What is CICD and why is it so Popular?

What is CI/CD?

CI/CD is a set of practices that automate the building, testing, and deployment stages of software development. Automation reduces delivery timelines and increases reliability across the development life cycle.

Most modern applications require developing code using a variety of platforms and tools, so teams need a consistent mechanism to integrate and validate changes. Continuous integration establishes an automated way to build, package, and test their applications. Having a consistent integration process encourages developers to commit code changes more frequently, focus on meeting business requirements, code quality, and security, which leads to better collaboration and code quality.

Continuous integration and continuous delivery are two distinct processes in CI/CD and have different purposes:

  • CI runs automated build-and-test steps to ensure that code changes reliably merge into the central repository.
  • CD provides a quick and seamless method of delivering the code to end-users.

So the main goal of CI/CD is to help developers ship software with speed and efficiency. The team continuously delivers code into production, running an ongoing flow of new features and bug fixes.

The most popular CI/CD tools

A CI/CD tool helps DevOps teams create a pipeline and automate integration, deployment, and testing stages. Some tools specifically handle the integration (CI) side, some manage development and deployment (CD), while others specialize in continuous testing or related functions.

Here is a list of the most popular CI/CD tools you can choose from:

  • Jenkins: An automation server that can handle anything from simple CI to a complex CI/CD pipeline.
  • TeamCity: A CI server that helps build and deploy projects with reusable settings and configurations.
  • Spinnaker: An open-source CD platform ideal for multi-cloud environments.
  • GoCD: A CI/CD server that emphasizes modeling and visualization.
  • CircleCI: A flexible, cloud-based CI/CD tool perfect for smaller projects.
  • Travis CI: A Ruby-based tool with a robust build matrix.
  • Bamboo: A CI server with support for several top stacks (Docker, AWS, Amazon S3, Git, CodeDeploy, Mercurial) and up to a hundred remote build agents.

CI/CD enables more frequent code deployment.

So, let’s sum up

CI packages, tests builds, and notifies developers if something goes wrong. The CD automatically deploys applications and performs additional tests.

CI/CD pipelines are designed for organizations that need to make frequent changes to applications with a reliable delivery process. In addition to build standardization, test development, and deployment automation, we get a holistic production process for deploying code changes. The introduction of CI/CD allows developers to focus on improving applications and not spend effort on deploying it.

CI/CD is one of the DevOps practices, as it aims to combat the tension between developers who want to make frequent changes and operations that require stability. With automation, developers can make changes more frequently, and operations teams, in turn, gain greater stability because environment configuration is standardized and continuous testing is carried out during delivery. Also, the setting of environment variables is separated from the application and there are automated rollback procedures.

However, CI/CD is just one of the processes that can contribute to improvements. There are other conditions for increasing the frequency of delivery.

To get started with CI/CD, the development and operations teams need to decide on technologies, practices, and priorities. Teams need to build consensus on the right approaches for their business and technology so that once CI/CD is implemented, the team consistently adheres to the chosen practices.

Everything You Need to Know About Docker & Docker Compose to Get Started

What is Docker Compose?

Docker is known for its use of OS-level virtualization and for the container system that employs to make creating, deploying and running applications much easier for developers.

While learning the basics of Docker, you may have come across the creation of simple applications that work autonomously, not depending, for example, on external data sources or on certain services. In practice, such applications are rare. Real projects usually involve a whole set of collaborative applications.

Docker Compose technology, if we describe it in a simplified way, allows, with the help of one command, to start many services.

So, Docker Compose is software tool used for defining and running multi-container Docker applications.

Difference Between Docker and Docker Compose

Docker is used to manage the individual containers (services) that make up an application.

Docker Compose is used to manage multiple containers that are part of an application at the same time. This tool offers the same features as Docker, but allows you to work with more complex applications.

Docker Compose Use Cases

  • Automated testing environments.

An important part of any Deployment or Integration process is the automated test suite.

Compose supports automated testing, which is an essential part of CI/CD and provides a convenient and easy way to create and destroy isolated testing environments for your testing. Developers can define and configure the environment needed for running automated end-to-end testing  in just a few commands using the appropriate Docker Compose file.

  • Single host deployments.

In Docker Compose, containers are designed to run on a single host as they have traditionally been focused on development and testing workflows.

