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PHP 7: 10 Things You Need to Know

hongkiat.com - 6 uur 15 min geleden

Are you a web developer or a website owner? Do your sites run on PHP-enabled CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or Magento? Then I have good news for you: the feature-complete beta of the new PHP 7 was recently released. The 7.0.0 major release contains so many cool features that we decided to dedicate a whole post to it. But first, we need to slide in a few reminders.

Note that PHP 7 is still in the development phase so don’t use it in production until November when the final version will be released. If – as a future user – you want to take your fair share from the development process, you can help with downloading the latest beta, playing around with it in your testing environment and reporting bugs you found during the testing. To find out when the next beta will be out, here’s the project timetable.

With that out of the way, let’s check out PHP 7.

1. The Name’s PHP 7 (Not 6)

The current stable release uses the version number PHP 5.6. After some dispute the development team decided they would omit the PHP 6 name for the next major release. PHP 6 already existed in the past as an experimental project but never reached the production phase.

To prevent users from mixing up the former attempt with the latest development, the new major release will run under the name of PHP 7.

IMAGE: Software Development Times 2. The Brand Spanking New Zend Engine

The Zend engine has been powering PHP since 1999 when it was introduced with the then new PHP 4 release. Zend – not to confused with the Zend Framework – is an open-source execution engine written in C that interprets the PHP language. The current PHP 5.X series use Zend Engine II that enhanced the funtionality of the initial engine and adds an extensible object model and a significant performance enhancement to the language.

PHP 7 receives a brand new version of the engine coming under the code name of PHP#NG (Next Generation).

IMAGE: A Talk on ZendCon-2014 3. Twice The Speed

The most easily recognizable advantage of the new PHPNG engine is the significant performance improvement. The development team of PHPNG refactored the Zend Engine, remarkably optimized memory usage and added just-in-time compilation (JIT) which allows compilation at run time rather than prior to execution.

The results? You can see the performance benchmarks provided by the Zend Performance Team below. By using PHP 7 not only your code will be executed faster but you will also need fewer servers to serve the same amount of users.

IMAGE: Zend.com 4. Facilitates Error Handling

To say the least, handling fatal and catchable fatal errors have never been an easy task for PHP coders. The new Engine Exceptions will allow you to replace these kind of errors with exceptions. If the exception is not caught, PHP will continue to return the same fatal errors as it does in the current 5.X series.

The new \EngineException objects don’t extend the \Exception Base Class. This ensures backward compatibility and results in two different kinds of exceptions in error handling: traditional and engine exceptions.

To enable programmers to catch both, PHP 7 introduces a new shared Parent Class under the name of \BaseException.

IMAGE: Wiki.PHP.net 5. 64-Bit Windows Systems Support

PHP is a prominent member of the LAMP stack which means its native environment is Linux – but it’s also possible to run it on a Windows system. The 5.X series don’t yet provide 64-bit integer or large file support, so until now x64 builds have been considered experimental.

PHP 7 will change this as it introduces consistent 64-bit support which means both native 64-bit integers and large files will be supported, allowing you to confidently run the language on your 64-bit Windows system in the future.

6. New Spaceship and Null Coalescing Operators

The Spaceship operator runs under the official name of Combined Comparison Operator. The notation of the new operator looks like this: <=> (kind of like a simplified spaceship, if you imagine it right).

The spacehip operator returns 0 if both operands are equal, 1 if the left is greater, and -1 if the right is greater. It’s also called a three-way comparison operator, and it already exists in other popular programming languages like Perl and Ruby.

IMAGE: Wiki.PHP.net

The Null Coalescing operator is denoted with two question marks ( ?? ). You can use it when you want to check if something exists and return a default value, in case it doesn’t. The coalesce operator returns the result of its first operand if it exists and is not null, and the second operand in any other cases.

Here’s how the new operator reduces the time spent with basic declarations:

IMAGE: Wiki.PHP.net 7. Enables Accurate Type Declarations

Have you ever wanted to prevent unintended return values by declaring the return type of a function? Well, the new PHP 7 enables developers to enhance the quality of their code with the help of return type declarations.

The image below depicts a very simple use case where the foo() function is supposed to return an array. Check out more complicated examples here.

IMAGE: Wiki.PHP.net

To enhance the feature even more, PHP 7 introduces 4 new type declarations for scalar types: int, float, string and bool. The new scalar types allow developers to denote that they are expecting integers, floats, strings, or booleans to be returned. The new scalar types introduced by PHP 7 will also be supported by argument Type Hints that enables developers to force the type of parameters since the PHP 5.X series.

8. Adds Anonymous Classes

PHP 7 enables you to use anonymous classes, already a well-established practice in other object-oriented languages like C# and Java. An anonymous class is a class without a name. The object it instantiates has the same functionality as an object of a named class.

The syntax is the same as what we are used to in traditional PHP classes, only the name is missing. If anonymous classes are used well, they can speed up coding as well execution time. Anonymous classes are excellent when a class is used only once during execution and in cases when a class doesn’t need to be documented.

IMAGE: Wiki.PHP.net 9. Facilitates Imports From the Same Namespace

The new Group Use Declarations feature will be godsent to those of you who want to import many classes from the same namespace. The new syntax cuts verbosity, makes your code tidier and easier on the eyes, and saves you a lot of typing time.

It will also be easier to read through and debug codes, as group use declarations help you identify the imports that belong to the same module.

IMAGE: Wiki.PHP.net 10. Cleans Up The Room

The goal of PHP 7 was to free up the space to enable improvement, so it was necessary to get rid of many deprecated functionalities and old and unsupported Server APIs and extensions. If you want to check which are these in detail, click here and here.

All the removed items have been deprecated for a while in PHP 5 so most likely you haven’t used them for a long time. However please note if you have a legacy app running on older PHP versions the new PHP 7 can potentially break the code.










How to Perform A Cohort Analysis with Google Analytics [Guide]

hongkiat.com - 8 uur 15 min geleden

You can’t control and manage what you can’t measure. Thankfully, Google Analytics’ reports are your perfect knowledge mechanism for measuring, planning, and managing web campaigns. For a long time you could only perform a cohort analysis on Google Analytics via the segmentation feature, which was nothing more than a publicized web hack.

But with the availability of a dedicated cohort analysis tab, you can now perform a conclusive analysis that provides you with the necessary behavioral data that you can leverage to fine tune your content, keywords, and web marketing strategies. You can combine all of your individual cohort reports and merge them in a proper PDF in order to present the data in a manner that helps to increase a campaign’s effectiveness.

In my last post – A Look into: Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics – I detailed several business benefits of performing a cohort analyses. In this second part, I’m going to share the essential analyses steps that facilitate a correct cohort analysis.

Performing Your Own Cohort Analysis

In order to conduct an effective cohort analysis, we recommend that you make a note of the following points before you get on with the job:

(1) Make sure that you have a question that needs answering.

That’s because the whole point a cohort analysis is to obtain actionable information for a specific purpose, such as a company seeking data that can help improve its business process, product manufacturing, and even overall user experience. So, to make sure that these processes can be optimized, it is essential that you ask the right kind of question in order to find the right solution. Again – ask the right and precise question.

(2) Always define the metrics that will enable you to find the right answer to your question.

A comprehensive cohort analysis requires the recognition of the specific properties of any event. These events might include records of users checking out, with advance metrics that let you know how much a user has paid.

(3) Identify your situation specific cohort (that is, cohorts that are relevant to your analysis).

The process of creating a cohort involves analyzing all real-time users and targeting them, or performing attribute-based contributions to obtain relevant differences that will highlight their characteristics as a specific cohort.

(4) Once you have all your data, you can now proceed with performing your cohort analysis.

The reason that cohort analysis is so commercially popular is because businesses can use the results to identify shortfalls within their company.

How to Perform an Accurate Cohort Analysis Step 1: Extract Raw Data

In a general scenario, the information required to perform a cohort analysis is stored within a physical or virtual database of some kind and has to be exported into spreadsheet-based software. You can use tools like MySQL or Microsoft Excel to get this done.

For example, if you’re looking to study consumer purchase behavior, you would want your results to be legible and presented in some form of a data sheet or table of data that includes a single record per customer purchase.

Correspondingly, every individual record possesses a customer’s ID that is typically either a unique alpha-numeric tag or a valid e-mail address, date, location and time of purchase, total purchase value, and the customer’s first date of purchase, typically known as the "cohort date." And in your general cases, you can always use MySQL query to bring up such information.

You would however, want to ideally include additional characteristics such as a customer referral source, the SKU of their first purchase. And to make your work much easier, you can use tools like metrics to give you automatic access to these attributes.

2. Create Cohort Identifiers

To create a cohort identifier you’re going to open the data you’ve extracted into Excel. After you’ve pulled the "cohort date" characteristics, you can conduct the ever-so popular cohort analysis in which you can do things like compare cohorts of customers based on when they made their first purchase.

So, in such a case where you might to group your cohorts based on a specific month in which they actually made their first purchase, you have to first translate each of your "cohort date" values into a virtual bucket that will be a representation of the year and month of your customer’s initial purchase.

3. Gauge Lifecycle Stages

After you’ve ascertained the cohort which your customer attributes to, you also have to regulate the "lifecycle stage" of your analysis at the event that occurred for that particular cohort member.

If your customers make a purchase at any point of time and the subsequent one after a few months, they would fall under the cohort of their initial purchase date. Consequently, their first purchase would also be in that initial lifecycle stage and their next purchase would fall under the second lifecycle stage.

In order to accurately calculate the lifecycle stage, you’ll also have to ascertain the amount of time that has lapsed between your customer’s first purchase and the purchase that you specify.

4. Create a Pivot Table and Graph

The final step of your cohort analysis is to create pivot tables. These tables are critical to your analysis because they allow you to calculate a collective like a sum or even an average, across multiple dimensions of your cohort data.

If you’re using the pivot table for your business, you’re mostly like going to have to create one that conducts a SUM of customers’ transaction amount, which shows one row for each cohort and one column per relevant time-period.

If you have trouble viewing your data, you can easily visualize it on the most basic of Excel line graphs.

Wrap Up

Though cohort analyses have mostly been relied on for user retention and user behaviour studies, the Google Analytics avatar of the same can be leveraged by web analytics experts to study metrics like page views, session durations, goal completions.

Plus, metrics in terms of user selections, such as search queries per user, session duration per group, and page views for a particular user, can also be studied.

There’s enough in there to help you make more sense of your users’ behaviour, effectiveness of your marketing tactics, and success of your promotions mix; trust this guide and begin your advanced cohort analyses with Google Analytics.

Editor’s note: This post is written by Joydeep Bhattacharya for Hongkiat.com. Joydeep Bhattacharya is an inbound marketer and author of seo blog seosandwitch.com. He has been associated with the field of internet marketing since 2009. Besides serving his passion for SEO, SMO and PPC marketing he loves to read books and spend time on social media sites. You can find him on G+.

Now Read:
A Look Into: Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics








The 12-Step Program To Personal Productivity

hongkiat.com - vr, 31/07/2015 - 17:01

The phrase "12-step-program" carries the connotation of addiction and it was purposely used in the title of this post. You see, in order to be consistently productive you must, in effect, become addicted to being productive. Believe it or not, developing an addiction (habit) can be more difficult to accomplish than overcoming one.


Before you embark on the path to productivity, you need to clean house, so to speak, by removing a few of the most common obstacles to productivity. While each of us is plagued with various disincentives to productivity, a few are common to the least productive among us.

Procrastination

We are all guilty of procrastination, some to a greater degree than others. Tasks left undone are a distraction that interferes with being a productive individual. It diverts your focus from the task at hand to tasks which are not done. This lack of focus has a negative effect on productivity. Resolve unfinished tasks.

Lack of sleep

A well-rested person is a more productive person. Get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep each day. If you find you require 7 or 8 hours of sleep, make certain you get it. No one can focus on their work when they are tired and/or sleepy.

Poor organizational skills

Being organizedis a prerequisite for productivity. If you are not organized, get organized. You can read this post on how to have an organized home office for some help.

Failing to Recognize Your Most Productive Hours

People are not machines but people do have internal clocks. Get in touch with yours. Peak hours for energy, productivity and focus vary from person to person. Learning when you are at your zenith will allow you to schedule your most arduous tasks during your personal peak performance times.

