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7 Reasons Why You Should Build Your Site With Bootstrap

One of the biggest driving forces behind the explosive growth of the the Word Wide Web is the fact that the three core languages used to make sites and applications- HTML, CSS and JavaScript- are opensource and require no special tools other than a simple text editor to use.

The lack of official tooling and endlessly flexible nature of the core languages is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it gives developers powerful tools that let them push the limits of design and functionality, but doesn’t offer much help to make sure their sites and apps work seamlessly.

Web developers must constantly ask themselves questions like:

  • Will my app function properly in a wide range of browsers?
  • Is my site SEO friendly?
  • Can users with disabilities navigate my site using assistive
  • technologies like screen readers?
  • Is my code easily understandable to other developers who will work on or maintain this project?

In the past few years, more and more developers are turning to the Bootstrap framework to help solve these problems. Here are seven reasons Bootstrap has become the go-to UI framework.

1. Installation Is Very Simple

Getting Bootstrap loaded into your development environment is easy. Novice users can simply add links to the official compiled and minified CSS and JS bundles available publicly on the speedy MaxCDN network. But if you want more control over how Bootstrap is included in your project, the source code is available via popular package managers like Bower, npm and Composer. Complex deployments can be automated by running Bootstrap through your favorite build tool like Grunt, Gulp or Ruby of Rails’ Asset Pipeline.

2. Best Practices Out of the Box

Bootstrap was originally created by developers at Twitter, and its coders know a thing or two about designing websites and apps that are usable on a wide variety of devices. As a result, Bootstrap's structure encourages developers to follow impeccable coding standards. The beauty of the way Bootstrap is designed is that coders do not need to learn the gritty code details before using it. Just by using Bootstrap, developers will naturally produce valid, SEO friendly code that works well on desktop and mobile browsers as well as assistive devices.

3. Increase Your Development Speed

Like any front end framework, Bootstrap provides a set of abstractions the allow developers to easily create UI elements without writing a lot of code. Need a dropdown menu? Drop in a couple lines of formatted HTML and Bootstrap will give you a beautifully rendered widget.

Of course, there are hundreds of open-source widgets available that could accomplish the same effect. But Bootstrap is much more than just a collection of readymade widgets. Bootstrap takes a holistic approach to design and development. It aims to create a way for designers and developers to collaborate on projects at a high level and reduces the development cycles wasted on minor visual adjustments.

Bootstrap focuses on the way an entire application should look instead of individual elements. But your designers don’t have to worry about losing control. It is still just HTML and CSS under the hood, so they can bump that form down 5px if they really want.

4. Bootstrap Integrates Well With Other Tools

Bootstrap is very careful not to proscribe much, if anything, about the structure of an application. It sticks to being the best UI framework it can be. Almost all of the components Bootstrap offers are defined by standard HTML accessed with simple CSS classes. By staying firmly a UI framework, integrating Bootstrap into application frameworks like Angular.JS, React or Ember is a snap. Apps just have to output Bootstrap-flavored HTML and they are ready to go.

5. Documentation and Community

Bootstrap is now an open-source project hosted on GitHub. It has a devoted community of developers working hard to make Bootstrap better every day. The codebase is commented throughout and all the features and all its features and options are documented with examples on its official website.

Getting help and inspiration is easy, too. There are nearly 56,000 Bootstrap topics on Stack Overflow and designers post examples of custom elements they have designed to Bootsnipp.

6. Mobile First

Bootstrap uses a sensible system of media queries to ensure that sites designed in it are optimized for use on smartphones and tablets. In fact, Bootstrap encourages developers consider design for mobile first and desktop second. That doesn’t just save development time, it’s a smart bet about your user base. Last spring, the web analytics firm Comscore announced that number of mobile-only Internet users now exceeds the number of desktop-only internet users. And that trend is likely to continue.

7. Customization and Themes

Bootstrap starts with a strong base of styles. It takes care of normalizing styles differences between browsers and then applying simple, readable typography on top of a neutral color palate ready for designers to apply a fresh coat of paint. Power users can generate Bootstrap's CSS via the popular LESS and SASS preprocessors. Changing grid sizes, color palettes and matching fonts can be accomplished by tweaking a few variables.

