Gagandeep Singh, Apr 18

Killer Way to Show a List of Items in Android Collection Widget

In the earlier versions of Android, app widgets could only display views like TextView, ImageView etc. But what if we want to show a list of items in our widget? For example, showing the list of temperature information for the whole next week. Collection widgets were introduced in Android 3.0 to provide this additional benefit. Collection widgets support ListView, GridView and StackView layouts.

Today, I am going to help you understand how the collection widget works. We are going to build an app widget for a Todo app. Collection widgets will be used to display the list of pending tasks.

Theodhor Pandeli, Apr 12

Authentication and Sharing in Android with the Google+ API

Theodhor Pandeli looks at using the Google+ API in an Android app to provide authentication and social sharing features.
Charles Muzonzini, Apr 11

5 Ionic Framework App Development Tips and Tricks

Patrick Catanzariti highlights 5 tips and tricks he has gathered from his development work with the Ionic framework.
Ariel Elkin, Apr 10

Editorial: Is It the End of an Era for Windows?

The world of mobile has just passed an important milestone: Android is now the world's most popular operating system for accessing the internet. Research carried out by analytics firm StatCounter has found that in the month of March 2017, internet usage on Android surpassed internet usage on Windows. Yet StatCounter's CEO, Aodhan Cullen, was ecstatic: This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era. [...] It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market which it has held since the 1980s. It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4% of global internet usage share only five years ago. Android is indeed making enormous leaps in the wider IT space, seducing millions of new users every year. Android has provided a viable platform for the world to access the internet. The shift to mobile has not been uniform accross the globe: In Europe, Android has just has 23.6% of the market share; in Africa it owns 53.5% (versus 35% for Windows), in Asia, 52.2% (versus 29.2% for Windows).
Patrick Catanzariti, Apr 10

Five Simple Ways to Build Artificial Intelligence in 2017

Patrick Catanzariti looks at APIs and services which enable artificial intelligence capable of everything from personal assistants to image recognition.
Ankul Jain, Apr 05

Building a UI with Kotlin and Anko

Since the beginning of Android development working with UI has been an XML thing. Though theoretically, UI could be programmed using Java, it has not been of much use. Not long ago, JetBrains introduced Kotlin, a modern language targeting the JVM, which could serve this purpose for Android. Jetbrains announced Anko as a faster and easier style of development in Android. Kotlin offers the Anko library as a DSL(Domain Specific Language) to design an Android screen. A quick example: Following is a plain Android UI consisting of an imageView and a Button.
Ariel Elkin, Mar 29

Editorial: Mobile and the 2017 Developer Survey Results

Stack Overflow has recently published the results of its 2017 Developer Survey. It consisted of about 100 questions covering all important aspects of a developer’s professional life: from attitudes towards programming language to salaries, including important yet overlooked topics such as what would developers choose for performance metrics. Now in its seventh year, the Developer Survey is gathering and quantifying important information about us and our industry. Let’s take a closer look at what it says about mobile. Of the 51,392 respondents who provided usable responses, 23% considered themselves mobile developers. Note that respondents could select more than one category, and the survey doesn’t clarify what percentage of developers consider themselves primarily mobile developers. What we can nonetheless infer is that 77% of developers do not consider themselves mobile developers. In other words, we are a minority.
Josh Marchello, Mar 28

Sourcehunt - Swift Edition - March 2017

In continuation of Swift Month, this Sourcehunt is full of Swift goodness. We’ll show you packages for manipulating strings, creating re-usable styles, displaying user avatars, and bringing the awesomeness of FontAwesome to iOS. We’ve also got a package for parsing JSON like a boss, and user authentication for your next (or first!) Vapor app. Did I mention it’s all in Swift! ArtSabintsev/Guitar (350 ★) Inspired by JavaScript’s Voca library, this package makes working with strings a cinch. It adds some helpful methods to the String class that let you do anything from change case to add padding. Let’s say I have an app that takes a filename as input from the user. I want to make sure that filename does not have any spaces or capitalized words in it. Thanks to Guitar, I can do this easily.
Ariel Elkin, Mar 22

Editorial: Put Your Code Where Your Mouth Is

We may be familiar with Siri, Google Now, and Cortana as the mobile operating system’s native voice-operated assistants, but Apple has gone a step further and published an API that allows developers to recognise speech and make use of it. iOS users are already used to Siri to interact with apps and dictate text, and now developers have direct access to that text. With great power comes great responsibility, as they say on the web. What are some new powers we are getting thanks to this technology, and what are some of the risks?
Deivi Taka, Mar 22

