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.
Alonso Ayala Ortega
Test-driven React.js Development: React.js Unit Testing with Enzyme and Jest

Any piece of code that has no tests is said to be legacy code according to Michael Feathers. Therefore, one of the best ways to avoid creating legacy code is using test-driven development (TDD).

While there are many tools available to create unit tests in JavaScript and, in this post, we will use Jest and Enzyme to create a React.js component with basic functionality using TDD.

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Elizabeth J. Howell Hanano, CFA
2017 Holiday Spending Forecast: Will Be Better Than Expected

Retail investors have had a rough year. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF has underperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 30 percentage points. From eCommerce shifts to higher gas prices, there are plenty of arguments to be made against retail. Yet, there are a couple reasons to be jolly heading into the holiday season that few are talking about.

In this article, Elizabeth Hanano, CFA suggests that low expectations combined with lesser-known tailwinds indicate it may be time to dip a toe back into the retail pond.

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Orinola Gbadebo-Smith
The Wealth of Nations: Investment Strategies of Sovereign Wealth Funds

Since their emergence in the early 2000s, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) have been met with both curiosity and trepidation, existing somewhere between return-maximizing asset manager and clandestine government agency.

This article takes us into the $7.4 trillion world of the SWF, shedding light on objectives, ambitions, and mandates as well as allocation strategies.

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Melissa Lin
Are Corporate Responsibility Efforts Profitable?

Financial purists have long questioned whether corporate, environmental, and social initiatives benefit the bottom line and how to quantify their impact.

In this article, we put aside motive—of genuine altruism or self interest—and philosophical debates around moral obligation. Instead, we examine the results of studies around whether corporate responsibility initiatives positively impact profitability, examples of companies that have implemented such measures successfully, and recommendations for those looking to do so.

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Cody Nash
Create Data from Random Noise with Generative Adversarial Networks

Generative adversarial networks, among the most important machine learning breakthroughs of recent times, allow you to generate useful data from random noise. Instead of training one neural network with millions of data points, you let two neural networks contest with each other to figure things out.

In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Cody Nash gives us an overview of how GANs work and how this class of machine learning algorithms can be used to generate data in data-limited situations.

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Iulian Gulea
A Guide to Performance Testing and Optimization With Python and Django

Donald Knuth said that “premature optimization is the root of all evil.” But there comes a time, usually in mature projects with high loads, when the need to optimize presents itself. In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Iulian Gulea talks about five common methods to optimize a web project’s code using principles that can be used in Django as well as other frameworks and languages. Using these principles, he demonstrates how to reduce the response time of a query from 77 to 3.7 seconds.

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Jonathan Sterling
Exploring the Bear Case of the Cryptocurrency Bubble

The arguments for a cryptocurrency revolution can tend to sway toward appearing more like get-rich-quick schemes than balanced debates. The regulatory risk overhang, constant scams, and technological immaturity of the movement mean that long-term success is far from certain.

In this article, Jonathan Sterling addresses the other side of the argument: the bear case for a crypto future. He shines a light on the problems blighting cryptocurrencies and some remedies for them, drawing upon comparisons with historic bubbles, some centuries old.

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Rodrigo Donini
How to Create Exclusive Custom Taxonomies in WordPress

In WordPress, taxonomies allow you to flexibly organize your content in categories with tags and more. However, when defining custom taxonomies, you may not get the desired behavior out of the box.

In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Rodrigo Donini shows how exclusive custom taxonomies can be implemented in WordPress for strict categorization of posts.

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Gregory Thompson
Small Data, Big Opportunities

By now, most have heard of Big Data – the buzzword d’jour across most business circles. In this exploratory piece, Finance Expert, Gregory Thompson, introduces us to the wonderful world of Small Data.

Specifically, he guides us through its broader market dynamics, tools, players and solutions, and includes a practical implementation guide for how small businesses might add analytics as a core-capability to their respective business arsenals.

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Melissa Lin
Celebrity Investors Take Over Silicon Valley

Today, there are many celebrities that have become investors, and many investors that are borderline celebrities. One thing is clear: The division between Hollywood and Silicon Valley has become increasingly blurred. Though in the past it has been common for famous entertainers, musicians, or actors to grow their wealth through real estate, royalties, or restaurants, celebrities today are turning towards tech investments.

This article explores why celebrities are drawn to Silicon Valley, the types of companies they invest in, different models of their involvement, and commentary on how it impacts the tech industry.

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