Toptal Blog

The Toptal Blog is the top hub for developers, designers, finance experts, executives, and entrepreneurs, featuring key technology updates, tutorials, freelancer resources, and management insights.
Introduction to Objects and References in PHP Memory

In this article, I will talk about how object and variable references are controlled in memory, since this is an issue that can generate discussion and differing opinions. One question to ponder is: “By default, are objects passed by reference or by copy in PHP?” I’m going to talk first about what references aren’t in PHP; secondly, I’ll discuss what they are, and finally, I will examine how the garbage collector works in PHP.

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Why Every Business Should Build Weekly Cash Flow Forecasts

When most finance professionals hear the term “13 week cash Forecast,” they view it as a burden—one more task to appease an overbearing lender. It doesn’t help that it seems less exciting than analyzing an investment or acquisition. Therefore, people often only prioritize these forecasts in distressed situations, when it is too late to take corrective actions.

However, in this article, Toptal Finance Expert Marty Mooney argues that weekly cash forecasts are crucial for all businesses, irrespective of size, health, or sector. It also provides a simple tutorial for efficiently building such analyses.

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An Elasticsearch Tutorial for .NET Developers

Elasticsearch is one of the most powerful full-text search engine solutions out there. Using the NEST package, you can easily leverage the power of Elasticsearch in your .NET projects.

In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Ivan Cesar shows how Elasticsearch can solve real-world full-text search problems in your .NET projects.

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Fintech and Banks: How Can the Banking Industry Respond to the Threat of Disruption?

Fintech attention tends to focus on startups and their efforts to unbundle the financial service industry’s suite of services. But how are banks responding to this disruptive threat? Despite their wealth, talent, and rich history of innovation, they have been sluggish to respond to the upstart movement.

This article suggest four ways banks can change their tact and respond better to fintech.

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Angular Change Detection and the OnPush Strategy

Out of the box, Angular provides two different change detection strategies: Default and OnPush. Each strategy has its own advantages, but sometimes it is easy to miss a nifty optimization opportunity if you stick to the default strategy.

In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Ahmet Shapiro-Erciyas walks us through the available change detection strategies and shows how to use them in any Angular project.

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Commercial Drones Are Revolutionizing Business Operations

When most hear “drone,” they think expensive military aircrafts or small consumer toys. However, the future of drones will actually be shaped by practical commercial applications, due to their ability to drive efficiency and data analytics.

This article defines drones and their total addressable market and highlights how their capabilities can be leveraged in commercial business operations. It also includes investment trends and predictions for the future of the industry.

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Bridgewater's Ray Dalio: Quiet Pioneer of Big Data, Machine Learning, and Fintech

Ray Dalio is an investing legend whose success is most often attributed to investment acumen. This article argues that it was equally due to his foresight as an early but quiet adopter of computational systems, big data techniques, and artificial intelligence that resulted in his outstanding success. Bridgewater was one of the world’s earliest fintech companies.

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Android and iOS UI Testing with Calabash

Do you think testing your iOS or Android apps manually is faster than writing automated tests for them? Calabash, the cross-platform acceptance framework, busts that myth once and for all.

In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Alexander Gedevanishvili shows how Calabash, with its support for Cucumber, makes writing automated UI tests as simple as writing instructions in plain English.

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Creating Truly Modular Code with No Dependencies

Complex, tightly-coupled, and fragile interdependent code. We’ve all written it. The kind of code where fixing one bug creates seven more. Have you ever wondered how to create independent modular code?

In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Konrad Gadzinowski walks us through the different types of architectural paradigms you can adhere to and how to write modular and decoupled code where changes to one module have minimal impact on the overall application.

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Great Recent Examples of Competitive Strategy Successes

Competitive strategy frameworks are widely known and mainstays of university curricula, despite being almost 40 years old. We often hear the stories of Walmart and Southwest Airlines, but what modern examples are there? In this article we use Michael Porter’s activity positioning framework to show successful applications of competitive strategy from modern digital companies.

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Why More Entrepreneurs are Choosing To Build Search Funds over Startups

Search funds, though once an esoteric asset class and model for entrepreneurship, have seen a substantial rise in popularity in recent years. They can often represent a superior alternative to the venture-backed startup route especially for a select cohort of formally trained entrepreneurs, most of all those who deeply understand their motives, risk appetites, and contextual/financial encumbrances.

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Working with Angular 4 Forms: Nesting and Input Validation

Validating user inputs is an essential part of any robust web application. Angular 4 makes it especially easy for both template-driven and reactive forms.

In this article, Toptal Freelance Angular Developer Igor Geshoski walks us through the different approaches in Angular 4 form validation and shows how even complex form validation can be done easily.

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