The Biggest Challenges of Building a Custom Chat App and How to Overcome Them

first_imgThe fact that users are always seeking more and more social connectivity has caused a boom in the creation of messaging applications – some, of course, more engaging than others. If you’re thinking about taking a shot at this ever-growing market, here’s a heads up: as everything worthwhile in life, building a custom chat app will pose a few challenges. From the get-go, you’ll want to settle on one big decision: accessibility. Whether it is to send a quick message or share a file, users will want to access the application any time, anywhere. You’ll want to make sure your use is fully accessible both on mobile and desktop. Taking on a deep dive into these challenges in 3, 2, 1. The Challenge: Picking Core Real-Time FeaturesFact: chat apps like WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger have raised the bar. Users expect a core set of functionalities to be available on the cloud communication services they choose. From voice calling to live streaming, it’s essential to address all their requirements of today’s tech-savvy users. Overcoming the Mysterious World of Real-Time FeaturesMake sure you don’t only stick to the minimum viable product for your chat app, the core set of real-time features you enable have to work – and work well! Here’s a list of the functionalities we suggest keeping on your radar:Give instant messaging priority. Basic. Users should be able to send one-to-one and group messages instantly, efficiently and in real time. Host custom fonts, stickers, and emojis. This adds a bit of spark on conversations and keeps them lively.Allow users to mute chats. Group chats are especially active and some of the buzz may be a bit much, so allow users to be able to mute them altogether.Enable statuses such as “read, sent, and seen” for the messages. Everyone wants to see whether their message was received or not. Enable video and voice calls. Your users will expect to be able to make individual and group calls as well as video chats.Allow file transfers in several different formats like voice notes, videos, images and documents.The Challenge: Choosing the Right Tool Stack for Your Messaging ServiceThe right anything will significantly depend on what you’re looking for. All the variables you’ll have to take into account to choose the right technical tools can be daunting. So choose wisely, this will make all the difference when it comes to the security and functionality parameters you’ll need to make a successful chat app. Overcoming the Paralysis-by-Analysis of Tech RequirementsThe server architecture becomes a significant part of your chat app. From the single point of entry (load balancer) through the application logic, all the way to its database and back. Make sure your database can scale correctly. As far as databases go, you’ll need it to scale horizontally. There are some solutions in today’s market (like Amazon’s DynamoDB) that make this more accessible to a certain extent. Don’t reinvent the wheel with the architecture. We suggest using services that already offer the basics of this architecture. Twilio, for example,  is a programmable cloud communications platform that works as building blocks to add messaging, voice, and video in web and mobile applications. When using this type of service, you won’t have to spend all your resources designing extremely complex server clusters and architectures, but rather, you can just put the pieces together and choose the features you want.Use a front-end framework like React or Angular. These are probably the two most popular JavaScript-based web app frameworks. We suggest using them because they make creating a modern web client easier.The Challenge: Making Your Chat App Stand OutBuilding a “normal,” message-sending app is no longer going to cut it. Users and their ever-growing needs will expect your custom text messaging service to have some type of differentiator. Why should they switch from the mainstream applications to yours? You’ll have to give them something to get excited about. Overcoming The “Normal” App SyndromeWith such high expectations and users always looking for an infinite source of everything in a single place, think about having one of these unique features built as a core functionality of your application:Send push notifications to keep users active within the app and inform them when new messages have arrived.Provide the ability to sync reminders and events to their calendars.Enable message broadcasting so that users can send a single text to different contacts regardless of them being in a group or not.The Challenge: Providing Top Security on Cloud Communication ServicesMessaging apps can host sensitive and confidential data. If yours is not secure enough, users will be wary about using it, and this could result in low product adoption. While building your text messaging service, keep in mind the level of security you want (hint: high, very high). Encryption is not only desired but expected by most users nowadays; no one wants their proprietary information transmitted over the internet in the clear. Overcoming Security ConcernsSecurity is not taken lightly when it comes to the cloud communication services out there. Most (successful) messaging apps have applied one of the following tactics: Make it so that the private key is stored on the device itself and therefore inaccessible without the device.Allow the ability to time a message so that it disappears from both the sender’s and the receiver’s devices a certain amount of time after it’s read.Build an always-on, reliable, genuinely end-to-end encryption where no one can decipher the content of the messages.Here’s a snapshot of end-to-end encryption when using a cloud communications platform like  Twilio: The Challenge: Getting Actual Users and Having Them StayEngage. Such an overrated word and yet… so much riding on it. If your users are not engaging with your product, it will undoubtedly, be difficult for your app to be successful. By building a rocking text messaging service with all the right real-time features, implementing additional functionalities, securing the personal content transferred within and securing the technological stack you’re on the right track but, that alone, won’t make your app a success.Overcoming the Product Adoption HurdleWhen it comes to product adoption, think “how, when and what will my audience actually use?” That’s the basis of everything. Now, to break that down into actionable pieces of information:Create a good onboarding experience for your chat app. By simply pointing out where everything is within the app, creating tooltips and/or messages for users, you can increase the amount of features they are using and, therefore, make sure they stick around.Personalize their experience. Was your app built for different segments? Create different screens and tooltips making their experience unique. Aligning the experience with each of the user’s needs will increase the chances of them continuing to use the app. Help them spread the word. By creating easy ways to share the application and providing incentives, you can encourage early adopters to spread the word.Keep them updated. Whenever you launch a new release, change a functionality or implement a new feature, let the users know. Whether it is through a blog post, a newsletter or an in-app notification, they’ll appreciate you keeping them in the loop.  Check Yourself. To recap on all the ways to make your messaging app a success, we’ve created this checklist to help you go step by step on every point. Diana GonzalezMarketing Specialist at Scopic Software Marketing specialist at Scopic Software where we craft and execute marketing strategies for companies in over 10 different industries. 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Cinematography Technique: Cutting Light and Creating Shadow

