4 Benefits of Using Blazor Framework for Full-Stack Web Apps

JavaScript has disrupted the world of web apps. Using the language, developers can replicate beautiful, user-friendly interfaces on browsers. But what about .NET developers? They don’t really have this advantage.

But that’s about to change with the entry of Blazor by Microsoft. Just imagine, .NET  web apps running on a browser, without any plugins or coding wizardry. Unbelievable, right? 

Let’s learn more about Blazor, the fantastic .NET web framework that has taken the app world by storm. 

What Exactly is Blazor?

Blazor is a markup syntax, using which you can embed server-based code into your web pages. It is comparable to Angular or React, the only difference being that it is powered by C#. Based on the latest web standards, Blazor doesn’t require any add-ons or plugins to work. 

As a result, Blazor bundles full-stack app development with the same consistency, stability, and productivity that .NET provides. Moreover, Blazor is completely open-source since it is implemented through WebAssembly. 

WebAssembly is the secret sauce that makes this magic possible. It is a web standard that converts high-level languages to a simplified form that runs at the speed of native machine codes. Thanks to this groundbreaking platform, code based on sophisticated languages like C# and F# can be run on web browsers. 

Now, let’s read about all of Blazor’s benefits below.

Advantages of Creating Full-Stack Web Apps Using Blazor

Blazor has the same benefits that a modern-age single page application (SPA) like Vue or React offers. Plus, both the client-side and server-side coding can be done using the same .NET technology. This means you can reuse the same classes on both sides.

In short, web apps built on the Blazor framework are fast and native-like. Their code is customizable, secured, and shareable. Let’s take a look at all the advantages of Blazor-based development.

1. You Can Run .NET Code in Browsers 

Until Blazor came out, JavaScript was the gold standard for full-stack web apps. This means back-end .NET developers had no option than to learn JavaScript if they wanted to ace full-stack development. 

With the advent of WebAssembly, the monopoly that NodeJS enjoyed in app development comes to an end. Via client-side Blazor, the same validation code can be used for all in-browser logic.

2. It Is Faster than JavaScript

If you use the client-side Blazor framework, you can develop performance-intensive apps like video gaming and augmented reality easily. Plus, Blazor is pre-compiled into WebAssembly so your server-side code is deployed and run faster than in languages like JS. As the full-stack cycle progresses, the deployment completes and code execution becomes even faster. 

You may not notice the speed difference in simple codes, but the difference is palpable in sophisticated programs.

3. Codesharing Is Possible on Server and Client Sides

Often, the same validation code that is run on the client-side needs to be executed on the server-side. 

For instance, you can tell users that they have entered a non-existent username as soon as they enter it, to save them a round trip to the server. Then, the same validation code is implemented on the server-side just to double-check the user input for the pre-fed username logic.

When you use Balzor, you create a class library with the validation algorithm and add the library as a reference to your user-facing Balzor app and the server-side app. This way, the same bit of code is deployed but without writing the class twice. Naturally, you save a lot of effort and development time.

4. Blazor-Powered Apps Can Run Offline

Blazor-run apps don’t consume too much network bandwidth since the server-side Blazor doesn’t pass data to the server time and again. Once users download the app from the internet, they can use the app completely without web support, with no impact on speed or performance.

Does this mean that Blazor is flawless? To answer this question, let’s look at its drawbacks.

Is Blazor Just Hype?

With a recent roll-out in May 2020, Blazor is still in the infantile stage. It has, thus, quite a few disadvantages that the team hopes to iron out as the framework matures.

1. Huge Payload

As of now, a fresh Blazor project weighs around 2.4MB. Since the entire server-side code needs to be shipped onto the client-side, the payload inflates. This means that even if your code contains a few lines only, the app size can run into megabytes. 

2. Long Initial Load Time

If your users have poor internet connectivity or are working on non-standard browsers, they can get frustrated with long load times. They have to wait out the period when the WebAssembly is downloading and static files on the server-side are being created.

3. Restricted Runtime

Blazor apps are subject to the same browser sandbox restrictions as JavaScript apps. If you’re working with thin clients, you may have to install polyfills to boost runtime. This is not recommended as you can lose many performance benefits of Blazor in the process.

4. Limited Debugging Capability

Client-side Blazor apps have their own custom debugging tab, but it has limited options. So, if your app has complex logic with hard-to-track bugs, you may have to write an initial code for debugging or place a huge amount of code into logging. To an extent, this nullifies the time-saving benefit of Blazor apps.

What is the Future of Blazor?

We wouldn’t be over-optimistic if we forecast a bright future for Blazor. Currently, there is a huge barrier to entry of .NET apps in the webspace. Blazor can help full-stack developers in this area. 

By poising itself as a single UI framework, Blazor demonstrates great potential. We see it growing in this direction and becoming a direct competition to JavaScript. As for the size and speed issues, the Blazor team is working overtime to streamline the programming kinks. We can hope for good news soon.

Do you need more in-the-moment updates on software development? Then, stay hooked to this blog. Also, let us know the topics you would like to read about. Till then, stay safe and software-smart!

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

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5 Steps to Improve Your KYC with Biometrics

KYC stands for “Know Your Customer.” It refers to the process where a business verifies the credentials and information of its potential and existing customers.

