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WebSan Blog (98)

Tuesday, 06 January 2015 14:30

5 Reasons to Choose Cloud Computing

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Perhaps your company is struggling with existing complex and costly business software and hardware in order to carry out your day-to-day business activities. Your company has hired a team of expensive specialists/experts to manage and maintain these systems. It has come to the point that your company can no longer keep up-to-date with the latest technology due to limited resources. What should your company seek in a new enterprise solution? With the beginning of a new year, it's important to consider the advantages of making a transition to the cloud.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a network of your company's business areas located externally on the internet.  The biggest advantage of cloud computing is that you no longer have to purchase expensive business software or hardware - not to mention the costly IT staff required to maintain your systems. All of your company's activities and information are located in an external online server which is supported and managed by an experienced vendor. As all your business functions are online, all necessary updates, upgrades, and backups are done automatically. Additionally, your company benefits from access to real-time information from each department such as HR, Marketing, Sales, and Accounting, among other business areas. Finally, your company benefits from being able to scale your cloud network up or down depending on your business needs and/or as your company grows. With these factors in mind, consider these 5 reasons to choose cloud computing as your next business venture:

Up and running within days/weeks as there is no purchase of hardware or software. All you need is an internet connection.
Reduce dependence on IT personnel.
Remotely access your information from any location on any device.
Real-time access to your company's information across all business areas.
Scalability allows for your company to make changes as your company grows.

Make the Transition to Cloud Computing Today!

View our Cloud Computing Products

Nilofhar Zarif - Kadir, Web Marketing Assistant, WebSan Solutions Inc., a 2014 Ontario Business Achievement Award Winner for Service Excellence

jQuery is the most popular javascript library today.  It is used by over 46% of the 10,000 most visited websites on the Internet and we at WebSan use it extensively.
jQuery is designed to be cross browsers compatible ith syntaxes to make it easier to manipulate the DOM elements and allows the creation of powerful and dynamic webpages.
The following snippets of codes shows how with a few lines of codes you can do a lot.

jQuery is the most popular javascript library today.  It is used by over 46% of the 10,000 most visited websites on the Internet and we, the Development Team at WebSan, use it extensively.

jQuery is designed to be cross browsers compatible with syntaxes to make it easier to manipulate the DOM elements and allows the creation of powerful and dynamic webpages.

The following snippets of codes shows how with a few lines of codes you can do a lot.

 

Example 1 - Calendar Date Picker
 

 

Example 2  - AutoComplete Textbox

 

To get started with jQuery you can go HERE

Some of us may have heard that using the ActiveX components in Microsoft IE is a bad idea. The overall system design has a very bad reputation. This notion makes sense because there’s a real hole within the security system of a user’s local computer. If you change the security level in IE (allow create and execute ActiveX components) then your system can be compromised and some random code can be executed on your system.

However, this risk could be controlled. In IE, you can create a list of “trusted” sites and apply your special security settings only to this list of sites. In other words, you allow ActiveX component only when you visit one of the trusted sites. Moreover, you can set up and control these security settings by using your company’s security group policies.

The firm’s intranet sites with corporate Web applications are the most probable candidates to be included into the list of “trusted” sites. If you control IE security settings and use ActiveX in your Web application on a “browser” side, it gives you a really powerful tool to create rich Web applications.

ActiveX can be used as a bridge between your Web application and software or even hardware on your workstation.

Basically, you can do the following from your Web application pages:

  • Create some ActiveX automation servers which already installed on users computer and use them “in background” (i.e. Word, Excel, Outlook or some accounting software if it provides ActiveX automation)
  • Insert your own ActiveX components by using <OBJECT> tag into your own web pages. You can embed ActiveX installed locally or place them on your corporate web site (in this case you will get automatic and centralized deployment of all your ActiveX components).
  • Embed in your page ActiveX controls as part of GUI of your Web application
  • Use of any preinstalled system ActiveX components like FileSystemObject or WSH

Let’s say I have some Web-application for order management purposes and I have a very specific task: I need to print shipping labels on a thermal printer (Zebra) connected to my workstation. I can’t use JavaScript like “window.print()” because my labels are in a ZPL format. I can get my shipping labels in formats like GIF or PNG but it is almost impossible to fit them on my thermal printer. Also, I don’t want to play with the print preferences in my browser and provide users with instructions on how to setup these printing settings for their thermal printers.  ZPL format contains special commands for thermal printer which I should send to my thermal printer by “spooling” them to LPT port. If I try to print or send the file to Zebra, the erroneous file will simply cause headaches to technical support. The thermal printer is indeed a very specific device that we should work with very carefully. The only function which a thermal printer can do perfect is executing commands of a print language like ZPL.  Sounds fantastic, right?