first_imgSometimes perfect scene lighting is accomplished by preventing your lights from doing their job. Step into the shadows and explore techniques for cutting light.Top image via ShutterstockRemember the two things that define cinematography — light and shadow — where you place the light and how you create the shadows, also known as contrast. — Shane Hurlbut, ASCIn literature, it can sometimes be important to read what the text is not saying, rather than what it is. This can be the same with lighting — shadows can give a scene extra depth. There are several tools you can use to help cut and stop light from reaching your subject. But first, why do you need to cut light? Why would you bring in a set of lights and then stop them doing their job? Well, take the following location for example.Image via Tresde — Architectural Visualization StudioHousehold light enters through the doorway and illuminates the room in a particular fashion. If you were to film in this location, the household lighting likely would not sufficiently and properly illuminate an actor sitting on the couch.You would need to replicate the lighting in a manner that mimics the household lighting, but also illuminates your talent. Placing a 650w Fresnel in the hallway and pointing it through the door isn’t going to have the same effect. The light would spill onto the floors and the ceiling in an unnatural fashion. To stop this from happening, the light would need to be cut/shaped through the use of flags.Contrast is one of the most important tools a cinematographer can employ. By having light spill everywhere, it will lower the contrast ratio and make the image appear flat.The EquipmentImage via B&HA flag is a flag. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be as small as a few feet. Some can be as large as a vehicle. A flag will, however, inherit a different name depending on what it is being used for.Topper: This a flag that is used to stop (or more appropriately, cut) the top of a light. You will find that toppers are primarily used to stop light spilling onto the ceiling and sometimes onto the background. You might have a 2K sweeping down onto your subject, but to keep the focus on your actor, your background needs to be darkened. Using a topper would isolate that light spill from the background. It’s also helpful to remove excess background light in which the boom operator is casting a shadow.Bottomer: This is a flag positioned to cut the bottom of a light in order to stop the light spilling onto the floor.Sider: A sider, as you might have guessed, is a flag positioned to cut the light from entering the side of a composition.Image via Lights Film SchoolOf course, these will be used in combination with each other. It’s common to see a behind-the-scenes photograph of a set clustered with flags. As a side note, a flag which has been specifically set up to stop lens flare is called a lenser.You might ask, what about barn doors — do they not direct and cut light? It’s an excellent point. However, because barn doors are close to the light source, they create a very soft cut; you wouldn’t be able to have a razor sharp cut in the light by just using barn doors. They are, though, perfect for when you need to feather the light across a subject and control the direction of a beam. (They also provide an extra security measure with protecting the lens if the light were to fall.)There is also a courtesy flag. This is a flag that has been specifically set up to remove the light glare from a crew member on set.Flags can come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of different names.You can acquire flags, fingers, dots, etc. Within different regions, there may be different names for the equipment. For example, a finger, which is a linear piece of fabric rather than rectangular, can also be called a blade or a cutter.Image via B&HYou can also cut light with the use of breakup patterns — the cucoloris and branchaloris. I know they sound like dinosaurs, but I’m sure you know the cucoloris by its more common name: a cookie. This tool simply cuts the light into a pattern formed by the design of the cookie. It will help create contrast within the light falloff, and also stop the light from looking like an artificial source. Here’s a cucoloris being used on the set of National Treasure.Image via DisneyBelow is the shot within the film.Image via DisneyCould you imagine the same shot without the actors being painted by shadows? It wouldn’t look natural; it would look artificial. You will find that the illusion of a breakup pattern will fall apart if you start to move the cookie. If you do want a moving breakup pattern, such as a tree branch, then you need a branchaloris, which is nothing more than a leafy branch placed in front of your light source. It can be manmade or a real branch taken (with permission) from a tree outside.Image: Setting up a branchaloris via Stephen David SmithAs long as it results in the light breaking up to form the shadow of foliage, you’ve succeeded in using a branchaloris. In the National Treasure example, the shadow cut is quite feathered. If you would prefer your pattern to be very distinct and sharp, move your cookie closer to the subject.Tips For Using FlagsWhen cutting light, you will get a cleaner shadow if your light source is hard rather than soft.Light from a Fresnel lamp will be easier to shape than light from a 1×1 LED panel.Try to align the flag with the center of the light fixture rather than the edge.For a sharper cut, move the flag farther away from the light source. For a graduated cut, move the flag closer to the light.The video below shows great use of flags in action. Be warned — although the video gives solid information, it does look like someone has accidentally applied a Warp Stabilizer to the timeline and not an individual shot!Got any additional tips for working with flags? Share them in the comments below!last_img read more