Bootstrap is free, but its creators also offer a number of professionally designed themes for sale that can help get some common types of projects off to a quick start.

Start Using Bootstrap Today by signing up to our Boostrap class!

7 Reasons You Should Be Using Node.js

“Software is eating the world,” Internet visionary Marc Andreessen famously remarked. It’s true. Technology surrounds us. It’s in our pockets, it’s on our wrists, it helps drive our cars and it can control our homes.

As demand for the type of full-stack developer needed to create and maintain the ever-multiplying apps and sites we use each day increases, organizations are increasingly turning to Node.js to help them write world-eating software.

First released in 2009, Node.js is a runtime for building applications in JavaScript on a wide array of hardware. In six short years, it has taken the development world by storm. Today, Node is ready for prime time. It’s fast, secure and reliable.

Here are seven reasons you should consider using Node.js in your organization.

1. A Platform Designed for the Information Age

Node.js is a versatile development platform. It can create simple command-line tools, enterprise-scale Web apps and power Internet of Things-connected devices. But one of the most important aspects of Node.js is that it was designed to build Internet-connected applications from the start. The Web is baked into Node’s DNA.

Where Node really shines is in creating real-time, data-intensive applications with push capabilities. Its standard library comes packed with all the tools you need to create complex apps with built-in support for HTTP/HTTPS, streams, buffers and cryptography.

And it just takes three lines of code to launch a fully capable Web server.

2. Modules, Modules Everywhere

One of the most powerful features of Node is its official package manager npm. With over 200,000 modules available, npm is by far the largest public module repository- even larger than CPAN, which has about a 15-year head start.

Developers can install and manage powerful modules like image manipulation libraries, application frameworks and database drivers with a single command. You can even compile C++ add-ons if you need to extend Node’s capabilities beyond JavaScript.

3. Write Your Web Apps in a Single Language

The complex front end user interfaces found in today’s web apps are built in JavaScript. Since Node.js allows developers to use JavaScript on the back end as well, developers can use a single language to write both the server- and client-side parts of their applications.

Writing applications in a single language opens up possibilities like code reuse and it can break down the often unnecessary division between back end and front end development teams.

4. Low Barrier to Entry

JavaScript is the world's most used programming language. All Web developers know something about JavaScript, so your team doesn’t need to burn cycles learning a whole new language to get started writing server-side apps in Node. Even if your devs are just using a bit of vanilla JS and jQuery, they will feel right at home when they start exploring the Node API.

5. Serious About Enterprise

In the past couple years, Node.js has rapidly matured from a quirky project that piqued the interest of developers who like to tinker with bleeding-edge technologies to a stable platform ready for enterprise deployment. In early 2015, the project was transferred to a foundation administered by the Linux Foundation. Its board members include corporate heavyweights like IBM, Microsoft and PayPal.

Node.js now follows a predictable cycle of stable and long-term support (LTS) releases. LTS releases will come out once a year, will be actively maintained for 18 months and continue in maintenance mode for another year after that. This process gives enterprise developers a reliable way to know what version of Node they should use for mission-critical applications.

Big financial firms like ADP, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs are already using Node.js in production, and are big votes of confidence in the platform’s enterprise readiness.

6. You Do Not Have to Go Full Node

Node is great for architecting massive applications. For example, developers for Walmart said they served over 500 million page views on Black Friday 2014 from their Node.js apps with below 8ms latency. But if your organization isn’t ready to commit yet or Node isn’t the right choice for your core application, there are still many places Node can be useful in your workflow.

Scalability works both ways; your teams will find Node useful for building small command-line applications that manage things like server maintenance or data-processing tasks that are cumbersome in monolithic systems like Jenkins and Hadoop.

7. It’s Fun

Building applications in Node.js is just plain fun. Any developer who has suffered though countless hours of editing XML configuration files when building a Web application on a traditional Java Web stack, will find Node’s dynamic programing paradigm a breath of fresh air.

And happy developers are productive developers!

Start Using Node.js Today by registering to our Node.JS course!