KYC is an essential step to prevent hijacking and tampering of sensitive customer data. It also helps businesses verify customers’ identities and assess their risk quotient.

KYC

Traditional KYC verification has many downsides, including restricted data portability and high costs. At the same time, vendors can’t exactly ignore KYC, especially as online transactions become rampant during COVID-19. 

To overcome the limitations of pen-and-paper identity verification, businesses have started leveraging next-gen solutions like biometrics. Let us talk about the advantages and best practices of using biometrics to streamline KYC. But first, let us understand why KYC is important and what are the issues with conventional KYC.

Why is KYC Important for Businesses?

Businesses, especially banks and financiers, rely on KYC for many reasons. A robust KYC system helps them to:

  • Thoroughly investigate new customers and verify their identities.
  • Prevent money-laundering and identity theft.
  • Assess the loan-repayment capability of clients.
  • Minimize potential security risks.
  • Comply with regulatory requirements.

Companies that don’t follow a stringent KYC procedure can expose themselves to fraudulent customers, insolvency, and reputation damage.

What Are the Drawbacks of Traditional KYC for Businesses and Customers?

Banks and financial institution have eliminated outdated KYC verification systems because of the following reasons:

1. Too Much Customer Friction

Customer-onboarding time has increased considerably ever since laws made KYC mandatory. According to a Thompson Reuters study, a simple account-opening process took 18% more time in 2018 as compared to 2017 since the verification time has stretched. 12% of customers say they got frustrated and switched banks when their bank asked for additional documents to complete complicated KYC.

Not only do customers have to wait longer for basic work, but they also resent the level of documentation they are asked to furnish. Privacy intrusion issues can arise when companies request for personal customer details.

2. High Compliance Costs

Companies are spending too much on legal fees and labor that are required to complete customer due diligence. Every week, 50% of bankers spend 1.5 days on onboarding new clients. The global compliance costs amount to $500 million annually for banks and finance-related businesses. If companies spend 15% to 20% of the total “bank-running” costs on compliance, risk, and governance, their profit margins dip.

3. Variable Data Rules

The list of permissible KYC documents varies from nation to nation. For example, Cyprus has recently updated their KYC requirements. They now demand an in-person meeting with each account holder. 

On top of that, there is no cognizance between companies when it comes to KYC rules. Different banks can ask for different verification documents from different clients. For instance, corporations may have to provide the director’s tax and legal papers. LLCs may be asked to furnish the Articles of Organization, etc. 

Compliance requirements depend on the Central Bank’s dictates. Plus, banks might formulate their own compliance policies. With such fluid rules, it becomes difficult for customers to keep documents handy.

For all of the above reasons, biometric verification for KYC has become popular.

Biometric-based KYC is scalable, company-agnostic, and standardized. The collection of user data is fast, simple, and portable. Moreover, biometric provides more precise and reliable MFA multi-factor authentication) than knowledge-based authentication (KBA) like passwords or PINs. 

Last, biometrics can be based on facial-recognition, voice ID, or fingerprints. By disallowing shared user credentials, biometrics is the most secure authentication system for KYC and AML (anti-money laundering). 

5 Biometric Best Practices You Need to Follow

There’s no denying that biometric KYC is the way forward. However, to use this cutting-edge technology in the best way, you need to follow the tips below.

1. Allow Single-Sign-On (SSO)

Often, users find it challenging to remember multiple passwords. Biometric-enabled SSO enables users who fail to recall passwords, to sign in. Busy, multi-taskers enjoy the convenience and time-saving of SSO. Intel has already leveraged SSO to allow users to log in to multiple systems securely using a single username and password.

2. Integrate Anti-Spoofing features

The biometric system should include built-in security systems that risk-proof your KYC from imposters. Fingerprint scanners require a live finger not recorded finger pictures to complete the scan. Similarly, liveness detection ensures that the customer is a live one. Iris-pattern scanners may require you to move your eyeball or blink to pass the due diligence routine.

3. Include Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

To prevent data breaches, add a security layer by using MFA. It has two components—a custom pin that is system-generated, and personal authentication data (fingerprint, voice ID, iris pattern, geolocation, etc.). Mastercard’s “selfie pay” biometric system double-checks users’ identities by asking them to upload an instant selfie.

4. Take Advantage of Multi-Modal Biometrics

Typically, a single biometric data point is used to authenticate users. But background disturbances can distort voice tags and lighting can impact facial recognition. In such scenarios, authentic users can be locked out of systems. Also, a single data point is relatively easy to penetrate. That’s why some banks use multi-modal biometric KYCs that combine the results of more than one biometric. 

Your access control machines can be equipped with geolocation tracking and face scanners. Your bank locker systems can ask for voice identification along with eye patterns. This way, you can prevent spoofing even if one of your data points is compromised.

5. Be on Top of Trends

Identity verification is a fast-evolving space. Why so? That’s because fraudsters are always one step ahead of the legal system. As new ways of data leaks, account takeovers, and credit card frauds crop up, authentication systems also revamp. So, it is essential that you be abreast of trends in data security domains. 

If you use outdated, weak protocols, you are risking your customers’ financial and personal information. You are culpable for damages that your customers incur for your negligence and incompetence. Apart from the huge legal costs, you can also damage your business reputation and goodwill in the market.

