Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Delivering Business Critical Solutions with SharePoint 2010

Access of business critical data and management of processes across an organization is no longer time consuming and inefficient.

With SharePoint 2010 delivering business critical solutions, the storage of business data is secured at the same time access to this data has been made easier. Be it customer related information or business critical data, business connectivity services of SharePoint 2010 makes is possible for the employees to view this data with no/minimal support from the IT resources.

The simple fact that not all the employees are trained to interact with the back end systems has so far hindered operational efficiency during critical times. With SharePoint 2010 however, the backend data can be brought forth and displayed to the users without having to rely on IT support personnel.

The user-friendly interface enables the employees of an organization to operate quickly and effectively when it comes to looking for important information. According to the permissions granted, business processes and critical data can thus be accessed more efficiently by employees of the organization.

Download the whitepaper - Delivering Business-Critical Solutions with SharePoint 2010

How does SharePoint help in information access?

By connecting the Line Of Business (LOB) applications to SharePoint 2010, the information buried within the LOB systems can now easily be presented to users through the familiar Microsoft Office or SharePoint user interface. This has been made possible through business connectivity services present in SharePoint 2010. The business data is thus displayed to users on more familiar user interfaces such as Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel thus making it easier for them to read or edit LOB information.

Also, by connecting external systems with SharePoint 2010, business critical solutions including IT managed solutions and advanced user and information worker solutions that are crucial to an organization can be built on SharePoint itself.

Cygnet Infotech assists IT companies and independent software vendors to develop portals, sites and business information access solutions using SharePoint 2010. Having earned a Microsoft silver competency in portals and collaboration, Cygnet has the experience and expertise to develop and implement solutions on SharePoint. Read more about Cygnet’s SharePoint Case Studies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Developer Tools and SaaS Capabilities introduced for Dynamics CRM

In order to provide more advanced features with respect to development of custom components in Dynamics CRM, Microsoft has released new tools. Till now, the developers have had difficulties in developing code-based solutions such as plug-ins, custom workflows as well as UI web resources like JavaScript. The developers have had to update such solutions with latest available version of these components from time to time. 
With the new developer toolkit, developers have been granted an easier mechanism to code the additional components such as a new form or an extension to an existing schema. The recently released toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM: 
  • Provides integration of Dynamics CRM with Visual Studio
  • Accelerates development of custom code components
  • Enables developers to write the code from within Visual Studio
  • Enables developers to use Visual Studio 2010 templates to develop custom component projects in Dynamics CRM
  • Supports automatic deployment of code to CRM service in the cloud
  • Supports automatic deployment of code to in-premise environment
  • Supports complete development, editing and deletion of CRM Plugins and workflows
  • Supports both XAML and customer workflow activities
  • Installs browser module that can be used to browse various artifacts present within Dynamics CRM instance
The package can be embedded with Visual Studio 2010 development environment that enables to streamline the development of custom solution components. A familiar development studio is provided to those who are already well acquainted with Dynamics CRM development. Also, this toolkit can guide the developers who are naïve to the CRM extensibility but are well versed with VS and .NET to start coding within ten minutes. With this toolkit, the Silverlight applications can also be created, updated, deployed and deleted.
Apart from this toolkit, the below tools have also been released by Microsoft to aid developers: 
  1. Plug-in profiler which can make troubleshooting plug-ins an easier and quicker job for the developers
  2. Entity Metadata Browser which can be used by developers to view the entities and their properties in the system

Friday, November 25, 2011

Testing Whiz Blog Launched

Cygnet is glad to announce the launch of its public blog on software testing. You can visit it at

The purpose of the blog is to share concepts and trends in the area of software testing - types of testing, testing methodology, automated testing, testing frameworks, and other topics.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RAD Studio XE2 – A Game Changer

The fact that applications developed for Mac OS cannot be run on Windows and vice versa has created a big divide in the operating systems arena. Although, it has been possible to run Windows applications on Mac computers through various workarounds, it has never been easy for people to run applications on both Windows and Mac.

Here is one company that is trying to change that. Embarcadero has released in Sept 2011, a new development platform RAD Studio XE2 which will allow developers to build applications for Windows, Mac and iPhone / iPad at the same time. That news is definitely worth raising your eyebrows for.