  • Development Environments.

Compose is a fast and simple way of starting projects as it can quickly spin up new isolated development environments. The software documents and configures all the application’s service dependencies (including databases, caches, web service APIs, etc.). It allows you to create and start one or multiple containers for each dependency using a single command.

  • Release notes.

You can see a detailed list of changes for past and current releases of Docker Compose, refer to the Changelog.

What features make Docker Compose so effective?

  • Multiple isolated environments on a single host
  • Preserve volume data when containers are created
  • Only recreate containers that have changed
  • Variables and moving a composition between environments

We have covered the basics of working with Docker Compose technology, the knowledge of which will allow you to use this technology and, if you desire, begin to study it in more depth.

Do you use Docker Compose in your projects?

Overwhelmed by this content? Reach out with your next big idea and we’ll take care of all the technical details so you can focus on the bigger picture.

How to Set Goals That Deliver Results

A lot of articles are written about goals but why it’s so important?

When you set goals, you take control of your life’s or work’s direction.

Goals provide you with focus

And when you have clear focus all your decisions and actions bring you closer to achieving those goals. When you create a vision of what your life or business could look like. Then you start helping yourself and your team to achieve the goal and get the best results as possible.

Think about it for a moment

Setting goals keeps you moving, increases your organization and brings you happiness.

How to set goals effectively?

Before setting the goal think about the results you want to see.

It’s really important to ask yourself: Is this goal something I truly want? You should understand that only sincere desire to achieve the goal can help you.

Create SMART goals. Here are the SMART criteria:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

In addition, the goal must necessarily be positive. You can use any principle of goal setting and transform it for yourself.

Write your goals down. Yes, do it!

Written goals become real and tangible, from this moment they’re not just the idea in your mind. Keep your goals somewhere visible. While you’re writing down your goals, use a positive tone so you stay excited about achieving them.

Time to create an action plan and timeline

Many people set the goal but never create an action plan to understand how exactly they will meet that goal. Your action plan should all necessary steps you need to take to get the results. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your action plan. If you want to use crayons, markers or colored pencils – do it. As a part of your action plan use timeline, it helps visualize roles, tasks, milestones and deadlines to achieve your goal. Also timeline creates a sense of urgency, which  motivates you to stay on schedule.

Take action

To achieve the goal, it is not enough to set it, it is necessary to act. Every step that you take should lead to another until you finish your goal.

Control and evaluate your progress

Consider scheduling a weekly evaluation, which could include measuring your progress and checking your schedule. Make necessary adjustments and keep going. The process of setting goals makes you achieve the results faster and more efficiently.

Native Mobile Applications – Pros and Cons

What are Native Apps?

Native apps are mobile applications developed for a specific mobile operating system that are coded in a platform-specific programming language. Simply put, for iOS we usually use Objective C or Swift, for Android we use Java and for Windows phone we use C#.

As native apps are specially designed for a specific platform, they take advantage of operating system features. It has access to device-specific hardware, software, the features that are available on the device such as a GPS, camera, one touch pay and figure print.

Similar to other application approaches, native apps have their own positives and negatives. Although native apps are often preferred over web apps, they’re expensive to build and require consistent maintenance. So to decide whether or not native apps are worth the investment, companies must carefully analyze the pros and cons of building or using one.

Let’s get started!

Advantages of Native Apps


Native apps, as we mentioned, are designed specifically for certain platforms, they are native to the platform. As a result, they function faster. Even apps with high processor usage will work without hassle. Many elements come preloaded. The user data is received from the web rather than the entire application, and since they work with the device’s built-in features, they are speedy.

Offline Work

Internet is not a must in native apps. They can partially function in offline mode. Therefore, in situations where there is no internet connectivity, certain native apps’ functionality can still work.

Full Functionality for Users

As native app works on the operating system of the device, it is able to make full use of the capabilities that are available to it. Whether it’s an address book, GPS functions, or even push notifications, the native app can become something that integrates cleanly into the user’s daily experience.

Superior Level of Performance

Games and other interactive games choose the native approach because they require low latency levels. This allows even the most processor-intensive apps to be able to be successfully used on a regular basis. Even for devices with different screen sizes.