The 12 Steps To Personal Productivity

All right then! If you have these housekeeping items under control, we are ready to share the following 12 tips which are guaranteed to enhance your personal productivity.

(1) Develop a long range plan, five, even ten years out. Having your plans committed to paper is a motivating force. When you are completing a task in the present, it helps to know that its completion is making your future goals attainable.

(2) I am not a big fan of daily "to do" lists. These lists can become too long and, as a result, unrealistic. Then when these too numerous tasks are incomplete at the end of the day (and often new ones are added) a sense of failure creeps in and destroys your ambition. Choosing one or two critical tasks and completing them is a superior approach.

(3) Prioritizing what you want to accomplish is essential to your productivity. This does not mean you need a list. Tackle the most challenging tasks during your peak productive time (as discussed earlier) and the less challenging tasks can be addressed off-peak.

(4) Always be proactive. Nothing disrupts your productivity more than constantly dealing with crises. Be a planner, not a cop. Planners shape the future and cops react to crisis. Proactive habits will minimize the development of crises and maximize your productivity.

(5) I’m not suggesting that you be sloppy in your work, but I do encourage you to expand your paradigm of a job well done. If you are a perfectionist, you will never achieve the level of productivity that you aspire to. There are things you should just get done, there are things worth doing well and there are things worth doing exceptionally well. Perfectionists don’t know the difference – do you?

(6) Productivity requires discipline. If you are undisciplined you will not accomplish what you start out to do. Train yourself to be disciplined. One way may be to reward yourself when you complete a task. Nothing big; maybe a snack, a short walk, that new tie you’ve had your eye on, things like that.

(7) Truly excellent time management is not just task-oriented, it is people-oriented as well. Make the most of your available time and energy by utilizing the talents of others. Having great people skills will make you more productive by enabling you to enlist the help of others. This is commonly known as delegating. If you think you can do it all, you are doomed to fail.

(8) Have the courage to say no! For example, have you attended a meeting in the past week or two that was a complete waste of your time? Saying no to adventures in futility can recapture valuable time that enhances your productivity. Just say no!

(9) Multi-tasking is fiction, get over it! Doing something well requires focus and single-tasking allows you to achieve that focus. More to the point, single-tasking allows you to maintain that focus because once a task is off your plate; your mind is clear and ready for the next one. Multi-taskers can’t truly focus!

(10) Don’t quit until you are finished. If you are working on a task, work on it until it is completed, even though it may be taking longer than you anticipated.

(11) Bring peer pressure to bear. Tell your wife, co-workers, friends what you intend to accomplish. This will provide you with an added incentive to see it through. Having others to hold you accountable is important.

(12) Guard against feeling overwhelmed. Particularly daunting projects should be broken down into smaller components. Finish one small piece at a time. It is the same concept as the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

Wrap Up

We hear a great deal about income equality these days. It is the new buzzword of the current administration. While there may be issues with income equality, no one can deny that we all are blessed with time equality.

Everyone’s day has 24 hours and when it comes to that most precious resource, we have all been granted equal shares. How we use it is a matter of personal choice, much in the same way spending our earnings. I believe both should be spent wisely.

Editor’s note: This is written for Hongkiat.com by Andrew Cravenho. Andrew is the CEO of CBAC, which offers invoice factoring for small businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small and mid-sized businesses take control of their cash flow.










5 Types of Social media Followers &#38; How to Engage Them

hongkiat.com - vr, 31/07/2015 - 12:01

Building a social media following is like trying to be the most popular kid in school only about 1000 times harder. Oftentimes it seems you need to crack some kind of highly selective popularity secret code in order to successfully connect with your target audience.

Thankfully however, the majority of your followers have finished high school and since your followers might not necessarily be the ever-exclusive prom queen or school quarterback, being the "coolest" brand on the market is not necessarily the only way to your followers’ hearts.


In fact, a study on the psychology of sharing actually reveals a few different types of followers. Each of these types are attracted to your content, your social media posts, and your overall brand persona for a variety of reasons which differ from one another.

In order to engage your followers, you first have to establish which follower type you’re targeting, how they interact on social media, and most importantly – what you can offer them.

Type #1 – Career-Minded followers

If you belong to any career-centric Linkedin group, you’ve probably noticed the few dominant players who are constantly posting articles, asking questions, and creating conversations around their industry. Their motivation, of course, is no secret

They have realized that today, there is little separation between our personal and professional selves. As a result, they have mastered which content to share, which questions to ask, and which platforms to use in order to maximize their professional image. These individuals shape and develop their online persona in order to be seen as thought leaders and experts in their fields.

Of course, such followers primarily use Linkedin, along with occasional Facebook appearances.

How to Engage Career-Minded followers
  1. If you are looking to engage these users, you should probably be either a B2B service, or experts within their industry.
  2. In addition, you should also produce relevant content filled with clear-cut, useful advice and industry insights.
  3. Make sure you are well-represented on LinkedIn, and your content is thorough and has achieved legitimacy in order to attract these followers.
Do It Like:

Hubspot, for example have succeeded in captivating the career-minded social media user. The company provides B2B website software and analytics for inbound marketing professionals, and they also are the go-to source of information for much of the inbound and digital marketing profession.

Type #2 – Trendy followers

Trendy followers are young, popular, and creative. These individuals are always on top of the latest and greatest fads and will therefore, only engage with you if you provide them with the "cool" factor. Like trying to get in with the prom queen and football captain, trendy followers are difficult to capture, but doing so yields highly significant results since they are regarded as influencers among their peers.

How to Engage Trendy followers
  1. Because these followers are extremely active on a variety of social media sites, you should prepare a campaign to target any outlet relevant to your brand – from Facebook and Twitter, to Pinterest, and Snapchat.
  2. In addition, the information on the sites should be short, and to the point while also being highly informative.
  3. Remember to this generation, design is right up there with content in terms of importance. Therefore, using high resolution photos and sleek designs are a must to capture their attention.
  4. You should also highly consider incorporating videos as 50% of millennials attain a large portion of their information from video-sharing sites.
  5. Lastly, make sure your content speaks to them – do not expect to go viral with trendy followers if you are selling used furniture. Instead, make sure it’s a product or service that fits the millennial lifestyle (whether it solves a problem or simply is new and different).
Do It Like:

Apple’s products and marketing strategy have quite literally defined this generation as is proven by their millions of Facebook followers. The brand knows how to use visuals and interesting content to create hype, gain a following, and solidify customer relationships.

Type #3 – Sociable Followers

73% of people share online in order to connect to people with similar interests. These followers use social media exactly as it was intended for – to connect socially with others. As a result, these individuals will only engage in content that they feel is worth discussing with their friends and acquaintances as well as mediums which allow them to do so. These mediums generally include Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

How to Engage Sociable Followers
  1. The content they crave is a springboard for discussions with others, so in order to engage them, make it informative, interesting, and to the point.
  2. Additionally, since these individuals are actively seeking discussion points, adding humor or a bit of controversy doesn’t hurt. But most of all, just make sure it’s relevant.
  3. Whether it helps them learn to cook on a budget, teaches them to write a resume, or simply gives them entertainment for their off hours, ensuring  your social media insights fit their talking points will keep these individuals wanting more.
Do It Like:

Buzzfeed’s to-the-point posts include interesting news stories, quizzes, videos, humor, and even bits of nostalgia that create discussion points for users.

Type #4 – Attention Seekers

Love them or hate them – we all know someone who fits the description of an online attention-seeker. 57% of millennials claim their peers use social media as a means to get attention and seek validation from others. You’ve seen them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat – and they always seem to have something to post – whether it’s pictures, articles, or status changes.

Attention seekers are all about themselves, and shaping their online personas to achieve the most ‘likes’.

How to Engage Attention Seekers
  1. Since these individuals live for ‘likes’, in order to engage them, you need to give them content or interactions which command attention
  2. Contests, photo/video campaigns, and anything using controversy or shock value are all great ways to attract an attention seeker.
Do It Like:

Coca Cola’s #shareacoke Campaign allowed users to customize their own personalized coke bottles and take a picture of it on social media sites under the hashtag #shareacoke. Since its launch, about 125,000 people posted their own pictures under the hashtag.

Type #5 – Choosy Followers

These individuals are the exact opposite of attention seekers. They use social media to interact with people they already have relationships with and could care less about impressing them through such channels.

If they choose to follow a brand it’s because they personally connect to the products, their messaging, or content. Choosy individuals rarely follow because they seek out exclusively top-notch information that could either help them personally or their friends and colleagues.

How to Engage Choosy Followers
  1. If you are targeting these individuals, try providing thoroughly researched, actionable content.
  2. The content should include numbers and statistics to back up claims without being too heavy. Additionally, the title should be exactly to-the-point, showing precisely what the reader is meant to get out of your content.
  3. While visual tools such as infographics, high resolution images, and well-designed layouts can help you appear trustworthy, you will also need to go beyond all of that by backing everything up with substantial facts.
Wrap Up

Though we all know gaining a following on social media can be hard, it is by no means impossible. By classifying and segmenting your potential followers, you can adjust your strategy as needed to make yourself approachable, while also giving the right type of content to engage your users.

In order to step up your social media game, you should also consider using on-site social media so you can keep your social and business endeavors on one site and easily track all communications surrounding your brand.

Editor’s note: This is written for Hongkiat.com by Nadav Shoval. Nadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM, an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict. Contact him on Twitter or LinkedIn.










Beautiful Annual Report Designs

hongkiat.com - do, 30/07/2015 - 17:01

The usual company annual report is a word-filled extravaganza of jargon, terms, figures and text. If beautiful report designs were the norm, maybe more people would actually read them. We are used to seeing pages after pages of annual reports printed in black and white on unassuming pages. Totally predictable; absolutely boring.

Come on people! There are a lot of ways to turn a super-mundane report into one people actually want to flip through. And you can do this with the right dose of creativity.

Here we’re going to share with you 20 annual report designs which will make your imagination run wild. These annual reports use bold colors, creative typography and vivid sheets and diagrams to showcase the data.

1. Wandisco Annual Report 2014

IMAGE: Warren Harper

2. KEOLIS Group 2011 Annual Report

IMAGE: Creamcrackers

3. Nuru International Annual Report

IMAGE: Gabriel Schut

4. Annual Report 2014

IMAGE: Jessica Nylin

5. 2-in-1 Annual Report & Presenter

IMAGE: Dima Tsapko | Tough Slate Design

6. Prometey Bank Annual Report 2012

IMAGE: Backbone Branding, Multiple Owners

7. Museum Boijmans annual report

IMAGE: Vicente Granger

8. SAQ Annual Report

IMAGE: Nicolas Raymond

9. Studio Proposal

IMAGE: RW DS

10. “Rosneft” Annual Report 2011

IMAGE: Viktor Miller-Gausa

11. FedEx Annual Report 2013

IMAGE: Jayce Tay

12. 2014 Compensation Report

IMAGE: Jose Ramirez

13. Barbara Jordan Institute Annual Report 2015

IMAGE: William Leung

14. Annual Report

IMAGE: Daša Hrvacki

15. The Tipping Point: Annual Report

IMAGE: Nick D’Amico

16. Council of the Baltic Sea States Annual Report

IMAGE: mill studio

17. Vrijwilligersacademie Amsterdam Annual Report

IMAGE: Cary Da Costa

18. Annual Report

IMAGE: Minhye Kim

19. Dal Nido Alla Scuola

IMAGE: Laurie Elie

20. Alarga 2013

IMAGE: Awchat & Olsen Design








20+ Fresh Resources &#38; Tools For Web Designers

hongkiat.com - do, 30/07/2015 - 15:01

Finding web design tools, services or resources you could use is not necessarily all that much of a challenge. The marketplace is full of them, and there are a large number of good ones in each of these categories. The difficulty lies in locating a product or service that is best suited for your work.

Websites that describe a product’s or service’s features in detail will often provide the information you need to make your decision. And that’s what this post is going to do. The web design products and services listed here are top quality, otherwise they wouldn’t make the list.