Are You Ready to Improve Your KYC with Biometrics?

With SSN and KBA systems phasing out, biometrics-based KYC is the need of the hour. Since your customer relationships and business reputation are at stake, leave no stone unturned to master biometrics KYC. They offer convenience, cost-savings, and security to you and your customers. 

Leverage all the tips mentioned above and keep a lookout for changing trends. Subscribe to our blog to get free, monthly updates on the latest developments in product development, software innovation, design, and more.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

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How to Simplify User Onboarding for Product Development?

Imagine you are thrust into a new work environment, with no instructions or orientation. Everything, from colleagues to equipment, is unfamiliar. How will you feel? Lost in the woods, disoriented, overwhelmed? 

That’s exactly how a new user feels when he opens a new app or digital product for the first time and finds it bereft of proper onboarding. It’s no wonder that 25% of people abandon an app after the first use itself.

Source: Localytics

Now, envisage this situation: 

You enter an app, you are greeted by a warm welcome. Then you are explained how to set up the app’s features and hand-held through the registration process. You tend to feel confident at having hit the ground running. You are eager to explore the app and you may come back to it again and again. That’s how user onboarding helps in boosting user retention.

In this article, you will learn:

  1. What is user onboarding
  2. Why is it essential
  3. How to simplify it

Let’s get started.

What is User Onboarding?

User onboarding is a process where new users are instructed or guided through the product experience. It can be as simple as a greeting pop-up or as complex as configuration workflows.  The aim is to deliver value to users from the get-go and reduce drop-offs.

For instance, take a look at Hopper’s onboarding interface. Through a series of clean screens, the flight-booking app conveys its value proposition to first-time users.

Image via Hopper

A super-smooth onboarding experience sets up users for success. Users understand how to apply a product in order to extract maximum value. Let’s understand the other benefits of user onboarding.

Why Is Onboarding Your Users Necessary?

With countless apps available for every possible use case, it’s imperative that your app proves its worth from the outset. Seamless onboarding is one factor that keeps users hooked to your product lest they abandon you in favor of competitors.

Plus, it renders a favorable first impression. It’s likely that users considered your product useful when they first installed it. The onus to prove them right lies on you. If your product’s orientation is rough, customers feel disappointed and dejected. They pre-empt that the future journey will also be bumpy. In anticipation, they leave prematurely, even if your product holds promise.

Last, modern customers like to share their reviews on social media, which has become a conversation driver of sorts. Don’t be surprised if you find your app’s ratings falling and sign-ups dwindling. It’s quite possible customers frustrated by your onboarding ran on aggregator websites. And don’t count on word-of-mouth publicity or referrals at all.

To save yourself from all that trouble, follow the best practices of designing a pleasant onboarding experience.

Tips to Simplify the User OnBoarding Process

The right onboarding experience can boost your revenue, referrals, and customer lifetime value in the long-term. Take a look at some hacks that can simplify your onboarding strategy.

1. Design with a Customer-First Mindset

Getting a user to sign-up doesn’t qualify as a success from a business point of view. What good is earning a sign-up if the user doesn’t eventually convert? For converting people, keep an eye on the right metrics.

Don’t obsess over counting conversions or subscriptions. Focus on nurturing customer relationships. Equip users with tools and knowledge they would need to use your product efficiently. Make everything so simple and painless that they naturally glide towards check-out.

Some onboarding processes end with feedback, which serves no real purpose. The users have barely started using your product. It’s advisable to ask for a product review after they complete one whole app session. This way, they can provide more actionable perspectives.

2. Minimize User Fatigue

The drop-off rate among new users is almost directly proportional to user fatigue that cumbersome onboardings induce. If you ask too much personal data from new customers, they are bound to leave in a huff. You will naturally inject friction into their journeys. 

At the same time, gathering customer data is unavoidable to set up processes and preferences. To overcome the hurdle, track usage metrics and collate the findings to draw pertinent insights. Metrics like NPS (net promoter score) can be calibrated later, during product reviews. 

To keep onboarding seamless, don’t overwhelm new users with too many questions. Complying with regulatory protocols like GDPR can be attributed to complicated orientation. So, minimize data collection and let users in on the action as soon as possible.

3. Keep Onboarding Flexible

Some users are impatient to start their product journeys right after installation. For them, allow a “skip intro” option. But if your onboarding covers vital product features that all users should be aware of, keep popping reminders to get users to resume the intro.

Break user journeys into small, manageable sprints and guide users to where they are headed. Keep user resources and tools handy in plain sight. Nothing frustrates new users more than if they have to dig through an incomprehensible UX for transactional information. 

4. Optimize the Process Consistently

Onboarding should not be an afterthought. You need to plan for it during the product-ideation stage itself. Also, it is not a one-time deal. Depending on the user response to your onboarding mechanism, keep optimizing the process for the best results.

Once customers start using your product regularly, ask them for feedback through email or in-app surveys. You should also solicit improvement suggestions and try to incorporate them into your process on priority. Don’t forget: your products are successful only if they satisfy user intent and expectations. 

Ready to Nail Your User Onboarding?

User onboarding is critical to foster customer loyalty, conversions, and retention. Your onboarding needs to be simple and anchored around customer needs. Keep your mantra straightforward: sign up users easily, deliver value quickly. 

