Perpetual Beta- Delicious

Today’s post will be about “Perpetual Beta”, the six pattern of web 2.0 application that defined by Tim O’reilly. This principle focuses on the endless development of programs features that offered as a service for the users to get their satisfaction. The development cycle of the software can be on a monthly, weekly, or even daily cycle, depends on the users needs.

What is Perpetual beta:

Perpetual beta is the keeping of software or a system at the beta development stage for an extended or indefinite period of time. It is often used by developers when they continue to release new features that might not be fully tested. Wikipedia

Examples of Perpetual beta:

According to O’Reilly’s  Microsoft and Google are clear examples of Perpetual Beta and “Microsoft won’t be able to beat Google” because Google upgrading their computing environment every day while Microsoft upgrading the computing environment every 2-3 years. Additionally, Google Maps, Gmail, Flickr, and delicious are other example of this pattern. In this post I am going to discuss Delicious as a web 2.0 application that achieved the best practices and benefits of Perpetual beta website.delicious-logo

About Delicious.com:

Delicious is a social bookmarking website which means that, rather than going to your favourite icon and save it in the internet explorer you can save your bookmarking in the web site so you can access to your bookmarking from any computing divides in any time. In addition Delicious allow you to share your bookmarking with others.

Delicious (formerly del.icio.us) is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks. The site was founded by Joshua Schachter in 2003. Wikipedia

Delicious is a free service designed to be the best place to save what you love on the web, whether it’s a video, picture, product, blog post, article or music. We then help you remember and find it later. Delicious

How does Delicious linked to this pattern:

Release early and release often: Websites updating is essential to websites success. For that Delicious have search tools to keep track of the users to know what they like and what do not. Delicious always updated and change or add new features according to the users needs. Additonally, Delicious advertise the updating through Delicious blog.

Engage users as co-developers and real-time testers: as we said before delicious updating the system by tracking user behavior. Each page in Delicious has a feedback button at the bottom of the page to get feedback from the users that help to improve the website. For example, Delicious thanks its users for their feedback that help to create search box to conveniently search about tags, keywords, network, usernames, and even tag bundles. Additionally, Delicious enhanced the website with keyboard shortcuts to save users time.

Instrument your product:  Every updating or new feature of Delicious tested by the users through adding new bookmarking on the website and share links with friends.

Incrementally create new products: Delicious involves the users as real time tester, it is looking for the users needs and  analysing their feedback to updating existing feature and bring new one.

Use dynamic tools and languages: Delicious using Python programming language and RSS to publish the content on the web. additionally, user can download and interchange data and through the site’s API in an XML or JavaScript Object Notation. The feeds in delicious come in several formats including RSS and JSON.

Over a billion links served daily to more than 200 countries worldwide. Delicious

Software above the level of a single device – Translink:

 

In the past few years, having PC was the only way to access the internet, it’s definitely a hard limited way because you have to sitting in front of the computer.However, nowadays access to the internet can be through different ways, you can be walking while images-4using the internet, driving, or doing your daily routine because you can log in from any computing device in any where, from home, office or even from your car. The most common computing device and the easiest one is the smart phone, that any one can use it easily, we see it with different people in any age, on any where and any time . This brings me to start the discussing post about the fifth pattern in web 2.0 “Software above the level of a single device” as described by Tim O’Reilly.

In August 2012 there were about 7 billion mobile phones. This number exceeds the number of PCs by about 3.8 times. The International Telecommunication Union

images-3

Definition of Software above the level of a single device:

Users can access to the internet app through a different computing devices. by this definition, we can see that, eachapple_mobileme2-1 web application is software above the level of a single device. As Tim said “At minimum, these applications use a client on a local computer and one or more server computers.”

One other feature of Web 2.0 that deserves mention is the fact that it’s no longer limited to the PC platform. Tim O’Reilly

There are many example of Software above the level of a single device. According to Tim O’Reilly  iTunes is the best exemplar of this trend. ” This application seamlessly reaches from the handheld device to a massive web back-end, with the PC acting as a local cache and control station.” In this post I going to talk about Translink.com.au as a good example of this trend because It works equally on different computing devices. I just started using this website when I arrived to Brisbane, and it’s now one of the most important application to me and I can not go out without it.

About Translink.com.au:

Translink is a website for public transport information and it aims to facilitate passenger transport services.images

Translink: As a division of the Department of Transport and Main Roads, we are responsible for leading and shaping Queensland’s overall passenger transport system.

Below are some of  best practices that Translink.co.au applied:

1) Design from the start to share data across devices, servers, and networks:

Translink.com.au has been designed from the start to share data across devices, servers, and networks. Translink.com.au can be accessed from any computing devices. With its pervasive network users can access translink.com.au from anywhere and get appropriate travel information. In addition, it has a mobile phone application to be easy for the users to access this app in any where.

 2) Think location aware:

Translink.com.au uses GPS and map technology as used by Google maps to trace your current location and suggest relevant travel routes depending on the location you want to go to.

 3) Extend Web 2.0 to devices:images-1

Translink.com.au uses Web 2.0 Rich Internet application for desktop users as well as on mobile devices.

4) Use the power of the network to make the edge smarter:

As servers are always more powerful than mobile devices this is true even in the case of Translink.com.au as most of the processing is done on the server side Thereby offloading the heavy processing on the devices and returning lightweight results.

