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Web development software is used to create websites for both the Internet and intranets. Software can be either locally installed or operated through a cloud interface, and ranges in complexity from simple text editors to full-fledged integrated development environments (IDEs) that include graphics, video, audio, scripting and database support.

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A discussion about learning web development and where you can get any necessary help.
Do you face issues with your Magento e-commerce website? If yes, you need to assess its health and resolve the issues. Go through this article, you might be able to assess the problems and know what to do.
Geo-targeting is the practice of distributing content based on a person’s location, as best as you can determine it. Let’s look at some ways you could successfully use this tactic. The following tips and case studies could lead to meaningful results.

Dramatic changes are revolutionizing how we build and use technology. Every company is automating, digitizing, and modernizing operations. We need a better, more connected way to work together as teams so we can harness the insights from our systems and drive effective collaboration.

Just a few years ago, we were all looking around and asking each other the same question. Fortunately, some people are figuring it out and providing some guidance on how DevOps processes can improve all areas of business, from development and operations to monitoring and incident management.

Here are a few examples from our customers.

Pacific Life has transitioned its monitoring from a human-operated system to an automated one. Leaders had to overcome employee anxiety over losing jobs and providing direct access to customers.

Intermountain Healthcare, Utah’s largest nonprofit healthcare provider, has connected systems to provide telehealth first-response technology and major incident management processes.

Dealertrack is the leading provider of on-demand, integrated digital solutions designed to enhance the efficiency and profitability for all major segments of the automotive retail industry. Thanks to a combination of monitoring, management, and communication tools, Dealertrack has improved their time to resolve issues and product development speed.

So we know that dramatic changes are needed in how we build and use technology. And yet, a 2017 survey of DevOps maturity shows that only 36% of organizations have good knowledge sharing between development and operations.

The DevOps experts who know

Where can you go to hear how experts are solving these complex problems?

We're bring the Agility 2017 Tour to a city near you, where you can hear from experts and pick their brains regarding how they’re improving business and trends you should be preparing for. It's a great opportunity to hear from more than just talking heads.

Agility 2017 starts in San Francisco on June 13, then moves to New York on June 20, Chicago on June 22, and London on June 29. Besides the customers listed above, we'll be including New York City Health + Hospitals, Forrester, The Telegraph, O2, Tesco, Moogsoft, Cherwell, Praecipio, and others.

You'll also hear from our own experts, including CEO Troy McAlpin and CTO Abbas Haider Ali. They will be discussing:

  • The need for a better, more connected way to work together as teams
  • How to harness the insights from systems to drive collaboration
  • And in doing so, naturally preventing incidents within the normal flow of work

Reserve your seat at a free Agility 2017 event near you before they all disappear!


Originally, this post was published on Monitis Blog, you can check it here.

Websites are getting bigger and more complicated by the day. Video, images and custom fonts are all great for showcasing your product or service. But the price to pay in terms of reduced page load times and ultimately, decreased sales, could lead to some difficult decisions about what to cut.


Web loads speeds are integral factors in determining your SEO and how long customers will stay at your site. But web design, as important as it is for driving traffic, can also get in the way of your ultimate goal of bringing customers and revenue. In other words, you must avoid page bloat at all costs!


This is why businesses today, more than ever, must develop a clearly defined web performance optimization strategy. In fact, web monitoring should be an integral part of your web design best practices. To be clear, web performance optimization (or WPO) is the science of making your website perform better so it increases visitor retention, improves SEO, and drives more sales.

To give a great case study of how WPO works, consider what 37signals (now Basecamp) did with their Highrise marketing website. Using A/B testing, the company did multiple tests to determine the best plan for their landing page. In one case, the original background was white and cluttered with information. A dramatic change was made by replacing this white background with a picture of a person smiling.


The new landing page led to an increase in signups at the Highrise site by 102.5%!


This list provides another 99 great case studies of how WPO made a huge difference in website conversions.


In what follows, we take things further by providing you a brief checklist of the key steps to ensuring your website performance optimization strategy is on track.

Keep Things Fast! 

Website conversions are integrally tied to the speed of the site. One second saved in download time can make all the difference between a sale or a bounce.


Check Your Web Hosting 

Your web hosting may offer “unlimited bandwidth” but if it involves shared services with other websites that impacts overall performance, then is it really worth it? It’s always a good idea to periodically review your hosting plan to ensure you’re getting the best value for your dollar.


Make Your Site Mobile First

Having a “mobile first” website is critical to success in today’s digital marketplace. If you don’t believe it, just consider that mobile commerce transactions in the United States alone are expected to total $123 billion in 2016


Image Optimization 

“Page bloat” – or the practice of cramming websites with high density images – has gotten out of hand and is the number one culprit for long page loading times. Don’t bloat your website! One of the best ways to ensure proper image optimization is to adopt correct sizing and formatting for all your images.


Go Easy with Affiliate Codes & Ads  

Ads and affiliate code are good . . . up to a point! But when you go overboard, this can lead to high bounce rates and can adversely impact your overall website performance. Constantly check how third-party applications impact your load speed! 