RAD Studio XE2 from Embarcadero

RAD Studio XE2 is an application development suite for building applications for Windows, Mac, mobile, .NET, PHP and the Web. It will enable developers to build cross platform native applications up to 5 times faster. Applications are 100% CPU and GPU native and developers can build GPU-powered HD and 3D UIs using the new FireMonkey™ platform. RAD

RAD Studio XE2 comprises of Delphi XE2, C++ Builder XE2, Prism XE2 and RADPHP XE2. For a PHP developer, RADPHP XE2 enables development of applications for iPhone, iPad and Android with just PHP knowledge. RADPHP XE2 also provides a visual PHP IDE for rapidly developing web applications using drag and drop components. Delphi XE2 also supports development of 64-bit Windows applications.

With RAD Studio XE2, rapid application development will become even more rapid.

Cygnet has already started offering services on this new platform. Since it has several years’ experience in development with Delphi technology, Cygnet is in a good position to extend its expertise to RAD Studio XE2 based development and offer its clients even faster development times and ability to develop cross platform native applications. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Windows Azure updated SDK has been made available

The development experience on Windows Azure has just been made better with the below three updates that have been made available this November:
  1. A new version of Windows Azure SDK with multiple updates to the Windows Azure tools for Visual Studio 2010. With this enhancement, the development, deployment and management on Windows Azure has become easier and simpler.
  2. A new Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK, which assists with developing high performance computing (HPC) applications. 
  3. An updated Windows Azure Platform Training Kit to help the users get familiar with building applications using Windows Azure. Demos, hand-on exercises and manuals are a part of this training kit.
The following new features have been included in the November 2011 release of Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010:
  • Easier for your environment to connect to Windows Azure because the publish settings file are available for your account.
  • Easy configuration and publication/update of applications. The new publishing wizard enriches the overall experience of publishing right from sign in to review.
  • Multiple profiles are available thus enabling you to store and change the environmental settings easily and quickly.
  • MSBuild command in-line support enables team building and packaging of your applications.
  • In-place updates to deployed services can be made.
  • Credentials can be automatically managed thus eliminating the need of manual intervention.
  • Easier to select one amongst the many Windows Azure subscriptions while publishing within Visual Studio.
  • New hosted service can be created within Visual Studio itself. Windows Azure portal need not be used.
  • Easy and automatic creation and configuration of storage accounts within Visual Studio.
  • Easier to manage multiple deployment environment configurations.
  • Detailed information available about virtual machine initialization status.
  • Remote desktop workflow can be enabled by a simple click of a checkbox.
With respect to Windows Azure Libraries for .NET 1.6, below are the updates:
  • In order to simplify the development experience, service bus and caching from the last Windows Azure AppFabric SDK has been incorporated into this release of Windows Azure Libraries for .NET.
  • Support for invisibility timeout
  • Support for update message method
  • The new size limit for message is 64KB
  • A message can be made invisible until a future time
  • Analytic service settings can be made available through Get/Set Service Settings
  • Also, Windows Azure Emulator has been incorporated with performance enhancements.

The below enhancements are now present in Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK which will enable developers to include the below in a Windows Azure deployment:
  • Resource Management
  • Job Scheduling
  • Persistent State Management of job queues
  • Persistent State Management of resource configuration
  • Web-based submission

With these updates, the developers are empowered to develop compute intensive applications that are scalable in Windows Azure. Click here for more information
Cygnet Infotech provides software development services on the Windows Azure platform. It assists ISVs and IT service providers with resource augmentation and technical expertise while developing applications on cloud using Azure. Read more about Cygnet’s services on Windows Azure.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blood Donation Camp held at Cygnet

The second consecutive year of blood donation camp organized at Cygnet Infotech Pvt Ltd on 18th November 2011 was a grand success where we had 34 donors in all. Leading from the front was the Managing Director Mr. Niraj Hutheesing.

The camp, organized by Prathama Blood Center, was held at Cygnet's development center “Manikyam” where employees voluntary donated the blood for a good cause.

Prathama Blood Centre is an endeavor of Advanced Transfusion Medicine Research Foundation (ATMRF) established for modernizing blood banking in India. As a not-for-profit organization Prathama (in Sanskrit means 'First and the Foremost') revolutionized blood banking in India with three fundamental principles.
  • Encourage voluntary Blood donors and discourage replacement donor practice.
  • Execute 100% component preparation and distribution.
  • Enhance scale of operations to provide safe blood on cost recovery model.
As a result of its unique approach and commitment to provide safe blood products, Prathama is now one of the finest blood establishments in South Asia. NABH accredited and ISO 9000:2009 certified, Prathama meets 50% of Ahmedabad city's blood requirement. Ahmedabad is now leading the country in blood donation ratio to population at 3.5%.
At the camp, Cygnet adopted the tagline of Prathama “Donate blood and stay healthy” - blood donation reduces chances of heart attack as it thins out your blood and trusted the organization. Cygnet has always been ahead in all CSR (Corporate social responsibilities) activities and take this kind of initiative to benefit society at large.
A BIG THANKS to all the volunteers. They must have made somebody's day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Microsoft's Silverlight 5 Could Be The Last Version

Despite the fact that Microsoft Silverlight has been one of the most sought after cross platform browser plug-in and is being widely used for writing and running rich Internet applications, reports reveal that the latest version 5 of Silverlight could actually be the last one.

