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May 25, 2017

How to Build CSS-only Smart Layouts with Flexbox

Flexible box, or Flexbox in short, is a set of properties in CSS introduced in 2009 to provide a new, exceptional layout system. The Flexbox module is identified as a part of the third version of CSS (CSS3).

You are probably already using many of the new properties in CSS3, such as box-shadow, border-radius, background gradients, and so on. However, Flexbox has yet to see the widespread adoption that it deserves. This may be because of all the breaking changes it has suffered over the years, or because it is only partially supported in Internet Explorer 10, or just because Flexbox is a whole ecosystem while previous paradigms have been predominantly based on single, [...]

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May 18, 2017

Demystifying iOS 9 Spotlight Search for Developers

There are three search points built into iOS: Siri, Spotlight Search, and Safari search. Siri, one of the most iconic features of iOS, is something that most iPhone users are already familiar with. But many people are not aware of Spotlight search – something that has been an integral part of iOS long before Siri existed. Spotlight Search can be accessed when you slide the home screen downwards, or new to iOS 9, swipe right from your personal home screen. This reveals a search bar at the top of the screen.

The focus of this search tool in iOS 8 and earlier was searching the phone itself, so its results page lists apps that are on your phone, as well as emails, messages, [...]

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May 1, 2017

Swift Tutorial: An Introduction to the MVVM Design Pattern


So you’re starting a new iOS project, you received from the designer all the needed .pdf and .sketch documents, and you already have a vision about how you’ll build this new app.

You start transferring UI screens from the designer’s sketches into your ViewController .swift, .xib and .storyboard files.

UITextField here, UITableView there, a few more UILabels and a pinch of UIButtons. IBOutlets and IBActions are also included. All good, we are still in the UI zone.

However, it’s time to do something with all these UI elements; UIButtons will receive finger touches, [...]

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Apr 15, 2017

The H-1B Visa: An iOS Developer’s Journey from Honduras to Silicon Valley

BY CARLOS HERNANDEZ – SOFTWARE DEVELOPER @ TOPTAL #Freelancing #H-1B #Immigration #iOS Read the Portuguese version of this article translated by Eduardo Kienetz, the Spanish version translated by Pablo Fabregat and the Russian version translated by Rakhim Davletkaliyev

These days, I’m living in the great city of San Francisco. I’ve got an iOS development 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.

How it all started

I was born in San Pedro Sula, a small town in the northwest corner of Honduras. I started programming when I was 12 years old. It all began with BASIC. One day, I [...]

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Apr 4, 2017

How to Build an Infinite Runner on iOS: Cocos2D, Automation, and More


Developing iOS games can be an enriching experience in terms of both personal and financial growth. Earlier this year, I deployed a Cocos2D-based game, Bee Race, to the App Store. Its gameplay is simple: an infinite runner in which players (in this case, bees) collect points and avoid obstacles. See here for a demo.

In this tutorial, I’ll explain the process behind developing games for iOS, from Cocos2D through to publishing. For reference, here are a short table-of-contents:

Sprites and physical objects A brief introduction to Cocos2D Using Cocos2D with storyboards Gameplay and (brief) [...]
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Mar 31, 2017

iOS Animation and Tuning for Efficiency

BY STEFAN PROGOVAC – FREELANCE SOFTWARE ENGINEER @ TOPTAL #Animation #CoreAnimation #Instruments #iOS #Performance

Building a great app is not all about looks or functionality, it’s also about how well it performs. Although hardware specifications of mobile devices are improving at a rapid pace, apps that perform poorly, stutter at every screen transition or scrolls like a slideshow can ruin the experience of its user and become a cause of frustration. In this article we will see how to measure performance of an iOS app and tune it for efficiency. For the purpose of this article, we will build a simple app with a long list of images and texts.

For the [...]

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Mar 14, 2017

A Guide to CloudKit: How to Sync User Data Across iOS Devices


These days, 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, I’ll demonstrate how to use CloudKit to keep a user’s data in sync between multiple clients. It’s intended for experienced iOS developers who are already familiar with Apple’s [...]

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Mar 6, 2017

How to Write Automated Tests for iOS


#Automated #iOS #Testing #UI #Unit #XCode

As a good developer, you do your best to test all the functionality and every possible code path and outcome in the software that you write. But it is extremely rare and unusual to be able to manually test every possible outcome and every possible path a user might take.

As the application gets bigger and more complex, the likelihood that you are going to miss something through manual testing increases significantly.

Automated testing, both of the UI and the back-end service APIs, will make you more confident that everything works as intended [...]

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Feb 20, 2017

Learning Swift Programming: Is it Ready for Prime Time?


Apple’s launch this past June of Swift, a new programming language for writing iOS apps, created a great deal of buzz and excitement throughout the iOS developer community.

Since its launch, many iOS developers have been struggling with the question of if, how, and when to transition from Objective-C to Swift. The answer to that question will of course be different for every team and every project.

There are a number articles you can read covering many of the advantages of Swift. So instead of rehashing those same points, in this article we’ll instead focus on some of the concerns [...]

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Feb 13, 2017

Boost Your Productivity With Clever Travel Hardware


#4G #Freelance #Remote #TravelHardware

Nevermind Game of Thrones, winter is not coming, at least not in the northern hemisphere. It’s summertime, and here at Toptal that usually means many of our freelance developers and designers are either on the road or getting ready to hit the beach.

When I started writing this, some of our people were in Portugal, trying to work out the math behind surfboards. Now it’s my turn, and I’m wrapping up my draft with a nice view of the Adriatic Sea, just a few miles away from the best windsurfing spot in Europe.

Yes, I’m a workaholic, so this might as well be a [...]

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How to Build CSS-only Smart Layouts with Flexbox
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