Let’s use ActiveX in our web page and script it for our purposes.

The first thing I need to do is change the settings in my IE to use ActiveX >> go to IE internet options, select “Security” tab, select “Trusted Sites”, press button “Sites”, then add your corporate site with Web application. Then press “Custom Level” and enable ActiveX in IE, this will enable ActiveX in IE for only your corporate site.

My IE is now ready to display pages from my Web application which now becomes a ‘rich’ with content because I can do everything on the user’s local computer and I can do it from the web page simply using JavaScript and ActiveX automation.

Let’s say our thermal printer is shared on a local machine as: \\my_computer\my_thermal_printer.

I will then need to execute the simple command line to map my local LPT port to this shared printer as: net use lpt1: \\my_computer\my_thermal_printer

Then, I would need to create a small .bat file for this operation as a part of initial setup in the future.

Afterwards, if I spool something to LPT1, it will be sent to my Zebra thermal printer. Let’s create one small function in JavaScript and assign it to onclick event of button (with id “print_label”) on my Web page:

$('#print_label').click(function() {

var fso = new ActiveXObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject");

var lpt1 = fso.CreateTextFile("LPT1:", false);

lpt1.WriteLine("ZPL command 1");

lpt1.WriteLine("ZPL command 2");

lpt1.WriteLine("ZPL command 3");

lpt1.Close();

});

That’s it. When I press “Print Label”, my script writes the commands to system output device with name “LPT1” and then magic happens. The thermal printer interprets these commands and starts printing my shipping labels.

Here I am using special JavaScript object ActiveXObject to create instance of ActiveX with ProgID=Scripting.FileSystemObject. As we often use Internet Explorer and ActiveX, it makes it possible to work with special devices right from the Web page.

I could also take things further by integrating my Web application with a locally installed electronic scale or with something really specific like a finger print scanner. I only need to have an appropriate ActiveX as an interface to these devices and then I can work with it from JavaScript.

The rise of cloud computing has led to a strong push from many companies to adopt security and data portability in a cloud environment. Cloud computing, otherwise known as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), allows you to have your data and applications available to you virtually anywhere via the Internet.

Companies large and small are looking to the cloud as their future. All of this sounds good right? The only problem is that these companies cannot carefully self-manage their own IT projects to fulfill their future needs; projects grow in size and costs eventually run over budget.

There is a solution. When partnering with an experienced vendor such as WebSan Solutions Inc., your company will experience distinguished service and support when moving to the cloud.  WebSan Solutions Inc. will strive to use our leading solutions to your company’s benefit in order to make the transition smooth and help your company move forward.

Cloud Dynamics GP is crucial for companies looking to propel forward but don’t get lost while you’re in the transition.

Contact us here to learn how we can help.

Friday, 30 September 2011 09:50

Are IT projects really ticking time bombs?

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I recently read an article in the Toronto Star titled “IT projects are ticking time bombs.”

The article cited a study at Oxford University where they found that 17 percent of IT projects were so mismanaged that they had “average cost overruns of 200 per cent….”

After reading the article, I spent some time thinking about the IT projects I’ve been involved in over the years, from the large, multi-million dollar SAP projects to the smaller, 5-15 user Dynamics GP projects. I’ve had my share of smooth go-lives and my share of “rough” projects. One common theme with the projects that run smoothly is that an unbreakable link exists between the project team and their vision of what they’re working on and the overall business goals for the project.