WordPress Themes

X Theme

This multipurpose WordPress theme has recently released Version 4 that comes with an app-like interface, and a new innovative frontend page builder called Cornerstone. X Theme is one of the fastest-selling Themeforest theme boasting the finest customer support teams found anywhere.

Users get free access to all of Themeforest’s WordPress plugins, continually updated collections of elements, as well as to the interesting and helpful community forums among other great features.

Enfold

Enfold has always been popularly known and loved for its user-friendly WordPress themes and easy-to-use drag-and drop layout editor. As you create your website design, you will find yourself moving seamlessly from one intuitive operation to the next; the site creation process is smooth and uninhibited.

Enfold is continually being updated and improved upon, and has excellent support that contributes to it being the best-rated top seller on Themeforest.

Be Theme

With more than 40 impressive core features, over 100 high-quality pre-made layouts, topnotch support, Be Theme is lightning fast and everything you expect a premium theme to be and have. The large number of topical pre-made layouts serve as valuable design concepts, and as they are 100% editable, they make this theme one of the most versatile themes on the market.

Website Builders and Platforms

XPRS

Think Lego with bricks that can be modified to suit your needs, and you will get a sense of how XPRS functions. Its building block methodology, combined with tons of professional templates, and a no-coding-required web scheme called POLYDOMS, allows you create sites in a matter of minutes. The websites built will be responsive, and a free e-Commerce solution is included.

Try out XPRS for free, and continue to use it for free for non-commercial purposes.

Webydo

Developers have WordPress; amateurs have Wix, Weebly and Squarespace; and designers have Webydo. This SaaS platform is led by its designer community of more than 175,000 designers and web agencies. It is the designers who decide which features should be developed and added to the platform. This results in a code-free, multi-featured all-in-one tool designers can use for prototyping, wire-framing, managing and publishing.

WordPress Page Builders

Cornerstone

Cutting-edge, innovative, state-of-the-art, Cornerstone is changing the way WordPress developers build websites and pages. Using a frontend editor in combination with a preview display, developers can see in real-time their changes on their final product, as and when they introduce changes to the page design. It also comes with its own element library and a drag-and-drop layout editor.

Themify Flow

Drop in your layout modules, set your options, and away you go. Themify Flow will show you the status of your layout instantly, giving you total control of your design modules and your layouts. The live preview makes styling a piece of cake, particularly with the use of the Styling panel that gives you endless styling options. Since this page builder is open source, it is free to use.

Project Management and Collaboration Tools

Nutcache

Nutcache excels at saving important things until they are needed, and then locating them and displaying them appropriately. It is a project management tool that also serves as an online team collaboration tool. No matter the size of your business or your team, it will assist you in efficiently and effectively organizing, tracking, invoicing, and receiving payments.

You can also organize and track diverse collections of ideas, memos, and display statuses using easy-to-understand graphical representations.

Azendoo

Azendoo offers a relaxing, yet efficient way to go about your work. It is an intuitive project planner and task manager that was primarily designed as a collaborative teamwork tool for marketing and design teams.

This application is integrated with Dropbox, Evernote, the Box, and Google Drive, making it a well-supported information-sharing and organizing tool.

Designs to Code Conversion Services

PSDGator

PSDGator is powered by a small web development team that is big in providing conversion services. The service specializes in converting your Photoshop designs into clean, hand-coded, HTML/CSS that is responsive, SEO optimized, and optimized for speed as well.

Your design submissions are always reviewed before being converted into code; this is to see if there are problems or issues that need to be addressed beforehand.

Direct Basing

Direct Basing offers an HTML5 slicing service. In addition to this standard service, other services include PSD to Responsive converstion, and email HTML5 slicings as well. If it is what you are looking for, PSD conversion to WordPress template is also available. This slicing service’s clients range from freelancers to Fortune 500 companies.

40 Dollar Markup

40 Dollar Markup is another quality PSD-to-code conversion service provider. Automated coding techniques are not a part of their M.O. The final product is always hand-coded, clean, and optimized for excellent performance, features automated systems are not always capable of delivering. This outstanding conversion service has a record of providing full support to its deliverables, including converting a website into a responsive one.

Hosting Services

Glow Host

Glowhost has servers located in 16 worldwide datacenters. The hosting services it has been providing for 15 years have given this company a well-deserved reputation for the fastest and most accurate web hosting support in the industry. If speed or reliable service has been a problem for you in the past, this hosting service, which specializes in managed dedicated servers, managed cloud servers, and complex server clusters, is definitely worth a look.

Digital Ocean

It takes about a minute of your time to deploy a Digital Ocean SSD-based cloud server. You will gain access to high-performance SSD hard drives and a flexible applications program interface, as well as access to the datacenter that is located nearest to you.

Your server will be provisioned in as little as 55 seconds, will feature a 1 GB/sec bandwidth, and an initial 1 TB storage capacity.

Stock Photo Agencies

Bigstock

Bigstock is an excellent resource for images, whether you are designing flyers or brochures, or creating a website. You can get started by signing up for a 7-day free trial, then diving into their awesome collection of 26 million or so high-quality stock images. You get up to 35 images for free. 26 million is a large number, but the images are extremely well organized, and finding what you need is rarely a problem.

Stockfresh

Stockfresh, with its millions of stock photos, vectors, and illustrations, offers the best prices in the market. You can pre-pay, and download your selections if you only need a few images, but if you intend to use this service regularly, you can save up to 60% or more by signing up for a subscription service.

Stockfresh’s website is responsive, you can even browse their selections and order images from your mobile device.

Web Apps

Sendloop

If you have been looking for a web app that is the right solution for your email marketing campaign, Sendloop is an excellent choice. This package features a drag-and-drop email builder and an online image editor.

A comprehensive selection of mobile-ready email templates is also included, and a professional HTML email editor is also a part of the package for those with HTML coding skills; the fun part is coding is not necessary to make full use of this app.

Typeform

Forms used to be a necessary evil, but not anymore. Typeform is on a mission to make forms awesome. You can conduct surveys, send out feedback forms, make landing pages, organize a contest, or give your students a test. Start building something cool today.

Core features are free, but if you’re a power user, check out their Pro plan.

UI Kits

Drunken Parrot Full UI Kit

The Drunken Parrot Full UI Kit is a retina-ready and responsive flat UI kit that is particularly well suited for users of Bootstrap. It features a complete set of popular Bootstrap PSD and HTML components supplemented by a colourful and attractive selection of icons and icon fonts.

Other features include button groups, dropdowns, radio buttons, page headers, etc. It is available in both designer and developer editions, or as one full UI kit.

iOS Social UI Kit

This Basement Social iOS Wireframe Kit by Visual Hierarchy provides the ideal solution for quickly and easily creating mobile app designs and prototypes that focus on social activities and multimedia applications. It features 60 iPhone 6 compatible app screens, and it is intended to be used with Photoshop C5+ and Sketch.

The social activity feed category alone features 11 easily customizable screens, and you will also find a comprehensive selection of vector shapes.

Icons and Fonts

Icons Responsive

With a library consisting of more than 1000 icons and counting, Icons Responsive is an excellent resource to have in your designer’s toolkit. These unique items are responsive, and they are also pixel-perfect and easily scalable. The icons come in sizes ranging from 16×16 pixels to 128×128 pixels, and in outline, flat filled, and round container styles.

Since the icons are presented in vector format, they can easily be edited and scaled.

TrueSketch Hand-Drawn Fonts with Ornaments

TrueSketch is an extremely practical font that can be fun to work with. It can be used in digital design projects or in print designs, or used to emphasize a brand. This multilingual font comes with italics, as well as with a number of stylistic alternatives, and a complementing symbol font is included as a bonus.

Choose between desktop and webfont, Ebook, and App and Server licenses.

Conclusion

All of the products and services that are listed here are top quality. Whether you are looking for a premium theme, an app, website, or page building solution, or design resources and services, you won’t make a bad choice no matter what you might select. Comparisons can be close, so you will probably be wanting to look into one or more of these selections more closely before making a final choice.

Whether you see something you want or you don’t, we would like to have your comments, so we can continue to offer the very best recommendations in our future listings.










Why Your Opinion Matters &#38; Why You Shouldn&#8217;t Fear Having One

hongkiat.com - wo, 29/07/2015 - 17:01

We all have opinions. Some of us have no inhibitions sharing them with total strangers on the internet or via social media. In some circumstances, two very different opinions collide and all hell breaks loose. And this happens on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.

Having opinions is healthy. It indicates a progressive nature – one which signifies that we are improving to be better, better educated, more knowledgeable people. But because everyone has opinions, everyone thinks they are deserving of being heard, applauded, agreed with, admired and liked for their opinions. The keyword here is "deserving", and they will fight, troll, insult, provoke and lie to turn their opinion into the common truth.

Does that mean you have to stop having opinions? Of course not, but there are a few things we should address when it comes to opinions.

Fact Vs Opinions

First of all, what is an opinion and what is a fact? Is Pluto a planet regardless of what the scientific definition says? Unfortunately yes, Pluto is a dwarf planet. That is a scientific fact. The brontosaurus does not exist. Coffee is both good and bad for you.

This is regardless of the opinions (both yours and mine) that Pluto (as New Horizons has proved countless of times) is proving to be so much more extraordinary than all the other prim and proper planets in the solar system; that the brontosaurus will always rank amongst the public’s favorite dinosaur; and that we will still drink coffee no matter what the scientists say.

Facts are facts; opinions are opinions. Don’t mix up the two. But if the three issues above prove anything, it’s that even scientists may need to change facts once there is sufficient evidence to do so. Similarly, opinions can change too.

Opinions Can Change

Why is it so hard to have an opinion on the Internet? My theory is that it is written down: in your timeline, your blog, in your chat history somewhere. The problem with social media is that your past opinions can come back and haunt you.

The thing is, whatever opinions, stances or views you susbcribed to when you were 14 may not be the same as when you are 40. People change, so do opinions. And while it is harder to hold verbal opinions against someone, an inked opinion is pretty hard to shake off. And no one is safe from this, not even celebrities.

Is it fair to hold a status someone shared 5 years ago against them? If you do, eventually no one will dare give any opinions at all.

Opinions Could Be Wrong

Let’s address wrong opinions. Many arguments last longer than necessary because of a dedicated section on how the arguer is entitled to their opinions, how it is a" freedom of speech" thing, and how as long as it makes them happy, they can say whatever they want.

We’re not children. We don’t come to school the next day and play together at the playgrounds again, totally forgetting the previous day’s fights and arguments. We remember hurtful insults and rude comments and ignorant rants, and that label you used to totally strip another person’s identity down to the bare bones.

Being entitled to an opinion does not automatically make the opinion right. It does not reduce the hurt from name-calling or make things okay just because "you didn’t mean it that way". If you want to fight to the death for your opinion, remember that you have to be accountable for how you deliver that opinion, and that there is still a possibility of you being proven wrong.

Opinions Need Context

Face it, in every argument there is someone who is probably wrong and the other person is therefore, by elimination and definition, right. Why in the world would arguments drag out so long then? Because of context.

That’s right. Opinions need context. Many arguments cannot be resolved because the people involved in the argument are basing their opinions on different contexts.

Ask if breastfeeding automatically makes a woman a better mother and World War 3 commences. When discussing the natural goodness and bonding powers of the act of breastfeeding, yes it has its benefits that is good to the newborn. But when you’re talking about breastfeeding 8 year olds, it’s a whole new ball game (and that’s the end of this because I do not want to go there).

That’s the thing: you can’t generalize with opinions. They all take shape in this bubble of conditions that we call context. When talking about topics like abortions, gay marriage, women CEOs, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, searching for and contacting alien life, bear in mind that all these topics have potential for controversy and that’s the kind of place where everyone has an opinion.

And depending on their context, everyone’s opinion may be right.

Opinions Label You

There are a lot of cliques, gangs and groups online: Android or Apple, PC or Console, Chrome or Firefox; here are more tech battles you can check out. And like all great battles, there are plenty of passionate people on both sides of the war.

When you have an opinion that aligns yourself to a group or faction, you run the risk of mistaking this sense of acceptance and belonging as who you are. You get reduced down to a label, when in fact you have a personality that is so much more complex and too complicated to be summarized by a single label such as feminist, hipster, fanboy, grammar nazi or housewife.