Users can easily find and download native apps from the App Store or Play Store. Many device manufacturers also partner with native app developers to include specific apps for the initial boot-up of the device. Plus, the apps are completely tested by the stores before the approval.

Disadvantages of Native Apps


The overall cost involved in the development and maintenance is considerably higher, especially for native apps that work on multiple platforms. Even a substantial amount is needed to maintain the app. But still, native apps pay back in the long run.

Expensive Development

The programming used in native apps is a difficult process as separate developers are needed for each platform. Moreover, it is not an easy task to develop native apps, so you should find talented developers. As a result, native app development requires more labor, which means more time and more money.

Time Consumption

As a native app is targeted to a specific OS, it requires more time to develop for every single platform. So developers need to write specific codes for iOS, Android etc. As a result, to provide a quality product, the overall development time is longer.

The pros and cons of native apps show that it can be a beneficial and profitable experience if the negatives are properly countered. Considering these key points you’ll be able to decide whether to build a native app or to find other best decisions for your business.

Looking to develop a custom mobile application? Contact us.

Leadership Styles in Managing Software Projects

Do you know your leadership style?

Why is it so important?

At some point in your career you may take on a leadership role. Whether it can be a meeting, a project, a team, you might consider identifying with or adopting some defined leadership style.

And of course, every leader is different and every company has its own unique needs, organizational culture.

Leadership style is the way a leader guides a team through different stages, implements plans, provides guidance, and overlooks work. Based on different personalities and methods, there are many different styles.

But there are 4 leadership styles commonly used in the workplace.


In this leadership style leaders provide more explicit instructions to the team in terms of who needs to do what and sometimes how. This style is handy during emergency situations or on high-uncertainty projects.


Facilitative leaders are capable of presenting the end goals and vision to the team members in a way that encourages and motivates them to stay committed and engaged on delivering on those goals.


Putting the interests of your team and team members first. Motivating the team through empowerments and breeding self-sufficient teams and leaders.


Also known as democratic, in this leadership style leaders  get all the team members involved in decision-making, be it identifying project goals or developing strategies to achieve them. This also involves creating enthusiasm and increasing engagement among team members.

There are many leadership styles to choose from. You don’t have to land on a single style, it may and should change depending on the team and situation. Be weary and choose wisely! Do you have a favorite leadership style?

34 Web3 Terms You Should Know

Level up your Web3 vocab with these keywords by IT creative Labs.

Our vocabulary is designed to help you navigate web3’s foundational concepts.

First of all,

Web 3.0 or Web3

The next generation of internet in which the web is a decentralized online ecosystem, built on the blockchain.


An airdrop is an unsolicited distribution of a cryptocurrency token or coin, usually for free, to numerous wallet addresses.


Altcoin simply means each and every cryptocurrency other than bitcoin. Altcoin comes from an “alternative coin”, referring to any new cryptocurrency with a relatively small market cap.

BTC (Bitcoin)

The very first decentralized digital currency that can be transferred on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network.


A batch of transactions written to the blockchain. Every block contains information about the previous block, thus, chaining them together.


Blockchain is a publicly-accessible digital ledger used to store and transfer information without the need for a central authority. Blockchains are the core technology on which cryptocurrency protocols are built.


A protocol allows separate blockchains to interact with one another, enabling the transfer of data, tokens, and other information between systems.

Cold Wallet

A physical device use to store cryptocurrencies. Cold wallets can be hardware devices or simply sheets of paper containing a user’s private keys. Because cold wallets are not connected to the internet, meaning they’re offline, they are generally a safer method of storing cryptocurrencies.


The state of agreement amongst the nodes on a blockchain. Reaching consensus is necessary for new transactions to be verified and new blocks to be added to the blockchain.


Cryptocurrency is the native asset of a Blockchain like Bitcoin or Ethereum. All coins are basically a token, also known as protocol tokens.

Dapp (Decentralized Application)

An application built on open-source code that lives on the blockchain. Dapps exist independent of centralized groups or figures and often incentivize users to maintain them through rewarded tokens

DeFi (Decentralized finance)

Decentralized finance (DeFi) is an emerging financial technology based on blockchain. The system removes the control banks and institutions have on financial services, assets and money.

DEX (Decentralized Exchange)

DEX is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange built on the blockchain. A DEX is run by its users and smart contracts instead of an intermediary figure or centralized institution.


