A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is behind any business which needs to manage and use large amounts of customer data. CRM’s have greatly developed and transformed over recent years into highly streamlined tools for businesses. This article will take a look at some of the new trends for CRM’s in 2022.

Dashboard Customisation

Movable dashboard tiles provide a better workflow

Creating one dashboard for all users, or one for each user type is becoming less common. Customisable dashboards where each section is a component which can be rearranged and dragged to anywhere to suit the user are now becoming on trend. It gives the end user a more personalised experience, and has been shown to improve their workflow.

Process Automation

Being able to set-up automated processed to import/export and process data is a powerful tool being utilised in more modern CRM’s, some even going as far as to let the user create tasks for the CRM to run as scheduled events, or just when they are needed.

While giving the user these tools is incredibly powerful, it can be a sharp learning curve, and should only be limited to users who need the ability to run & create the tasks. Having a customisable tool which can automatically process data build right into the CRM can save countless hours over a year from repetitive tasks.

XaaS (Everything as a Service)

Younger generations, most commonly Gen X, are pushing for businesses to offer “everything” as a service. From 2017 to 2022, there was a rise of 72% in the profitability and usage of subscription services, and an estimated 75% of CRM’s offering a subscription service by 2023. With some of this being down to the pandemic, but also due to the convenience & ease of subscription services.

A modern CRM is most likely to offer a subscription service, especially CRM’s offering cloud services. In 2022, customers are more likely to pick a subscription service than a regular service when shopping online.

As with anything, it is important to evaluate what will be best for your CRM. If you are unsure and need a website/CRM building you can contact us.

2021 has been a big year for the web industry, with all that has been going on in the world, it is now more important than ever to make websites and apps accessible to everyone. From this, some common trends have appeared.

Real World Interactivity (3D/AR/VR)

Products in your own home

Being able to view a product where it will be used, before purchasing is a huge selling point for users and drives 35% retention in customer purchasing. Having the option to view a sofa or bed, and overlay it on the existing furniture gives the user a better view of how the product will look real world.

With the current pandemic, it has been had for people to get out of the house, and using AR/VR gives them the ability to have similar shopping experience all from their home.

Human-Like Chat Bots

You’re not always speaking to a human…

With 27.6% of the worldwide population using online retailers in 2021, it is no wonder that it has an impact on the help & support sector. To aid with this companies such as: ChatBot & CleverBot, have developed solutions for interactive chat bots which read users questions in real time and provide the closest helpful answer they can give.

This is still backed up by a human if the bot can not solve the issue, however for the majority of cases, the interactive bot can handle most common requests, saving the company money in staff they don’t need, and also expanding their support diversity by being able to support multiple languages and chats at the same time with a bot.

Minimalist Flat UI Design

More Than Just a Sleek Design

As previously identified in this article, the main theme of the year has been interactivity and ease of use. Flat UI Design is just that, giving all the information which the user needs to interact with the site, a simple and uninterrupted layout for each section. With a clear visual hierarchy, it is easy for the user to be able to follow the flow of a page, with important inputs and sections being shown with the use of colour or bold text to gain the user’s attention.

Using Flat UI Design also means that the webpage will translate well to smaller mobile screens as there is less to interrupt the flow and style of the site. Text is more legible on smaller devices due to the common font types used within Flat UI Design.

In a world where more and more data is being stored in the cloud, it is becoming increasingly important to take the correct measures when deciding what type of database to use. Each type will come with different security measures which need to be taken.


A Powerful Relational Database

MySQL is currently the most popular database system on the internet, and is fully open source. It has a relational structure which means that tables are able to be linked via primary and foreign keys, to share data with one another. This comes in useful for when a shop has different categories, and multiple products within sub categories. It allows for a product to be linked directly to a categories table and view the data, without having to repeat any information.