Cache Often 

Caching is a mechanism for the temporary storage of web pages in order to reduce bandwidth and improve performance. This saves server time and makes your website faster overall.


Use a CDN 

Content Delivery Networks deliver the static files of a website, like CSS, images, and JavaScript, through servers that are in closer proximity to the user’s physical location. Every second that you save in download time is dollars in your pocket.


Make Your CTA Front & Center 

Don’t make your landing page a game of “guess where to check-out the merchandise.” Visitors don’t want to spend extra time trying to figure out where to complete their transactions. Your Call to Action should be front and center on the landing page.

Adopt Cloud-based Website Monitoring 

Imagine having all of the vital statistics for your website in a nice convenient dashboard, and getting alerts about trouble spots long before they reach impact your customers. Cloud hosted web monitoring is the crucial component in today’s digital marketplace. IT system monitoring is first of all a real time data that can help you respond to problems. You cannot do without monitoring tools, if you hope to optimize and maximize your application’s performance.

Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only! 


Originally, this post was published on Monitis Blog, you can check it here.

It goes without saying that technology has transformed society and the very nature of how we live, work, and communicate in ways that would’ve been incomprehensible 5 years ago. In that time frame, we’ve experienced momentous changes in the areas of mobile, cloud, and collaboration.

Just look at the way that mobile commerce has taken off; 2014 was the year it came of age thanks to breakthroughs like Apple Pay. Not to mention . . . the whole realm of cloud technologies has probably been the single biggest influence on IT. But watch out, next up is the Internet of Things, which has been causing major amounts of buzz for recent years.


While all of this rapid change is great for businesses and customers, new digital technologies are also creating unforeseen challenges for IT the world over. With the demand for instant software updates and real-time communications, IT shops have had to change their operations paradigm. It used to be that software release cycles would take upwards of 18-24 months or more. But with the innovations spurred on by the consumerization of IT and heightened customer demands, companies today are hard-pressed to get applications out the door as fast as possible.


IT has lead the charge in adopting quicker and more agile frameworks for managing software upgrades. Now the cycle for creating novel software apps from “soup to nuts” is about 3 months for an initial version and upwards of 6 months for the full feature set. And not only has the lifecycle shortened but apps have become much more complex and require cross-collaboration and integration between various IT constituents, such as Operations, Development, and Q&A in ways previously unimaginable. The result has been a new discipline known as DevOps.


So the obvious question to ask is this: “How is your organization leveraging DevOps today?” When it comes to your IT infrastructure, what are you doing to ensure faster production cycle times, more efficient workflows, and better cost savings and revenue generation? With these questions in mind, let’s look at the 5 most important things to know about DevOps right now.




DevOps is a Paradigm-Shifting Approach to Software Builds

DevOps encompasses a whole mindshift in the approach to rolling out software releases and is as much a cultural shift as it’s a technological one (more on this below). DevOps is about excellent customer service, cost savings, and increased efficiency. But it’s also just as much about different business units being agile, adaptable, and flexible enough to work together to produce excellent products and services. DevOps is best summed up as a new way for people, process, and technology to work together in organic harmony.


DevOps is a Cultural Shift

DevOps is also about effective collaboration and communication across the organization. All of this gets at the importance of culture and cultural practices. Old habits die hard and if your organization is steeped in long-standing, traditional enterprise approaches to software development, then moving the needle on efficiency will obviously take longer.


Citing Lloyd Taylor, “You can’t directly change culture. But you can change behavior, and behavior becomes culture.” Start by creating an environment in which innovation and brainstorming are welcomed practices. Reward people for their ideas. Host a monthly innovation contest by providing a free lunch or $50 gift certificate to whoever finds the best solution to a manual, time-consuming process. If you look around, there are all kinds of opportunities to implement DevOps best practices into your work flow.



DevOps is all about Automation

The benefit of automating the testing and deployment process hardly needs explanation. With just a few clicks a continuous integration tool will run a series of unit tests, deploy the code to a new server, and then carry out a series of integration tests. The obvious takeaway is that continuous integration automation reduces cost and increases efficiency so that developers can spend their time writing code instead of tracking and fixing bugs.


Developing the ability to automate an organization’s infrastructure may seem like the most daunting of tasks, and it’s at this point that companies usually become their own worst enemy. Fortunately, there are a significant number of automation tools on the market now that can help make your build, test, monitoring, and deployment process efficient and effective.


A tool like Monitis can give your organization a jump start on your DevOps strategy by providing continual performance, testing, and monitoring updates for your infrastructure. As a cloud based-APM (application performance monitoring) company, Monitis provides customers with a clear and intuitive dashboard that lets them see whatever they want in their IT world in a glance. Whether it be Web apps, servers, networks, websites and more, it is all covered in the various monitoring tools that Monitis provides.


DevOps is the First Step to Web-Scale IT

Web-scale IT is defined as “a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting. More organizations will begin thinking, acting and building applications and infrastructure like Web giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.” Gartner also goes on to mention that DevOps is integral to this process and represents the first step for many organizations to scale up their operations “to drive rapid, continuous incremental development of applications and services.”



