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5 Reasons You Should Use jQuery

Posted by Dane Petersen on Jun 17, 2014 3:00:00 PM

What is Jquery? The official jQuery statement is: “jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development.” It is the most popular cross-platform JavaScript library in use today and was designed to be simple and easy to learn. It also simplifies the client-side HTML scripting. Query is free and open sourced under the MIT License. It was released in 2006 by John Resig and is currently being developed by Dave Methvin. It is used by some of the most visited sites on the Internet and helps developers by decreasing the amount of effort and time. What would take 20+ lines of code in JavaScript can be reduced down into say 5 lines with jQuery.

  1. Jquery is easy to learn, has a very small learning curve, and is very well documented. If you have some knowledge of HTML, JavaScript Jquery should come easily.

  2. Jquery works well with old and new technologies such as HTML 5 and CSS 3. 

  3. Jquery can reduce the time and effort for developers. The following is an example of code differences between JavaScript and jquery. To see a live demonstration of the code below visit https://www.netcenter.net/quick-jquery.html.

    JavaScript

    javascript screenshot (3)
     
    jQuery

    jQuery

  4. Jquery allows users to create animations quickly with less of a learning curve than Adobe Flash. Jquery uses markup technologies such as CSS, HTML, JavScript and AJAX that all work well together. A developer can use these to create effects such as drop down menus, hiding elements, fading elements in and out, and sliding elements around the page. These are just a few of the many effects provided by the jQuery library.

  5. Jquery Mobile allows you to have the same functionality on mobile browsers as you would on the desktop. It also has UI options which enhance a user’s experience on a mobile device. A good example would be the use of an accordion, which takes content and compartmentalizes them into selectable options.

There are other good JavaScript libraries out there such as minified.js. “Minified.js is a client-side JavaScript library that's both powerful and small. It offers jQuery-like features (DOM manipulation, animation, events, HTTP requests) and utility functions (collections, date & number formatting, date arithmetic, templates) with a single, consistent API."

Deciding to use a JavaScript library like jQuery is up to the developer and the project demands. Jquery is quick and efficient while reducing developers’ effort and time, and is compatible with older browsers while still working with the newest technologies. Contact NetWork Center, Inc. today if you have any questions.

Contact Us Today!

Topics: Technology Solutions, Mobile App Development, Mobility, Application Development, Developers

Increase Effectiveness of Your Web Presence Using Website Analytics

Posted by Joe Dunnigan on Sep 13, 2013 4:59:00 PM

Google Analytics screenshotIt is uncommon today to find a business that does not have some sort of web presence, whether it is a simple site with a few pages of information, an interactive site with many features, or a full online store. Having a website means that customers have another way to locate and contact you, find information about your products and services, and use or order those products and services. Providing this resource is very important, but how do you know your investment is effective and that you are reaching your audience the way you intended? One valuable tool that helps you answer these questions and reach these goals is website traffic analytics.

Website analytics involves gathering anonymous statistics regarding visitors to your website. The number of visitors, return visits, how long they stayed on the site, and which pages they visited are just some of the statistics that can be made available. With this data, you can begin to determine if your site is being found through search engines, if people are easily finding the information they need, and where improvements can be made to assist your users in navigating your site.

There are many reasons why you might want to implement website analytics. Evaluating an investment in a new or existing web presence, and determining additional money that should be spent on that presence rely heavily on proper data that can be gathered by implementing an analytics package. There are many analytics package offerings, with some of the most popular packages being offered as free services. Google Analytics is the most popular free offering, and integrates well with other Google services, such as Google AdWords and Google Webmaster Tools. With a little help from your web hosting company or web development team, you can have analytics added to your site and begin gathering data.

Once you have analytics up and running, you can begin to review data. Simple statistics such as number of visits in a month, return visits, and time spent on the site can help determine if you are getting a return on your value. Reviewing data on most visited pages can help you determine what content on your site is most valuable to users, which may drive decisions on where to concentrate time in content or navigation improvements. Using advanced tools, you can track clicks through your site, helping to ensure that often-viewed content can be accessed quickly and easily.

Website VisitsAnalytics data can also provide information on where your users are geographically and what devices they are using to access your site. If you find that a large percentage of your users are coming from a certain geographical area and accessing information specific to that region, you could assist by making it easier to access that content; for instance, placing a graphic or link on your home page that would direct users to the highly-viewed content on your site. If you find that an increasing number of users are accessing your site from mobile devices, you may look at increased investment in mobile-friendly site content, or possibly even a mobile app.

In addition to website analytics, companies providing analytics services are incorporating mobile app analytics into their offerings. Implementing mobile app analytics can help you track your app offerings from search, to download, to usage. If you're curious if a new feature you just implemented in your app was worth the cost, plugging in analytics could be a quick way to verify the investment.

The availability and ease of implementation for analytics packages makes it a wise investment for many organizations, with a quick return on investment. If you're curious about the effectiveness of your web presence, adding website analytics is an easy decision.

