In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Piotr Gaczkowski explains how to make the most out of command line tools and lists some of the best tools out there.Continue reading →
The AI revolution is transforming the consumer world. Some developers may shy away from AI, which has traditionally been a heavily technical specialty. In this article, Toptal Freelance Salesforce Developer Fahad Munawar Khan explores how accessible to developers the AI cloud has become, even for non-Salesforce apps, with Salesforce Einstein.Continue reading →
Working on an iOS application can be tedious, especially when you are wasting countless hours doing the most boring tasks: taking screenshots, signing code, and jumping through similar hoops to get your app to the users’ devices.
In this article, Toptal Freelance iOS Developer Francisco Reynolds walks you through the ultimate release automation tool for your iOS app and shows how it can save you from all of the tedious tasks.Continue reading →
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Konrad Gadzinowski dissects trunk-based development and Git flow, listing the pros and cons for various use cases.Continue reading →
In this article, Toptal Freelance Developer Roman Stetsenko explains what it takes to create a pixel-perfect iOS interface from the ground up and why it matters.Continue reading →
The Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern is great for the longevity and maintainability of an iOS application’s codebase… but you may find yourself adding similar functions to multiple models as your app grows. In cases such as networking, moving common logic out of your model classes and into singleton helper classes can be a better approach. In this article, I’ll teach you how to set up a centralized singleton networking object that, decoupled from micro-level MVC components, can be reused throughout your application.Continue reading →
With augmented reality on the rise, more and more libraries and tools are developed to tap into that market. Apple recently released ARKit, which shows great promise through power and simplicity of use.Continue reading →
There is no way around application diagnostics. No matter how good your code is, you will need to be able to monitor and study system behavior. This is where Android’s DDMS shines.
In this article, Senior Android Engineer Gilad Haimov explains how veteran Android developers leverage the potential of DDMS to improve app stability and performance, test new features, diagnose, and debug their code.Continue reading →
Writing reusable code that can be shared across multiple platforms can make developing mobile applications a lot easier. But, how do you do that without paying the usual cost of maintainability, ease of testing, and poor user experience that comes with cross-platform mobile application development?
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Emran Bajrami walks us through Xamarin and shows us techniques for building high-quality cross-platform apps.Continue reading →
Java has some idiosyncrasies of its own and design choices that can make it rather verbose. While Java is a mature and performant programming language, developers frequently need to write boilerplate code that bring little or no real value other than complying with some set of constraints and conventions.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Miguel García López shows how Project Lombok can help dramatically reduce the amount of boilerplate code that needs to be written in a Java application.Continue reading →
Android provides many ways of creating and managing threads, and third-party libraries exist to make that even easier. However, with so many options, choosing the right approach can be quite confusing.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Eliran Goshen discusses some common scenarios in Android development that involve threading and how each of the scenarios can be dealt with.Continue reading →
Developing a mobile app for multiple platforms can be quite costly. Implementing the same functionalities in multiple programming languages and dealing with a plethora of unique libraries for each platform requires a massive amount of time and knowledge.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Sylvain Gravel talks about Xamarin and its companion technologies that let you build mobile applications for multiple platforms without compromising familiarity, performance, and uniqueness.Continue reading →
Dealing with concurrency in Android through imperative-style programming can be quite the hassle. RxJava, a library for reactive and functional style programming, allows concurrency constructs to be modeled in a reactive way in Android’s non-reactive world.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Christopher Arriola shows us how RxJava can be incrementally introduced to existing Android projects and leveraged to simplify concurrency.Continue reading →
Modern mobile application development requires a well thought-out plan for keeping user data in sync across various devices. This is a thorny problem with many gotchas and pitfalls, but users expect the feature and expect it to work well. For iOS and macOS, Apple provides a robust toolkit, called CloudKit API, which allows developers targeting Apple platforms to solve this synchronization problem.
In this article, Toptal Software Engineer Paul Young demonstrate how to use CloudKit to keep a user’s data in sync between multiple clients.Continue reading →
In this tutorial, you will learn how automated testing works for the iOS platform and how to implement it in your project.Continue reading →
The Ionic project is rapidly gaining in popularity and is one of the most popular open source projects worldwide. With the recent announcement of the stable version of Ionic 2, this is the perfect time to underscore the Ionic 2 and its predecessor.
In this post, Toptal software engineer Julien Renaux outlines the major changes Ionic 2 brought to the platform and explains how to put these new features to good use.Continue reading →
On every new project, you have the privilege of deciding how you’ll architect the app and organize the code. But if you don’t pay attention, or you rush through coding, you risk ending up with spaghetti code. The solution? Use a proper design pattern.