MySQL is venerable on the front-end of sites to SQL injection attacks, in which someone will input a special code, and if not handled correctly when doing validation by the website, it is possible for hackers to gain access to the full database, and see its contents, or manipulate the values for their own gain. Despite this, when all precautions are taken correctly, in most cases MySQL is the database system of choice for most websites.


An excellent choice for high volume datasets

MongoDB is a non-relational database used primarily for high volume and large datasets. Instead of using tables and rows, MongoDB makes use of collections and documents. Documents consist of key-value pairs which are equivalent to a row and row name in MySQL. Collections contain sets of documents and function which is the equivalent of relational database tables.

The advantage to using MongoDB is that when developing, it is accessed and written more like traditional code, making it easier to understand and layout. For large databases, MongoDB is able to scale as and when it is needed, by adding more nodes which can access and write/read data. However this does come at a cost of using a lot of memory for storing and accessing the database, and in larger systems this can require its own server alone. There are less security issues with MongoDB as the user can not directly interact with any of the handling, which may be possible in MySQL, making it more secure and easier to work with on the back-end requiring more checks.

As with anything, it is important to evaluate what will be best for your system. If you are unsure and need a website/CMS building you can contact us.

Insiders of the Windows update program have started to be able to use Android apps as promised in Windows 11. These apps run natively on your computer, and act just like they would on your mobile device. Any app on the Google Play Store is instantly available to use on your PC. But what problems arise from this?

Android Apps Native in Windows 11

How to Install Apps on Windows 11

Once you have Windows 11, you might be wondering how to install apps. They are located on the “Microsoft Store” with all other applications and games. Search for your app, then simply press download and it will install onto your computer just like any other software. However, this may change in a future update before it is pushed out to the public to be in their own category, but the process will be otherwise the same.

When Will it be Available to the Public?

Currently, it is unknown when this will be available for anyone to download. However, if you sign up to the “Windows Insider Program” it is possible to get these features now. Historically, Microsoft release features from the Insider Program only a few months after being initially available to testers.

Will My App Run on Windows 11?

If you’ve had a mobile application developed by Pipe & Piper, as with all apps on the Google Play Store, it will appear to download on Windows 11. While it should act just like the mobile application, it might require some changes and optimisations in order to best preform on Windows 11.

Going forward, testing on Windows 11 natively is going to become a part of our extensive testing process so your apps will work no matter the platform.

If you want to be sure that your app works on Windows 11, please contact us.

The web industry is fast moving, and ever changing. With new frameworks and libraries becoming “standard” every 3-5 years, it is important not to fall behind and select the correct options for building websites and apps.

Core PHP vs Laravel

What is Laravel?

Laravel is a PHP framework which aims to provide a base to build powerful and fast preforming websites on. Along with this, it brings security features into its core system, which core PHP does not have natively built in. Many of its functionalities are pre-built, meaning websites are able to be created faster, rather than having to start from scratch each time. Laravel has a strong community which write plugins and documentation, making it easy for anyone to get started using it.

What is Core PHP?

Using Core PHP mostly any dynamic website can be made. It also provides the base to all PHP frameworks, so it is vital to have a good understanding of Core PHP to be able to build effective web applications and systems. While it does not provide a base or any pre-made templates to quickly build a website on, it does provide the most powerful set of tools on which anything can be built. For an experienced team Core PHP can be beneficial to use, however, it is quickly falling out of favour for more modern frameworks.

Our Choice

Moving forward we are moving away from core PHP to more modern frameworks such as Laravel for our Web and CMS systems. Bringing our clients the latest in scalable and efficient technologies is of upmost importance. While we can’t use Laravel to build Mobile Applications, we are always actively searching for the next technology which will allow us to elevate the quality of our systems.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency which is encrypted using cryptography (encryption method), making it virtually impossible to counterfeit or spend it more than once.

They offer the ability to send money anywhere in the world instantly, with only fraction of a penny fees, in a secure environment.