If you have questions about website analytics, please contact NetWork Center, Inc. for more information.

Contact NetWork Center, Inc. 

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobile App Development, Mobility, Website Analytics

Providing a Website for Mobile Devices

Posted by Joe Dunnigan on Jul 22, 2013 5:50:00 PM

make your site mobile friendlyIn today's mobile device-centric world, it is increasingly common for your customers to access your website from a mobile device. A quick check for account balance at a bank, reviewing a menu or specials at a restaurant, or directions to your office will often be checked from a phone while your customer is on the go. Providing your customers with quick, easy access to the information they need is important, but can take time to get right.

Many websites that have been around more than a year or two were built before mobile browsing was so commonplace, and may not account for these new browsing and information gathering trends. So, how do you update an existing website or create a new one that will serve both traditional PC users and mobile devices? There are a number of options available that can meet the needs of your organization and your customers.

Web technology continues to grow and change, and many of these technologies are being developed specifically to meet the needs of the mobile website developer. Developers have tools at their disposal now that allow a website to change its display depending on the type or size of the device the site is being viewed on. These tools enable a design approach called responsive web design. In a responsive web design, the layout of your site can change to bring important information into view quicker for a mobile user, while still retaining your normal site layout for standard web browsers.

responsive web designResponsive web design has quickly become a popular tool for developing new websites. Previously, it was common to provide a completely separate website for mobile users, with layout and content tailored to what the mobile user would be most likely to view on the site while on their phone or tablet. With the options provided by a responsive design, it will often be unnecessary to provide a separate site specifically for mobile users. This can ease time required to develop, update and maintain your web presence.

A responsive design will often be the best answer for developing a mobile-optimized site, but there will still be cases where you may require a separate and distinct mobile presence. E-commerce sites, for instance, may be better suited to a mobile version of the site that makes finding and purchasing products easier from a mobile device. Due to the complexity of a large e-commerce store offering, a responsive design may not be feasible, or may add development time that would not be required for a separate mobile-centric site.

mobile app developmentYet another option for reaching mobile customers is a mobile app. Responsive and mobile-specific websites can meet many needs, but specific use cases may warrant the need for an app. Mobile apps can also be a great marketing tool, increasing your company's visibility to another segment of your customer base. A mobile app can allow you to take advantage of advanced features on the client device, such as GPS, notifications, built-in mapping functions, and more. Providing a mobile app can provide great benefits for you customers, but can be costly and time consuming to produce, so your use cases and benefits should be closely examined before deciding to make the decision to move forward.

When updating an existing website or creating a fresh web presence, knowing what information your users are looking for, or what tasks they are performing on your site, is important to know. Analytics tools that monitor visits to your site will help you determine how many mobile users you are attracting to your site, what content they are viewing, and how they are getting there. With this information, you can bring the information and function they need quicker, through site organization, menu options, and other navigation techniques.

The mobile era is here, and keeping pace with these new technologies will help you to provide the value your customers expect. The advent of responsive design, mobile apps and in-depth analytics can help make your site a mobile friendly experience.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your website, responsive design, or mobile apps. 

Contact NetWork Center, Inc.

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobile App Development, Mobility

Small Technology, Big Risks: Top 5 Mobility FAQs

Posted by Brett Anderson on Oct 5, 2012 4:53:00 PM

mobile device managementI love my job!  I get to meet with a variety of businesses and work with them to make the complicated less complicated.  Our conversations cover a broad spectrum including strategy, marketing, business drivers, revenue, cost, efficiency and how it all ties to technology.  Over the past 12 months the most consistent topic in these discussions is related to mobile devices and how they fit in this mix. From iPads to smart phones and everything in between, this is the most misunderstood topic I work with.  

Unlike most of the technology drivers over the past 5 years, mobile devices are driven from the bottom-up and not from top-down.  This brings a whole new dynamic to the problem.  We hear more and more of it every day – employees are bringing their cell phones and tablets to work and want to be “hooked up to the network”.  But with this comes a whole new set of concerns and desires from the business. 

Five most common mobility questions we receive:

1. What should I be concerned with when employees ask to connect their mobile devices to our network?

First off, treat the mobile devices like any other laptop.  Secure it, manage it, and control it.  Your policy and rules for mobile devices may be different for corporate purchased items versus employee owned (BYOD-Bring Your Own Device).  This is an important facet to work out.

We recommend you use a robust Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution.  The right MDM solution will help you with mobile security– locking the phone, wiping it, black listing applications, and location services.  In addition, a good MDM solution will also  help with productivity and efficiency – document distribution, app distribution and expense management.      

BYOD Bring Your Own Device resized 6002. How is BYOD different than other technology trends?

Simply put – your employees are driving it.  Instead of a master plan to select and deploy a piece of software, your employees are connecting to your wireless network and Exchange server without you knowing about it.  They may even have a VPN connection configured.  If you don’t get in front of it, and a device is lost or hacked, you may face enormous risk. 