DevOps takes Time

There is no quick fix solution to creating a DevOps environment; it takes time to get key stakeholders onboard and to change policies, attitudes, and practices. Be persistent though and the dividends will pay off!


DevOps is an epic transformation in the world of IT that’s creating a host of new opportunities for businesses to become more agile and efficient in the delivery of their products and services. If followed through, DevOps adoption can dramatically save your organization significant amounts of time and money while boosting efficiency at all levels. The DevOps train is leaving the station, but it’s not too late to get onboard. Get started today to see the differences DevOps can make in the level and quality of your business practices.

Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only!


This article was originally published on Monitis Blog, you can check ithere.

If you have responsibility for software in production, I bet you’d like to know more about it. I don’t mean that you’d like an extra peek into the bowels of the source code or to understand its philosophical place in the universe.  Rather, I bet you’d like to know more about how it behaves in the wild.


After all, from this opaque vantage point comes the overwhelming majority of maddening defects.  “But it doesn’t do that in our environment,” you cry.  “How can we even begin to track down a user report of, ‘sometimes that button doesn’t work right?'”


To combat this situation we have, since programmer time immemorial, turned to the log file.  In that file, we find answers.  Except, we find them the way an archaeologist finds answers about ancient civilizations.  We assemble cryptic, incomplete fragments and try to use them to deduce what happened long after the fact.  Better than nothing, but not great.


Because of the incompleteness and the lag, we seek other solutions.  With the rise in sophistication of tooling and the growth of the DevOps movement, we close the timing gap via monitoring.  Rather than wait for a user to report an error and asking for a log file, we get out in front of the matter.  When something flies off the rails, our monitoring tools quickly alert us, and we begin triage immediately.

Common Monitoring Use Cases

Later in this post, I will get imaginative.  In writing this, I intend to expose you to some less common monitoring ideas that you might at least contemplate, if not outright implement.  But for now, let’s consider some relative blue chip monitoring scenarios.  These will transcend even the basic nature of the application and apply equally well to web, mobile, or desktop apps.


Monitis offers a huge variety of monitoring services, as the name implies.  You can get your bearings about the full offering here.  This means that if you want to do it, you can probably find an offering of to do it unless you’re really out there.  Then you might want to supplement these offering with some customized functionality for your own situation.


But let’s say you’d just signed up for the service and wanted to test drive it.  I can think of nothing simpler than “is this thing on?”  Wherever it runs, you’d love some information about whether it runs when it should.  On top of that, you’d probably also like to know whether it dies unexpectedly and ignobly.  When your app crashes embarrassingly, you want to know about it.


Once you’ve buttoned up the real basics, you might start to monitor for somewhat more nuanced situations.  Does your code gobble up too many hardware resources, causing poor experience or added expense?  Does it interact with services or databases that fail or go offline?  In short, does your application wobble into sub-optimal states?


But what if we look beyond those basics?  Let’s explore some things you may never have contemplated monitoring about your software.

User Engagement

Facebook has developed some reputation around having deployment nirvana.  They constantly roll to production and use a sophisticated series of checks, balances, tests, and monitoring to alert them to problems needing correction.  If the number of baby pictures in my feed is any indication, I’d say they’re doing pretty well.


But what happens if Facebook pushes something to production with a mistake not easily caught by automated unit tests?  For instance, what if they accidentally deployed some CSS that turned the “post” button and its text the same color as the background.  The flow of baby pictures would cease, even as all tests passed with flying colors.


Monitis offers “real user monitoring,”  which generalizes a specific case can address this situation.  You may want to monitor user behavior in terms of how they engage with the site.  If Facebook monitors how many times per second its users click “post,” and they see that drop to 0 after a production roll, they’ll know they have an issue almost immediately.  Even if they don’t know what causes it, they can triage and mitigate almost immediately.


If you have responsibility for any sort of e-commerce operation, I strongly encourage you to monitor your revenue.  In a sense, you might consider this a specific instance of user engagement.  You’ll have some sort of normal drip of people making purchases.  Anything affecting that presents you with an obvious red flag.


You might be tempted to think of this as an accounting problem more than a technical one.  Let techies monitor the nuts and bolts and accounting can worry about P&L?  I don’t advise it. Purchases count as arguably the most important metric.  They form the lifeblood of your business.


You mainly think of a “bounce” when you think of web applications.  Google defines bounce as “a single-page session on your site.”  I believe this plays on the opposite of “sticking.”  People land, and “bounce off” of your site.


I’m going to re-appropriate the term a bit for our purposes here and generalize it to all application platforms.  You might want to monitor the rate at which users exit your application from a particular page/screen.


When they leave from, say, an “exit” screen, then fine.  You’d want a high percentage of departures from expected places.  But if people being to leave from a place you’d expect them to remain engaged, that might give you insight into a problem of some kind.  This holds doubly true if it suddenly spikes in one particular place.

