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|The Value of an ETL Framework
Posted 05/07/2013 by Cory Cundy, Senior Business Intelligence Engineer
A data warehouse project consists of a number of core parts that need to be put in place to get good analytics reporting for your users. At a high level, the parts consist of data modeling, data mapping, ETL (Extract, Transfer and Load) processes, data validation, possibly the creation of a cube and the creation of front end reporting and dashboards. Depending on the size of the project, these tasks can take a fair amount of time to implement.
Delivering Value Within the Healthcare Industry
Posted 05/03/2013 by Ned Haas, Business Development Manager
In recent years Skyline has had the privilege of working with a number of healthcare clients on some of their highest priority initiatives. This has put us in position to see, firsthand, the rapidly changing landscape they are facing, and the significant business challenges they are grappling with.
Getting Started with Azure Mobile Services
Posted 04/30/2013 by Shaun Hankermeyer, Software Engineer
In my last blog post, What are Azure Mobile Services?, we began to explore what this new feature set of Windows Azure could provide. Now, in just a few steps you will begin to appreciate the speed in which you can create a Windows Azure Mobile Service and connect it to your iOS application. Some of the following steps are one time only, such as signing up for a Windows Azure account and enabling the Mobile Services feature, so subsequent development work will be even faster.
The Journey and Quests to Become a CBAP
Posted 04/25/2013 by Jen Kalz, Business Analyst
Over Easter and spring break I listened to Lego Lord of the Rings being played by my husband and oldest son. Since obtaining my Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) at the end of March I felt it was fitting to use some of the concepts of the game toward my quest to be a CBAP.
Recognize Earth Day Within Your Organization by Starting with Small and Practical Changes
Posted 04/22/2013 by Andrew Schwalbe, IT Systems Engineer
I have the feeling that Earth Day is overlooked by many people. It is seen as a cause driven by nature-loving activists whose sole purpose is to make us all buy tiny electric cars and obtain energy through only renewable resources. I remember celebrating Earth Day in elementary school; it was a big deal to teach children the importance of conservation (and I believe it still is). Yet, as I grew older, less emphasis was placed on Earth Day in school. I seldom hear of this day being discussed in the workforce, but I suspect it may be of more focus in the fields of conservation, renewable energy, or sustainable food sources, to name a few. Earth Day has become just another day for many people.
Cross-Domain iFrame Sizing
Posted 04/19/2013 by Aaron Hayon, Senior Software Engineer
In recent months, we have had several clients that have requested a way to display a page on a different domain on their own website. For those who have investigated this before, a common approach to implement this is to leverage an iFrame to display the cross-domain content. In all of these situations, the client owned both domains and had the ability update either domain’s content. Let’s take the below example to further explain the situation.
Pimp My Browser
Posted 04/16/2013 by Andrew Petersen, Portals Software Engineer
As web applications become more client-side centric, the browser is fast becoming a web developer’s most powerful tool. In this post I’ll show you some browser based tooling that could significantly speed up your development workflow.
Advice for Taking the CBAP Exam
Posted 04/12/2013 by Jen Kalz, Business Analyst
At the beginning of March I attended a CBAP Preparation course through Watermark Learning as part of my journey to sit for the CBAP exam. During this three-day course there were a number of open questions regarding how Prometric administers the CBAP exam. I had planned to be the first one to take the CBAP out of our class and therefore volunteered to provide some insight to rest of the class participants after my experience. After sharing the following email with the rest of the class I thought it would be fitting to provide the same information to anyone else that is looking to sit for the exam.
ExactTarget: Data Extensions, Queries, and Programs
Posted 04/09/2013 by Mark Lezotte, Director, Online Marketing
While I haven’t written any “real” code in quite a few years (my co-workers tell me all that VB stuff I write to clean-up data in Excel doesn’t count), I still get excited when we find ways to build a better mousetrap, especially when the tools can be leveraged pretty easily. So, when we did some work on a recent project using some of the AIM (automated interaction management) functionality inside of ExactTarget, I got kind of excited.
Got the UX Itch?
Posted 04/04/2013 by Gabrielle Barnier, Software Engineer
Do you have the UX itch? I sure do! This year is a year of User Experience (UX) for me. I am going to be focusing my extra energies on immersing myself in the wide world of UX and, lucky for you, I have already gotten started AND I’m going to share the fruits of my research.
Why UX? Why now?
Two great questions that entirely depend on the individual. For me, UX is the most exciting and interesting facet about software development. More than anything else, I want to make software that is delightful for users to interact with and pleasing for them to use daily. I want to create layouts that users can navigate with ease and designs that sparkle the senses. UX has captured all my attention. Why now? Traveling back in time is not an option...yet.