Digital Money

While the concept of money is digital, it is still falls far behind what a cryptocurrency can offer. What may take a bank days, or weeks to process, can be done in a matter of seconds on the blockchain.

While money only has one single use as payment, cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum provide an entire platform for developers to build tools and websites on. These can even be used to build out the digital infrastructure in poorer countries which may not have the money or resources to have done so in the past.

Card providers such as Visa and Mastercard can currently process around 1,700 transactions per second, and PayPal around 170. Bitcoin is able to process over 25,000,000 on the Lightning network.

Money no longer just represents a form of payment, but also becomes a building block.

How it helps

Cryptocurrencies are already having a large impact in poorer, less developed countries as they allow their citizens to hold their money in a secure environment. In countries such as Nigeria, 31% of the population use and trade cryptocurrencies. This is a large increase from the 6% who have a bank account.

Giving the population a way to store, and send money is vital as to send money to family overseas, it can take weeks and have fees of up-to 25-30%.

Realising the benefits, El Salvador has been the first country to recognise and use Bitcoin as legal tender, next to the dollar. And all citizens will be eligible for a $30 worth of Bitcoin to get them started.

Why you should care

In the coming years, companies and entire networks will be built in and around cryptocurrency, with the plan to make the world digital, and take away power from centralised companies such as banks.

Where Google, Apple and Amazon were heralded as “Web 2.0”, cryptocurrency and what is being built is “Web 3.0”.

It is predicted that within 5 years, there will be over a billion people who use cryptocurrency.

GitHub recently announced their new artificial intelligence (AI) coding assistant, however it has already run into hot water as it has been found to be stealing code.

How it is trained

AI needs to be trained in order to be effective, and because GitHub is the largest code repository in the world, they have endless code that they can feed the AI algorithm in order to train it how to effectively write code.

This is not without its faults however. Poor quality code can enter the system and potentially cause issues, so only high quality and verified working code should be used to get the best results.

Why it is problematic

Because the AI has been trained using other people’s code, it effectively uses blocks from what it has learned to piece together what it needs to produce.

This is problematic as there have been multiple reports of it taking entire sections of code un-edited from programmers projects, leaving in names, links, and other personal information.

While it does correctly produce the correct results ~60% of the time, it still has a long way to go in terms of development.

Will it take my job?

In order to use GitHub Copilot, it requires human input and knowledge in order to build out effective applications. It is intended to be used as an aid, for quicker development and not as a replacement for a human developer.

AI can not for-see or identify changes that might be required in the future, and can not dynamically work with a client to get what they are looking for.

For now, GitHub Copilot doesn’t have a place in industry due to how new and unpolished it is. However in the future it could well be a useful tool to assist developers.

On Thursday 24th June, Microsoft officially announced the upcoming Windows 11 operating system. 11 will be a free upgrade to anyone running Windows 10 and brings a revised interface design.

What’s new with Windows 11?

Interface Updates

Windows 11 has moved to a “glass” like appearance, akin to that of Vista’s released in 2006. This time, Microsoft has opted to take on a modern approach as opposed to a futuristic take on the user interface and experience.

Task Bar Changes

The task bar and search menus have been moved to the middle (though there is an option to change this back to left align), which is now closer to resembling Apple’s macOS Monterey.

Android App Support

Android apps will now natively run in Windows just like a normal application meaning you’ll be able to use any app that is on your phone, and continue it right on your computer. This lessens the need for progressive web applications as anyone will be able to install any app currently available on the Google Play Store to their PC.

Release Date & Cost

Windows 11 will be available to download in the “Holiday 2021” period as an upgrade to anyone who is currently running Windows 10. This upgrade will be completely FREE! Anyone who does not have Windows 10 will be expected to pay the same price of 10 (£119.99).

If you need a website for your business, or website updating to have a more modern appearance, we offer UI & UX Design services for Web and CMS systems.

There are multiple ways to develop a mobile application, and choosing the right one for you is important before starting the project. Selecting the correct method can save time and money, while providing the same, or better experience for the end user.