User Experience Concerns 

This particular concern would require some fairly sophisticated monitoring capabilities, most likely instrumented from within.  If you do implement such a thing, take care not to impact performance.  But, if you’re up for it, you might learn some interesting things.


Consider monitoring user behavior for user experience concerns.  For instance, do users consistently dismiss a dialog far too quickly to have read it?  Or perhaps do they all tend to execute the same key sequences to navigate through several screens?  If so, you might have located opportunities to improve your user experience.  Get rid of superfluous dialog messages and see about adding shortcuts for things they do frequently.


And you certainly aren’t limited by my suggestions here.  If you have the capability to monitor interactions like this, study your own users with their particular happens and look to improve their experience.

Time to Load Visual Elements

This is another item that you hear about most frequently in websites.  But, as with my looser interpretation of the “bounce” concept, you could really measure this anywhere.  After all, sluggishness is sluggishness.


If you find yourself in a position to monitor the visual performance of your software, you stand to benefit from doing so.  Few things torpedo the user experience as quickly as maddeningly slow loads.  If this is happening, you want to know about it.


This holds doubly true for visual elements superfluous or non-essential to the experience itself. In the world of websites, think of ads or random widgets.  And, while you can test a lot of this for yourself, concerns may arise in the wild that you can’t mimic in your own shop.

Think of Your Own in the Spirit of Innovation 

I’ve enjoyed the exercise in exploring what you might want to monitor.  As both an entrepreneur and software developer, I like thinking about possible implementations, offerings, and features.


In fact, that captures what I find so appealing about the DevOps movement.  As we marry software creation and software delivery, we open up an entirely new category of innovation, that requires new and powerful tools.  We can then combine those tools with the inventive spirit to deliver ever-higher quality software.

Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only!


Read the original post on Monitis Blog.

Believe it or not, the most important thing about the website of your business is not what’s on it but how fast it loads. Yes, that’s right! 


As you can see on this infographic (an oldie but goodie!), there is a clear relationship between web load speed and customer conversions. And unless you have money to burn, the assumption is that you’re in business to earn revenue (rather than just having a fancy looking website!).


Let’s say this another way. The faster a page loads the more likely customers will be to visit and do business on your site. The inverse is also true. The slower a page the less likely customers will be willing to wait around and engage with your brand.


While this seems fairly straightforward, it’s surprising how few business owners really get the importance of website performance and the role it plays in their overall strategy. It might be nice to have a trendy looking website, but if it takes 10 seconds to load visitors won’t hang around long enough to appreciate all the bells and whistles anyway.


It’s important that small businesses leverage the latest web performance insights to ensure that things are running as optimally as possible and that your customers are happy. At the end of the day, this is really all that matters!


In order to help keep your business in check, we list out below the top 10 things you should know about website performance today.

Website Speed Impacts Conversions & Sales 

There’s a direct connection between web load speed and sales conversions. Consider this metric: 1 in 4 visitors would abandon the website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. And this one: A 2-second delay during a transaction results in shopping cart abandonment rates of up to 87%.


A few years ago e-commerce giant Amazon calculated that a webpage load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Any questions?

“Start Render Time” is a Key Metric 

Start Render Time has emerged as a key metric in web performance and is the first visual cue that something is happening on a website. The following statement gives some words of wisdom on this topic:

The median for Time to Start Render across the web is 2.5 seconds. Shoot for better.  The top 10% of sites on the web start render in less than 900 milliseconds — fast enough that the visitor doesn’t have time to think about the fact that he or she is waiting to see content.  That should be the goal.

Design Best Practices Can Become Your Worst Enemy

Increasing the size of your website’s size, images, third-party scripts, and style sheets come with a heavy price and can adversely affect performance. This is especially true in the world of mobile. Over 50% of all time consumers spend on retails site is on mobile devices, and more than 50% of consumers multiscreen during the purchasing.


Some of the worst design practices are evident when web pages are initially blank and then populate, the CTA is the last thing to render, popups block the rest of the page, or when you fail to adopt user experience into your design strategy.


Performance Impacts Shopping Behavior 

We get the importance of website speed on customer conversions and sales. But this impact is more systemic than you might think. Kissmetrics shows that 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online. And 79% of shoppers dissatisfied with a website performance are less likely to buy from that site again.


Mobile Unfriendly Sites Drive Customers the Other Way 

M-commerce is huge, which is why having a “mobile first” website is critical to success. Mobile commerce transactions in the United States are expected to total $123 billion in 2016. $76 billion will be from tablets, while the remainder will be from smartphones. These same numbers are replicating themselves globally.


A study from Google several years ago showed that mobile-friendliness was a key factor in purchase decisions, with 67% indicating that a mobile-friendly website made them more likely to buy a product or use a service. In addition, 61% indicated that a bad mobile experience made them more likely to leave.


You Can Win with Website Analytics 

Web analytics can make all the difference in how you relate to your customers. The ability to track a single customer across your site and across multiple devices will ensure that you can tailor your brand to their needs.