Mixed response to cancellation of students’ union elections

first_imgThe Odisha government’s decision to cancel the annual students’ union elections in the current year in colleges and universities has evoked a mixed response across the State.Several student organisations staged protests on Friday after the Higher Education Department issued a notification on Thursday. While ABVP has opposed the decision, NSUI, AISF and SFI termed the decision undemocratic. The decision has been welcomed by many students and the students’ wing of the BJD, saying that it will prevent law and order situation and violence during the elections.last_img read more

Jarencio, Romeo insist all is well after heated argument

first_imgAfter the game, the two immediately put the incident aside.“It was just a case of misunderstanding,” Romeo said in Filipino after the Batang Pier dropped an 86-79 decision despite leading by as much as 20 in the first quarter. “Coach and I, we both just want to win. We just had a bit of misunderstanding but off the court, we don’t have any problems. It’s a normal thing, it’s normal for players and coaches.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Both of us just want to win. We just had a heated discussion and it’s part of the game, it’s also part of the process of a developing team,” Jarencio said in Filipino. “There’s no issue, no issue within the team. Talagang nag-kasarapan lang.”Romeo, who just played his second game coming off a knee injury, cleared that he has no ill feeling toward Jarencio. ‘Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance PLAY LIST 01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Adversity brings team closer as Beermen rally for Austria, ailing wife Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “I’m don’t have any resentment toward coach. We all know that he’s been coaching for a long time and he knows what he’s doing,” he said.Romeo also admitted his shortcomings since his return. GlobalPort went 0-2 with him this conference.“Actually I wasn’t really able to help the team maybe because my rhythm is till off. At the same time, I’m still trying to get used to playing because it’s been a long time since I played 5-on-5,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to my game shape next conference.”The 25-year-old Romeo finished with only 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the field as GlobalPort bowed out in the quarterfinals.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatuscenter_img LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAs if the playoff game between GlobalPort and Magnolia wasn’t intense enough, tempers flared on the Batang Pier bench with head coach Pido Jarencio and star guard Terrence Romeo engaging in a shouting match late in the third quarter.Jarencio and Romeo got into a heated commotion during a timeout with exactly three minutes left before players and coaches quickly stepped in to control the situation.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next MOST READ Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Female India football star Oinam Bembem Devi receives Arjuna Award

first_imgOinam Bembem Devi, the flagbearer of Indian women’s football for over the past two decades was named the winner of the prestigious Arjuna Award. Bembem becomes the second Indian woman footballer to win the award, the first being Shanti Mullick in 1983.Bembem made her international debut in 1995 and bowed out on a high after winning the SAF Games Gold Medal in Shillong in February 2015.She has hence been closely associated with All India Football Federation (AIFF) for spreading awareness about women’s football in India and is actively involved as a scout and Brand Ambassador for FIFA Live Your Goals, India.Speaking about her achievement Bembem said that she expects the award will “motivate millions of girls to take up Football.”Photo Credit: AIFF “This is an Award for Indian women’s football,” she stated. “I hope this award will help remove the mental block and inspire all girls in the society to take up the sport,” she added.”It gives me immense satisfaction to see my name in the same list as the greatest Indian sportspersons across all fields. My sacrifice over the past two decades has not gone waste.””I need to thank all teammates, my coaches, AIFF and the entire football fraternity along with my family for their support,” Bembem said.All India Football Federation president Praful Patel congratulated Bembem on her achievement.”Bembem has been an inspiration to all women in the country. Her contribution to Indian women’s football has been exceptional. She deserves the award. Congratulations,” he said in his message.advertisementAIFF President @praful_patel congratulates Bembem Devi on her Arjuna Award win.#BackTheBlue #ShePower Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) August 20, 2017AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das mentioned that Bembem has been a “role model for so many youngsters.””She has played for India for over two decades and has been a top performer. She is a role model for all budding women footballers. Congratulations,” Das stated.AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das shares his thoughts on Bembem Devi’s Arjuna Award win.#BackTheBlue #ShePower Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) August 20, 2017Women’s head coach Maymol Rocky couldn’t hide her delight over the phone.”No one deserves the Arjuna Award more than Bembem. She has done so much for Indian football both on and off the field. I am very happy for her. Congratulations,” she said.Bembem is the 25th Footballer to have won the Arjuna Award, the last being Subrata Paul in 2016. In addition, she was also awarded the AIFF Woman Footballer Award twice, in 2001 and 2013.last_img read more