Are you looking for more tidbits on product development and strategy? Stay tuned to this blog.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

How Cloud Applications Can Help Bring Mobility and Agility?

“Cloud hosting” is no more a buzzword or a passing trend. It’s truly come of age, with Gartner predicting the public cloud market to grow by 6.3% in 2020. But why this sudden craze for cloud hosting, have you wondered?

It’s quite understandable. Cloud hosting provides agility and mobility to businesses. It enables companies to adapt and respond faster to evolving market conditions and customer behaviors. By harnessing cloud-power, businesses can gain a competitive advantage, which is so essential today.

Apart from that, here are the main advantages of being an “agile” business:

  • Revenue grows faster
  • Business costs reduce
  • Reputation management becomes effective

In this post, we will discuss why businesses need to be “agile” and how the cloud helps them to ace this area.

Top Ways How Cloud Applications Make Businesses Agile?

Take a look at the main benefits of cloud applications to businesses.

  1. They Facilitate Easy Scale-Up and Down

There are times when your business may need to scale operations and resources on-demand. By hosting your software on the cloud, you ensure that you are paying only for the resources that you are actually utilizing. In this way, cloud apps minimize wastage and overheads in a big way.

On the other hand, if you maintain huge infrastructures on-premise, there arises a problem of redundancy when you have to scale down operations. You not only lock a lot of capital in procuring extra resources that are no more productive but also incur maintenance costs to keep them running.

  1. They Make Business Data Available Anywhere, Any Time

With the cloud housing all your business data, your teams can work remotely from any location. Internal and external collaboration on projects is possible when data is decentralized as with cloud applications.

Your time-sensitive work can go on uninterrupted since all related information is available in the cloud. Inter-departmental projects can run seamlessly if project managers configure data-access permissions correctly.

Compare this with in-house data hosting. A lot of additional work and time gets wasted in getting access to siloed data. Plus, changes and updates done to data do not get reflected instantly and universally, which can be a problem, especially for projects spread across different departments or time zones.

  1. They Ease Testing and Updation

Updating systems becomes easier with cloud applications. This is especially true for managed cloud services. When a cloud service provider looks after the updation part of your business, your teams are free to invest their time and expertise in productive tasks. This improves the overall productivity of your business.

Testing is also a breeze when it comes to cloud applications. First, you can reduce capital expenditure (CAPEX) since you don’t have to buy or maintain costly testing equipment. Second, tested solutions can be quickly deployed since the cloud manages them. Last, your entire testing environment becomes more responsive and cost-efficient.

  1. They Reduce Complexity of Business

In a survey of business executives, 66% of respondents said that cloud applications reduce business complexity. But how does that exactly happen? Cloud makes your business processes simple, improves the distribution of resources, facilitates collaboration between teams, speeds up rollouts of complex business processes, and boosts the ability to access and share business data.

  1. They Optimize IT Budgets

Since cloud applications run on the pay-per-resource model, they are more economical for budgeted organizations. You can control capital expenditures on resources and limit usage to stay within your set budget.

Plus, you can easily allocate budget for resource expenditures and do financial planning more efficiently. In this way, you can keep a margin for unexpected expenditures and avoid cash crunch.

  1. They Help in Long-Term Strategizing

IT teams are not burdened with maintaining resources and infrastructure. They have the bandwidth to devote energy to customer communications and business planning. In this way, you can meet organizational goals more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the cloud boosts business agility and mobility in many ways. That’s why many businesses are moving their operations from on-premise to in-cloud. By doing this, they gain a competitive edge, reduce capital investment, allow teams to collaborate better, facilitate proactive decision making, and plan business processes with ease.

Are you thinking about migrating to the cloud as well? If you need assistance or guidance for the big move, feel free to reach out through the comments section. We are always happy to help our readers. Rest, watch this space for more ground-breaking posts on cloud computing and other IT aspects.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

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5 Tips for Easy User Onboarding

So you built a software application successfully? Great, that’s good news. But are you confident that you can convert sign-ups into active users? Are you sure your app can onboard users smoothly, convince them of its unique value proposition (UVP), and get them to start using it from the get-go?

Before you answer those questions, take a look at the stats on user onboarding:

  • 25% of apps are abandoned by users after the first use itself. 
  • 77% of people uninstall an app within 72 hours of installing it.

We don’t want to sound negative but the truth is that user onboarding is a sore point with app vendors. They often find it challenging to retain and turn first-time users into loyal users. 

That’s why, in this post, we will explain 5 effective tips for user onboarding, with relevant examples from super-successful apps.

Let’s get started.

How Can You Onboard Users Successfully: 5 Tips

Here are the best practices of user onboarding that every app developer should follow:

  1. Keep Things Simple

In a Clutch survey of 501 app users, 72% of respondents said that a quick and simple onboarding process plays an important role in their decision to keep using the program. 

Keep the onboarding steps to a minimum and ensure that they can be completed within a minute. Ask for personal contact details (mentioning reasons why they are needed) and show only essential UI elements in the first use. Try not to overwhelm new users by asking them for unnecessary permissions. 

For instance, a movie-booking app needs only location-access and SMS-sending permission. They should skip requesting permissions for contacts or camera. Those can come at later stages once users are comfortable and confident of the app.

