Basic Components of Blockchain: What You Need to Know
Blockchain – historical review
The idea of blockchain technology was described as early as 1991 when research scientists Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta implemented a computational-practical solution for timestamped digital documents so that they could not be backdated or forged.
The system used a cryptographically secured chain of blocks to store timestamped documents, and in 1992 Merkle trees were included in the development, making it more efficient by allowing multiple copies to be collected into a single block. However, this technology was not used, and the patent was lost in 2004, four years before the creation of Bitcoin.
At the end of 2008, a white paper representing a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) electronic money system called Bitcoin cryptography was sent out by a mailing list by a person or group using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
The one who now hides under the world-famous pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto was well aware that the banking system of the 1980s had lagged behind the technological revolution. Banks have created centralized organizations that store transaction records, control interactions, provide trust and security, and regulate the entire system. Satoshi invented a cryptocurrency called bitcoin, which is based on the Blockchain. Bitcoin is just a particular use case for the Blockchain, which considers the inherent vulnerability of trust-based models.
What is a blockchain?
Blockchain is a decentralized distributed database. The database consists of data blocks generated using cryptographic techniques in an ordered channel. The blocks contain information about the data record created during a specific period, which cannot be tampered with.
The block contains the data records, the hash of the current root block, the hash of the previous root block, a timestamp, and other information. The data record type can be defined according to the scenario, such as asset transaction and issuance records.
In terms of value, Blockchain is the Internet of Value used to deliver value. The existing Internet is an informational Internet that transmits information based on the TCP/IP protocol.
Blockchain technology has become widespread due to openness, the immutability of stored data, decentralization, and the ability to make decisions in an untrusted environment between equal network participants without the participation of intermediaries. The first implementation of blockchain technology was created as part of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency project.
Blockchain includes five main components:
- Nodes are devices included in the blockchain network. The main task of the nodes is to maintain the network, distribute and store copies of the Blockchain, and sometimes process transactions.
- A consensus mechanism is a protocol that allows you to reach an agreement between equal participants in a decentralized network. There are many protocol implementations, but the most popular ones are PoW, PoS, dPos, aBFT, and dBFT.
- A virtual machine is a software system that emulates the operation of a distributed decentralized blockchain platform that executes decentralized applications and smart contracts.
- A blockchain is a data structure built by sequentially combining blocks into a chain. All blocks are strictly sequential (due to storing the hash value from the previous block); they are denoted by continuous numbering, in which the child block always refers to only one parent block.
- A distributed registry is an electronic database system distributed among several network nodes or devices.
These components closely interact with each other and play an essential role in the blockchain ecosystem.
There are also additional add-ons for blockchain networks that do not affect the internal architecture of the technology but can significantly expand its functionality. These include mechanisms that provide increased speed and improved confidentiality of transactions, means for off-chain transactions, modules that protect against attacks made using quantum computers, etc.
Types of Blockchain
- Public blockchain networks
Any user can join a public blockchain network (Bitcoin). The disadvantages of such a network include high requirements for computing power, low level of transaction confidentiality, and weak security. These criteria are essential when using Blockchain in enterprise environments.
2. Private blockchain networks
A private blockchain network, like a public blockchain network, is a decentralized peer-to-peer network, with the essential difference that the web is managed by one organization. This organization determines who can join the network, run the consensus algorithm, and administer the shared ledger.
Depending on the use case, this approach can significantly increase the reliability and reliability of information transmitted between participants. A private blockchain network can be behind a corporate firewall or even on-premises.
3. Exclusive blockchain networks
Companies opting for a private blockchain tend to set up an exclusive network. It is important to note that public blockchain networks can also be complete.
This imposes certain restrictions on the circle of persons allowed to participate in the network or only in certain transactions. To join the web, a member must receive an invitation or permission.
4. Blockchain Consortium
Responsibility for the administration of the Blockchain may lie with several organizations. These pre-selected organizations establish access rights to perform transactions or access data.
A blockchain consortium is an ideal solution for companies where all participants have permissions and are collectively responsible for the Blockchain.
Basic concepts of Blockchain
A transaction is a transfer of value between two parties on a blockchain network. This can include the transfer of cryptocurrency, the execution of a smart contract, or the recording data on the Blockchain. Each transaction is verified and added to a block, which is then added to the chain. Transactions are typically recorded in a public ledger and can be viewed by anyone on the network. The transactions are also secured by cryptography, and they cannot be altered once added to the Blockchain.
A block is a collection of verified transactions on a blockchain network. Each block contains a certain number of transactions and a unique code called a “hash” that links it to the previous block in the chain. Once a block is added to the chain, the transactions it contains are considered to be confirmed and cannot be altered.
When a block is mined, it is added to the end of the chain, hence the name “blockchain.” Each block also contains a timestamp, which records the time the block was added to the chain. The blocks are linked in chronological order and create an unbroken chain of transaction history from the first block, also known as the Genesis block.
This structure ensures that the integrity of the transaction history is maintained and that past transactions cannot be altered. This is a critical feature that makes blockchain technology secure and transparent.
A block header is a component of a block in a blockchain that contains metadata about the block. It typically includes the following information:
- The block’s unique code or “hash.”
- The hash of the previous block in the chain is also known as the “previous block hash.”
- The timestamp of when the block was created
- The “nonce,” a value that is used in the process of mining a block
- The difficulty target, which is used to adjust the difficulty of the mining process
The block header is used to verify the integrity of the block and link it to the previous block in the chain. The last block’s hash is included in the block header of each new block, which creates the link between blocks and ensures the integrity of the Blockchain.
A nonce is a random number added to the block header and used in the mining process to find a solution to a complex mathematical problem. When a miner finds the answer, it is added to the block header, and the block is considered mine.
The difficulty target is used to adjust the difficulty of the mining process to ensure that blocks are mined at a consistent rate. The problem is adjusted by changing the target hash value that the miner must find.
In summary, the block header is an essential component of a block that contains important information that is used to verify the integrity of the league and link it to the previous block in the chain and the mining process.
A chain in the context of blockchain technology refers to a series of linked blocks. Each block contains a group of verified transactions and a unique code called a “hash” that connects it to the previous block in the chain. This creates a chronological chain of transaction history maintained by a decentralized network of computers, also known as nodes.
The chain is maintained by a consensus mechanism that ensures that all nodes on the network agree on the current state of the Blockchain. This mechanism ensures that the integrity of the transaction history is maintained and that past transactions cannot be altered. This structure makes blockchain technology secure, transparent, and tamper-proof.
One of the key features of blockchain technology is that it creates a decentralized, public ledger of all transactions that have taken place on the network. This ledger is stored on every node in the network, so it is distributed across the web and not controlled by a single entity. This ensures that the data stored on the Blockchain is transparent and cannot be altered.
The chain is also essential for the mining process, as the miner has to solve the mathematical problem to add the new block to the chain. The miner who solves the problem first adds the block to the chain. The blocks are added to the chain in a linear, chronological order and create an unbroken chain of transaction history from the first block, also known as the Genesis block.
Benefits of Blockchain
- Decentralization. Most traditional forms of payment are centralized and have weaknesses such as storing data in one place, which makes them vulnerable to damage and easy targets for hacker attacks. In Blockchain technology, information is not stored in just one place. Everyone on the network owns the data and has access to the transaction history but cannot change it.
- Immutability. Once something is entered into the Blockchain, it cannot be tampered with. This is because the underlying technology uses cryptographic hashes.
- Transparency. Blockchain offers a high level of transparency and privacy at the same time. The user’s identity is hidden behind complex cryptography and can only be identified by their public address. At the same time, while the user’s identity is protected, you can still see all the transactions made at his public address.
Areas of applications of Blockchain
- Banking Distributed registers can make data exchange in the financial ecosystem more accurate, secure, and resistant to hacking.
- Messaging Telegram is currently developing its Blockchain called TON (Telegram Open Network), which will allow it to expand the range of services provided to two hundred million users of this messenger by adding the possibility of payments, file storage, and protection from censorship.
- Hedge fund Startup Numerai, in which such well-known investors as First Round Capital and Union Square Ventures have invested, hires traders and analysts (Quants) and decentralizes the hedge fund work model.
- In the future, Blockchain can serve as an infrastructural basis for collecting votes, tracking and calculating final election results, and leveling fraud and fraud. In such a future, there will be no need to recount votes again.
- Identity on the Internet DNS Platforms like Blockstack and uPort is building a future in which a “digital identity,” or identifier, will accompany the user in any of his activities on the global network.
- Protection of critical infrastructure Along with the spread of Blockchain, the possibility of hacking will disappear because the security organized with this technology is much higher than in the systems of the previous generation.
- Services for shared rides (Ride Sharing) based on the distributed registry, it is possible to create a more convenient marketplace for drivers and passengers, in which they could agree on the price themselves.
- Internet advertising Users can receive less advertising, but more precisely targeted to their interests, and advertisers – more complete and reliable data about their purchases.
- Cryptocurrency exchanges Another area where Blockchain reduces cyber threat risks is eliminating the need for human involvement in a transaction—the human net — the net of hackers, corrupt persons, and human errors.
- Education Implementation of the Blockchain in the educational process will speed up the verification procedure and eliminate or reduce fraud risks by fraudsters who try to pass themselves off as holders of diplomas and scientific regalia.
Conclusion – perspectives development of blockchain technologies
In a few years, Blockchain has gone from an unknown technological novelty to an indispensable tool already used at the state level, even in the political sphere.
The distributed ledger is used by banks and large corporations, which simplifies and lowers the cost of daily financial operations. Fields of blockchain implementation in the future will be the most diverse: from elections and voting to charities and art. After all, no one doubts the practical application of technology based on a secure blockchain.
Why is blockchain technology considered the technology of the future? We use the world wide web daily for quick and easy information exchange. But when it comes to transferring valuables (money), we still have to resort to the services of traditional banks.
Yes, there are now convenient payment methods over the Internet, the same PayPal, but they still require integration with a bank account or credit card.
Blockchain takes on functions that the traditional financial services sector has always played: registration of transactions, confirmation of identities, and conclusion of contracts. At the same time, the efficiency of such services is significantly increased.
Rust – more than a ‘memory safe’ language
Rust – introduction, and history
Rust is a general-purpose programming language tailored for the development of high-load systems. It is used to write web applications, browser engines, blockchains, and other complex platforms that process requests from millions of users. Let’s analyze its main features.
- Multiparadigm. A programming paradigm defines the style in which developers write code. Rust simultaneously supports several paradigms: functional, declarative, and object-oriented programming. Companies often use the latter approach, but Rust can work in any mode.
- High level of abstraction. Commands in Rust are simple English words: input, let, match, and so on. Therefore, the code on it is easy to read and check. At the same time, the language supports using some low-level tools for finer work with hardware.
The main feature of Rust is a combination of speed and reliability. On the one hand, the language gives the programmer complete access to memory; on the other hand, it ensures him against errors and “shots in the foot.” Therefore, Rust is used to write software for which stable operation under challenging conditions is essential: multi-threaded systems, software for complex calculations, and so on.
At the beginning of the 2000s, there were two approaches to creating computer languages: one emphasized speed, and the other emphasized security. For example, C++ programs worked quickly but could fail due to a random programmer error. And Java, on the contrary, reduced the risks for the developer, but because of this, the programs lost momentum.
The idea behind Rust was to combine the power of C++ with the stability of Java and make the most of both approaches.
Initially, the language developed as an author’s project of Mozilla programmer Graydon Hoare and ultimately came under the company’s control. The Firefox browser was then undergoing an engine update, and Rust helped to implement some important things – for example, loading sites in multi-threaded mode.
By the way, the language got its name in honor of the fungi of the order Rust ( Rust Fungi). These mushrooms have exceptional survivability – according to the author, Rust programs should have become like that.
