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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With a Filter Bypass and Some Hexadecimal, Hacked Credit Card Numbers Are Still, Still Google-able

by Gergely Kalman

In 2007, Bennett Haselton revealed a minor hack with major implications: querying ranges of numbers on Google would return pages of sensitive information, including Credit Card numbers, Social Security numbers, and more. While Haselton's hack was addressed and patched, I was able to tweak his original technique to bypass Google's filter and return the same old dangerous results.

6 minute readContinue Reading
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A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Your First AngularJS App

by Raoni Boaventura

If you haven’t tried AngularJS yet, you’re missing out. The framework consists of a tightly integrated toolset that will help you build well structured, rich client-side applications in a modular fashion—with less code and more flexibility. One of the reasons I love working with AngularJS is because of its flexibility regarding server communication. Like most JavaScript MVC frameworks, it lets you work with any server-side technology as long as it can serve your app through a RESTful web API. But Angular also provides services on top of XHR that dramatically simplify your code and allow you to abstract API calls into reusable services. As a result, you can move your model and business logic to the front-end and build back-end agnostic web apps. In this AngularJS tutorial, we'll do just that, one step at a time.

11 minute readContinue Reading
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Introduction to Responsive Web Design: Pseudo-Elements, Media Queries, and More

by Tomislav Krnic

Nowadays, your website will be visited by a wide variety of devices: desktops with large monitors, mid-sized laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more. To achieve an optimal user experience, your site should be adjusting its layout in response to these varied devices (i.e., to their varied screen resolutions and dimensions). The process of responding to the form of the user's device is referred to as (you guessed it) responsive web design (RWD).

8 minute readContinue Reading
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Why Writing Software Design Documents Matters

by Chris Fox

If you're an experienced developer, you've probably progressed from being a humble tester to a senior developer, and if you're a freelancer, you've made another leap, perhaps the biggest of them all, when you started working with clients directly. Some clients aren't in the software business; they're in an entirely different industry that needs a piece of software, and they don't have a clear and precise vision of what they want from you. This is a far greater challenge than it appears, and here's what you can do to improve client communication and project documentation.

8 minute readContinue Reading
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SQL Database Performance Tuning for Developers

by Rodrigo Koch

Database tuning can be an incredibly difficult task, particularly when working with large-scale data where even the most minor change can have a dramatic (positive or negative) impact on performance. In mid-sized and large companies, most database tuning will be handled by a Database Administrator (DBA). But there are plenty of developers who have to perform DBA-like tasks; meanwhile, DBAs often struggle to work well with developers. In this article, Toptal Freelance Software Engineer Rodrigo Koch provides developers with database tuning tips and explains how developers and DBAs can work together effectively.

9 minute readContinue Reading
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Hunting Java Memory Leaks

by Jose Ferreirade Souza Filho

Inexperienced programmers often think that Java's automatic garbage collection frees them from the burden of memory management. This is a common misperception: while the garbage collector does its best, it's entirely possible for even the best programmer to fall prey to crippling memory leaks. In this post, I'll explain how and why memory leaks occur in Java and outline an approach for detecting such leaks with the help of a visual interface.

14 minute readContinue Reading
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Why Are There So Many Pythons? A Python Implementation Comparison

by Charles Marsh

Python is amazing. Surprisingly, that's a fairly ambiguous statement. What do I mean by 'Python'? Do I mean Python the abstract interface? Do I mean CPython, the common Python implementation? Or do I mean something else entirely? Maybe I'm obliquely referring to Jython, or IronPython, or PyPy. Or maybe I've really gone off the deep end and I'm talking about RPython or RubyPython (which are very, very different things). While the technologies mentioned above are commonly-named and commonly-referenced, some of them serve completely different purposes (or at least operate in completely different ways). In this post, I'll start from scratch and move through the various Python implementations, concluding with a thorough introduction to PyPy, which I believe is the future of the language.

10 minute readContinue Reading
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How to Build an Infinite Runner on iOS: Cocos2D, Automation, and More

by Alexey Zankevich

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.

9 minute readContinue Reading

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