Example: WhatsApp

WhatsApp’s user base is unbeatable. According to their CEO, Jan Koum, one of the biggest reasons for the app’s success is its simplistic onboarding process.

The app self-detects the SMS with the verification code that is sent to first-time users. This means users need not leave the app interface and dig through their inbox for the SMS.

  1. Allow Skipping Steps

Many tech-savvy users don’t like to be hand-held through the onboarding steps. They like to explore their new installs themselves. To such users, give the option to skip whole or part of the onboarding process. There is no burning need to take them through the grand tour when they are impatient to try the app for themselves.

Vevo, the popular music-streaming app, found that logins increased by 10% when they included the “Skip” button in their app. If you’re not clear about your users’ preferences, conduct usability testing with different variants of the onboarding flow. Then, deploy the variant that works best for your users.

Example: Slack

Slack puts users in the driver’s seat by giving them a “Skip the Tour” option in every screen of the onboarding stage. Users can move to the main interface as soon as they feel confident enough to start using the app. 

  1. Ask for Permission

It’s a good practice to ask permission before sending push notifications to new users. 

The Clutch survey we cited earlier found that 4 out of 5 users like to know why an app needs to know their personal details, payment preferences, or device permissions. In fact, this small step can improve opt-in rates in a big way.

Example: Letgo

Letgo is a reputable portal for buyers and sellers of used items. Instead of accessing users’ inboxes directly, they send notifications to them every time a customer expresses interest in their listed items. In this way, users feel they are in control of their app engagement.

  1. Demonstrate Value Instantly

People install your apps for a reason. They have certain expectations from your app. If the app is unable to fulfill these expectations promptly, customers churn quickly.

So, think of an efficient way to demonstrate value to new on boarders: set up a features carousel, product walkthrough, or new-user registration. Just focus on showing what benefits uses derive from the app.

Example: Venmo

Venmo is a payment wallet with social-sharing capabilities. It lets users share their payment histories with friends. To reinforce their app’s credibility, on the first screen itself, Venmo shows social proof about how popular and reliable their platform is. This inspires confidence from new users who are apprehensive about sharing their payment info with a new app.

  1. Provide Incentive for First Conversions

Encourage users to keep using your apps, give them incentives to convert for the first time. 

For example, you can provide exclusive features or promo codes to users who fill out the registration form or make their first purchase. Other incentives can be loyalty points or in-app credit.

Example: UberEats

Uber’s food-delivery brand, UberEats, make the onboarding process really frictionless for new users. 

As soon as users register, they are welcomed with a coupon for a $20 discount on the first order. If that’s not enough to entice users to order, a list of nearby restaurants displays on multiple screens.

Conclusion

We can not help but emphasize how critical your user onboarding process is. If you’re able to onboard users painlessly, take it as a big win. With the app space getting crowded and apps competing for user attention, your onboarding process can help you get a competitive edge.

So, think up an efficient process to onboard new users. A/B test your onboarding models to find the best fit for your users and apps. Don’t hesitate to steal your competitors’ onboarding model if it’s good. You need a proven onboarding strategy to get your app up and running in no time.

Do you have any questions about any of the above strategies? Drop them in the comments and we’ll answer soon. Watch this space for more revelations about app development and onboarding.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

Top 8 Best Practices to Architect a serverless web application

Serverless computing has been gaining momentum ever since it came into limelight in 2015. It’s a native architecture of the cloud which enables users to create, deploy and run an application without thinking of its server. Serverless, in fact, allows users and developers to shift more the operational capacity, increase agility and innovation.  In short, you get limitless computational power with no infrastructure management tasks such as zero maintenance, cluster provisioning, capacity provisioning, etc. 

Top 8 Best Practices to Architect a serverless web app

Why Serverless

Serverless is the need of time. As technology advances, you need to come up with more enhanced web applications with more power and agility which may not be possible traditionally. And, even if it is possible, you need to spend a lot of effort such as building perfect infrastructure, human resources, time and cost. Serverless helps you remain focused on your core products while leaving all other responsibilities upon the serverless provider. All you need a serverless web application and you pay no heed towards its maintenance, scaling up, agility or anything else. You have immense benefits from having a serverless application. 

So, in this article, we shall be discussing the best practices of a serverless web application that every Serverless Architect should know.

Even though there are plenty of tech giants offering serverless services including AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure, and Alphabet’s Google Cloud Platform, but we have taken the example of AWS to make it more comprehensive. So, here we go;

1. The Serverless Function Requires VPC-Enable for Better Security

We have taken an example of Lambda as most of us use AWS Lambdas as an event-driven, serverless computing platform. So, it is important to have VPC-enable functions of Lambda operate from VPC which is owned by AWS. Enabling this, you get complete ability to have your function make a network request to any address.

Lambda is not directly accessible to the public, but with the support of AWS APIs Getaway, we can make accessible for the public. So, be it accessing AWS APIs or interacting with AWS DyanamoDB APIs, you can easily do it after enabling the function for VPC access. So, having have your function VPC-enabled, the Subnet will manage all your traffic using its routing rules. 

