Introducing Visual Studio Mobile Center

Microsoft has recently launched ‘Visual Studio Mobile Center’ for the developer community. The purpose is to help in building and managing mobile apps through a set of cloud services. The Mobile Center supports applications built on several frameworks. It supports apps built on platforms like Swift, Java, Xamarin, React Native and Objective –C. The platform is currently in its “preview” period and a roadmap is in place to further build out services to be offered.

Today developers are expected to go beyond conventional approach to app building and their prime focus is on providing mobile users a Unique experience. Developers need a platform where they can build, test, deliver and monitor the apps as fast as possible on a continuous basis. Mobile Center, can reduce the time spent on creating a workflow by using the services provided by Mobile Center. It will allow the developers to concentrate on the primary task of creating a good app.

Some of the features in VS Mobile Center are:

  • Build apps automatically with pull request
  • Test apps on different mobile devices through the embedded automated UI tests
  • Monitor bugs and crashes for immediate diagnostics
  • Mobile analytics feature gives detailed insights on mobile usage and behavior
  • Apps written in any language can be brought into VS Mobile Center’s cloud and lifecycle services

The developers have a choice to work on end-to-end workflow provided by the VS Mobile Center or can choose to avail only a subset of the services.

VS Mobile Center is expected to evolve further with integration with HockeyApp and Test cloud apps. In addition to that, the future versions of VS Mobile Center will support Cordova and Universal Windows platform. Advanced features like advanced analytics and push notifications will also be a part of the future versions. Currently, it supports only lifecycle features like building, testing, crashing, Beta distribution and analytics. In Cloud features support authentication, easy tables and offline sync.To access the VS Mobile Center you can sign in using your existing HockeyApp credentials or use your GitHub account or Microsoft account.

At MetaSys Software we offer custom development using  ASP.Net, SQL Server, Telerik controls and Iron speed. We also have a strong team of Certified FileMaker Developers with experience in PHP & FileMaker solutions, FM Go as well as in building iOS apps.

A Handy Reference of What’s New What’s Changed and What’s Gone in Bootstrap 4

Bootstrap is the most popular open source client-side web design framework used for creating web applications and websites. In the last four years, Bootstrap released three versions and from time to time it is upgrading with the new course of web components for better usability. On its fourth anniversary, 19th Aug. 2015, Bootstrap announced the release of version 4 alpha release and on 27th Jul. 2016, Bootstrap 4 alpha 3 was released. There are many changes and improvements in the new version of Bootstrap.

New Features

  • Brand New Bootstrap Cards
    Cards have been introduced to unify some of the previous elements such as panels, wells, and thumbnails. It is an extensible and flexible content container. It includes options for a wide variety of content, headers and footers, powerful display options, and contextual background colors. Cards are more flexible and allow a bigger space for creative implements.
  • Opt-in Flexbox Support
    In the newer version of Bootstrap, you can take advantage of CSS3’s Flexbox Layout. Flexbox layouts are adaptable and can be well utilized in the responsive design. It presents an elastic container which fills the available space either by expanding or shrinking itself to the most proficient way.
    IE 9 users, please note that Flexbox does not support version 9. Hence the default version of Bootstrap 4 uses float and display CSS properties for the implementation of a fluid layout.
  •  Relative CSS Units
    As a significant move to streamline the CSS -Bootstrap 4 dropped support for the IE8 browser. The new release uses REMs and EMs which enables implementation of responsive typography on Bootstrap sites. It also improves readability and improvement in accessibility for physically challenged users.
  • Handy Utilities
    Various useful helper classes have been added such as margin and padding, and text helpers. Also, there are responsive and contextual colors helper classes to hide content on particular breakpoints.

Significant Changes

  • Improved Grid System
    Bootstrap’s fluid grid system allows programmers to focus various devices having different viewports. At present Bootstrap 3.x grid system offers 4 classes to define different size columns. Bootstrap 4 improves the fluid grid mechanism with a 5th one which facilitates programmers to aim for small devices having a viewport of 480 px or lesser than that.
  • Completely Redesigned Navbar
    The new Navbar is simpler. You can toggle it using the Collapse component, the `.navbar-toggleable-xs`, `.navbar-toggleable-sm`, etc.. let you control the breakpoint. Here’s an example.
  • Fonts are Bigger
    In Bootstrap 4, the default font size which was earlier 14px is now changed to 16px. Also, a new large display for headings which makes text stand out.
  • Tether powers tooltips and Popovers
    Tether, a JavaScript library, offers the position of an absolute positioned element stay next to each other on a web page. The power of Tether will enable automatic placement of tooltips and popovers. Note that it is a 3rd party library which supports IE9+, needs to be included separately in your HTML before adding the bootstrap.js.
  • A New Approach to Global Theming
    It will be the most interesting change. At present, with the version 3.x, it is very hard to do changes in RAW CSS, LESS file and overriding the settings. Easy customization of the global theme is expected in the new version.

RIP

  • Rearranged Support for IE
    The newer version has dropped support for IE8 as it was not supporting CSS media queries. IE 9 does not support Flexbox. To support IE9 Bootstrap has made Flexbox as optional to integrate with the framework.
  • Glyphicons Dropped
    Glyphicons, which was used by many, has been removed. The alternative provided is to use Font Awesome and Octicons as third party components. Instructions will be included eventually in the documentation.

Changes Behind the Scene

  • Bye Bye LESS, Hello SAAS
    As compare to LESS, SASS is more popular among frontend developers. SASS is easier to use, offers more possibilities and has an immense community base.
  • Refactored JavaScript Plugins
    All JavaScript plugins now are rewritten in ECMAScript 6 to take the benefit of the latest specification to improve the frontend experience.
  • Optimized Variable Customization
    Now all the Sass variables are incorporated into one single file named _variables.scss. This makes customization very easy. To change the default values, one needs to copy the settings into another file named _custom.scss.
  • New Reset Component Called Reboot
    The Reboot module now replaces the normalize.css file. The new module is the enhanced version of the normalize.css with the goal to include generic style and selectors within a single and easy to use.SCSS file. This change enabled the user to override the default setting in a better way without using ‘!important’.

This article is based on Bootstrap 4 alpha 3 version. For latest updates, visit the official blog.