ETH/Ether is the native cryptocurrency of the platform ethereum. Ethereum is a a decentralized ledger technology (Blockchain). Second to Bitcoin, Ether is the next most popular cryptocurrency.


A currency established as legal tender, often backed and regulated by the government.


The current lowest price available to acquire an NFT in a collection.


A change to a blockchain protocol. When the changes are more fundamental, it may be result in a hard fork, leading to the formation of a separate chain with different rules. When the changes are minor, the results are in a soft fork.


The process of locking an NFT into a smart contract, and then dividing it into smaller parts which are issued as fungible tokens. It lowers the price of ownership and allows artwork and other digital assets be owned by a community.


Gas refers to the fee, required to successfully conduct a transaction or execute a contract on the Ethereum blockchain.


The process of taking data and creating a completely unique hash value. This hash value now acts as an identifier you can reference to retrieve the original data. This means that no matter how complex or large the data was, you can now easily identify this information by referencing its hash value.

Hot Wallet

A cryptocurrency wallet that is always connected to the internet and cryptocurrency network. Used to send and receive cryptocurrency, allow you to view how many tokens you have available to use.


A measure of how easily an asset can be bought, sold, or traded in a given market or on an exchange.


This is the process of verifying transactions, organizing them into blocks, and then adding blocks to the blockchain. It’s like bitcoin mining will add fresh new coins and give them to the node that was mining that block.


The process of adding a transaction or block to a blockchain. The term is commonly used to express someone putting up an NFT on an exchange.


NFT stands for non-fungible token. NFTs represent a digital asset on the blockchain which are unique and represents ownership by someone.


Means that it is completely unique.

Peer to peer (P2P)

Something where two decentralized individuals interact directly with each other, without intermediation by a third party.


Stands for ‘proof of attendance protocol’. This is an NFT that is used to signify an event or certain moment in time.

PoS (Proof of Stake)

A consensus mechanism that requires nodes, called validators, to stake a set amount of cryptocurrency on the blockchain in order to verify transactions and mint blocks.

PoW (Proof of Work)

A consensus mechanism that requires miners to complete complex mathematical puzzles in order to verify transactions and mint blocks. When a miner correctly solves a puzzle, they gain access to mint the next block and receive the corresponding block reward and transaction fees.

Smart contract

Self-executing code deployed on a blockchain that allows transactions be made without an intermediary figure and without the parties involved having to trust one another.


Cryptocurrencies where the price is designed to be pegged to a cryptocurrency, fiat money, or exchange-traded commodities. It stays stable.


Means that it can be transferred on a blockchain. Created by platforms and applications that are built on an existing blockchain.

Wallet Address

Similar to a bank account number. Your wallet address is a unique string of numbers and letters (also called a public key) that people can use to send you cryptocurrency. But only you can access your wallet’s contents by using the corresponding private key.

Web3 is growing rapidly. So key WEB3 terminology can give you the opportunity to understand better the conversations around the evolution of the Internet and stay on top of the game.

Project Budget and Tips on Effective Cost Management

Project budget – one of the toughest project constraints and the most vulnerable for a couple reasons:

  1. If the timeliness or the scope of the project change – the cost is impacted automatically.
  2. Cost of the project is generally harder to negotiate and address as it gets the most attention from business owners and other top management stakeholders across the board
  3. Changes to the cost baseline have the most impact on all of the stakeholders, starting from the delivery teams and all the way up.

There are ways on how to structure your estimates for the project correctly as well as how to manage changes to the cost effectively.

Depending on the level of maturity of PM in your company as well as the seize of your organization you might not be heavily involved in the estimation process. However when it comes to cost updates PMs or the owners always have a seat at the table. So what do you do? Be proactive! How?

Here are our tips

Make sure you can easily identify in-scope and out-of-scope items

That will help you articulate potential impact on the cost of the project ahead of time.

Make sure you track your project timeline closely

Monitor to ensure the project budget allows for any unexpected changes to the
timeline. If you see a risk – flag it early, build awareness early, work with the team to mitigate that risk before it becomes a budget issue…

Keep your pulse on the news

What? Yep! Not a common tip and not something you will find in your average PM literature. This advice can only come from someone who
“lived a life”.  Do your best to keep your pulse on the news relevant to your projects. For example, if you plan to lead an infrastructure project you will need to track how the logistics issues are unfolding due to COVID. This will have a tremendous impact on your project cost and will put you in a much better position to work through those issues proactively.