For instance, you want to learn more about when and where they’re visiting from, what devices they’re using, what are their online activities, and other key demographics such as age. Gaining these insights will help your organization better understand what’s important to your visitors and how to personalize their experience.


Speed Increases SEO 

In April 2010 Google started using page speed as a ranking factor, meaning that faster pages would earn higher SEO rankings than slow ones. More recently, Google also announced that it’s moving in this same direction for mobile web pages. The point here is that you get rewarded for offering your customers a better overall experience; faster load time means higher SEO rankings.


Mediocre Web Hosting Can Increase Downtime 

When reviewing web performance, it’s important not to forget your web hosting service. Even though your provider may offer you unlimited bandwidth, does that mean shared service with other sites that ends up affecting your own web performance?


Are you experiencing downtime or bandwidth issues? If so, it’s worthwhile to review your hosting options to ensure you’re getting the most efficient service. Don’t be afraid to insist on 99.99% uptime.


Too Many Affiliate Codes & Ads Drain Performance 

Becoming an affiliate reseller and pushing ads to bring folks in is great, but too much of a good thing can also become bad . . . especially for performance. When you go overboard on ads and affiliate code, this can lead to high bounce rates and, in turn, can adversely impact your overall website performance.


Website Monitoring Is Key! 

There are significant advantages to adopting website monitoring – cost, scalability, efficiency, to name a few. Not to mention, this frees you up to focus on growing your business, which matters the most anyway.


When it comes to monitoring your website, you don’t want to shortchange yourself. Get the peace of mind you deserve by entrusting your business to a proven industry leader.

Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only!


Original post on Monitis Blog.

Web performance monitoring is broken into two camps: passive and active. Passive monitoring is defined as looking at real-world historical performance by monitoring actual log-ins, site hits, clicks, requests for data, and other server transactions.


This is the kind of monitoring that you need for the day to day, which ensures your business website keeps running optimally, and that there is no downtime to impact your customer experience.


Active monitoring is a more experimental approach. It uses algorithms to take current log data and predict future network states. A good example of active monitoring is synthetic transaction monitoring. This involves deploying behavioral scripts in a web browser to simulate the path a real customer (or end-user) takes through a website.


Synthetic transaction monitoring is especially important for eCommerce and other high traffic sites as it allows webmasters to test new applications prior to launch. Synthetic transactions are scripted in advance and then uploaded to the cloud as a transaction tests.


There are different scenarios where your business would need transaction monitoring in order to stay competitive today.

Entering a New Market 

Before introducing a new application to market you want to have line-of-sight on how real users will interact with that app. Synthetic transaction monitoring provides behavioral scripts that have the ability to simulate an action or set of actions to ensure your application can handle the projected load.

Another benefit of synthetic monitoring is that it helps you simulate what happens when you introduce your application to a new geography. It allows you to test and fix potential issues related to deployments in new regions such as connection speeds (DSL, cable broadband, fiber optics) before real end users arrive. 


Finding Issues Before Customers 

Synthetic monitoring helps you to set up baseline tests in order to measure the way your customers will interact with your websites, APIs, or mobile apps. This type of testing can provide direct feedback on performance degradation or availability issues. It also will help your team locate the root cause, engage the right experts, and fix issues before they impact the end users. 


Measuring Performance Impact of Third Party Applications 

Today’s websites increasingly rely on third-party features such as carts, ads, customer reviews, web analytics, social networking, SEO add-ons, video and much more to provide outstanding customer experiences. If there’s a weak-link in the chain, or one or more of these elements are not working correctly, it can adversely impact your site.


Synthetic transaction monitoring can greatly assist in helping to monitor your third-party applications while also alerting you to potential or real performance degradations and downtime impacts. This helps tremendously in providing line of sight on your service level agreements (SLAs) in order to hold the third-party vendors accountable. 


Testing New Features 

Synthetic monitoring is important at any stage of development, but is especially useful for testing your web, mobile, or cloud-based applications before deploying new features into production. During this stage synthetic monitoring can provide a set of baselines and thresholds that reveal any potential obstacles customers may encounter in the real world. 


Comparing Your Performance to Your Competition 

With synthetic transaction monitoring you can set up benchmark scenarios to see how your applications are performing over time. You can also benchmark your company’s performance against top competitors within a certain historical time frame or within a specific geographical region. This approach can be especially important for establishing your organization’s strategic outlook for the year as well as for preserving competitive advantage in the marketplace. 


Analyzing Your eCommerce Strategy 

If you’re in the eCommerce business, then synthetic transaction monitoring is especially useful for ensuring that your eCommerce strategy is firing on all cylinders. By setting up tests with synthetic monitoring you can get apprised, for instance, about when one of the steps in your website’s online transaction process is no longer working properly. By tracking and analyzing every click and swipe, synthetic transaction monitoring solution can help you to identify problems and prioritize fixes in your website to ensure that customers continue to have the kind of experience they’ve come to expect.