In this tutorial, Toptal Software Engineer Dino Bartošak explains how to implement an MVVM design pattern on a demo Swift application.Continue reading →
Since the inception of the platform, Android developers have had pretty much only one option for a database: SQLite. Although feature-rich and powerful, it wasn’t quite what Android app developers needed. Realm, a modern, efficient database solution for mobile platforms, turned out to be an amazing replacement for SQLite on Android.
In this article, Toptal Software Engineer Mateus Gondim Romão Batista explains why you should use Realm for your next Android application.Continue reading →
In the past few years, Microsoft has pulled a few aces from up its sleeve. Yes, they messed up Skype, failed with smartphones, and almost succeeded with tablets. But, they did some really amazing things as well.
Relinquishing their closed empire approach, they open-sourced .NET, joined the Linux Foundation, released SQL Server for Linux, and created this great new tool called Visual Studio for Mac.
In this post, Head of Open Source Demir Selmanovic details how to make an Android and iOS app in C# on your Mac.Continue reading →
Most modern programming languages, in the hopes of enhanced maintainability and reusability of code, offer some constructs that help the developer keep the definition of behavior and its implementation separate.
Swift takes the idea of interfaces a step further with protocols. With protocols and protocol extensions, Swift allows developers to enforce elaborate conformity rules without compromising the expressiveness of the language.
In this article, Toptal Software Engineer Alexander Gaidukov explores Swift protocols and how protocol-oriented programming can improve the maintainability and reusability of your code.Continue reading →
If you’re a veteran frontender, you’ve probably had some not-so-great experiences with designers, and chances are some designers have had an equally bad experience working with you. How can you make sure you get exactly what you need from your designer, without placing an undue burden on them?
It’s a tall order, but in this article Freelance Software Engineer Vedran Aberle Tokic outlines and addresses a number of potential issues that may become roadblocks for your execution. Implementing these suggestions may result in overhead for designers, but they can save enormous amounts of time and headache elsewhere.Continue reading →
Client-server interactions play a vital role in most modern mobile applications. By leveraging available backend services these mobile applications can provide some really amazing functionalities. However, as mobile applications grow complex it becomes essential to keep the networking module as clean and maintainable as possible - separated from the rest of the application logic.
In this article, Toptal freelance software engineer Alexander Gaidukov walks us through the design of a simple networking module that allows your iOS application to interact with RESTful APIs.Continue reading →
Swift is the new programming language created to be a modern replacement for Objective-C in iOS and OS X application development. In general, a skilled Swift developer is usually someone who is already experienced with Objective-C, and that, among other things, might lead them to write Swift code using Objective-C best practices, which can cause some bad mistakes.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Nilson Souto outlines the most common mistakes Swift developers should be aware of.Continue reading →
Any experienced developer will tell you that their best code isn’t code they wrote. It’s code they took from someone else’s work. Many of the problems we encounter have already been solved—and the remedies packaged into libraries available to anyone. Why reinvent the wheel when free wheels are everywhere?
In this guide, Senior Android Engineer Gilad Haimov will take you on a quick tour of some the most powerful Android libraries out there. Robust as a hammer, faster than a drill, and more precise than any scalpel; no Android developer should leave home without these must-have tools.Continue reading →
Google formally announced Android 7.0 a few weeks ago, but as usual, you’ll have to wait for it. Thanks to the Android update model, most users won’t get their Android 7.0 over-the-air (OTA) updates for months. However, this does not mean developers can afford to ignore Android Nougat.
In this article, Toptal Technical Editor Nermin Hajdarbegovic takes a closer look at Android 7.0, outlining new features and changes. While Android 7.0 is by no means revolutionary, the introduction of a new graphics API, a new JIT compiler, and a range of UI and performance tweaks will undoubtedly unlock more potential and generate a few new possibilities.Continue reading →
Apple’s iOS is the second-largest mobile operating system in the world. It also has a very high adoption rate, with more than 85 percent of users on the latest version. These highly engaged users have high expectations: If your app has bugs, you’ll hear about it. And once the one-star reviews start rolling in, it’s hard to recover.
