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Insights about the app design and development ecosystem.

Technical Design

Exporting UI assets with Sketch: simplifying your workflow

If you’re either a UI designer or a developer, you’ve probably heard of Sketch in the past years – or maybe you’re even using it. Sketch has become a very popular software and broadly used by UI designers. In this article, I’ll show some steps of my workflow when creating and exporting assets to mobile or web applications.

I hope that this article will be useful for designers starting to use Sketch or developers who need to export assets from a Sketch file. If you’re already experienced with Sketch, you’ll probably be familiar with most of the things I’ll be presenting, but you can still get some good insights from this article.

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Technical Opinion Design

The overlap between design and engineering: a different perspective on product development

A common way to describe a product development process is with the DesignFront-endBack-end stack. This approach takes into account the disciplines involved on the process, and though it helps making things understandable, the distinction enforces the idea that the process is linear and phase-dependent.

This linear flow can also be defined as the waterfall model, and it’s rather common in the web industry. All pages are designed upfront, then a set of mockups are handed off to be translated into front-end code, and then, after all of that, the back-end logic is created. This causes an isolation of professionals on each phase, which leads to a series of implementation issues, mostly due to the difficulty of foreseeing all details and use cases on the early stages.

It also leads to the notion that there’s “my work” and “your work”. It’s not rare to hear developers saying: “Designers can’t touch my code!” or designers complaining that “The front-end developer messed up my layout!”. This creates barriers to the process. As obvious as it might sound, everyone is working towards the same goal: building outstanding products. And a more collaborative process is the way to achieve that.

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Technical Opinion

You don’t need to code it: how I address common Android problems

Android is an awesome platform that enables you to impact millions of users, but, even after so many years in the market, there are still several basic problems that are still a pain to solve and haven’t been included in Android’s core Software Development Kit.

In order to solve these key problems, I’ll point some great tools and libraries – developed by the Android community – that are widely used and a breeze to work with. They  are all open source, available on GitHub and actively maintained. Now, let’s start!

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Technical Opinion

Don’t blame the framework: my experience with AngularJS and ReactJS

In the past few years, websites have evolved into complex web applications, and what once was land of simple business informative pages, now is home to Facebook, Slack, Spotify and Netflix, changing the way you communicate, listen to music or watch movies. Front-end development has reached a new level and now requires more attention than it used to.

Just as for many front-end developers, our stack used to consist of HTML and jQuery. We would do AJAX requests to our backend, render the new chunk of UI on JavaScript and insert it into the DOM. User actions were tracked by binding events and callbacks to each of the elements. And don’t take me wrong: this is just fine for most applications.

However, when an application grows considerably, a couple of issues start being more frequent than expected: you forget to update all places where a value is displayed in the UI, no events are bound to the content added by AJAX, just to name some — this list can be very long. These are signs that your code is not maintainable, especially when developing together with a team. Using a front-end framework provides a formal way to write collaborative code that you can read, write and update.

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Technical Business

Cloud scaling: from 1K to 1B users

We all use a lot of web applications, such as Gmail, Evernote, LinkedIn or Telegram as productivity enhancers in our daily lives. However, there are not-so-rare moments that these services go down for a variety of circumstances.

In a recent event, due to Brazil’s Department of Justice decision to block access to WhatsApp in the whole country for 48 hours, millions of Brazilian users suddenly migrated to Telegram, generating a huge (and unexpected) load in their servers. Since this is not the first time this happens, Telegram was well-prepared and handled the usage peak gracefully (even though there was an SMS service bottleneck).

However, in a previous user base sprout, Telegram had a 2-hour outage in some parts of the world, as they said in their official Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Telegram was totally on top of this. The fact that they could solve this issue in a 2-hour window says they were prepared for cloud scaling – which unfortunately isn’t always true for all web services.

So how can you prepare for scaling? How can you be sure the cloud service you’re creating is prepared to handle a big user base (or a sudden increase in access) without going down?

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Technical Opinion

iOS Project Architecture: Using VIPER

When developing an iOS app, it’s important to think about what iOS project architecture you should use. Most developers use the pattern suggested by Apple: the so-called MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture. However, as well-established as it is, the MVC has its flaws.  For one, because of its simplicity, it leads even the most experienced engineers to put any code that doesn’t belong to a View nor to a Model in the Controller’s logic – generating huge chunks of code in the controller and really compact views and models.

In this post, we’ll present VIPER, one of the trending alternatives to MVC that might help you overcome its limitations while keeping your code modular and well-organized, improving your development process.

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Opinion Business

Working with a virtual team: 7 best practices

Working with virtual teams is a big trend in the software development industry, as the globalization of labor is the only viable way to scale the growth of the sector. New technologies in virtual reality, high-speed Internet connection and communication tools open exponential options for virtual collaboration, and will reformat what globalization looks like. In the future, you’ll be able to sit in a meeting room anywhere in the world with whomever you’ve organized that with. You might not be able to shake their hands, but here are the best practices  – and tips – on how to best work with those virtual co-workers:

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Technical

Developing IoT apps: connecting to smart devices with Android

Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer something reserved for the future or limited to the realm of ideas. It is real and it’s begun to find its way into our homes turning lamps, locks, security cameras, and several other home appliances into smart devices controlled by your smartphone.

The crucial point, as a developer, is to know how to find and access these devices, allowing people to use this technology to its best extent. To help you in this process, this article lists some of the most popular approaches to finding and connecting to any device in your network when developing IoT apps, and presents some code snippets and examples to get you up and running in no time.

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Technical Opinion

CSS Architecture: First steps

CSS was designed to be a very simple and intuitive language. Its basic purpose is to define selectors to target HTML elements and apply attributes to them. Easy to grasp and start applying. When working on large and complex projects, though, some CSS features might be a little trickier to deal with.

Its cascading feature, for example, allows properties to be overridden by other selectors according to its order on the sheet or by selector specificity. Also, elements inherit properties from their parents on the DOM. Without proper organization, this can quickly get out of hand and messy. That’s where an architecture comes to help.

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Weekly Roundup Opinion

iPhone SE, iPad Pro, encrypted e-mails, and more

Hi there! Too busy to catch up on the news? Fear not! Here we come with one more Weekly Roundup specially for you. Two of our favorite giants, Google and Apple, have announced several hot News, including updates in Google’s Material Design guidelines, AMP being more valued than ever, and new Apple devices! We also bring a sweet iPhone dashboard as Design Inspiration, and a pretty cool App of the Week able to help you with your personal development.

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