It’s somewhat human nature, really. If we understand the “why” of what we’re doing, then the “what”, and “how” are easier to understand and “get behind.” I’ve seen projects with great potential and a really strong business case go off the rails because the executives didn’t effectively communicate to the project team what the real goal was. If the project team and leaders have “context” by which to understand the purpose behind the project, the odds of success rise dramatically.

There are obviously numerous other factors that affect the outcome of an IT project (which I’ve written about in the past), but I come back to executive involvement and leadership as the #1 factor in project success.

I’ve even seen “rough” projects continue off the rails for months and even years until a new executive comes on board in the company to “take charge” and rally the troops around fixing the problems that exist. In fact, it amazes me every time how rapidly the issues actually get resolved, once a strong leader puts their weight behind identifying the problems and assigning clear accountability for their resolution.

One of the things I look for when selling software to a new prospect is a strong leader. We even had a Client executive bring his entire team to our office this week just to “see the whites of our eyes” and have his team meet ours before moving forward with us. To me, that’s a sign of a strong leader who understands what it takes to deliver a successful IT project.

So perhaps some IT projects are ticking time bombs, but all bombs can be diffused by the right person with the right tools and attitude.

By Andrew King, Managing Director, WebSan Solutions Inc.

Friday, 21 October 2011 11:35

Reporting on Microsoft Dynamics GP

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A lesser-known method for reporting on your Microsoft Dynamics GP data is through Solver’s BI360.  BI360 is an Excel-based business intelligence tool that offers out-of-the-box integration with Dynamics GP for reporting, budgeting, and dashboards.  It offers several key benefits to users:

  • Familiar Environment – BI360 is an Excel add-on, which means all of your reporting is designed and displayed in the same Excel environment that you are already accustomed to.
  • Simple Design – No SQL knowledge is required to design your own report or budget in BI360.  It’s a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows almost anyone in your organization to develop customized and effective reports quickly.
  • Integration – BI360 automatically integrates with your Microsoft Dynamics GP environment and pulls data from GP in real-time when generating reports, so you never have to worry about synchronization.
  • Easy Distribution – not only does BI360 give you an easy and effective medium to design and view custom reports, but also allows you to easily distribute static versions of your reports to non-BI360 users.

In a nutshell, BI360 is a simple tool that provides powerful Dynamics GP reporting in a familiar environment – what more do you need?

By: Rahim Jiwani, Application Specialist, WebSan Solutions Inc.

Friday, 11 November 2011 15:10

5 tips for maintaining Microsoft Dynamics GP

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You finally have Microsoft Dynamics GP and now you are ready to explore the wonderful world of online accounting software which is good and all but while you’re having lots of fun using the different applications it provides, don’t forget that you have to maintain it! Here are five tips to help you maintain Microsoft Dynamics GP.

1. SQL Backup

Make sure you create SQL backups of every database on your server. It’s recommended that you performed full backups or you have the option of full backups with transactions log backups, but it’s ultimately your choice. You also need to back up Dynamics databases, Company (s) databases and Model database.

2. File Backup

SQL aren’t that only backups that you have to do, don’t forget the other multiple files that need backing up to. For example any folder that ends in dic, set or config and all the other folders including subfolders. The <DATA> folder is included in the backup process as well as Dex.Ini that is located in the <DATA> folder for example OLEPath, OLEPathHR, Word Macro File etc.; I have one more suggestion, backup any files in the manuals of any add-on products.

3. Schedule your backups

Schedule backups for SQL and Files as needed. But remember the more backups you have the more chances that if information were to get lost it would be low. You should have automatic scheduling for backups. This is to ensure that backups are completed, don’t believe me? Check the transaction log because it keeps a record of backups done.

4. Monitor your backup jobs

Keep track of the backups that are being done, even if you have written it down in your calendar. It’s just to make sure everything is going smoothly. A really good thing about Microsoft Dynamics GP is that you can program your SQL server to notify you if the backup fails.

5. Test your backups

Even though you can automatically schedule backups, once in a while test your backups just to make sure everything is getting backed up. A good way to test a SQL backup is to restore the backup to another server.

By: Natalie Williams, Marketing Coordinator, Websan Solutions Inc., a Canadian Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner