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Introducing Our R&D Team and Innovative Technology BarCamps

Alex Khizhniak
Kirill Grigorchuk

Kirill Grigorchuk,
Head of R&D

Recently, we’ve created the Research & Development department within Altoros to keep track of the latest technologies available on the market. The main goal of the department is to learn how projects can be developed faster, better, more effectively, and more efficiently.

The team of the highly skilled developers across different technologies (Ruby, Java/NoSQL, etc.) investigate the trends and share their ideas on the tools/frameworks they tried and the results they achieved.

As part of these R&D activities, we regularly hold barcamps within Altoros to help developers stay on the cutting edge: they share their experience and ideas, discuss challenging tasks and implemented solutions, make reports, etc. In addition, our R&D department actively involved and takes part in organizing and sponsoring industry conferences and IT events, as well as holds own meetups and hackathons.

We do believe that our R&D team will help us find new promising technologies/approaches for our customers and suggest new solutions even before some of these technologies become a trend among your competitors.

Learn more about R&D department at Altoros here.

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Adobe AIR vs. Mozilla Prism: Two Ways for a Flex Developer to Create Desktop Apps

Alex Khizhniak

Is it possible for Flex developers to apply their web development skills to build desktop applications? A few years ago the very question would have provoked genuine amusement. Desktop and web application development require different sets of skills, different programming techniques, and often make use of different technologies altogether.

At least, that had been the case before new technologies, such as Adobe AIR and Mozilla Prism, were introduced, enabling AJAX and Adobe Flex developers to create desktop applications without having to leave their web skills behind.

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Meet Our Team: What Does It Take to Become a Great Developer?

Olga Belokurskaya

In this collection of videos, our developers express their feelings and thoughts on programming in general, particular languages, and what it takes to become an expert.

 

5 things I love about programming

Alexey Karpik, Senior Web Platform Developer at Altoros, explains why it’s so exciting to be a developer.

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Logistics App Data: Full Automation vs. Manual Input/Adjustment

Stepan Churiukanov

Authors: Stepan Churiukanov, Igor Zubchenok

Customers often want to get every process and function automated in the application. Many of them are convinced that full automation provides for better performance and helps avoid mistakes caused by a human factor. The problem is that no matter how sophisticated the system is, unpredictable mistakes and inaccuracies are inevitable. The system cannot be programmed to take all of the circumstances possible into account.

Example #1: Errors in distance calculation

Let’s take a logistics application that tracks the driver’s location using a mobile client with a GPS module. Imagine that a vehicle has to pass a part of the route high in the mountains. When it climbs up the serpentine road, the connection with the satellites may disappear, so the location cannot be detected properly and saved by the mobile client.

No matter how advanced the system is, it can only reveal the latest position stored before the connection disappeared and the position where it appeared again. The mobile client will send this information to the server and the logistics application will automatically connect these two points with a straight line. The truck’s route will become a much shorter distance than the truck has actually covered. The application will not take into account all the curves and turns of the road that add up to the mileage.

How do you calculate the real distance covered? It’s next to impossible to do this automatically.

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How to Omit Inaccuracy in Receiving Position and Distance Data from GPS?

Igor Zubchenok

It’s no secret that there are natural inaccuracies in computing objects’ coordinates through GPS. When a receiver stays in a single location for a certain period of time, the system detects a set of different coordinates that lie within 5 to 100 meters from each other, instead of detecting the same coordinate. If this data is sent and saved in the database, it will cause redundancy and inaccuracy.

For example, it may seem that a truck is moving, while in reality it stands still. As a result, the system will be winding mileage. We faced such a challenge when developing a route-tracking module based on the GPS technology for one of Logistics and Warehousing applications. We’d like to share the solution found to give you ideas on how to prevent major problems with GPS navigation on Pocket PC devices.

 
Too many records mean too much traffic

Imagine that a truck is parked overnight and the driver does not turn off the Pocket PC device with GPS that sends its coordinates to the server. In case the truck stays in a parking lot for 10 hours and its position is calculated every second, the server will receive 36,000 records overnight! It will cause data redundancy, traffic overload, and total cost increase. If a record requires at least a dozen of kilobytes, irrelevant data sent over night can occupy hundreds of megabytes.


Locating a GPS device

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A Panel on Ruby on Rails: How to Start a Career in RoR?

Alex Khizhniak

On June 22, 2010, Minsk Institute of Management, Belarus Ruby on Rails User Group, and Altoros held a roundtable on the future of Ruby on Rails development and career success in IT. A number of Rails experts who were involved in the first RoR projects in Belarus attended the seminar and shared their expertise.

During the roundtable, graduates and Rails newbies had an opportunity to ask expert Ruby on Rails developers about the demand for RoR in Europe, the ways to find new projects, the employment opportunities, and how to start Ruby on Rails development.

Panel on Ruby on Rails Development

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Resolving a TFS 2010 Issue: The Same Names for Different Assemblies

Petr Pruidze

The issue

One of our projects utilized Team Foundation Server assemblies, and the need to use both TFS 2008 and TFS 2010 assemblies aroused when TFS 2010 was released. In short, the names of the assemblies stayed the same, while their versions were different. In this post, I’d like to describe how our team elaborated on several ways to solve this problem.