IT Creative Labs is one of the Best Women-Owned Businesses in Clutch this 2022

The IT Creative Labs team is very happy to announce that we’ve been recently named as one of the best women-owned businesses on Clutch’s platform. We are honored and privileged to receive such an incredible accolade from the industry!

Founded in 2016, our team has been one of the go-to IT consulting and digital agencies in the New York Greater Area. We’ve been working with local and global companies by providing incredible development and solutions for our clients.

It goes without saying, but we are truly proud to be hailed as a leading business on Clutch!  This award signifies our unwavering commitment and dedication to our craft. The development and digital industries are very cutthroat! That’s why we are always looking for more opportunities to grow our business, learn more skills, and gain more experience. This is what it means to be one of the best in the industry!

To officially receive this award, here is our Founder and CEO, Nionila Ivanova:


“We are honored to be ranked in the Global Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses! Getting that kind of recognition in the tech industry is especially encouraging. Thank you, Clutch!”


Of course, we would also like to thank Clutch and their team for making this award possible. It is such an honor to be considered a top women-owned business on your platform. To our clients and partners, this award is dedicated to all of you! Thank you for believing in us and for trusting us with your business.

Let’s take our business to the next level! Reach out to us today.

Clutch Certifies IT-Creative Labs as Top-Notch Women-Owned Company

At IT Creative Labs, we aim to bring in beautiful ideas to help you improve your business efficiency. Our team is filled with creative thinkers and talented individuals who can deliver impeccable results and drive your company forward. Since 2016, we have been solving problems and delivering innovative solutions across the entire spectrum of modern business needs.

Our dedication as a team has allowed us to be featured and recognized by some industry leaders. Hailing from Washington, DC., Clutch is a B2B platform that is widely known for its vast directories of client reviews, market research, and agency rankings. The platform connects potential clients and service providers from different industries and locations from all over the world.

Clutch has a certification program that is widely sought after by service providers with special causes. The program allows agencies to self identify their veteran, gender, and racial minority identities. Clutch created this certification program to help socially and economically disadvantaged vendors showcase their services and connect with clients.

It is our pleasure to announce that we have been recognized as one of the leading women-owned companies on Clutch. We are thrilled to reach this wonderful milestone this 2021. Our team is grateful for the platform that Clutch has given to service providers like us.

“Throughout various industries, women-owned companies provide a unique and important perspective that’s often overlooked.” stated Clutch Customer Experience Analyst Carolyn Rider. “We want to highlight these companies for everything that they bring to the table, from their thoughtfulness to their detail-oriented mindsets.”

In addition to that, our company was also recognized as one of the best email marketing firms by The Manifest, a company listing site.

Our whole team is genuinely grateful for the overwhelming support from our clients. Their trust has allowed us to reach these inspiring mileposts. We can’t imagine ourselves here new without the fantastic and priceless relationships that we’ve built throughout our engagements.

Do you have an engagement in mind? Let’s hear it! Send us a message and let us know how we can work together.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Use email marketing automation to deliver personalized value at key points in the customer journey.

According to Hubspot, email marketing produces a 3,800% return on investment, while MarTech indicates that firms sophisticated in email marketing automation achieve 80% more sales at a 33% lower cost. Thus, even with the inundation of emails that people receive on a daily basis, email remains a valuable channel to engage, inform, and inspire your prospective and existing customer base. In order to succeed, you must deliver personalized value at the right time in the customer journey, building to a crescendo with the subject line through to every detail of the header, copy, images, calls to action, and signature line. To facilitate your efforts, we’ve deconstructed the email process in order to give insight into best practices that drive campaign results.