What are Azure Mobile Services?
Posted 04/01/2013 by Shaun Hankermeyer, Software Engineer
Azure Mobile Services are a part of the Microsoft Windows Azure platform. First and foremost Azure Mobile Services allows you to add a cloud backend to your application. However, as you’ll read below, Azure Mobile Services are much more than that. Azure Mobile Services currently have three SDKs for you to leverage in your development. There is one for Windows Store, Windows Phone 8, and iOS. SDK support for the Android platform is coming soon.
Advice From a Rookie Consultant
Posted 03/28/2013 by Eric Ditter, Software Engineer
On a recent project I had the incredible opportunity to work with a team of people who have been doing consulting for a long time. I feel like I learned more in the six months I worked with them than I did the entire time prior or since. The following is just some of the things I learned from working with two people, plus some things I have learned in my time being a consultant.
I started consulting right out of college and didn't really have a lot of background in the area besides doing some web development in college. I have been consulting for about a year and a half now and I feel like I have grown 300%. I started out my career knowing, what felt like, nothing, had no confidence in my abilities, and didn't really know what to expect. Since then I have gotten better in all those areas and I realize there is still plenty to learn.
Get Your Content In Line: Consistent Alignment and Spacing Make a Difference
Posted 03/26/2013 by John Greuel, Online Marketing Creative Director
Spacing and alignment might not seem like a very big deal when it comes to putting together content for a website, an app, newsletter, etc., but attention to detail on those two areas can convert your presentation from looking disorganized, into something that your audience really wants to read. I’ll go over some basic things you can think about and give you an example that’ll help you improve your content today.
New Features of Lync 2013 and Lync Online
Posted 03/21/2013 by Tim King, Senior Systems Engineer
There are two types of Lync environments, On-Premise and Hosted. Lync 2013 is considered the on-premise version of Lync. The organization builds, installs, and maintains all the Lync services on Windows Servers in their data center. Lync Online is the hosted version of Lync, where all the services are hosted by Microsoft at their data centers. This model is often known as the “cloud” as the organization subscribing to Lync Online services don’t need to worry about the all the behind the scenes operations of Lync, they just need to subscribe to the services and connect.
Social Interaction in the Workplace … Skyline Eats the Dog Food!
Posted 03/18/2013 by Jonathan Schultz, Portals Managing Consultant
People are starting to ask how social technologies can be successful in the work environment so I'd like to use the experience of the Skyline Technologies team as an example on how it can work. Here are some important points to consider if you want to try to start a social experiment in your organization.
Have Your Pi and Eat it Too: A Comparison of C# and C++ Performance
Posted 03/14/2013 by John Ptacek, Senior Sowftware Engineer
In honor of National Pi Day, we thought it would be fun to calculate Pi and talk about performance differences between C# and C++. There is some math coming your way (yeah, MATH!), so feel free to skip to the end for a discussion on performance if math isn’t your thing.
So, back in the day, when things where WAY different, Pi was calculated using a mathematical series. One of the more famous ones uses the arctan math function to calculate the value of Pi.
CLR Functions in SQL Server - A Tutorial
Posted 03/12/2013 by Chris Miller, Senior Business Intelligence Engineer
In every version of SQL Server since SQL Server 2005, the ability to write stored procedures and functions in languages besides T-SQL has been present. Functions, Stored Procedures, and even custom aggregation functions can be written in C# or Visual Basic.
Although T-SQL is highly efficient at accessing data, it is not (by design) a full programming language, and therefore, may not necessarily be the appropriate choice for every programming task. However, since T-SQL is the natural language of choice for most SQL developers, T-SQL is often chosen over other options – sometimes at the expense of readability and performance.
SharePoint 2013 UI Changes
Posted 03/05/2013 by Sarah Buruin, SharePoint Portals Analyst
For those of you who have seen SharePoint 2013 at all, you will have noticed that there are several changes to the user interface and design. Below are some items I have noticed as I have started working in SharePoint 2013 that are different than that previous version. Some of these items are very obvious and have been discussed heavily already throughout the SharePoint community but hopefully some will be new information for you. My hope here is to start to capture the major differences that will affect end users of basic intranet sites and provide a better understanding how transitioning to SharePoint 2013 will affect your teams.
Skyline's Annual Retreat
Posted 03/01/2013 by John Ptacek, Senior Software Engineer
Skyline Technologies hosts an annual retreat for its associates in February every year. I thought it would be worth talking about what I think the great things Skyline does at these events and how they help foster and grow great teams.
Our founders, Pat Deprey and Keith Kaufman, felt it was important that our associates and their families get to know one another. When you are a consulting company, with associates at various customer locations, it takes organizational focus to make sure people know one another and feel like part of the organization.
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