There are also some reports, which claim that Microsoft may not even release any service packs for Silverlight 5 once it has been released. Also, some sources claim that Microsoft’s support for Silverlight 5 after its release in last week of November 2011 may not last long.

Another noteworthy information is that - The current versions of Silverlight run on both Windows and Mac OS, as well as on Google Chrome and Safari. However sources seem to convey that this may not be the case with Silverlight 5. It is quite probable that Silverlight 5 will run only on Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer.

This news of Silverlight’s end of life has not been confirmed by Microsoft yet. But the Silverlight site has announced the final release of Silverlight 5 in 2011.

For those of you who are interested to know what’s new with Silverlight 5, here is a glimpse:
  • Enhanced media support including support for HD video
  • Rich user interface features including video playing at different speeds
  • Some performance enhancements such as support for 64 bit OS
  • Graphics upgrades including 3D API
On her blog, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley clearly states that, “Silverlight is no longer Microsoft’s cross-platform runtime solution. Instead, Microsoft currently positions Silverlight as a tool for creating rich media, line-of-business and smartphone apps.” She has also said that despite her continuous questioning about the Silverlight’s future to Microsoft officials, she has not got any proper response from them.

This apparent silence could also be attributed to Microsoft’s reluctance to share information regarding its roadmaps and future plans. Following these reports, the future of XBOX 360 and Windows Phone that rely on Silverlight is under wild speculation.

To summarize - neither is the news confirmed, nor is it denied. But for all we know, Silverlight has probably reached the end of its journey!

Cygnet Infotech is a specialist service provider of IT services in Microsoft platforms. It has several projects experience in developing applications using Silverlight. Know more about Cygnet’s Silverlight expertise.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Integration of SharePoint Online with Dynamics CRM is Here

Several new and enhanced features are being introduced to SharePoint Online service by the SharePoint team in order to provide its customers with more useful functionalities. These features of SharePoint online service are expected to be rolled out to all the data centers by end of November.

One of the most notable features in this release is the integration of SharePoint online with Dynamics CRM application. With introduction of this feature, creating, editing and managing documents with Microsoft Dynamics CRM has just been made easy. SharePoint Online document management facility is accessible from the Dynamics CRM application that enables quick creation of document libraries as and when needed by the Dynamics CRM users.

The document management capabilities can be added to all the entities including the following (the below list is not exhaustive) within the Dynamics CRM application:
  • Accounts
  • Opportunities
  • Cases
  • Custom entities
However, before one can take full advantage of this functionality, the below steps need to be taken:
  1. Login to the SharePoint server as SharePoint site collection administrator.
  2. Install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component. Click on the below links for the detailed steps and more information. 
  3. Open an account as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM user.
  4. On the left hand side panel, click on Documents.
  5. A document library is automatically created in SharePoint Online, if there is none. Click Ok on the dialog box displayed.
  6. Once the SharePoint Online document library is created, it is directly rendered with Dynamics CRM.
  7. User can then start uploading of contents to the SharePoint online library from within the Dynamics CRM application.
While configuring data management system in Microsoft Dynamics Online, the user can select the entities that need to have document management capabilities. The user can also specify either Account - B2B or Contact – B2C mode of organizing document libraries in SharePoint Online.

Learn more about configuring data management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 

Thus, with the aid of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component for SharePoint, all your documents that are stored on SharePoint can now be accessed from Dynamics CRM in a format that is consistent with Dynamics CRM display properties. Dynamic creation of document libraries or folders is possible from the Dynamics CRM application as well.

Cygnet Infotech is a specialist services provider on Dynamics CRM and SharePoint Implementations. Read more about our Dynamics CRM services and SharePoint services

Friday, November 11, 2011

Windows 8 Will Include Push Notification Services

Windows 8 has been touted by Microsoft as the next generation OS for tablet computers. No wonder Microsoft has been taking tips from mobile technology for building Windows 8 services.