iOS Speech APIs Tutorial

With the launch of iOS 10 developers can make use of a new exciting API: Speech Recognition. The concept of translating audio to text is known to both the users and the developers. iOS has offered this feature through Siri, and its keyboard dictation button in the previous versions. Yet, the new framework has more benefits and is easy to implement, as you are soon to discover. The code for this article can be downloaded on GitHub. Dictation was hard to work with, because of its limitations. It was possible to access it only through the default keyboard, or elements that support TextKit. If the keyboard language wasn’t supported, too bad for you! Recognition could only be performed on live audio, and all you had in return was plain text. That could be more than enough for certain apps, but you may want to do a little more. The API offers more functionalities to the developers. It allows them to use the framework anywhere in their app, without the need of the keyboard presence. Audio can be given as input from a pre-recorded file, or a live source. In both cases, you have control on when to start and stop the operation, which was not possible before. Additionally, the language can be set regardless of the system language. You can choose between over 50 available languages.
Clay Unicorn, Mar 21

Server-Side Swift: Comparing Vapor and Perfect

One of the reasons Swift has become a major player in web development is that there is a variety of great quality frameworks to build web apps. Not all frameworks are created equal, and not all frameworks _feel_ equal. My goal here to compare Perfect and Vapor in terms of their popularity, ease-of-use, features, and community; in order to help you decide which framework is right for you. Vapor has the private backing of a consultancy and Perfect raised $1.5 million in seed funding last year. With the social foothold that Perfect has both in seniority and numbers, one could say that it's the most popular. Then again, Vapor released version 1 in September of 2016 (four months old at the time of this publication) and has risen in popularity to nearly match Perfect in stars and public activity. Popularity is hard to quantify, so here are the facts as of March 2017, and I'll let you decide:
Bob Lee, Mar 15

Store UIColor with UserDefaults in Swift 3

This article was originally published at iOS Geek Community. So, what the heck is UserDefaults in the first place? Why is the name so ugly? Why are we using it? and Why am I writing about it? If you can give at least one answer to these questions, you may skip to Part 2 where I talk about UIColor. Prerequisite: Understand Type Casting from the bottom of your heart. In other words, be able to distinguish between as, as!, as? You can start off with this video where I show my face and speak English on YouTube. As a tradition, let’s start off some funky and tangible ways to understand UserDefaults at an extremely high level. Actually, this is too simple. I don’t think it’s necessary. The UserDefaults object saves user data. So that when you first download an app, you can save preferences such as a background color/image even when the battery kills itself. It can save ALL kinds of things. If you have 254GB of free space on your phone, it can save 254GB of user data. But, there is a big problem. It regurgitates everything during the runtime. Okay, the previous sentence can be a bit ambiguous. Let’s try this. It will vomit everything out when you first launch an app or the view is loaded. Hmm. Here is the better way. It’s like you running to the bathroom and taking a poop that you’ve been holding for 5 days at once. What happens to your body? You get overwhelmed. It may not even come out right, and most importantly, it will hurt you real bad. Same thing, you want to make sure you only carry enough of poop inside of the large intestine so that you (iPhone) can take care of and handle like a boss. LOL. Yeah, for those newcomers, this is how I think and execute. Excuse me. No one can stop me.
Said Sikira, Mar 14

Improve Your Swift Closures with Result

Dealing with asynchronous tasks is an everyday developer task, and Swift developers mostly use closures for this type of work. Their syntax is clear and expressive, but handling a closure may be error-prone when we don’t adequately represent the results of an asynchronous operation. Result-oriented programming aims to reduce that complexity by providing a simple way to represent these results. This article will go through the basics of closures and show you how to use Result in your code. All examples can be found in this Github repository. Closures are self-contained blocks of code. They can be passed around and used in your code as any other object. In fact, closures have types, in the same way Int or a String are types. What makes them different is that they can have input parameters and they must provide a return type.
Design & UX
Mateo Prifti, Mar 14

How to Turn Your Sketch Files into Working Prototypes with Origami

Sketch is a great for UI Design, but it stops at flat designs. Mateo shows you how to do sophisticated prototyping with Sketch files in Facebook Origami.
Ariel Elkin, Mar 13

Editorial: Getting Great Results with Swift

Klevis Davidhi, Mar 08

UICollectionView DataSourcePrefetching Example and Explanation

Recently, Apple announced a new UICollectionViewDataSource protocol extension called UICollectionViewDataSourcePrefetching. This extension makes it possible to implement two new functions that deliver a completely smooth scrolling performance. This tutorial will show you how to use it. Open Xcode and create a new project based on the Single View Application template. Before you do anything else, in order to improve the appearance of our application ,select the view and choose Editor -> Embed In -> Navigation Controller. Now drag a Collection View from the Object Library onto the view canvas and adjust its size . Notice that into the Collection View is one reusable cell , so click under the Attributes Inspector and give this cell an Identifier, let’s call it foodCell. Drag an UIImageView onto it and adjust its size to fit the content.
Bob Lee, Mar 07