The strength of Rust is safe and economical memory management. When you write C++ code, you need to work with it manually: place pointers, clean up the program from garbage, and watch for leaks. You are solely responsible if the program crashes due to some bug or vulnerability.
Rust has an entirely different approach – all work with memory happens under the hood of the language according to strictly defined rules:
- Any value (for example, a number) has an owner variable.
- A deal can only have one owner at a time.
- If you move the owner to another part of the code, the value is reset to zero.
If one of these rules is violated, the compiler will generate an error and refuse to build the program. If there is a problem in the code, you will know about it immediately and can fix it on the fly. Finally, if a Rust program is built and runs, it will run smoothly even under stressful conditions.
Rust – a ‘memory safe’ language
Rust uses the concept of ownership to ensure high performance and memory safety. More formally, this is an example of affine typing. All Rust code follows specific rules that allow the compiler to manage memory without wasting runtime. It’s all about the innovative concept of ownership, within which memory is controlled using the following rules:
- a value (i.e., a region of memory that contains a simple integer or more complex structure) has an owner (i.e., a function);
- at any given moment in time, the value has only one owner;
- when execution leaves the scope of the owner (i.e., exits the function), the value is destroyed (freed);
- the property is passed from one function to another (in this case, the original function loses access to the value);
- the function “borrows” access to the value from another function, which at the same time remains the owner (this, for example, is how to borrow a book to read);
- there can be any number of such read-only borrowings;
- at any given time, there can be only one borrow for reading and writing;
- the presence of a read-write borrow precludes any read-only borrow;
- the borrow must refer to an active value (not yet destroyed, in which case there is no null/nill pointer).
This set of rules allows the compiler to statically:
- determine when to allocate and deallocate memory, and thus write code directly in the generated binary file;
- ensure the absence of dangling pointers;
- ensure that there is no “race condition” (when there are simultaneous data writes in an indefinite order to the same memory area);
- ensure that no memory overflows while references or borrows are smart pointers, according to the last rule.
What is written in Rust
Most often, Rust is used in those projects where stability and reliability under high load and the program’s overall speed are needed.
Rust is suitable for developing OS, web servers, system monitoring programs, and web engines and creating scalable front-end and back-end parts. For example, here are the most notable projects where Rust was the primary programming language:
- Dropbox is the server part that is responsible for the synchronization.
- Coursera – Most of the front and back end is written in Rust.
- Mozilla: Firefox and cache (distributed cache for the compiler).
- OpenDNS is a service for using public DNS services.
- Servo is a multi-threaded browser engine.
- Twitter – uses Rust for the high-load part of the service.
What is Rust used for?
- Cryptocurrencies and blockchain. For blockchains to make secure transactions between millions of different devices, you need fast and stable code – and programming in Rust allows you to do this. For example, it runs one of the most popular clients for the Ethereum platform – Parity.
- OS. Rust can write a full-fledged OS from scratch with drivers, a file manager, a browser, and other stuffing. In practice, few people want to compete with Apple and Microsoft, so there have been few successful projects. You can only remember the OS for smart devices Tock and the secure Redox operating system.
- Websites and web applications. Because Rust is resistant to loads, it can be used to develop server-side site logic. For example, the Dropbox cloud service rewrote its file storage system on it – and these are tens of thousands of server machines where gigabytes of new data are constantly uploaded.
- Browser Engines. It’s not for nothing that Rust was invented in Mozilla – the language was initially sharpened precisely for browser development. It has features for quickly rendering web pages in multi-threaded mode – you can split the site load into several tasks and distribute them between processor cores.
- Machine learning. Rust supports many libraries for working with big data: training algorithms, data visualization, linear algebra, working with vectors, image processing; you name it. If you see yourself in Data Science in the future, look closely at Rust.
Pros of Rust
- Speed and security. As we wrote above, Rust programs are fast and break only in hopeless situations.
- Static typing. In Rust, variable type checking occurs at the compilation stage – this is a plus for the reliability of the language.
- C++ compatible. In Rust programs, you can quickly call blocks of code from C and C++ and vice versa.
- Caring compiler. If an error occurs in the program, the compiler will tell you what went wrong and advise you on how to fix it.
- Cross-platform. Rust runs on almost any device, from computers and smartphones to ATMs and smartwatches.
- Multithreading. Rust programs can perform several operations simultaneously using the processor’s power.
- High salaries for programmers.
- Documentation. Rust is very well documented, not only in the language itself but also in its standard library and, in general, the libraries that are in the public domain.
Cons of Rust
- Limited OOP support. For example, it is only possible to implement full-fledged inheritance of code and classes with crutches.
- Frequent updates. The syntax of Rust changes with each new version, so developers have to relearn constantly. On the other hand, the language ends up being safer and easier to use.
- Low popularity. Companies are mainly looking for experienced specialists, and there are very few offers for juniors.
- The difficulty of mastering. Mastering this language requires a solid amount of knowledge and skills.
- Reading difficulty. Developer spends an average of 90% of their working time reading code (either their own or someone else’s) and only 10% writing it.
Who is the Rust programming language suitable for?
Where and by whom is the Rust programming language used, and what is it best suited for? These are the following groups.
Large development teams
Rust has everything to be shared by many programmers of different skill levels. Usually, there are many minor errors in low-level code, which, when working with other languages, can only be detected with the help of global testing and detailed, rigorous analysis (and you need to involve the most experienced specialists for this).
In Rust, the compiler does not miss these subtle concurrency errors. Thanks to this, developers can focus more on the logic of the program instead of looking for problem areas.
Rust also has an extensive system programming toolkit:
– Cargo. This built-in tool allows you to add, compile and manage dependencies using the Rust ecosystem.
– Rust allows all developers to code in a consistent, standard style.
– Rust Language Server provides IDE (Integrated Development Environment) support with automatic code maintenance and a built-in error manager.
There are other tools in the Rust ecosystem that, along with those listed, allow developers to excel when creating system codes.
Students, future programmers
Knowledge of the language will be sufficient for students and those who study system concepts. Rust provides an understanding of what operating system development is all about.
The Rust team is working hard to make this programming language as accessible as possible for beginners and, in general, for everyone interested in learning it.
Large and small companies
They use Rust to perform a variety of tasks. This applies to command line tools, web services, embedded components, DevOps tools, bioinformatics, and cryptocurrencies. It also implies working with audio and video files (analysis and transcoding), search engines, and applications. Plus, machine learning and the main parts of the Firefox browser are also affected
Anyone who cares about speed and stability
This refers to the speed of programs written in Rust and the speed of development of these programs. Rust’s compiler checks guarantee stability (through feature additions and refactorings). Codes created using languages that do not have these checks are fragile, and developers are often hesitant to change them.
Rust can compile high-level functions into low-level code as fast as hand-written code. Plus, it aims for zero-cost abstractions. All this allows you to create regulations that are not only safe but also fast.
Despite its young age (a little more than ten years old), Rust has become an essential language in the software development environment. Rust is the right solution for mission-critical, functionally complex projects where performance is measured in nanoseconds and, most important – where memory safety is needed.
Voice Technology on the Rise in 2023
Introduction to voice technologies
Voice interface (VUI – voice-user interface) is a software product designed to free your hands and eyes, to simplify entering or receiving information.
The voice is a natural communication tool. Many people want to resolve issues orally rather than in writing simply because it is faster. Business communication with customers is a convenient and native way of interaction. But only some companies can expand the call center staff in proportion to the growth rate of the customer base. Automation is becoming an effective way to scale live communication with customers. It allows you to keep the usual methods of communication and cover a more significant number of contacts without sacrificing quality.
Voice technologies are used in many areas and are suitable for any audience: children are attracted by an interactive “talker,” and young people appreciate the voice control of smart devices. An assistant reads the news to the elderly. But voice assistants are most in demand in those industries where there are a lot of point communications with customers – in finance, retail, and telecom.
Interestingly, Generation Z (those born in the early 2000s) and early Alpha Generations (children born after the 2010s) are the last to type using a keyboard. Marketingland columnist and marketer Andrew Ruegger is sure of this. He wrote about this in his column. The next generation will be represented exclusively by users of voice commands. “Keys like “OK Google” are becoming more common in search query reports. And we are even seeing their growth in Google Trends,” the expert writes.
Voice interfaces are penetrating deeper into business processes, and today it’s not the robot’s voice in the handset that can surprise the user, but its successful joke or apt phrase. With the help of voice assistants, businesses optimize and speed up customer interaction, but many users feel an aversion to “soulless interlocutors.”
That is why digital technologies try to listen to a person’s commands to determine emotions in the face, thereby using a natural way of interacting with users.
The largest companies have been using voice technology for years. All five Big Five tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook — have developed AI voice assistants. Since 2017, Bank of America has been running Erica, a virtual assistant. Since 2018, Mercedes-Benz has introduced a digital User Experience (MBUX) complex that understands voice commands. Retailer Walmart has launched an application with the Ask Sam voice assistant, which helps customers with product searches. According to Adobe Analytics, 91% of brands already invest heavily in voice solutions and plan to increase investment.
What characterizes the voice interface, and how does it differ from the usual visual one?
Experts from the Nielsen Norman Group identified five essential voice user interface technologies:
- Voice Input: Prompts are spoken by voice rather than entered through the keyboard or GUI graphical elements.
- Natural language: Users do not have to be limited to using a specific, computer-optimized vocabulary or syntax but can structure the input in any way as if it were a human conversation.
- Voice output: information is spoken by voice, not displayed on the screen.
- Intelligent Interpretation: To truly understand the user’s queries, the GUI must use additional information, such as the context of use or actions the user has previously taken.
- Facilitate: The GUI performs actions necessary to complete the user’s task that the user did not request.
Examples of industries where voice technologies perform actual tasks
Retailers and e-commerce companies actively use voice assistants and smart speakers. In the US, 45% of residents aged 22-37 are already buying through voice assistants, according to the CouponFollow Millennial Shopping 2019 report. And OC&C analysts predict that up to 6% of all online purchases will be made using this tool in the country in two years. Today, some North American retailers use voice technology to automate the buying process fully. For example, Walmart has integrated Siri and Google Assistant, with which you can place an order by paying for it with a linked card.
Why is voice technology so attractive in online shopping? The secret is simple: they make it more comfortable for customers. You can, for example, ask a search engine the question “Where to buy jeans?” and quickly get a response without wasting time typing.
On a global scale, voice assistants are gradually becoming an integral part of the team in those retail niches characterized by fast reusable orders. Trendsetters include industry leaders such as Amazon and McDonald’s. Highly specialized places (sales of engineering equipment, etc.) will remain on the technological periphery for a long time. They have not yet reached online sales, not to mention voice assistants, which, objectively, they do not yet need (voice queries “where to buy an engineering machine” are much less common than “where to buy sneakers”).
- Automatic calls
One of the most prominent applications of voice technology. The client needs to press a button, and he can immediately begin communicating with an automated assistant. Thus, companies remove the annoying “hanging on the line” phase from communication while waiting for a response from a live consultant. Automating call centers and developing teams opens up much more significant opportunities for businesses than delegating tasks to communicate with a client. Voice assistants are a powerful tool for obtaining data, monitoring and improving the quality of service, optimizing processes, and monitoring compliance with corporate standards.
- Voice assistants in medicine
Voice interfaces become personal doctors with broad expertise – their “memory card” is practically inexhaustible. Intelligent assistants not only advise but also prescribe treatment. At the same time, robots rarely forget or lose sight of something in the analysis. An example is Triad Health AI’s medical system, which uses Google Home and Amazon Alexa to treat Parkinson’s disease.
How voice technology is implemented in contemporary mobile app development
Voice technology is becoming increasingly popular in mobile app development, as it allows users to interact with their devices more naturally and intuitively. There are several different ways that voice technology can be implemented in mobile apps, but some of the most common include the following:
- Voice commands: This feature allows users to control the app or perform specific actions using voice commands. For example, users could say “take a photo” to launch the camera app and take a picture.
