Toptal Engineering Blog

The Toptal Engineering Blog is a hub for in-depth development tutorials and new technology announcements created by professional software engineers in the Toptal network.

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An Intro to SQL Window Functions

by Neal Barnett

SQL window functions are calculation functions similar to aggregate functions but, unlike normal aggregate functions like "group by," have access to individual rows and can even add some of their attributes into the result set. In this article, Toptal Freelance SQL Developer Neal Barnett explains the benefits of SQL functions, describes when you’d use them, and gives you real examples to help with the concepts.

6 minute readContinue Reading
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.NET Unit Testing: Spend Upfront to Save Later On

by Nickolas Fisher

Unit testing sometimes sounds like an unnecessary expense, but it is a powerful, yet simple tool. Unit tests allow you to identify and rectify weaknesses with relatively little effort. In this article, Toptal Software Engineer Nickolas Fisher takes you on a quick tour of unit testing and explains why you can’t have too many unit tests.

12 minute readContinue Reading
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Ruby Algorithm Documentation with AsciiDoc and Knitr

by Alec Ten Harmsel

A functional specification is a high-level design document created before implementation and serves as a true plan for the team. In this article, Toptal Freelance Ruby Developer Alec Ten Harmsel walks us through prototyping an algorithm and creating a functional specification with the help of AsciiDoc and R for a Ruby on Rails project.

5 minute readContinue Reading
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When Does it Make Sense to Use Google BigQuery?

by Maksym Goroshkevych

What do you do when you come across a dataset that’s simply too big to allow fast queries? Google BigQuery could be part of the solution, though it’s no silver bullet. In this article, Toptal Java Developer Maksym Goroshkevych explains how BigQuery can drastically improve query performance, and when you should and should not use it.

10 minute readContinue Reading
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Adversarial Machine Learning: How to Attack and Defend ML Models

by Pau Labarta Bajo

The increasing accuracy of machine learning systems has resulted in a flood of applications using them. As machine learning models matured and improved, so did ways of attacking them. In this article, Toptal Python Developer Pau Labarta Bajo examines the world of adversarial machine learning, explains how ML models can be attacked, and what you can do to safeguard them against attack.

10 minute readContinue Reading
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Make Your App Profitable—Leverage Mobile Analytics

by Matthew Knippen

Building a mobile app isn't cheap—and the harsh reality is that most apps fail. Find out how to leverage fundamental analytics metrics to make sure your app actually turns a profit.

11 minute readContinue Reading
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Zero to Hero: Flask Production Recipes

by Ivan Poleschyuk

Flask is a great way to get up and running quickly with a Python applications, but what if you wanted to make something a bit more robust? In this article, Toptal Freelance Python Developer Ivan PoleschyuI shares some tips and useful recipes for building a complete production-ready Flask application.

11 minute readContinue Reading
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Build a Custom Full Page Slider with CSS and JavaScript

by Stefan Vitasovic

There are a number of ways of implementing animated full-screen layouts with a large degree of human interaction, and many developers would resort to a JavaScript plugin to save time. In this article, Toptal JavaScript Developer Stefan Vitasovic demonstrates how you can do it using nothing but CSS and JavaScript, without including a bloated library or plugin in your project.

14 minute readContinue Reading

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