In this article, Toptal Software Engineer Nikita Tuk outlines the 10 most common mistakes that developers make—and how to avoid them.Continue reading →
Implementing applications that deal with complex concurrent behavior has always been a challenging aspect of programming. Various paradigms exist that promise a solution to this problem in different ways. RxJava is a Java library that enables Functional Reactive Programming in Android development. It raises the level of abstraction around threading in order to simplify the implementation of complex concurrent behavior.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Christopher Arriola gives us a detailed walkthrough of RxJava and how it fits into the realm of Android development.Continue reading →
Kotlin is a new, expressive general-purpose programming language powered by the same virtual machine technology that powers Java. Since Kotlin compiles to the JVM bytecode, it can be used side-by-side with Java, and it does not come with a performance overhead.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Ivan Kušt gives us a walkthrough of ten major features of Kotlin that help avoid boilerplate code and, more importantly, save time.Continue reading →
Java has been a dominant programming language for ages, but modern times call for modern languages. Meet Kotlin, a modern, clear, and expressive programming language powered by the same virtual machine technology that powers Java.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Tomasz Czura takes us for a spin through the world of Kotlin and shows us how it can be used to make an Android application with an elegant architecture without compromising the very qualities of the code that Kotlin aims to provide.Continue reading →
The plethora of tutorials on building Android apps may have you thinking that making a mobile app is simple. In reality, however, performance issues can be very complicated, and because performance plays a key role in making sure that your app stays on your users’ list of favorite apps for a long time, every little detail must be given one’s full attention.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Tibor Kaputa shares some tips on how you can optimize some common performance issues and identify some of the bottlenecks in your Android app.Continue reading →
Many product owners don’t have a technical background and thus often find themselves unprepared and scrambling when it comes time to bring on a new development team. This often results in hindered progress, wasted time, and frustration for everyone involved. If this sounds like it could be you, either now or in the future, then you should be somewhat concerned.
In this blog post, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Carlos Ramirez III will walk you through the various steps of a typical transition process in project management so you can prepare for this eventuality and make the transition as smooth as possible.Continue reading →
Ionic is extremely popular at the moment, and it has revolutionized the hybrid application industry in a way that nobody could have imagined. However, over time, the best practices and tooling for Ionic have not progressed in the same way. As a result, the number of pitfalls that developers need to look out for when working with Ionic is still high.
In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Julien Renaux outlines the most common mistakes that Ionic developers should know.Continue reading →
Navigation in mobile applications, when done right, can have tremendous positive impact on overall user experience. Android offers application developers multiple ways of implementing navigation in their application. However, not all navigation patterns are created equal.
In this article, Toptal engineer Becze Szabolcs shows us how to implement fragment-based navigation and how it stacks up against Android’s traditional navigation philosophy.Continue reading →
Google Cardboard was envisioned as the cheapest Virtual Reality (VR) solution on the planet, and at this point, nothing else comes close in terms of pricing. However, the low price did not bring about mass adoption, and Google’s Android-based VR platform is nothing more than a tech curiosity at this point.
In this post, Toptal Technical Editor Nermin Hajdarbegovic leverages his extensive experience in the graphics industry to explain what’s keeping Cardboard VR down, and what the platform needs to attract more users, investment, and development.Continue reading →
Are we really going to need $500 phones to get people in developing countries on 3G or 4G? Not really.
Welcome to the world of commoditised smartphones. Allow us to explain what’s going on and why it could have a significant impact on software and hardware industries.Continue reading →
Smooth animations and flawless transitions are key to perceived performance in modern mobile applications. Without the right tools, tuning iOS animation for efficiency can be a challenge in itself.
In this article, Toptal engineer Stefan Progovac demonstrates the role of Instruments, a sophisticated set of performance profiling tools for iOS, discussing how they can help you understand animation performance bottlenecks and some strategies for working around them.Continue reading →
Spotlight search in Apple iOS 9, compared to earlier versions, has been made much more prominent and personal. With suggestions from Siri and integration opportunities for third-party apps, iPhone’s search functionality is no longer limited to the scope of Apple’s own apps. In this article, Toptal engineer Richard Forsythe explores some iOS SDK functionalities that allow apps to make content available to the user via Spotlight search.Continue reading →
Apple’s iOS 9 and WatchOS 2 updates brings a number of novel features, including improved multitasking for iPads and a host of aesthetic tweaks. However, while iOS 9 is just an incremental update with a focus on the new iPad Pro, WatchOS 2 is not a skin-deep update. Apple has changed the WatchOS architecture and opened up a range of new possibilities for developers.Continue reading →
Several factors conspired to stifle Android Wear growth, ranging from lack of Google development, to inadequate hardware. Some of these problems have been addressed, some are being addressed, while others cannot be addressed with currently available technology.Continue reading →
Force Touch is not a new idea. BlackBerry experimented with the concept back in 2008, and a few Android phone makers also examined the possibility of using Force Touch on their products. In fact, Force Touch support has been a part of Android for years; it was introduced in Android 1.0.Continue reading →
Today, we will be taking a look at the future of mobile payments and emerging opportunities for developers. Needless to say, with each new opportunity, developers will have to face new challenges.