- Voice recognition: This feature allows the app to recognize spoken words or phrases and respond accordingly. For example, a voice-enabled keyboard could remember when a user says “new line” and insert a line break in the text they are typing.
- Speech-to-text: This feature allows the app to transcribe spoken words into written text. This can be useful in many different apps, such as note-taking or dictation apps.
- Text-to-speech: This feature allows the app to convert written text into spoken words, which can be helpful for accessibility or for apps that want to read content to the user.
Various frameworks and libraries are also available for implementing voice technology in mobile apps, such as Apple’s SiriKit and Google’s Voice Actions API for Android. These frameworks provide pre-built functionality for everyday tasks such as sending messages, scheduling appointments, and making phone calls, saving developers a lot of time and effort.
There are also many third-party Speech Recognition APIs available, like Google Cloud Speech-to-Text API, Amazon Transcribe, and Microsoft Azure Speech Services. These services provide pre-trained models and easy-to-use APIs to get speech-to-text, text-to-speech, and other features.
Finally, it’s important to note that, when implementing voice technology in a mobile app, it’s essential to keep in mind the user experience and consider things like the accuracy of the speech recognition, the response time of the app, and the overall user flow.
Examples of voice technologies used in mobile apps
Many examples of voice technology are currently being used in mobile apps and other technology. Here are a few examples:
- Virtual personal assistants: One of the most famous examples of voice technology is virtual personal assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. These assistants can set reminders, play music, and provide weather and news updates.
- Voice search: Many mobile apps and websites now include a voice search feature, which allows users to search for content using their voice rather than typing. This feature is handy on mobile devices, where typing on a tiny keyboard can be tedious.
- Voice control of smart home devices: Voice technology can also control smart home devices, such as lights and thermostats. For example, users can say “turn on the living room lights” to control lights in their home via voice.
- Voice-enabled chatbots: Some businesses are now using voice-enabled chatbots to help customers with their inquiries. For example, a bank might use a chatbot to assist customers with account information and transactions via voice commands.
- Voice-controlled gaming: Voice technology is also used to allow players to interact with games using their voice. This can be used for things like giving commands to in-game characters, dictating in-game chat, or even controlling game elements using voice commands.
- In-car systems: Automobile manufacturers are incorporating Voice technology to control various systems in the car, such as AC, Navigation, music, and some advanced functions in the car.
- Voice dictation in typing or note-taking apps
These are just a few examples of how voice technology is being used today, and as the technology continues to improve, we can expect to see more and more innovative uses of voice technology in the future.
Main trends of voice interfaces
Although voice interfaces are quite well developed today, the technology has not yet reached its limit. In the coming years, it will develop in several directions.
- For success and visible results, bots need emotions. That is why many developers are putting their efforts into bringing the synthesized voice closer to the human one. In the future, robots will be able to speak with a local accent and insert linking words, interjections, and even slang.
- Visual development. Voice assistants will soon gain a face, which will expand the scope of their application. For example, in HR, they will be able to conduct interviews and analyze the veracity of information. Offline retail will launch bots into salesrooms in the form of interactive screens that, like consultants, will assess needs and help customers make a choice.
- The bot does not always cope with the answers in the dialogue with users. This is where a man comes to the rescue. On the one hand, customer questions are not left unattended. On the other hand, the bot learns and becomes smarter thanks to the response templates that a live manager leaves. It is also a great way to develop technology and increase consumer loyalty.
- Now voice assistants distinguish emotions of a small spectrum – from joy to anger, they can identify the gender of the interlocutor. But in some areas, there is a need to recognize the maximum range of experiences. Today, developers are working to create more “responsive” home gadgets so that they can adjust to the mood of the owner/client.
- Cross-platform. There are many individual products on the market, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, their combination in one device will expand the possibilities of voice control.
Although voice assistants are just starting to enter a phase of active growth, one thing is clear: they will definitely surprise us in the future. With improvements in speech recognition technology and the integration of bots with visual technologies, we will see a new era of automation, where voice assistants will acquire both a human voice and a face.
In the near future, voice interaction will become more widespread in almost all areas of activity. Devices capable of recognizing voice and generating it are rapidly becoming cheaper with the development of voice assistants and the ubiquity of the Internet.
ServerLess Architecture and its Expansion in 2023
What is serverless architecture
Serverless architecture is a way to build and run applications and services without managing the infrastructure. This means that instead of provisioning and managing servers, you can upload your code, and the cloud provider will run it for you, only charging you for the resources and compute time you use.
This can be done with AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, or Google Cloud Functions, for example. With these services, you can run your code in response to events such as changes to data in a database or new files uploaded to storage. Many cloud providers offer managed services, such as databases, authentication, and storage, that can easily integrate with your serverless functions to build complete, scalable applications.
It is considered a cost-effective solution as the user doesn’t have to pay for the underlying infrastructure but for the exact usage of the service.
Additionally, it allows for more efficient scalability, as the cloud provider can automatically scale the number of instances of your code running in response to changes in demand.
Serverless technologies operate on the principles of microservices. At first, the similarities are striking – event-based control. Both architectures use standalone modules that run to perform specific tasks in logical containers and are hidden from the eyes of the end user.
The difference is that microservices work on a request-response system. In Serverless, functions are unidirectional (only a request or a response) and queued. Instead of a single proxy function, Serverless uses a complex of unidirectional elements. If there is a bug, the application will not crash, and only one process will not be executed, instead of the whole set. In this case, the error is easier to find and fix.
Microservices also have to scale manually when there is a spike in load. Even if there is an autoscaling setting, you must work with each service separately, setting the necessary parameters. There is no such problem with Serverless – the headache goes to the provider.
A set of microservices still needs to be serverless. Serverless has its advantages, and working with the logic of microservices; it is straightforward to miss them.
It is optional for simple bots or microservices to introduce all the planned features into the application simultaneously. You can start and add as you expand. Scaling is automatic and virtually unlimited.
Serverless technologies allow you to integrate into an existing application quickly. In this case, almost all platforms provide APIs (via REST or message queues) with which you can develop add-ons independently of the application core.
Serverless technologies inherit the qualities of both cloud services and microservices in general.
In odes to the clouds, it always sounds something like this: you don’t need to purchase equipment, select a suitable room and hire a system administrator – and it’s good if only one. And pay as you go.
Microservices are loved for their simplified internal code for simple functions, fast turnover due to the ability to change and add code in parts without worrying about whether the whole project will fall, and limitless horizontal growth.
Learning the basics of using serverless technologies is easier and faster than learning full-fledged DevOps development. The lower the entry threshold, the easier it is to find a suitable specialist, and the sooner you can deal directly with the project.
You don’t have to figure out the bandwidth requirement; serverless solutions automatically scale with incoming traffic. There is no need to configure and maintain Kubernetes or monitor the state of containers.
The interaction principles between serverless technologies and containers are reminiscent of Docker – both are great for working with microservices. Serverless technologies save time and nerves for those who do not want to worry about the architecture. Still, Docker provides independence from the service provider and absolute control of the project at any stage.
Main features of serverless architecture
- Abstraction. You do not control the server on which your program runs. You don’t know anything about it; all the nuances of the operating system, updates, network settings, and other things are hidden. This is done so that you can focus on developing helpful functionality rather than server administration.
- Elasticity. The Serverless service provider automatically provides you with more or less computing resources, depending on your application’s load.
- Effective cost. If your application is idle, you pay nothing because it does not use computing resources at this moment. Payment occurs only for the time that your application works.
- Limited life cycle. Your application is launched in a container, and after a short time, from ten minutes to several hours, the service automatically stops it. Of course, a new container will be launched if the application needs to be called again.
Benefits of serverless architecture
- Deploy and run. The cloud provider manages the infrastructure resources. In this way, the internal IT service can focus on the business use case for software applications rather than addressing the underlying hardware. Features allow users to deploy the application assemblies and configuration files to provide the required hardware resources.
- Failsafe. Since the coding of serverless applications is logically separated from the underlying infrastructure, hardware failures have minimal impact on the software development process. Users are not required to manage applications themselves.
- Low operating costs. The infrastructure and operations management tasks are managed by cloud providers, allowing the organization to focus its efforts on building software features. Applications are released faster, resulting in faster feedback from end users and, therefore, further improvements over the subsequent software release cycles.
- Optimized billing based on usage. The pay-as-you-go billing model is well-suited for small and medium-sized (SMB) organizations that need more capital to build and manage on-premise data centers. The current OpEx model has optimized features tuned against potential over-provisioning and under-utilization of resources.
- Built-in integrations. Most cloud service providers offer integrations with various services that allow users to focus on building high-quality applications rather than customizing them.
Shortcomings of serverless architecture
- It would help if you maintained backward compatibility because another service/function could depend on your interface or business logic.
- The interaction schemes in a classic monolithic application and a distributed system are very different. It is necessary to think about asynchronous interaction, possible delays, and monitoring of individual parts of the application.
- Although your functions are isolated, the wrong architecture can still lead to cascade failure – when a mistake in one of them leads to the inoperability of many others.
- The price of great scalability is that until your function is called, it is not running. And when you need to start it, it can take up to several seconds, which can be critical for your business.
- When a request from a client goes through a dozen functions, it becomes tough to debug the possible cause of the error, if any.
- The so-called vendor lock. Functions developed for AWS will be complicated to port to, for example, Google Cloud. And not because of the processes themselves, JS is also in Google JS, but because you rarely use Serverless functions in isolation. In addition, you will use a database, message queues, logging systems, and so on, which is entirely different from provider to provider. However, if you want to, you can make this functionality independent of the cloud provider.
For what tasks is it better to use serverless
Serverless computing is best suited for cases with uneven loads with peaks in consumption. Where their application provides effective cost management and cheaper data processing, based on this, we can distinguish the following scenarios for using serverless:
- Cloud management optimization. Serverless allows not only to automate the management of cloud resources but also to move to FinOps practices – cloud cost management based on the analysis of big data and business needs. For example, you can adjust the number of virtual servers so that the bill from the cloud provider does not exceed the planned values.
- Connecting telegram bots to monitor the status of information systems. This is a convenient and requested feature for the IT department of any business.
- Data collection from IoT devices – consumer (smart watches, scales, kettles, motion and light sensors in houses, etc.) and industrial (weather sensors, facility security systems, smart farms, greenhouses, etc.). As a rule, data from IoT devices is collected and sent to the cloud at a particular time. The rest of the time, smart devices “sleep.”
- Working off-peak loads on IT infrastructure. Relevant for online stores and delivery services, which are characterized by surges in demand. For example, during sales and on the eve of holidays, although, most likely, there is a basic minimum level of resources used in this type of business and systems.
- Testing marketing theories and creating and bringing to market an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Serverless is effective when you need to create something new with unpredictable results and be able to make mistakes quickly and cheaply. This is what the startup industry needs.
When to avoid serverless architecture
When building cloud applications, there are better choices than serverless. You may want to ditch the serverless architecture altogether when it comes to the following situations:
- Fixed architecture applications. Software that requires explicit support and immutability of the underlying architecture. Security-sensitive and standalone software use cases in the defense and financial industries often face these requirements to ensure high application reliability.
- Tightly controlled environment. Use cases that require tight control over hardware and lower levels of the IT network, such as installing specific components, patching, and changing the hardcoding configuration.
- Low latency applications. Although the serverless architecture features are designed to provide speed at the system level, not all incoming requests and transactional operations are processed efficiently.
- Pre-migrated applications. A serverless architecture offers limited business value for legacy applications that have yet to move to the cloud because the internal IT service must manage the hardware regardless of the application’s architecture choice.
- Application performance limitations. Serverless functions face restrictions regarding capacity, speed, and execution time. The performance of serverless functions must meet or exceed the capacity limits of serverless services, such as the AWS Gateway timeout.