Evaluating New technologies 

Another important use of synthetic transaction monitoring is to assist in the choosing, testing, and optimization of new technologies within your production environment. For example, being able to test if a new CDN (content delivery network) is performing as optimally as possible compared to other known benchmarks will help your organization to decide which product or service will provide the most value to your infrastructure.

Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only! 


Read the original post on Monitis Blog.

Hi.  My name is Erik Dietrich, and this is the first time I’ve posted on the Monitis blog.  By way of introduction, I thought it would make sense to talk about my initial experience with Monitis.


Before I do that, though, I need to explain a bit about myself.   Don’t worry.  It’s relevant, I promise.


I’m a techie by trade.  Specifically, I have historically made a living as a software developer, architect, dev manager, CIO, and, these days, IT management and strategy consultant.  On top of that, I write and present frequently, including routine publishing to my own, tech-centric blog.


Because of this, I know a certain tension to which you can, no doubt, relate. I’m talking about the tension between not having time to build and look after your own website and thinking, “what kind of developer am I if I don’t build and look after my own site?”  I feel awkward about it, but over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to leave my site’s development to WordPress and the folks that make themes for it.  I just don’t have time to take care of it myself.


But this delegation can lead to embarrassing lapses.  I write about software professionalism, IT strategy and the delivery of high quality solutions.  So when someone that follows me on Twitter sends a tweet informing me that my website has gone down, I can’t help but feel silly.  Anyone looking at the situation obviously knows that it’s my hosting company or, perhaps, something with WordPress.  But that doesn’t stop me from feeling the ironic sting of being the last to know about my own outage.

Mitigating Outages for Professionals

When I ran an IT department as the CIO, I had responsibility for some public facing web applications.  I understood acutely the embarrassment of an outage, and I understood how it could be mitigated.  If you become aware of it first and inform your users, you lose far less credibility in their eyes than if they find out and inform you instead.  The outage is still unfortunate for everyone, but you being on top of it makes it seem almost planned to the users that hear of it.


To make sure my group had this advantage, I oversaw the instrumentation of monitoring tools within our network.  This was some years ago now, so I don’t recall the particulars, but I do remember having a dashboard to peruse and getting emails and text notifications to alert me immediately of any problems.  This was powerful stuff.


Mitigating Outages for the Rest of Us


When it comes to my own blog and site, however, this sort of instrumentation never occurred to me.  I had sound reasoning.  An outage on my site is not critical to anyone.  Nobody logs in and interacts with the site in a high-touch way – it’s just content that I publish for people to read.  I don’t lose money when my site was down.


Because of all of these considerations, it made no sense to me to invest in monitoring.  I had a preconceived notion of the cost of such things, since I had, in the past, allocated budget for them.  Had I really gotten serious about it, I would have reasoned that I could probably do better in price a few years later and with different needs, but it never really bubbled up near the top of my own personal priority list.


This changed, however, when I encountered the Monitis product offering.  I’ll fast forward a bit and say that today, I have effective monitoring for my site that gives me exactly the data I want and costs me almost nothing.


Getting Started

I would offer a “how to” at this point, but you’ll have such an easy time it’s honestly not worth the bother.  Go to the main site, click “start monitoring now” and fill out the requested information.  That’s it.  Really.


I did this, and true to what they say, I had monitoring of my site set up within 3 minutes.  At the time I performed the setup, I recall being in something of a hurry, so I just kind of did a fire and forget.  I setup monitoring HTTP for my site, and didn’t think anything more of it for the rest of the day.


The next day, I got the email shown below.  I saw that they had hit my site with HTTP requests from 3 different locations.  Cumulative uptime of 100%, too.  I won’t lie — I was a bit relieved to see that “all good” seemed to be the default state of affairs.

For a few more days, I continued to receive this daily summary.  I had an even larger sample size of things being alright, and, about a week in, I found myself with a bit more time to dig into the monitoring itself.  I logged into my newly-created Monitis account and poked around in my dashboard.


The default monitoring that I had setup involved 3 locations making HTTP requests all day to my site.  If any 2 locations failed simultaneously, I would receive an email alert that my site was down.  At the time, I had signed up for a trial account, so my next bit of curiosity was “what will this cost me.”  When I went to the pricing page and punched up what this would cost on an ongoing basis, I found the result quite reasonable: $1.20 per month.




My Takeaway: The Value Proposition


I could kick myself for not doing research earlier. I keep my finger on the pulse of many different trends and technologies.  And, if you would have asked me whether or not some kind of affordable site monitoring technology existed, I imagine I would have said, “gosh, probably.”

And yet, I never went out and did the research.


The obvious lesson here is that affordable and effective monitoring for your site exists.  Even if your site is simply you posting a food recipe or two per month, and a couple of your relatives reading it every now and then, it’s probably worth about a dollar per month to make sure it runs smoothly.  Call it peace of mind or call it professional pride.  Either way, if you have a site, you might as well keep an automated eye on it.