However, since we are talking about money, I don’t think anyone expects a shortage of software developers eager to learn a few new tricks and get into this space.Continue reading →
Cars with next-generation connected infotainment systems will create new opportunities on several fronts. In case you already have an infotainment system with a neat touchscreen and GPS in your car, please accept my condolences; it’s about to become as obsolete as a Nokia 3310 compared to an iPhone.Continue reading →
The development of cross-platform mobile applications has always been a source of many challenges. Although tools like Apache Cordova and Haxe do solve some of the associated issues, they are still not the ideal solution in many cases. React Native changes that by providing the power of React.js for mobile platforms and a promise of consistent developer experience across multiple platforms.Continue reading →
A large number of modern mobile applications interact with web services in one way or another, and iOS applications are no different. Mantle (a model framework) and Realm (a mobile database) come with the promise of simplifying some of the hurdles in consuming web services through RESTful APIs and persisting data locally. In this article, Toptal engineer Marcin Kmiec shows how to build a simple iOS application using Mantle and Realm and demonstrates how this approach helps to eliminate a large amount of boilerplate code.Continue reading →
OpenGL, a cross-platform API for rendering 2D and 3D graphics, is extremely powerful and yet surprisingly easy to get started with. Although one may find the most common applications of OpenGL and rendered graphics in video games only, in reality there are far more uses. To demonstrate the power of OpenGL, we’ll be building a Mandelbrot set generator on Android using OpenGL ES.Continue reading →
It is not uncommon for developers to find themselves in need of a UI component that is either not provided by the platform they are targeting or is, indeed, provided, but lacks a certain property or behavior. The answer to both scenarios is a custom UI component. The Android UI model is inherently customizable, offering the means to create custom UI components in various ways.Continue reading →
Whether you’re an avid angler or an app developer, you may be interested in taking a closer look at the development of a fishing app, which involved some of your fellow Toptalers.
The goal was to create an app that would be truly useful in a professional fishing setting, while at the same time meeting a hard deadline. Since Fatsack Outdoors wanted to launch the app at one of the biggest fishing tradeshows of the year, the deadline was non-negotiable.Continue reading →
Detecting objects of interest in images has always been an interesting challenge in the realm of computer vision, and many approaches have been developed over recent years. As mobile platforms are becoming increasingly powerful, now is the perfect opportunity to develop interesting mobile applications that take advantages of these algorithms. This article walks us through the process of building a simple iOS application for detecting objects in images.Continue reading →
Google announced Android M at its annual I/O dev conference in late May, and the new OS is coming to our beloved Android devices later this year. Android 6.0 is more of an evolutionary step, whereas Android 5.0 was a big leap forward thanks to its 64-bit ART runtime and all new Material Design.
However, Android M should not be dismissed as a minor update. In this post, I will try to explain why.Continue reading →
With Dalvik out of the picture, many people expected Google’s new 64-bit capable ART runtime to stick around for years, which it probably will, but it will get a major overhaul in the near future. In addition to offering support for 64-bit hardware, ART also introduced ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation, while Dalvik was a just-in-time (JIT) compiler.
Throw in new 10-core ARM processors and Intel mobile processors based on three different architectures, and you end up with spicy, Google-style hardware gumbo.Continue reading →
While the Apple Watch is on track to be a commercial success for Apple and its shareholders, technologists are still not entirely convinced smartwatches have what it takes to conquer the market, at least not yet.
What does this mean for developers? What are the implications for other smartwatch platforms and companies behind them?Continue reading →
iOS 8 introduced a new concept called App Extensions. This new feature did not break down the walls between the applications, but it opened a few doors providing gentle yet tangible contact between some apps. The latest update gave us an option to customize the iOS ecosystem, and we are eager to see this path opening up as well.Continue reading →
Location-based applications on our mobile devices have changed the way we interact with mobile technology. The list of these applications is extensive and has had a major impact on our lives.
This article walks us through a step-by-step tutorial of how to determine the location of an Android device using Google Location Services API.Continue reading →
The extremely diverse and fragmented Android ecosystem poses certain challenges when it comes to testing. In this article, we take a look at some approaches that can be effective with tackling these challenges and ease the process of writing and automating tests.Continue reading →
Passwordless authentication has been the Holy Grail of security for years, but progress has been painfully slow. Until a few years ago, the technology to implement passwordless logins on a grand scale simply wasn’t available.