Pass Data with NSNotification between ViewControllers in Swift 3

This article was originally published at iOS Geek Community. Today, let’s talk about how and why we use NSNotification to pass data and communicate/notify between classes and structs. By the way, NSNotification, unlike its name, has nothing to do with Push Notification — rookie mistake 101 (me). Yes, there are many ways to pass data in Swift: Delegate, Key-Value Observing, Segue, and NSNotification, Target-Action, Callbacks. However, each one has its own pros and cons. They are like dining utensils. For example, I wouldn’t use chopsticks — although it’s pretty darn good — to drink soup. Since there are many, I’m only going to cover one at a time, and I will going to mention why you should spoons instead of chopsticks along the way. It doesn’t make sense to tell the differences between chopsticks and knives before I have used both.
Ariel Elkin, Mar 01

Editorial: Swift Month

We’re dedicating the month of March 2017 to the Swift Language. Swift is one of the most loved languages by developers (if not the most loved). And this in a relatively short period of time after being released. I think this ascent can be explained by looking at how matters stood right before its introduction, when iOS and macOS developers spoke Objective-C. This was (and still is) a venerable language, actively used for more than 20 years. But its age was starting to show, especially when it came to its proneness to unsafe code (lack of type safety, null pointer exceptions, cumbersome error handling, the list goes on). After taking your first few steps with Swift, you’d soon realise that this was a language designed by someone who was tired of Objective-C’s problems. The language was designed with code safety in mind: type safety, safe initialisation, value types, and many more things that were sorely missing from its predecessor.
Ariel Elkin, Mar 01

Swift: Probably The Best Full-Stack Language in the World

Ever since its release in 2014, Swift went through multiple iterations in order to become a great full-stack development language. Indeed: iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS apps, and their backend can now be written in the same language. Backends can be written in many other languages – but let us argue why Swift is probably the best full-stack language in the world for mobile developers. Safety. An essential advantage of Swift as a perfect back-end programming language is the safety built into the language. Swift does away with entire classes of errors and crashes. Remember null pointer exceptions? Those that cause crashes when objects you expect not to be nil are accidentally nil. Swift’s optionals let you know in advance if an object may be nil, and if so, force you to adequately handle the nil case. Safe initialization prevents you from ever initialising an object such that it ends up being nil. Remember unrecognized selector sent to instance crashes? Swift is type-safe meaning that if you’re calling a function on an object that doesn’t respond to it, the error will be caught by the compiler and not at runtime. Yet Swift was explicitly designed to be familiar and practical, rather than to adhere to some particular programming dogma. That said, as Chris Lattner puts it, “the defaults encourage safety and predictability”.
Stanley Idesis, Feb 28

Low-Code Mobile Basics with OutSystems

Stanley Idesis looks at low-code platforms that save developers time with boilerplate mobile development tasks.
Enrico Sustayo, Feb 22

An Introduction to Messages Extensions on iOS

Theodhor Pandeli, Feb 21

Integrating the Facebook Graph API in Android

In this tutorial, I will show how to send requests and get data from Facebook using Graph API. You can find the project on Github In order to perform requests to Graph API, the user must be logged in with the Facebook SDK for Android. I am not going to explain how to set up the login process in this article. You can find the Facebook Login Integration article here Watch every action your users perform in your app! Make sure you have an up to date version of Android Studio. I am using version 2.2.3 Open Android Studio and create a New Project, naming it as you wish. Click Next, choose Minimum API level 17 and click Next again. Choose Empty Activity as the first activity, name it LoginActivity and click Finish.
Ariel Elkin, Feb 15

Editorial: Which Planet of the Apps Are We On?

If you haven’t heard that Apple is launching a TV show about app-making, then, I wonder… which planet you’re living on? The trailer for the new show promises the following: In every episode, app developers work to earn millions of dollars in venture capital investment. It begins with a pitch to four of the world’s most culturally influential entrepreneurs. […]. It all leads to a final pitch with one of the hottest venture capital firms on the planet. The developer community’s reception, so far, has been negative. Rock Star Developer and maker of Instaper Marco Arment tweeted: I’m sure Planet of the Apps will be a great show for all of those people who bug developers with their awful ideas. But actual developers… Well, this likely has about as much relevance to reality as most “reality” shows. Aside from the fact that judging a show purely by its trailer is, shall we say, unwordly, I say: Think different, content-creation is an avenue that Apple has much exploration to do in, and they have the resources required for it (visibility, money, domain knowledge, and talent). Consider this an experiment. Worst case scenario; mobile apps gain more visibility. Best case scenario? The perceived value of apps and your job becomes higher. You’d be automatically promoted from Rock Star to Rock Legend.
Craig Buckler, Feb 15

How to Simulate Mobile Devices with Device Mode in Chrome

A quick look at how to enable Chrome's useful new Emulation Mode to emulate dozens of mobile devices.