Beware of parrotting opinions that you don’t believe in, in order to be accepted by the crowd. You have your own set of opinions, formed by your life experiences, by the things you read, by the conversations you have, and you deserve to let that surface.

Reject the labels. You can care about more than two things at a time, and just because you are a hipster or a housewife, it doesn’t diminish the opinion you have to share with the rest of the world.

Your Opinion matters

I attended a publishing seminar once by a renowned speaker from a visiting univeristy. During the Q&A session, I asked his opinion on a popular trending issue at the time but well within the area of expertise of this Professor Emeritus.

He thanked me and replied, in full view of the hall-packed crowd, "I’m glad that you ask for my opinion because in the academic world, the "opinion" holds the lowest credibility."

Opinions can and will evolve; sometimes at the risk of reshaping your reputation and credibility. And as much as you are entitled to them, don’t hold on to them too tightly. Opinions have a way of being infused with our dignity – it makes us think that if we change our opinion, them we’re flimsy or weak, when in fact it is a very natural process, kind of like growing up.

Just make sure that your opinion rocks, and don’t be afraid to share it.

Share Your Opinion

Have an opinion on something you feel passionately about? Here’s your chance to see it published on Hongkiat. Check out the guidelines here and how you can contact us, and we might just feature your work.










How to Force Quit Applications on Mac

hongkiat.com - wo, 29/07/2015 - 12:01

Mac OS X is a great operating system. It’s stable but it isn’t perfect. Once in a while, the application you are working on may freeze (or hang). If your application is not responding or you encounter the Spinning Beach Ball of Death, chances are your application has crashed.

If you don’t want to wait it out, here are two ways how you can force quit an application that’s not responding.

Force quit with keyboard shortcuts

If your application is not responding, do the following:

  1. Press and hold the following keys: Command + Option + Esc
  2. Choose the application you want to quit in the "Force Quick Application" dialogue box.
  3. Click "Force Quit".
Force quit via Terminal

Alternatively, you can quit an application using shell command via Terminal.

  1. Launch Spotlight Search with Command + Spacebar and search for Terminal. Hit Enter.
  2. In Terminal, type ps -ax then Enter. This will give you a list of all running process on your Mac along with other details like its respective PID number, elapsed running time, process name and process location.
  3. To kill (force quit) a specific application, look for its name and note down the PID number.
  4. Type the following command in Terminal: kill <PID number>

Here’s an example:

Upon typing in ps -ax, you may get a long list of output of running processes that look something like the screenshot below:

Now, let’s say we want to force quit Google Chrome, we can make use of the grep command in conjunction with our ps -ax to get exactly the information about the process we want.

The full command would look like this:

ps -ax | grep <application_name>

and in our case, it will be something like this:

ps -ax | grep Chrome

and it should output the following in Terminal:

Note that the PID number for Google Chrome is 9635.

Go ahead and type in the following command in Terminal:

kill 9635

This will terminate Google Chrome browser instantly. Hope this tutorial helps!










The Rise of Trolling &#38; Decline of Online Etiquette

hongkiat.com - di, 28/07/2015 - 17:01

Whether we admit it or not, public human behavior is influenced, nay, dictated by certain norms that polite, civilized society deems acceptable. We don’t get riled up over innocent remarks by strangers, we don’t call each other derogatory names or loud obscenities, and we certainly do not relentlessly follow one another to forcefully offer the smallest bit of criticism about the target’s latest creation or thought.

Unfortunately, the same rules don’t seem to apply online. Many think that all the negativity on the Internet stems from factions of users hiding behind their online personas and aliases to form some sort of worldwide anonymous network of troublemakers. We know these peeps as trolls.

The Troll Calls For Attention

The term "troll" refers to an online user who posts replies, comments, or content in such a manner as to spark conflict. It is the troll’s mission – and sole source of joy – to cause discord and displeasure, to provoke other users into engaging them in often senseless debate. Other names they are identified with include "Haters", "Flame-baiters" and "Cyberbullies"

This behavior was first documented on Usenet groups in 1999, in a paper by Judith Donath. "Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players," writes Donath.

IMAGE: jernvotten

In a recent study by the University of Manitoba, trolling was shown to have a positive correlation with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. This, in essence, defines trolling as the conscious desire to deceive others into falling into a position where they are likely to suffer, brought about by the troll’s immense ego and absolute lack of remorse or empathy.

In essence, trolling stems from the sadistic joy in seeing others placed in uncomfortable situations.

In an even more recent study by researchers at the University of New South Wales, which examines the gender dynamics of players in Halo 3, it was found that gamers who troll women are literally losers. "It’s the fear of losing to a woman that kind of irks a lot of men." The study also finds that the winners find no reason to react negatively to women players.

Inside the Troll’s Mind

So what motivates the troll to rear its ugly head? Let’s take a peek into what’s happening inside their minds. At the very core of this issue lies what psychologist John Suler called the online disinhibition effect. "While online some people self-disclose or act out more frequently or intensely than they would in person."

Based on his studies, Suler determined that there are six factors that influence how people behave and communicate online.

1. Disassociative Anonymity

One of the biggest factors that propagate online disinhibition is the knowledge that, no matter what you do or say online, your real-life persona – identity, actions, and reputation – remains untarnished, in a sense. In other words, there is a disconnect between the physical "you" and the virtual "you."

2. Invisibility

Expressing your thoughts online allows you to be not visible to the recipient. You are, for all intent and purposes, "invisible" to the rest of the world. Being online places no pressure upon the user to dress, speak, think or act according to rules on proper etiquette and communication. No one is present to gauge your tone or judge your actions, and thus you have the freedom to remove all filters and inhibitions from your mind, instead of giving consideration and thought to your actions.

3. Asynchronicity

In the same way the lack of an actual connection between real-life and online identities encourages troll behavior, the knowledge that conversations do not actually happen in real-time imbues the user with quite a bit of confidence to be more blunt, passive-aggressive, and even outright argumentative when it comes to commenting.

4. Solipsistic introjection

If the other side can’t see you, allowing you to dress and act as you please, the same occurs on your side: you can’t see them too. This has consequences in our way of interaction. In a study from the University of Haifa, findings revealed that the lack of eye contact also limits a person when it comes to understanding another’s thoughts, feelings and nonverbal cues.

5. Dissociative imagination

Staring at a computer screen and witnessing what unfolds within the boundaries of its pixel-laden frame further distances a user from the reality of the words used. We forget that what we say may actually have an impact on someone who resides beyond the virtual world. It becomes easier to say hurtful things and throw insults around when you remain blissfully unaware or in denial of their real-world repercussions.

6. Minimising authority

Lastly, there is no dedicated peacekeeping or law enforcement task force that can punish you for stepping out of line on the Internet. In fact, the line isn’t even that clear to begin with – how far can you push for your opinions before you come off as racist, sexist, insensitive, or absolutely devoid of empathy?

Are we too far gone?

Naturally, some websites have taken steps to curb-stomp trolling. Many websites, such as Popular Science, have either disabled the option to comment on articles or maintain a greater degree of admin control over their own forums to prevent trolls from crawling out of the woodwork.

Other websites require registering your name, online account, and even telephone number before you are granted access, in order to prevent identity theft and to make them supposedly more secure.

Still others maintain strict moderation, even going so far as to ban people outright for exhibiting and encouraging unruly behavior.

IMAGE: Brian Klug

Unfortunately, no matter what guidelines or rules are imposed, the very human desire to participate in entertaining activities, even when another person’s life, reputation, and well-being are at risk, remains ever-present. While certainly not all Internet users exhibit trollish behavior, the few ones that do are often the loudest, and hardest to miss.

It is difficult to imagine a world without trolling. Half of the population are irked by it, while the other half are entertained. If you ask people if there’s still a chance to rectify this problem we are facing, they may tell you that it may be impossible to eliminate this unpleasant trend among today’s internet-connected youth, that we should just give up and live with it.

Remember It’s A Human Behind The Screen

It only takes five minutes to shift anyone’s perspective about the lack of etiquette on the web. You can teach it to your friends, kids, colleagues, and even to yourself. And it all begins by remembering that there’s a human behind every words, photos, and videos. Whatever it is you want to say or comment with, if you wouldn’t say it to their face, you probably shouldn’t say it to them online.

This is not taught in schools. Children just gradually learn how to navigate and contribute online. But if we all take the time to make everyone understand that behind every computer screen are a multitude of other humans, who are just as alive as you are, then we might start respecting one another again on the web.

IMAGE: Humans of New York

I will end this article by quoting Kurt Vonnegut, one of the greatest authors to have ever lived.

"Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind."

More on Hongkiat: 6 Psychological Reasons Behind People’s Online Behavior










How to Track Lost Device with Android Device Manager

hongkiat.com - di, 28/07/2015 - 15:01

The best thing about owning a mobile device is the mobility it provides; the worst thing is that being mobile raises the chances of you losing your devices in unimaginable ways. In circumstances where you actually lose a device, there are many third-party apps that can be used to track lost or stolen devices, but there are also dedicated tools for iOS and Android users.

For iOS devices, owners can track their iPhone, iPad or Mac with the Find my iPhone app. For Android users, the lesser-known equivalent is the Android Device Manager. Android Device Manager or ADM has been available in the Play Store since December 2013. In newer Android devices, ADM is pre-installed into your device.

We’re going to take a look at the features and functions of ADM that every Android user should know:

Setting up ADM

First, we need to setup ADM. To verify that ADM is installed on your device and enabled to work properly, go to the Google Settings on your Android Device.

Tap on Security under the Services option and here you can see Android Device Manager (ADM) if it is installed on your Android device. If you cannot see ADM, it means it is not installed on your Android device and you can install it from here.

Once you are done with setting up ADM successfully, it is time to explore features and functions of ADM one by one. By default, Remotely locate this device is enabled and Allow remote lock screen is disabled.

1. How To Remotely Track Location of Lost Device

On any computer browser, go here (ADM web version) to start. Sign in with the same Google account you used on your lost Android device. If your Location is on, the location of your Android device is displayed on Google Maps, accurate to 20-25 meters of the precise location.

Access via Mobile Browser

If you do not have any laptop/desktop computer around and you want to access Android Device Manager on another phone, you can download the app here instead of using it on a mobile browser.

On the mobile app, sign in via Guest Mode and enter your Google Account details to track the location of the lost device.

You can check the current location of your Android device without refreshing the page or signing in again. Click on the location icon button on the right to see the location of your device.

2. How to Bypass the Lock Screen

If in the event of losing your phone, you had not set a lock screen as an added security step, it’s not too late. With ADM you can not only bypass the lock screen and lock it with another password, but also add a custom message or alternate phone number on the lock screen.

To bypass the lock screen, choose the Set up Lock & Erase option.

On some phones, the options are already split to a separate Lock option and an Erase option.

Click on Lock and enter your new password, repeat the password to confirm. This can help minimize someone else intruding into your contact list, emails, photo gallery, messaging apps and other important information.

You can add an optional recovery message as well. This is a message that is directed to anyone who may have stumbled upon your phone so be constructive with the message in the hopes that your device will be returned to you.

You can also give an alternative contact number here. A button will appear on the lock screen. Tapping that button will authorize the phone to call you.

3. How to Remotely Ring Your Device

This step is best done after you have lock your device and set your recovery message and alternative phone number on your lock screen. Provided that your Location was on, and your device is online, you can click on Ring to make your device start ringing.

This option will confirm for you whether device did ring or did not. If you are at the location near your missing phone, this could alert to you or a passerby of your phone’s location. The device will ring for 5 minutes.

4. How to Erase All Data

If your phone carries sensitive information that are already backed up, and you don’t this info to fall into someone else’s hands (for instance business-sensitive information or banking info) you can use ADM to perform a factory reset.

Just choose the Erase option, next to the Lock option. This effectively erases all your data and settings on your device. If the device is offline, the factory reset will be performed as soon as the device is online.

Note that once all data is erased successfully, ADM is no longer available for your Android device.










A Look Into: Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics

hongkiat.com - ma, 27/07/2015 - 17:01

Google Reports are among the simplest, yet the most often and effectively used analytics tools among discerning webmasters. One of the recent reports that have been added under Google Analytics is the Cohort Analysis Report.