3. How difficult is it to connect a device to an MDM server?  

This is very easy to do!  It’s designed so someone with very little understanding of technology can simply click ‘yes’ on a couple of dialog boxes and they’re up and running.  Once the device is being managed, you’ve mitigated the security risks and positioned yourself to improve productivity with mobility. 

4. Should I worry about how my current website appears on a mobile device?

If you have an active site that customers visit frequently to learn more about your business and how to contact you, YES, you should open it up in a mobile browser and see how it looks. 

  • Is there too much information on the home page?
  • Do the images run off the side?
  • Does your site loop while trying to load content?
  • Is it difficult to navigate to the sub-pages and contact information?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, there’s room for improvement! There are many inexpensive ways to solve this problem. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I looked up a website from my desktop – it’s all being done from a smartphone or tablet!  This will only become more common with your customers too! 

mobile app5. Should I build a mobile app?

A little background first.  An “app” in a native software application built to run on a smartphone or tablet.  Angry Birds and Dropbox are examples.  Apps can be built for 2 reasons:

  1. Internal use – sharing information, driving productivity, managing costs or expenses, or streamlining processes.  The goal of building an app for your employees is realizing the promise that mobile devices will help your workforce be more productive. 
  2. For your customers – typically gives you a presence, shares important customer information (think CRM), decreases workload on your customer service reps, and helps drive revenue.

In most situations I’m able to walk my customer through a quick decision tree that helps them determine if an app would be helpful, or if there are other ways to accomplish their objectives.

There are many facets to the mobility trend and how it applies to your business.  If you would like to learn more about it, drop us a line.  We’d love to help!

Download our Free eBook to learn more about MDM - Mobile Device Management: Guide to the Essentials and Beyond.

Download MDM Ebook to learn more!

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobile App Development, Mobile Device Management, Apple Certified Network Consultants

Applying Technology To Solve Business Challenges

Posted by Brett Anderson on Sep 22, 2012 7:00:00 AM

It’s an eye opening and humbling experience to tell the story of your company. Earlier this month The Forum spent time with some of the leaders of NetWork Center, Inc. to talk about technology, our record of employee retention and what we expect in the future. The Forum did a wonderful job telling this story, but we thought we could elaborate on the future of technology with this blog. 

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein

Ben CarlsrudIt’s often said that business success can be tied to your ability to predict change and adapt quickly. Over the past 10 years we’ve seen an evolution in technology that’s changed the way everyone does business. From e-commerce to more powerful mobile phones and the popularity of tablet computers, the successful companies are those that have embraced change and adapted quickly. Two examples to consider: 

  • Where was Apple 10 years ago? How well did it predict the market and its consumers?  Has it paid off? 
  • In contrast, how has the automotive industry faired in the past 10 years?  Specifically, how would you describe the rollercoaster General Motors has been on?
  • How is your business reacting to the changes in the market place?  Are you leveraging technology and these changes to secure your future?

For many years NetWork Center, Inc. has been a regional leader in core technologies which are at the heart of the changes in the market place. This is a difficult concept to understand, but it’s important if you want to evolve with the future. The core technologies – or what we refer to as “traditional” offerings – include the servers, switches and routers, phones and connectivity. Our success over the past 25+ years is based on our deep understanding of how they all come together to make up the core infrastructure.

So how does this help our customers adapt in the future?

Connectivity and core infrastructure isn’t going away any time soon – this technology backbone is what makes all the “new” technology possible. From social media to tablets and smart phones to the Cloud – they all rely on the “traditional” core infrastructure at some level. We’re building on this proven track record of “traditional” offerings with experience in more forward-facing technologies:

  • Mobile Device Management and advisement.  We’re the only local reseller and provider of MaaS360, the leading solution to help manage and secure mobile devices and tablets.
  • We’re the only Certified Apple Consultants in the region.
  • We’ve developed mobile applications for Android and iOS.
  • We‘ve developed feature-rich and robust solutions based on Google Apps.
  • We’ve designed and deployed hybrid solutions that leverage our customers’ local software, remote locations and Cloud based storage and computing.

“Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers.” – Pablo Picasso

Twenty years ago this was what most people thought.  But doesn’t it still hold true?  Computers and technology and all the “traditional” pieces mentioned earlier are just the means to an end. Without the intelligence that Albert Einstein talks about, the core technology itself isn’t very useful. You need smart people who understand business, understand challenges and can apply the technology appropriately to make your business better.

This is what Network Center, Inc. does. We have passionate, intelligent people who listen to your concerns and partner with you on solutions. From the core infrastructure and “traditional” technology to all of the new challenges technology brings. We can help you adapt to the changing landscape and take advantage of opportunities the future holds. 

Contact us to talk about your business –we’d love the opportunity to share our knowledge with you and help map out your future! 

Contact Us Today!

  

Topics: Technology Solutions, Mobile App Development, Mobile Device Management, Cloud computing, Apple Certified Network Consultants, Managed Services

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