Yanks Pummel Red Sox, 8-7

first_imgBOSTON — Brett Gardner has never considered himself a home run hitter. If he can save himself a few sprints on the basepaths, that’s enough for him.Gardner had three hits Aug. 3,  including a tiebreaking drive in the sixth for his 15th homer, sending the New York Yankees to an 8-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The speedy left fielder has five homers in six games; he had eight all of last year, his previous career high.“That’s not my game,” said Gardner, who has more triples (39) than home runs (38) for his career. “It’s nice not having to run, beat out an infield hit or a hustle double or triple for a change.”Former Red Sox infielder Stephen Drew had a pair of hits and drove in four runs in his third game with the Yankees since he was sent there at the trading deadline.Esmil Rogers (1-0), who was also picked up last week in a trade, earned the victory in his Yankees debut by throwing three hitless innings, striking out three and allowing one walk.“Two guys we just brought in a few days ago,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s what we need: contributions from everyone.” David Robertson pitched the ninth for his 29th save.Craig Breslow (2-3) came in to relieve Clay Buchholz to start the sixth inning and gave up Gardner’s leadoff homer before retiring the next three batters.Yankees starter David Phelps lasted just two innings, allowing five runs and six hits with two walks. He departed with right elbow inflammation and will be evaluated later this week in New York.Boston starter Clay Buchholz allowed seven runs in five innings. He is the only starter remaining from the opening-day rotation after the defending World Champions traded Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront to start re-tooling for the 2015 season.“It’s been a frustrating year for everyone in here,” Buchholz said. “We don’t want to go out there and wear a Red Sox uniform and perform the way I am. I need to pick it up during the season.”Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz homered for Boston. Pedroia lined a 3-2 pitch just foul with two out in the bottom of the ninth one pitch before grounding out to shortstop to end the game.The Red Sox led 3-0 after one inning, 5-3 after two and 7-4 after four. But the Yankees tied it in the fifth on Chase Headley’s RBI double and Drew’s two-run single.“We tried to get Clay through that fifth inning, and unfortunately it doesn’t happen,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “The walks, once again. The walks have been a part in the runs we’ve allowed, and that was the case again tonight.(JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

6 days agoIbrahimovic slams Maldini: AC Milan are a disaster

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Ibrahimovic slams Maldini: AC Milan are a disasterby Carlos Volcano6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sorry to see the state of former club AC Milan.The Swede slammed Paolo Maldini’s work as director.He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Milan are a disaster. They’re all talk and no action.“This is not the club everyone fell in love with, in Italy and all over the world. Perhaps there are too many wrong people who should be elsewhere.“Paolo Maldini doesn’t have what it takes to be a director, whereas in his playing career he was one of my all-time favourites.“In fairness, Maldini does have a difficult task, because it’s not easy to do well with limited resources.” last_img read more