This report is extremely useful for business owners as it helps to uncover the essential facts that help to understand the customer behavior and how to retain them to enhance profits. Though webmasters are bound to feel the inclination for jumping on to the analyses because of the awesome business knowledge to be gained, it makes sense to take things slow.

In today’s post, a first of two parts, I’ll be providing a basic understanding of the Cohort Analysis functionality in Google Analytics, and the core essentials of how the analyses mashes up data to churn our secrets. Plus, I’ll touch upon some practices to help you prepare your cohort analyses exercise diligently, and applying the same for measurable business benefits.

Once you pick up the nuances of a business result centric cohort analyses, we’ll execute the steps in the second part.

What is Cohort Analysis?

First things first; a cohort is just a group, segment or category of objects that have displayed common behavior, attributes or experiences within a specific timeframe.

So, a cohort analysis is the study focused on the activities of a specific cohort. For example, if you had to calculate the average income of employees of a particular company over the course of a four year period following their recruitment, you would effectively be conducting a cohort analysis.

Although many vouch for the smart features incorporated in Google Analytics, many webmasters and web analysts have also been rough on it because of the apparent lack of Cohort functionality, a feature which would have increased its appeal significantly.

unveiling the secrets Behind raw data

A unique feature of a cohort analysis is that the characteristics or attributes of users are time bound; it has been established that even a single user can display different characteristics over different timeframes.

For example, the same user might buy product X in the month of January but buy product Y in February. From an e-Commerce perspective, a certain user might login to your website on Monday through a laptop but visit again on Tuesday via a smartphone.

Timing is crucial, and cohort analyses captures this.

Now, Google Analytics defines user attributes in its detailed reports — both primary and secondary — in terms of "dimensions" including country, city, traffic source, keyword, product, and so on. So, all users who have visited your website from a certain country will belong to a common ‘country’ cohort and all the users who bought a product X belong to a ‘product X’ cohort.

The same user can be a member of multiple cohorts at the same time depending upon how you segment and interpret the data.

Another interesting fact is that a cohort analysis gets more interesting when cohorts are compared over a period of time.

This report can be found under the Audience section as displayed in the screenshot below:

Using Cohort Analysis – The Basics

The business advantages that a detailed cohort analysis can bless you with are unchallengeable. Cohort analysis is a boon for e-Commerce websites.

Sites like Myntra, Snapdeal, Couponmachine etc leverage it to understand user behavior and subscription patters over time. Of course, that’s just one of the applications; there’s an ocean of knowledge hidden on the other side of a well done cohort analysis.

Step 1: The Prelim Question

First of all, like any analysis, your cohort analysis should begin with a question. It doesn’t matter if it’s the quintessential "why sales rise or fall", the expectant "what’s the best time or season to launch a new ad", or the perfectionism-seeking "how early should an ecommerce site send out emails before a holiday or event in order to get the highest amount of sales"?

Once you’ve decided on the question, you will also know what you will measure in your analysis.

Step 2: Zeroing in on common core characteristics

Identifying the common characteristic that defines the cohort you want to measure will be another critical step to help you get what you’re looking for.

In fact, if done correctly, a cohort analysis can go so far as to help you clarify and establish business trends so that you can stay ahead. These reports will help you reach some very obvious conclusions regarding your store or e-Commerce website.

One special feature you will really like about the Cohort report is its ability to segment data. You can apply multiple segments to your report and each segment will create a new table of data.

Cohort Analysis for Business

Cohort analysis is like gold-dust for any growing retail business because it will allow the business managers to understand observed online customer behavior. If you want to study your customers, you could start by grouping them in accordance to how they were referred to your business or website and then track the amount of money they have spent over time.

One of the most popularly conducted cohort analysis is one which groups customers based on their joining, enrollment or subscription date. This allows you to study spending trends of particular cohorts over different periods in time and even indicate whether the standard of your average customer is increasing or decreasing in over time.

What Cohort Analyses Can Do For You

In a cohort analysis, user retention is the single-most useful metric among all available options, especially since most cohort reports are used to observe behavioral consistencies over time.

However, there is a variety of metrics available, including goal achievement, sessions, session duration, and page views. Here’s a quick snapshot of the most irresistible benefits brought to the table by Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics:

(1) With Google Analytics, you can initiate comparisons among segmentation features in the same way as other Google Analytics reports. Google Analytics features a solution gallery that can be used or imported into an ongoing analysis, allowing users to make the most of solutions developed by fellow analysts.

(2) Your report results will appear as a triangular table of metrics, which should effectively ascertain the degree of sustained consumer behavior that is taking place. And if that isn’t comprehensive enough for you, a timeline graph is also generated. But as an analyst, you would probably be more interested in the table. Once you’ve used it, you will gradually find clever uses of the cohort reports.

(3) Cohort reports will allow you to qualify data from a sustainability standpoint. For example, if there is a rise in volume or traffic, you can find out whether only a certain cohort is responsible and if the apparent increase is sustainable. Cohort analysis is a vital tool as it allows retail businesses to find out more about their customers and their behavior, particularly in longitudinal studies.

(4) An accurate Cohort Analysis will even help you identify differences in metrics like retention, acquisition, or engagement or interaction, to marketing trends, allowing you to ask consumers the right questions.

(5) Google Analytics even features Shortcuts that allow you to save your unique cohort reports, saving you hours of your time especially since you would know that configuring Cohorts report can be a long a tedious task (one that you would happily avoid!). Intuitive shortcuts can be accessed with a single click on the Google Analytics user interface.

Conclusion

Thus, it can be agreed upon that Cohort analysis is a very useful way to understand how different but specific user groups perform based on common attributes or characteristics.

That said, Google Analytics’ current cohort analysis tool is still pretty much in its infancy. Before the world wakes up to be able to use it as the decisive tool that it is meant to be, ensure that you blend your business acumen, web strategies, and analytical skills to create some actionable knowledge from the raw data being generated every second from your websites.










10 Open Source CMS for Building e-Commerce Sites

hongkiat.com - ma, 27/07/2015 - 15:01

There are a few solutions in building an e-Commerce website that contain all the utilities and features for convenient online shopping such as product catalog, stock control, shopping cart, as well as payment gateways.

You can go with the hosted e-Commerce route, banking on Shopify or BigCommerce, for example, which will host your websites within their server, setup, maintain, and upgrade your website as long as you are subscribed to their service (usually monthly).

IMAGE: Pixabay

If however you’re just getting started and have a very tight budget that does not have allowance for subscribed hosting, you can take the open source solution instead. If you don’t mind delving into the technicalities and setting up your own e-Commerce website, take a look at the following 10 open source CMS you can use to build e-Commerce sites for free.

1. UberCart

UberCart is a module that adds e-Commerce functionality to Drupal out of the box. UberCart can be used to sell various goods either physical goods like shirts, shoes, and event ticketing, or digital goods like music singles, movies or software. If your website is powered by Drupal, this module is worth considering.

[Demo | Download]

2. SpreeCommerce

With SpreeCommerce you can configure, add or replace any functionality, having full customizability to build your store as you see fit. One cool feature it has is a built-in subscription functionality, which allows customers that signed up to your store to continuously receive your products or services without having to repurchase the product.

[Demo | Download]

3. ZeusCart

The ZeusCart default theme is built on top of Bootstrap which makes it fully responsive. Aside from the essentials like shopping cart, shipping cost calculators and payment gateways, ZeusCart is also equipped with features such as gift cards, coupons, advanced search functionalities, and SEO to make your site rank high in searches.

[Demo | Download]

4. CubeCart

With CubeCart, upon login as Administrator, it will show you plentyof information about your e-Commerce site including sales and stock report. You can export these reports as spreadsheets. There are also many plugins and modules that you can use to extend the functionality of your store.

[Demo | Download]

5. ZenCart

ZenCart is built and supported by a community made up of programmers, designers, shop owners and consultants. If you are able to code you can contribute to the ZenCart project as well. Plus, you can also freely modify ZenCart’s source code in many ways to fit your requirements. ZenCart works with almost all hosting providers since it only requires PHP, Apache, and MySQL.

[Demo | Download]

6. LiteCommerce

LiteCommerce can be used as a Drupal module or as a standalone e-Commerce platform. Design-wise, LiteCommerce comes with a clean and smooth user interface, powered with AJAX for lively interaction. It is also highly customizable since it is built with modular architecture.

[Demo | Download From Github]

7. TomatoCart

Tomatocart uses Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) at the backend to present a powerful GUI similar to your PC. To improve SEO, TomatoCart implements Rich Keyword URL for products, categories, reviews, articles, etc. Rich Keyword URL includes the name of the content instead of the ID. Tomatocart uses simplified MVC for faster performance.

[Demo | Download]

8. HeroCommerce

HeroCommerce is an extension for CMS platform called HeroFramework. The extension turn HeroFramework into a full fledged e-Commerce platform. Download the bundled package – HeroFramework + Ecommerce add-on – to install on your own server. The e-Commerce add-on ships with essential functionalities like product inventories, shipping, payment gateway and so forth.

[Download]

9. nopCommerce

nopCommerce is an open source e-Commerce built upon Microsoft technology, ASP.NET with MS-SQL database. Much like the others, nopCommerce has everything you need to get started to sell your products online, whether you are selling physical or digital goods.

[Demo | Download]

10. Kartris

Kartris is also an ASP.NET based e-Commerce platform that comes with all the essentials like inventories, shopping cart, payment systems, and back-end administration. It is designed to run on Microsoft’s IIS web server, and exploits the powerful caching and optimization features on the platform.

[Demo | Download]

Now Read:
Essential E-Commerce Tools To Understand Your Users Better








20 Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

hongkiat.com - vr, 24/07/2015 - 15:01

While many people these days prefer digital books or e-books, there are still many book lovers among us. Just because we read on the Kindle or the tablet, doesn’t mean we don’t miss the touch and smell of paper or the sound of page flips.

While pondering about this, I decided to change my perspective for a quick moment and think about what a modern book lover may need. In this post, I came up with a list of 20 perfect gift ideas for book lovers.

In today’s collection you’ll find awesome bookshelf designs, interesting lamps, cute and practical bookmarks, quirky reading glasses and even perfume with an aroma of freshly printed books. Will you be buying any of these gifts for book lovers for yourself or a friend? Let us know in the comments.

LiliLite – The All-in-One Book Lamp, Shelf, and Mark

LiliLite is a bookshelf, book lamp and bookmark in one. When you pull your book off the peak of a shelf, the light automatically turns on. When you put it back, the light turns off. The peak serves as a bookmark. The item is available for pre-order. [from €129.00]

‘Bloody Love Books’ Tote Bag

This bag screams “bloody love books” for you, if the people around you don’t know about this already. [£13.75]

Big Top Classic Balloon Dog Bookend

Inspired by balloon animals, these bookends may remind you of fun moments in a circus. However, they are made of resin and are instead here to keep your books neat and upright on the shelf. [$48.00]

BookBook for MacBook

BookBook is a strong case to protect the thinnest Macbook. It has two hardback covers for protection and the classic leather look is just charming. [$79.00]

Paper Passion Perfume

For the book lovers who always rail about the "smell of books", this unique perfume will give you whiffs of that freshly printed book. You can spray it a bit on your "electronic" books, to complete the illusion. [€85.00]

Old Books – Soy Candle

Want that old book smell but the perfume is too much for your wallet to take? Try this soy candle instead. It releases that old book smell, when burned, perfect for your "me time" with your favorite book. [$16.00]

Pink Manolo Blahnik shoes bookmark

This amazing bookmark was inspired by Carrie Bradshaw from the Sex and the City series. As she was totally obsessed with shoes, this bookmark is the perfect gift for a girl who loves both books and shoes. [$20.00]

Bed Prism Spectacles

Prefer to do your reading on the bed but your hands tire from holding up the book for too long? Maybe these glasses can help. Don’t expect to look fashionable in them though. [$12.58]

Book Necklace In Sterling Silver

This silver necklace is an ideal gift for a girl who loves to read books. The book pendant is about 11mm high and hand-carved. The chain is 18 inches long. You can ask to add initials or drawings to the book, or to have it in 9/18 carat gold, pending extra charges. [$120]