However, the industry juggernaut is slowly but surely changing this. There are a few technical, legal and even ethical considerations to take into account, but be as it may, biometric, passwordless authentication is here to stay.Continue reading →
Describing Nvidia Shield as a mere Android console would not do it justice. The console relies heavily on streaming and cloud computing, so it shouldn’t not be viewed as another standalone device.
Nvidia sees Shield as Netflix for games, as a comprehensive Gaming-as-a-Service (GaaS) platform. While it’s still part of the Android ecosystem, Shield could be bad news for some Android game developers, but it also creates a range of new and exciting opportunities.Continue reading →
After a couple of years of bullish forecasts and big promises, security seems to be the biggest IoT concern. The first few weeks of 2015 were not kind to this emerging industry, and most of the negative press revolved around security.
Was it justified? Was it just “fear, uncertainty and doubt” (FUD), brought about by years of hype? It was bit of both; although some issues may have been overblown, the problems are very real, indeed.Continue reading →
Microsoft has a long tradition of spicing up relatively dull product announcements with compelling tech demos, and the Windows 10 announcement was no exception. The software giant used the opportunity to create a fair amount of buzz about the HoloLens, a futuristic headset that offers a glimpse into the future of Augmented Reality (AR).Continue reading →
This article provides step by step guide for building hybrid multi-platform real-time mobile application using the Ionic Framework and the Firebase.Continue reading →
This article provides an overview on building a great Android application, from defining an idea to releasing an application to the store. Toptal developer Ivan Dimoski gives us a chance to learn from his experience in making Ooshies, an Android Live Wallpaper designed to give you a hug and make you feel loved each time you interact with your Android device.Continue reading →
Apple has released a fully functional WatchKit and SDK that enables iOS developers with all the tools to start building their Apple Watch applications.
This article provides quick overview of the Apple Watch functionalities from a developers perspective.Continue reading →
Wouldn’t it be great to develop for Google Glass without learning a new programming language, and even by just using knowledge common to all web developers? Yes, it is possible!
This article will introduce you to web development techniques you can use to build application used on Google Glass.Continue reading →
Since Apple’s launch of Swift this past June, many iOS developers have been struggling with the question of if, how, and when to transition from Objective-C to Swift. This article explores some important points to consider before jumping into Swift development.Continue reading →
After 6 years of improving and working on Objective-C, Apple decided to throw another challenge at developers. Once again, iOS developers will need to learn a new programming language: Swift.
Swift 1.0 is already a stable and strong development platform, which is sure to evolve in interesting ways over the coming years. It is a perfect moment to start exploring this new language, as it is the future of iOS development.Continue reading →
Google Glass promises to revolutionize how we use our devices to interact with the world. But from a developer’s standpoint, what is so special about developing for the Glass? You’ll be glad to know that the answer is “Nothing!” Here’s a step-by-step tutorial that walks you through developing your first Google Glass app.Continue reading →
I often hear iOS developers ask some variant of the same key question: “What’s the best way to develop a UI in iOS: through Storyboards, NIBs, or code?”
Answers to this question, explicitly or implicitly, tend to assume that there’s a mutually exclusive choice to be made, one that is often addressed upfront, before development.
I’m of the opinion that there’s no single choice to be made. Rather, each option has its strengths and weaknesses—and there’s no need to use any one of them in isolation.Continue reading →
With the increasingly ubiquitous nature of mobile devices and applications, if you’re not already thinking about mobile apps, you probably should be. This post focuses on methodologies and tools to employ, and pitfalls to avoid, in the development of highly functional, intuitive, and easy-to-use mobile web apps.Continue reading →
Making a basic Android app is easy. But making it reliable, scalable, and robust, on the other hand, can be quite challenging. With thousands of available devices pumped out from tons of different manufacturers, assuming that a single piece of code will work reliably across phones is naive at best. Segmentation is the greatest tradeoff for having an open platform, and we pay the price in the currency of code maintenance, which continues long after the app passes the production stage.
In this post, we’ll walk through a solution: automated crash reporting with ACRA and a Cloudant back-end, all visualizable with acralyzer.Continue reading →
Building games for the iOS platform can be an enriching experience in terms of both financial and personal growth. Recently, I deployed a Cocos2D-based game to the App Store. In this post, I’ll explain the process behind developing games for iOS, from Cocos2D through to publishing.Continue reading →
It’s always fun to put your programming skills on display. A while back, I figured it’d be cool to try and control my laptop via my Android mobile device. Think about it: being able to play and pause music, start and stop programming jobs or downloads, etc., all by sending messages from your phone. Neat, huh?Continue reading →