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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Why The Hell Would I Use Node.js? A Case-by-Case Tutorial

by Tomislav Capan

Node.js shines in real-time web applications employing push technology over websockets. What is so revolutionary about that? Well, after over 20 years of stateless-web based on the stateless request-response paradigm, we finally have web applications with real-time, two-way connections, where both the client and server can initiate communication, allowing them to exchange data freely. This is in stark contrast to the typical web response paradigm, where the client always initiates communication. Additionally, it’s all based on the open web stack (HTML, CSS and JS) running over the standard port 80.

14 minute readContinue Reading
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Control Your Laptop with an Android Phone using Python, Twisted, and Django

by Martin Chikilian

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?

6 minute readContinue Reading
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In Defense of Female Engineers

by Taso Du Val

Female engineers are valuable at Toptal. This is a piece about how we stand up for their rights and value them for their skills and talent.

6 minute readContinue Reading
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Init.js: A Guide to the Why and How of Full-Stack JavaScript

by Alejandro Hernandez

After much thought, I decided to engineer a solution to the idea abandonment problem. I call it the ‘Init' project (or Init.js). The core of the idea is to have a single project to start them all, to let the developer or the technical founder make all of the essential decisions at once, and receive an appropriate starting template based on those decisions.

14 minute readContinue Reading
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How a Single Front-End Engineer Can Replace a Team of Two

by Tom Kozacinski

Demand within the web design scene today has changed over the past few years: designers with front-end skills, and front-end developers with design skills, are more and more in demand. Yes, you could argue that the jobs are completely different—and maybe you straight-up don't like one of them—but truth be told, in my six years as a freelance web developer and twelve years as a designer, I’ve learned that it's much harder to get by as just a web designer or just a front-end developer. Wearing both hats has a lot of advantages: from a professional perspective alone, you can find work more easily and charge a higher rate because you’re bringing more to the table.

11 minute readContinue Reading
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The H-1B Visa: An iOS Developer's Journey from Honduras to Silicon Valley

by Carlos E. Hernández Perez

These days, I’m living in the great city of San Francisco. I’ve got a job that I love, and one that I’ve dreamt of having for a long time. Everything seems easy now, but it wasn’t always like this.

10 minute readContinue Reading
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Growing Growth: Perform Your Own Cohort Analysis with This Open Source Code

by Alejandro Rigatuso

But this isn’t just another article about cohort analysis. If you already know the importance of the topic and want to skip the introduction, you can jump to the simulator, where you can either simulate startup growth based on retention, churn, and a number of other factors, or analyze your own PayPal logs with the code I’ve open sourced. If, however, you don’t realize that these are some of the most important metrics around–continue reading.

7 minute readContinue Reading
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From Node.js to Paying Your Freelance Taxes: Interview with a Successful Developer

by Luís Martinho

At Toptal, we’re always looking for the best freelancers around. But what makes a freelancer truly great? Luis Martinho, one of our top developers, is beloved by his clients — so we sat down with him to talk about freelancing, technologies, and paying your taxes.

12 minute readContinue Reading

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