Because of these issues, a serverless architecture is usually not ideal for high-performance, complex application builds.
Future of serverless architecture in 2023
Serverless architecture is a relatively new technology and is still evolving, but it is widely believed that it has a bright future. As more companies adopt cloud computing and look for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency, the adoption of serverless is likely to continue to grow.
One of the significant benefits of serverless is its ability to automatically scale to meet changing demand, which can help reduce costs and improve the customer experience. As more organizations seek to build scalable, highly available applications, serverless is likely to become an increasingly attractive option.
Additionally, as cloud providers continue to improve their offerings and make building and deploying serverless applications more accessible, more developers will likely begin to adopt this approach. This will lead to the development of more serverless-specific tools, frameworks, and best practices, further increasing its popularity.
Another important aspect is the increasing focus on the environment. In this case, the power consumption and serverless architecture are considered a more eco-friendly solution as it reduces the need for idle capacity, which could help reduce the environmental impact of the cloud.
In conclusion, serverless architecture’s future looks promising as more organizations adopt cloud computing and cloud providers continue to improve their offerings. It is expected to become a more critical part of many organizations’ IT strategies in the coming years. It will be a popular option for building highly available, scalable, cost-effective applications and services.
Many companies are already building their IT systems in a microservice architecture, relying on containers in Docker and Kubernetes. The nature of the work of such applications in many scenarios is uneven, and these are the cases where serverless computing is most effective. In the next couple of years, companies will start using serverless computing as an alternative or addition to containers and microservices.
Why is this business? In the first stage, the costs of operating applications will be significantly reduced. In the future, this approach will simplify and reduce the cost of scaling them, increase the level of information security and make it easier to integrate applications with third-party services.
In conclusion, serverless architecture is a way to build and run applications and services without managing the underlying infrastructure. This allows organizations to focus on writing code and to make their applications while the cloud provider handles the provisioning, scaling, and management of the servers. Serverless provides several benefits, including cost-effectiveness, better scalability, automatic scaling, and environmental sustainability. The future of serverless architecture looks promising as more organizations adopt cloud computing and cloud providers continue improving their offerings, making it easier to build and deploy serverless applications. Serverless is expected to become essential to many organizations’ IT strategies in the coming years. It will be a popular option for building highly available, scalable, cost-effective applications and services.
- Writing clean, efficient, and maintainable code
- Building interactive and user-friendly interfaces
- Working with designers to implement visual elements
- Debugging and troubleshooting code
- Optimizing applications for performance and scalability
- Loops: Loops are used to execute a block of code multiple times. A developer should be familiar with different loops (e.g., for, while, do-while) and understand how to use them effectively.
- Functions: Functions are blocks of code that can be called and executed multiple times. A strong developer should be able to define functions, understand how to pass arguments to them, and return values from them.
- React: React is a popular library for building user interfaces. It is known for its efficient rendering and ability to manage states in large applications.
- Angular: Angular is a comprehensive framework for building single-page applications (SPAs). It includes many features and tools for creating interactive and feature-rich applications.
- js: Vue.js is a progressive framework for building user interfaces. It is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it a good choice for developers new to front-end development.
Pay attention to a candidate’s ability to write clean, efficient, and maintainable code.
This is because code that is well-written and easy to understand is easier to work with and modify as the needs of the application evolve. Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s code quality include the following:
- Readability: Is the code easy to read and understand? Is it well-documented and commented on?
- Structure: Is the code organized in a logical and easy-to-follow manner? Is it broken down into smaller, modular pieces?
- Reusability: Can pieces of the code be easily reused in other parts of the application?
- Scalability: Will the code handle an increase in workload or traffic without degrading performance?
- Maintainability: Will it be easy to modify and update the code as the needs of the application change?
A candidate who can write clean, efficient, and maintainable code will be an asset to your team and help ensure your application’s long-term success.
Look for candidates with experience building interactive and user-friendly front-end interfaces
The front-end interface is what users interact with and is often the face of the application, so it must be visually appealing and easy to use. Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s experience building front-end interfaces include:
- Experience with design principles: Does the candidate have a good eye for aesthetics and understand how to apply design principles to create visually appealing interfaces?
- Understanding of user experience (UX) design: Does the candidate understand the importance of creating a user-friendly interface and have experience with UX design principles and practices?
- Experience with responsive design: Does the candidate have experience building interfaces that look and function well on various devices and screen sizes?
A candidate with experience building interactive and user-friendly front-end interfaces will be able to create interfaces that engage and delight users, leading to a better overall experience with the application.
Consider a candidate’s problem-solving skills and ability to troubleshoot and debug code
This is because all software applications will have bugs and issues at some point, and it is essential to have a developer who can identify and fix these issues quickly and effectively. Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s problem-solving skills include:
- Ability to identify the root cause of issues: Can the candidate identify the underlying cause of a problem rather than just fixing the symptoms?
- Experience with debugging tools: Does the candidate have experience with devices like the browser developer console and debugging tools built into their text editor?
- Ability to think critically: Can the candidate approach problems logically and methodically and develop creative solutions when necessary?
- Attention to detail: Does the candidate have a keen eye for spotting small details that could be causing issues?
A candidate with strong problem-solving skills and the ability to troubleshoot and debug code will be an asset to your team and will help to ensure that your application is stable and reliable.
Look for candidates with strong communication skills, as they may need to work closely with designers, back-end developers, and other team members
It is important to look for candidates with strong communication skills, as developers often need to work closely with other team members, including designers and back-end developers, to build a successful application. Good communication skills can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can help to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications. Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s communication skills include the following:
- Ability to clearly articulate their thoughts and ideas: Can the candidate clearly express themselves in written and verbal communication?
- Ability to listen actively: Does the candidate listen to others and ask questions to clarify their understanding?
- Ability to work well in a team: Does the candidate have experience working on collaborative projects and can contribute effectively to a team?
- Ability to effectively communicate technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders: Can the candidate explain complex technical concepts to non-technical team members in a way that is easy to understand?
Strong communication skills are essential for a developer to work effectively with other team members and ensure that the project is completed successfully.
Consider a candidate’s experience with Agile development methodologies and agile tools like JIRA
Agile is a set of principles and practices for developing software collaboratively and iteratively. It emphasizes flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to respond quickly to change. Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s experience with Agile include:
- Experience with Agile methodologies: Does the candidate have experience working on software development projects using Agile methods, such as Scrum or Kanban?
- Experience with Agile tools: Does the candidate have experience using tools like JIRA to track and manage tasks, bugs, and other work items?
- Understanding of Agile principles: Does the candidate have a solid understanding of the principles of Agile, such as continuous delivery, incremental development, and self-organizing teams?
- Experience participating in Agile ceremonies: Does the candidate have experience participating in Agile ceremonies like stand-ups, sprint planning, and retrospectives?
Having experience with Agile methodologies and tools can be beneficial for a developer, as it can help them to work more efficiently and effectively in a fast-paced, collaborative environment.
The field of web development is constantly evolving, and it is essential to have developers who are willing and able to adapt to new technologies and techniques. Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s passion for staying up-to-date include:
- Attendance at conferences and meetups: Does the candidate attend meetings and demonstrations related to web development or watch talks online?
- Personal projects and side hustles: Does the candidate have any personal projects or side hustles related to web development, which could indicate a passion for staying up-to-date and learning new things?
- Blogging or writing: Does the candidate have a blog, or have they written articles related to web development? This could indicate an interest in sharing their knowledge and staying current with the latest developments.
A candidate passionate about staying up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices in web development will be an asset to your team. It will help ensure that your application uses the most current and effective technologies and techniques.
Consider a candidate’s willingness to mentor and guide less experienced team members
Having a developer on the team who is willing and able to share their knowledge and experience with others can be beneficial in several ways:
- It can help to increase the overall level of knowledge and skill within the team.
- It can improve team morale and create a positive, supportive work environment.
- It can help to foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the team.
Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s willingness to mentor and guide others include:
- Previous experience mentoring or teaching: Does the candidate have previous experience mentoring or teaching others, either formally or informally?
- Positive feedback from previous team members: Have previous team members mentioned that the candidate was helpful and supportive in sharing their knowledge and experience?
- Demonstrated willingness to help others: Has the candidate been willing to help others and share their knowledge in the past?
A candidate willing and able to mentor and guide less experienced team members will be an asset to your team and help create a positive and supportive work environment.
Don’t forget to ask about a candidate’s personal projects and side hustles, as these can be great indicators of their passion for the field and their willingness to go above and beyond
Personal projects and side hustles can also be an excellent way for a candidate to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices in web development and gain experience with new technologies and techniques. Some specific things to look for when evaluating a candidate’s personal projects and side hustles include:
- Relevance to web development: Are the candidate’s personal projects and side hustles related to web development or related fields? This can be a good indicator of their interests and passions.
- Complexity and scope: Are the candidate’s personal projects and side hustles ambitious and challenging, or are they more basic and straightforward? More complex projects can indicate the candidate’s skill level and willingness to take on new challenges.
- Evidence of completion: Has the candidate completed any personal projects or side hustles, or are they still in progress? Finished projects can be a good indicator of the candidate’s ability to see projects through to completion.
Asking about a candidate’s personal projects and side hustles can provide valuable insight into their interests, skills, and work ethic. It can help to identify candidates who are truly passionate about web development.
Top Python Frameworks and Libraries that will elevate your work
Introduction about Python
Python is a general-purpose programming language widely used in everything from creating banal web pages to controlling rovers on other planets.
The scripting language is universal and is the most popular programming language in the world (according to the Tiobe edition, which compiles the top of the most popular languages).
It’s easy to start with Python, it can build large and complex systems, and it has a wealth of libraries to do just about anything.
Any software product, regardless of complexity and specifics, can be created in Python and one of the hundreds of frameworks developed.
Even full-fledged data management systems are written in Python, which later becomes analogs of mastodons like WordPress and Drupal. Also, Python is used to create auxiliary tools for working with the web, such as scrappers that collect information from other people’s web pages.
Powerful applications and frameworks have been built in Python, such as the GIMP image editor, the Ubuntu app store, 3D graphics editors, BitTorrent networks, etc. The list can be continued for a long time.
Also, Python often becomes an integral part of such applications. For example, Sublime Text is written in C++, while its extensions and plugins are written in Python.
Apps for iOS and Android are built in hundreds of different languages, and Python is one of them. More often, of course, this concerns their server component because more common frameworks or some highly specialized technologies are responsible for the interface. Nevertheless, Python is often responsible for the backend (that is, the program’s internal logic).
Python is used in game development precisely because of its ability to create reliable and well-thought-out scripts using the language. They are responsible for the movement of characters, the performance of any actions, the transition from one event in the game to another, and so on.
Like many other languages, Python has a package manager called pip. It allows you to quickly, or instead in one command, download any of all available libraries and frameworks. There are more than 300 thousand in python, and the daily download is several tens of millions.
However, among the many, some are used more than others, are very popular, perform important functions for the programmer, and supply very cool tools that hundreds of thousands of programmers worldwide use daily.
There are many Python frameworks available. Which one you choose will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Some popular ones include:
Django is a high-level Python web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. It is an open-source framework that allows developers to create web applications of almost any level. It is among the best Python frameworks and deservedly popular.
Django has a huge set of additional libraries and support from a huge community of developers, which significantly simplifies and speeds up development.
Key features of Django:
- the presence of its ORM (from the English. Object-Relational Mapping, “object-relational mapping”);
- the built-in administrative interface (in simple terms – admin panel);
- template engine;
- form library;
- caching and internalization system;
- authorization and authentication system.
Flask is a lightweight Python web framework that provides useful tools and features for creating web applications.
The Flask framework has a small source codebase, which is why it is called a microframework. But this does not mean that it has fewer features than the same Django. By default, it only includes a request handler and templating engine, and the simplest Flask application might be just a few lines long. The developers of this framework consciously wanted to keep the core simple but extensible.