2. Creating Event-Driven Architectures

When it comes to creating event-driven architectures, it is important to know the mechanisms and how to enable asynchronous messaging pattern. It applies in both creating a simple queuing and message buffering and choreography pattern that is more intricate even-based. To enable this, you need to use queues or streams.

Queuing is also used for intrapersonal communication. That means when you want to initiate communication between one Lambda function another, then Queuing can be the best for you.

3. How to Implement and Orchestrate in a Distributed, Microservices Environment

You need to implement coordinated transactions using coordinated sequenced invocations across services in distributed architectures. The implementation also allows rollback and retry mechanisms put in place. That is quite different from the traditional database-based ACID transactions. 

When you need significant orchestration logic and looking to utilize more of the orchestrator pattern, not the choreography pattern, then the serverless technology lie AWS Step Functions enables you to create highly qualified and complex workflows with its various AWS services that also includes AWS Lambda. 

4. Understanding AWS Lambda Computing Environment

It is important to understand AWS Lambda and programming model. You need to learn how to utilize Lambda in terms of performance and cost optimization. You learn this using the tutorial provided for AWS Lambda as “Lambda Under the Hood”, “Lambda Layers, the Runtime API, and Nested Applications” and “Optimizing Serverless Applications”. 

5. Serverless Deployment Automation

When it comes to a larger number of microservices and smaller components, integrating automation and code management into your application is critical. Given the fact that early integration will efficiently create, deploy and implement the serverless architectures. Importantly, when you use AWS, you get a wide range of first-party deployment tools and frameworks to properly architect your serverless web application. The tools and frameworks you can utilize from AWS include the AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM), the AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK), AWS Amplify, and AWS Chalice.

Besides, there are various third-party tools and frameworks available to make the deployment of serverless web application easy, they include, Serverless Framework, Claudia.js, Sparta, or Zappa. You are free to create your custom-built framework, though you need to ensure that things such as automation strategy works as per use case, team and workflows. 

6. Identity Management, Authentication, and Authorization 

When it comes to creating a serverless web application, a developer requires planning things such as integrating identity management, building enhanced authorization and authentication functionalities in advance. The utilization of Amazon Cognito enables a developer to deploy these things directly into the serverless web applications. At the same time, when using Amazon API Gateway, the developers can manage things like authorization logic and permit requests straightforwardly. That means you manage the authorization logic at the gateway layer which protects your native authorization being exposed. 

7. Learning End-to-End Security Techniques 

Apart from knowing identity management, authorization and authentication, there are some more important security measures you can learn to create a highly secure serverless web application. Here are some of the top list of things you can consider;

  • Concerns regarding regulatory compliance
  • Ways to validate input and request
  • Metering & Throttling Access to tracking bandwidth and accessing use control based on rules
  • Securing storage and retrieving data as needed
  • IAM execution roles and implementing invocation policies 
  • And, others

You can learn all these things from the AWS tutorial page while creating the application. 

8. Considering Packages Size and Dependencies 

You must take care of package size as having a larger deployment package will slow down the function of the application. Therefore, you are advised to remove all the unnecessary items including documentation and libraries. You can use AWS SDK which enables Java function users to bundle the modules which needed from the SDK. 

Let’s take a look at the example of how using Java Function with AWS SDK create an excellent package;

<dependency>

    <groupId>software.amazon.awssdk</groupId>

    <artifactId>dynamodb</artifactId>

    <version>2.6.0</version>

</dependency>

Here, only the required modules have been used

In case, you are not using Java Function with AWS SDK, you end up creating a larger package with the entire SDK with lots of unnecessary modules. Here’s how it happens;

<!– https://mvnrepository.com/artifact/software.amazon.awssdk/aws-sdk-java –>

<dependency>

    <groupId>software.amazon.awssdk</groupId>

    <artifactId>aws-sdk-java</artifactId>

    <version>2.6.0</version>

</dependency>

Final Thoughts

When it comes to creating a serverless web application, you have plenty of things to learn. Serverless technology is the need of time as people need more services, support, and assistance from technology at the minimum costs. Serverless is the way to cut costs significantly and reward the business with limitless scaling options. Stay tuned for more such information. 

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

How to Recruit Product Engineers

Product Engineers are changing the face of the product development domain. They are a step up from full-stack engineers and a level away from product developers. Simply put, product engineers are not plain coders; they code keeping user experience in mind. They not only understand technical stacks but also understand product design. You could call them “jack of all trades.”

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Do you get frustrated when your app’s features don’t reflect your vision? You had a perfect idea, precise product specs, technical resources, and tools, so what went wrong?

You missed the critical link between the design board and the market. You envisioned a product. You conveyed your idea to your designer. He communicated required technical specs to your engineer, who started coding. Where’s the collaboration? Where’s a continuous improvement? Consequently, you have a product that neither delivers ROI nor garners user acceptance.

Why Do you Need Product Engineers

If you have engineers who solve problems using code and product managers who take care of product features, why do you need product engineers? They are the critical bridge between design and development teams. By fostering two-way communication, product engineers ease friction between cross-functional teams. 

They code but with end products in perspective. Whenever presented with a coding opportunity, product-minded engineers evaluate how the code will impact the end product. More importantly, they think about user experience and business goals. They balance product specs with technical demands. The result is a product that meets market needs and business objectives- a win-win situation for all teams involved. 