Agustav Book Rack

This is another idea to store your books. Just hang them on the wall like you do your coats. In fact this can double as your coat or hat rack as well. [$150]

Gimble Book Holder

Hands-free reading even outside during windy weather is what avid readers are dreaming for. With this awesome holder, they can keep their hands free for other things, like that hot cup of tea. [$16]

Fully Booked

Here’s a fun tent design for campers who love books. It has plenty of room for two and you can even personalize the tent and choose the book cover you like. Genius idea! [$445]

Typographic Bookshelf

Have a reading list you are adamant of finishing before the end of the year? Then this bookshelf may help. This awesome bookshelf is separated into two parts: Has Been Read and Will Be Read — the perfect visual motivator for the organized reader. [$890]

CookBook Compact Folding Bookstand

This book stand is designed for the kitchen. Prop up your recipe book on this bookstand on the counter and cook away. You can also put your tablet on it if you have e-recipes you want to try. It’s foldable, just like a book, so you can fold it for storage when it’s not in use. [$29.95]

Book Diversion Safe

A fake book with a secret storage compartment perfect for placing for your valuables. Keep it with the rest of your books on your bookshelf and no one is the wiser. The most dangerous place is the safest. [$13.98]

Leather Heart Bookmark

These heart shape leather bookmarks just slips comfortably into the corner of the page. You can use this as the perfect bookmark of the page you last read. A classy bookmark for the classy reader. [$8.00]

Book Rest Lamp

This awesome lamp made of frosted glass is the perfect nightlight to accompany a late night bedtime story reading. It would also be great decoration for a child’s bedroom. [$98]

Hot Girls Read – 11oz Coffee Mug

Show off your unique book lover’s status with this "Hot Girls Read" mug. There are a variety of other hipster-inspired quotes but for book lovers, this one is a keeper. [$12]

Felt Animal Index Cards

These funny animals will help you to keep your books separated and in order, while giving your home that wild touch. [$27]

Cassette Tape Bookmark

This cool bookmark in the form of a retro cassette tape and will help you to keep your place when you read a book. It’s a magnetic clip and it is available in 6 different color themes. Each pack comes with a set of three bookmarks. [$10]










How to Avoid These 7 Most Common Online Scams [Infographic]

hongkiat.com - vr, 24/07/2015 - 12:01

As wonderful as the online world is for collaborations it is also home to scams that had been around since before the birth of the Internet. Technology is making it easier for the gullible to be cheated and scammed. And the only way to protect yourself is to be informed about how these scams work and to take the necessary precautions.

This infographic by WhoIsHostingThis.com takes us through 7 common online scams which I’m sure some of you have come across before. You will find cases of varying threat levels such as the relatively less-intrusive plugin that claims to show you how many times your Facebook profile has been viewed; the email threat to expose you as a pedophile; and the super-creepy remote access trojan (RAT), which turns on your webcam remotely and starts recording!

These are the online scams you should learn how to avoid or protect yourself against. Check out the tips on how to do so near the end of the infographic.










WordPress Development: How to Setup a Staging Environment

hongkiat.com - do, 23/07/2015 - 17:01

Usually we would start developing a website in a local server. Then, we upload it to a staging site, and after everything are confirmed, we push the website to the live server. As simple as that sound, developing a website can be a very lengthy process.

In this post, we will see how to deploy and configure these stages effectively when developing for WordPress using a handy plugin called WP Local Toolbox.

Once the plugin is activated, it exposes a number of PHP constants. To name but a few, these constants will let us know if we are currently in a live site or in local site, ensure unnecessary plugins in certain stage remain deactivated, and notify us when new content has been added in the live site.

Development Stage

This is where we start. We build our website in a localhost: a web server running in our computer. If you are using OS X, you can easily set one up with MAMP. Windows users have a few more options such as MAMP (for Windows), WAMP, and XAMPP.

At this stage, you can use development tools like Codekit, and Grunt or Gulp. You can work together with your colleagues using Git version control; you can also freely conduct some experiments, and safely make errors along the way.

In the development period, I encourage you to enable the WP_DEBUG and to install a few WordPress plugins such as Query Monitor, RTL Tester, and User Switching in addition to the plugins that we would deploy in the live site. These few extra plugins are meant to facilitate the development as well as testing process. That said, we will not activate these plugins at the staging or live site.

Open the wp-config.php, and add the following line after define('WP_DEBUG', true);.

define('WP_DEBUG', true); define('WPLT_SERVER', 'dev');

This line marks our WordPress install in localhost as “development”. When you log in to the WordPress dashboard, you will notice that the Admin bar, by default, now returns green with the server stated as DEV SERVER.

Setting it dev enables the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” option to prevent the site accidentally being indexed in Search Engine, although it is only accessible in our computer.

If you do not like the default green, you can always change it by defining WPLT_COLOR. The color can be defined with a color keyword or with the Hex format as shown below.

define('WPLT_COLOR', '#7ab800');

Additionally, you might also want to forcefully deactivate a few plugins that are not needed during development, like the caching plugin, backup plugin and Akismet.

To do so, specify each plugin in an array with WPLT_DISABLED_PLUGINS.

define('WPLT_DISABLED_PLUGINS', serialize( array( 'w3-total-cache/w3-total-cache.php', 'akismet/akismet.php', ) ));  “Staging” Stage

The “staging” site is where we test our site. Ideally it should be in an environment that is closely mimics (the content, the server specification, and etc.) the live site in order to catch bugs and errors that we may have missed in the development stage.

The site usually should only be accessible to some people including the clients, to show them the final version of the websites.

Some plugins are better deactivated such as the plugins that we have used in the development stage, a caching plugin, and a backup plugin. Staging site could be set in a subdomain, for example, staging.coolsite.com or in a separate domain like coolsitestaging.com.

We define the staging site in wp-config.php as follows.

define('WP_DEBUG', true); define('WPLT_SERVER', 'testing'); define('WPLT_DISABLED_PLUGINS', serialize( array( 'w3-total-cache/w3-total-cache.php', 'akismet/akismet.php', 'debug-bar/debug-bar.php', 'debug-bar-extender/debug-bar-extender.php', 'debug-bar-console/debug-bar-console.php', 'simply-show-ids/simply-show-ids.php', 'monster-widget/monster-widget.php', 'theme-check/theme-check.php', 'wordpress-beta-tester/wp-beta-tester.php', ) ));

We now set the server as staging or testing. The Admin bar color should now turn orange.

At this stage, we can also deactivate a few plugins that we use for development. We keep a few other development plugins activated and WP_DEBUG enabled as we need to catch errors while testing in the staging server.

Live Stage

This is the final stage where we publish our site in a live server and let everyone and anyone see the website. In this stage, we should also deactivate all the plugins for developments and finally activate caching and backup plugins among other things.

define('WP_DEBUG', false); define('WPLT_SERVER', 'live'); define('WPLT_DISABLED_PLUGINS', serialize( array( 'developer/developer.php', 'debug-bar/debug-bar.php', 'debug-bar-extender/debug-bar-extender.php', 'debug-bar-console/debug-bar-console.php', 'simply-show-ids/simply-show-ids.php', 'regenerate-thumbnails/regenerate-thumbnails.php', 'rewrite-rules-inspector/rewrite-rules-inspector.php', 'rtl-tester/rtl-tester.php', 'user-switching/user-switching.php', 'monster-widget/monster-widget.php', 'theme-check/theme-check.php', 'query-monitor/query-monitor.php', 'wordpress-beta-tester/wp-beta-tester.php', ) ));

The live stage Admin bar defaults to red (this can be changed). Keep an eye for new content in the live server to keep the testing server database updated with the new content as in the live server; it will make testing more accurate, and ensure that the new contents are displayed OK.

Add the following line in the live server wp-config.php to do so.

define('WPLT_NOTIFY','me@outlook.com');

Once set, we will receive notification through email when our client add new content (posts and pages) in the live server. When they do, copy the content database from live.

If your testing and live server are hosted in the same server, go to phpMyAdmin. Then, select the wp_posts database and select the Operations tab. Within the Copy table to (database.table) box, select the staging site database and make sure that the Add DROP TABLE option is checked so that it will overwrite the existing database.

That’s it, we now have nicely organized stages for developing a WordPress site. I realize that many of you have your own style of workflow so feel free to share your best workflow when dealing with “staging”, and what tools you are using.










19 Useful Apps to Plan Your Own Wedding

hongkiat.com - do, 23/07/2015 - 15:01

Planning anything as massive as the most important day of your life requires a lot of time, effort, discussions, negotiations and compromise. It also provides insight into the kind of life you will be sharing with your partner after the big day itself. To keep frustrations and arguments from clouding the whole planning process, be smart about it.

Find some help in the form of tools and apps that are readily available that can help you get some of the more sticky, headache-inducing problems out of the way. That way, you can use the remaining time to go through the more personal things that matter, like choosing your wedding band, your wedding gown/tux, your honeymoon spot and writing your vows.

Plan a modern wedding the smart way by using these 19 tools and apps catered to help you make your wedding day a day to remember.

Appy Couple – Create Your Own Wedding Website

Want to create your own dedicated wedding website but can’t design to save your marriage? Choose one of hundreds of designs available on Appy Couple, add in your details, and the site builds itself. You’ll get an online website to call yours and an accompanying smartphone app version as well.

You can also create and manage your guest list, announce your venue, dress code and other relevant info, upload your wedding pictures, chat with your guests, all on your built site. You can have your own wedding website with a one-time fee of #39 or $69 depending on which of the two collections you choose. [Download: iOS]

Guesterly – "Getting To Know You" Wedding Yearbook

Want your friends and family to remember your wedding years after the event? Guesterly offers you an opportunity to create a wedding "yearbook". Send out a questionnaire to all your guests so they can share info about themselves, a photo as well as best wishes dedicated to you and your partner.

You can choose to print (2 weeks in advance) or create an digital version in 36 hours. Prices for both versions are available at the site; the printed version is charged based on number of pages while the digital version will be available online for a full year. It is the perfect keepsake for when the wedding is over.

Postable – Designs, Prints & Sends Cards for You

If you want to send invitations to your guests but can’t seem to find the time to write, design, print and find their respective addresses to mail the cards to them, let Postable do all that and more on your behalf.

Just insert the email addresses of your guests, and Postable will send them a standard emails asking to fill in their mailing addresses. You can then send cards for the many occasions: Save the Date and Invitations, Bridal Party and Shower Invites, Congrats and Thank yous and Anniversaries.

Eversnap – Wedding Party From 100 Perspectives

This is the mobile phone era; your guest are going to take photos and film videos on their phones during the whole wedding day. Using Eversnap, a premium service, you can collect your photos and videos from your guests into one private album, so you can enjoy your wedding captured from 100 different perspectives.

All they have to do is download the app then punch in your album code and they can start snapping and adding their photos to your album. There is also the option to have these photos streamed live at the event itself. Now that will be an awesome party to remember. [Download: iOS | Android]

Vyclone – Supercut Video Of Your Wedding

Ever crowdsourced a video? Do you want your wedding video to be filmed from every possible angle? Vyclone will help you to stitch together the videos your guests made to create a unique film of your wedding.

Just ask your guests to upload all the footage from their smartphones, and it will automatically sync and edit the video of your wedding. You can also choose to edit the film yourself if you have the skills for it. [Download: iOS | Android | Windows Phone]

WeddingWire – All Under One Roof

WeddingWire is an overall toolkit anyone needs to plan for their wedding. It has a range of planning tools to help you create your guest list, seating chart, find a photographer or DJ or catering service, find a wedding dress, be inspired with real wedding photos, find songs for the event or the reception and more.

You can also create your registry or go through the forums for ideas, suggestions and feedback from their registered users. Lastly, you can also get your own wedding website and a wedding checklist tool to help you make sure you got everything covered. Just get an account to start planning. [Download: iOS | Android]

Zola – Manage Your Gift List

These days we are more open about giving and expecting wedding gifts. Rather than keep your guests guessing about what you might need, use Zola to display your gift list to your guests, indicating what you actually need for this next phase of your life.