5) Make one-click a priority:

Translink on mobile has an easy to use journey planner. If the user doesn’t know his current location, the translink.com.au automatically determines it for the user. The user only has to supply the destination address and click go. Rest is taken care by the site. And it also provides multiple options of travel to choose from for the user’s convenience.

6) Enable data location independence:

Since the user does not need to upload any files the capability of data location independence is not required in the case of Translink.com.au

7) Compatibility issues:translink-logo

Translink.com.au website and edge device apps are so robust that it doesn’t suffer from the compatibility issues as we see in other RIAs.

Eventually, I know that you (my dear readers ) reading6c78cf2ae700c1a7e626465fa52e6dec this post from different devices, some of you are reading this from a home or an office computer,lap top ,smart phone, Ipad or even maybe from an ipod. For that reason, I think the programmers have to think about this while designing the websites to make the users able to open it in any device on any time without troubles .

You don’t need to build the application for managing a device into the device itself. The game is richer than that. Let the device do what it does best; let the internet do what it does; and use the PC to help manage the relationship between the two. Tim O’Reilly

Rich User experience – pixlr.com

 

These days popularity of Web 2.0 applications has grown to such a degree that it seems the day is not far when almost every application would be accessed remotely using a browser and the users will be doing their work online. Google Docs, Google Spread Sheet, Google Finance are good examples. Such web-based applications are also known as Rich Interactive Application (RIA).

 

ria

 

Rich Internet application works more like a desktop application than a traditional web application like webmail or static html websites. Such interactive Internet applications are enabled by technologies like AJAX, Adobe FlexAdobe FlashJQueryHTML5SilverLightJavaFXOpenLaszlo and so on. These new technologies have closed the gap between online and offline experiences and are redefining the possibilities in a browser like never before. In addition Rich interactive applications provide many benefits over traditional desktop applications. RIA avoids the need of installing client applications. It enables multiple users to work collaboratively rather than single-user, single-machine software. Many online applications support drag and drop and various other full rich media capabilities. An online application also eliminates the need for regular updates and patching and it gives a competitive advantage with greater user satisfaction.

What is Rich User experience?

Rich user experiences are typically a combination of GUI-style (Graphical User Interface) applications and multimedia content. The value of creating a web-based software that works and gives the user a similar experience to a computer-based software program is growing in the Web 2.0 paradigm.” Travis Steven

Example of  User experience :

pixlr

Pixlr is a perfect example to show rich user experience paradigm of Web 2.0 in action. It is a popular, free online photo editor that enables fixing, editing, adjusting, filtering of your images online without the fuss of creating an account or registering with the site. It allows you to get right in and start editing your photos just like you would do on a desktop application like Photoshop etc. Pixlr is not just one application rather it is an online application suite, which includes the following applications:

Pixlr Editor 
Pixlr Express 
Pixlr-o-matic

 

Let us look some of the best practices Pixlr.com implements :

 

  • Combine the best of desktop & online experiences 

 

Pixlr undoubtedly provides the highest user engagement, fast performance and rich interactivity. It closes the gap between online and offline experience. Using Pixlr on your browser is no different to working on your desktop application like Photoshop or other photo editing applications. In addition Pixlr being an online application provides platform independent, ubiquitous access for multiple users around the world.

 

  • Usability and simplicity first

 

With Pixlr user does not need to create an account or register their details with the site. They can jump right in and start editing and fixing their photos or images as they like. And they can easily upload for editing and download the edited photos on to their local drive. Anyone who has used a desktop photo editing software like Photoshop would find Pixlr a piece of cake. And for those who haven’t they will find their way around without difficulty. It’s very simple and an excellent example of how a Web 2.0 application makes simplicity a strategic advantage.

 

  • Match the technology usage to the requirements

 

Pixlr employs a combination of technologies including Flash, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Ruby to deliver the rich and satisfying user experience that users are always looking for.

 

  • Search over structure

 

Pixlr being an online image editor tool does not require a search over content capability. However, Pixlr support, blog and documentation provides a search capability to enable users to quickly find help on some of the things they want to do in Pixlr editor.

 

  • Deep, adaptive personalization

 

Pixlr application provides a rich user experience but does not dynamically learn from user’s behavior or anticipates needs or remembers preferences, or adapts as appropriate.

        

Overview of web technologies employed by Pixlr :

Pixlr uses variety of web technologies to give its users the latest cutting edge rich user experience of online application. It uses Ruby as the server-side programming language, JavaScript as the client-side programming language. In addition it is built on Flash, JQuery, HTML, CSS. The image formats supported by Pixlr is JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and PNG (Portable Network Graphics) both of which are most preferred compression method suitable for storing photographic images. 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

At the end, I encourage you to have a look at each one of  Pixlr applications to see how powerful they are. Also have a look at the Pixlr Blog to get a quick look into the endless possibilities that Pixlr provides to end-user both professionals and non-professionals with editing needs such as editing web images to be posted on social-media network like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, or image sites like Flickr, Fotolog, Photobucket etc. Pixlr is also widely used by professionals all over the world for fixing images for news sites, blogs etc. 52a6b9fcce338b72de69fb6a53a17f68