You need a change in mindset here. Having product engineers in your team will create a pragmatic work culture with everyone striving towards building a winning product. 

How to Recruit Good Product Engineers

Product engineers need to have a blend of coding skills, analytical thinking, and business knowledge. A bit of creativity is a bonus. Plus, they have to be efficient managers and smooth talkers. 

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Step 1: Build a Job Description

Outline the proficiencies you desire in your potential product engineers. List their role and skillset categorically.

A sample job description could be: 

Product engineers will play a pivotal role throughout the development cycle, right from conception to testing. An astute understanding of market trends is necessary for the candidate.  

They need to be aligned with user expectations in a relevant niche. Once product specs are made, they will evaluate specs against market needs and re-align strategy to satisfy budget, time, and market constraints.

Product engineers will also have the responsibility to generate technical documentation and support material before a product is launched. They have to perform prototype testing for functionality, intuitiveness, and market appeal.

Add-on responsibilities can be assistance in the manufacturing process and guidance in packaging and marketing the product.

Read more: How to Manage Distributed Product Development Teams

Step 2: Interview Candidates

Go in for a structured interview instead of a generic banter with candidates. Have multiple screening rounds spread across different days? Screen at least two candidates per day so that you can eliminate unsuitable people early. This will save you lots of wasted effort and time.

Divide the evaluation questions into:

  1. Career goal and inspiration
  2. Academic and professional background
  3. Coding proficiency
  4. Product-based thinking skill
  5. Project communication 

Take time to weigh each candidate. You need an all-rounder who will impact your future products in a big way. Determine a candidate’s worth after analyzing his capabilities carefully. Have a ballpark figure in mind and leave room for negotiation.

Sample screening questions can be:

  • Define our company’s vision and values.
  • Why do you want to join us?
  • What interests you in product development?
  • Explain the layers of full-stack.
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of database procedures?
  • If a product designer lists five desirable features at the end product (give the features), how will you prioritize them?
  • Which setup do you prefer- MVC or some other?
  • What’s the use of the front-end framework?
  • How do you gather user feedback?
  • How important to you is product testing?
  • What team structure do you prefer- full-stacked or layered?
  • How can we scale our teams?
  • What makes a good mentor?

Invite questions from the candidate. Indulge in a discussion if opinions on a question vary widely. Try to gauge the person’s mindset and affinity. Are they concerned only about employee benefits? Do they have genuine concern about delivering classy products? How can they add value to your team?

Your recruiter’s job would include the following:

  • Study candidates’ body language: Make a note of how confident and composed a candidate is. Since this isn’t an entry-level job, you’d expect experienced candidates to not get nervous during interviews.
  • Don’t do passive listening: Listen actively to answers. Jot down your doubts and allow the candidate to clarify or rectify their answers. Reflect on previous answers. Also, refer to them in connected questions. This will show how genuinely a candidate is answering.
  • Make notes while interviewing: Prepare a checklist of must-haves and good-to-haves. Write down your observations succinctly. Highlight each candidate’s unique capability and its impact on the product development process. Summarize the interview answers into brief points. Read back answers to the interviewee and ask if you’ve understood them correctly. By doing this, you can avoid miscommunication.
  • Give instant feedback:  If you find an answer unsatisfactory, call it out immediately. Let the interviewee explain their viewpoint. Once the evaluation is over, don’t leave the candidates in a lurch. Communicate the next steps clearly. Don’t hesitate to end the interview early if you find a mismatch between your expectations and the candidate’s capabilities. 
  • At iViewLabs, we consider recruitment as a vital building block of team building and product delivery. We invest time and energy into it. You can do the same. To save bandwidth, delegate interviewing and screening responsibilities to experienced product managers. Brief them before so that they know what to look for in a candidate. Let them add to the questions and rounds since they are more in touch with the actual development process.

Let us know how you recruit product engineers. We would be glad to assist you with more helpful resources and free consultation. 

If you are looking to build a web, mobile or a cloud product, you can avail of a round of discussion with iView Labs’ tech team. Our developers and project team are always here to help and suggest what is required and necessary for your products.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on  and .

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

5 Effective Ways of Retaining Product Customers

In a saturated marketplace such as ours where competition is stiff, it makes sense to conserve the customer base that you have acquired. It’s a well-accepted fact: if you service the customers you have, you won’t have to go around hunting for new ones. Yet, sales and marketing people exert effort and expenses in generating leads.

5-Effective-Ways-of-Retaining-Product-Customers_1

You can sell to an existing customer 7 out of 10 times, but only 1 out of 10 times to a new customer. Plus, acquiring new customers is costly. You can retain present customers at a fraction of this cost, one-sixth to be precise. And here’s the trump card of statistics in favor of customer retention: Gartner states that 80% of all your future ROI will come from just 20% of your customers. Wow, that’s an eye-opener! This means your business can survive (at least break even) just by cross-selling or up-selling to your existing customers. You almost don’t need to onboard new customers.

Are you thinking – this doesn’t concern me, I have a great product and my customers will never abandon me? Then, there’s another bitter pill you’ll have to swallow: no matter how good your product or service is, your customers might leave if they feel neglected. This is why many top-notch products and companies shut down. They just don’t work hard enough to build customer loyalty. In fact, a good 68% of customers say a company’s uncaring or impersonal attitude is a relationship-killer.