In this wishlist, guests can pick up a gift within their budget and not buy you the same item twice. One fun feature is that you can scan a barcode with the app scanner to add a gift to your registry. No more tea sets and silver cutlery you never use. [Download: iOS]

My Registry – Online Store Registry Gift List

My registry is a great app, similar to Zola, with a few extra perks. It lets you add gifts from any store on the Internet, or any store off it, and sync those registries into one universal wishlist. You can create a store registry from at least 20 stores such as Amazon.com, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Sears and more.

If you don’t want gifts, you can also opt to register for cash gifts instead. This helps you save for a house or your honeymoon or other funds. The site is also great to discover great gift ideas on your inspiration board. The smartphone app also allows you to add gifts on-the-go. [Download: iOS | Android]

All Seated – Get Your Guests Seated Easily

One of the simplest or the most complicated task for a wedding is managing the seating order – simplest if you let them sit where they like; complicated, if you want everyone to have a good time at their table. This awesome service allows you to plan your big day with hosts, venue managers, vendors and event planners all in a single place.

Group the guests that you think will enjoy each other’s companies and use their color-coding system to seat your guests at your bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, or wedding dinner. You can also invite family members to help you and join in with the planning.

Wedding Planner – Designer Bride Central

Their motto is "for every little part of your big day’. On this website you can find everything you need from a dress for a bride to shoes for a groom. The site is designed with focus on the bride but you can find tools to help you plan a wedding from the beginning to the end.

Manage your budget and various lists, find vendors from your area, shop for accessories, get wedding ideas, inspiration and more. Wedding Planner even has wedding planning courses for those who take wedding planning super seriously.

Top Table Planner – Stay On Top of Tables

The service will help you to design your table plan. Use their easy admin panel to drag and drop tables and seats to suit your table placements at your wedding venue. Then add your guest list and place each guest in the seating of your choice. Once you are satisfied, print out your table seating plan and guest name cards.

Reduce stress and save your time planning your seating quick and simple in a visual manner. Although it is a paid app (starting from just $20), it does have a 7 day trial you can take advantage of and is accessible on desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Tablerrr – Online Seating Tool

Tablerrr is another online seating arrangement tool that allows you to create seating plans. With Tablerrr you can work online from any computer. Create your event, add your guest list, design your seating plan, then in the Editor mark who can sit next to each other, and who shouldn’t.

Drag and drop guests to their seats, and make changes even when your guest list has changes such as cancellations or late registrations. You can also print out table cards with this tool.

Wedding Party App – From Proposal to Wedding Day

The Wedding Party app is all you need to collect pictures and details, chat with your guests and discover unique wedding ideas. The app allows you to collect and organize all your images from the engagement party right up to the wedding day.

You can chat with individual guests or create group chats to discuss what you need. Keep your guests posted with the weather conditions at the venue as well as your gift registries. Also, with the mobile app your guests will be able to create personalized photo strips and videos. [Download: iOS | Android]

The Knot – Connect With All The Right People

TheKnot has a huge amount of information you may need for your wedding planning needs. Here you’ll find ideas for dresses, invitations, the reception, rings and jewelry and more. You can also ask for ideas from the community or get ideas from real actual weddings of other couples.

The Knot is also a place where you can find vendors and caterers to service your wedding day, as well as photographers, videographers and photo booths setups. You can also create your wedding website and a registry in the same place.

iWedPlanner – Back To basics

iWedPlanner is home to vendors from a ton of categories from wedding caterers to DJs, from reception venues to accommodation for guests, from wedding favors and gown cleaning to name change services. It is also home to a forum where you can plenty of answers to wedding-related questions.

Also available is a free calculator to crunch numbers for your wedding budget, a checklist to help you make sure that everything is covered, a seating tool, and a fun virtual makeover tool to help you perfect that wedding look. [Download: iOS | Android]

WeddingHappy – Wedding Planning Checklist

WeddingHappy is a free iPhone app that does not require Internet connection to use, unlike the other wedding apps in this list. You can search for vendors, set up your checklists and calendar notifications, sync your wedding plans to other Apple devices and more.

The task lists contain categories that help you keep you on your toes when it comes to doing the research required such as looking for a DJ, ordering your wedding dress, asking around for a florist and more.

WeddingDJ – It’s All About The Music

WeddingDj is an iPhone app for running your wedding music and it is an incredibly detailed music curating app. If you think that this app is just to plan for your wedding music, you’re going to get schooled by the app.

You need a playlist for the pre-ceremony and another for the cocktail hours. You can set songs for the first dance, the cake cutting, the registry signing, group procession, wedding party entrance, dinner, plus the party where everyone hits the dancefloor. With all the selections set, do you still need a DJ?

Dream Wedding Calculator – Get a Rough Estimate

Want to find out what your dream wedding would cost for you? Just answer some simple questions and the tool will work it out. In any case, be warned, the final figure may make you cry!

Wedding Budget Calculator – Budget Planning

Weddings can be expensive if you do not keep to the budget you have planned. This wedding budget tool comes with the standard 50 expense items you will probably use: fill in the costs, add notes, add or remove items during the process or share your budget with your family and friends for advice or tips.

Now Read:
href=”http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/creative-wedding-portraits/” onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘readmore’, ‘internal’, ‘wedding-planning-tools’]);”>28 Ways to Shoot Fun and Creative Wedding Portraits








30 Awesome SVG Animation For Your Inspiration

hongkiat.com - wo, 22/07/2015 - 17:01

Designers used to create animations in HTML elements using CSS. However, due to the limitations of HTML elements in creating patterns, shapes, and others, they naturally turn to SVG, which offers more interesting capabilities.

Working with SVG, we enjoy good browser supprot for SVG animation, and we have more ways to create new animation. You can use both the built-in SVG animation functionality or CSS3 animation (note that not everything can be done by CSS so there is still need for JavaScript). Another way is by using JavaScript engines such as GSAP or Snap. JS is good practice for creating animation.

Here I have compiled some amazing animated SVG. Some use SVG animation, others use CSS transform for basic animation, and the rest use the help of JavaScript.

Border Animation by Sean McCaffery

Made only with CSS, a border forms smoothly around the text, when you hover over the "HOVER" instruction.

Elastic SVG Sidebar by Nikolay Talanov

The sidebar becomes elastic when you try to pull it away from the side. A nice concept applied on a Material Design-inspired application sidebar.

Pull Down to Refresh by Nikolay Talanov

Most pages allow you to "pull down" on the page to refresh. With this animation, when you "release" the page, the Send icon changes into a Plane icon and gets released into the air.

Animated Gradient on Text by Patrick Young

Here’s a subtle but not easy to miss moving text gradient that typography lovers will love.

Heart Animation by Nikolay Talanov

This animation shows you how a heart icon is made from two circles and a square. The transformation is done with CSS animation.

Let’s Travel by jjperezaguinaga

An animation that illustrate cities and popular tourist destinations in the world. The moves and transformations are created using CSS animation.

Menu toggle animation by Tamino Martinius

A morphing animation of the hamburger icon turning into a cross icon. See how smooth the transition is between the two objects.

Animated Infographic by Sdras

An awesome animation by Sarah Drasner, powered by GSAP timeline. It is an infographic come to life, made with animation. Use the slider to access the frames from any point.

Rain-Bros don’t like JS by cihadturhan

A unique and funny loop animation depicting the characters’ walk. The movement of the objects in this demo is a combination of SVG and CSS3 animation. The legs use SVG animation while other parts use CSS3 animation.

Clock by Mohamad Mohebifar

Watch the smooth movement of the second-hand in this clock showing the current time. The animation is completely made using the SVG animation functionality.

Rainbow Rocket Man by Chris Gannon

An astronaut shooting into space with it’s rainbow-powered jet pack(?). Nice animation made using the GSAP Tweenmax plugin.

Animated Icon by Luigi De Rosa

However over these animated SVG icons to check out what they can do. The creator made this using GSAP.

Flat Workspace by Hoàng Nhật

The animation illustrates a workspace in flat style design. The creator used GSAP to make this awesome animation of a workstation forming.

The clickable animated icon by Hamish Williams

This is a cool animation makes use of the snap.svg library. Click to see mail being "sent".

Diving by Chris Gannon

Have you ever skipped stones on the surface of a lake? Here’s a simple SVG path animation illustrating that but with no stones, and no lake.

Motion for the web by LegoMushroom

It has animation, a nice tune, super cool entrance for the text, what’s not to like? This is built with mo.js, a motion graphic JavaScript library.

Animated writing font by Lee Porter

Besides using SVG to make path animation sketching a shape, you can use it on typography like what this creator made. The blur effect makes it more awesome.

Gooey menu by Lucas Bebber

Have fun with the gooey effect in this design, which is made using SVG filter and by adding CSS animation. The result is realistic and really cool, and you can play with four different versions.

New Cake by Marco Barría

How to make a layered birthday cake made with SVG and CSS animation.

Thank you by Rachel Smith

Just see this awesome animation of a simple thank-you note. It is created using SVG and GSAP TweenMax library.

CSS vs SVG by Mario Sanchez Maselli

Now let’s look the comparison about CSS and SVG animation, do you see the difference?

Walking Dog by Mark Nelson

Another way to animate SVG is by using sprites images, like how this creator did.

Hourglass loader by Leela

A creative work made using pure SVG animation (SMIL); no CSS or JS to animate things here.

Logo Animation by Adem ilter

Here’s a nice animated logo intro using inline SVG animation. No CSS or JS was used to make everything work.

Stats animation by Jonas Badalic

A beautiful stats graph with SVG animation powered by Snap.SVG library.

Ouroboros by Noel Delgado

An amazing SVG animation path. First the creator drew a path route on SVG, before using tween.js to add animation. The tutorial can be found here.

Creative Gooey Effects by Lucas Bebber

Here are seven creative uses of SVG filter to make a gooey-like effect. The music visualizer is my favorite, the animation looks very nice.

Throw the cow by Sarah Drasner

This one is an SVG animation powered by TweenMax but made just for fun. Hold and drag the cow around the planet. It will spin in "orbit".

Animated Logo by Ali

Animation could be a nice little addition for a bubbling beer logo. The nice little floating bubbles are built purely with SVG native animation syntax.










History Recap: 30 Years of Windows [Infographic]

hongkiat.com - wo, 22/07/2015 - 15:01

The latest version of Windows will be released near the end of this month in nearly 190 markets around the world. Windows 10 is something many are keeping their eyes on: will it or won’t it redeem Windows for what it put users through in Windows 8? (In case you missed it, one of our own, Thoriq Firdaus took a run at Windows 10 in the Windows Insider program.)

The release is a little over a week away, so while we wait, how about we take a stroll down memory lane with this infographic about the History of Windows?

This infographic by Microsofttraining.net will take you through the 30 years of Windows revolution, beginning from Windows 1 (1985) and 2, then to the graphical interface of Windows 3 (1990), the many versions for consumer consumption, Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8 and the last version ever to be made, Windows 10.

Note that this rundown is not exhaustive and does not include many editions such as Windows NT, CE, Server or mobile releases.










30 Must-Have Free Windows Tools

hongkiat.com - di, 21/07/2015 - 17:01

Windows is the most popular operating system for desktops, so it’s no surprise that it supports a plethora of tools and apps, but not all of them are essential for use. While there are plenty of tools and software for each and every task – for customization, media, productivity, system or security – you probably just want the best tools for your needs.

We’ve handpicked a list of best 30 free software for Windows, that costs nothing but are found in many computers for the simple reason that they are worth getting. In other words, you should get these tools for your computer too.

1. Toolwiz Time Freeze

Toolwiz Time Freeze is a system sandbox that puts your computer in a deep-freeze state – any changes you or any software make to your system is discarded after reboot. It effortlessly protects your system from viruses, hacks, malware, adware, dangerous plugins, undesired changes and malicious threats.

2. Comodo Firewall

Comodo Firewall lets you easily monitor in and out connections, and manage the Internet traffic on your computer through an intuitive interface. Its advance technology ensures that no malicious connection attempt is made on your computer.

3. Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a popular anti-malware solution which detects and removes worms, trojans, rogues, rootkits, spyware and any other malware that infects a computer. It checks the system for malwares and destroys them effortlessly.

4. Wise Folder Hider

Wise Folder Hider is a file and folder hider with user-friendly interface and context menu support. It lets you lock your private files, photos, videos and other private data on local drives as well as portable drives. Its "second password" feature offers an extra level of security for your extra-confidential data.

