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Jun 16, 2017

Eight CSS Tips for Advanced Layouts and Effects

The realm of web front-end development has made considerable progress over the last few years. However, the web front-end, as the users see it, is still the same: HTML markup styled with CSS.

Many layout problems can seem simple at first but often proves to be tricky. Without extensive knowledge of how certain CSS features work, these advanced layouts can seem impossible to achieve with CSS alone.

In this article, you will find eight expert CSS tips and tricks that leverage lesser known CSS features to implement some of these advanced layouts and effects.

1. Maximizing CSS Sibling Selectors

The problem: You are losing optimization opportunities by not [...]

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Jun 9, 2017

Building an Angular Video Player with Videogular

The Videogular project is supported by Toptal Open Source Grants. Toptal Open Source Grants supports members of the Toptal network pursuing Open Source projects.

As one of the first Open Source Grants recipients, Raul Jimenez Herrando is adding new features, fixing bugs, and writing documentation for the Videogular project. To learn more about Toptal Open Source Grants, email

According to online traffic statistics, video is taking over control of the web. The good old TV is dying and companies are moving fast to dominate a market that will represent the 80% of online traffic by 2019 .

Many media providers and products rely on HTML5 video [...]

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Jun 2, 2017

Android DDMS: A Guide to the Ultimate Android Console

Developing is a tricky business. The target keeps moving, new technologies and domains periodically come to life, new tools pop every now and again, and languages change in what seems to be managed havoc.

Still, even with all these changes, the fundamental rules stay the same. One of the most important of these underlying rule states that to create really awesome software, you must gain deep, ongoing and detailed introspection into your executing system. Diagnostics, debugging, and profiling are terms sometimes used in this context, but the rule goes deeper. A top-notch developer literally “feels” his system. He knows what will cause is to chunk waiting for more memory to [...]

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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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