The graphic below will prove our point:

5-Effective-Ways-of-Retaining-Product-Customers_2

Source

So putting things in perspective, we have compiled battle-tested techniques for retention of product customers.

1) Deliver Quality Products: The key to gaining repeat business is delivering top quality products. Nothing works as well as a product that wows with its features. Even if your product is marked higher than competitors, it will reign supreme if it’s a cut above the rest.

Let’s illustrate with an example: Two doorstep service providers, Urban Clap and Yes Madame. Both offer at-home salon services at competitive prices. Urban clap is priced higher than Yes Madame. Yet, it is market share is bigger. Why? The differentiator is service quality. UC technicians are better trained, use branded products, and are punctual and courteous. Granted, UC has the first-mover advantage, but it’s managed to keep up and even beat competition just because of its killer services. Although, the great marketing helps, but remember, even the most radical marketer can’t sell a product that sucks. Do ample market research when creating your product strategy. Understand what your audience needs. Have a long vision plus short-term goals. Never compromise on quality when faced with time or budget constraints. This is a non-negotiable area that every successful product company excels at. 

Read MoreIs Your Product Really Solving a Problem?     

2) Nurture Customer Relations: KPMG in their study found customer retention to be the biggest revenue driver for companies. The secret that many product companies don’t know is that loyal customers are their best promoters. Satisfied customers become brand ambassadors of a company. They campaign unknowingly about the superb experience they’ve had with a company or product they’re using. Their genuine, first-hand account is a marketing billboard in itself. You don’t need to hire expensive influencers for generating brand awareness or leads for yourself. Your happy customers are doing it for you. So, provide excellent customer service. Reward your return customers with gated offers, discounts, and resources. Treat them well and they’ll treat you better. Keep in touch with them via email, newsletters, and your website. Feature their stories on your social apps and website. Make them your family. Involve them in your journey and they will stay till the very end. A practical way to do this is to draw a list of customers who buy from you regularly. Reach out to them via exclusive offers and make them feel special. Another good tip: List out subscribers to your newsletter. These are people who show an active interest in your work but haven’t purchased anything yet. To make them jump boat, send a first-time promotion offer or discounted service/product. 

3) Lend a Personal Touch: Personalize all your emails and offers. Rid the assembly line approach of sending mass emails. An Ecoconsultancy survey has proved personalized offers, based on a user’s purchase history and preference, can surge your ROI to the sky. This infographic compares the business returns of companies using personalization vs. those that don’t.

4) Listen to Your Customers: Some product companies just never stop selling. Every effort of theirs is geared towards the cash register. This is hardly effective as customers, existing or new, don’t want to be taken for a ride. You’ll have to give them something in return. One of the best ways to make the relationship mutually beneficial is to incorporate their feedback into your future offerings. Don’t send lengthy questionnaires to customers asking them for their opinion or experience with your product. Keep it short and simple. Encourage specific, precise feedback regarding what they liked or didn’t like. Try to collate points and factor them into your product strategy. Do keep respondents in the loop, reassuring that their feedback isn’t ignored. When you value your customers’ opinions, they become stakeholders in your business.  Your product becomes more aligned to market needs. Your ROI improves and so does your customer satisfaction index.5-Effective-Ways-of-Retaining-Product-Customers_3 Source

5) Use a CRM: A CRM system is a handy way to keep track of how customers interact with your product. Draw up metrics of customer inquiries. What bottlenecks are customers facing with your service or product? Are they content with the after-sales service you’re giving? Do you need to improve in some areas? Deeply inspect issues that are reported by the majority of your customers. These have to be resolved on a priority basis. CRM also gives you a sneak peek into how well your sales or customer service staff are working. Disgruntled employees and lackadaisical post-sales staff can annoy a customer big time. This is a serious red flag for any organization and should be attended to immediately.

Wrap Up

By now, you must have grasped the impact customer retention can have on the sales and success of your business. Work your magic on your current customers. They are the big fish that’ll act as bait for the other fish in the pond.

If you are looking to build a web, mobile or a cloud product, you can avail of a round of discussion with iView Labs’ tech team. Our developers and project team are always here to help and suggest what is required and necessary for your products.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on  and .

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

How to Manage Distributed Product Development Teams

An important tenet of the Agile Manifesto is that successful product teams must collaborate daily from a shared co-location. But, we wish to challenge this notion. Remote product teams (spanning continents, cultures, and time zones) are very much the need of the hour. And, with sophisticated collaborative tools available, distributed teams can be as productive as co-located ones. A changed mindset from product managers and some flexibility from team members is the only requisite.

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Continue reading How to Manage Distributed Product Development Teams

Gitex Technology Week 2019 – A Spectacular Showdown of Tech Wizards

The 39th Gitex Technology Week will be held in Dubai from October 6 to 10, 2019. It showcases products, innovations, and technologies from across 26 major sectors. More than 4,500 startups and mid-sized companies will participate and about 100,000 visitors are expected to grace the event.

Content spanning 290 hours will be covered. The event holds special significance as it will witness the first-ever Gitex Technology Awards to honor industry trailblazers ad thought leaders.


Continue reading Gitex Technology Week 2019 – A Spectacular Showdown of Tech Wizards