Subject Line: balance being descriptive with brevity in order to drive an informed open

For any email campaign, the subject line is your first opportunity to entice as well as a gate between your audience and the valuable content stored within the body of the email. Because of this, it is important to word the subject line in a way that the audience can process the information quickly while including enough information so as to inform the audience of the benefit they will receive upon open. Click bait that may drive opens can result in consumers feeling frustrated with unmet expectations, resulting in lack of further engagement or even unsubscribes, while verbose lines that overexpress meaning can lose the reader’s attention and fail to drive the intended open behavior in the first place. Factoring in sent, open, click-to-open, and click rates, Marketo finds that 7 word subject lines yield optimal engagement, while Mailchimp recommends using no more than 9 words and 60 characters. Additionally, positioning deals and incentives up front, such as “50% off if you refer a friend” can motivate engagement and increase opens. With whatever strategy you choose, craft the subject line to reduce friction and encourage open with integrity.

Content: formulate the contents of the email to maintain attention, deliver value, and drive action

Now that you’ve guided the audience member to open the email, the goal of its contents is to cultivate the reader’s interest and inspire specific next steps. With this, the copy should communicate value concisely alongside aesthetically pleasing visuals that aid in transmission of information and processing speed. Multiple, relevant calls to action should be placed conspicuously throughout in order to stimulate desired next steps such as click, call, download, and buy. Constant Contact recommends composing emails with 20 lines of text or less, while Hubspot advocates for positioning the primary message and call to action above the fold to ensure detection. Once you have a draft of the email in its entirety, it’s advantageous to employ a “5 second test” in which a friend or colleague reviews the email in 5 seconds in to discern whether your intended call to action is readily apparent.

Segmentation: segment your audience in order to deliver personalized content at the right time in the customer journey

Since prospects and customers within your target audience have different needs, tastes, and interests, it is imperative to deliver tailored value based on who you’re communicating with as well as the recipient’s stage within the customer journey. To achieve such personalization, it is beneficial to segment your audience based on demographic, geographic, behavioral, and/or benefit data that meaningfully distinguishes one cluster of consumer profiles from the next. For example, if you’re a department store, you could segment based on product category interest of Children’s Clothing versus Household Goods, or if you’re a skincare brand, you could segment based on Age, Location Climate, and Gender. Once segmentation is complete, personalize email campaigns based on each segment’s key attributes and customer stage. For instance, if you’re the skincare brand, you could tailor messaging to customer stage by targeting customers considering purchase with informational content such as “Our favorite moisturizers for dry skin” versus targeting customers who have already purchased with replenishment content such as “Is your skin thirsty? Looks like you’re due for a refill!” However you choose to segment and personalize, do it and iterate, as data from Constant Contact suggests that personalized emails achieve a median return on investment of 122%, while SalesForce indicates personalized emails yield a 14% uplift in click through rate and a 10% uplift in conversions.

Cadence: initiate campaigns based on consumer triggers, using a frequency that nurtures rather than annoys

With email marketing, it is critical to deliver the right message at the right time. In order to ensure relevancy with timing, it is helpful to initiate campaigns based on triggers that consumers activate, such as signing up for a newsletter, referring a friend, consuming a particular piece of content, or reviewing a certain product. Therefore, defining the specific actions that set your email campaigns in motion is of paramount importance since, once initiated, your automated cadence will drive the campaign through to completion. For mass emails intended to reach your entire contact list, a quarterly or monthly frequency is par for the course, whereas for segmented emails intended to engage a subset of your contacts, a bi-weekly or weekly cadence is commonplace. This aligns with Marketing Sherpa’s survey observation that 60% of customers opt for a weekly touch.

A/B Testing: split test in order to optimize performance, and, once optimized, keep testing

Based on past experience, industry research, and engagement data, you can make assumptions about your target consumers’ preferences and the behavior that you expect for them to take in response to your email marketing. But even the best assumptions find resulting performance influenced by unanticipated variables. With this, it is important to split test different elements of your emails including subject lines, copy, content, the “from” name and email address, send days and times, layout, tone of voice, and calls to action in order to find the mix that drives optimal business results. While iterating, test 1 variable at a time to isolate each factor that is driving performance improvement or decline. Once you find the highest performing blend, repeat your success across other campaigns and continue to test even the most successful campaigns, as consumer trends and sentiments change over time. Trust the data, and continue to iterate based on data-driven discoveries that inform the path forward.

Final thoughts

Email marketing requires a calculated blend of creativity, analytics, and iteration to succeed. As long as you keep the customer first and listen to the data, incremental improvements will drive the path to a successful outcome.

Want to learn more learn more about email marketing and beyond? Subscribe below!

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