Nevertheless, with the help of Flask, you can implement almost any task: from a simple one-page site to a serious project with authorization, authentication, and other features. Flask is suitable for tasks that require flexibility in the choice of components. The developer himself decides what is useful to him in his work.
Is Flask at the heart of such large services? like Reddit, Netflix, Pinterest, Twilio, and taxi aggregator Lyft.
Key features of Flask:
- built-in development server and debugger;
- request dispatching in RESTful style;
- built-in support for unit testing;
- using the Jinja2 template engine;
- 100% WSGI 1.0 compatible;
- Lots of community-provided extensions.
Pyramid is a flexible Python web framework suitable for small and large applications. The growing popularity of the Pyramid framework is universal. It can be used for projects of any level of complexity. It has earned high marks in the Python developer community for its transparency and proven reliability. Tech giants like Mozilla, Yelp, Dropbox, and SurveyMonkey use it.
Megaframeworks tend to make decisions for the developer regarding the architecture of the application or the choice of specific components, such as ORM. But if your needs don’t match their point of view, you will end up fighting their choice.
Microframeworks, on the contrary, do not impose any solutions, which sometimes play into your hands. However, when your application grows and needs new components, you are left with a choice in the matter of choice.
In both cases, the focus is on getting started on the project: either too much or too little. Pyramid is the golden mean. This framework can be a micro-framework at the very beginning of the project, and as it grows, it will provide everything you need at every stage to bring the project to a successful completion.
Pyramid key features:
- the ability to write an application in one file;
- serving requests for static files;
- toolbar for debugging the application directly in the browser;
- extensible interchangeable templates (template);
- built-in internationalization;
- HTTP caching; built-in support for sessions;
- transaction management, including when working with several databases at once;
- flexible, extensible authentication and authorization;
- repetitive configuration automation.
Tornado is a Python web framework and asynchronous networking library. It was developed at FriendFeed and then open-sourced by Facebook. It is designed to handle large numbers of simultaneous connections, making it well-suited for real-time web applications.
Some key features of Tornado include:
- a non-blocking web server that can scale to thousands of open connections;
- support for WebSockets and long-polling, allowing real-time communication between the server and clients;
- a simple template engine for rendering HTML and other content;
- support for third-party authentication and authorization (e.g., OAuth).
Web2py is a full-stack Python web framework that includes a web server, a database, and a web-based IDE.
The Web2py framework was originally conceived as a learning tool focused on usability and ease of use. For example, it lacks project configuration files. The framework’s architecture was developed by analogy with solutions such as Ruby on Rails and Django.
The whole process of development, debugging, testing, and administration of a remote database, can be organized without any third-party tools through its web interface, which is also a web2py application.
In addition, each application is provided with an auto-generated Django-like administration interface.
Key Features of Web2py:
- integrated web development environment;
- built-in components for all primary functions;
- mechanisms for authentication and access control by roles;
- jQuery support for Ajax and UI effects;
- support for internationalization;
- automatic error logging along with context.
CherryPy is a Python web framework designed for speed, simplicity, and flexibility. This framework, which is over a decade old, has proven itself to be exceptionally fast and stable. One of the original goals of the founder of the project, Remy Delon, was to make CherryPy as consistent as possible with the “pythonic style” principle. This allowed the developers to use the framework like a regular Python module and not think about the specifics of web programming. They can create web applications in much the same way as any other object-oriented Python program.
CherryPy can act as a standalone web server or run by another server application.
Key Features of CherryPy:
- the reliable multi-threaded web server that complies with the HTTP/1.1 standard;
- the ability to run different HTTP servers (for example, on multiple ports) at the same time;
- built-in tools for working with sessions, caching, authentication, static content;
- powerful configuration system;
- built-in profiling and testing support;
- support for Python 2.7+, 3.5+, PyPy, Jython.
Bottle is a fast, simple, and lightweight Python web framework. It is distributed as a single file module with no dependencies other than the Python standard library. It was originally developed solely for building web APIs.
Out-of-the-box functionality includes a built-in web server, templating, request routing, and proprietary tools and utilities. Bottle allows you to create simple applications for personal use. It’s also a good example of learning frameworks, as well as for quick prototyping. For example, Netflix used Bottle to create its web interfaces.
Bottle key features:
- fast built-in pythonic-style template engine;
- built-in development web server;
- a simple mechanism for routing requests to functions with support for both static and dynamic addresses;
- easy access to cookies, file uploads, request headers, and metadata.
Many libraries are available for Python, providing a wide range of functionality and supporting many different use cases. Here are a few examples of popular Python libraries:
NumPy is a library for scientific computing with Python, providing support for large, multi-dimensional arrays and matrices and an extensive collection of mathematical functions to operate on these arrays.
This library is widely used for machine learning. That is why other libraries also use it (TensorFlow). The most useful option provided by this tool is the array interface.
Now let’s look at the most useful Numpy options, which include:
- use of the library to simplify the most complex mathematical operations;
- the arrival of an impressive amount of materials with open source;
- simplicity and intuitiveness.
As for the direct use of the library, Numpy can help transmit sound waves, images, and binary streams. Full-stack developers must know it to perform machine learning operations; usually, it is added to simplify the task.
Pandas: a library for data manipulation and analysis, providing tools for reading and writing data, handling missing values, and working with time series and other data sets.
It is a machine-learning library that provides high-level data structures and a wide range of analysis tools. A distinctive feature of Pandas is the ability to translate the most complex operations with information using just one or two commands. This library contains a lot of ways to combine data, group it and filter it.
Pandas features include:
- the ability to simplify data manipulation;
- support for sorting, visualization, and other options.
Pandas provides a lot of flexibility and functionality when used with other libraries. In addition, users can use it in various operations, data sorting applications, etc.
SciPy is a library for scientific computing in Python, providing functions for optimization, linear algebra, signal and image processing, and more.
This library is popular among engineers and developers due to the fact that there are various modules.
Here are some exciting features of SciPy:
- the development of this machine-learning library was carried out using Numpy;
- it supports various numerical programs, integration, and optimization;
- SciPy submodules are well documented.
Using SciPy to solve various differential equations and linear algebra is possible.
Matplotlib is a Python library for creating static, animated, and interactive visualizations.
By using this library, it is possible to create different graphics at the same time (including two-dimensional ones). It is also used for operations with figures. Engineers and developers often use Matplotlib to work and edit quality drawings. Learning this library is quite simple and understandable, which adds to its popularity.
- the ability to use different tools (graphical interfaces and Python scripts, Jupyter notebooks, Ipython shells);
- integration with Seaborn;
- the ability to develop high-quality images for publications;
- printable image formats.
If the user needs help, a huge community is dedicated to this library. There you can get comprehensive information and training in Matplotlib.
The use of this library is quite extensive. These are object-oriented APIs for embeddable charts in a variety of applications.
Seaborn is a Python library for creating statistical visualizations based on Matplotlib.
Seaborn uses other libraries (NumPy, Pandas) and is used for data visualization. It contains options for plotting graphs based on sets of information.
Features and benefits of Seaborn include:
- aggregation and display – functions built into the library to help create graphs;
- high-level interface for building statistical graphs (for easy understanding and study of data);
- scatter and pie charts, histograms, error messages;
- color selection tools – for finding patterns in data.
Seaborn is in demand among regression models. It is effective for creating various themes stylized as Matplotlib graphics and for plotting time series statistics. It is also used to visualize one and two-dimensional data.
Scikit-Learn is a library for machine learning in Python, providing tools for data preprocessing, model selection, and evaluation.
This library is considered one of the best for working with complex data. It integrates with NumPy and SciPy. Scikit-Learn is frequently modified and improved. The cross-validation option, which allows more than one metric to be applied, is one such optimization.
Features of Scikit-Learn:
- the ability to extract elements from texts and pictures;
- cross-validation – many different methods for checking the accuracy of a controlled model on invisible information;
- many machine learning algorithms and the ability to perform expensive tasks (clustering, factor analysis, etc.).
Scikit-Learn is used to implement common machine learning and data mining tasks.
TensorFlow is an open-source library for machine learning and deep learning developed by Google. It is easy to learn and has several sets of useful tools. However, this library is not limited to machine learning; it is used for differentiable programming.
Features of TensorFlow include:
- a simple architecture that allows you to quickly learn programming and create machine learning models;
- it is possible to move the created learning models to any device, cloud storage;
- the presence of an active execution option makes it possible to create models for machine learning, debug and manipulate the latter.
TensorFlow has all the solutions for debugging, running, and other tasks, problems regarding machine learning.
Python is one of the most popular programming languages today and is widely used to create a range of applications.
There are many useful popular Python frameworks to streamline the development process and speed up time to market. There are full-stack, non-full-stack, and micro-frameworks for Python development.
Python libraries are a collection of useful features that eliminate the need to write code from scratch. There are over 137,000 Python libraries in existence today. Python libraries play a vital role in developing machine learning applications, data processing, data visualization, image processing, data processing, and more.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) – What is New?
What are Progressive Web Apps (PWA)?
Some of the key features of PWAs include the following:
- Responsive design: PWAs are designed to work on any device, including desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones.
- Fast loading: PWAs are optimized for fast loading, which means they load quickly and provide a smooth user experience.
- Offline support: PWAs can work offline, which means users can access them even when they don’t have an Internet connection.
- Push notifications: PWAs can send push notifications to users, which allows them to stay informed about new content or updates.
- Home screen installation: PWAs can be installed on the user’s home screen, just like a native app.
PWAs are an excellent way for businesses to reach users on the web, offering several benefits over traditional native apps. For example, they are easier to develop and maintain and don’t require users to go through an app store to download them. They are also more discoverable since they can be found through search engines and shared through links.
Differences between PWA and native apps
- PWA can be downloaded on any gadget in Google, Opera, Firefox, and Microsoft browsers, regardless of screen size and other specifications. In addition, the developers of these browsers will prompt users to install PWA on their second visit to the site.
- App developers note that creating a progressive app is easier and faster than a regular site.
- No backwards compatible API is needed. In the case of PWAs, users run the exact version of the site’s code (unlike desktop apps).
How progressive web apps work
Progressive Web Apps has two parts. The first is a wrapper that displays the structure of the page. The second is the content itself. There are four basic components required for a progressive app to work.
- Web manifest
The web manifest is one of the progressive and most important web technologies for the operation of an application. It is a JSON text file with the information to load content and display an icon on the home screen. The manifest is embedded in the HTML page of the site as a tag.
- Service Worker
It can be considered a proxy layer that passes all browser requests through itself. It has access to cached files and the site, so the Service Worker allows you to implement almost any business task with simple logic from a programming point of view.
- SSL certificate
For a progressive application to work, data must be transmitted over the secure HTTPS protocol. To do this, you need an SSL certificate – an electronic document on the site server for secure data exchange between it and the client browser. You don’t need to pay for it.
The site mustn’t contain links to unsafe sites; otherwise, the browser will not be able to display correctly. Most often there is a problem with images obtained from third-party resources. To avoid it, you need to save pictures to yourself or a service that works using the HTTPS security protocol.
- Application Shell
Application Shell is a GUI template, its static part. The Application Shell is in many ways similar to the shell of a native application: it is loaded with dynamic information when the application starts.
Benefits of PWAs
There are several benefits to using Progressive Web Apps (PWAs):
- Improved performance: PWAs are designed to be fast and responsive, loading quickly and providing a smooth user experience. This can help increase user engagement and reduce bounce rates.
- Offline support: PWAs can work offline, which means users can access them even when they don’t have an Internet connection. This can be especially useful for users in areas with poor or intermittent connectivity.
- Increased reach: PWAs can be accessed from any device with a modern web browser, which means they have a more expansive space than native apps that are tied to a specific platform.
- Easy to discover: PWAs can be found through search engines and shared through links, which makes them easier to discover than native apps that are only available through app stores.