5. Free Opener

Free Opener is a multi-file opener. It supports all the popular file formats totaling to more than 350 formats, which means you can open around 350 various types of files with this program. You no longer need to download a new software whenever you come around a new file type.

6. WPS Office

WPS Office is one of the best office suites. It offers an easy-to-use and familiar interface that lets you write documents, make presentations and create spreadsheets. It’s fully compatible with Microsoft Office and other office suites, and comes with lots of bonus features.

7. WordExpander

WordExpander is a free word or phrase expander. It eases your writing work by auto-completing words and phrases for you. You start typing, and it provides suggestions and you can select any one of the provided suggestions to finish the word or phrase quickly. It supports nearly all Windows programs like browsers, text editors, etc.

8. doPDF

doPDF is an universal PDF converter that supports over 400 file formats. It can convert various types of files to PDF format while barely using any computer resources. It offers multi-language interface to create searchable PDFs that can even be indexed by search engines.

9. Should I Remove It?

Should I Remove It? is a remover for unwanted programs. It purges your computer of program clutter easily and effectively – letting you quickly locate and remove unwanted software installed in your system such as adware, toolbars, crapware, bloatware and other junk.

10. Defraggler

Defraggler is one of the best defragment solution paired with an intuitive and pleasing interface. It can defrag your entire hard drives or some of its partitions, or even individual files. It shows you a drive map and health status to let you decide if defragmentation is required for your drives.

11. FileZilla

FileZilla is a free and cross-platform FTP solution. It supports various protocols including FTP and SSH. It has various intuitive features such as pause and resume transfers, site manager, drag & drop support, directory configuration, remote file search and synchronized directory browsing.

12. Pidgin

Pidgin is an easy-to-use, cross-platform and multi-protocol chat client. It supports all major chat programs and networks, and you can connect to all of them at once and chat with multiple persons on multiple chat networks – all in a single program window.

13. Betternet

betternet is the one of the best free VPN that lets you access any website in any country, bypassing Internet restrictions and unblocking all websites. It lets you surf the web anonymously while keeping your data protected from hackers and malicious attacks.

14. Digify

Digify lets you share content securely with others without the fear of leakage or others misusing it. It makes you control and protect your ideas and content easily, freely and effectively. You can track and safeguard the access to information you send someone from the moment it is sent.

15. MediaMonkey

MediaMonkey is an innovative music player that can easily manage your large media collection. It manages audio, video and playlists, and can even fill in missing track information automatically. It has ton of advance features for organizing, tagging and syncing.

16. Tomahawk

Tomahawk is a cross-platform social music player. It searches for the best available source given the name or album of a song – no more music hunting required! It unites your local music, song downloads, music streams, cloud music storage, playlists and radio stations in a single music collection.

17. Virtual DJ

Virtual DJ allows you to do digital DJ-ing of your music collection. It has more options than simple media players and lets you mix your songs, play two or more tracks at the same time, adjust their play speeds, apply various effects like loops, scratch and crossfade to your songs, etc.

18. IrfanView

IrfanView is a fast and free image viewer and converter. It supports many image formats and provides useful features like painting, slide show, fast directory browsing, watermark image option, lossless JPG conversions, command line options, etc.

19. RIOT

RIOT stands for Radical Image Optimization Tool with support for various image formats. It’s a free image optimizer that’s lightweight, fast and simple to use, yet very powerful for advanced users. It has an intuitive interface to optimize images and for comparing the original with the optimized image.

20. PhotoScape

PhotoScape is an all-in-one free image editor including converter and batch editor. It has many features to suit your image editing requirements and performs well for bloggers. Some of its features include viewer, editor, renamer, screen capturer, raw converter, splitter, red eye correction, etc.

21. PicPick

PicPick is an enhanced screen capture tool. It’san all-in-one screenshot tool including features like capture tool, image editor, color picker and palette, protractor, crosshair, whiteboard and more. You can enhance your screenshots after capture, and then save it locally or share on social networks.

22. Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast-O-Matic is a screen capture recording software. It lets you record your computer screen with a click and lets you easily and quickly record screens for video tutorials or support videos. It even offers free hosting for your videos and supports publishing to YouTube.

23. RealTimes

RealTimes is a story maker software. It offers many ways to make your memories shine! It automatically searches for the best of your photos and videos, and create stories using them. You can edit the stories to make them truly yours, and then upload to the cloud or share on social networks.

24. Zoner Photo Studio

Zoner Photo Studio is a photo editor and photo library manager. It lets you easily manage your photo library using ratings, labels and meta information. It offers editing for various image formats, and sharing to social networks and Zonerama cloud.

25. Any Video Converter

Any Video Converter is a free video converter for Windows. It supports all major video formats like MP4, AVI, RM, FLV, 3GP, DivX, WMV, etc. It provides excellent conversion quality and fast conversion speed. You can even configure the conversions as per your requirements.

26. PeaZip

PeaZip is a free archive monster that supports more than 150 file types. It takes features from various open archivers and offers a single GUI to handle all of those archive types easily and effectively. It supports speed and compression ratio, spanned and encrypted archives and many more features.

27. SUMo

SUMo is a Software Update Monitor program. It keeps your computer up-to-date by checking for updates and patches for installed software. It includes a handful of innovative features like drivers update, beta updates, ignore list, compatibility and internationalization support.

28. Advanced System Care

Advanced System Care is a one-click solution that combines various utilities to clean and speed up your system. It improves your system’s health and performance by boosting startup speed, optimizing speed, removing unwanted programs and other useless files.

29. Crashplan

Crashplan is a cross-platform backup manager that helps you pre-plan future crashes. It helps you to protect your data by backing up to other computers and external storage drives. It provides automatic once-daily backups with 128-bit file encryption and many more features.

30. GoodSync

GoodSync is a file synchronizer and backup manager. It helps you upload and synchronize your photos, videos, email and other important files across all your devices. You can easily back up your data to external drives, FTP, WebDAV, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and SkyDrive.

Which ones you installed in your system? Did we mentioned your favorite free software for Windows? Kindly write to us using the comment section below.










JavaScript Functions

hongkiat.com - di, 21/07/2015 - 15:01

JavaScript functions are capable of more than just merely enclosing a bunch of codes while waiting for the call to execute. Functions have evolved over time leading to new definitions, execution methods and syntaxes. This post will cover some of the present roles JavaScript functions have played so far.

Knowing the different ways of expressing and defining functions opens up the possibility of implementing a logic in a more optimal way in JavaScript. Also, you may be able to answer the interview questions more easily.

Function Expressions

When you simply state a function with function keyword , optional parameters and body of code, it’s a function declaration.

Put that declaration in a JavaScript expression (like in an assignment or arithmetic expression), it becomes a function expression.

// Function declaration function function_name() {}; // Function expression var function_name = function() {};

All JavaScript declarations are hoisted (moved up in the scope) during evaluation. Hence writing a function call before the function declaration is okay (since the declaration will be moved up anyway).

function_name();//function call[WORKS] function function_name(){};

Function expressions however aren’t hoisted since the functions become part of the expressions and are not stand-alone declarations.

function_name();//function call[WON'T WORK] var function_name = function(){}; Immediately Invoked Function Expression (IIFE)

It’s a function expression, the code of which gets executed immediately (only once when it’s evaluated). You can create one by simply adding () (syntax used for calling a function) right after a function expression. They can be anonymous (no name to call it with).

Below are the two most common syntaxes to create IIFE:

(function optional_function_name() { //body }());

and

(function optional_function_name() { //body })();

The parenthesis around the function declaration converts it to an expression and then adding () after it calls the function. You can use other ways to create IIFE for as long as you add () after a function expression (like below), but the preferred methods are the above two.

// Some of the ways to create IIFEs !function() { /* ... */ }(); +function() { /* ... */ }(); new function() { /* ... */ };

IIFE is ideal for writing code that needs to execute only once, namespacing, creating closures, creating private variables and more. Below is an example of IIFE use.

var page_language = (function () { var lang; // Code to get the language of the page return lang; })();

The code to get the page’s language executes only once (preferably after the page loads). The result is stored in page_language for later use.

Methods

When a function is an object’s property, it is called method. Since a function is also an object, a function inside another function is also a method. Below is an example for a method inside object.

var calc = { add : function(a,b){return a+b}, sub : function(a,b){return a-b} } console.log(calc.add(1,2)); //3 console.log(calc.sub(80,2)); //78

The add and sub functions are methods of calc object.

Now for a function within function example:

function add(a){ return function(b){return a+b;} } console.log(add(1)(2)); // Output is 3

The returned anonymous function is a method of function add.

Note: Since parameter (a) of function add in the above example is available for the following function invoke, this type of process is called currying.

Constructors

When you add new keyword before a function and call it, it becomes a constructor that creates instances. Below is an example where constructors are used to create instances of Fruit and values are added to each Fruit‘s properties.

function Fruit(){ var name, family; // Scientific name & family this.getName = function(){return name;}; this.setName = function(value){name=value}; this.getFamily = function(){return family;}; this.setFamily = function(value){family=value}; } var apple = new Fruit(); apple.setName("Malus domestica"); apple.setFamily("Rosaceae"); var orange = new Fruit(); orange.setName ("Citrus × sinensis"); orange.setFamily ("Rutaceae"); console.log(orange.getName()); // "Citrus × sinensis" console.log(apple.getName()); // "Malus domestica" console.log(orange.getFamily()); // "Rutaceae" Arrow Functions (ES6 Standard) [Only in Firefox]

A new function definition from ES6 Standard provides a shorter syntax for function expression. The syntax is

() => { /* body */ }

This sample function:

var sing = function(){ console.log('singing...') };

is the same as:

var sing = () => { console.log('singing...') };

Arrow functions are anonymous and does not have its own this value, this inside it will be same as this in the enclosing code. Also, you cannot change it to a constructor with new keyword.

They are useful for when you want this inside a function to be the same as outside and its shorter syntax makes code for writing function within function concise (like below)

setInterval(function () { console.log('message') }, 1000);

into

setInterval(() => console.log('message'), 1000); Generator Functions (ES6 Standard) [Only in Firefox]

Another new function definition from ES6 Standard is Generator Function. Generator functions are capable of halting and continuing its execution. Its syntax is:

function* function_name(){}

or

function *function_name(){}

Generator functions create iterators. The iterator’s next method is then used to execute the code inside the generator function until the yield keyword is reached. After that, the iterated value identified by the yield keyword is returned by the generator function and the execution is halted.

The generator function again executes when the next method is called until the next yield keyword is reached. Once all of the yield expressions are executed, the yielded value returns undefined.

Below is a simple example:

function *generator_func(count) { for(var i=0;i<count;i++){ yield i+1; } } var itr = generator_func(4); console.log(itr.next()); //Object { value: 1, done: false } console.log(itr.next()); //Object { value: 2, done: false } console.log(itr.next()); //Object { value: 3, done: false } console.log(itr.next()); //Object { value: 4, done: false } console.log(itr.next()); //Object { value: undefined, done: true } console.log(itr.next()); //Object { value: undefined, done: true }

Here’s another example:

function *randomIncrement(i) { yield i + 3; yield i + 5; yield i + 10; yield i + 6; } var itr = randomIncrement(4); console.log(itr.next().value); //7 console.log(itr.next().value); //9 console.log(itr.next().value); //14

There’s also a yield* expression which passes the value to another generator function

function *fruits(fruit) { yield* veggies(fruit); yield "Grapes"; } function *veggies(fruit){ yield fruit + " and Spinach"; yield fruit + " and Broccoli"; yield fruit + " and Cucumber"; } var itr = fruits("Apple"); console.log(itr.next().value); //"Apple and Spinach" console.log(itr.next().value); //"Apple and Broccoli" console.log(itr.next().value); //"Apple and Cucumber" console.log(itr.next().value); //"Grapes" console.log(itr.next().value); //undefined

Generator functions are useful if you want to go through values one by one at your preferred point in the code by pausing it, rather than in one go like in looping through an array.

Conclusion

I’ve included a list of references below, where you will find links to references and articles that go in-depth on different topics separately. Both the ES6 standard functions will work only in Firefox at the moment.

References








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