Java, supporting the use of Java frameworks and libraries. Kotlin v1.2, released quite recently this year, adds a new feature to the language which allows sharing code between JVM and JavaScript platforms. This also facilitates easier migration from Java to Kotlin for organizations.
  • It’s open source: Kotlin is another open source alternative for the android development sector, licensed under Apache 2. For quick conversion from Java to Kotlin, there is a Java-to-Kotlin converter tool available. Its open source nature means the entire open source community will be contributing to making it better and its usage easier. The language is also free for use.
  • Versatile and secure: The NullPointExceptions in Kotlin considerably reduces errors, while Kotlin’s compiler is designed to auto-cast coding errors. In addition to java code compatibility, it features extension functions which allows adding new functionalities to existing classes and more.

 

Conclusion

 
The coding and performance benefits of Kotlin alone can be expected to bring big changes in the development of mobile technologies. With Google’s backing, Kotlin seems to be on its way to becoming a staple for Android app developers. It’s also speculated that there’d be efforts to promote the language further. Kotlin is also expected to drive IntelliJ IDE sales and boost android development further in the coming years.

Written by: verbat

Without adequate QA & testing, no software product can actually serve its purpose or do what it was designed to do effectively. Experienced developers will always have their QA & testing teams caught up on the latest trends in the dynamically evolving testing sector, particularly at present times when new technologies are coming into the frame.

To keep up with competition in an evolving industry, analyzing and even foreseeing the trends could make all the difference. When it comes to mobile app and software testing, knowledge on the trends beforehand could get you great leverage when the time comes.

That said, here are a few of the most noteworthy emerging trends that will make big waves in 2018’s technology arena.
 

The progress of IoT

 
The Internet of Things is a relatively new technology, but its growth in a short span of time is nothing but astonishing. Its potential is amazing as well. The rapid growth of such a revolutionary technology forecasts big changes in 2018. This means testers have their work cut out for them.

They will have to deal with software and applications that connect devices with each other and with the internet. This brings concern as much as excitement for QA and testing professionals primarily because it’s hard to determine and establish security policies, and define testing tools, for a new technology like IoT. Nevertheless, IoT products will have to be tested for their functionality, effectiveness, and reliability. And there’s still time to prepare.
 

The much anticipated merging of Agile & DevOps

 
The general idea behind DevOps is to facilitate seamless collaboration between various departments in an IT company. Agile teams today have already started including test automation professionals. The present shift in software and mobile app development trends call for more progressive and iterative testing operations, and this is what a DevOps ecosystem essentially demands as well though continuous testing is more commonly used.

Today’s DevOps environment can benefit from test automation on every level. Testers will have more responsibilities – from verification of requirements and configuring integration toolsets to creating DevOps-compatible automation frameworks.

From what the experts are predicting, we can expect the merging of QA testers and developers very soon. This would subsequently result in faster delivery and QA, and in turn a higher ROI.
 

Open source tools will dominate

 
Technically, open source tools already have great authority in the testing industry today. This year, we witnessed a surge in the adoption of open source tools and services by companies for executing test automation and management. This could be a foreshadowing of further expansion of open source next year.

We might likely get introduced to advanced open source testing tools with reliable community support. To conclude, 2018 could very well be the year when open source finally dominates the testing sector across the globe. It’d be wise to prepare for it beforehand.
 

Performance engineering

 
This relates to mobile app development, and is one of the most anticipated trends in the digital realm. The success of a mobile app also depends on the app’s user experience. With the best UX starting to become the norm, it’s no surprise that Software/System Performance Engineering (SPE) has started replacing conventional performance testing.

This new systematic approach will be focusing on the architecture, design and implementation. This subsequently cuts the development costs while ensuring that the product meets performance requirements before its release.
 

Conclusion

 
The software development and testing industries are in for some major changes next year. Software has now more priority across the world, and the number of mobile devices keep increasing tremendously. These shifts in culture brought forth many challenges to both testers and developers to deliver tested applications that provide great user experience and functionality.

The trends mentioned above is a wake-up call for developers and testers to add to their knowledge and enhance their skill sets.

Written by: verbat

Generally, most web owners choose a shared hosting solution to host their websites, and upgrade later when it’s necessary. Regardless of the web hosting provider, every shared hosting server will have multiple tenants. These tenants will be sharing the server resources. But if even one website consumes too much resources at some point, it’ll affect the performance of other tenants in the server.
 

When should I think about an upgrade?

 
When a shared server is no longer capable of providing the desired website performance or resources the website needs, it’s a cue to upgrade the hosting solution. An upgrade could be anything from dedicated hosting to cloud hosting. A growing website with a consistently increasing amount of traffic would need robust hardware to sustain its performance and not slow down when there are visitors.

When the need calls for powerful hardware and great availability of resources for impressive website performance, the most apt solution is a dedicated server hosting.

If you are unsure of whether or not it’s time to move to a dedicated server, the points below may help you make a choice.
 

When should I think about an upgrade to a dedicated server?

 
Performance drops

Comprehending the website traffic is considered to be an initial estimation to decide whether to move to a dedicated server. If the website contains a large amount of dynamic webpages, with growing traffic its performance may go down in a standard shared server. Slow-loading websites deter most visitors which is a big no-no for businesses.

Need for enhanced security and privacy

The fact that you have your website hosted on a shared server along with many other websites obviously raises security concerns. The other website owners could be capable of hacking into your website which is in the same server. Those websites might also have vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cyber-criminals. This subsequently compromises the server itself and its tenants.

If you are concerned about the security of the server, you can switch to a dedicated server where only your websites will be hosted. The server will be constantly monitored for security risks and vulnerabilities by the web hosting provider’s tech team thus ensuring great security and privacy.

Lack of control

In the event that your shared host does not permit you to utilize scripts and software developed specifically for your website, it’s another sign for you to upgrade to a dedicated server. A dedicated web hosting plan gives you absolute control over the server allowing you to use whatever plugins, scripts, and software necessary to augment your website.

Failure to keep up with growing demands

If your business is growing at a fast pace, you may need your website to reflect that growth and improve progressively with the growth. To facilitate this, you may need to update scripts and software in the server. This may not always be possible in a shared server.

In addition, you may not get necessary technical support when you need it. A dedicated server gives you adaptability, and because you are the only tenant, it’d be faster and easier to have your website keep up with your business’ growth.
 

Conclusion

 
There is still an alternative of building an infrastructure, purchasing a server, and hiring a team to manage it. However, this could cost you considerably. When you purchase a dedicated server hosting package, you will have a team monitoring the server and ready to help when necessary.

The scenarios mentioned above should make it easier for you to choose a migration to a dedicated server. Considering its many benefits, it’s a worthy investment to consider.

Written by: Safeer
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