Malala Yousafzai Speaks About Facing Adversity

first_imgIn an interview for Intelligence Squared, education activist Malala Yousafzai took the stage with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to talk about Sandberg’s book Plan B, and to discuss facing adversity, building resilience and finding joy.Malala is a living example of how this can be achieved. One moment a 15-year-old Malala was riding in her school bus in Pakistan, and the next she was waking up alone in a hospital in England. She had been shot by a Taliban gunman in an attempt to silence her encouragement of education for girls.Malala says that to get through the ordeal, she started by accepting herself for who she was and being thankful for the things she still had – her family and friends. “None of us can escape sadness, loss or life’s disappointments,” she wrote, ” so our best option is to find our option B.”According to Sandberg, gratitude seems to be key in the process of getting from adversity to joy. “Counter intuitively, whenever we face something that’s really hard,” says Sandberg, “and it can be hard and it can be overwhelming, thinking of what could be worse helps us find gratitude for that which we took really for granted before.”Malala found gratitude mostly in her family, which she says has kept her feeling normal. She also has taken to heart the support she received from her friends and from the letters, cards and gifts that she received from strangers around the world.“In return,” she says, “you should show the same love and the same care for others. I think that’s the best way to thank back.”Most of us have heard of post traumatic stress (PTSD), but few recognize the term post traumatic growth even though far more people will experience post traumatic growth than PTSD. Pain is an agent of change. Put simply, says Sandberg, “from the hardest things in our lives, we learn, we grow. Our lives become deeper, more meaningful, we find more purpose, we form deeper relationships, we are more grateful.“We all live some form of option B,” says Sandberg. “Sometimes it’s true trauma, where you lose your country and your life as you know it, like Malala has been through. Sometimes it’s the kind of trauma of losing someone suddenly, or not suddenly, in your life. Sometimes it can be something small. But no one’s life is exactly as they planned it. At some level we all live option B.”You can see the whole talk here.Copyright ©2017Look to the Starslast_img read more

Atlantic Canada trade mission hopes to bolster regions trade links to China

first_imgHALIFAX – A federal-provincial trade mission is heading to China this week with hopes of bolstering Atlantic Canada’s presence in one of the world’s largest consumer markets.Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence McAulay, Treasury Board president Scott Brison, and the premiers of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, will join more than 70 businesses, universities, and organizations participating in trade shows and business-to-business meetings.The aim is to promote Atlantic Canada’s food, education, clean growth, and tourism sectors.In an interview Monday, Brison said the co-operative effort is part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy launched by Ottawa and the four provinces in 2016.“A regional approach, where the federal government helps support the work of our businesses in Atlantic Canada and the work of our provincial governments, can make a real difference and take the level of trade and opportunity over time to a new level,” said Brison, a Nova Scotia MP.He said the goal is to build on the trust and relationships that have been established in the Chinese market.“That requires face-to-face interactions and meetings, and you can’t just go there once, you have to go there repeatedly over a sustained period.”Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil will be travelling to China for the second time this year — it will be his sixth trip overall.According to the federal government, exports to China from Atlantic Canada grew 37 per cent last year to more than $1.5 billion, with seafood exports having doubled in the past five years alone.Chinese tourism is also on the rise, while Atlantic Canadian universities currently get more than 30 per cent of their international students from the economic powerhouse.Brison said about 30 million Chinese enter the middle class every year, and that country’s consumer culture has developed tastes for such items as high-quality food and wine.He said they are trends that represent a great opportunity for Atlantic Canada, which is producing world renowned seafood, particularly lobster.“We have opportunities that simply didn’t exist 10 years ago in terms of the China relationship,” he said.In Nova Scotia’s case, China is the province’s second largest trading partner after the U.S., with exports having grown from $150 million in 2012 to $494 million in 2016.McNeil said opening China to products such as lobster has been key to keeping prices at higher market levels.“That has allowed the extra money received for that price to be spun around in every rural community across the province,” he said. “It’s one of the best rural economic strategies that we have.”Another key is convincing even more Chinese students to study in the region, the premier said.“They currently are the largest number of international students who come here. We believe that number can grow substantially to continue to help sustain our post-secondary institutions.”The trade delegation is to visit the cities of Qingdao, Shanghai, and Beijing, where it will take part in the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, the China International Import Expo, and the Canada China Business Council Annual General Meeting and Business Forum.last_img read more

Crude by rail exports above 200000 barrels per day for the first

first_imgThe discount increase has been blamed on the difficulty in getting western Canadian oil to market because of tight pipeline capacity as three proposed export pipeline projects face ongoing delays.AltaCorp says the rate of growth in crude-by-rail volumes since the discount rose above US$25 per barrel last year has actually lagged behind that seen in 2011-12, the last time the differential was as wide.It attributes the slower growth to reluctance by rail companies to increase capacity and producers to sign long-term transport contracts to deal with market conditions that may only last until new pipelines come on stream, possibly as early as late 2019.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) CALGARY, A.B. – The National Energy Board says crude-by-rail exports from Canada set another record in June, rising to 204,558 barrels per day.That’s up almost three percent from 198,800 in May and 86 percent from 109,500 in June 2017.In a report Wednesday, analysts at AltaCorp Capital linked growth in railway oil shipments to the wider-than-usual discount being paid for Western Canadian Select crude compared with New York-benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil.last_img read more