But the deeper lesson here is one of cost and specialization.  Cloud technology and its ramifications extend beyond, “it’s easy to provision a server.”  All facets of traditional IT are becoming commoditized and offered affordably and with good quality to people with budgets of all sizes.  If it’s been achievable for the enterprise for years, keep your eyes open, because, quite probably, a version is achievable for you as well.

Sign up for Monitis FREE 15-day full-featured trial! Premium plan starting from $12/month only! 

The world seems to conceive of a curious bubble separating IT from “the business.” More so than just about any other pursuit in the commercial world, people think of IT as some kind of an island.
This guide will walk you through the essential considerations and tech stack for building scalable websites. Know how to grow your business the smart way!

Objective of This Article

In 1990’s, when I was a budding software professional, I had a lot of confusion about which stream or technology, I had to choose to build my career. In those days, I had lot of confusion like whether to choose System software or Application Development, Microsoft or Oracle, Visual Basic or D2K, MS-SQL or Oracle, etc. So for survival, I have learnt both Microsoft and Oracle Technologies. Similarly, now also, I feel budding professionals may have the tendency to get highly impressed by one and may get inclined to that. 
Over the last three decades, many technologies played magnificent roles in IT industry during their own period, in their own specific areas. In fact, the technologies do not determine this, the situations do, and hence the business requirements are the decision factors which influence the trends of development, growth and demand of various technologies.
In 2010’s, as part of Seniour Management Team, I expect my team professionals with versatile skillsets, having exposure to most of the current powerful technologies. According to me, the major effective aspect is how fast a professional adapts himself to current demands and emerging technologies. So here, I have taken example of two web popular technologies, and if a professional is competent in one, can easily learn other and adapt to use it. Due to shortage of time, and other limitations I am not able to compare Java Technologies here. I request if any Java Professionals…


In this tutorial, I'll explain how to create an animated progress meter in a wireframe prototype developed using Axure RP 7.0 - a leading prototyping tool for designing web sites and software. (For more information about Axure and getting started with it, check out: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Software/A_17344-Setting-Up-Basic-Interactions-in-Axure.html)

Here's a sneak preview of what you'll be building:

Please note that this tutorial does require the use of Axure 7.0 or later, which introduced the "Set Panel Size" action that the method used here relies upon.

Part 1: Creating the Basic Wireframe

1.) Add a rectangle to the page and resize it to be the full shape of the progress bar. This will act as the outline of the meter. (Take note of the width of this rectangle, you'll need to know it later on. I set mine to 400 pixels.)
Protip: I highly recommend giving descriptive names to all the objects you create in any Axure prototype. While it doesn't matter much in a page with very few objects, these things quickly pile up and when you're setting up actions, figuring out which object in your list to perform the action on is really difficult if nothing has a label! You do this by entering a value in the Name field of the Widget Interactions and Notes pane for each object.

2.) Duplicate the rectangle created in Step 1, but give it a color fill. This rectangle will act as the filled-in portion of the progress bar.
LVL 68

Expert Comment

by:Jim Horn
Very nicely illustrated.  Voting Yes.

Author Comment

by:Brian Matis
Thanks, Jim! Glad you like it :-)
When setting up new project requests for our site, one of the most powerful tools our team has available to use is Axure (http://www.axure.com/). It’s a tool for creating software and web prototypes that can function and interact as if it were the actual site with no coding required. The reason it’s so powerful is because you are able to demonstrate the desired functionality of the requested project rather than just describing it with text, leaving much less room for interpretation error. In this article I am going to go over how to set up some of the more basic interactions within the tool so that you can begin creating prototypes of your own.
  1. Determine the sort of user action interaction

    When you click the widget you’d like to have the user interact with, you’ll see options appear in the top right corner with different actions you’d like the user to take in order for them to receive the interactions. OnClick is the most common user action used. The link labeled ‘more events’ gives you more options for actions you’d require the user to take.

    Once you select the user action a window called Case Editor will open for you to build the interactions that occur after that action. You are able to stack multiple interactions following a user action. For this basic walk through, I’ll be showing just one at a time.

  2. Setting up a widget to link to a new page

    To create a link to a
This article provides a case study on how our local youth baseball league deployed a new website, including the platform selection, implementation and benefits to the league.
LVL 68

Expert Comment

by:Jim Horn
The CEO is writing articles.  Gotta like that action..

Expert Comment

by:Manuel Acero
After all this info and the accolades, it appears that two years later, they have changed their interface to league toolbox. Haha


Food for thought

Turn A Profile Picture Into A Cartoon Using Photoshop And Illustrator

This tutorial will teach you how to make a cartoon style image out of a regular picture. I have tried to keep the tutorial as simple as possible. I used Adobe CS4 for this tutorial, but I used effects that should work for most versions of Adobe Creative Suite. The estimated time is 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your experience using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

1. Choose A Profile Picture of You or Anyone

Start by opening a photo of yourself, or any profile face shot in Adobe Illustrator.

2. Add a Layer For Tracing

Lock the layer by navigating to the layers pallet and clicking the box next to the eye icon. Now add a layer for tracing the image.