- Cost-effective: PWAs are generally easier and cheaper to develop and maintain than native apps since they don’t require separate codebases for each platform.
- Improved user experience: PWAs provide a native app-like experience to users, including features such as push notifications and the ability to install them on the home screen. This can improve the user experience and increase engagement.
- Cross-platform. PWAs are first developed as web applications and should work on all browsers and operating systems.
- As a rule, the size of a PWA application does not exceed 1 MB. It’s smaller than a mobile app.
- PWA application works with functions: geolocation, camera, microphone.
- Indexing by search engines. PWAs are recognized as websites and appear in search results.
- For example, PWA Spotify users can listen to saved tracks offline.
- Fast loading – as copies of application pages are stored in the browser cache.
- Easy installation. As a rule, PWA appears in the list of applications of the device with one click.
- Fast updates. New versions of PWAs are not uploaded to the app store but run as soon as the user refreshes the page.
Disadvantages of a PWAs
While Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) offer many benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider:
- Limited functionality: PWAs may not have access to all the features and functionality of native apps, depending on the capabilities of the web browser and the device.
- Lack of app store visibility: PWAs are not listed in app stores, so they may have less visibility and be more challenging for users to discover.
- Limited control over the user experience: Since PWAs are accessed through a web browser, the user’s experience may be influenced by the browser’s user interface and functionality.
- Potential security risks: PWAs may be vulnerable to the same security risks as any other web-based application, such as cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks or malicious code injection.
- Limited integration with device hardware: PWAs may have limited access to device hardware such as the camera or GPS, depending on the capabilities of the web browser and the device.
Overall, the disadvantages of PWAs depend on the specific needs of the application and the target audience. In some cases, a PWA may be a suitable solution, while in other cases a native app may be a better choice.
What tasks can be solved with a PWA-based application
- Encourage repeat sales.
- Simplify company search. Access to the company in 1 tap on the screen.
- Increase brand awareness. The icon (logo) of the company is always visible to the user.
- Increase the average bill of a transaction by upselling products using push notifications.
- Stay in touch with the client. Send notifications to the customer that the goods have arrived at the pickup point. Or that the item will be delivered today.
- Save on advertising. Now you do not need to set up a catch-up ad with a new promotion. It is enough to send notifications that your customers will notice.
- Get rid of competition in search results. Your customers contact through an application with no competitors, unlike search results.
Which businesses are suitable for PWAs
Suitable for all businesses whose services customers use regularly.
Customers will be able to re-order the service in 1 click.
You will be able to analyze the frequency of orders by each customer and send cleaning reminders in advance, increasing the frequency of purchases.
- Restaurants, cafes, pizzerias, and delivery networks
Customers can order products or book a table in 1 click.
You can encourage customers to order more by sending promotional codes with discounts and promotions.
You can use loyalty cards using the application and QR codes.
- Online shopping
Customers can find you with one click and select the desired product without distractions. And if they put an item in their cart but didn’t checkout, you can incentivize them to buy. This is done with the help of notifications with a discount or a gift.
Customers will be able to choose goods without the Internet. And when it appears, the data is automatically loaded to you.
Notify the customer about promotions or order status changes.
- Online courses
You can create a page where your courses will be available and open to your customers.
You can send notifications about the start of an online event if you are running classes, marathons, or webinars.
- Online media
Your users will be able to find you in 1 click, increasing the frequency of visits to your resource.
Users will not be distracted by other sites, which will increase engagement.
Users will be able to receive notifications about new publications on topics of interest to them.
You can earn additional income by sending advertisements using push notifications.
- Barbershops and the beauty industry
You can analyze the order frequency of each customer and send them reminders to visit your establishment in advance.
Upsell skin care products to your customers with push notifications.
- Network companies
You can notify customers when new products arrive or about delivery status.
Users will be able to find you in 1 click, increasing the frequency of visits to your resource.
Customers will be able to select the desired product without distractions. And if they put the product in the cart but did not place an order, you can remind them of this and encourage them to buy using notifications with a discount or a gift.
Customers will be able to choose goods without the Internet. And when it appears, the data is automatically loaded to you.
- Car services
Remind customers to change the oil or do other periodic auto maintenance work.
Notify the customer about the status of the repair.
Thank loyal customers with gifts.
Upsell car care products with push notifications
- Equipment sharing services
Users will be able to find you in 1 click, which will help them quickly solve problems that have arisen.
Send notifications about the vehicle’s state (the car is booked) or about new promotions and discounts.
Thank loyal customers with gifts.
PWAs combine the best features of mobile and web applications and improve the quality of customer service.
Potential clients can:
- install PWA from the site in one click;
- make purchases and view content offline;
- save space on your smartphone – PWA weighs up to 50 MB (more often – up to 1 MB).
Benefits for business owners:
- instant download speed of the catalog on the devices of potential customers;
- the ability to download PWA from the site without using the app store;
- sending PUSH notifications, which allows you to make additional sales, send essential reminders, inform the target audience about promotions and new products;
- reducing the cost of retargeting;
- increase conversions and sales.
The increase in loyalty and satisfaction of the target audience is the leading indicator that Progressive Web Apps will become even more popular shortly.
The Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Technology: The Basics
What is the blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) technology
Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a cloud-based service that allows organizations to build, host, and use their blockchain applications, smart contracts, and functions on the cloud. BaaS providers offer a platform and infrastructure for organizations to develop and deploy blockchain applications without the need to set up and maintain their blockchain network.
BaaS is often used by organizations that want to leverage the benefits of blockchain technology but do not have the resources or expertise to build and maintain their blockchain infrastructure. BaaS providers typically offer a range of services, including blockchain platform hosting, security, and maintenance, as well as support for developing and deploying blockchain applications.
Some examples of BaaS providers include IBM Blockchain, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services.
Blockchain as a service company bridges an enterprise blockchain platform and enterprise companies. Typically, each enterprise may need more customization than the platform initially developed.
Because usually, these platforms offer a generalized version of blockchain technology, and frankly, not all companies can integrate this platform.
Some businesses may need more privacy, and some may not. But customizing the platform with your development team might not be the ideal solution. In addition, developers who have never developed or worked with blockchain platforms will leave many security gaps, and in the long run, this will hurt the company itself.
Blockchains are everywhere these days, gradually taking over all markets. Why not? Blockchain offers many applications that can provide a faster exit than our traditional network system. And now, with all the businesses exploring blockchain, a different kind of market is emerging.
Blockchain as a Service, or BAAS, is another market that is a big part of the blockchain economy. Considering so many requirements of this new technology, it was pretty obvious. If you are among the blockchain enthusiasts looking for a good blockchain as a service option, then you have come to the right place.
Blockchain is becoming more and more popular not only in cryptocurrencies but also in financial transactions where security and transparency are a must. However, it is costly and technologically difficult to create, maintain and operate a blockchain. This is why many small and medium-sized companies are hesitant to invest entirely in blockchain, even though its benefits are clear. However, blockchain as a service can quickly solve this problem.
This is based on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, where a company invests explicitly in the blockchain’s creation, maintenance, and operation. That company can then offer the benefits of the blockchain to other companies as a service by charging a fee. They can provide blockchain on distributed ledgers like Ethereum, Bitcoin, R3 Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, Quorum, etc., along with edge services like system security, bandwidth management, resource optimization, etc.
Thus, many small and medium-sized companies that do not want to create and maintain their blockchain systems from scratch can still get the benefits of blockchain for a nominal fee. These companies can focus on their core business and get the added value from the blockchain without becoming technology experts. Thus, they benefit from blockchain, including increased security, while reducing the risk of investing in blockchain as a service (BaaS).
How does BAAS work?
Blockchain as a service works in a relatively simple way. BAAS providers will set up your blockchain implementation, but you will need to pay them. So by paying for BAAS, you will be paying BAAS providers to deploy and maintain your blockchain nodes.
In addition, this process requires BAAS providers to handle internal services, in particular end-to-end services for their business and customers.
In addition, BAAS providers take care of and maintain important blockchain technology artifacts. In addition, this also includes hosting requirements, security protocols such as layer hack protection, appropriate resource allocation, bandwidth management, and more.
This way, when using BAAS solutions, you can focus on your core business instead of worrying about network statistics and performance issues.
Blockchain as a Service provider provides developers with a framework to build blockchain-based applications, functions, and smart contracts in exchange for utility tokens. Since smart contracts are required to run the BaaS infrastructure developers use, utility tokens are used to pay for their launch and execution. The BaaS provider has already developed complete toolkits, and an intuitive user interface for users to build their dApp projects, most of which are custom presets, so you pay money to create your dApp seamlessly.
What are the benefits of BaaS?
The three main advantages of BaaS are that it is cost-effective, easy to use, and requires little knowledge of the blockchain.
To create your blockchain application with your hosting, the costs will be high, which turns off many people with dApp ideas because not only does their vision require a lot of money, but it also requires a lot of money to maintain it.
It would be best to have blockchain infrastructure, programmers, Software, hardware, licensing, consulting, bandwidth costs, security, etc. All this can quickly add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To build your blockchain dapp as a service provider, you ease that burden by allowing the provider to maintain the software services your dapp uses, doing most of it for you in exchange for a fee. As long as the platform allows for a reasonable degree of customization, using the blockchain as a service provider to help bring your dApp to life is incredibly cost-effective as it is much more expensive to maintain a whole team of experts to update and manage the Software constantly.
Easy to use
Blockchain applications, especially when you start adding new features, are incredibly complex technology that can take months or even years to develop before being used by a wider audience. Using blockchain as a service, since they offer pre-built toolkits and customizable templates, you can build your dApp quickly and efficiently. This convenient service covers most of your dApp’s initial needs.
Extensive customization options
Similar to a managed website hosting platform like WordPress or Wix, Blockchain as a Service providers have customizable templates and toolkits ready for you to plug and play and create your own dApp. This allows you to focus on your business and front-end development, and all you have to worry about is whether the template fits your dApp needs. You can choose the template that best suits your product and then change it as it grows and has new requirements.
Little knowledge required
To create your self-hosted blockchain application, you need much knowledge, and it can take years to acquire all this knowledge, not to mention the money you need to accept it. Blockchain as a service allows you to build a dApp without that knowledge because they compressed it and gave you the tools. Now they have significantly reduced the development time. But don’t be fooled; you will still need some knowledge of how blockchains and dApps work, but much less than if you were doing the development yourself.
What are the disadvantages of BaaS?
The downsides of BaaS are that because you didn’t do any internal development, if something goes wrong, you have no control, and business continuity could be in question if your provider shuts down or changes its terms.
Lack of control
The cloud service model that allows you to customize and build a dApp makes it easy to work with the back-end, but when something related to the back-end goes wrong, you have no control over how the technical problem is resolved. Users of your dApp will be the first to come to you to resolve a technical issue, and you will have to contact the BaaS provider. This can lead to delays and distrust from your users if it happens frequently.
Another downside to trusting blockchain as a service platform is that you build your business on it. When you agree, you need their continuity and longevity as their own company for yours to survive. If your provider somehow goes bust or fails to fulfill their part of your deal by maintaining their infrastructure and adding new features, disruptions to your service can be costly.
However, these drawbacks can be mitigated by simply choosing the platform you build on and carefully selecting a platform that doesn’t block you. A blockchain lock is when you are tied to using only one blockchain. So now that Ethereum fees are high, it is a risk because you are locked into this blockchain.
By choosing a “blockchain independent” platform, you reduce the problems that come with sticking to just one blockchain. You use multiple networks, so if one network is down or the fees are astronomical, you have options to get around that.
How to choose the right BaaS platform
Choosing the right vendor is critical because it is the foundation upon which you build your application and business. Your experience can be smooth and hassle-free with the right supplier, and you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for. Choosing the right platform depends on many factors, so we’ve narrowed it down to the primary factors you want to pay attention to.