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Altoros Helped to Organize the First-in-Belarus Microsoft Silverlight 3 Presentation

Alex Khizhniak

On March 19, 2009, Microsoft Silverlight 3 technology was officially presented to Belarusian .NET developers during the local .NET User Group meeting, which was organized by the Minsk Institute of Management and Altoros. Sergiy Baydachnyy of Microsoft Ukraine demonstrated the new capabilities of Silverlight 3, spoke on the scheduled release dates of the technology, and answered the numerous questions.

The session was followed by the speech of Andrei Varanovich, Microsoft MVP, who demonstrated the new version of Windows Workflow Foundation 4.0—the technology for defining, executing, and managing workflows. More than 130 participants took part in the event and 53 more attended the presentation the next day in Brest, another Belarusian city.

Silverlight Presentation

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Altoros Has Joined a Hi-Tech Park in Eastern Europe

Alex Khizhniak

Read about the main achievements of Altoros during Q3 2008.

htp-high-tech-park-build1.1_5Image credit

Altoros is now officially a member of Belarus Hi-Tech Park. It is a government-supported environment aimed at helping promising software companies to adopt the latest technologies and grow faster. The association exists starting from 2005 and has established strong ties with other similar organizations around the globe. For Altoros, it is a good chance to find new partnerships (both commercial and technology-driven) and become even more dynamic and mature at the same time.

 

New technology expertise

Between July and September, Altoros technology-specific teams also completed a number of projects and gained new technology expertise.

  • .NET Framework
    Altoros’ .NET team is currently working on a .NET-based “Training Diary” project for active sports-loving and devoted people. This web-based service lets sportsmen plan their training strategies and store the data on the workouts they have already performed, planned, or skipped. The application also has the Coach functionality, which enables users to train sportsmen, track their workouts, define training plans and strategies, and analyze statistics to boost training efficiency. Sportsmen can be divided into teams and either have their own coach each, the community coach for a few teams, or a global coach, who trains any sportsman within the instance of the Diary.

    In the future, the team also plans to develop the desktop version of the Diary and introduce more community features to enable user communication via forums, blogs, file exchange, groups, etc. In the course of development, aside from .NET Framework 3.5 (WCF, ASP.NET), Altoros’s team will use Windows Server 2003/2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005/2008.

  • Ruby on Rails
    Altoros completed the first stage of a Ruby on Rails-based mobile advertising project for INTXT Exchange. The project provides a wide range of advertising options, enabling clients to create and manage advertising campaigns, view reports, and submit payments online. The advertising partners can also set their own publishing properties and receive payments. With this system, anyone can register to receive advertisements via SMS to his or her phone and get paid for looking through the received ads.
  • Windows Mobile
    Altoros team released the Beta version of its Windows Mobile-based logistic application. The project is designed for technicians, allowing them to see their workorders and items needed to complete the job, handle their balance on several stocks, and register time and mileage for the workorders on their PDA. At the same time, managers in the office will be able to control workorders and see where each technician is located at that very moment. Among others, the team used .NET Compact Framework 2.0 and SQL Compact Edition 3.5 to develop this system.
  • Adobe Flex
    Our dedicated team of Adobe Flex developers launched the public version of Apatar On-Demand data integration solution. Apatar On-Demand is a hosted pre-built service that synchronizes data between Salesforce.com CRM and desktop QuickBooks accounting software. It makes it possible to set recurring or one-time synchronization of account, contact, order, and opportunity data, while preserving links between tables in both Salesforce.com and QuickBooks. The team implemented Flex 2/3, Action Script 3, FlexUni, and other technologies to deliver Apatar On-Demand.

 

Supporting technology community

Altoros organized the latest Belarus .NET User Group meeting, which was held on September 11, 2008, and featured a keynote speaker from Microsoft. The meeting garnered the attendance of more people than ever before in the two-year history of the user group. Almost one hundred applications were received and 64 specialists took part in the conference. Sergiy Baydachnyy of Microsoft Ukraine delivered a technical review of the latest additions to Internet Explorer 8, after which Andrei Varanovich (Microsoft MVP) spoke on the key capacities of SharePoint 2007.

 

The case of the day: a subsystem for entries

Here, we would like to share with you some technical challenges our team encountered and the creative solutions we came up with.

Every time one tries to create a WorkItem through the WorkItemTracking API in TFS’05, TFS’05 SP1, and TFS’08, the GCHandle error occurs, which is an obstacle for many .NET developers worldwide. Our .NET team solved this challenge by creating an IIS Application Pool for each tire of the app. After that, our team granted IIS Application Pool user the rights to write in YOUR CACHE FOLDER catalogue and in places where the access to the WorkItemStore API was required in the configuration.

Want more solutions like that? Subscribe to our blog.

 


The digest is prepared by Alex Khizhniak and Olga Belokurskaya.

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A Sneak Peak at the Development Kitchen of Altoros, Q2 2008

Olga Belokurskaya

This Spring and Summer have been pretty fruitful for Altoros. Learn what’s been happening lately at Altoros, including new interesting projects and achievements.

 

TechZulu Interviews Renat Khasanshyn of Altoros

On May 15, 2008, Renat Khasanshyn, CEO of Altoros, attended Web 2.0 Expo in New York and gave an interview to TechZulu, an independent media covering the technology industry. Watch the video to learn how Altoros’s development center works.

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