3. Begin Tracing the Profile Picture

Select the pencil tool from the left side toolbar. Begin drawing over the face. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get as close as you can. You can also use the pen tool if you feel more comfortable with it.
      NOTE: You can adjust the pencil tool setting to your likings by double clicking the pencil tool and changing the Tolerances’. You will see Fidelity, Smoothness both of these control the accuracy of the trace (increase the Smoothness and Fidelity for a more curved and forgiving line). I chose Fidelity 2.5 and Smoothness 3%. For the other options in the pencil tool I left the default settings of Keep Selected, and Edit Selected Paths within 12 pixels (deselect the Keep Selected option if you don't want to hold down the Shift + Ctrl + Alt buttons after each pencil stroke).

4. Trace The Eyes and Eyebrows

LVL 23

Author Comment

Ok, thanks for letting me know. I tried this for the first time. On my other articles (Photoshop, Illustrator) I put the pictures with the steps, and I wanted to try this one a different way. I wasn't sure how people would follow the article. I have a 2 monitor set-up so I would open one in for the lower part with the images, and one for the tutorial. I also created a PDF of one of my tutorials that might help also, but I am not sure I have time to do that for them all.

On future tutorials I will switch back to placing them with the steps. I would like to eventually like to do the Screencast for the tutorials. I haven't been able to find a suitable program for free, and haven't had the spare $ to purchase one lately. I have used Jing for screencast, but they have a 5 minute limit for the free version. Maybe EE would spring for the fee (just joking). Thanks again for the input.
LVL 37

Administrative Comment

EE has a screencast feature built-in. If you look below the comment box, you should see "File | Code | Image | Screencast"

The files created can be a bit large, and it's running on Java, I believe, so it can get clunky some times, but it does work.
Now that Expression Web 4.0 is free if you buy or have the full version of Expression Web 3.0, now is the best time to migrate from FrontPage to Expression Web. Perhaps you have an older version of Expression Web or are still thinking about it.

Take the plunge and and cut down your maintenance times so you can spend more on content editing instead. Microsoft include a 60 day trial of Expression Web 3.0 or if you can't afford to upgrade to Expression Web, you can always obtain the free product SharePoint Designer 2007 from Microsoft.

The article will cover the following topics:
What should you do to prepare your site?
How to remove unwanted FrontPage features
Cleanup Procedures
Implement a new template or DWT

What should you do to prepare your site?

Backup your site
Setup Expression Web
Clear out clutter - images pages and scripts

1) First and most important of all MAKE A BACKUP, within FrontPage
I suggest three backups. One to keep in the original, one to work on and one for experiments. Just publish your site to new empty web giving it a new name each of the three times.

2) Open up Expression Web and execute the set up process. This link Free Setting up Expression Web Ebook
In this short web based tutorial, I wanted to show users how they can still use the powers of FrontPage in conjunction with Expression Web 3.  Even though Microsoft eliminated the use of Web components, we can still use them with FrontPage and edit the site with Expression Web.  This can be a very useful tool when individuals need the power of software development and do not have the experience, nor the budget to hire a qualified developer.  As stated by Microsoft:

Web Components
One of the first things you might notice as a FrontPage user is the absence of Web components in Expression Web. While Web components were an important feature in early versions of FrontPage, they were also code heavy (resulting in slow download times), difficult to customize, and they generated proprietary code that was far from standards-compliant. Much of the functionality that FrontPage Web components provided are now provided in new and often easily customized ways by Web-based services. For example, there are now multiple sites that make it possible to store, sort, and share your photographs in ways that were not possible when the Photo Gallery component in FrontPage was developed.

If your existing site uses Web components, you can still edit those components using Expression Web. However, you won’t be able to add new Web components.

As a user of these components, I was very disappointed they eliminated all of them.  One of the most used components for me was the …
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Expert Comment

by:James Murrell
When deciding to adopt any help desk solutions many factors should be explored before taking decisions. This will change from business to another but in general there are some kind of rule of thumb.
Here are some quick tips:
Do we need only ticketing system or a complete suite that include asset management, CRM and communication tools, resource reservation...?
Ticketing systems online nowadays offer variety of options that we should be aware of before going on and start using them. For example not all solutions available offer the e scalability option. For example if a technician is assigned a job it is important to know if we would like to re-assign this task to another person.
Having a knowledge base is also a feature that also should be considered, because it can save time for both the technician and the customer.
Another issue that could we focus on is the level of automation that we can have. Some systems allow this by having rules that can detect the problem category and auto assign it for the right technician, moreover some systems could do kind of load balancing between the team so no one is overloaded while the other is just sitting and waiting for something to happen.
Some people will be interested in a system where the users would not have to be recreated again, so a connection to Active direcory or LDAP server could do that job, this is an important feature that should be taken into consideration.
What about the interface:
The interface should be as much …

Web Development Software





Web development software is used to create websites for both the Internet and intranets. Software can be either locally installed or operated through a cloud interface, and ranges in complexity from simple text editors to full-fledged integrated development environments (IDEs) that include graphics, video, audio, scripting and database support.