The Windows 8 interface which comprises of tiles includes various updates like news, weather, sports, etc. To get such updates, traditionally the client application was supposed to be in constant touch with the server. For a PC, this is not a problem but for a mobile, this will be a big drain on the battery. Therefore, mobile devices have implemented a push notification service on the server so that updates are sent when available.

Windows 8 Tile Interface
Microsoft is now introducing the same push notification service for its Windows 8 operating system. The earlier power consuming Windows Gadgets will be eliminated. In addition, Microsoft has been able to separate the text from images for notifications so as to save on bandwidth usage.

With the data driven model used for the push notification services, application developers need not bother about writing complex code for connecting to the server, retry the connection during failures, authenticating the user, caching the information etc. This will bring about better user experience and device performance.

This seems to be good news for those who are waiting for Windows 8 and those who are developing applications for Windows 8. Read more on Building Windows 8 Blog

On a larger scale, this seems to be the signs of the things to come. More and more features of applications and computing will be driven by the user experience on the mobile devices.

Monday, November 7, 2011

“Your App Here” Microsoft’s Invitation to Windows Phone App Developers

Here is your chance to promote your Windows Phone application development skills. Microsoft has announced a new campaign called “Your App Here” to encourage application development on the Windows Phone.

Microsoft will select maximum of seven best phone apps for each of the months of December 2011, January 2012 and February 2012.
  1. These applications will be promoted using online banners on MSN sites network
  2. Each application will be featured exclusively for a day on Windows phone marketplace
  3. The application can be considered for other PR and publicity campaigns
Windows Phone application developers, gear up for this golden opportunity!

You can develop applications in any category such as casual games, kids and family, health and fitness, shopping, social, travel and utilities. However, your app must be published in windows phone marketplace before you can apply, it must be made for Windows Phone 7.5 and must include Fast App Switching and some innovative use of tiles.

Read more about the selection criteria and publishing your app for “Your App Here

Innovation and distinctiveness of idea, attractive and user-friendly user interface, appropriate display properties and ease of app integration (as and when necessary) will play an important role.

In order to build and publish the app on Windows Marketplace, follow these steps
  1. Install Windows Phone SDK 7.1
  2. Register on App Hub to publish the app
  3. Develop the App using the available resources/tools
Once the application is ready-for-use, you will need to publish it on the Windows Marketplace. An online form needs to be submitted after the publication in order for the app to be considered for the ‘Your App here’ contest. It is mandatory to fill up the form and complete the necessary formalities before the declared deadline for each month’s campaign consideration, failing which the app will go unnoticed.

Sadly, this contest is open for developers in the United States only. Although Microsoft assures that steps are being taken to extend ‘Your App Here’ to worldwide app developers, no program has been defined as of yet to make it happen.

Read more about Cygnet's Services for Mobility

Nov Release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Introduces Social Collaboration

A good news to all the organizations which rely on Microsoft Dynamics CRM to carry out their customer relationship management activities - Microsoft has announced the release of its latest November 2011 Microsoft Dynamics CRM service update, the main feature of which is social productivity.

The two most important functionalities that have been incorporated into this release are:
  1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Activity Feeds solution
  2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile
The Dynamics Activity Feed aims to provide real time updates in form of notifications to its customers about people, accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities. The activity feeds include:
  1. Facebook status updates
  2. Twitter micro blogs
  3. The New Facebook Ticker
These updates can either be displayed manually or can be automated based on pre-defined rules. The already available API of Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables posting of these status feeds to external applications as well.

As another add-on - this Dynamics activity feed support is also being incorporated into the Windows 7 phones thus promising a better and continuous collaboration amongst the customers and sales executives. However, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM mobile application needs to be installed on a per phone basis to enjoy the benefits of this new functionality.

Apart from these two major add-ons, several valuable enhancements have also been provisioned into this latest service update:
  1. Multiple data series is supported in charts
  2. Sub grids and notes have been included to the reading pane in Outlook
  3. Dialogs and workflows support hyperlinks
  4. Additional CRM data types have been included
Also, improved disaster recovery mechanism has been offered as a part of this service update to help protect data and ensure uninterrupted business flow during a disaster.

Through these enhancements, the ability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help agents satisfy the customers has been taken to the next level. The lack of a proper technical document or an implementation guide may come across as a downside to some users of Dynamics CRM. Despite this drawback, the November 2011 Microsoft Dynamics CRM service update promises some exciting and extremely useful functionalities.

This update has been made available through Microsoft Download Center from October 25, 2011 onwards and as a separate Microsoft Update from November 8, 2011 onwards. All the CRM online data centers have already been updated with this latest version.

Read more about the professional services on Dynamics CRM offered by Cygnet