The Anatomy of Google Analytics

Effectively analyzing and monitoring website performance is just as important as the strategies and campaigns you use to drive revenue online. Without proper Google Analytics training, how are you supposed to optimize performance or gauge the success (and failure) of your online marketing tactics? You can’t!

In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through the anathomy or “who, what, when, where, and why" questions for learning Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics Used For?

Google Analytics is a powerful and free tool for analyzing trends associated with your website’s performance. Why do I say ‘trends’? Because not every visitor to your site will be tracked.

The Google analytics code that you add to your website in order to track user activity is JavaScript based. So if a visitor has JavaScript disabled in their browser settings, they won’t be tracked. There are other reasons why Google Analytics data isn’t 100% accurate but I won’t get into that in this blog, you can read more about it here. The point is, you shouldn’t be alarmed if the revenue reported in the backend of your eCommerce store doesn’t match up with what is being shown in your Google Analytics reports.

Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics service on the internet. This web analytics reporting tool allows you to monitor a variety of reports including but certainly not limited to:

  • Acquisition Reports- these reports allow you to see exactly where your traffic is coming from.
  • Audience Reports- these reports give you additional insight into who is visiting your site. You can view things like demographics, location, language, new vs. returning visitors, and what technology visitors are utilizing.
  • Behavior Reports- these reports allow you to get an idea for what people are actually doing while they are on your website. This includes what pages people are viewing the most, what pages people are exiting the site from, internal site search utilization, site speed, and event tracking.
  • Conversion Reports- Every website has a purpose. It may be to generate leads, sell a product or generate revenue from the monetization of your content. Conversion reporting allows you to track each time a visitor completes a desired action. You can even set up goal funnels, view multi-channel funnels and attribution reports.

Why Should You Take a Google Analytics Training Course?

Bottom line, these insightful reports are only powerful if you know how to utilize them!

Do you want to be able to identify opportunities to improve the conversion rate of your website? How about identifying your most profitable traffic sources and where those visitors are going once they are on your site? What about the pages on your site that you are driving Google AdWords traffic to that does not end up converting into new business?

With a little training, you’ll be able to pull reports like this and identify low hanging fruit that produce big results fast. You’ll also be able to create custom segments, filters, dashboards and even learn how to create automated reports that you can send to your boss on a regular basis!

Some might argue that you could watch Google Analytics training videos and read PDFs but that just isn’t the same as attending an instructor-led training class where you can bounce ideas off of classmates and ask the instructor questions versus posting a question in a forum where you may never receive an answer.

With proper training, you’ll also be taking the first step to earning your Google Analytics certification which is knows as Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ). This certification demonstrates your mastery of Google Analytics which can lead to better job opportunities, increased job security, and more money. Who doesn’t like more money?

Who Should Attend a Google Analytics Training Class?

This training isn’t reserved solely for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Managers and Pay Per Click (PPC) Managers. Chances are you are a good fit for Google Analytics training.

  • Traditional Marketers- Google Analytics provides insight into what messaging and campaigns resonate with your audience. With some proper training you’ll also learn more about building your campaigns in a way that makes them easier to track.
  • Developers- With the reporting capabilities available, you’ll be able to identify things that may have slipped through the cracks during the QA process and are impacting performance. Is there a certain browser version or device that is glaringly underperforming? Are there certain sections of your site that perform poorly from a page load time perspective? If so, you’ll want to dig deeper into it since page load time impacts conversion rates and organic rankings.
  • Designers- Remove the guesswork from the design process and begin justifying your decision with data! Analytics allows you to see what users are clicking on and how they are navigating the website. You can also A/B test design elements and view the results in Google Analytics.
  • Managers & Leadership- Your website is the most powerful sales tool in your arsenal. Having others put together reports for you may make sense but it should not be because you are incapable of doing so. Google Analytics training will allow you to learn more about what reporting capabilities are available as well as how to effectively interpret them.
  • Social Media Specialists- You’ll learn how to identify social channels that impact the bottom line as well as channels that you should potential scale back your efforts. You’ll learn how to properly track your campaigns and analyze what is working and do more of what drives success.

This list could easily get very long but you get the point, any business with a website should have a long list of individuals with a strong ability to utilize Google Analytics.

How to find out more and register in the Google Analytics Class?

Click here to learn more and register for the course.

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