Reputation and experience
One of the first things you should look for when looking for a supplier is their reputation and experience. How long have they been providing services? Who are their current clients? Do they have some scandals behind them or a clean track record? See what they are known for, some specialize in specific areas or blockchains, some are known for better security or mor; solemnization. They are worth paying attention to if they have satisfied customers and a clean reputation.
If it’s a relatively new company, look at what early adopters and investors are saying and the company’s roadmap. Do they have sponsors and investors? Many promising companies are showing good results.
Smart contract integration
Smart contracts are exclusive to the blockchain and are one of the benefits of building a dApp on it. Smart contracts not only include the terms of the agreement but also enforce them, providing for penalties in case one of the parties violates the terms. It is a complex technology required for many business transactions on the blockchain. It is essential to understand if you will use smart contracts and choose a provider according to their smart contract integration.
Frameworks and blockchain network
Ethereum is not the only blockchain that can host dApps and gives you many more options. When choosing a provider, make sure it offers deployment on the blockchain you are interested in and uses the same framework you will be using for your dApp.
Pricing and support
Price is, of course, an essential factor. You want to pay for quality service in a way that fits your budget. And since you’re using a third-party app to deploy a dApp, look for a provider with good customer support. God forbid there will be technical problems on their part, and you won’t be able to solve them because they don’t have much support.
Popular BaaS providers
Here are some of the most:
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
An industry leader across the board, AWS is integrating blockchain-based networks and business processes for some of the world’s largest companies. They deploy their BaaS on Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. You can create with a free tier for a year and run a dapp in a few minutes by watching short tutorials. As a side note, AWS is a centralized service, which means they create, owns, and controls its software service offerings.
Blockstream’s BaaS enables the creation of scalable solutions for the Bitcoin ecosystem and protocol. Their technology is accelerating the adoption of Bitcoin-based peer-to-peer funding. They allow the introduction of new features in Bitcoin and the issuance of new digital assets using sidechains.
Leeway Hertz is unique in that they offer you a way to build your dApp and blockchain consulting to help you develop your idea and analyze the potential of blockchain for your business case. They have a whole process to take your dapp from concept to deployment.
Pontem is a BaaS provider that provides a bridge between the regulated and unregulated world of cryptocurrencies. Pontem allows users to build, test, and deploy dApps on the Polkadot blockchain to test market fit before they can deploy dApps on the Facebook Diem permissioned blockchain. Unlike AWS, a centralized solution, Pontem uses software services from other partners, such as a structure from Pinknode and oracle services from ORAO, to add to the platform’s decentralization.
VironIT is another large software development comp platform’s decentralization. With VironIT, you can go through all the steps from consulting to deployment. They offer a variety of BaaS so that you can do anything from smart contract development to blockchain development, even mobile apps with blockchain integration.
The future development of BaaS
The future of BaaS looks bright as it continues to grow in popularity and become an increasingly important part of the development ecosystem. Several trends are likely to shape the future development of BaaS platforms. Some of the key trends to watch include:
- Serverless architectures: As the use of serverless architectures continues to grow, BaaS platforms will need to adapt to support this trend. This could involve the development of new tools and services designed explicitly for serverless environments and improvements to existing BaaS offerings to make them more compatible with serverless architectures.
- Data security and privacy: As concerns about data security and privacy continue rising, BaaS platforms must prioritize protecting their users’ data. This could involve the implementation of stronger security measures and the development of new tools and services to help developers build applications that prioritize data privacy.
- Low-code and no-code development: The demand for low-code and no-code development platforms is expected to grow in the coming years. BaaS providers will need to offer more user-friendly platforms that enable developers to build applications more quickly and efficiently, even if they have limited coding experience.
- Integration with other platforms and technologies: As the development ecosystem becomes more complex, BaaS platforms will need seamless integration with a wide range of media and technologies. This will allow developers to build more powerful and feature-rich applications that utilize the latest technologies.
Blockchain as a service is another crucial element on the way to mass blockchain adoption. With the ability to create and deploy dApps more easily, millions of developers using services like AWS will be able to create decentralized applications easily. BaaS makes building a blockchain application more accessible than ever before and reduces the cost of doing it yourself; it bridges the gap between the knowledge and tools to create a decentralized application and people with unique ideas they want to implement.
Node.JS and Faster Data Manipulations
What is Node.js?
What is Node.js needed for?
First, let’s clear up two crucial points: what is Node and what it is not.
What Node is NOT:
- It’s not a framework, and it’s a server.
- It’s not multi-threaded. It runs on the same thread with a callback.
What is Node:
- It is a cross-platform for deploying real-time web applications.
- It provides you with asynchronous APIs (driven by I/O-type events)
- It starts a single-threaded event-based loop, so all executions become non-blocking.
The Nod platform is used for server-side programming. Most often, its code is used to create web applications, sites (and web pages); in addition, it is used to deploy command line programs.
Node.js is a complete JS runtime that allows developers to build scalable applications of almost any complexity. Web development is the main specialization of Node.js.
Here is a short list of examples of what can be done with Node.js:
- Desktop program for various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, DOS, UNIX, and macOS.
- Cross-platform program
- Online service
- Social network
- Online game
- Any site
Advantages of Node.js
- Asynchronous event-driven I/O helps in processing requests concurrently.
- The same piece of code can be used both on the server side and on the client side.
- There is NPM. This is a native module package for Node. Everything is there, and it continues to grow.
- An active and lively community with much code distributed through GitHub and other developer sites.
- You can transfer large files.
Disadvantages of Node.js
- Node.js does not provide scalability. One processor will not be enough; however, the platform does not offer any scalability to take advantage of the multi-core features commonly found in today’s server hardware.
- Working with a relational database – turns into a big headache if you use Node.
- Every time you use a callback, tons of nested callbacks is generated.
- With a deep dive and knowledge of JS, one can avoid a conceptual problem.
- Node.js is not suitable for CPU-intensive tasks. It is only suitable for direct I/O (for example, web servers).
Where Node would be the best solution
Here are a few applications or areas where Node.js can be the best tool:
- WebSocket servers. The non-blocking architecture makes Nod the best tool for deploying WebSosket or streaming applications. Chat servers can become more efficient, faster, and more polished using Node.js as a foundation (because such servers work in real-time mode, where response speed and data transfer are critical).
- Client for fast file upload. With Node, you can upload multiple files at the same time. This means that at the same time, a Primer1 file part and a Primer2 part can be on the server. This approach does significantly speed up the speed of downloading files.
- Streaming data. Because Node deals with the callback concept, it can also be used for streaming data. This can be very useful for various purposes, especially for businesses (for example, product aggregators get results from several third-party APIs at once).
- Advertising server. Ad servers should be the fastest. If the ad on the site loads faster than the main content, then the user’s immediate attention will be received by the advertising banner. Another thing is if the ad loads more slowly: you have a large banner before content that takes 5 seconds to load. And while such an advertisement is being loaded, the user will already begin to read the middle of the page. Therefore, ad servers need to be fast, and that’s why you need to use Node.
- Stock exchange software. This is a specific example. And he well illustrates the possibilities of Nod. In the case of stock updates, everything should happen in real-time. Node makes it possible to deploy web applications that communicate efficiently in real-time.
How Node.JS is used for faster data manipulations
Node.js provides several features that make it well-suited for faster data manipulations.
First, its non-blocking I/O model allows for the efficient handling of large volumes of data. Asynchronous programming patterns can be used to avoid blocking the event loop and ensure that other operations can continue to execute while data is being processed.
Second, Node.js provides built-in modules and third-party libraries, allowing efficient data manipulation. For example, the Buffer module offers a way to work with binary data in a performant way.
Third, Node.js allows for parallel data processing through worker threads or the cluster module. This allows multiple lines to work on different parts of the data simultaneously, improving performance for data-intensive tasks.
Overall, Node.js provides a range of tools and features that can optimize data processing and improve performance for data manipulations.
What is GraphQL
GraphQL is an open-source query, data manipulation language, and runtime for APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) developed by Facebook in 2012 and released as an open-source project in 2015. It was designed to provide single endpoints for data, allowing applications to request precisely the data they need. This has the benefit of not only simplifying our UI code but also improving performance by limiting the amount of data that needs to be transferred over the wire. GraphQL has become used by many other large and small companies. Others include Yelp, Shopify, and Github.
With GraphQL, clients can send a single request to the server that specifies the data they need, and the server responds with exactly that data. This is in contrast to traditional REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs, which often require multiple requests to the server to retrieve related data.
GraphQL also provides a robust type system that allows for easier development and integration with modern development tools. It also provides features like real-time updates, caching, and error handling.
Overall, GraphQL provides a more efficient and flexible way to interact with APIs and has become increasingly popular in recent years as a replacement for traditional REST APIs.
When using REST APIs, requests are usually sent to multiple addresses to get all the necessary data in the application. The GraphQL API, on the other hand, allows you to send an entire request to an address indicating what kind of data you would like to receive with this request. Therefore, GraphQL is excellent when used on a slow mobile connection.
API versions can be a headache for development teams. With GraphQL, you don’t have to worry about that. GraphQL allows you to add new fields and types (this will be discussed later) to your GraphQL API without affecting existing queries, while old and unused fields can be hidden from API clients. Using a single evolving version, GraphQL APIs provide your application with constant access to new API implementations and provide a clean and easily maintainable code base.
How to use GraphQL with NodeJs
To use GraphQL with Node.js, you can follow these general steps:
- Install the necessary packages: You’ll need to install the GraphQL package to define your schema and resolvers and a server framework like express to create an HTTP server.
- Define your schema: In GraphQL, you define a schema that describes the data that can be queried and the operations that can be performed on that data. This can be done using the GraphQL Schema Definition Language (SDL) or programmatically using the GraphQL package.
- Implement your resolvers: Resolvers are functions that define how to fetch the data requested by a query. You’ll need to create resolver functions for each field in your schema.
- Set up your server: Use your server framework (e.g., express) to create an HTTP server that listens for requests and sends back responses. You’ll also need to set up a route for handling GraphQL queries and mutations.
- Test your server: You can use GraphiQL to test your GraphQL API by sending queries and mutations to your server and seeing the results.
There are many resources available online that provide more detailed information on using GraphQL with Node.js, including tutorials, documentation, and sample code.
What to use GraphQL with NodeJs for
GraphQL can be used with Node.js for a wide range of use cases, including:
- Building API backends: GraphQL provides a flexible and efficient way to make API backends that can be used by various clients, including web and mobile applications.
- Real-time data updates: GraphQL supports real-time updates through the use of subscriptions, which can be used to push data updates to clients as they happen.
- Data aggregation: With GraphQL, clients can request data from multiple sources and receive a single response, making it ideal for aggregating data from different APIs or microservices.
- Caching: Because GraphQL allows clients to specify the exact data they need, it can be used to optimize caching and reduce unnecessary requests to the server.
- Mobile development: GraphQL’s flexibility and efficiency make it well-suited for mobile development, where network bandwidth and device resources can be limited.
Overall, GraphQL provides a more flexible and efficient way to interact with APIs and can be used for a wide range of use cases in Node.js applications.
How GraphQL with NodeJs can help work with data twice as fast
GraphQL with Node.js can help work with data twice as fast in several ways:
- Reduced network traffic: With GraphQL, clients can request only the data they need, which reduces the amount of network traffic required to transfer data between the client and server. This can result in faster response times and reduced network latency.
- Efficient data fetching: GraphQL allows clients to request multiple resources in a single query, which can be more efficient than making multiple requests to fetch the same data. This reduces the overhead of repeated network requests and can improve performance.
- Simplified API development: GraphQL’s flexible and strongly typed schema definition language can reduce development time, making it easier to develop and maintain APIs.
- Reduced over-fetching and under-fetching: Because clients can request only the data they need, over-fetching (receiving unnecessary data) and under-fetching (not receiving all the required data) can be reduced. This can optimize performance and reduce the processing time needed for data manipulation.