What Type Of Application Do You Need?

First the main outline of the application must be decided.

  • Type of Application: Deciding on what your application will be required to do will have an impact on which method is used.
  • Time and Budget: Each method of development has a different amount of time required to achieve the end result. If you need iOS, Android, and Web support, one option may take up to three times longer to develop, which has an affect on the final cost.
  • Operating System: What device type are your main target audience using? (iOS, Android, Windows)
App Differences.

Native Applications

Native applications are developed with one specific device type i.e. iOS users in mind. This means that the application is going to be tailor made for that device, and is able to use all of the device specific functionality.

  • Fast performance – Because the code is written with that device type in mind, the code is therefore more efficient.
  • Functionality – Apps can make use of the specific special functions that a device might have.
  • Higher Security – Any device specific known security risks can be individually addressed.
  • Improved UI/UX – The code can take advantage of the native appearance and frameworks to create a modern looking application.
  • Higher Cost – Each operating system requires it’s own codebase, and if iOS and Android apps were required, this would require two completely separate sets of code to create and maintain.
  • Longer Development – Because the code is being specifically designed to work on one set of devices, it is more involved to create, maintain, and test.
  • Specialists Required – A team of highly skilled app developers is required who have an in-depth knowledge of the system, adding to the cost.

Hybrid Applications

Hybrid applications are the best of both worlds from both mobile and web development. It allows developers to code in one language, then be able to deploy applications for iOS, Android, and Websites. At Pipe & Piper, we have over 10 years experience in developing hybrid applications for our clients.

  • Shorter Development Time – Only one codebase is required to deploy to iOS, Android, and Web. Saving three times the work.
  • Lower Costs – Shorter development time, means less costs!
  • Easy to Maintain – Because there’s only one codebase, it is easier to maintain and update.
  • Integrated – Hybrid allows for simple integration into web services and APIs.
  • Fast Deployment – Building the app to run on Android or iOS is quick and easy, requiring almost no changes to the process.
  • Complexity – More complex applications will likely run slower than a native application.
  • Equality – The app will run the same regardless of the device, it can’t use device/operating system specific functions.

Progressive Web Applications

Progressive web applications are almost identical to hybrid applications, with the main difference being that they are able to be installed as an application on any device, then be able to work offline and send notifications. This is the newest method of development.

  • Accessible – The app can be found on any app store, or accessed through the website and the end user experience will be the same.
  • Loading Speed – Because everything is web based, loading speed are quick no matter the device age.
  • Works Offline – Cached versions of the application are able to be used when offline.
  • Responsive – The application is able to easily and dynamically change to the device type and size.
  • Cheap & Fast – Development times are fast because only a website is being developed, then scaled for mobile devices.
  • Hardware Limitations – Because the application needs to be installed, older and slower devices may not be supported.
  • Apple Support – Support for Apple devices is more limited, and performance is often much worse on iOS devices.
  • Battery Power – Higher battery consumption is used due to the application doing processing on the device, rather than the web.

A UDID is an acronym used for Unique Device ID. It is a feature of Apple iPhones and their other devices. Each individual Apple device has their own ID that is being fetched by Apple servers. When testing a new mobile application on an Apple device we need a UDID from the iPhone, iPad or iPod.

Finding your UDID is a simple process, all you will need is an internet connection, and a few minutes.

  1. First, go to https://get.udid.io/ on your device, then select the “Tap to find UDID” button located at the top of the screen.
  2. You will then be prompted to accept a configuration file. This file allows the site to read the device information from your phone, so you’ll want to allow this.
  3. Next go to the Settings application, and at the top a “Profile Downloaded” option should now have appeared.
  4. Go into the “Profile Downloaded” menu, and in the top right, press install and accept the prompt which appears.
  5. Once this is complete, you can then go back to https://get.udid.io/ and your UUID will appear. You then have the option to view all the information gathered, or the option to email it.