Thursday, January 05, 2012

Web Developers Rejoice! Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 is Dead


 

Anyone who’s ever developed a website likely has a bitterness toward Internet Explorer 6. The once-popular web browser was originally released by Microsoft in 2001—a time when the World Wide Web was a very different place. Due to IE 6’s security issues and lack of support for modern web standards, web developers have had to create special exceptions and CSS workarounds to ensure their sites display correctly.

Well, not anymore.

Microsoft recently announced that, starting this month, those still using the obsolete browser would be forced to upgrade to a newer version. Those still using Windows XP will be updated to IE 8, while those on Vista and Windows 7 will get IE 9.

In many countries, the number of people still using IE 6 is less than one percent; this includes Austria, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and, most recently, the U.S. (good job, guys). However, Microsoft reports that, worldwide, IE 6 still accounts for 7.7% of web usage. Even worse, in China usage is over 25%.

 

Just last month, the folks behind the Internet Explorer Countdown movement were happy to add the United States to their Champion’s Circle page. When it was announced that usage in the U.S. had dropped below 1%, Microsoft’s IE Marketing Team threw a little party. Roger Capriotti, director of IE marketing, write on the Microsoft IE Blog: “IE 6 has been the punch line of browser jokes for a while, and we’ve been as eager as anyone to see it go away.” They even made a nice cake to celebrate.

 

So, what’s the big deal? This means that the web can move forward, grow and evolve. The more web developers have to make special exceptions for outdated technology, the slower this evolution will occur. Although IE 7 and 8 still lack support for many HTML5 and CSS3 standards, it’ll be exciting to see how the web progresses now that IE 6 is history.



Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Top 5 Tech Trends of 2011


2011 has been a crazy year for the tech industry! From the rise of Angry Birds to the death of Steve Jobs, there has definitely been a lot to talk about. In this video, we list five of the most exciting and unfortunate happenings of the past year.

Take a peak, then let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter.



Thursday, December 29, 2011

PT Bios: Kevin and Michael


In our latest segment of PT Bios, we ask Kevin and Michael what is the one tool that they simply couldn’t live without.

Kevin, a Web Developer at Plum Tree, mentions the Firebug add-on for Mozilla Firefox as one of his essential tools. Recently, Firefox announced that version 10 (to be released in early 2012) would feature it’s own developer tools, which could become a replacement to the popular Firebug plugin.

A closer look....

With Firebug, users can right-click on any web page element and hit “Inspect Element.” This brings up a console that allows them to view and edit the HTML, CSS and functionality of any element on the page. This functionality has already been replicated in Google Chrome as a standard function, so it’s only logical that Firefox would want to offer their own, native version. You can watch a preview of the new Firefox tools, or download the future of Firefox now (caution: this release is not stable yet).

Are you a Firefox user, or have you migrated to Chrome or another browser? Do you have a question for a future PT Bios video interview? Leave a comment on our Facebook Page or contact us on Twitter.



Friday, December 16, 2011

eIntelli Mobile Means Custom Apps Without the Headache


We realize that developing a mobile application for your organization can be time consuming, expensive, and even confusing. That’s why eIntelli Mobile is here for you. eIntelli Mobile is a division of eIntelli, a product development brand focused on providing accessible tools to help smaller businesses and associations attain the growth they are looking for.

“Mobile phones are becoming more and more a part of our everyday life. It’s tough to stay connected sometimes, we’re trying to make it easier. eIntelli Mobile is the next step in mobile marketing and communications for Associations, we’re excited about the breakthrough in communication we’re able to provide through our app.”
-Brad McCrory, Director of Product Development

eIntelli Mobile creates modular mobile development products that allow users enhanced accessibility to your organization right from their mobile device. With a mobile app created by eIntelli Mobile, users have the opportunity to interact with your organization in ways they never before imagined. The mobile application world is changing quickly and proving to be a successful tool in expanding your business.

Some of the key features and benefits offered by eIntelli Mobile:

  • More engagement: Mobile application users are more engaged than the average member that might receive only newsletters or rely on the website for events and news, which for your association means more member retention, overall involvement, and growth.
  • Always connected: Allows members to donate, sign-up for events and workshops, sync calendars, receive push reminder messages for events/classes/workshops, access directory, and more all within the application.

 

eIntelli Mobile offers several different pricing options, depending on your needs, or we can create a custom version tailored to your organization. Our developers specialize in iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone development, or we can help create a Mobile Web version of your site.

Contact us today to get started with a mobile app by eIntelli Mobile. For a full list of features, check out http://www.eintelli-mobile.com or check out the eIntelli Mobile blog. We look forward to helping your business or association grow with a cross platform experience!



Friday, November 11, 2011

About Meta Descriptions..


What is a Meta description and why is it important for your website? 

Let’s start by identifying what the Meta description is and the purpose it serves. The Meta description should be found within the <head> tag in any HTML document. 

It looks like this:  <meta name=”description” content=”The Meta description goes here.”>

It usually comes near the Meta keywords tag and the <title> tag. It serves as a short description of what that particular page is about. In the past this tag, along with the Meta keywords tag, were used to stuff keywords in an effort to spam the search engines. Not anymore. The Meta keywords tag is essentially ignored and the Meta description tag is usually used as the text accompanying the search engine result on a SERP page. It can be ignored, though, depending on what was searched for and what search engine you are using.

Why are Meta descriptions important?
Meta descriptions are important for two reasons. The first is that they can have influence on keyword rankings within search results. Countless times have we seen pages improve in search engine rankings due to changes made within the Meta description tag. The second reason they are important is related to usability and click-through rate. If a user searches for a term and a page from your website comes up, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will click your link. If they take the time to read your description and it matches what they are looking for, or it is explained in a way that makes sense, they will click your link.

How to write a good Meta description:
As mentioned earlier, Meta descriptions are important because they affect search engine rankings and click-through rates. To positively affect both of these factors you will need to write good Meta descriptions. In order to do this you will need to keep two things in mind; targeted keywords and your users. Always remember, write content for users and not search engines. If you write a Meta description and only have your targeted keywords in place, no one will click your link because it will look like spam. If you don’t have any keywords, you may not rank well for the keywords you are targeting. Best practices would be to add in no more than 2 keywords and have some type of call to action for your users. Make it catchy and make it informative. Most search engines start cutting off text at 150 characters so try to keep it to 150 characters or under; there are tools on the internet for this.

Key points:
Take a look at the Meta descriptions of some similar websites that rank well for your keywords and use them as examples. Make sure every Meta description on every page on your site is unique to that particular page; otherwise it will be seen as duplicate content. Make sure your Meta descriptions are informative and add in a keyword or two. Remember, write content for your users and not search engines.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Technology to Watch: Adobe Flex


One of the hot technologies to watch in 2008 is Adobe’s Flex.  Flex was introduced in 2004 and has been improved upon with the promise of changing the landscape of how Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are created.

See an example of Flex by viewing our online project database or our built using the latest version of Flex.
Hot Flex Project

See how Plum Tree has used Flex to create a build your own t-shirt application for a high profile athletic gear firm. You can view the prototype here.



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