These benefits can help to improve the performance and efficiency of data processing in Node.js applications, allowing developers to work with data twice as fast as they would with traditional REST APIs.
In conclusion, GraphQL with Node.js provides a flexible and efficient way to work with data in modern web applications. GraphQL’s strong typing, flexible schema definition language, and efficient data fetching make it an ideal choice for building APIs that can be used by many clients, including web and mobile applications.
By allowing clients to request only the data they need, GraphQL reduces network traffic and processing time, which can improve performance and scalability. Additionally, the ability to request multiple resources in a single query minimizes the overhead of repeated network requests, making data processing faster and more efficient.
Overall, GraphQL with Node.js provides a powerful combination of tools and features to help developers build modern web applications that can work with data more quickly and efficiently.
Android JetPack – a Mobile Dev’s SOS
What is Android JetPack
Android Jetpack is a suite of libraries, tools, and guidance to help developers build high-quality Android apps more quickly and easily. It provides a set of components that aim to simplify app development, increase code reuse, and improve app performance and stability.
Jetpack includes a wide range of libraries that can be used for various purposes, such as:
- Navigation – helps developers implement navigation between app screens and simplifies the management of the back stack.
- LiveData – a data holder class that provides lifecycle-aware observation of data changes.
- ViewModel – helps manage UI-related data in a lifecycle-aware way, separate from the view and surviving configuration changes.
- Room – an SQLite object mapping library that provides an abstraction layer over SQLite to allow for more robust database access.
- WorkManager – makes it easy to execute deferrable, asynchronous tasks and provides an API for observing task state and progress.
Jetpack also includes tools such as Android Studio templates, which provide boilerplate code for standard app features, and Android KTX, a set of Kotlin extensions for writing more concise and idiomatic Kotlin code.
Overall, Android Jetpack is designed to make Android app development faster, easier, and more consistent across different Android versions and devices.
Android Jetpack Components
Android Jetpack components are a set of libraries that can be used independently and are designed to work together using performance-enhancing features of the Kotlin language. These software components have been divided into four groups which are as follows:
The foundation components of Android Jetpack are a set of core libraries that provide the building blocks for Android app development. These components include:
- AppCompat – a library that provides backward compatibility with older versions of Android, allowing developers to use newer features while still supporting older devices.
- Android KTX – a set of Kotlin extensions that make Android development more concise, conversational, and efficient.
- Multidex – a library that allows apps to exceed the 64K method limit of the Android runtime by enabling multiple DEX files.
- AndroidX Annotations – a set of annotations that developers can use to provide additional information to the Android compiler and lint tools.
- AndroidX Test – a set of testing libraries and tools that help developers write and run tests for their Android apps.
- AndroidX Concurrent – a library that provides a set of utilities for concurrent programs on Android, such as coroutines and futures.
- AndroidX Security – a set of libraries that provide security-related functionality, such as cryptography and authentication.
These foundation components are essential for building high-quality Android apps that work well on various devices and Android versions. They provide a solid base for developers to build their apps while simplifying development and improving performance.
The architecture components of Android Jetpack are a set of libraries that help developers design and implement robust, scalable, and maintainable Android apps. These components include:
- Room – an SQLite object mapping library that provides an abstraction layer over SQLite to allow for more robust database access. It makes it easier to work with SQLite databases and provides compile-time verification of SQL queries.
- LiveData – a data holder class that provides lifecycle-aware observation of data changes. LiveData allows developers to create reactive UI components that automatically update in response to changes in the underlying data.
- ViewModel – helps manage UI-related data in a lifecycle-aware way, separate from the view and surviving configuration changes. It allows developers to create UI components that are independent of the lifecycle of the Activity or Fragment.
- Navigation – helps developers implement navigation between app screens and simplifies the management of the back stack. It provides a set of navigation components and APIs that make navigating between screens in an app more accessible.
- WorkManager – makes it easy to execute deferrable, asynchronous tasks and provides an API for observing task state and progress. WorkManager provides a unified API that allows developers to schedule tasks that run immediately, at a specific time, or under particular conditions.
- Paging – a library that provides components for loading data in chunks or pages to help manage memory and network usage in apps that display large data sets.
These architecture components help developers build apps that are easier to maintain and scale by providing common patterns and best practices for app architecture. They also help reduce boilerplate code and make writing clean, testable, and maintainable code easier.
The behavior components of Android Jetpack are a set of libraries that provide functionality for building responsive and intuitive user interfaces. These components include:
- ViewBinding is a library that generates binding classes for XML layouts, allowing developers to access and manipulate UI elements easily.
- DataBinding – a library that allows developers to declaratively bind UI elements to data sources, reducing boilerplate code and improving performance.
- Animation & Transitions – a set of APIs and tools that make it easy to create animations and transitions between UI elements, improving the user experience of an app.
- RecyclerView – a flexible and efficient UI component for displaying large data sets, supporting various layout styles and animations.
- ConstraintLayout – a flexible and powerful layout manager that allows developers to create complex layouts with a flat view hierarchy.
- Palette – a library that extracts prominent colors from images, allowing developers to use them in the UI design of an app.
These behavior components help developers create apps with responsive, intuitive, and visually appealing user interfaces. They provide tools and APIs that simplify UI development and make creating complex, animated, and interactive UI elements easier.
The UI components of Android Jetpack are a set of libraries that provide common UI elements for building Android apps. These components include:
- Material Design Components – a set of UI components that implement the Material Design guidelines, providing consistent and attractive visual elements for Android apps.
- Android Auto – a set of UI components and guidelines for building apps that work well with Android Auto, a platform that allows users to use apps while driving safely.
- Android TV – a set of UI components and guidelines for building apps that work well on Android TV, a platform allowing users to access their TV apps.
- Wear OS – a set of UI components and guidelines for building apps that work well on Wear OS, a platform that allows users to access apps on their smartwatch.
- Media & Playback – a set of UI components and APIs for building media playback functionality, such as video and music players.
- CameraX – a library that provides an easy-to-use API for accessing and controlling the camera hardware on Android devices.
These UI components provide a consistent and attractive visual style for Android apps, making it easier for developers to create visually appealing apps with minimal effort. They also provide tools and APIs for building apps that work well on different Android devices, such as smartwatches and TVs.
How Android Jetpack is helpful for everyone on the dev career spectrum
Android Jetpack benefits everyone on the dev career spectrum, from beginners to experienced developers. Here are some ways Android Jetpack helps developers at different stages of their careers:
For those just starting in Android development, Jetpack provides a set of foundational components and best practices that help developers get up and running quickly. These components abstract away many of the complexities of Android development, making it easier for beginners to understand and build apps. Here are some ways Jetpack benefits beginners:
- Foundational components: Jetpack includes foundational components such as AppCompat, RecyclerView, and Room, which provide essential building blocks for building Android apps. These components offer easy-to-use APIs that make it easier to start app development.
- Best practices: Jetpack provides best practices for app development, such as using a single activity architecture, implementing reactive programming with LiveData and ViewModel, and using WorkManager for background tasks. These best practices can help beginners build a more robust and maintainable app.
- Android Studio plugins: Android Studio has plugins that can help beginners incorporate Jetpack components into their apps. For example, the Room Persistence Library plugin can help beginners generate the boilerplate code for Room database integration.
- Support for Kotlin: Jetpack strongly supports Kotlin, a modern programming language becoming increasingly popular among Android developers. Kotlin is known for its concise syntax, null safety, and interoperability with Java, making it an ideal language for beginners.
- Community support: There is a large and active community of Android developers using Jetpack, and many resources are available online, such as tutorials, code samples, and forums. Beginners can leverage the community’s knowledge to learn more about Jetpack and Android development in general.
For developers who are already familiar with Android development, Jetpack provides architecture components and tools that help them build more robust and scalable apps. These components offer patterns and best practices for app architecture, making it easier for developers to create maintainable and scalable apps. Here are some ways Jetpack benefits intermediate developers:
- Architecture components: Jetpack includes architecture components such as Room, ViewModel, and LiveData, which provide patterns and best practices for app architecture. These components make building maintainable and scalable apps easier for intermediate developers.
- Data binding: Jetpack includes data binding, which allows developers to bind UI components in their layout files to data sources in their app code. This can help intermediate developers reduce boilerplate code and make their apps more maintainable.
- Navigation component: Jetpack includes a navigation component that helps developers manage navigation between different screens in their app. This component provides a standardized way of handling navigation, making it easier for intermediate developers to build more complex apps.
- Android Studio plugins: Android Studio has plugins that can help intermediate developers incorporate Jetpack components into their apps. For example, the Navigation Component plugin can help intermediate developers generate the boilerplate code for the navigation component.
- Community support: There is a big community of Android developers using Jetpack, and many sources are available, such as tutorials, code samples, and forums. Intermediate developers can leverage the community’s knowledge to learn more about Jetpack and take their app development skills to the next level.
For experienced developers, Jetpack provides advanced components and tools for building responsive and intuitive user interfaces and libraries for working with media, cameras, and other advanced features. These components can help experienced developers build cutting-edge apps that push the boundaries of what is possible on Android. Here are some ways Jetpack benefits experienced developers:
- Architecture components: Jetpack provides architecture components such as Room, ViewModel, LiveData, and WorkManager that help experienced developers build apps with clean architecture patterns. These components help in separating concerns and reducing the complexity of the code.
- Performance: Jetpack includes components like Paging, which provides seamless data pagination and prefetching, and WorkManager, which helps in deferring tasks and scheduling background tasks, thereby improving app performance.
- Kotlin support: Jetpack strongly supports Kotlin, a modern programming language becoming increasingly popular among Android developers. Kotlin is known for its concise syntax, null safety, and interoperability with Java, making it an ideal language for experienced developers to build apps quickly.
- Android Studio plugins: Android Studio has plugins that can help experienced developers build high-quality and performant apps with less code and fewer errors. For example, the Room Persistence Library plugin can help experienced developers generate the boilerplate code for Room database integration.
- Community support: Experienced developers can leverage the community’s knowledge to learn more about Jetpack and improve their app development skills. By increasing these components and resources, experienced developers can save time and effort while building complex apps and focus on delivering a great user experience.
In summary, Android Jetpack provides tools and components that benefit developers at all stages of their careers, making it easier to build high-quality, maintainable, and scalable Android apps.
Android JetPack – a Mobile Dev’s SOS
Android Jetpack is a comprehensive set of libraries, tools, and guidelines that can help mobile developers create high-quality, maintainable, and scalable Android apps. Here are some tips on how to get started with Jetpack and how to use it to your advantage:
- Understand the components: Jetpack comprises several components that address different areas of mobile app development, such as foundational components, architecture components, behavior components, and UI components. Take time to understand these components and how they can benefit your app development process.
- Follow the best practices: Jetpack provides best practices for app development, such as using a single activity architecture, implementing reactive programming with LiveData and ViewModel, and using WorkManager for background tasks. These best practices can help you build a more robust and maintainable app.
- Use the Android Studio plugins: Android Studio has plugins that can help you incorporate Jetpack components into your app. For example, the Room Persistence Library plugin can help you generate the boilerplate code for Room database integration.
- Stay up-to-date: Jetpack constantly evolves, with new components and updates being released regularly. Stay up-to-date with the latest releases and updates to ensure you take advantage of the latest features and improvements.
- Explore the community: There is a large and active community of Android developers using Jetpack, and many resources are available online, such as tutorials, code samples, and forums. Explore the community and learn from other developers’ experiences with Jetpack.
Jetpack can be a valuable resource for mobile developers, providing tools, libraries, and best practices that can help streamline the app development process and improve the quality of the resulting app. By understanding the components, following best practices, using Android Studio plugins, staying up-to-date, and exploring the community, developers can easily take full advantage of Jetpack and create high-quality Android apps.